making the trek

Trekking through life: Faith, family, friends and a whole lot of coffee!

If you dangle a carrot.. January 9, 2017

One week into 2017, how’s everyone doing out there?

We’re doing well here, although this coming week will be our first FULL week back into school and work.  I can sure get used to 3 and 4 day work weeks!!!  Nice.  Very Nice!!

Any resolutions?  I didn’t really make any official proclamation of resolutions so to speak.  A few internal conversations with myself on organization and time management and healthy eating and food prep and yada yada yada, but really.  Nothing truly earth shattering.

Our Dave Ramsey train keeps plugging away.  A full year and 2 months in and I remember listening to Dave and at one point him saying that the average of people meeting financial goals through his plan took about 3 years.  That is a long time to be budget focused.  However, if you live another 40-50 years….3 years isn’t so much.  Right?  We’re definitely making headway, using our cash and are far more intentional with our spending.  A long way to go from perfect, but learning and making strides and that is something!

Tomorrow starts a 10-week “Mayor’s challenge” for the town I work in and so I joined with a few  friends.  Our team works towards points and each person needs to attend 2 of 3 workouts each week and at the end of the week the individual male and female winners are awarded $1000.  Hello there $1000 carrot.

My veggies are prepped.  Lunch is made.  Workout plan for the week is a go and now to turn  in for a good night sleep.  I am.  In it.  To win it.  Certainly going to work my tail off anyway.  And with the cold weather all weekend, we got the good cookies made and on their way out of the house via bellies, so I’d say.  I’m ready.

Stay tuned.  It’s only my 400 millionth effort at this, surely one of these will stick.  And for $1000, I am certain to have  a few good habits and results take root over the next 10 weeks!!!

Happy 2nd week of 2017!!

 

How we survive winter in the South January 8, 2017

Filed under: Uncategorized,winter — tracye1 @ 12:34 PM

Well.  It finally happened.  One week into January and it actually got COLD here in Florida.  High in the 50s yesterday and looks to be about the same or a bit cooler AND windy today.  Needless to say, there is a level of confusion here in the South when it gets “cold”.   With a large number of snowbirds (my personal aspiration and 5-10 year plan!) they chuckle at us as we don our boots with the fur and every scarf, hat and warm jacket we own to make it through these bitter days.  Of course, on the flip side we scoff at their heat and humidity intolerance during August, so it all evens out.

In the meantime, I’ll drink a ridiculous amount of coffee and hot beverages and hunker down .

So that you don’t fret too much for us, here are a few ways we shall soldier through these 2 days of cold:

3 Bean Bake in the crockpot (instaNOTHIN’) and sour cream muffins for dinner–certain to bring all my chickens back to the nest for a family dinner!

NO.  Please don’t confuse this was a 90-year old grandpa.  Just our resident  17 yo son wearing the ever present socks and Chakos.  Even his girlfriend is embarrassed.  I’ve just let him have this battle.  This is also the same kid that didn’t own a pair of jeans until he was 16.  The cold simply confuses him.

Meanwhile, I’m pretty sure my tights are on year 6 or 7.  When you only wear them once or twice a year…..lifelong extra layer for the win!

Poor dude.  He has alllllllllllllllll the blankets in his crate.  I know he looks cold, but secretly really enjoys running like a bat our of he**  in the backyard in circles and then passing out in one of his favorite chairs.  (aka all of them)

Then there’s me.  Yesterday, I started out the day in capris, a 3/4 length peasant top and flip flops.  Perfectly fine when the day started at 70 degrees.  But then as we hit Target a few hours later and some thrift stores, it plummeted to 52 and so I added my Banana Republic Cardigan/Sweater—so toasty and light!! and switched the flops for my clogs.  Kinda dorky, but really didn’t care.  My feet were warm.  Therefore, I understand my son’s confusion.  We just basically hybrid everything and know that it 2 days from now it will be 70 and we can go back to our usual wardrobe.

As for the rest of y’all.  Brrr.  I don’t even know.  How DO you do it?  Seriously?  I just can’t even.

 

3 Cheers for Advent! and other quick takes December 23, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:01 AM

The usual link up with Kelly (and you really should check in and follow her update of hosting Bart and Lisa–God Bless you all,  that’s a task I don’t know that I could handle).

  1. It’s Friday and Christmas is in two days.  On a Sunday.  In our working world, I will tell you it’s been an interesting challenge:  take off Friday or Monday?  Who’s off?  Who’s open?  Today is our day off and I foresee Monday as a day to really knock out some of that tedious paperwork!!  But TODAY.  I’m off.
  2. We were planning to go see the Christmas lights in St. Augustine last night, but had a puker, so postponed to tonight.  However, someone has to babysit, so we may do this after Christmas.  Or do it twice.  Who knows?!
  3. Got a nice walk in with the pup this a.m. and now to hit the regular Saturday chores so we can truly relax and fully enjoy the Christmas weekend.
  4. This is an incredibly beautiful season and absolutely my favorite month of the year, but I also know that many people are struggling mightily during these times and unexpected tragedies occur and are even more heartbreaking at this time of year, so let’s all do our part to remember that and extend a little heartier peace all around, especially when faced with the more difficult folks.
  5. Christmas cheer #1:  A co-worker’s son borrowed her van to visit with  his girlfriend the other night.  He dutifully put $4 ($2 change, $2 bills) of gas in so that she could get to work and home the next day.  An army man in the store at the same time, approached him at the pump, put in his credit card and said, “fill it up and consider it Christmas”.  Y’all.  This is the hardest working, gritty, kind Mama you will meet.  That act of kindness made her month.  And from a serviceman no less, who already sacrifices so much as it is.  There is hope for us all.
  6. Christmas cheer #2:   One of my retreat sisters is French and married to an American.  She is not naturalized and is currently going through a very challenging and exhausting process of renewing her work Visa.  She’s not able to work due to this and is struggling emotionally with that–since she has always worked.  She went to the USPO to mail a gift to her husband’s nephew and had his credit card.  Unfortunately, her passport does not have the same name and they denied her.   A customer in the line, said, “I’ve got this” and paid for her mailing.  She was blown away by this stranger’s charity.  God is good.  Humanity restored AGAIN and in the post office of all places!!!
  7.   Christmas cheer #3:  A high school friend who is fighting a recurrence of her stage 4 breast cancer has been in the hospital for several weeks enduring two surgeries and rehab to gain her strength back.  Today she goes home.  What joy for her to share this Christmas with her family.  Prayers for her health, happiness and anxiety today and for her family as I know her kids (21,17, 13) and husband are also struggling to see her suffering so much.  However, the JOY is in her coming home, let us rejoice with her!!

May your conclusion of Advent be joyful in the waiting and may Christmas bring you hope, joy and renewed faith for the year to come!

 

Plans December 19, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 5:00 AM

We went to a friend’s house for a Christmas party the other night and this is in their foyer.  THIS verse.  This is MY verse.  OUR verse.  The verse I clung to in the darkest of nights and continue to cling to as I watch this amazing life unfold before me.  Living out this very Scripture verse.

This verse is the foundation of my life.

As we walked through our friend’s amazing penthouse condo on the beach with 360 degree views of the ocean and river; the inside pristine, simple and clean throughout– it was truly enjoyable.  Not enviable, but it was stunning and beautiful and lovely and our host and hostess graciously and beautifully shared that with us all.

When we turned the corner and I saw this, on the wall, it literally stopped me in my tracks.

Yes, God is good.  God is faithful.  His plans are far more amazing than I could ever imagine.  Thank you, God, for that!

 

We wait December 18, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 10:10 PM

4th Sunday of Advent.  So exciting!!  Mass this morning was a little like purgatory, just seemed a little chaotic and OFF and the music minister just really enjoys playing ALL the verses for the songs—I love music, but it should ACCOMPANY  the Mass and be a lovely accessory to the Main show….you know,  the Eucharist.  However, we live in an imperfect world and sometimes just have to get through that and be PRESENT for Mass and put aside the human shortcomings–especially our own.  End result, God is good.  And so we wait in joyful anticipation for Emmanuel–God is with us.

The rest of the day was just peaceful puttering and gentle preparation for Christmas.

We watched a little bit of Elf this afternoon.  Hubby hates it and was gone, but we love it so it was ON!

We also put the ornaments on the tree.  It’s been up since Thanksgiving weekend with only the lights and the angel and one lone ornament and it’s been nice and simple and we’ve fully enjoyed it.  But it’s always fun to put the ornaments on and go through them, each one bringing back memories and seasons.  The girls put them on, I only repositioned a couple and rescued one from the dog.

Our newest ornament and memory from vacation this summer!

A reminder that friends are the best!  

Years of an annual ornament exchange with my dear friend continue to add to our collection with several of these beauties!  She has EXQUISITE taste!

Hubby actually did our Christmas letter this year, so I stuffed ’em up and they are ready to go in the mail tomorrow!

Last night we went to a friend’s house for a Christmas party.  We brought dessert.  We also brought a large portion home because SO.  MUCH.  FOOD.  Sadly, I didn’t take a before photo, but please know that I say this in the most humble manner possible:  I completely nailed this one.  Chocolate cake, peanut butter frosting and chocolate ganache topping.  So.  GOOD.

Happy 4th Sunday of Advent!!

 

Crawling to Christmas….. December 17, 2016

Filed under: Advent,Christmas,Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 9:11 AM

Joining Kelly and her posse for a wrapup, because I’m waiting on a tow truck for the kiddo’s truck, so hey…..why not?

Advent is so relaxing.  said no one ever.  I don’t know about you but THE.  STRUGGLE.  IS.  REAL.  It’s so hard to reallllllly stop and slow down and focus when there is LIFE all around us getting in the way, isn’t it?  I’m on a podcast ROLL (greg and jennifer, girlfriends, among women)  and I am so completely affirmed in this universal feeling, but also in the constant pressure to make the perfect memories and traditions.  It can be completely overwhelming and overshadowing.  That said, while our Advent has been far from “PERFECT”, it has been pretty good for us.  Let’s get to it and see a few reasons why:

  1.  Band concerts.  6 years running.  Our last Middle School Christmas concert and I’m not sad.  Truly.  Bad mom?  Whatever.  Let’s be honest, beginning and intermediate middle school band are painful.  I love my kids but it is rough.  Although, it does make you appreciate advanced band.  Which leads me to this video of our 8th grader’s piccolo solo.  The piccolo she picked up TWO DAYS before her solo!!!  All those concerts?  Worth it.

2. And then, sometimes you have a little insomnia during Advent.  3 a.m. brain wake up call.  Pray, toss, turn all the things over in your head and finally cry “Uncle” and get up at 3:45.  Truth be told…..not entirely awful.  Coffee.  Peaceful.  Quiet.  Daily readings by the Christmas tree.  Did my retreat readings in preparation for our Wednesday night meeting.  And ready for spin class at 5:15 a.m. ON TIME.  Peaceful.  Productive.  But would really like that not to be happening on a regular basis.  You feel me?  I mean 3 a.m.?!?!?  #forthebirds

3.  Another concert.  Did I already post this somewhere?  Not sure.  I think insta…But it was lovely.  Our boy performing with the Floriday Symphony Youth Orchestra, opera singer, choir and ballet performing Nutcracker dances.  And outside.  THAT was a really good one.  Truly beautiful and time to just sit in this season.

4.  Some traditions stick.  Advent candle.  Lit several times this Advent, multiple weeks.  Even with the entire family at the table.  HUGE win there.  And peanut butter balls.  Every year.  If nothing else.  Always!!  This year a quadrupled batch, rolled 90% by our oldest daughter and her boyfriend.  (yes, I said boyfriend.  let’s move on, shall we?)  Another win, because while tasty, they are hugely time consuming and tiring….so happy to pass that off.  I did finish the final 10% while they watched Jim Carey’s “Grinch”.    And because they were rolling, I was able to whip out 3 other kinds of cookies, so roughly a gagillion dozen cookies last Saturday.  #happyneighbors  #happyfamily

5.  Last night EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY PERSON IN THE HOUSE WAS GONE. (mostly, the oldest kid was trying to fix his truck which wouldn’t start, so I left him alone–so mostly alone)    AND the Hubby (who very graciously drove our son to Orlando for his rehearsal and home because he’s had multiple rehearsals, performances and FINALS.  perhaps not our best parenting decision to allow this in hindsight.  for future reference, we must keep this in the memory. )  What’s a mama to do?  I’ll tell you.  Wrap ALL the presents.  This is pretty much the first time in parenting history this has not taken place on Christmas Eve, so I don’t really even know what’s going on here.

6.  What else did I do whilst having the house to myself?  Got all the Christmas cards ready to go (while I watched Bridget Jones baby.  Don’t judge.  I laughed and it was good.)  We skipped this tradition last year—breaking our 20+year streak.  And we lived.  And so did everyone else.  weird.  This year, the picture is totally casual, not dressy, a quick snap from everyone at Thanksgiving and I am A-OK with that.  This weekend we will throw a letter together for a few peeps and BOOM.  Done.  Maybe this weekend we will finally put the ornaments on the tree.  Who knows????  right now I just need to make the grocery list and figure out what dessert I am making for a Christmas party tonight.  AFTER the church Christmas play….but I digress

7.  In closing.  When your 13 yo takes a break from a melt down English project to “pet the dog for a few minutes” to recover her brain, this happens.  And  you know………….you probably feel it, too.  So take that rest when needed, life will go on and your brain, heart and sanity will thank you!

sleeper

 

7 Secrets of a Getaway December 9, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — tracye1 @ 6:23 AM

Joining up with Kelly and ALLLLLL for a quick-ish little post.  And prayers for Kelly and her family as they mourn their dear friend.  Life is short y’all.  We all know it and yet, we are often blindsided by the reminder.  So take a minute today and be glad.

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice in it!  Psalm 118:24

About a month ago we received an email invitation from our friend and marriage counselor extraordinaire to come to his Marriage Conference, “Unveiled”.  The location was only an hour away, however, when I read the email I thought, “that’s nice, but December……”.  Hubby read it and said, “Let’s go”, made the hotel reservations and had me make the conference reservations.  The timing was on the back end of Thanksgiving and by the grace of God, my mom was still in town and gracious enough to stay with the kids and taxi them to school et al.  So, yup.  Right smack in Advent and the crazy, busy month of December the skies parted and our schedule opened and so we went.  As you do when things go down like that.

The conference was given by the JPII Healing Center  and is only one of the many retreats they host; based in Tallahassee they also travel to put on various conferences/retreats for priests, religious and lay people and I strongly, STRONGLY suggest that if you see there is one near  you……make your reservation ASAP, you won’t be sorry.  Heck, several people flew in from around the country to come!!  So just check the website and see what’s going on!

Our retreat was marriage centered (but we had singles, datings, divorced as well) but quite frankly, it contained truths every heart needs to hear. Bob has a way of peeling away the burnt and charred layers of your heart to encourage new growth and healing from within.  It was time of talking, listening, and experiencing visual interpretation of the Trinity and our different relationships in life; it was an incredibly powerful and moving experience that resonated deep, deep in my core.

 

Here are my takeaways from the long weekend:

  1. Married people, listen up, take the time away.  Beg, borrow, steal.  Do what you have to do.  Your marriage needs it.  Your soul needs it.  It needs to be long enough to disconnect from life, to breathe, to fully relax and to just BE together.  Fully focused.  No distractions. And  yes, I know there are seasons in life that just don’t allow for this time away, so make the time together:  after the kids are in bed, during naptime, dinner dates, whatever it takes.  The time is there. Reallocate it.
  2. Deep discussions are the portal to the heart.  Listening with an open mind, an open heart to REALLY hear what your spouse needs…..crucial.  It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day which is important in survival—but the long term, needs depth.
  3. The ocean is a soothing balm to the soul.  Always and forever, amen.  Long walks on the beach, combing the sand for sea glass and cool shells while the sand squishes between your toes and the waves crash down and race up the shore to tickly your feet—yes, good stuff.  No beach?  I’m sorry.  Get outside and find your own soothing balm because God is good EVERYWHERE!!
  4. Regular meals are a farce.  Coffee for breakfast.  Biscuit for a snack.  Nice lunch.  No dinner.  Whatever.  Eat when we are hungry.  With no hangry teenagers about, there is no reason to worry, meals will occur when necessary.  I have no idea how to roll this into regular life.  All I can say is, it is FANtastic!!
  5. Marriage is worth fighting for.  Going in to the retreat, we were in a good place.  Granted we sure have our baggage, as all humans do, but overall a good place.  In our life, in our marriage, in our family.  Perfect?  No.  Not by a long shot.  But good.  This retreat showed me that all may be well, but marriage always needs tending and when we take a good long look at it and each other there are always areas that need a little TLC.
  6. Prayer is essential.  You may not be a FAITH person and truly, I have no answer to that.  I only know that I’ve been down that road before and between the two I KNOW that this God-road is filled with a peace, hope and strength that is beyond comprehension and nowhere to be found on the faithless road.  Bring that faith and prayer into your marriage and you have a foundation of ROCK that is undeniable.  Faith looks different for everyone and if you but dip your toe into that road you will be forever changed.
  7. Reconciliation and renewal.  Reconciling past hurts or areas that we might not even realize are in contention is but one more layer of concrete in that foundation.  Taking those to Christ adds the steel reinforcement.  Renewing your marriage vows whether in private, at church or a retreat along with 150 of your newest friends,  is powerful.  Intentional, reflective and if you have some marriage under your belt already, those vows will strike a chord in a way that resonates to your every fiber.  Do it.

OK, so that is the gist of the weekend.  So find yourself some time with your honey this weekend.  Snuggle, walk, if you can get away a bit do it.  Take some time this Advent to focus on your own domestic church.  It might not be easy, or maybe it will.  Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

Blessings!!

 

 
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