Friday, January 31, 2014

Have a Fantastic Rest of the Year!



I want to say, "thank you" to Toni at One Chocolate Box for coming up with "The New Year Project" and inviting me (and the blogosphere) to join in the ride.  What a great opportunity to stretch the resolutions of one day out over a whole month.  If you are looking to create a new habit, a month is a perfect amount of time to solidify that in your practice.

I have joined many, many month-long blog projects.  Until this month, I have only completed it one time.  So I'm feeling pretty dang pleased with myself.  Not only have I completed The New Year's Project, but also my first NaBloPoMo and Jeff Goin's 500 Words a Day Challenge.  I might be pretty hard to deal with the next couple of days, cause I'm feeling pretty good about myself!

My studies are also going much better than last semester, so I'm very, very happy about that.  We filed our taxes today, and they were 'accepted' by the IRS, so our return should be coming next week and I am OVER THE MOON about that one!  Party at my house just as soon as our temps here in Kentucky get to be higher than those in Alaska.  

For the rest of the year?  Wow...there are so many options.

  1. I will finish a short e-book to use as a giveaway on my blog.
  2. I will participate in and complete NaNoWriMo.
  3. We will fine-tune our family budget.
  4. We will increase the variety in our garden and maybe add some animals.
  5. I will increase the amount of book-related posts on my blog (reviews, interviews, guest posts, etc)
Well, that ought to keep me out of trouble...for a while! ;)

What are you working on for the year?  Maybe someone else is working on the same thing and you can help each other out!

Happiness for Young and Old



Dear Young'un,

You will have times of great happiness and great sorrow in your lives, and everything in-between.  I hope and pray there is way more happiness than anything else.  Reversals in our lives help us to appreciate successes.  Sadness makes us value happiness all the more.

I've been both in my life.  And let me tell you something, "Happiness is a WHOLE lot more fun!"  Would it surprise you to learn that some of that is in your control?  If an acquaintance of yours makes you feel bad, you can choose to hang out with other people.  There are people out there willing and able to inspire you to reach beyond your circumstances and bring about wonderful things in your life.

It also helps to appreciate the good that we already have.  Some days that is easier, some days harder.  Maybe on a given day you can't find anything.  Having a roof over your head is a whole lot nicer than not.  Most likely one or more family members loves you and wants the best for you.  That is a HUGE plus.  A teacher that takes extra time to help you understand a problem at school.  Wonderful.

But what about the days where nothing goes right?  Maybe your mom or dad lost their job and is really stressed out.  Maybe you did poorly on a test at school and you don't want to tell your parent(s).  Well, maybe that's the day that the little puppy in the pet store window on your walk home comes up to the window and wags his tail furiously in greeting like he is really happy to see you.  Maybe a beautiful little flower pushes up out of nowhere in between sidewalk blocks in the concrete jungle.

You can't stop all of the rain in life.  But you can know there is sunshine.  You can help spread it to other people.  Then you can be your own and someone else's happiness.  What a wonderful gift.

-a tired, old (happy) coot

Role Models



I really, really liked talking with my husband's Mamaw.  When we moved to Kentucky from Texas, our children were 8, 6, and 2.  We moved into a mobile home (aka trailer) next door to her house.  My father-in-law lived (and lives) across the back field.

Of course, we had visited from Texas before we moved up here.  The first time, the boys were 4 and 3 and our daughter was not yet born.  Neither the children nor myself had met anyone from Chris's father's side of the family up until that point.  When the boys and I walked up and knocked on the side door, Mamaw came and said "Howdy," through the screen.  When she saw my husband, this little five-foot-nothing white-haired woman said, "I oughtta throw you across the yard," (for not bringing her great-grandsons up sooner).  Everyone laughed.  The bonding was instantaneous.

We'd be over at Mamaw's almost every day.  She would still cook sausage gravy and biscuits for breakfast in the early days of our sojourn here, and made 'dressing' a couple of times a week.  They were two dishes that Chris had loved while he was growing up.

I don't know that I ever told Mamaw what I thought of her while she was still here (she passed last March), but I hope I tried to show it.

Eventually, we moved out of the trailer, and rented several places over the next six or seven years.  We still visited, but less and less frequently, depending on how far away we lived at the time.  Sometimes we would go to my father-in-law's house and "stop in" at Mamaw's either before or afterwards.  I felt bad that these were kind-of 'blow through' visits.

So I made a point to sit in the kitchen and have a coffee with Mamaw and chat for a while.  Coffee for Mamaw was a spoon of instant in a cup of water that had been heated up in the microwave.  At the table, the cup would have a saucer and some of the coffee would be spooned or poured into the saucer (to cool it down, maybe?) before drinking or spooning the coffee out of the saucer.  I tried to do it that way, I really did!  In the end, I drank coffee the way in which I was used, and that was ok by Mamaw.  We talked and laughed and talked some more.

I miss her.

WOOHOO, We Made It!

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


The only real pressure I felt from January's NaBloPoMo was the fact that I had never once actually completed a whole month before, not once in all the times I had started out.  My pressure was self-induced.

I tried to offset some of that pressure, but making up templates for each day's post at the beginning of the month, complete with the graphic above.  That seemed to help somewhat.  I never really got off the wagon by more than about 12 hours until  Wednesday of this week.

And you know what?  I'm going to be nice to myself on that one.  I'm here.  All my posts for each one of the prompts provided are complete ... well, except this one, of course, but that will be done in a couple of minutes.

So, being up to date on my course assignments, finishing this blog series and celebrating my daughter's 11th birthday two days early, I'm gonna have FUN today!

Have a great weekend, and maybe before you go, leave a comment about how you reward yourself for a completed goal, or how you treat yourself kindly when you don't quite get there.  Someone needs to hear what you have to say!

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do

NaBloPoMo January 2014 

If I could persuade people to do one thing right now, I would persuade them to believe in themselves and take that first (or 22nd, or whatever) step towards their dreams.

A lot of dreams die on the vine because people are afraid to try, afraid of failure, afraid of success.  Or they don't think they are "good enough".  I spent years (wasted years?) mired in all that crap.

I remember seeing a poster once, with one of those huge-eyed hand-drawn kids, with a saying like, "I must be somebody, 'cause God doesn't make mistakes."  I think most religions or spiritual traditions have some sort of philosophy like that.

Ten years after I had been told to find something else to do because I had no future in theatre, I saw an audition notice on a wall at my new college.  I thought to myself, "That's cool.  I should do that."  When I moved closer, I saw the auditions were on two different days, the last of which was that day.  All the excuses came flooding back, "Oh, it's too soon.  I don't have anything prepared.  I'm not good at cold readings....yadda, blah, blah."  I came within a hair's breadth of talking myself out of it.  Then I thought, "Why not?  What have a got to lose?  I love acting.  Nothing in the world would make me happier.  And if I don't get a part, I am no worse off than I am right now."  So I went, I auditioned, and I got a part.

Those cherished dreams CAN work out, for you too!  Maybe not in the way you expect, or in the time frame you would like, but when you 'release the result' you open so many, many doors to allow great experiences and people come into your life.

What is one step you can take today to move closer to a goal or dream of yours?

Undue Influence

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


Well, it depends.  Over the telephone, or internet, when people can first read or heard my words and think they sound like a pretty good idea.  But in person, not so much.  If people judge me by looks, I'm sunk.  (Not all people do this, though.  Most are pretty cool.)  I'm middle-aged, overweight, wear dentures, and have been known to have a pronounced Kentucky twang at times, so some people, for whatever reason, seem to think I'm intellectually-challenged.  And try influencing someone who thinks they are intellectually superior to you.

For instance, a lot of the people with whom I have come in face-to-face contact during my return to college smile a lot, talk slowly and distinctly.  They all but pat my hand and say, "There, there."  I used to hear that tone of voice a lot when I worked with adults with mental retardation.  I mentally roll my eyes, sigh, and say a prayer for all of us.

The ones I come in contact with by other means (all my classes are online), we're golden.  My professors like my writing style, and I've not heard, "Man, you are SO off base,"... yet.

The more passionate I am about a subject, the more likely I am going to be able to influence people on that subject.  I believe many people would be the same.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Most Stressful Responsibility

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


I would have to say raising my children.  And I wouldn't change that stress for the world.  Because they are one of my greatest joys.

I am remembering, clear as day, the moment they wheeled my oldest child (now 17) into my room at the hospital.  He had to go on oxygen right away for a couple of hours after he was born, and since labor was induced, they wouldn't let me out of bed for 24 hours.  So when his little bassinet was wheeled into the room was the first time I had seen him.

I was 35 years old.  I had waited, planned, waited more, etc, etc, etc for almost 20 years for that moment.  And when I peeked over the edge of the bassinet, I thought, "OK, WHAT AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW?"

Would I give up my life to save even one of theirs?  In a heartbeat.  When they were born, they were defenseless and it was my responsibility (and my husband's) to provide their every need.  We have been their first teachers.  

Our oldest is quickly getting to the point (if he has not already passed it) where he will begin to assume responsibility for his own decisions and actions.  Getting him to the point where he is able to do that has been and is our responsibility.  Parenthood is an awesome responsibility, not to be taken lightly.

I will never be the perfect parent.  But as long as I have put in my best effort, that will be enough.  My parents were not perfect, but I know now they did their best (although I would not have sworn to that at the time).

So, what about you?  What is your most stressful responsibility and how do you handle it?  Let us know in the comments? :O) - Peace out, y'all.

Anything I Can Do, I Can do Better



I think I would be better at LIFE if I HAD MORE FAITH.

My biggest 'failures' in this game of life have come when I stayed inside my little nest and did not venture out.  Evidence the length of time it took me to come out of my shell for theatre's sake.  I get angry sometimes when I look at the years I wasted doing other things.  But I also realize I am not perfect and forgive myself for that and other failures.  Yes, I could have done things differently and had a very different life.  But I would not change my life now (with my family) for any amount of 'success' professionally.  And the past is the past, right?  I can't change it now, so I might as well take a look at things I can change.

My biggest 'successes' in life have come when I swallowed my fear, and took that extra step, most usually out of my comfort zone.

1.  I saw that audition poster and went, even though I had no time to 'prepare'.  As it happened, I got a part.  Would it mean I failed if I had not gotten a role in the play?  No.  It would have been a 'not in this case' scenario.

2.  I used to belong to a fraternal group called Job's Daughters.  I entered a state-wide pageant for the group when I was a little older than most of the other contestants and had never held a leading officer position.  I went on to represent the state in the international competition in Hawaii (talk about a bonus right there!)

3.  My mother-in-law tried to get custody of our children when we just had the two boys.  I was dealing with crippling depression at the time and could very well have thrown up my hands and surrendered.  But I did not.  They were my boys.  I went to a lawyer and found out she did not have the standing to bring the case.  After one hearing (which she missed), she dropped the case.

I'm not perfect.  Far from it.  But I'm pretty dang neat!  And so are YOU!  :O)

Could you share (in the comments) a time when you took a leap of faith and how it turned out?  You might have the exact information another needs to hear today!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Read, Reading, To Read 1/27

Join the link-up over at the Book Journey blog.  Share what you are reading, have read, will read and get suggestions from other participants.  Just click that l'il button up there! ^^^

I'm also *ahem* 'borrowing' the way Jen at "The Introverted Reader" sets up her "What are You Reading" posts, because it just seems so danged organized!



All of these, with the exception of The Crowdfunding Bible, are going to be here for a while.  They are textbooks after all. :O)

I also received a copy of the above ebook from the author this last week in order to get my honest review.  I'm between 1/2 to 2/3 done and my review should be up later this week.  I have to tell you, though, it's looking good so far!


While I have already finished this book, I will be having an interview with the author, Karen Snow, later during the week.  You will want to check back for that!

I am currently reading this book as well, for part of a blog tour.  My review will be up on February 3rd (that's one week from today).

I've got scads of stuff on TBR, but really want to get caught up on the stuff I'm reading/working on now before I pick where to go next.

The Dark Side of Perfect

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


Both time and perfectionism put pressure on me; they probably put pressure on you too.  For me, perfectionism is the bigger issue.  I spend hours and hours trying to make something perfect ... right up until the point where the scale is tipped and time constraints crash down on me, crushing me to a greasy little spot on the floor.

Suppose I live in the perfect zip code, drive the perfect car and wear the perfect clothes.  Does that make my life perfect?  What if I moved.  Would anywhere else be less than perfect?  Would my perfect friends still be friendly?  Or would less than perfect not be 'good enough'?

For example, I have a relative who owns and drives a Cadillac.  Unless they discover oil under our house, or we win the lotto, or I become a best-selling author, that's never going to happen to me.  And that's ok.  (Besides, if I'm going to spend that kind of money on a vehicle, I'd rather have a Jaguar!)  She says she only knows how to drive Cadillacs.  (This isn't true.  I've seen her drive a Lincoln.  And I bet the rental counter clerk wishes they had had a Cadillac that day.  Oy!)  Do I like her more because she drives fancy cars?  No.  Would I like her less if she drove a less-than-antique, run-down Chevy?  No.

Why?  Because she is not her car.

We are not our possessions.  We are not just our abilities.  You've heard the expression, "You are what you eat"?

We are also what we do.  Nobody can be us better than we can.

Can You Believe January is Almost Over?



At some point, most people who make resolutions will come to a point where they have to decide whether they will continue to do with their work or if they will let a slip-up here or there cause them to abandon the changes they were trying to institute in their lives.

Let me tell you a story. Some of you have heard this before.  :O)

At some point in rather early in childhood, I decided I wanted to be an actress.  From junior high school on, there were 'drama' classes available at the school.  I took them.  In high school, I guess we were 'cooler' then, and drama became 'theatre'.

When I entered college, I declared as a Musical Theatre Major.  Apparently I was not too shabby in the acting department, but my singing was not something for which I had never had training.  I was incredibly, overly nervous about it.  At the end of freshman year, each MT student had to pass an audition to continue in the program.  (I cringe even now thinking of mine.)  One professor actually wrote on my sheet that I should find something else to do because I had no future in musical theatre.

I abandoned my dream.

Ten years and several lifetimes later, I went back to college and happened to get a part in a play.  For the next five-six years, I got a lot of parts in a lot of plays.

Do you see?

I had a TEN YEAR DERAILMENT in a 'resolution'.  And I went back.  And I took it up again.  It was worth it!

Do you know something?


Friday, January 24, 2014

Clutter Cutter

365 Items in 365 Days Challenge

I really wasn't planning on joining something else this least not for a while.

You see, I've joined umpteen reading challenges.  I'm posting book reviews on my blog now, both independently and from tours and authors who have provided me a copy of their book for free in exchange for my honest review.  And I'm doing the winter Blogathon Bash this weekend.  And the Winter's Respite Read-a-thon next week.  And I'm taking a full load of courses at college.

So now, as much or more than ever, I need to be organized.  And there is too much stuff around to be organized.  I am SO glad I ran across the above challenge, hosted at the From Overwhelmed to Organized blog.  After reading the challenge sign-up post, I did a little work on the right side of my desk and can actually see the surface of the desk several spots.  Yes, it's that bad.

So, you can 'see' why I'm here.  I'm figuring on making updates in a weekly Saturday post

Doin' the Happy Dance



The happiest I have ever been has been when I have taken that step out in faith.  Yes, I was scared, but I did it anyway.  That as much as anything else, showed me that what I did had a lot to do with whether or not I would be happy.  Sure, if someone walked up and gave me a winning lotto ticket, I would be happy.  (If the winning ticket were for a large amount, I would REALLY be happy! :O) )

But I can also be happy without winning a lotto jackpot.  And if you wait around for a jackpot to be happy, you'll probably be waiting for a very, very long time.  That is when you surrender your possibilities for happiness to someone or something else.  How sad.

My house is very crowded right now.  There are 2 adults (my husband and me), two teenage boys, 1 tween girl, four dogs and 10 puppies.

I could concentrate on the lack of organization, the fact that there is hardly ever a quiet moment, the stunning amount of trash generated.  I could go on for a while and get more disheartened and depressed at every step.

Or I could be happy that we are living in our own house.  Many people don't.  Some don't even have a place to live.  I could be happy that the house built by my husband's paternal grandparents is still in the family.  I could be happy that one of my children's grandfather's houses is minutes away, and that there is a lot of cross-generational contact.  (I really only knew one of my grandparents, and I knew Mamaw (husband's paternal grandmother) better than all of my direct grandparents altogether.  I am.

I would like to hug my house.

On Your Marks

Biannual Blogathon Bash 

The January edition of the Biannual Blogathon Bash has begun!

Wait a minute.  What is that, you may ask?

#blogathon2 is a weekend of whipping you blog into shape so it can go out into the blogosphere better, stronger, faster!  If you don't have the tools, you can find out about them by clicking the button above.  If you don't have the know-how, come meet people who do (and like to share)!

Over the course of 72 hours, hundreds of bloggers will be working on their blogs.  Some posts will undoubtedly be written (that's one of the things on my list), but a lot of things that are less regular to the craft will be seen to as well (IMO, this is where the mini-challenges, etc, come into play).  

For my own personal situation, there is a mini-challenge about page rank, something I do not understand at all.  Now's my chance to learn!

Come take your blog to the next level!

My list of goals for this weekend:

1.  Back up my blog.  DONE! 
2.  Plan and schedule in- and outbound guest posts for the rest of the year.  IN PROCESS. 
3.  Reassess (and reactivate?) my Mental Health Mondays meme. 
4.  Plan some sort of blogging/reading event later in the year. 
5.  Finish an e-book for giveaway. 
6.  Publish 3 book reviews. 
7.  Read that 2nd writing prompts book. 
8.  Finish as many mini-challenges as possible.

The Mini-Challenges:

I had done something like this one before, but when I used it as a link up image, the name got cut off at the beginning and end, so I thought I would re-do the image.

2.  5 Tips to Organizing your blogging when you work outside the home (NYA). 

I'll make updates to this list as the goals and challenges go in-process and are completed.

Please leave a comment whether or not you are participating in the bash, so I can visit your blog!  Thanks so much vor visiting my Back Porch! :O)

Facing Pressure: Do You Comply or Rebel?

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


Hehehehe.  How much time do you have today?

I can answer this question in one of three ways:

a) No.  I feel the request is valid and it is my 'job' (whether in a professional or social setting) to comply, even though it may cause stress.  A lot of situations in a former job had this kind of situation.  If one of the residents was getting worked up and threatening to hurt themselves or someone else it was my job to stop them (in the former case) or step in between them and their intended target (in the latter).  Pressure? Loads. Run away.  Not on my life.

b), probably not.  Sometimes a request or order is valid, but delivered in a demeaning manner.  That's when my hackles start to rise.  Ninety-nine times out of 100 I would probably comply an do what is being asked.

c) All bets are off.  If the person is on a power trip and enjoying lording it over other people (including me), then their request is difficult to fulfill and there is a definite desire on my part to push back.  At the same job described earlier, I was assisting a resident (let's call her "J") in a wheelchair with transferring to the toilet, she began to holler.  When I started in the home, she was getting around by use of a walker.  But she would rather have people do things for her. So, while I was transferring her, one of the home 'officials' came and wanted to know why she was screaming.  I said it was because the resident did not want to have to do any work, and that I was encouraging her to move so that she could retain her abilities as long as possible, and that I did not want to enable her into the wheelchair full-time.  This staffer screamed at me that I "HAD TO" enable her, because J could not put any weight on her feet!  I replied, "Uh, She just did."  My voice might have been a little louder than usual.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Keeping Cool in the Pressure Cooker

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


First let's look at the words possible and probable?  Is something possible; could it happen?  Yes.  Is something probable, likely to happen?  That could be another story.  Some of it depends on the amount and quality of the perceived pressure.

Say someone with a full cart cuts in front of my at the grocery store.  Will I lose my temper?  Probably not.  Will I use a release valve like thinking, "Putz," under my breath? There's a good chance.  Will it work and stave off a display of temper on my part?  Yes.

However, let's change up the situation.  Say that person's cart hits and injures one of my children during their mad dash to the checkout line.  Will I lose my temper?  The chances of that will have just gone up dramatically.

So, here's a little peek into my thought process at that time:

Of course, the above example shows some sort of intent on the mad dasher's part (to get to the line first).  Maybe they didn't see my child and the injury was an accident.  (Because if the injury was intentional...buddy, it's on!)  Will the person apologize or take responsibility for their actions?  What if they are a single parent rushing home from work to make supper for their children before cleaning up, helping the kids with their homework, falling into bed exhausted, and getting up early the next day to do it all over again?  That would change things for me.

I suppose I should say at this point that when I lose my temper, it would most likely come out as a verbal tirade.  I am loathe to get physical, but will not hesitate to use that option in self-defense.

This is another reason I took up a more regular practice of prayer and meditation at the beginning of the year.  They both build up your inner strength and soothe life's pressures to make it less likely that the pressure to pass the critical point.

Resolutions Revisited




First of all, I did not make resolutions this year.  I went the "one word" route with the word "Order".  Is there more order in my life.  Marginally.  But some progress is better than no progress at all.

I am being more organized in keeping up with my schoolwork.  I'm caught up in everything (yay me!) and even ahead on some things.  I'm actually a little proud of that one.

My desk at which I study?  Um, not so much.  It is my goal to have it organized and/or cleared off by Monday, the 27th (of January).  Will someone remember to ask me on Monday if I've done it?

Enough about me.  Let's talk about you!

Did you make resolutions this year?  Goals?  Choose one word?  How is that working for you?

If you did resolutions and missed a day, don't worry about it.  If I were quicker on the draw, I'd send you a "get out of jail free" card.  Start again.  If you haven't missed a day - congratulations!  Whether you have missed a day or haven't, remember....YOU ROCK!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Two Important Events!

Biannual Blogathon Bash

(click the button for all the information on the Blogathon Bash and to sign up!)  The BB takes place this Friday through Sunday (1/24 - 1/26).

Here is a list of things on which I will be working this weekend

  1. Back up my blog.
  2. Plan and schedule in- and outbound guest posts for the rest of the year.
  3. Reassess (and reactivate?) my "Mental Health Mondays" meme.
  4. Plan some sort of blogging and/or reading event for later in the year.
  5. Finish writing an e-book for giveaway.
  6. Read that 2nd writing prompts book.
  7. Publish 3 book reviews.
  8. Finish as many mini-challenges as possible.

A Winter's Respite Read-a-Thon

(as always, click the button for more information and to sign up at the Seasons of Reading blog.)


  1. Read one book that fits into each reading challenge I'm in this year.  (Thank goodness, some books can count for more than one challenge.)
  2. Get caught up on my book reviews.
  3. Plan a monthly book zine.
I'd love for all y'all to join me in one or both of these events.  If you do, why not leave a comment and let me know, so we can encourage each other during the blogathon and/or readathon?  Sweet!

Temper, Temper

NaBloPoMo January 2014  


I can have a temper as much as the next woman, but I usually try to de-stress before it gets to a blow up.  There are many ways I can do this.  The classic, of course, is counting to ten.  A slightly more difficult way is counting from eleven to twenty ... in Russian.  They have some l-o-n-g words for those teen numbers, those Russian folks.

Another way to de-stress for me is "going to my room".  Seriously.  I go into my bedroom, shut the door, and meditate, or read a distracting book.  The stressful situation will still be there when I come out of the room, but I will be dealing with it from a much more relaxes and powerful position.  

One situation that has the most potential to send me directly from zero-to-postal without passing go is someone messing with my children.  That can set me off like nothing else.

Another thing that irks me is going to the doctor, or a government office, and being talked down to by one of the staff.  I've even been known to 'rehearse' assertive communication in my mind before I encounter a situation like that.  

Care to share one of your tips or tricks for keeping calm in the face of stressful situations?  I'd love to hear!

This is Me



I am overweight.  I dislike this more from a health perspective than an attractiveness point-of-view.  My father had a stroke at the age of 47 and passed away a week later - during my senior year of high school.  I was fine with blood pressure until I started having children.  Now I am on two medications.  I want to be here to see my children get married and raise families of their own.  Being at a healthier weight will not guarantee that, of course, but it could make the meantime more enjoyable.

For instance, my family recently went to Mammoth Cave in western Kentucky.  They wanted to do a mid-length tour that involved a LOT of steps.  I did not know if I would be able to take it, physically.  When you get to the cave entrance, basically the first thing you do is go down about 300-400 steps to get to the first chamber.  By the time we left that chamber, I was pulling myself up along the path by the handrails.  (Do you know how cold a metal handrail in a cave can get?)  At one point I was almost sure I was going to pass out or have some kind of attack.

You know what got me through?  (I mean other than mule stubbornness?)  The thought of my family, and the good time we were having.  We were all pretty winded by the time the tour was over.  I went straight to bed when we got home and spent most of the next day in bed.  My legs hurt for several days.

So, I give myself props that I completed that trek.

And I know that my worth as a person is not tied to my weight or physical condition.  (Yes, sometimes that is easier to remember than others.)  I like to think of a saying I saw on a poster or graphic once that went something along the lines of "I know I'm somebody because God doesn't make crap."  That's not to say I can't better organize the temple (body) I have been given.