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Do you leave behind sunshine or clouds?

Today I had lunch with a friend.  For the purpose of this blog, I’ll refer to her as “Sunshine.”  I’ve known Sunshine for a little over two years and not once can I remember her ever bringing a cloud my way.  Though today for my sake, she shared some of the obstacles that she’s faced in life, her outlook was only positive, not a plastic version of positive, but that of a sincere steady stream of sunshine persistently warming me through the windowpane of what would have otherwise been a dismal day.

For me, it isn’t easy to sit down to lunch with someone one-on-one because in THIS season I’m an over analytical introvert who can’t easily make conversation without acknowledging the clouds, the clouds that seem to shade much of what I do–especially lately, when I’m like one of those people who thinks they’re drowning, flailing my arms, thrashing my legs, only to eventually realize that I’m actually NOT in over my head–I can stand–my feet will touch bottom.  And that’s what Sunshine said or made me realize, in so many words, “Stand up, Anna.  You’re not in too deep.”

I’m fully aware that I’m not Sunshine, not today, and not for a long while have I been.  (That used to be my grandmother’s nick-name for me.)  In fact, more than ever, I feel like one of those fast moving masses of clouds that hides the sun and quickly darkens a room.  As if I’m on the outside looking in, I watch my emotions sweep over a conversation and before I know it clouds take the moment captive and it turns out to be the rainy day that we all dread.

So after lunch, the thought came to me–who am I?  What do I really want to be?  Persistent Sunshine in the life of someone else, or a cloudy mass who darkens the life of others?  And how much control do I have over who I am in a particular season of life?

Clouds are an ever-changing result of their environment at the time.  But Sunshine emanates from a steady source of light.

Perhaps the answer to my question isn’t immediately clear at the surface.

So, I’m taking time to examine my source of light and to uncover what added control I might be able to exert over my environment.  Hopefully my source of light won’t always play the background to the cloudy version of me.

Thanks to all those who are faithfully a bright spot in my day!

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Landscaping on NO Budget

‘cheap landscaping’ is Googled around 6,000 times per month.

                                 TRANSPLANTING GRASS

BEFORE                                        AFTER
Township 4 Kannapolis-20130412-00173Township 4 Kannapolis-20130412-00177

So, last week I posted that I cleaned up the area next to my house, planted a foundation shrub and that I was disappointed with the results.  Well, once again, I decided to try to spruce it up a little more.  The area from the concrete to the white fence was initially weeds and rocks.  The “Before” picture above shows the dirt that I kind of broke up.  I scraped the rocks away first and then broke up the ground some, so that I could lay some grass on top.  Since I really do not have money to invest in “landscaping” I had to look around our acre of land and see if there was some grass I could take from somewhere else.  In our back yard, we have several trees where the grass grows in little pods.  I never mow there (too many sticks and acorns), so decided it would work for me to take the bright green pods of grass, dig them up one by one and put them in this area, so that it would look a little more manicured.

I went to the backyard and dug up little bits of grass.  My three-year-old and four-year-old went behind me as I dug up the grass, helped me load it into the wagon and we came back around to the front each time to see how much more we had to dig, after we placed what we had so far.  It was a little tricky, because they wanted to place the grass themselves and I would have preferred to be a little bit more meticulous with it, since it is already “scrappy” grass.  But oh well.  They were happy to help.  You can’t see it in this picture, but I also dug up some wild flowers and interspersed them in the grass.

Last year, the state came and helped us deepen our ditches next to the road and slanted them downhill so that our water would run off better.  I took the grass from that excavation, and outlined a half circle into the rock driveway, to give it some character, a place to park the cars.  This is how I got the idea to transplant some grass from the backyard to the front.

Tomorrow, I will fill in some of the dark spots you see.

Anyone ever used grass from their yard to transplant in another area?  Any other ideas for those of us who have NO LANDSCAPING BUDGET??

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Eating Chicken

So, I’ve lamented before about how I’m NOT one of the “health nut” bloggers who is really cool and can kick some health nut butt.

But I am a very moody person who can stick to a new idea for a week or two just for the creative fun of it.

Here’s how I figure out what is healthy.  I Google random things like “how to cook healthy,” “how to cook with healthy fats,”  “how to make your family like the healthy things you cook,” “interesting chicken recipes,” “is chicken really better for you than beef,” “how much weight can I lose if I cut sausage out of my diet,” “what if I drink more water, will I look 10 years younger?’ ‘do you really have to exercise in addition to eating healthy in order to lose weight?’  ‘can I eat casseroles without getting fat?’ ‘What can I do to make my face look younger?’

And I pick up random bits and pieces of information that are probably VERY incongruent with the whole big picture of really living a “healthy life.”

Some things I’ve deduced so far:
It’s good to use a facial moisturizer (Pond’s) at morning and night.  If you do, you will be beautiful like Raquel Welch.  Source:  http://www.amazon.com/Raquel-Beyond-Cleavage-Welch/dp/B003R4ZBJ6/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1365008812&sr=8-2&keywords=raquel+welch

2)  Unsaturated fats are better for you than saturated fats.  That was my interpretation.  http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/GettingHealthy/FatsAndOils/Fats101/Polyunsaturated-Fats_UCM_301461_Article.jsp

3) Chicken and Fish are better for you than red meats.  (This is not altogether true).
http://nutritiondiva.quickanddirtytips.com/chicken-versus-beef.aspx

4) Yoga is a great way to gain more control of your mind, body and soul.  Also, a take home from Raquel’s book.  SO I tried yoga, and it was pretty cool in making my heart rate rise without all the stress on my hips of taking a run outside.  But I must not be doing the poses right, because my lower back is killing me.

All of this to say, that I’m going to try a whole slew of healthy chicken recipes and see what my family thinks.  And by whole slew, I mean a week or two of chicken recipes.  Even thought the above links says that the “healthy choice” is not necessarily chicken over beef.
http://www.cookinglight.com/food/recipe-finder/healthy-chicken-breast-recipes-00412000070045/