Why do I bake at Christmas Time?

It is no secret that I love to work in the kitchen, except for the monster pile of pots and pans that require hand washing, it is where I thrive.  It involves hunting down the PERFECT recipe, shopping for all the ingredients for that PERFECT CONCOCTION, and then building it into something AMAZING like a Project Foreman.  Not to mention the Warrior feeling I encounter when I try something new.  There is also this innate desire in me to SHARE what I have created.  Almost like a 2nd grader who wants her hand painted snowman to be displayed for all to SEE. Because if no one ELSE tastes it and experiences it then it didn’t happen right?

The Overachiever escaped into the Kitchen

9 Types of Christmas Cookies

This enjoyment of cooking mixed with my desire to CONQUER new things becomes MONUMENTAL during the holidays.  It varies from cooking the PERFECT Thanksgiving MEAL (not just the turkey but the WHOLE THING), to mastering the perfect rib roast on my own, and then there was my NEED to create the PERFECT Pecan pie.  However, my GRANDEST feat, was one year I made more than 9 varieties of cookie creations.  Some new, some old favorites including the all to important hand frosted sugar cookies.  It was fun, but it was also weeks of work and an exhausting process.

Since then I have tried to reduce my investment both in time and in ingredients. Each year it begins with JUST sugar cookies, ok but I really like the Toffee Crunch.  And then I am at the store and I see these bright GREEN Granny smith apples and I am confronted with the MOST important decision of the season: “Are you going to make THEM this year?”  It’s usually near Thanksgiving time and I have plenty of weekends to consider and I evaluate my Vacation Days and think.  SURE, you have yeast and all the other ingredients already, just pick up a few apples and if you have time you have time.

And after all the Christmas cookies are mixed, cut, baked, and frosted there is a level of exhaustion that sets in just below the JOY of frosting that VERY LAST COOKIE!!! I have also made my own apple cider these last couple years, so I have pounds and POUNDS of Fuji apples hiding out in my peripheral vision.  So the Weekend arrives with PLENTY Of time and energy, so I set to the task and mission.  Chop the apples, make the dough, set up the creation station.  The smell in my home is swirling with cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves as the apples cook down into their lovely liquor.

The first half of this project seems simple, melt the butter, grow the yeast, mix with flour put in the fridge.  Easy.  The apple preparation is a little tedious, peel, core, chop the apples (I have tried short cuts and the size of the apple pieces is just NOT quite right).  The next steps do not seem to be that significant, HOWEVER it is about the gentle assembly, careful construction, and the PERFECTLY heated kitchen.  While gently rolling out the dough, adding the sugar, cinnamon, & apple mixture; there is this fight between my perfectionist nature and the baker in me that says IF YOU TOUCH IT TOO MUCH IT WILL RISE LOPSIDED, so STOP TOUCHING it…it’s FINE…IT WON’T LOOK PERFECT IT’S ABOUT THE TASTE!!! (My internal conversations often mirror those of the Movie Inside Out.)

Apple Tea Ring

The last few tries at this recipe I have discovered that the hotter my kitchen is the better the rings rise.  So I boil water, open the preheated oven, close doors and windows, try to close off the kitchen from the rest of the world, just for those 2-3 precious hours (and I wonder WHY my electric bill for December is higher than usual).  YES hours!!! For these little gems must rise for 1.5hrs and it usually takes me about 20-30min to assemble each one.  Then they bake. All by themselves. But we are not done yet, there is drizzle to make and candied cherries to add (I forgot them this year), then wait for them to dry; and wrap in plastic wrap to deliver for Christmas. WHEW!!! I am exhausted just writing the steps.

So this year as I bought the apples, started the dough, but made it to the middle of the assembly process began to ask myself a VERY VERY serious question.  WHY DO YOU DO THIS?  I always give them away and sometimes I struggle to find people who would really enjoy them (gluten free, no sugar and carb avoiding peoples I am sorry). So realizing each year that time is the most precious commodity in life, why would I dedicate so much time to creating this particular goodie, I am SURE there are other baking items that take less time and effort and are just as delicious.

Virginia Wedding CakeAbout a month ago, I found a picture my brother gave me of our Mom.  It is her in the kitchen cutting their 1 year anniversary Wedding cake topper with a smile on her face and dreams in her eyes.  I moved this picture out of my purse and into my kitchen.  Because this is where I remember her most (A close second is her behind her sewing machine in her crafting room). Whether it was coming home from school and sitting at the counter to share my day with her, while she made dinner or learning how to cook by her side when she made cakes and cookies; I see her and feel her in my kitchen.

The Apple Tea Rings as they became known in my house was one of my Mom’s crowning jewels.  She made clever bunny birthday cakes and amazing cookies; but SOME HOW, some way she began making these one year and Someone MUST have said you can sell these; because the next year, I remember the assembly line in our kitchen of what felt like DOZENS of these covering EVERY surface area.   She took them to a Christmas bazaar to sell I can only assume to bring in a little more money for Christmas presents.  I was SOMEHOW a part of this because I remember the various stages and I remember how much care we took to prepare each one to make it BEAUTIFUL and wrap it carefully on cardboard to that is would be sturdy and easily transportable.  ONLY one TEENY TINY hiccup… there was a storm. A blizzard you might say in as much as people in Portland, Oregon think a couple of inches of snow is a blizzard. So even though we were able to get to the bazaar and the rings made it there FULLY intact; there were just NO people to buy them.  In my childhood mind, I remember thinking ALL THIS Work and NO ONE wants them.  Business is a rough gig, man. So we brought almost all of them home, still too many for me to remember the count.

But despite this fiasco, the apple tea rings have always represented the ELABORATE baking my Mom was so good at.  And on the years I do CREATE them, I feel a sense of closeness to her and the memory of us baking together to create something AMAZING.  I feel like I am getting closer to being just like her and in my childlike mind that is the BEST thing I COULD BE – just like her. Even though I know she had her flaws and short-comings; I still aspire to be like her.  The strength she showed while balancing so much: taking care of the family, baking, sewing, AND working it really seems so amazing to me now. So this year I am realizing that in taking the time to make these AMAZING creations it is more than just baking, more than just a TO DO, more than a compulsion to impress people.  The undercurrent really is to be closer to her and improve the talent she gave me all those years ago.

So each time I see those granny smith apples and the thought races across my mind, “Are you going to make THEM this year?” I can now smile a sneaky grin and ask myself if I am up for the challenge. It’s just time after all, time well spent.

I really AM a Feminist!

Words I found myself shouting as I was washing dishes after cooking an amazing batch of enchiladas.  Not necessarily something I would hear myself saying, but not necessarily something that would avoid either. To be honest it is a word and a movement I have struggled knowing if I belonged or if I didn’t.  So many ways I have heard the term used and the movement promoted that I just decided not to think about it.  It seemed complicated and full of crazy extremes that beginning to sort through it just wasn’t worth it.  More detailed in its components than being a Republican and more divided than the many denominations of Christianity where could one even begin.

There I was listening to one of my FAVORITE Apps these days (Umano-gotta love an app that will read to you), when I stumbled across this article, “8 Myths About Feminism Debunked.”  Just as I was worried that it would be dripping with things I didn’t agree with or aspects of politics I don’t agree with, I was pleasantly surprised.  And it all began with the definition of feminism:

The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes... someone who wants equality can’t hate the people with whom they want to be equal.

Yes… YES THAT!!! And without even getting further in the article, my thoughts announce, “I really AM a Feminist!” For as long as I can remember, I have been wrestling with boys for permission to do what they do.  To step up to the starting gate to compete with them on their level.  To challenge them skill for skill, talent for talent, award for aware.  To be measured the same by my work, contribution, and effort as just as good or even BETTER than the men I work with.  I remember this constant theme of my life, “You can be what ever you want to be, even if only men have ever done it.”  I remember stories of many women being the FIRST in many different positions of leadership in sports, in space, in politics, in business; and knowing I wanted to DO that.  I wanted to work that hard to stand out, be better, accomplish AMAZING things.

There have been moments in my life where I feel that intense desire to be a model in life of things a woman can accomplish.  That even though there are set backs and things aren’t perfect, there is a fulfilling life in hard-work and successful accomplishments that can be obtained as a woman that exist outside of marriage and motherhood (Both good things… I have MANY MANY amazing friends who are both). That there are accomplishments to be achieved as an individual based on effort and skill and drive; not gender and position.

I completely believe in marriage, I am hoping to be married one day.  I am falling in love with femininity and what it is like to feel sensual and pretty and glide through life in pretty girlie clothes and makeup.  (Something I didn’t think I could do and be competitive – I am learning more and more how false that is.)  I love gallantry and am extremely inspired by courtesy and chivalry not matter where it comes from.

This article really gave me the opportunity to explore some of my own myths and beliefs about feminism; as well as allow me permission to explore something I have been afraid of JUST because of what other people have said.  But don’t worry I won’t start acting ANY crazier or more hysterical than I already do; and I won’t be adopting the Feminazi title any time soon… IF EVER!!!

This post inspired by the #blogging101 task to Be a good Neighbor by commenting on other people’s blogs.

Because I thought it was clever and cute

As I am trying to follow each step of this #blobbing101 adventure, today is about creating a Title and tagline.  Since I have the title of my blog I like my first thoughts were to SKIP today’s assignment.  But if I recall correctly part of this little process is to WRITE, not necessarily with the intent of producing something AWESOME and interesting.  So I scrolled down the page and found another topic option to be to EXPLAIN why I like my title and tagline.  Well that sounds right up my alley, I LOVE to explain things; I mean it is kind of my job in real life.

A few moments ago, say 3 years, I was in the throws of life when I found people commenting that I should write a book. Whether it was about all my stories, that I tell on a regular basis, or about how to learn how to learn, or the weight loss journey I was in the middle, it really didn’t matter because the theme was WRITE.  The more I contemplated and thought and talked about these mentionings I do believe someone who blogs on a regular basis, mentioned, “You should start a blog.” UH that would be a NO.  And then fast forward to various moments of thinking and wondering.  So there I was dialing the phone and blurted out, “So how do I start This Silly Blog Thing?” And after scheduling a time to discuss how all the details around here work, he mentioned that I needed to pick a title.  I felt a certain amount of pride in my clever little witty blurt, so it became my title.

The tagline seemed to take some development.  Trying to find, in a way, a mission statement of sorts.  Wanting to be as honest and forthright to any potential readers that would wander by; I tried to provide an overview of sorts.  So much of the things that seem to occupy my brain revolve around: the emotions I am feeling or trying not to feel; my life long war with food, exercise, and this silly thing called physical health; and the thing I desire the most in life: a real relationship with God, my friends, and (one day) a significant other (preferably real man).

So as I try to live life out in the real world, I will be attempting to catalog it here in whatever method and fashion it falls onto the page.  No matter what the topic of the hour or day, (especially those days I feel SILLY, dorky, boring, random, confused, or unimportant) I will be faithful to post something.  Even if it is from the archives of life because Heaven knows I can Tell a few stories.

PS. I do believe the last few times I began blogging I was trying too hard to make it into something.  I was constantly caught up in the aspect of WHAT IS THE POINT?  WHO IS MY AUDIENCE?  HOW WILL THIS WORK TOGETHER TOWARDS MY GOALS? (What goals?) So this time I am just writing.  I guess those therapy sessions to work on my perfectionistic personality disorder are really paying off.

There might be something to this blogging thing

Let’s see if participation in this Blogging 101 thing MIGHT JUST MAYBE JUST POSSIBLY get me to actually blog for 3o days.

Sure why not.  It will get me writing about whatever the topic of the day is instead of having to feel compelled to write on the DEEP gut wrenching emotion of the hour. My life has been altered and some of my obligations are no longer demanding attention, so writing might just be possible again.

So assignment #1: Who am I and why am I here…

Now that could be a long story.  Let’s try bullet points instead:

  • 42 years Alive
  • Single Never Married
  • Northwest Resident – Oregon
  • Corporate Trainer – I teach people how to use their computers
  • Extroverted Conversationalist – I love to talk and be around LOTS and LOTS of people
  • Focus on the comedic and sarcastic comments that could or should be said in any given situation

I am here because a friend recommended, well challenged me to write a blog… but that mostly started because I was told by 3 different people in my life that I should write a book all within the same 6 weeks.  That seemed like a little bit of a nudge rather than mere coincidence.  So I started a mis-mash of blog postings on various subjects, which then resulted in a pile of topics I SHOULD write about, only to be overrun by the burden or obligation of doing it RIGHT all the time.  SO there are those ideas that sit waiting to be realized or perfected at some point when I can FIND THE TIME.

Therefore, as with a lot of things I have been experiencing these last 6 months, no more planning, no more perfecting, no more polishing, just DO IT and see what happens.  Success or failure, accomplishment or flop, victory or needs improvement, I DID something.  And that my friends is what I need to begin doing again.

So cheers to Day #1 Back to the Blog and yes I am cheating and re-posting something from say JANUARY!

#blogging101

Flashback circa 2003

I created my first website in 2003, only to discover it was still OUT THERE this week.  So I decided to do some cut and paste to bring some of those fun reflections into my current media space.  No edits, no alterations:

My New England Adventure

I was jotting down some notes about life and progress and stuff and thought I would pass it along. It is very helpful to journal this way, I just wish I would do it more often. Please let me know how you are doing, especially some of you I haven’t heard from in a while. I’m beginning to think you have evaporated or SOMETHING.

CURRENT TRAVEL PLANS: I fly back to Seattle…Dec 20th Sat night. I’m soooooooooo ready to come back. It’s not the traveling or the hotel rooms or the being away from home. It’s just been a very stressful six weeks. I will be in Seattle: Sunday 21st, Monday 22nd Morning, and then drive down to Portland around noonish…I will be in Portland Tuesday night Dec 23rd for my birthday through Jan 2 (Unless I get sick or tired or stressed beyond measure). It will also depend upon who has time to visit or not and who has time for adventures. BUT MOST DEFINITELY give me a call at any time to talk or get together. ( I will have my cell, as always). I know holidays can be hectic, but I’d really like to connect with more of those of you in Portland that I have not be able to see the last couple of trips down.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE: For work, I have been working with a branch in Cranston, Rhode Island–About 20 minutes South of Providence, Rhode Island and 1 hour south of Boston, Massachusetts. This trip the weather interfered a little here and there. I wasn’t able to make it out to “THE CAPE” (in Massachusetts) as I wanted for the Christmas festivities due to my first ever “Nor’easter”. Then the pouring rain was called a “Sout’easter”, the rain I’m use to. It has been a trip and a half watching things quickly shift from fall/autumn colors to the “DRASTIC SHADES OF WINTER”. But I learned a lot and found New England quite charming on many different levels, but must confess there is A LOT more out here than just Martha Stewart should’s and suppose to’s.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–THANKSGIVING: I did make it to Plymouth Plantation and Plymouth Rock for Thanksgiving day. It was an AMAZING history lesson on the day of Thanksgiving, and I got stuck walking in the middle of a protest by our Native American friends. It’s good to hear the voice of the minority even if its shouting at you through a bull horn and surrounded by dozens of Massachusetts finest ( i.e. Police Officers).

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–BOSTON: My Dad came to visit for that weekend and it was tourist mania. We had dinner at the oldest restaurant–Union Oyster House. Then wandered around Downtown Boston for a while enjoying the lights and the INSANE roads that Boston has right now. Its CRAZY just CRAZY with all the construction down there. Its called THE BIG DIG a 20 yr highway project…What can I say, my Dad is a Discovery Channel nut so he shares with me ALL the knowledge. Also, in Boston we did the Fen way Park Tour which was definitely a Baseball fans dream tour. The absolute pinnacle was my Dad’s trip to the USS Constitution, where we got to go on board of the ship itself and then wander through the museum. Then I made him stay until they shot off the canon at the end of day.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–CONNECTICUT: On the Friday after Thanksgiving we got out of dodge to Connecticut…Mystic Seaport. Which is a great place. A couple of boats, a lighthouse, great little stores of old trades blacksmith, clam shack, time pieces, pub, etc. Course we also found my Dad’s nirvana…The Supermodel shack–Dozens of Tall Ship models put together over hours and hours of some of the most famous ships that have ever sailed. Then the dangerous wandering took place through the gift shop. We hit the all to East Coast FAMOUS “Foxwoods Casino” which definitely would have fit RIGHT in on the Vegas Strip.

TRAVELLING TOURIST UPDATE–NEWPORT: We rounded out Sunday with a drive down to Newport, Rhode Island the Land of the richie riches–mansions that cost $35-45 just for a walking tour or to even drive through the circle driveway. The coast line is gorgeous, my dad and I got out of the car and wandered around the rocks and watched the waves crash and it was truly AMAZING to watch. I can really see WHY they are so proud of the coast, but I don’t know if I would go so far as to think that Rhode Island should be called “The Ocean State.” Now California, there is a state of 1/2 ocean. So who ever was handing out titles didn’t think too clearly about Rhode Island. The ocean is a blue sea and beautiful waves here in Newport and I can see how that would make me want to have a house here. But until I marry a “Gates, Trump, or Diesel” I won’t be seeing THAT kinda money anywhere but television. We also saw where the America’s Cup enthusiasts wander the streets and where the boats take up miles of space.

THE FOOD AROUND HERE: Every other block is an Italian restaurant almost as common as the Taco Bell’s in the NW. There is lots of seafood, steak, and variety, but Italian was definitely a dominating factor. Their pizza isn’t bad here ( I hate New York Pizza) but I’ve only had a slice or two from “THE PIZZA KING” gotta love the name. Also, there are actually hot dog restaurants you know WHOLE joints dedicated to JUST the sale of hot dogs, not hamburgers AND hot dogs, just hot dogs. It’s similar to how we have teriyaki fast food restaurants where there seems to be a little teriyaki joint in every strip mall. It’s truly amazing.
Did I mention the plague that is Dunkin’ Donuts around here? If I didn’t, THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. Imagine all the McDonalds Locations and Starbucks locations in Seattle, you know how frequent they are, how their locations just seem to poke a dot the map? Well that’s how it is here with Dunkin Donuts, Honey Dew Donuts, Krispee Kreme, and Ma/Pa Donut shops…THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. In the Northwest it seems that Donut Shops are a dying breed, that you only go there if you are desperate for a cheap cup of coffee and don’t care about taste OR if you have that random gotta have a donut (Homer Simpson craving) in the middle of the night. NOPE not HERE. In New England and most of the East coast, Dunkin Donuts is rivaling Starbucks for the shear VOLUME of LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Not just the where, but the how many blocks between. I begin to believe that people give out directions based upon how many Dunkin Donuts you pass to get somewhere.
Next food revelation, I have fallen in love with Sushi all over again. I found a place here in Warwick, RI–Haruki Inn–that is just a great Japanese and Sushi restaurant. I’ve had sushi in the past but it either wasn’t fresh or wasn’t a flavor I like or the texture was just eh, no biggie. I am glad its near the hotel because whenever I feel like a certain type of light dinner, the sushi sounds great and always feels good going down and I feel healthy after eating it. Who would have thought that Sushi is a good comfort food.

DATING LIFE: No Comment – But seriously, there is no activity on the dating front. I don’t mean no prospects, I mean No activity. Still asking for direction on the best place to go socialize and meet people in my own age group, with similar ideas on life, and compatible life goals, etc but until I figure that out there won’t be any activity that I forecast.

Beliefs equal Certainty

I hope I can, I think I can, I hope I can… begins many a conversation with myself when it comes to making changes to my life in a SIGNIFICANT way. While HOPE has often brought me a positive inspiration, I realize only HOPING for something is not a STRONG or COMMITTED as BELIEVING.

Today, this jolted me to attention:

A belief is nothing but an idea with a feeling of certainty…

So what have I felt CERTAIN about in life?  What are those things that I have walked into a room with confidence, clarity, and an UNWAVERING belief I knew, what I knew, what I KNEW?  The first thing that comes to mind is my work.  I have developed a confidence in my ability to train, teach, educate people.  So when asked to present, teach, train, speak in front of a group of people I may get the initial stage fright before the curtain comes up; but I KNOW I can do it and I’m EXCITED TO DO IT.  I know I’ll be good, and I KNOW I’ll enjoy it.

The next memory that rushes to mind is my most confident audition EEEEEEEVER!!! In High School, my senior year, we did Oklahoma! and our Drama teacher showed us the movie prior to the auditions.  It was in that viewing, that I saw the Aunt Eller character and in the core of who I am I said, “That one’s MINE!” And I worked as hard as I knew how to: prepare the audition, study the lines, practice singing, bring my personality into her character, be full of ENERGY, and PROJECT! PROJECT! PROOOOOOJECT!!!  And when I stepped on stage, I was so full of confidence I could touch each corner of the auditory with my voice.  I even forgot a few of the words during the song (Simon Cowell would NOT have been impressed), but I stayed in character and brought to life an aspect of Aunt Eller that the director had not seen in any of the other 8 callback actresses.  It was exhilarating, it was amazing, it was a belief I had developed, nurtured, produced in me so deep that even through my mistakes it didn’t deter my resolve.

Royal Family LogoThen I began to search my life for a more recent example, and I IMMEDIATELY pictured CAMP.  There is a Strange confidence that fills my soul when I think about doing camp and preparing for camp.  The confidence I have in regards to working with the kids.  I KNEW I was going to enjoy them, I KNEW I was going to focus all my efforts on doing it for the kids, I KNEW that this was my niche, strength, skill set, gifting, natural fit (however you want to put it), I BELIEVED: “I got this!”

Now most of the time, I was in constant prayer asking God for help, support, peace, wisdom, words, and ideas for how to survive.  But I don’t worry about Him not answering me.  He always gives me answers at CAMP, I feel his presence there and I am completely confident that success was right there within my grasp.  When the very next moment arrived, I would have the answers I needed. And this is the ONE place I am at peace that EVEN if it’s not perfect it’s not wrong.  Even when conflict arises and I didn’t do things perfectly, its ok because God knew and knows what’s next.  There was the general nervousness about the week, worrying about the new responsibilities (I was responsible for directing the drama) and whether I was gonna do it right, whether people were gonna like it, enjoy it, approve of it; but outside of that part of CAMP, my BELIEF that this would be a success was unwavering.

There truly is a shift in the inner most part of your being when you KNOW you are doing the right thing.  When you BELIEVE you are in the right place at the right time doing what you were created to do.  Insecurity has no place, worry seems to fade away, and negativity just seems absurd.  That is how I feel when I am AT Camp actually doing it.  I don’t just HOPE it will work out, I BELIEVE it will be amazing.  Of course, I work with a FANTASTIC team of people that allows me to flourish in my strengths and experiment with my ideas and support me in my imperfect moments.

So in my struggle with food, weight, exercise, new habits… How can I become certain about anything before I do it?  Need to create certainty for success.  Remembering my past does not equal my future. Actually view the success, feel the success, imagine the success.  What is it like to EXPECT that success?  How would I spend each day KNOWING I will have victory with my eating each day?  How would I feel if I BELIEVED I cannot fail, I am CONFIDENT that I will make good choices for myself to build a healthier life?

Is it Really Worth Getting Annoyed?

Fools show their annoyance at once, but the prudent overlook an insult.  – Prov 12:16

Some days when I don’t know what to read, I go to the chapter in proverbs for the day of the month.  And today as with most days there is confirmed wisdom and subtle reminders of whom to live.  This one seemed to have a lightening bolt attached to it.  A jolting reminder with “Oh yeah!!!” qualities.  There was  a time not so long ago when I hear someone say, “People don’t MAKE you feel miserable, YOU make you feel miserable.” And with RADICAL fervent objection, I argued with myself and God about its truth.  Only to come to the all to startling realization… Yeah that’s true.

Why was I believing other people had the control or influence over me like that?  How was I allowing people to make me FEEL miserable?  And before I had even made it through the first day did I realize it began with the little annoyances.  I would start with the stupid drivers on the way to work, followed by the lazy people I worked with, interrupted by the selfish friends I had, and topped it off by the rude people I lived with.  (HORRIBLE overgeneralizations I agree as well, because life really isn’t that bad and people really aren’t that awful.)  But it was so easy to come to those beliefs just by a few actions that people said, did, expressed, or didn’t do in connection with my world that I would spiral down into a pit of anger and frustration without even blinking.

So what can I do? Surround myself with better people, change my outlook, move to another state to start fresh?  But what if I could CHOOSE to NOT let others frustrate me, not allow the things I don’t like bother me, or not feel people’s actions as an intentional affront to my goals. I didn’t think it was possible, I didn’t think it was changeable, I didn’t believe there was a way I could reprogram my mind and emotions… but I was wrong.

Upon reflection of my life I have noticed: I have changed a lot.  I have grown a lot.  I have overcome a lot.  And there was a huge credit to many people who coached me, taught me, mentored me… but what I have forgotten is that I let them in.  I let them change my way of thinking and operating.  I told myself I could do things differently, I could do things better, I could do things RIGHT.  So even though I may not have known HOW I did it… I did it all the same.

So this time I tried to change my mental thinking: whenever something would irritate me, I would talk myself out of being irritated.  Who knew words from the inside to the inside could be so powerful.  They could have such an effect.  That just telling myself this annoyance wasn’t really annoying me THAT bad, or that in the grand scheme of life what does it matter that I didn’t like how someone did that, or ever What does it matter to me that they are doing it WRONG?  Just to name a few of the mental challenges…

And amazingly enough it was fruitful.  I found my frustrations lessening, my annoyances reducing, and my stress level falling.  So this verse just reminded me that I can choose the way of the prudent and overlook insults.  I can choose the way of the wise and believe I can be changed from the inside out.  There is hope that growth still occurs, change is still possible… this dog can still learn a few tricks.