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Showing posts from November, 2019

Holiday Commercialization, Gift Giving and Shopping Addictions

It is Black Friday, no longer the beginning of the wild craze of the shopping season because the sales started weeks ago, but rather the pinnacle or culmination of all American holiday season commercialization. We are fat off turkey, feeling generous and opening our wallets both in stores and online.

There is no doubt that Christmas has been commercialized - as have all holidays - and the insanity of it can be exciting or overwhelming depending on your outlook. I think it is an unfair burden we place on ourselves when we buy gifts at the expense of increasing our debt burden, in the end that isn't very helpful to anyone. And while I celebrate the spiritual significance of this season, I don't really object to the shopping sprees either, so long as they are financially sound.

I love giving gifts. Giving is not the language of love I most like to be spoken to me, but it is my favorite way to speak love. I love to give, and I love to find surprising and creative ways to show thou…

Grief, Loss and the Holidays

I love the holidays. From about mid November until New Year's Eve I am as festive as it gets. I have decorations up, music playing, my Christmas t-shirts are washed and my Christmas headgear is ready to go. I am done my Christmas shopping every year before Thanksgiving, I am just so excited to pounce into the Christmas season!

However, for many people, the season is less than festive. It is a reminder of grief and loss of loved ones who are no longer around to share. Several people come to my mind that I know really struggle through the Christmas season.

In years past I felt ill equipped to offer any opinion on this because I had no relevant experience. Who was I to weigh in on such a sensitive topic with no background experience?

However, as many of my readers know, about this time three years ago, my father's already poor health began to rapidly decline. The last time I saw him stand up was Thanksgiving of 2016, and he passed away the day after Christmas.

Many of my coworker…

My Favorite Fictional Character Was Always Thankful

We all have fictional characters that we have sort of fallen in love with even though they are not real. That is the whole point of a great movie, book or TV show - to create characters that seem real, that we can connect to personally, that represent something we can identify with on some level.

I can think of tons of characters in fiction that I adore. My favorite is when the creator of the character balances the good and the bad. No one is entirely good and even most bad people have some redeemable quality about them, which is why I love a good villain with a soft spot somewhere!

However, my all time favorite fictional character is one that I feel I have sort of grown up with. I became acquainted with her when I was a child and she was a child and I watched her grow and I feel like as I have grown she has grown with me. This character, of course, is Anne of Green Gables main character, Anne Shirley.

Anne was feisty without ever intending to be. She never wanted attention, but she c…

Moral Obligations in Society

A dear friend and I were having an interesting discussion today about personal accountability, excuse making and societal responsibilities. She and I share a common idea that most people making excuses about their lives do have the wherewithal to make a better choice for themselves and take responsibility for their health, finances, personal relationships, etc. I believe we agree there are some who, through the mistreatment of others, have a more difficult time making positive life changes but even then they should make the changes they are able in order to improve their life.

I made a comment like, "As a libertarian, if people want to piss away their life then that is their right to do so, but I object when their life choices begin to become a burden to others."

My friend disagreed with this, stating that people must do more with their lives than piss them away (these were our literal work choices) and that we have a moral obligation to the world to do more than just be a l…

Sharing Our Gifts

As we edge ever closer to the Christmas season (next week is Thanksgiving, but I have had my tree up for over a week!), we talk about gifts. Giving and receiving gifts is always a huge topic at Christmastime; for some it is a matter of stress and for others it is a source of excitement.

I love giving gifts. Gifting is my favorite way to express love and I think I am fairly creative in some of my gift giving. I like to make people really feel like I thought about them during the process. And as Frasier tells his dad on a funny episode of Frasier, "spontaneous gift giving is one of life's great pleasures!"

However, it is not only physical gifts that we can give to one another. It puts me in mind of the quote below:

"You must believe, deep inside of you, that you were born to do more than survive, make a living and die. You were born created with a gift trapped inside of you; your job is to find that gift and serve it to the world." - Dr. Myles Munroe
I love the ph…

I Like Acting My Age

There is an episode of Frasier where Roz has a visit from her younger cousin. After a few nights of drinking and partying, Roz is tired and looking for a night in. Her cousin accuses Roz of being like an aunt of theirs, implying that Roz has gotten "old." In a chain of funny events, one of the callers on Frasier's radio show complains about not wanting to settle down, even though he is in his late forties.

At this point, Roz chimes in telling the caller to "grow the hell up!"

She then goes on to say, "I'm thirty-eight. And I feel thirty-eight. Now, I know we are all supposed to act like perpetual teenagers these days, but you know what? I like acting my age. I like being a mom. I like having a career. And I like balancing my checkbook. When did it become such a bad thing to be an adult?"

I find that this resonates with me.

Now, it was not three days ago that my husband told me that I am most known for my "excess of whimsy." And I know I …

Exercise as a Celebration

Following on the theme of health and wellness from my last post, I have also been reading and learning more about optimal fitness, how to work and rest the body, build strength, and increase cardiovascular health.

In my reading I came across a piece of advice that I had never thought of before but which actually makes perfect sense. Physical activity or exercise should not be viewed as a punishment we do to ourselves to "atone" for overeating or making "bad" food choices. Exercise should not be viewed as a punishment we inflict upon our bodies.

Exercise is a celebration of what the body can do.

It is perfect and makes sense and I think subconsciously I have lived that advice without really reflecting upon it.

If I have a day where I go out to my favorite restaurant and get queso-wasted at lunch (a rare but wonderful pleasure of mine), how does it serve my body in any way to stress, feel guilty, overdo cardio and deprive myself of my next meal?

It does nothing!

Inst…

Which is Really More Excessive - Tracking Calories or Chronic Overeating

Most people who know me know that I started tracking my calories daily back in August of 2016. I had put on quite a bit of weight that year and to keep a long story short, after being convinced I must have a twenty pound tumor inside of me, after 16 weeks of consistent tracking and staying in a deficit I was down almost thirty pounds. Turns out, the fault was mine!

In the three years since I have kept most of that weight off. This year I gained a few pounds back almost certainly due to sloppy tracking. A bite here, a lick here, a taste there, and I put about seven pounds back on. In the last 5 weeks I have tightened up the process and I am now down 10lbs, easily and without having to work out any more often - in fact, I may actually be logging fewer active minutes a week.

I have been told that it is "excessive" to count calories - that it is a pain in the butt, too time consuming, too difficult, in short just "too much." But the only thing that is really "too …

Day Zero Project Update - This is the Final Countdown!

As anyone who has read some of my previous posts will remember, back in March 2017 I signed up at DayZeroProject to create a "101 Things to do in 1001 Days" list. The mission of this website is to be an "online community for people who love creating lists, setting challenges, and making positive changes in their lives."

If that sums up any person, it is me!

I used this list to serve two ultimate purposes in terms of helping me grow and get out of my comfort zone.

1. I set really challenging goals in some areas that are truly important to me (finishing my master's degree, maintaining and expanding my fitness level, achieving goals within my career and finances) in order to keep me accountable to those ideals and push toward them.
2. I set some fun goals that are sort of out of the box for me to try new things, be lighthearted and expand my horizons (learning new recipes, completing my genealogy, taking a painting class, going to museums and celebrating milestone…

Closing Out a Decade

It is crazy that this didn't occur to me until very recently, but in two months, we are closing out a decade. When we look back we think of the 80's or 90's or 00's nostalgically, remembering the iconic moments in both society and our personal lives that really marked that decade.

As we roll into the 20's, I cannot believe how far I have come in these last ten years (the 10's? It sounds weird). Going into 2010, I had been living in my current house for less than a year, had held my green card for less than a year. I think 2010 or 2011 was when I first joined the gym where I started taking cardio dance and then Body Pump. 2011 was the last time I visited my hometown.

In 2012 I got promoted into my first leadership role. I enrolled in university to finish my bachelor's degree. 2012 was the year we made the final decision not to further pursue efforts to become pregnant and accepted our situation (to which I am very thankful!).

In 2013, I turned 30 and I feel …