Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Walking Through Life One Step at a Time

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Beauty....the Ugly Truth

If there's one thing I've learned over the past 3 years it is that I am not in control.  I repeat-NOT in control.  That's tough for a Type A like myself.  There are lots of things I lose control of all the time.  Here are a few fun ones:
1. My Emotions
2. My Temper
3. My Attitude
4. My Words
5. My Reactions

I could go on a bit longer but why do that?  When I began to lose control of my body and health about 3 years ago, it was the most frustrated I had ever been.  It started small.  Allergic reactions here and there to things I'd never been allergic to.  Constant colds and sinus infections.  Depression and severe mood swings.  Weight gain in my mid-section only.  All of these things just started appearing out of the blue.  After multiple diagnoses, lots of medications, and lots of money later, I now know and have control of my body again (no thanks to the medications, mind you). Sure it wasn't the answer I wanted to hear, but the answer could have been far worse.  And I must admit, though not easy, the changes I have made in my life have been the most beneficial changes I could have ever made.  The biggest change for me has been realizing that although there are hundreds of things I can't control, there are 2 things that I can control.

*I can control what goes IN my body.
*I can control what goes ON my body.

Celiac Disease dictates what goes IN my body, but I have decided to take it one step further and begin to control more of what goes ON my body.  Why?  Because my health matters to me.  It matters to my family.  It matters to my friends.  

As I began my elimination diet, I really looked (for the first time) into the products I use every day.  I love products.  My mother is a PRODUCT JUNKY so I get it honest, but she beats me hands down in the product war.  What I didn't love as I begin to research were the scary statistics I began to see about the personal care product industry, specifically the cosmetic industry.

I sat with my mouth gaping open as I watched and listened to the CEO of Beautycounter talk about the cosmetic industry.  The following information comes from her research.

Let's do a little question/answer session, shall we? 

Q: When was the last year that the federal government actually regulated what the cosmetic industry puts into their products?

A: Although we would hope the answer is 2015 the actual answer is 1938.  1938.


Q: How many chemicals have been introduced in the United States since World War II?

A: A staggering 80,000


Q:  How many of those said chemicals are actually tested for safety?

A: 90% of those chemicals are NEVER tested for safety yet they go in our products (and are sprayed all over our food).


Q: Europe has banned 1,300 chemicals from its personal care products.  How many have the United States banned?

A: 11.  Yes.  Eleven.

To go along with that information, statistics show that 1 in 3 women will be diagnosed with cancer in their lifetime.  It used to be about 1 in 20.

1 in 3 children will be diagnosed with autism, some form of ADD, or severe allergies or asthma.  It used to be about 1 in 7.

Is this about over diagnosing?
 Are our genetics changing? 
                                                      
I believe it's far more reasonable to say that the change is coming from our environment.

We are all concerned about testing products on animals, yet we are now the ones that these products are being tested on.  Companies can declare anything they want to be "natural and organic" because there are no federal laws governing them.  I want products that are safe.  I deserve products that are safe!  

BeautyCounter is one of the first lines that I have found that actually has a "Never List".  This list contains 1,500 ingredients that will NEVER be a part of their products.  These ingredients are chemicals that are linked to cancer, infertility, childhood diseases, and allergies.  Beautycounter is partnered with Gwyneth Paltrow's line Goop but a little more budget friendly than ol' Gwyneth's products.  At first, I was hesitant to try the products because I've had my share of less than desirable products.  It's that product graveyard in my drawer that I empty out every 6 months.  I've been thrilled to finally find something that I love AND that I can feel safe putting on my skin.  Trust me, I've been asked to sell every product known to man.  I'm not a sales person.  I don't like asking people to spend money or buy things.  At heart, I'm an educator. That's what this opportunity is for me.  It's a way to educate people about something I am learning about through my own experience.

You and I may not have very much in common, but I'm sure every person who reads this blog knows someone with cancer, someone with severe allergies, someone who has struggled with infertility or someone who has a child with ADD or autism.  These issues are rising at a staggering pace. And ladies, this goes beyond makeup (even though the makeup I use from them is FAB)!  This goes into what we put on our children, the bubble bath we sit them in at night, and the sunscreen we lather on them during the summer.  Even if what I do by using these products is the smallest way to help, it's still something I can do to help.





CHALLENGE:
1. Read the labels on your products.  Know what is in them.

2. Research for yourself!  Check out www.beautycounter.com to see that "never" list.  They also list every ingredient in their products from A-Z.

3. Let me know if you are interested in trying these safe products for yourself or for your family.  I can tell you my TOP 5 products that I absolutely love.

4. Watch for yourself.  Go to You Tube and search 'The Ugly Truth About the Beauty Industry'.  You'll hear Gregg speak more on this topic and do a much better job than my ramblings.

Most importantly, remember that we have the power to change the products that are being provided to us!  Choose wisely.  Yes, they may be more expensive, but so are medications, surgeries, and treatments.  Start small.  Do what you can.  Every little change matters.

 
XOXO!!!
Amanda
 



Thursday, February 11, 2016

The Crowd

Alright, Alright....we lost.  I've moved on now, but boy was I devastated on Sunday night!  I've been a Panthers fan for as long as the team has been around and was so thrilled to see MY team in the Super Bowl!  For years, I've watched the Super Bowl because I like football, but deep down I really could have cared less who won.  This year I was invested!  I had the right spirit wear, the right food, and I just knew this was our year to bring home a victory.  The saddest part of the night was tucking my crying 9 year old super fan into bed.  He just didn't understand how we could lose, and I didn't have an answer for him except that sometimes we all lose.  That's a hard concept for a little guy to accept.  He hugged Sir Purr a little tighter that night as he slept.:)

As sad as I was for the loss that night, I was even more sad in the days that followed to experience the true aftermath of a major athletic competition.  I'm sure it happens every year, but this year was so personal because that was MY quarterback and MY team that everyone was talking about! I'm not writing this post to defend anyone or say who is right or who is wrong.  I'm writing this because as I was watching post after post after post, it reminded me so strongly of Jesus.  (Trending Facebook Post: Amanda Mallery equates Cam Newton to Jesus...you won't believe what happens next!)  It was mind boggling to me to see such hatred pour out of people who otherwise probably hadn't said much about Cam Newton in the past year.  People started picking out every questionable facial expression, every instance of negative body language, and literally tearing this professional athlete to shreds. Forget every kind gesture Cam has made on the field, every hour of community service he has done that none of us know about, or the way cameras captured him kindly congratulating Peyton on the field after the game. This man is immature, disrespectful, arrogant, and deserved to lose. 

How does this remind me of Jesus?  I'm always drawn to Palm Sunday.  It was one of my favorite holidays as a kid.  Our church always celebrated it with palm leaves, dancing children, and a dad-blasted DONKEY!  Yes, this live donkey would march down the church aisles with a poor man (Jesus impersonator) riding awkwardly on its back hoping that the thing wouldn't just stop and relieve itself in the aisle (and one year it did)!  We would sing and shout "Hosanna" and wave our palm branches as Jesus walked by us.  The unbelievable thing to me as a child was that this day actually happened in history!  This man who had done countless good things for people was loved and adored by not only his inner circle but by strangers as well!  What a crowd!  How loved he must have felt!  However, I wonder if some of that love, joy and adoration made Jesus wince just a little bit.  In His infinite knowledge, Jesus knew these same people would soon turn on him in a moment's notice.  The same crowd yelling "Hosanna" would soon be yelling "Criminal".  The palm leaves would be traded in for whips and the donkey would be traded for a splintered cross.  Imagine looking into the same crowd of faces days later and seeing hatred where there once was love, profanity where there once was praise, and ultimate rejection where there once was ultimate acceptance.  How quickly these people, this crowd, were influenced and how quickly they turned.  Are we the crowd???

Now, I'm not saying Cam Newton performs miracles or heals people with his touch.  There's a big difference between Jesus and Cam.  There's a big difference between Jesus and all of us.  Jesus was perfect.  I do think that we can relate ourselves to the crowd though.  How quickly I turn at times when my prayers aren't answered the way I want them to be.  How quickly I can turn when bad things happen to good people and bad people are rewarded with good things.  How quickly I begin to point out all the mistakes and flaws my friends have when one of them hurts my feelings or leaves me out.  It's scary how easily I see everyone else's problems, but sometimes I refuse to identify problems within myself.  When I think of that press conference that Cam did after losing, I placed myself in his seat and I knew exactly what my competitive self would have done.  I have a terrible attitude after my son loses at hockey.  If I was the main face for losing the biggest game of my career so far and they kept asking me why I lost, I'm almost positive I would have said something to the tune of "I don't know moron.  Why don't you get your butt on the field, give it a try, and let me know."  I may have even flipped the bird (just being honest).  I know my husband is shaking his head in agreement because he knows it's true.  It's a weakness of mine but guess what?  We all have them.  Weaknesses.  Things we stink at.  Things we struggle with.  Things we pout over and stew about and never move past.  We are human.  So is Cam.  So is Peyton.  So is Odell Beckham Jr. (as much as I don't like him) and every other person in the spotlight...including presidential candidates (sensitive spot for some).  We make bad choices, immature decisions, and emotional reactions. Why do we not expect and allow for others to do the same? 

To me, one of the saddest realities of the death of Jesus was that His death was at the hands of his followers.  At the hands of his friends. Even though He knew it was coming, it had to hurt even worse knowing who it was coming from. 

It's ironic to me that one of the saddest realities of our human existence today is the tearing down, degradation, and assault of people....by other people.  

Fortunately, most everyone in Facebook land has moved on to bigger issues such as BeyoncĂ©'s performance, Jim McIntyre's bad decision making, and the always exciting presidential debates.  I hope we can all exercise a little more "crowd control" in the future.  It's easy to tear down.  Let's try building up next time OR just exhibiting a little self control.  My FB news feed and my blood pressure sure would appreciate it.

**And for those who like to say that they used Cam Newton as a way to teach their children a life lesson in how not to act....kudos to you!  I used your posts to teach my child how NOT to act on social media.  I call that a WIN WIN!!   

Amanda

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A New (Expensive) Journey

 Regular Grocery Bill: $168.00
 
2 small bags of gluten-free snacks from Earth Fare: $100.00
 
And so begins the journey.
 
 
A few years ago I started noticing small food allergies.  My lips would blister and swell when I ate Thai food.  Chinese food made me feel like I was legitimately having a stroke.  I determined perhaps I was allergic to Thai food and after paying a little more attention determined I was also allergic to MSG.  I probably still have those food allergies....now with a much bigger one attached.
 
 
Fast forward to a few months ago and a 10 pound weight gain in my stomach only and I realized I may have a bigger problem.  Food was becoming my enemy.  If I could make it through the day without eating at all I would have done it!  Unfortunately, I become quite HANGRY when I don't eat so I continued to eat my normal foods with the terrible side effects afterwards.  I actually can't believe I'm posting this picture, but it helps to show what certain foods were doing to my body.  Granted, no one has ever accused me of having a 6 pack, but my stomach has only looked like this once before and it was December of 2006 when I was 9 months pregnant!
This was me after a veggie burger, salad, and water.  Yep...9 months pregnant....but not pregnant.





I was so incredibly miserable after every meal.  I would spend my nights sweating and writhing in pain.  My bladder became so weak I could barely go an hour without using the bathroom (and for a teacher, that spells trouble).  I had terrible heartburn and indigestion.  I was so fatigued that I was falling asleep behind the wheel of my car in the middle of the day.  I basically had every symptom of being pregnant without the fetus inside! KJ was so alarmed after meals when he would look at my stomach and feel how rock hard it was.  I knew something was very wrong with my body but I had no idea what it could be.
 
Long story short, I had blood work done about 2 weeks ago and sure enough my levels came back abnormal.  The disease it pointed to was Celiac.  I had heard of it before, but had no clue what all it entailed.  I was scheduled for an endoscopy to biopsy tissue from my small intestine.  I had this procedure done this past Friday.  I had a nice anesthesiologist and a very nice nap.  The doctor came to see us in recovery and said she doesn't normally like to make a diagnosis before the biopsy comes back, but there was more than sufficient evidence that showed the effects of Celiac disease in my body.  I immediately knew that although this "gluten free" thing may be a fad for some, it was about to become a required lifestyle for me.
 
So.....there we have it.  Food really was poisoning my body!  It's hard to think about changing my food for the rest of my life, so I just have to take it one day at a time.  It will be expensive, inconvenient, annoying, and frustrating, but it can be done and I can do it.  I will be the annoying person at restaurants, the friend at the party who "can't eat that", but I will also hopefully start to feel better, sleep better, have more energy and not be carrying the literal weight of what gluten filled foods do to me.  This auto-immune disease stops here.
 
I'm on day 2 of my journey and I've already stood in the aisles of the grocery store and cried.  My budget can't afford this lifestyle, but I have the support of a loving husband-to-be who will excitedly eat gluten free with me even when he doesn't have to and family who I know will support me with ideas, recipes, and healthy cooking when I'm with them.  I also have the cutest 8 year old who asks me "Is that gluten free?" before I put anything in my mouth...ha!  He's so concerned!
 
What is your job?  IF you have any experience in this area at all please send me anything you think would be helpful!  Tips, recipes, snacks, restaurant ideas, etc.!  I'd love to hear from you!
 
My tip: Gluten Free Donuts are Bomb-Diggity.  That's really all I've learned so far! :)
 
 
 
Amanda
#glutenisthedevil
















Monday, March 9, 2015

Because Everyone Loves a Package on Their Door.....

Hi Loyal Reader (s)!  My last post...forever ago...was liberating but let's be honest...it was kind of depressing!  Today I wanted to brighten our spirits with a fun post and something I'm really excited about!  Have you heard of Stitch Fix?  If so, I'd love to hear and see your thoughts on it!  If not, use my post to determine if this is something that would be a bright spot in your month as well!

I read about Stitch Fix a while ago on one of my favorite fashion blogs.  It looked interesting to me, but at the time I just didn't feel like researching it and getting into anything new.  Then....Snowpocalypse Knoxville happened and I was bored out of my mind one evening and decided to check it out.  I'm so glad I did!  Now if we are being honest here I will admit that I LOVE to shop.  Like....LOVE IT.  I love clothes, I love going into a store and just looking at everything and thinking of how I could wear it.  I even enjoy trying things on sometimes in the store.  Most of the time though, I prefer to try things on in the comfort of my home mainly so I can match them with the pieces I already have and add my own style to it.  Oh....and usually when I'm shopping I've just eaten a large, unhealthy  meal with a few cocktails so trying on clothes with that belly isn't as much fun. :)

The first thing you do on Stitch Fix is tell them all about you!  You look at some outfits they have put together and basically rate them from "I love it" to "I wouldn't be caught dead in that".  Make sure you are really honest so your stylist knows as much about you as possible.  I don't think I gave enough details for my first fix...we will touch on that in a minute.  Then you tell them some things about your body size and shape.  Remember to be honest!  On this part, I truly gave as many details as I could because I didn't want to get a box of clothes that didn't fit.  I would have loved to have told my stylist that I am 5 foot 7 inches and wear a size 2, but when my clothes arrive I will definitely be reminded that I am 5 foot 2 inches and a size 6/8.  Honesty is key!  I had to tell my stylist I have bigger hips, smaller boobs, and killer quads that sometimes make my pants tight in that area.  I wanted to tell her that I have the body of a gazelle, but I had to be honest and tell her that I am an athletically shaped girl who doesn't play sports anymore (sigh).  

The next thing you will see are some places to give your stylist some more details about things you like and dislike.  USE THIS!  I should have and I didn't and I am returning almost everything simply because I don't need it!  Use that space to tell her that you don't need a 3rd black dress or a 14th pair of black pants.  Use it to tell her that you won't spend $48 on a necklace or a bracelet.  That's the time to really tell her what you like and dislike and what you will keep and won't keep when it comes to spending.  Now...on to the good stuff!

Today I got home on this dreary Monday and saw a PACKAGE on my porch!  Who doesn't love a package??!!!  It was my stitch fix!  It was right on time as you schedule what day you want it to arrive.  I was so excited to see what my stylist had chosen for my fix.  So here are the pictures of my fix.  The good, the bad, and the ugly!  I'll let you know what I kept and didn't keep and why.  Most importantly, I'll let you know the cost of this new little addiction!

 The first item I pulled out was this maxi dress.  Upon first inspection I loved the colors and the feel of this dress.  It is super soft.  Also upon further inspection I noticed that this dress had STRIPES....ALL THE WAY DOWN.  Now, I can do stripes in lots of places, but this girl does NOT do stripes on her hips.  Remember when I told the stylist that I had bigger hips?  I'm pretty sure I wouldn't put clingy stripes on anyone but a stick figure.  So I call that a bad choice.
Stitchfix:0  Me:1

 The next item I pulled out was this beautifully textured black dress.  It's hard to see the texture and pattern in the picture, but it is really pretty.  It fit great...very flattering to my figure as I have a smaller waist that this dress pointed out.  Problem...it's black.  I have about 5 black dresses that I would consider "date night" dresses.  Had this dress come in a different color, I would have been all about it.  However, I consider this an Amanda error.  I never told my stylist that I own 5 black dresses.  It was her first time styling me and she went with the basic black.  Can't blame her.  Stitchfix:1  Me:1

 I was excited when I saw the detailed description of these pants.  High waist and cropped stretch pants.  First of all, I love a good high waist flat front pant.  After having all my abdomen muscles cut for birth, let's just say my lower stomach isn't the firmest so I love when pants go high enough to kind of hold that part just a little tighter.  I love a good crop pant.  It's so cute with booties in the winter and heels in the spring/summer.  Once again, the only problem is the color!  They do have a cute polka dot pattern, but they are still black and I own a gazillion pairs of black pants.  Once again, had these come in a  beautiful bright fuschia or deep blue, I would have been sold.  I also should have told my stylist that I don't need any more black pants.  Now I know.
Stitchfix: 2  Me:1

 As soon as I opened this necklace, I vomited in my mouth and immediately put it back in the box.  I am NOT a statement necklace girl.  I have a hippie vibe for sure, but this screams more tribal Native American to me and is just way too big for this girl.  I like my little necklaces and I like long necklaces.  Short necklaces like that make me feel like I'm wearing a turtleneck and just choking all day long.  Not to mention this little beauty was $38 which made me laugh out loud.  There is no way in God's creation I would pay $38 for a necklace unless it was a special occasion or just something I couldn't live without.  Now I know to tell my stylist to not send jewelry above $20 though.  Lesson Learned!
Stitchfix: 2  Me: 2



So you are probably wondering what the heck I kept!  Well, out of 5 items I only decided to keep 1 this time!  I don't think that's terrible for my first fix!  She doesn't know me from Adam and the more she gets to know me and the more vocal I become with her, the more she will style me to my liking.  I am really excited about the top I chose to keep though.  It is definitely something I would have walked right past in the store.  I never in a million, gazillion, trillion years would have tried this on.  Check out the pictures below and please excuse the lame selfies...it's all I got, ladies (and fashion forward gents)



This is a super soft drapey type shirt.  It's a gorgeous green color that I own nothing like which really excited me!  It has that extra fabric under the arms, which I always thought would make me look heavier, but the way it cinches in at the bottom is a good look for my body type...I think.  My first thought was that it would look good with yoga pants.  I would never actually work out in this top, but I would definitely wear it to the hockey rink on a Saturday morning or just for a casual day out running errands.  I love the v-neck of it as well.  It's perfect to show off my everyday "Noah" necklace that I never take off.
This is a closer shot of the color and fit of the shirt!
And I love that it looks great with jeans too for a night out!



































So that was my first Stitch Fix experience!  It was so fun trying on new clothes in the comfort of my home with things that I already own.  This stitch fix will cost me $48.  I already paid a $20 fee for my stylist to "style me" and it applies to anything I buy from my box.  This shirt was $48 so I really got it for $28.  I don't think that's too terribly bad for a great quality piece that can be worn many different ways.  You may disagree and that is ok!  I am cheap when it comes to some things too and I'm not comfortable dropping hundreds of dollars on clothes, but I do love to buy things that make me feel beautiful.  This shirt kind of does that for me!

The most expensive item in my box was the cropped pants.  They were $98.  My jaw dropped too when I first saw it.  However, if you have a body type like mine, finding pants that fit can be a challenge.  I just may pay the piper that price if they sent me the perfect pair of pants that fit this difficult body.  It's all about preference and what you are comfortable spending.  Had I loved the pants, that may have been all I purchased!  I have to budget just like the rest of you,...(teacher salary) so picking and choosing what is important to me is what usually works for me!

I hope you enjoyed this first review!  I am probably going to schedule  a fix every 2 months or so.  I don't feel that is unreasonable.  If you want to know more about it, just let me know!  I'd love for you to try it!  

Because sometimes, we all just want to pull up and see a package on our porch.

Much Love,

A

Thursday, June 5, 2014


                  Good Night a Livin...if you only knew how long it took me to publish this blog!  When you don't post in over a year, it's a nightmare to try to post.  Thanks, Google Security!

                To finally sit down and write about my experiences in the past 18 months is overwhelming, yet I find it so exciting I can hardly control my fingers on the keyboard.  Not because I am thrilled to share it, and certainly not because I have had the best 18 months of my life, but more because I have accepted this time in my life and I’m really just ready to lay it all on the table and…not to overuse a phrase that’s been overused lately but…let it go!  When I thought about writing this journey in a blog, it came to me in stages and that’s exactly how I will write it.  So I’m titling this first stage Declaration.  The organized nerd in me likes things that all start with the same letter, so all the other stages to follow will also start with a D.  Yesssssss!!!!! J

                 I think when you go through something as traumatic as a Divorce, you experience all kinds of stages from the very beginning to way past the actual finality of Divorce.  For some of you, the past sentence has already rocked your world because you had no idea I am Divorced.   Well, I have been…I am …and will always have that stigmatism with me for the rest of my life (there’s my declaration).  I’ll always have to answer those awkward questions that come up every once in a while, always have to give a little more explanation in certain situations, and always have to feel that little sense of failure that the people pleaser in me hates to feel.  I do think that after writing this, I will be able to move on in a way I haven’t yet.  Part of moving on happens when you accept responsibility. I accept full responsibility for the demise of my marriage.  Eighteen months ago, I would not and could not have said that.  However, I’ve learned that the blame game gets me nowhere, finger pointing only points out more flaws in me, and trying to prove something only makes me frustrated.

 Please understand, I am writing this for me.  Not you.  This is my journey.  Not yours.  These were my choices.  No one else’s.   I do not need your sympathy.  I do not need your approval or disapproval.  I don’t need you to delete me off your friend list on Facebook...or add me for that matter!  I don’t need you to invite me to church.  I don’t need you to ignore me in public or give me the silent treatment or refuse to wish me well on my birthday or other special holidays. I don’t need to be excluded from the invitation list because I “no longer really have a family to come with”.  I don’t need to be the topic of your conversation…although I’m flattered you would think to talk about me! I don't need to be called "disgusting" or a "homewrecker".  I’ve experienced all those things already.  What I need from you is to keep being exactly who you have been.  Because I’ve realized that when you are at your darkest, only a handful of people walk with you.  Only a handful of people can handle your imperfect-ness.  Only a handful of people are actually brave enough to ask and listen to all the gory details without being offended.  Only a few choice people can love you the same way they did before you disappointed them.  Only a choice few know…really know…all of the stages I have been through in this process, and I definitely owe them countless hours of therapy payments.

So there’s my post for today.  My Declaration.  If you could see the tears I’ve cried typing out this stage, you’ll know why I can only write about 1 stage at a time.  Even typing the words is hard.  I don't know why, but it is.  For those of you who had no idea, I’m sorry to hit you with this on the gloomiest day we’ve seen in TN this summer.  For those of you who already know, I hope these next few posts shed a little more light on the pain of divorce.  It’s a sin, and apparently it’s considered a BIG 10 sin (you know, we Christians love to rank our sins), but it’s a sin that a large percentage of people are dealing with, and at the end of the day I hope you can remember that they (we) are people.  Sinful people.  All of us.  Each with our own set of sins that we deal with.  My sin is ugly and public.  Your sin may be private, but it’s still just as ugly.  So while you sit and watch pornography in the privacy of your home, or put another five thousand dollars on your credit card for your spending addiction, or continue to steal Internet or cable from your neighbor, I’ll continue to deal with my sin of divorce.  Now that’s a Declaration….

 

Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Great Pretender

Let's just go ahead and get it out of the way.  You are all saying..."long time, no blog"...yeah, yeah.  I get it.  Now get over it and read. ;)

The Great Pretender is a song I remember listening to when I was younger.  I grew up listening to Oldies...every day...all day.  Reason?  My dad was a kick butt lead singer in a band called The Spontaines and sang with all kinds of cool "oldie" people, so we listened to Oldies.  And I loved it.  No complaining here.  It was magical to drive around in our large...emerald green...white cracking leather seated.... Cordoba (yes you read that right).... where the horn had a short in it and would honk randomly while driving...all the while listening to great old songs from the 50's and 60's.  I can honestly say that I still love that music...and shockingly still know most of the words.

So..back to The Great Pretender...that song is all about being sad and lost, but pretending that everything is ok.  This is me.  I've known it my whole life.  I'm just now, at 32, willing to accept it and do something about it.  I also know it about other people.  If I'm pretending in certain situations, then I know others are too.  Society forces us to.  Human nature forces us to.  Even the people we love the most force us to pretend some times.  And in some situations, pretending is good!  Lord knows if we all acted like we wanted to in every situation, or said what we really wanted to in every situation, none of us would have any friends!  NONE. :)  So, here are my thoughts on pretending and what I've learned over the past several months.  As always, these are my thoughts.  You don't have to agree with them or like them, but most of the responses I get are always things like ..."you read my mind"...."you said exactly what I've been thinking".....and those make me smile.   I'm willing to deal with the small backlash I always get to speak my mind....I can live with that...or pretend to anyways. ;)


1.) Pretending is a part of life.

  We are forced from a young age to pretend.  "Use your imagination"...."pretend you are a princess"...."let's play pretend"!  Some of you even had imaginary friends...I'm going to pretend like that 's normal...but I'm really not so sure. :)  Some kids are forced to pretend just to survive daily life.  They live a life no child should have to live and the only escape for them is possibly to pretend.  Pretend they are living another life...pretend things that are happening to them really aren't.  Others of us pretended at a young age simply because it was fun.  I'm not sure at what age pretending goes from fun to frustrating, but it does at some point.  At some point we are told that we have to stop pretending and start being honest.  Honesty then becomes a huge issue and we are forced to just immediately stop playing pretend and live our lives not playing games any more.  I wonder why the transition is hard for all of us? ;)

2.) People pretend to like us and we pretend to like other people.

  Were you ever forced as a child to play with someone?  To invite someone to a party?  To pretend to like a family member? (ha!)  The answer should be a resounding YES.  I do the same thing as a mother to Noah.  "Noah...go play with him!"  "Noah...BE NICE!"  I get that look from him like "For heaven's sake mom, I DON'T WANT TO!!!"  and yet I still push him to pretend.  It's my way of thinking I am making Noah a better person by loving everyone, but let's just be honest...I am forcing him to make choices and act a certain way for me and not for himself.  (Note to readers: I am not in any way saying it is ok for my child to be mean to another child...but I shouldn't force him to be best friends with someone he doesn't like...get it?) 

It's a hard pill to swallow thinking that people pretend to like us.  I feel like, for the most part, that people are generally nice to me.  If I had to make a list right now of people who just didn't like me at all, I don't know that I could come up with anyone.  Ok...maybe 2?  I don't know.  The reality is...there are probably multiple people I could put on that list if people stopped pretending.  We've all experienced the horrible feeling of thinking someone is your friend and then finding out how they really feel...right?  That's a part of life.  It hurts, it sucks...but it's reality.  Sometimes we just don't click with people.  We force friendships, force relationships, and know in our hearts that we just really don't like that person and they really don't like us...but we continue to play the game every time we see them.  It's the right way to handle the situation.  I don't feel there is ever any reason to just be mean to someone, but it's still all a game.  A big game of pretend.

3.) We pretend like everything is always OK.

I AM THE MASTER OF THIS.  DO NOT DARE TRY TO TAKE AWAY MY TITLE.  I WILL WIN EVERY DAY...EVERY TIME.

Someone I love dearly told me last week that one of the things she admires most about me is that no matter what I am going through (hell at the moment, by the way) that I come to work every day with a smile on my face and a cheerful attitude and no one would ever know I am hurting.  I was thankful she admires that in me...but then I thought...doesn't that make me a BIG FAT LIAR????  The more I thought about it, the more I don't think that is the case.  We can't drag our baggage into work.  I have a job to do...kids to love...and things to teach.  In essence, I am "on stage" every day at my job.  I can't crawl into my cubicle, lay my head on my desk, or go into the bathroom stall and let it all out.  I have to pretend I am ok so that my kids can get through their day with happiness and joy...my main goal as a teacher.  We learn to pretend to adapt to our situations.  We pretend so we don't lose our jobs.  We pretend so we don't lose friends.  No one wants Debby Downer as a friend, right?  You know that person...you avoid them at the grocery store because the second you ask.."How Are You?"...you regret it ....big time.  By the time they finish their woeful story, your ice cream has melted in your buggy and you hate your own life too.  How did that happen? ;)  But we don't want that person to be honest...we literally want that "I'm good" answer even if they aren't good.  Why is that?  I think it's because sometimes hearing what people are going through is just plain uncomfortable for us.  What can we do to help?  Say "I'll pray for you" and then we don't.  Say "let me know if you need anything" and then cross your fingers that they don't call and actually need something.  Yep...I think if we were honest, that's exactly what most of us do.

4.) My Point

Lord, I ramble.  My point is....don't be a pretender all the time.  Find those people you can be 100% honest with.  Pretend when you have to...to keep your job...to keep out of the looney bin (although time away would be nice..ha!)...you know those important times. :)  I've done a lot of pretending in my life and it's coming back to bite me in the you know where.  I'm ok with it now..it's a part of life...a part of my life and a part of my "growing up" you could say.  Everything that happnes in our lives is a part of our story.  I wouldn't change a thing about my life.  Why would I want to?  It's brought me here.  It's helped me help others.  It's forced me to be a better person...a better me. 

Final Thought:  I'm done pretending.  So I'll totally understand if you avoid me like the plague at the grocery store. ;)






Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Holy Hoarders

This is my first...and certainly not my last...post to get rid o' some junk!  Ya'll...sometimes I think 2 things when I go downstairs into our unfinished basement...

#1: I have told several friends they can store their stuff down there temporarily and I've just forgotten.

#2: Someone actually lives down there and I keep forgetting to collect the rent.

It's Ridiculous.

Some of the things for sale on here, I don't even know where they came from.  Honestly.  I don't even know if some things actually belong to me, so if you see I'm selling YOUR stuff...let me know!

The best way to contact me if you want to purchase something is just to message me on Facebook.  I am not really keen on shipping things unless I REALLY love you.  I am coming to Charlotte in February though so if my NC friends see something they would like, I am happy to bring it with me!  First come, First serve people!  I'll update as things sell..if they do!  If not...I will haul it on down to the GW.

These are only a few items.  I'll be adding more after "Junk Be Gone" does its job at my home.

Super cute Mother of Pearl decor item.  I had it on top of my armoire' but I've seen it on mantles, side tables, etc.
Paid $50 (what???) Asking $20

Pirate Lamp.  Missing 3 small navy blue pegs on base, but as you can see you can't tell if you turn the lamp this way.  Genius!  $10

Bamboo plant stand with plant included (fake plant...you think I could keep a real one looking that good?) $15

Looks like an oil painting but it's not on canvas...it's hard like tile.  Sorry for the glare, but it's muted browns, greens, and the white plant.  $10

2 pictures that I have no clue where they came from.  I can measure them if you need me to.  Lots of greens and dark reds.  Frames are a very dark brown.  Pictures can easily be removed from the frames.  $20 for the set.

MY FAVE!  Super cute pirate canvas.  This is a painting stretched on a canvas.  I just bought this before Noah "grew out" of his pirate room. :(  $25

Ok..this is Matt's expertise, but it's a Sony surround sound system.  The DVD player is a 5 disc player..works perfectly.  Full set for $75.

Bright green side table.  Not sturdy...Target furniture quality..where I purchased it from.  Great for a kids playroom!  $10

Hobby Lobby shelf thing...Love this, but it just doesn't match our new room/furniture anymore. It's black with bronze metal scrolling on the side.  I used it in the kitchen as well before we redid our kitchen.  Side view below.  Paid $100...Asking $50.

Side View of Shelving unit above

I don't know...it's a vase thing.  No clue where this came from.  $5 (it's kind of made of reeds at the top and metal at the bottom)




4 kitchen chairs from World Market.  Dark brown, solid wood, fairly simple design.  I'm just trading them up for new white chairs.  Paid $75 a chair.  Asking $30 for each.  Would like to sell them as a set, but would consider selling individually or by 2's...

Silver 3 vase set.  $10 for the set.

Pretty Hobby Lobby Lamp.  Bronze base, black glass middle, shade glows a warm bronze color when on.  $15

Tall barstools from our first house...10 years ago!  Matt and I redid them for our first house so I know they can be redone again.  Right now they are rustic bronze painted and the fabric is bright green/red/yellow plaid.  Cushions come off and can easily be re-covered.  We have 3 of them.  They are high top chairs.  I can send you measurements if needed.  $30 for the set of three.