Friday, January 20, 2012

My Favorite Things 51-60

Today was one of those days that I needed to wrap myself up in thinking good, happy thoughts and remembering all of my favorite things in life.  Why?  Because my body is at war with my brain over the lack of carbohydrates, it rained most of the day, I stayed in through lunch because I took a longer time yesterday (and, okay, because it was raining) and it is something like 70 degrees outside in January. 

January should be cold.  And most years it is.  But this year it is mild and freaky...which means that the mosquitoes will be bad in July and it will probably snow in April.  Boo.

Anyway, here's the next ten on the "favorites" list for those of you who are reading...and for those of you who are wondering when the madness will end...let's just say...


Until then...

51. Tiffany Blue

I have never been a huge fan of jewelry for myself...I do love the color of the box that something fabulous comes in at Tiffany's. 

Some people love what is in the box...but apparently I am more in love with the actual box.  Or the color, at least. 

52. People Who Are Fit

Several years ago - before I just gave up and went headlong into obesity, I took step aerobics.  I really liked it because of all of those years of dance classes (which meant I could count) but it didn't require any special skill like Zumba does these days.  I know that a lot of people seriously love Zumba...but I think that we've already established that my body refuses to move like that.  I have never been much of a kickboxer, either...because I hate the whole mime-punching thing.  I look ridiculous doing mime...just so you know.

Like that's news, I'm sure.

Anyway, the instructor (and my friend), Jodie (who should know that I was convinced at times that the "die"  in her name was by design), kept me on that step and in that class for years.  It was a badge of honor to survive one of her classes...and I tend to do better when there is a challenge.  But to keep coming back...I have to also believe that I have a snowball's chance in Hades of surviving the class.  Jodie was a master at making it difficult enough to make me stick with it...but not so hard that I required medical assistance (although sometimes it was close). 

My friend, Susan, is extremely dedicated about exercise, and she is probably the same size she was in high school...even after three kids.  She encourages other people to work out...but she has never, ever made me feel as though I am closer to Jabba the Hut than Billy Blanks.  Oh, you don't know what I'm talking about?
Any questions?  I thought not.

My friend, Katrina, who has "looking fabulous" as her superpower, has a program that she developed that is called BoxMania.  And while there is no way I will stick a toe in that class until I lose 50  75 a gazillion pounds...not that I'm counting the pounds, you know...I am awed.

53. Free Tickets

Because I am somewhat of a total cheapskate, I don't ever buy tickets to much of anything. If I ever do, it is because I am seriously interested in doing something because I usually tend to wait until it is far too late to do anything about it.  It's quite the vicious cycle.

Over the years, we have been blessed by friends who have tickets to a football game, baseball game, a concert, or a play...and I've enjoyed it immensely each time I've gone. But if you ask me to actually pay for the tickets...I tend to morph into that character from Popeye who is wanting to put off paying for that hamburger.

Seriously?  This actually explains a lot...

This paying for tickets aversion has also carried over to airline tickets as well.  I've been planning a trip to see my sister, Linda, in France years...but I have more than enough points...the trip is booked...and I'm headed out (with Mom) on September 2nd (Lord willing). 

Cost?  $82.  Rock on.

The cool thing is that I am super-excited and have even more incentive to get this weight off.  I mean, I am SO not asking for a seatbelt extender.  Not that I've ever had to...but I suppose there's always the chance that it could happen.  Perhaps I should be like those people that put a picture of them in a bathing suit on the refrigerator...except in my would be a picture of a seatbelt extender.  Yikes.

*insert scream*

54. Tailgating

I don't know about you...but tailgating is one of my favorite activities.  Jill has been at the University of Alabama for the past few years, and our very kind friends, Neal and Diane, have invited us to visit their tailgate when we are in Tuscaloosa.  Because of the "we don't buy tickets" thing that I've already explained...we would drive for 2 1/2 hours to Tuscaloosa, find somewhere to park, walk about a mile, help them set up the tailgate, have fun for awhile, see Jill for about 30 minutes, head out about an hour before the game (or 3:30...whichever came first) and drive 2 1/2 hours home.  Why?  Because we like tailgating.


We've gotten to see kids who have graduated or those still at the University...friends that we don't see often enough...and have had the joy of meeting a lot of new friends.  We've even had family up there when my second cousin, David, who was a student at Penn State, came to the game and brought his friends.
Cool, huh? 

So, tell me that there's a tailgate and I need to bring spinach dip...and I am so there.

55.  Sunrise Out My Back Windows

I live in the thriving metropolis of Pike Road, Alabama...about ten miles from Montgomery...but actually that is difficult to really determine because the actual city of Pike Road is a patchwork quilt of communities all within a twenty mile radius of me.  I think that's right, anyway.  All I know is that we have enough citizens to have our own school system and that my property taxes are going up to pay for it...which after a lifetime of tuition payments to a private school in Montgomery doesn't bother me at all...

No, I'm not bitter...although I could be.  I actually voted for the school system.  Have to think about my property value, you know.

Where was I?  Right. Sunrise.

Our lot is on five acres and in the backyard is a pond that we share with several of our neighbors.  Our neighborhood was once a cow pasture, I think, because the only trees we have are those Christmas tree looking evergreens and scrub trees like mock oranges.  We've put in some tea olives and gardenias in addition to the plants around the house, but there is this big expanse of nothingness after the pool that is just the perfect viewing place for stars at night or an amazing sunrise by day. 

And God shows off most mornings...which totally rocks.

I actually have pictures...but I can't currently locate any of them.  Kind of reminds me of my friend, Bette, whose husband had an epic fail in the delivery room...and so there are no pictures of her youngest.  Guess I'll do what she did in her scrapbook and put...


Except her page was super-cute.

56. C.S. Lewis

When my children were in school (and if truth be told...I actually still do this...) I used to read whatever they were reading so that I could intelligently critique their papers.  Actually, sometimes it was more like...intelligently compose their papers...but whatever.  In the 7th grade, when Jill was supposed to read "Kim" by Rudyard Kipling during the summer...well, I read it too.  It was so incredibly awful that I actually went up to the school to let them know that having a book - however classic - with an opium den and prostitution in the first fifty pages might be just a little beyond what 7th graders at a Christian school need to be spending their summer vacation enduring.  It was so awful that I actually read the book to Jill while she laid on the bed staring at the ceiling...trying to comprehend what I was saying.  Sadly, so was I.

Worst. Book. Ever.

But one of the other books that she had to read was "The Screwtape Letters" (I think) and she had to do a biography on someone from an approved list...and we found the book on C.S. Lewis first.  I read that book, too.

And was enthralled.

I ended up reading everything that C.S. Lewis wrote including the Narnia books that I had somehow managed to miss growing up including "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe."  How can a granddaughter of a librarian who read everything imaginable miss that one?  Well, I missed "Little Women" too.  And most of the books I was assigned in high school...although I did go back and read all of them when I found "Classic Books" at 2/$1 at WalMart and caught myself up after all these years.  I found that I liked "Jane Eyre" and "The Scarlet Letter" as well as "The Portrait of Dorian Gray" and "Wuthering Heights."  That's actually how I got into "Pride and Prejudice" and the other Jane Austen novels.  Up until then I had read Steinbeck, Seventeen Magazine, and Tiger Beat. 

Not necessarily in that order.

C.S. Lewis is so impressive to me as a reader because there is NO WAY you are going to speedread through anything he writes.  Not going to happen.  I do tend to speed at first this was a little disconcerting.  Later on...I saw how absolutely amazing what I was reading was to my spirit...and I savored his way with words in his adult works...and was awed by how he could take it down a notch for the Narnia series...without missing the richness and depth present in his more complex works. 

I don't know if you have read anything by C.S. Lewis or not...but he was a contemporary of J.R.R. Tolkein...and was just an amazing person if the biography I read is to be believed.  And I think it is.

57. Weight Loss Success Stories

Part of what I love in any given fitness magazine...are the weight loss success stories.  Sometimes there is an issue of People Magazine dedicated to people who are half the size they once were...and I always am inspired by their stories.  In fact, one day, I hope to be one of them. 

58. The Smell of Movie Popcorn

Although keeping this as a favorite is going to make #56 a little more difficult to say the least...but I love the smell of movie popcorn.  Okay, not when it is burnt and nasty...but when you enter the theater and are assaulted by the most wonderful aroma of gold-plated popcorn.  Yes, I realize it isn't actually gold-plated...but I do know that the theater is mighty proud of it by what they charge.

Years ago, I was at a showing of "Amistad" in a packed theater...when I set my popcorn down when I was through inhaling the majority of it.  The guy next to me leaned over (amid all of the naked people on the ship that was mortifying enough) and asked "You gonna eat that?"

Yes, I gave him my popcorn.

I drew the line at the drink.

59. People Who Are Thrifty

One of my friends, Tracy, is one of those people who hunts a deal down like a lion chases a gazelle...and he comes up with some of THE most amazing deals ever.  I don't know how he does it...but he does throw me a bone every now and again so that I can try to find a deal for myself.  But, you know that scene in Star Wars where Obi Wan Kenobi is trying to teach Luke Skywalker something...and he's a bit's kind of like that.

But I've learned about FatWallet, the benefits of my American Express card and what credit card offer will give me a gazillion points that can be cashed in to buy a first class ticket to circle the globe twice for $75.  Or something like that.

There is nothing wrong with being is a character trait that I've tried to instill in my children in this day and age of iPhones and Ugg boots.  My kids shop on the sale rack, have no problem with hand-me-downs, and they know how to save up for something they want.  I figured that with Jill...some guy is going to be really grateful that he has a wife who isn't demanding that he buy her everything that her Daddy can on his starting salary...and with Brian...that he is trying to get through college debt-free.

Future son-in-law and're welcome.

I use coupons, check (already listed as a favorite...) for bargains, and resell the kids' books on Amazon the second that the semester is over.  Why not?  It isn't as if we have a money tree in the back yard. 

I personally believe that trying to get the best deal you can is being a good steward.  Not taking advantage of people or finding loopholes in the "system."  But to do the best you can with what you have...and to be happy with whatever that is. 

60. Romans 12

My favorite chapter in the Bible is Romans 12.  Most everyone has read part of it...but it honestly gives you a blueprint for life that just makes incredible sense.  Here it is:

A Living Sacrifice

1 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Humble Service in the Body of Christ

3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. 4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your[a] faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead,[b] do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Love in Action

9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality.

14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position.[c] Do not be conceited.

17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,”[d] says the Lord. 20 On the contrary:

“If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”[e]

21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Okay, that whole "heap burning coals on his head" thing seems a little extreme...but it really isn't...and it works.  I've tested it.  Just like everything else in the Bible that asks to be tested.

Thanks for reading tonight...and I hope I'm not wearing you out with these posts.  I still have several more until tomorrow...

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