Thursday, May 27, 2010

Food for Thought: Strongholds, Part II

Now, the notes I posted up in Part I... I found those very interesting.

Why? Because I always associate the word "strongholds" with the negative things like addictions, and negative attitudes.

But it is so much more than that. We all have strongholds, things and attitudes we hold strongly to.

Now ultimately, our stronghold should be God's Word. And for those who are of other religions, I do believe there is some referene text you use. I think you see this a bit more strongly in those religions, like Buddism and Islam. They constantly quote their books. Heck, I've heard of people who memorize the WHOLE Qu'ran.

(Memorizing the whole Bible. Can you imagine?)

Jennifer and The Good Nurse quoted a couple of scripture in the comments of the last post concerning God being one's stronghold, one's fortress.

That makes sense. You see in the book of John that God and His Word are synonymous. So yep, God should be the stronghold, the well-fortified fortress.

Let's look at that Blogger Chele, for example. I don't think she minds me using her as an example. She has had this fear issue for years. She decided she was gonna tackle that thing. I know, from reading posts, that a large part of that was finding out what the Word of God said on the subject matter. She grabbed a hold of those scriptures and rolled with it. And as a consequence, she has seen some changes in her life.

She chose to hold more strongly to what God said about her fear, and not the fear itself.

(Am I right about that Chele? Well, that's what I got of it, man! And I am MORE than happy to witness your continuing journey to a fearless life.)

I feel very rich when I can be a spectator in such matters. Very rich. Because I learn much. I'm learning from her much about the taring down of strongholds. And the buliding of new ones.

But in that sermon, I saw another dimension of the stronghold phenomena. Things have to not only change in your mind, but in the spirit of your mind, i.e., things have to change in the subconscious part of the mind.

This is simple to see. Take the usual weight loss journey. Man, you start out all good, eating well, working out. Then you mess up. Fall off the schedule.

Then you're back where you started. Gained the weight back... plus a few pounds.

Sigh. Happens all the time.

Here's a REAL simple example (a bit too simple, really, lol).

I have several computer passwords on my job, and I am prompted to change them every 45 to 90 days, I believe. To make life easier, a pop up box comes up around 14 days before the change is necessary, and if I want to go ahead on and change it now.

So, I go ahead and change them. But here's the problem: when I log on again the next day, I still type in the old password. As a matter of fact, it takes me several days before I can sit down at that computer and actually type in the right password. I mess up that first time, then I think for a second, then type in the right one. If I mess up 3 times, I gotta call somebody up in DC in headquarters to unlock my computer (that's a real drag, man!)

So what's happening there? It's simply a type of stronghold. Yeah, yeah, it's stupid, not all that serious, but I tell you...

You who do not have to change passwords, and have had those same passwords for a few years. I'm willing to bet that you sit down and log in and don't think twice about the password. It's automatic to type it in.

I wonder to myself this one thing: Why can't I be this way with eveything in life?

You know, like when I need to change for the better?

Because with more serious things, there's a tendency to faint, cave in, and quit.

Like the weight loss journey. They say 95% of the people who lose the weight can't maintain the weight loss. They gain the weight back and then some.

I can see now that the reason for that is that the new attitudes and habits people have embraced to affect the succesful weight loss were done out of sheer will power. And apparently that ain't enough.

The whole process was worked out in their mind, and the process never found firm footing or anchor in the spirit of the mind, deep down in the subconscious.


Another example: and I know ER'BODY can relate to this one, especially people who are my age, i.e, 40ish.

Why come I know the words to EVERY popular Earth, Wind, and Fire Song?

What the world is that all about?

LOL!! (I know that made a couple of people laugh, cuz you know what I mean!)

I mean I know EVERY word. I even know the rise and falls and inflections of Philip Bailey's voice. I know when the horn section gonna kick in. I know it all!

Yet, I had problems working out that math problem or that chemical equation. Had issues with the answers on history tests. Hmm...

Something gets down in your spirit, well, it's there. It becomes a stronghold, whether good or bad. It is THERE.

And things can start to happen.

This makes the following scriptures of great importance in the context of this post.

Proverbs 4:23 (AMP) Keep and guard your heart with all vigilance and above all that you guard, for out of it flow the springs of life.

Proverbs 4:23 (CEV) Carefully guard your thoughts, because they are the source of true life.

I understand now, yeah, I better be careful what's getting in, because it may eventually become a stronghold.

You know there is some truth to this. If you don't know, the advertisers know. They spend millions of dollars bombarding us with what they want us to think and desire. Subliminally or just outright. And it works every time.

So now, I understand something about the nature of strongholds. I can consider the "why" behind why I do what I do.

I felt okay walking out of that thanksgiving eve service. I learned a little something new.

It made me think of my transition to vegetarianism a little differently.

Yeah, I've eaten meat over the past year. I don't consider that falling off the wagon. I didn't have no wide ranging plan to do anything terribly strict. Just to get away from meat.

I reduced my meat, fish and poultry intake by some 95%. Would've been by more if it wasn't for my luxurious all inclusive vacations, lol.

But I think that's pretty doggone good. Not perfect.

I'm not going to get into my thoughts on that right now, as I have a vegetarian week coming up. But I understood something.

Things take time to take root and change. Yeah, I can make a concerted effort to change, but for that change to occur deep down, past my will power efforts and all, it takes time.

So yes, I'm much better off than I was a year ago concerning this vegetarian things.

But I tell you what, a lot had to go on in my mind. I had to do a lot of thinking and reading and learning. I had to spend time doing what I was thinking and reading and learning.

I'm having to allow this thing to become a stronghold. That meant first taring down other strongholds that have been reinforced and protected for decades.

And yes that takes time.

I understand that now.

And thank goodness I do.

I am beginning to think of it like changing that password. The old password is stuck in my head, but I can't make progress until the new password is typed in. Gotta capture those old passwords and replace them with new ones.

Spiritually, I have to capture those old thoughts, which are the background of my strongholds, and replace them with new thoughts...

And if I fail?

Just keep working at it.
And working at it.
And working at it.

Don't give up.

Just keep working at it.
Chipping away at that stronghold, that well-fortified fortress.
Working at it, and working at it.

Until something takes root in my heart.
And true production takes place.

And the course of my life changes.

So those are my thoughts on the matter. I needed to write this set of food-for-thought posts for myself, so that I could come back and ponder it and chew on it. I don't even think I wrote all that I wanted to write. But that's okay. I found it to be very important and I found that it explains a lot. Not everything, but a lot. A lot that can help me now, and some time in the future.

I hope you've enjoyed it too.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Food for Thought: Strongholds


That, for some reason, is a subject that I don't care for.

I know, in one of the workbooks Serenity and I were working on, it asked for us to think about areas that we wanted to study on, and create files for such. I know that one of Serenity's favorite areas is the subject matter of strongholds. I am totally opposite.

I just don't like to think about it. I don't like thinking about those things I hold strongly to in my spirit that affect my life in a negative manner.

Now, one of the strongest examples of a stronghold that I know of is smoking. It is TERRIBLY difficult for people to stop smoking. I mean, you can want to quit. Yet you go back to it. It's like it's automatic. Why is that?

It's always been a mystery to me. It's like, you know you need to quit something, but it's taring you up inside to do it, and it takes a looooooong time. What is that about?

I've always known of it have to do with strongholds. And it has to do with much more than will power. It has to be something deeper involved.

Now, you know I like to look up words. So I looked up the word stronghold in the dictionary.

It is defined as a well-fortified place or a fortress.

My attention is captured by the words "well-fortified". It ain't just fortified, it is well fortified.

So it suffices to say, it takes a lot of work to break up something that is well fortified.

Hence on a spiritual tip, there is one passage that I know of that addresses strongholds, located in 2 Corinthians.

2 Corinthinans 10: 3-5 For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [Inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

Interesting. Complicated, but interesting. Speaks to me concerning the fact that there is more to pulling down strongholds than will power. Sure will power works. But there's something deeper involved.

And looking at several versions of the latter part of that verse, it looks like it's important to capturing your thoughts and purposes and pretensions, and bringing them into obedience to Christ.

Hmm. That's a bit deep. Been chewing on that. What is that about?

And that turns me back to the sermon I heard on Thanksgiving Eve that has been on my mind all this time. Especially when I examine my life in light of it.

The easiest thing for me to do is to post my notes on the subject matter.

Be forewarned that these are notes. They are scribbled and disjointed, not perfect. A good service for me constitutes several pages of notes intertwined with personal thoughts and personal "To Do" stuff. So if it looks disjointed, then it is what it is. All in all, there is some very interesting material here, and I bet you will get something different from it than I got.

But I understood a few things after that sermon. About myself, that is. But I will talk about my thoughts and feelings concerning my own self in light of this in the next post.

I find this especially interesting in light of that passage of scripture I mentioned above.

Notes from Thanksgiving service: Subject- Strongholds.

Strongholds occur in the mind.

Your mind holds strong to whatever you feed it.

Hence, things come to the point where the following statement is true:

"I am where I am in life because of the way I think."

Strongholds are constructed thoughts, well fortified in nature. We hold strong to knowledge in our minds and thought life. We usually think of strongholds as negative things. Bad habits that enter into our lives are the results of negative strongholds. Negative strongholds become habits and addictions in your life, and they hold you back.

Yet not all strongholds are negative. Our brain is designed to catch information. What if we could get a grip on that when it comes to the Word of God?

The problem is this: Something is already there in our minds, and it is fighting against God's knowledge, which should have been there first. But it wasn't.

Here's the issue with fasting, and why it's such a hardship for people: Fasting is ultimately about taking away the worldly things for a span of time, and substituing that removal with time with God and the knowledge of God. It is about setting time aside to feed yourself the Word of God.

But some people refuse to do that. They hold so strongly to those worldly things. Those worldly things are massive strongholds.

On renewing the mind: There is no progress without renewing your mind. You will stay the way you are for the rest of your life if you don't work on changing and renewing your mind concerning certain issues in your life.

That is simple to say, but there is more to it than that.

Ephesians 4:23 states "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

It does not say "Be renewed in your mind". It says "Be renewed in the spirit of your mind."

This "spirit of the mind" is a place where deeper thought life takes place. This is the unconscious, subconcious part of your mind.

The "spirit of your mind" is what controls your life. It is doing what it has been trained to do.

In Genesis (specifically 2:16-17), Adam and Eve in the garden chose to get their knowledge from another source and not from God. This is when they spiritually died.

We learn from this that it is not good to neglect the higher training in God's Word.

Here's the problem with society: we do not get the knowledge of God first.

We have so exalted the knowledge of this world that we have deemed the knowledge of God insignificant and inconsequential.

Learning is not renewing your mind. Doing what you have learned constitutes renewing your mind.

There are certain things going on in your spirit that operate on automatic pilot of cruise control.

An interesting example that we can all understand: All of us, who have been driving for years, can easily get from one place to another, and not have to really think much about it. While driving, we're thinking about our day, listening to the radio, whatever. We can even drive and eat at the same time, without so much as a second thought. We can get from point A to point B (especially when driving routes we've been driving for years, like from home to work) very easily without much thought.

But was it this easy when we first learned to drive?


We had to concentrate. Especially when attempting to learn how to drive a stick (manual shift car). It took MUCH mental work. Hold down the clutch at the right time, shift, working with both feet.

Eventually our mind was renewed to the process.

There came a point when it simply became all automatic for us.

And it's like that with everything in life.

Hence, the difference between something being effort based in your mind, to where it drops into your spirit, and it becomes a part of your life, and controls your life...

Okay, that's the gist of my notes.

All of this really stuck with me. I ponder it daily. Not in a way of worrying about it all, but doggonit, it explained lots of things I've gone through in my short 40 years of life.

To be continued...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Food-for-Thought: Florida Evans' Punchbowl

One thing I love every year is our time of corporate fasting at church, which ususally occurs every January.

For me, it sets the tone for my year. I spend more time reading and thinking. I take it as an opportunity to journal and pray about my year.

But we didn't do that this year.

The church fast was moved up a tad.

I learned this while perusing my church website. I saw an announcement there.

The church fast was moved up. It was still for a month, but it started up the day after Thanksgiving, and ended on Christmas Eve.

I almost caught a crook in my neck when I saw that.

I immediately picked up the phone and called my BFF LadyTee.

"Yo girl, uh, where did this fast come from?"
"Oh yeah," she said, her voice flat. "Pastor's wife announce that on Sunday."
"Why?" I asked.
"I don't know. And girl, you know I ain't doing it."

No, LadyTee don't fool with the fasts. She's a thin chick, and she look like she be smoking, like a straight junkie afterwards.

"Well, I ain't gonna even lie to myself," I said. "I ain't doing jack. It's the holiday season, man. Bump that. He can hang that up."

Our fasts aren't usually that hard. They are vegetarian fasts. One year, it was only one meal a day, and to spend ample time reading your bible. Another year, there was twice a day preaching. (That was GREAT. Got a chance to hear some of the Elder mothers of the church say a few things!).

Overall, in my nine years of membership it has been a wonderfully enriching experience.

But not this time.

"Man, he can foggetaboutit!" I hollered to LadyTee several times over that week prior to the fast.

Contrary to popular belief, ain't nobody forced to do a fast.

Come on, now... These are black folk. And you know how we are.

But why did this fast bother me so much? I mean, I am already transitioning to vegetarian. And for me it would have meant just streamlining down to a better veggie diet or somethiing like that. Not a problem. I could do that for 30 days.

But something was different. This fast included a media fast.

No TV.
No computer (only work related allowed).
No going to the movies.


"Girl, they tripping!" I yelled to LadyTee whenever we talked on the phone.


I mean, come on. Can you imagine??? No TV? No movies?

No computer? No blogging?

No Twitter or Facebook?

*Lee passes out on the hard concrete*




'Tis a tad bit unnerving. Just a tad.

Now, don't look at me in that tone of voice. I know I couldn't fool with that. YOU know you wouldn't be down with that. That is something that you would basically have to put a gun to my head to do, or offer me a SUBSTANTIAL amount of money to do.

"Lord," I prayed often,"I ain't gonna even lie to myself. It ain't even going down. This the holiday season. NO WAY."

And this was cool. Nothing's mandatory. Whatever.

I am a TV junkie. That is MY time. I got MY shows! I love movies. Give me some Lifetime Television for women and a good crochet project and I'm GOOD. I love watching sports. And that is football time, man! UGH.

(Me, me, My... I, my... notice a pattern here?)


I was cool. Happy with my decision.

Now, I'd taken off on that Wednesday and Friday of Thanksgiving. That meant a 5 day weekend for me when you include Thanksgiving day. An Oldgirl was feeling GOOD. I'd come up with a couple of new recipes I wanted to try for Thanksgiving, and there was a good Law and Order marathon coming on, and I was gonna enjoy the day!

Our Thanksgiving service is the Wednesday evening before Thanksgiving. This is cool, because it's a bible study night. And I just love it, because it is always about remembering that, no matter how you're feeling about life, always remember to maintain an attitude of Thanksgiving.

That's a good message. I like that!

So I'd had the day off and decided to cap it off with a nice Thanksgiving service. I walked into church, all smiles. I'd had a great day, and this was gonna be good.

Now, my church is huge, and I like a end seat. That means I can dip quicker. Bible study nights aren't as crowded. Maybe 3000 people. Sounds like a lot, but it isn't. I sat in the middle of row this time.

I enjoyed the praise sangers. They sang some of my favorite songs!


My pastor came out and said something interesting...

He wanted to talk about some subject matter that is difficult to talk about...

And why many of us couldn't do this fast that was starting the day after Thanksgiving.

The emphasis of the sermon that night was to be in the area of Strongholds.


I screamed inside. I didn't need to holler what I was thinking.

Let's just say I needed Florida Evans' punchbowl.

I cannot STAND the subject of strongholds.

But that sermon that night... It was presented in a manner that made much sense...

It explained the "why" behind the mystery of Strongholds.

And there hasn't been a day that has gone by since then that I haven't thought about it.

And for that, I am thankful...

To be continued...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Monday Again!

Monday, AGAIN!

This day just seems to roll around right on time each and every week, don't it?


You know what I mean.

At six in the morning in the ATL, it's already 70 degrees outside. Which means today is going to be a HOT HOT day.

My weekend. This almost shaped up into a hectic weekend, but I had to dial it back. I had to wake up and go get my grocery shopping done early (as usual) then go to work for a few hours.

Ugh. I hate working on the weekends. But it was just for a few hours, and it will help me get a leg up on a few things I need to do this week.

To say the least, I was exhausted, and didn't do much on Sunday, save for go to my Financial Freedom Fighters meetings. As usual, we talked of our good, bad, and ugly for the month. This was a great month for me, as I had no bad or ugly going on in my finances. There was none of my usual growling of "I don't want to talk about it, Man!", lol. I talked about my recent completion of the 21 day fast and how I felt about it. Our discussions, as always, were very helpful. I came away with a little "to-do" list.

With that said, congrats to Serenity and crew for finishing up their 21 day Financial Fast on yesterday. I myself really enjoyed the daily posts on her blog during that period of time. Heck, I felt like I was still on the fast myself. Nope, I wasn't, but I've implemented many of the changes that I made during my own fast, and I am VERY happy for that. I was telling the ladies yesterday that I cut out all haphazard spending and I am able to save money a lot better now, and I can see where my money is going and doing. And that is a GOOD thing!

Not sure what I'm expecting out of this week. There's A LOT going on at work. I was in charge on Friday, and that just threw my whole plan off entirely.

Newsflash: I am NOT an Administrator. I am a Lab Rat. That is all.

Nothing worse than doing both at the same time. UGH.

My boss rotates interim duties. Hopefully my turn as boss doesn't come up for a long long time.

Well, that's all I have to say for this beautiful Monday morning.

I wanted this to be a Food-for-Thought week. But my thoughts are a bit jumbled. It may just be one big post. But it may be a 2 or 3 parter, though, on a subject that I REALLY dislike. I think dislike is a harsh word, but it is something that I don't care to think about.

But I constantly think about it.

I'm coming up on my one year anniversary of transitioning to Vegetarian next week. I plan on doing a whole week dedicated to vegetarian stuff.

I need to write this food for thought post before I write those posts. I plan to look at it all in light of it.

(I have confused you to no end, haven't I?)

Oh well. You will be alright. Just tune in...

With that said, I hope you all had a great weekend.

I hope you have a great week.

On purpose.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

You Did It, Kentucky!

Last August, my sister Kentucky got her first teaching job teaching second grade at a public school on the Southside of Atlanta.

"Let me know when open house is!" I hollered. "'Cuz I'm coming! I'll be there!"

Well, the day came for Open House. I went, but a little late, when it was just about over. (Got held up by the Opressor, i.e., held up at work.)

I walked into her school, trying not to bust out crying. My lip quivered hard when I saw the banner with her name on it.

I almost laughed because I was thinking, "I don't know her as that! I know her as Kentucky!"

I really like these wall hangings:

Be Quiet, Hands Free, Be Still, Eyes on Me, Listen. (Management needs that banner at work for us rowdy employees).

I like that second entry on the other poster: "Write in my Journal". LOVE THAT! Journalling at age 7. Hooray!

Another nice poster:

(We need that one hanging on the wall at work too.)

More pictures:

It was nice walking around the room, which was unfinished, taking pictures.
I was REALLY taken with this area of the room, where Kentucky had written out a daily confession for the students.

They say this every morning before class begins. I LOVE IT! I needed something like that back in elementary school.

I am soooooo proud of my baby sister.

One thing I love, and I truly respect when it happens: I love to be in on something when it is only a mere thought in someone's mind, when something's at seed level.

I remember my sister and I talking one day, and her saying "I want to go back to school and get my Masters in childhood education".

You know me. I said, "You can do it!"

She seemed a little unsure, still had research to do. My answer is always to talk to someone who supports you and is not gonna be negative.

"Come on here and talk to, Oscar-Tyrone if you have to," I hollered. "That cat's a good listener, and best of all, he don't talk back. He just want to be rubbed!"


But I remember her thinking about it. I remember when she applied for the program. I remember when she got accepted into the program.

(She ran downstairs hollering about how she got accepted. Thought she was gonna knock over my good coffee table, lol. I took pictures of her jumping up and down.)

I remember all the discussions about the complexity of grad school, when she'd come home wailing about some mess.

"It's just a bunch of hoop jumping, man! I got the masters and the doctorate! Half the stuff they have you doing is a bunch of BS. Hoop Jumping!! Just do it. This is all temporary!"

Yes, it's all temporary. Just like a hairdo.

Now I can say I remember when she finished her program. She now has her Master's degree.

She stood in my bedroom doorway the other night and said "Well, I'm done."

Yes, Kentucky, you are finished.

And congratulations to you.

I love being in on the beginning, when something's at the thought level, the seed level. Then it expands into actions and decisions. When the process takes place. And finally when what's been worked so hard for, when what started as a simple thought, comes to pass.

It is always an honor, not to go through that myself, but to watch someone go through that. And I always give a small offering, as a way of thanking God for letting me see this process, especially when someone has prayed about it, and it comes to past. I'll do no different for Kentucky. She's moving in June, and I want to be of some help to her! (I hate to see her go, though!)

My baby sister is the second in the family to have an advanced degree!

I'm proud of you Kentucky! I remember sitting on the living room floor with you when you were three years old, trying my BEST to teach you your ABC's, thinking "This little girl is NEVER gonna learn this alphabet!"

But you learned that and much more.

And now you're teaching young children the alphabet, and much much more!

So, Kentucky... I, your big sister, Lisa, am very very proud of you!

You did it!

Like I knew you would!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Operation Butternut Squash

I always make it a point to try something new every week. Sometimes it's a great thing, and sometimes it's a fail (failure is very rare). The point is to expand my horizons and try new fruits and vegetables on a regular basis.

This week, I tried a butternut squash.

Now, I think I've had this before. The Farmer's Market has a cafeteria that has strange stuff, and every once in awhile, they have a vegetable medley entree consisting of chopped squash, pears, cranberries, and garlic. (Sounds crazy, but it is really good!). I think the squash they use is butternut squash.

I've never cooked a butternut squash, though.

So when blogger and world class soldier Kayla mentioned on Twitter that she was having squash puree for dinner, I asked her to send me the recipe. She used frozen butternut squash, but I chose to go with a fresh one. I saw a whole bin of them at the farmers market, and I wondered what I could do with them.

Hence, Operation Butternut Squash was initated.

These squash are simple enough to cook. I only bought one, and in cost 75 cents. (Definitely not organic, because that sucker would have been 3 dollars! I've gotten these in the lab every once in a while, and they have been pretty clean, so it's cool.)

Then I had to look up on the internet what to do with it.

Turns out I had to split it lenghwise with a very good knife (because the outerskin is tough) and bake it for an hour.

I had to scoop out the seed, and rub the cut sides with olive oil. Easy enough.

I baked them for an hour. I forgot to take a picture, but it browns a little on top.

I scooped out the soft squash and combined it with a little faux chicken broth, butter, turbinado sugar. (I was suppose to use maple syrup, but that ish is 8 bucks a bottle at my store. That's a fail, man! Raw sugar or raw honey would have to do!)

Suprisingly, I didn't get much out of one squash. That sucker look big enough, but it was only enough for two servings.

I placed the puree in a nice little custard baking dish and topped with pecans.

This is my squash puree, aka, Squash Kayla Supreme!

It was sooooo good. Tastes like a much smoother version of sweet potato souflee. I will most definitely be hooking this up again. It was GREAT!

So thanks for the recipe, Soldier Kayla. It has helped me expand my vegetarian recipe library!

And as always, thanks for protecting my freedom, Soldier!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Muggy Monday Morning

It's Monday.

And I'm laying here in bed staring out the window.

It's MUGGY and icky looking outside. Yuck. A day to lay in bed.

I feel this way every Monday. But alas, I have a load of stuff to do at work today. I have some assignments due tomorrow. Gotta finish that stuff up.

This reminds me to schedule a Monday off in the future.

My weekend. It was what it was. I ran around doing a little grocery shopping and running other errands.

On Friday, I got my laptop back! *Lee jumps for joy*. I was standing there looking at the guy ring up my deeply warranted laptop, hoping there wouldn't be a charge. (If there was, I'd be blogging from the county jail right now, lol). Of course, there was no charge. (Thank goodness for Geek Squad, cuz I would've hated to have to turn the place out).

New motherboard. New keyboard. After only 10 months? Wow. Thank goodness for that 300 dollar warranty!

I actually decided to visit my favorite little open air market. It was an interesting trip. I found that I need to wait a couple more weeks for them to have a few more things that I want. AND I need to get out there at 7:30 in the morning. White folk know they wake up early and line up early. GEEZ! Gotta get off my CP schedule and get on theirs, lol.

After the farmer's market, I went to the white people's post office. In the GOOD neighborhood. Worst mistake in the world. Man, I was in line for 45 minutes. There were only 8 people ahead of me. Uh, I was HOT. And the white folk were HOT. (They're just a little calmer with their dismay. There was no real threat of a fight breaking out, as it is at the black post office).

Sunday, I went to church. I don't usually go to church on Sunday. I like Fridays. But lately, I don't leave work until around 7:30 pm on Friday evenings, so I have to change up. So Sunday it is.

We are FINALLY finishing up this series on attitude and honor. My goodness, I think we've been digging around in that subject matter since early April. This is cool, because I am in the process of correcting attitudinal problems. We've been dancing around the subject of your attitude when it comes to your affection for God.

The most interesting quotes I have in my notes:

Desire is a result of what you give your attention to. You have to attend to a thing in order for you to desire it.

Genuine authentic motives creates long lasting, loving relationships.

Not sure why that last quote struck me so. I suppose because, to me, EVERYTHING is about motive. Motive is the root, man. Motive is a snaphshot of my heart.

I'll be the first to tell you that I have bad motives in certain areas of my life. And I work on those, continuously, trying to admit, acknowledge and examine.

An example was used of, if someone says they love you, your first question is... Why?

(Well, that's my first question anyway.)

An example was used (which completely upset every woman in the place), of a man saying that he loves you, making all these compliments, doing all these wonderful things, making you feel like you are the best woman, the woman of his dreams...

And when he gets that tail, what he really wanted from you in the first place... he's gone.

So the question became: Do we treat God the same way? Praying to Him, doing all the seemingly right things, just so we can get something out of him.

And once we get what we want, are we ghost?

Interesting. It made me examine myself. Looking back over the past 10 years or so, I am glad to be able to say that I am not like this, but I have A LOT of growing up to do. Much. I am still learning and growing in my spiritual walk. And that, just like everything else in life, ebbs and flows. And it is a lifelong process.

My heart is good. My motives are right. (Well, that's what i hope. Adding that to my vision statement somewhere, 'cuz it's something to strive for and speak over myself).

And that's the core of the thing.

I can say that when I remove what people think of me and any search for significance or approval in people's eyes.

Okay! Didn't mean to turn this into a mini food for thought. It's just where my mental is right now. It's just whatever I'm dealing with and trying to correct, well... things creep up to support that.

Like these series of sermons.

Like that doggone Financial Freedom book.

Like the workbook, Lord Teach Me how to Pray, that me and Serenity have been stomping through for the past month, and are finishing up today.

Like many convos I've had recently.

Another quote from my notes:

Giving to God without a heart-seeded affection toward Him, will result in a lifetime of frustration. So whatever you do, do it out of your love for God and that alone. Nothing is fruitful unless it's born out of an affection for God.

Giving means in ALL areas: prayer time, monetary, service, church attendance, worship... EVERYTHING.

I challenge you this beautiful spring week, to check your heart... and your motives.

On purpose.

And see what's really going on.

(That's what this Oldgirl will be doing).

Feel free to take an Obama church fan on your way out the door.

Ya'll have a good week... on purpose.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Friday Freestyles

Good Friday Morning!

Today is PAYDAY!


Not sure why I'm excited. I went online yesterday and paid bills. A good chunk of that pay is GONE already! I've also scratched out a bootleg budget for the week on paper.

You know, I've been doing a lot of reading about the food we eat, etc. I told my boss *insert groans and wailings* "I'm so ashamed of where I work!!!!!"

She gave me that cricket stare.

"But," I continued, "ya'll better have my money straight!"

That's all I gotta say about that!!

"Drama, LadyLee," she says with the hard eyeroll.

Yeah, they gonna see some drama if my money ain't right.


Quotable Quotes: My workgroup SuperHero, The Enfamous HenDog, put this up as his latest Facebook Status:

We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little and watch TV too much. We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often. We've learned how to make a living but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years.

I leaned back in my chair and looked from my cubicle over to Hen's cubicle. "Boy, you didn't make that up!"

"Yes I did," he hollered.

"Who church bulletin you copy that off of!?"

LOL. That's a good one. A mini food for thought.

For some reason, this reminds me of a man I met who don't fool with the computers and internet. I can't imagine the quality of life he must have.

What a turn-on! *Lee swoooooons uncontrollably*

Uh, not sure why that got to me. I guess I rarely meet dudes that get out and enjoy life.

I love the last 2 lines: We've learned how to make a living but not a life. We've added years to life, not life to years.

Get down Hen-Dog... with your deep self!

Video of the Week. We were in deep pontification concerning the following song yesterday:

Halfway through the song, at 1:48 minutes, she forgets the lyrics or something, starts yelling, "But, But... But!" What the world?

It was my conclusion that she was drunk and showed up on her estranged man's front lawn talking trash. Real LOUD.

Cowgirl Cre thought she was like Shug Avery walking across the fields trying to get to the church house! LOL!

And we were lost with at the line: "I know how to make your liver quiver!"


(Yes, we discuss these types of things. We may even make Hen-Dog dance if it's a good song).

Financial Fast. I am LOVING the Financial Fast posts over at the House of Serenity!! Not only the posts, but the comments. I'm learning much from it. I've gotten some great ideas to incorporate into my own financial life. And that's a good thing.

Not sure what I'm doing for the weekend. Book club meeting for tomorrow is canceled. (This is good. I need to finish reading the book.)

This will be a freestyle weekend, with no real agenda. Gotta hit up the post office. I plan on getting a little walking at the track done. If it's sunny out, I may go hang out at the Morningside Farmers market. This is a good time to go and scope it out, as the local summer harvest should be in, i.e., reasonably priced local organic veggies! OH JOY!

Yeah, cuz I need a break from paying $4.29 a pound for broccoli. I eat 2 pounds a week. You do the math.

That's it for me. I guess I'll get up and get ready for work.

What are your weekend plans?

Whatever they are, make it good, and enjoy it... on purpose!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

LadyLee's Favorites: Silk's Tonight

This has to be one of my FAVORITE CDs.

And normally, it is something that I wouldn't even think of buying.

Back in 2000, I lived in New Orleans, and I would try to get back home to the ATL at least every three months. I'd also try to visit friends while here. One of my friends lived in a small town in South Georgia, some 3 hours south of the ATL.

Anyway, whenever I drove through small towns, I always made sure to check out the local Wal-Marts. I've found over the years that small country Wal-Mart stores carry the BEST yarn, and they have plenty of it.

So, while in some some small town in Middle Georgia, I saw a Wal-mart store from the highway, and decided to check it out. The music and electronics section was nearby, and they were playing a CD really loud of some boy group crooning. I remember thinking, after hearing four songs... "I don't know what they're playing over there, but it is off the chain!"

So I went over and talked to the brother who was manning the section, and he said it was the new Silk CD, Tonight. He liked it, and he played it his entire shift. I wanted the CD, but unfortunately, they were sold out. (Everyone came over to pick it up when they heard it playing. Go figure.)

I managed to find it in my friend's town... and I've been playing it every since.

It is one of the very few CDs where I love every single song. I actually think some of the better songs on the album are ones they didn't release as singles.

So that's my favorite CD. I've been playing that in the ride lately.

Very smooth.

Very soft.

Very Silk.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Good Monday Morning

Good Monday Morning.

This weekend was so so gorgeous! Just the right temperature, full of sunshine, no rain, wind blowing through my hair, lol...

I got a good mind to call off from work today (like I feel like doing on every Monday morning), but I will not. (Aren't you proud of me)?

I'm not too sure how much I will be posting, as my laptop is in the shop. It's hard uploading pics etc., on my sister's laptops, and they are blocking blogs at work (Look at my timestamps. Uh, it's very rare for me to blog at work). There is a 60 minute a day quota on personal sites, but I rather keep it light. (I'm not sure why they didn't block FB and twitter, but whatever.)

So I will get in where I fit in.

I spoke with Miss Celie a couple of times this weekend. She really likes the book club book I'm reading right now. Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez.

I have to watch Celie. She is a literary writer, so the stuff she likes, well, I better be ready to think about it, lol. I was over on twitter mumbling, "This book better get better, Celie." Yes indeed, it has gotten better... turning into a really good read. And of course, I'm having to think about it, lol.

I was laughing at ol' Celie. She's sickly right now. She had to put up with me joking "Girl, your voice all deep, you sound like a dude!" LOL

Get well soon, Oldgirl!

I am in LOVE with this pepper.

The African Devil, better known as the African Birdseye Pepper or piri piri. They are only half an inch long, but man... two or three of them in a pot of something really makes that dish SING! To me, a good chili pepper makes you sweat just a little bit. And you can feel the afterburn of it in the back of your throat, and it's not painful. I can't stand peppers that make me cry! Ugh.

Ya'll make SURE you get over to Serenity's blog for the financial posts. They made it through week one, and they have two weeks to go. All seems to be going pretty well, and I am learning much from the guest posts and comments. Ya'll keep chuggin' along over there! I promise, you will learn MUCH about yourself!

I went to church on Sunday, which is a rarity for me (I like going during the week). But I met my best friend LadyTee there, and it was good to get together with her for church.

We've been on a series for over a month, on the subject of being honorable and having a good attitude.

Best thing I heard yesterday:

When you adjust your attitude, you adjust your life.

That's a powerful statement there... so few words, yet so rich... and so true.

I've been working hard on my attitude lately, in all areas of my life... It's a mental spring cleaning of sorts.

I'm making progress, slowly but surely.

With that said, you all make it a FANTASTIC week. Something great is going to happen today. If not to me, then to you, or to someone else. It never fails.

Have a good week... on purpose.

Rest in Peace

Lena Horne
June 30, 1917-May 9, 2010

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mothers Day

Happy Mothers Day

From your Friendly Neighborhood Oldgirl LadyLee

Friday, May 07, 2010

My Thoughts on the 21 Day Financial Fast

I am not sure how I should write this post. Not sure at all,

I would like for it to be as short as possible. (yeah right!)

Why did I do this? I have blogged elsewhere about that. Here at my spot, in a post detailing my financial goals, and in an Introduction to Serenity and crew's 21 day Financial Fast that started up on this past Monday (that one was LONG and drawn out. I think I even upset myself with my longwindedness, lol). I think those post taken along with this one encompass the total span of my thoughts and feelings.

But my major reason for doing this is that I needed an attitude adjustment. And I had a stank attitude in the midst of doing some great things recently, like going debt free in April. Last year, I paid off a medical bill I've had since the age of 24. I paid off a 21 year old credit card, which at his height, had a balance of $11,000.00.

Great things.

But with a jacked attitude. I started traveling last year. Oh Lawd, that didn't help. I learned you can pretty much be laid out somewhere in the Caribbean or Mexico for a good price.

I've been praying about my attitude. Yeah, I whine, but I wrap it up with twice as much praise and gratitude. But I still needed some help. Deep down, it was worrying me a bit. And with my having an autoimmune disease that hinges on how I'm feeling emotionally, well... that ain't good.

So, what happened during this time? Well, it is hard to describe. It's sort of kinda like taking a nice stroll down the street. It is pretty and sunny, the birds are singing. You're enjoying your leisurely stroll...

Then you trip up on a crack in the sidewalk. You're surprised. You do what you do to try and catch your balance. If you did indeed bust your tail on the ground, you get straight back up and make sure no one is looking and what not. You know the drill.

That's what this was like. It was an interruption in my normal routine of doing whatever the heck I felt like doing. I had to check myself on the mental tip. I had to really examine what was going on with me. And there was a lot. The way the journaling questions were set up was right on time and very helpful.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I'm always hollering about every problem has a root. Deal with the root, and the problem soon dies along with it. The root to my anger and busted mentality was fear. Fear of much that I don't care to go into here.

But if you are doing the fast with Serenity and the crew, or just reading along over her way, or simply lurking around over there, you will see something quite interesting going on: people are openly discussing what's on their hearts, and the layers are being peeled away... slowly. But I can see, after going through this, that that was the whole point anyway: the surfacing of fears, concerns, and convictions that are on our hearts... and the realization that we are not alone.

For that I am grateful. THAT was the gist of this thing: A very thorough self examination.

My sister asked how I was doing in the midst of all this.

"In the midst of all the stringency, I feel very free in my mind."

This was definitely the result of a prayer. I don't know about you, but when I pray, paths start to open up immediately. I don't just stand around pondering. And I don't kick out in a full sprint down said path. I tend to, with my scientific and analytical self, casually investigate... and in this case, I am glad that I did.

So, uh, what happened on the financial tip? Now, with any good fast, you're voluntarily setting down some habits, and infusing in new ones for a period of time. Can't shop, can't raise the roof, can't spend money, so... uh, might as well get all up into your own personal bizness.

I tell you, when you have to sit down and dig around in detail in your own activities, it is definitely an eye opener.

I did something interesting over the last 2 days:

1. I compared my spending over the 21 days prior to the fast, to the 21 day fast itself.

2. I looked at the average of my spending on groceries, shopping, gas, and eating out over the first quarter of the year.

Now, me and Serenity emailed about this today. I threw the information out at her, and she was a bit neutral about it. But I know she was sitting on that computer screaming on the inside, lol.

Because I was. I must admit, I was a bit nauseous. And my tail was sitting in a very important meeting concerning some stuff going on in the news. (Yeah, I should've been paying attention, but I was trying to keep from hurling all over the place).

So, I'm gonna be honest and forthright and put it all out there. We all friends here in the House of LadyLee. Let's look at this:

Over the past 21 days, my total spending was about $340 dollars. I have no kids or family (baby sis Kentucky lives with me, but she takes care of her own groceries, gas, etc.), so yes, it's a bit much for me. Remember now, that I'm transitioning out to vegetarian over the past year (shameless plug: Vegetarian Week in June coming up!), and I eat 90% fresh organic fruit and vegetables, which close to doubles my grocery bill. So my grocery budget was close to 75 dollars a week. Gas was about 15 bucks a week. $30 bucks was for the lawn care. My meds ran about 13 dollars after insurance. The rest was for a trip to Wal-mart (you know, stuff like cleaning supplies, paper products, etc., is what really bites you in the wallet!)

This was reasonable enough.

However, taking a look at the 21 days prior to the fast was an eye opener. Approximately 100 bucks eating out. Shopping ran about 120 dollars.

Grocery: A little over 500 dollars.

Look... don't even ask how that happen. I cannot tell you. Well, I can. It was that little ish. Like 20 dollars here, 30 dollars there, etc. You do that a dozen times outside of the regular grocery trips, well... I didn't know (or didn't pay attention), but it adds up!

Oh, that just bothered me to my core! Oh that just... made me want to throw myself off the roof.

Surely this was an anomaly. But, looking at the past 3 months, well, that confirmed it for me:

Average per month (January-March).

$175.00/per month Shopping
$60/per month Gas
$60/per month eating out
$585.00/per month Grocery bill.

Man... I am tripping on that grocery bill. That is HORRIFYING. And I don't know where it went. I mean, doggonit, no one around here eats THAT much. Yep, my organic cheesed out my bill, but not that much. But just looking at it, it's that silly spending that I do: 20 bucks here, 30 bucks there... that's what I'm seeing on paper. That adds up.

So, herein lies the problem.

And as far as I'm concerned, the problem is easy to solve. Chop down that grocery bill, and we are in business.

So, what are my goals and solutions. Okay, this long post is coming to an end.

Get a new budget!!!!! On this fast, I had no problem sticking to 75 dollars a week. Heck, I did so much record keeping that I can probably close in on 60 bucks a week (that's stretching it for organic. Really. But it may be doable. We will see).

So here's the new budget:

$100.00/per month Shopping (I hate shopping, so not a problem)
$60/per month Gas
$50/per month eating out (3-4 days a month eating out)
$300.00/per month Grocery bill.

That's the best I can do. I would love to get that grocery bill down to 200 dollars per month. This might be doable, as this is open air farmer's market season. I also made some great changes in how I shopped. Also, I have to carefully deal with Wal-Mart trips. You know how it is, thinking that you're just gonna run in there for a couple of items and it turns into some craziness. I have to reel that in.

I'm definitely NOT using my debit card again. I like the cash system. I've been trying that out off and on for years. No, it's not all that convenient, but this ain't about convenience anyway. It's about doing better with my money, and working with cash helps.

Alright, you can judge if you want. Go tally up your stuff and find the hole in your stuff, and then come back and shake your finger at me. And you know me. I REALLY don't give a...

Alright, don't get me opening my Book of Cuss.

Moving on.

Shore up Grandma's bank account. I gave Grandma a debit card under my name a good 2 years ago. The author of the book discussed helping people, so that's my part: hook up Grandma. I set a new minimum that I would like to see in her account at any given time, and I was able to take care of that during the fast. I am happy about that.

Decide on savings goals. Not saying how much I want to save per month, because I'm still pondering that. I know SingleMa has a $5K goal match going on her blog for this month, and that ain't gonna happen. I can do that if i knock off one of those zeroes. And I can go stick up the drug dealers who man the street corner. But I like that they have a challenge going on. That is cool, and it makes me think.

Now how much was I able to save over this 21 day period? And what I mean by that is how much am I able to move into my ING account today?


I was NOT expecting that. It sort of killed off the dry heave feeling of the out of control grocery bill. It had me all giddy indeed.

Biggest thing I learned from this fast? Uh, I know the difference between a want and a need. They are as different as night and day. Different as water and fire. That saved my tail the whole way through.

"Do I need this?"
has become the question of the moment these days.

It is critically important that I spend time examining myself in my financial matters and otherwise. Like I said, being part of a finance group has been so helpful over the years, as it has been the core to keeping me reined in on financial matters. This fast took things from a monthly level to a daily level, which was highly necessary.

Equally important, and I didn't know this until reading the book (well, I did, as we do this in my finance group- we do this a lot lately, and those have been our best meetings), is the examination of fears and emotions that keep me from striving in my finances.

For myself, I have to work on my attitude. I must admit that it wasn't bad during this time, and that was refreshing.

Overall, this was a pretty good experience for me, as necessary as spring cleaning of my house.

This was a spring cleaning of my financial house.

I didn't mess up all over the place like I thought I would be doing. No I wasn't perfect. I spent 6 dollars on nonessentials during this time, and that didn't stop me. I took it day by day, and did my best.

As a result, I'm working on being honorable in my finances. I have new rules for my finances. New goals. I'm going to work and reinforce the new habits I have obtained, and I am NOT interested in going back to the way things were.

I have a new attitude.

So that's a recap of my experience. Definitely not brief, and not really all that detailed. I think what needed to get done got taken care of.

And that's a good thing.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

~~~D U N~~~

*LadyLee walks out on the stage, grabs the microphone out of the microphone stand with BOTH hands*


*LadyLee slams the microphone to the ground. It explodes into a million pieces and sets the stage on fire*


That's what my blog bruh 12Kyle says on the social networks when he's done for the day and 'bout to go to bed.

That's what I, The Oldgirl, say now that my

21 day Financial Fast



21 days, mayne. 21 days.


You know, I can't even begin to fully understand and comprehend what this has done for not only my finances....

But for my heart.

And my mentality, my attitude.

(It is bringing some serious tears to my eyes, ya'll. Had to step off into the kitchen and have some communion- a piece of wheat bread and a shot glass of berry juice.)


I am done.

And that had to be one of the most enlightening times of my life right there. Straight up.

Serenity is bugging me about writing a post about it. I will, but I'm still trying to tally up my numbers.

Let's just say, the amount of money I've calculated that I was wasting is gonna make you want to reach through your computer and slap the cheese out of me.

The amount of money I saved is gonna make your eyes pop. (Made me see *crickets*)

All in all, going through this has been a HUGE accomplishment and blessing. This was like, one big intangible gift to myself.

So hopefully I'll talk about it on Friday.

You know me and my longwinded tail. I'm gonna write a long version for me, then scale it way down.

Until then, go check out what that Original Oldgirl Serenity and crew are up to on their 21 day fast. They're handling some SERIOUS bizness over in the House of Serenity.

If you're not inspired by whatever it is that's going on with everybody financially, well... I don't know what to tell you!

My post will be up on Friday.

Until then.

I'm DUN.



I'll holler!

*LadyLee runs off stage doing the hard Rocky victory cheers*

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

Workplace Funnies: "Merry Christmas!"

Oh yes, oh yes...

Day 20 of the 21 day Financial Fast.

I am almost there.

Now I did my Fast at a time when life was relatively quiet. No holidays, no graduations, none of that.

Except... there was a baby shower.

And you know me. I really like making homemade gifts, making something with my hands.

I always try to crochet blankets for expectant mothers.

And here's the one I made for the mother to be.

Ain't it pretty? She picked the colors herself. I raised an eyebrow at her desired design, but it was really nice.

I'd pretty much finished making the blanket, and then I read something in my book: that during the fast, you were not allowed to go shopping for gifts and what-not. Just tell the person what you are doing, and attend if you can without a gift.

Good enough. So I went to the expectant mother, our work group secretary, and told her about all this.

She sees me coming her way , and she has that "Lawd have mercy, what do she want now!" look on her face. For she is big and pregnant, and it is tough on her for me to come bothering her about simple stuff, like being unable to track down a phone number or email address or old email instructions.

But she is a great secretary, and she obliges my requests, while giving me that hard "mama" look.


So I ran up on her.

"Yeah, Shon... look, I have the blanket together, but it's gonna be wrapped in Christmas paper."

"What?" she asked.

"Well, I'm on this 21 day financial fast, and I can't buy any nonessentials. So, I have the blanket ready, and it will be wrapped in Christmas paper."

She gave me the hard side-eye.

"Dr. Parker," she said.

"I want to stay within the rules, Shon."

She sighed. "Dr. Parker. A gift bag costs a dollar at Dollar Tree."

"This is true," I said. "But, I won't be going there."

She looked at me crazy. A look between the *mama stare* and hard *crickets stare*

I got a bit scared for a moment. But I tried to smooth it over. "Look, you're gonna throw the paper away anyway, right? It'll be alright."

I don't think she liked that idea. But she finally seemed okay with it.

I just hope she don't mess with my timesheet. That is all.


Anyway, I wrapped it in some very nice Christmas paper.

My boss tied some pink crepe paper ribbon around it. It was tacky to death. LOL

The party was the bomb! There was a gang of food.

Those wings were wailing "LadyLee, eat us! We are soooo good!"

I hollered back... "Noooooo! I'm vegetarian now... you bustas!"


I wasn't around much. I had a technician in the back labs repairing equipment, and dude kept calling me for my thoughts on what he was doing. So I had to run back and forth, trying to keep an eye on him. (Almost brought him to the party! lol).

I gave the gift to our beloved secretary, and hollered a hearty "Merry Christmas!!"

She loved it.

I am glad she did.

So Shon, I am so happy for you... Here's to a safe delivery of your baby girl!

And thank you so much for allowing me to wrap your gift in Christmas wrapping paper!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Rainy Monday Morning

It is STORMING in my City.

I woke up around five in the morning to angry cracks of thunder and the sound of wind and rain beating upon the roof.

And Aunt Flo is whispering in my ear "Young lady, this would be a great day to take the day off and lazy around in the bed."

Sure would be. But that is not going down. Nope! I'm taking my tail to work.

They're saying on the news that we've already had 2 inches of rainfall. There are flash floods all over the place. I don't leave for work 'til 9:45, so less peeps should be out by then. (We in the ATL drive crazy in the rain.)

I had a good weekend as usual. I didn't venture out much. I took my laptop to the Geek Squad for service. My living room television is jacked (on/off button is busted), and you will be proud of me: I didn't go price televisions while in Best Buy. I just took my computer in, and got to stepping! Noooo window shopping at all.

My sister Kentucky was camped out in the living room all weekend long. This is odd, since she usually stays in her room. But she was working hard on what she called a "Ca.pstone Project". She talked about this for a moment. (I see *crickets* when she talks about her studies. I just listen.) But that is what the education call their thesis. She has to make a video montage of her student teaching and current teaching. Very interesting.

I know I got on her nerves. I sat in there with her and watched television. And then, I was in the kitchen (my kitchen, dining room and living room is one great room), and I chopped up a lot of veggies for the week. So uh, she had to see much of me.

I am proud of my sister. I remember when she got the letter of acceptance for this Masters program. She came downstairs and ran all around the house. I grabbed my camera and took pictures of it.

And now, she's worked hard, and will be graduating in a couple of weeks. GO KENTUCKY.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE seeing things like that happen. I love seeing it when it is a mere seed, a thought in someone's mind. I remember when my sister was thinking about the program. I remember telling her "go head on and apply."

From a thought to full manifestation. I love witnessing that in my life, and in the lives of others.

This is Day 19 of 21 of my 21 day Financial Fast. Almost there. I mean, I can seeeee the finish line up ahead. LOL

Honestly, it hasn't felt like 19 days. I've made a lot of decisions and goals during this time. I haven't been talking much about it. Serenity has checked on me from time to time, but it has been moreso something I've done along.

Speaking of Serenity, she called me on Sunday. She and I rarely talk, so I was like "What's wrong? Why are you calling me?"

I had to give her a pep talk about this fast. I told her that she will be alright. This is simply a mere self-examination process. Period. Examine yourself financially, very closely. Yes, that can be painful. In this case, it's mentally painful. Man, we build some serious pictures in our heads concerning these things. This is JUST 21 days. A little over 5% of the year. That's the way I looked at it.

We discussed her plans and decided we'd both come up with our weekly budgets and discuss it this morning. I've been a bit quiet, but I'm gonna bombard her with some of my goals and plans. (Not an issue, cuz she likes that!)

Those of you who are thinking about going through it, or just reading along, I wrote a long-winded introduction over at her blog. She has already posted up her "Day 1" thoughts.

It really wasn't that bad. I learned much about myself and my spending habits and I feel okay about evaluating myself through journaling and making the necessary changes.

This all coincides with the last line of my personal vision statement regarding being a good steward. It pushes me a little more in the right direction. And I am glad of that.

People are always asking me about the vegetarian thing. Like, I have this thing where I eat something new every week. Last week, I had some abate fetal pears. It's a South American pear, more oblong than regular pears, but it tastes like a regular pear. Interesting enough. Last night I had some "Forbidden" rice. I noticed it as a new grain in the bulk section of my vegan co-op. I asked a worker about it, and he didn't know much about it. It is a short grain rice the color of black ink. I bought 50 cents worth and cooked it up. Tastes like regular rice to me.

For dinner, I had this rice, along with brown basmati rice, and some sauteed szechaun okra. It was all very pretty. I suppose it's for decorative purposes. Who knows.

Well that's it for today. The rain has let up some, and hopefully it will be this way when I get ready to go to work.

I'm determined to have a great week... on purpose.

You be sure to do the same.

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Guest Bloggin' Duties

Yeah mon...

I have guest blogging duties this weekend.

Scrawling on the walls in the Chicken's Coop, i.e., The House of Serenity!

Serenity is laid out on a beach in Charleston. She gave me an assignment to write an introduction to the 21 day Financial Fast for her and crew. I bugged her about it on twitter (while she was on the beach - not a good look, as it ruffled her feathers, lol), but I wrote some long-winded loveliness on my self, thoughts, and experiences surrounding this fast (I'm on day 18 of 21 now).

So go on over there. Support that Oldgirl. And if you're running with them, starting up on tomorrow, it'll do something to motivate ya!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend!