Thursday, August 24, 2017

Spilling Coffee

I read this on a blog and I wanted to share the story because it is an awesome life lesson that we can all learn from.

Credit:  Jamie Taylor from the blog post, "When Life Shakes You".
 My mom was always there to lovingly show me that my behavior was a mirror image of what was going on in my heart. It didn’t matter how sweet I was a school or around my friends… my family was there enough to see the ugliness bubble up. I wasn’t very cute when things didn’t go according to my perfectly laid out plans.

She shared this analogy with me and I’ll never forget it:

You are holding a cup of coffee and someone comes along and shoves you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere. Why did you spill the coffee?

"Well because someone shook me, of course!" While that would be the initial response for most of us, it’s the wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because coffee was in the cup. If tea had been in it, you would have spilled tea. Whatever was inside the cup is what will come out.

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you, whatever is inside of your heart will come out of you in that moment and show your true colors. It's easy to fake it until you get rattled. And let’s be clear, we will get definitely get shaken.

So we have to ask ourselves.... what's in my cup? When life gets tough, what spills over? Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility? Or anger, bitterness, harsh words and actions?

Whatever the heck is in there will come out. Some way or another, life will shake us up bad enough to let that ugliness slosh out of our coffee cups and leave stains all over the perfect image we try to create.

During these adolescent years I also watched my mom. You see life wasn’t perfect at home. We can dive into that later because that’s another blog post for another day. LOL. All I gotta say is that I watched my mom as things SERIOUSLY didn’t go according to plan. I’m talking life-altering, cry-in-the-closet-so-the-kids-don’t-hear-you, get-on-your-knees-and-pray-every-morning kind of pain.  But I've watched her through all the wreckage and I saw what spilled out. Love, gratitude, worship, humility, grace, trust, hope, faith.

I want that kind of coffee in my cup. 

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dream Dinners Pearland

My friend Tracie won a girls night out raffle to Dream Dinners Pearland and she was able to invite 9 of her friends to come along.  We each got to make one free meal and they even made appetizers for us!  We were offered a special when we got there to make an additional 3 meals (9 servings) for $34.99.  I was hesitant since they don't have vegetarian/vegan options, but who am I kidding, I haven't been strict on my diet since my cruise. LOL.

The event started at 6 PM and I rushed over there from work and made it just in time.  They had little cubbies for everyone to put there stuff in, so it's not just sitting on the table or floor.  They also provided aprons for us so we wouldn't get our clothes dirty.  They really have thought of everything!

I loved the entire concept.  I love doing my weekly meal planning and prep to have food during the week, but the cleanup isn't always fun, but at Dream Dinners, they lay everything out for you and clean it up too.  All you have to do is put things in bags and go.  You freeze it when you get home and thaw it out the morning you want to use it.

If you choose to utilize their service, you get 36 servings of food each month.  You can choose the 3 servings option, or the 6 servings (12 meals or 6 meals), depending on which works for your family.  You can also choose 12 (or 6) different meals, or a few of this one, a few of that one.  I love that you get the choice because you know your family likes this ingredient but won't touch this other one.  It's flexible!

Like I mentioned, we got one free meal and could buy the 3 additional meals if we chose to. I bought the package and made 4 meals (12 servings):  Canadian Bacon Stuffed French Bread, Southwest Pork Carnita Wraps, Orange Asian Chicken, and Limoncello Shrimp with Coconut Rice.

Each station has a recipe with the ingredients and directions laid out for you as to what you put in the bag.  They also give you an actual recipe card that you attach to the bag or put inside the bag so you will know what to do when you get home. Even the scoops they use are the correct measurements, so you don't have to do much guess work.  The process was soooooooo simple and fun.

After you get done with each meal, you put your food in the freezer cubbie that has your name on it, so you know what food is yours and there is no mix-up and your food isn't just sitting out until you are ready to go.  Genius!

The price is for main dishes only, so you have to make the sides OR you can buy something out of the freezer section to make it that much easier.

I only wish that they had vegetarian/vegan options and options for us single folks.  36 meals is a lot for one person, even if you can choose multiple meals.  They did say that there is not contract so I can come every other month or however often I feel like coming.  I feel that even if they did have meat free options, there would only be one or two options, making me eat the same things for 36 meals.  I'm not really into that, so I didn't sign up for more.

I really think it's a great option for people who are busy, but for me, it was way too much food and I couldn't justify the expense when I don't eat those meals that often.

We were at the Pearland location, but there is one in Bellaire and also Missouri City.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

I Want To Buy A RV

I have wanted to buy a RV for about 3 years now but I could never hit the go button and spend a big chunk of my savings.  I recently decided that I should save just for that and I’m trying to go hardcore on my savings for it.  So look for me to buy one soon!

Everyone thinks I’m crazy to buy a RV, but I don’t care!  I don’t want a white trash trailer, I want a nice RV.  My long term goal is to live in it for a few years and save up cash for a piece of property.  Eventually I would either sell the property or keep it and build a house, all the while living in my RV.  I also want to travel around the country on road trips, and a RV will be perfect.  I have researched RV parks and just renting people’s land to park on, and it’s about $400-600 a month.  The RV will be MINE to decorate how I want and I can sell it later. 

No, I don’t have a way to pull it at the moment, but you can pay people to do that or my family has trucks!  I can get an apartment but I can’t paint or do much to make it mine.  I also can’t sell it later. 

I understand it is a depreciating asset, but this is my plan!  My friend Spencer lives in a refurbished AirStream and loves it.  AirStreams are super expensive so I am not sure about those!  We’ll see what God brings me. :)

I know I am the LAST person that you would think that would buy a RV, but I am excited.  This is something I’ve been dreaming about for a while now, so it’s not a new thought. Sometimes when people don't have the same dreams as you, they try and squash your dreams.  My dreams and MY dreams, and it's OK if they aren't yours.  

Wish me luck on my hustling skills while I finish up my savings!!!  I want to pay cash for it so I won’t incur any debt.  I hate debt!

Here are some of my ideas from my Pinterest board that I have been pinning.  I think I want a pink, purple and grey theme in my living room.  I’m debating on the other areas.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Kali’s 4th Birthday

The Saturday after #KaliandStephsWeekofFun, Kali turned 4!!  I told my sister that I would buy the cake for the party because she was just going to bake one herself.  There is nothing wrong with homemade cakes, but Kali hadn’t had a birthday party in the last two years (long story) AND Tori can’t bake. LOL.

I searched the local grocery stores for a PJ Masks themed cake, but my search was in vain.  Apparently PJ Mask hasn’t hit it “big” yet in terms of mass cake themes so I decided to decorate it myself.  First stop was Wal-Mart to buy the actual cake.  I ordered a half sheet cake with royal blue icing and red, green, and blue sprinkles all over the cake. 

Etsy had a few options like a flat cake with the edible paper print out-BORING!  There were some others that weren’t too impressive.  I found one that I liked but it was $30 JUST for the print out (paper hot glued to sticks), not the actual cake (so $25+$30).  I decided just to buy some little figures from the store and make a Happy Birthday banner + city scape and print them on card stock.  At the last minute I made a moon too.  I hot glued them to sticks myself and saved $30.  Take that Etsy overpriced stuff. Haha.  I also found a complete set of PJ Masks figurines in Kali’s toy chest and used those instead (sanitized of course!)

The party went well and everyone loved the cake.  We had a pool party but it started raining so we went inside for the cake and present portion.

Happy birthday Kali!!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

LumiSnow, Dallas

I follow a lady on Instagram whose husband opened a dessert restaurant in Dallas called, LumiSnow.  It is a shaved ice cream dessert restaurant, kind of like shaved ice, but with ice cream and crazy toppings. 

After my conference I went to dinner with my friends Clarissa and Chelsea. I haven’t seen Chelsea since New Year’s a few years ago so I wanted to catch up with her about her new baby!!!  We stopped for pizza first and then Clarissa and I went for ice cream.

I mean, look at these flavors!  I got s’mores and Clarissa got Circus.

I didn’t know what to expect, but it was delicious.  The place was packed but it did take a while to have the desserts come out.  I guess it’s a lengthy process, but we seriously waited for 40 minutes.  So be prepared to spend some time there.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Kali and Steph’s Week of Fun

My parents went to Cabo for a vacation with friends and asked me to watch my niece Kali while they were away all week.  I went out of town the Friday before to Dallas for Mary Kay’s seminar and wouldn’t be back until Monday afternoon/evening so my older sister, Laura, watched her while I was gone. 

They wore her out playing so hard while she was there and she didn’t wake up the next day until about 10:30.  It. Was. Awesome.  I could sleep in to because I hadn’t gotten much sleep while I was out of town either. 

We had a jam packed week ahead of us and something to do every day so we wouldn’t get bored.  I didn’t want to play kitchen and watch PJ Mask all week, so I scheduled other activities.  I nicknamed this week as #KaliandStephsWeekOfFun.

Tuesday we went to the local library for pre-school story time.  I don’t think Kali had ever been to the library because she was in awe of all the books (she loves books).  Story time featured a few books read to us, songs sang, and two crafts.

After story time was over we went across the street to a bunny event.  They had a group seminar where you could pet a real bunny!  First you had to listen to a speaker talk about bunny care.  Did you know that carrots are like candy bars for bunnies?!?!  I had no idea.  They gave each child a bunny figure to put on their shoulder. 

It is hard for a bunch of kids to sit through a presentation about bunnies, but Kali did not want to leave until she petted a bunny.  She got to pet two of them and then she was ready to leave.  She was so determined to pet that bunny.  Afterwards we went to Wal-Mart to order her birthday cake (more later) and get our nails done.

I’ve taken Kali to get her nails done twice before, so I knew she would like it. She chose pink glitter for her nails since pink is her favorite color.  I got a candy apple color. 

Wednesday was the jumpy place and the pool.  My sister and nephew met us at a local jumpy place so the kids could play.  I thought it was a trampoline park but it was an inflatable one instead.  Later that night we went swimming in my parent’s pool.

Thursday was spent at the Kemah Lighthouse Maze (see thispost).

Friday was just a day hanging out at home making cookies.

I had bought some PJ Masks cookie cutters off Etsy, but they didn’t work out very well.  We just made them into blobs instead.  My parents got home around 6 PM and were greeted at the door with a 4 year old, a bratty dog, and a upside down welcome sign that Kali drew (I wrote the words).  They were all excited to see each other.  

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Kemah Lighthouse Maze

I have wanted to go to the Kemah Lighthouse Maze ever since I did the Toughest 10K Kemah run last year.  Several people wanted to go, but our schedules just couldn’t match up and time went on.  I had mentioned it to my church small group as an activity too, and they planned it as a teen outing instead and asked me to be a chaperone.  Yay!! I finally get to go to this thing!!!

I had my niece that week so she was able to go too.  She wanted to “beat everyone” because she is “so fast”. LOL. 

Since I wasn’t sure how long an almost 4 year old would last at a maze plus concert afterward (every Thursday during the summer the Kemah Boardwalk has a concert), I decided that I would drive separately and meet them there.  We left around 2 PM to beat the traffic but stopped at a special place first.

My sister had told me about this place called Brain Freeze in Pasadena off of Preston that had amazing frozen treats.  I showed the FB page to Kali and she of course wanted to go there. We got there and I wanted to get a smaller version of the drink but Kali wanted to “beautiful one like the picture” from earlier.  OK then.  I can’t say no to that little face. LOL. I’m a push over.

Brain Freeze only takes cash so be aware of that.  We waited around for about 30+ minutes before it was ready and there was no one else in line.  I mean, the creations are HUGE and take a little while to make, but the wait time is looooooooong.  It seems even longer with a four year old. 

When this came out Kali’s face was like “whoa!”  Kali is allergic to strawberry (artificial or natural) so they had to alter it a bit.  Normally this one is full of strawberry candy and is even more colorful, but they were able to work around her allergy.  Just ask them!  They are super accommodating.  We ate a little bit, but there is only so much you can eat before you had to stop.  Luckily they have some to-go containers where I was able to take some of the candy home. 

We headed to Kemah afterwards to meet up with the group. They split us up into two teams and everyone got their own punch card to go through the maze.  I thought it was just a maze but it turns out that you have to find five letters throughout the maze and get your card punched.  Kali was so cute running through the maze like a mad woman looking for the blocks.  She was SO excited when we found a letter. 

The last letter was difficult to find but we finally made it out of there.  We got a small toy when we finished for “beating” everyone.  We were actually about 5 minutes slower than the fastest team, but she doesn’t know that. LOL.  We were waiting for the rest of the group when she asked to do it again.  I asked if we can just walk through again and they said sure. I just pretended to punch a card since it was mainly to keep her busy while waiting.  The rest of the week she kept asking to go back there.  I think she liked it.

After the maze we went to the concert area (the Boardwalk) and walked around.  4 year olds don’t really like to sit still and watch concerts so we walked around and found the train.  We waved to everyone like we were princesses. :)

She promptly fell asleep on the way home. 

Monday, August 14, 2017

One Life

There are two parts to this blog post.  One is a lot heavier than the other.  It’s your choice if you don’t want to read the other half.   I just had to get it off my chest because it hurts and I’m tired.  I have a few more blog posts coming up that are MUCH lighter in the next few days, so I will return to writing about my ONE LIFE tomorrow.

One Life-Part one
I believe we all get one shot at this thing called Life.  That’s it.  One.  I believe that once we are done there is one of two places that we go and we don’t get a 2nd chance.  So why aren’t we running at the things we dream of?  Doing the things we dream of seeing?  Loving the people we dream of loving?  Eating what we wish to eat? Taking risks and chances?   Chasing dreams?

I always try to write about my bucket list experiences that I complete, big or small.  (I will admit some do take a while to be written. Haha #badblogger) It always makes me so sad to hear of a young person who died or even someone in their 50’s who died. 

Chances are the old person is waiting on retirement, but what happens if you get to retirement and your knees won’t get you to the top of that mountain you have dreamed of climbing?  What happens if your finances are wiped out?  What happens if the person you want to retire with isn’t around?  What happens if you aren’t around?

Chances are they didn’t do everything on their bucket list, or chances are greater that they didn’t have a list at all, just a couple of sentences that were spoken of “one day”. 

One day is TODAY!!  Don’t wait until you are retired to go anywhere.  Plan them for THIS YEAR.  Big or small, something that you have wanted to do is not too expensive that you can do this month (or sooner!).

Yeah, yeah, but….I’ve got bills…Work is too busy…My kids are too young…My kids need me…My work needs me…I don’t have anyone to go with…It’s too expensive…I’m too old…I’m too young…My husband/wife doesn’t want to go….

NO!  No buts.  Do something that you will remember years from now.  Life is way too short to wait. 

When I turned 29 I realized that I was full of a lot of “buts”.  I hadn’t really done much in my life.  I made my 30 under 30 list and did them! And then I made a bucket list afterwards.  I am slowly but surely checking them off, one by one.  I hope to finish all of them, but only God knows which ones I will complete before I am taken to Heaven.  As I get older, I am holding mortality in a much higher regard. 

If you need help with your list, look at mine.  I would LOVE to help you do some of them! :)

*Note, I’m not encouraging going into tons of debt to pay for that dream vacation!  I’m just saying to chase your dreams.

On Addictions-Part Two
I don’t talk about this situation much because it makes me so sad.  My real dad is an addict and has relapsed once again.  I have been dealing with it the past 35 years and I’m tired.  For 35 years I have had to watch him struggle to get his demons in control, and watch him hurt the people I love.  Don’t get me wrong, his demons are very real and they are painful. He had a very rough childhood.  I only know a short number of his memories and I can see why they are real and painful.    I know he is the hardest on himself though.

Any day now I wouldn’t be surprised to hear my dad had a heart attack due to his meth use (oh wait, he already did that) or hurt someone (did that many times), went off on someone (ditto), over dosed (thankfully, not yet), etc.  He was recently in an accident while on meth and broke both of his feet, and shattered one of them.  When you deal with someone you love having a major addiction for 35 years, you become numb to hearing it all. 

I can cry and stress about it, but until he controls it for himself, it won’t do you any good to try to help. HE has to make the decision to change.

You also have to realize that you aren’t just hurting yourself, you are hurting the ones you love.  My earliest memory is being pushed against a wall and being screamed at because I did something (don’t remember what).  I rolled my head to the side to look at my mom and sister, just holding hands because they couldn’t do anything.  That is my very first memory.  No child should have to deal with that.

My pretend used to be cutting lines of cocaine and snorting them.  True story.  I was less than 4. 

We all have our demons and addictions.  I am clearly addicted to food.  It is something I can control.  Being a child of an addict, you don’t have much control (actually, being a child, you don’t have much control).  Luckily, I had my awesome mother to snap out of it and get us out. I have to make the decision to change myself.  My life is my life. I am in control of my decisions and heart breaks.  You have to want to take control, you kids for darn sure can’t make you want to change.

God has blessed you with kids or other people in your life, don’t you want to change to see them hit their dreams and goals?  If you are an addict (whatever addiction), would you want your kids to have the same addiction as you?  Probably not, so why do it to yourself? 

The thing is, my dad is the coolest person.  Everyone LOVES him the second you meet him...that is when he's not on Meth.  He's an angry, controlling, paranoid person when he does drugs.  I only bring people around when he's not using because no one should be exposed to that.

When I was in college I hardly partied, ever.  I realized a few years ago that it was because I like being in control.  I don’t want to get messed up and not remember what I did.  That makes me so scared and doesn’t sound fun at all.  Even to this day I hardly drink and haven’t touched drugs.  I know I have an addictive personality that could easily spiral out of control if I go down that road.  People still ask me why I don’t drink, but I rarely say why.

Take control of YOUR life today.  Get a handle on those addictions like smoking, drinking, drugs, sex, porn, gambling, Pokemon (IDK), or other addictions that are holding you back.  It’s not easy.  I get it, but you don’t want to be dying from a meth overdose and look back at your life you messed up because of your addictions.  People are counting on you.

You get ONE LIFE.  Just one.  Don’t waste it on "some day's" and addictions.  I am begging you.