Adventure Day :)

Today I enjoyed a surprise getaway day with my bestie Kathryn for my birthday. We visited Mepkin Abbey in Moncks Corner outside Charleston. What a beautiful place! It was hot and there was a huge alligator! We noshed on some yummy food and I got free cake. Yay! 

       Thank you, Kathryn, for my fun day!

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Happy Monday!

Happy Monday, folks!

Hope your week is off to a good start! I was MIA last week as I spent the week fretting over a sick kitty. She’s still at the vet and hopefully will be on her way home by Wednesday. Say a little prayer for her if you would.

I started a study on the book of Proverbs from www.womenlivingwell.org(Good Morning Girls). Pretty excited about that…studying alongside some sweet and wonderful ladies.

Also, my friend April and I started working with a personal trainer. Umm…that was “fun.” Less exciting and much more sweaty than Bible study. I have a cholesterol number to get down and some weight to get rid of, so here’s hoping that paying the trainer will be motivation enough. (I did lose 5 pounds last week fretting over that kitty.)

So I’m spending some time tonight reworking my menu plan to fit with my new eating guidelines. Sigh. I wish I could just eat lemon cake from the Boll Weevil Cafe and get skinny. I’d be really thin really quick.

Hope you all have a wonderful week!

Lynne

Weekly Challenges: Day by Day

Hey, y’all!

I hope you had a great weekend! I did. I made strawberry jam for the first time with some sweet Florida strawberries. (Thanks to the Girls Scouts here Aiken who got them here somehow.) Twelve half-pints of them even. I made some homemade tortillas which were quite the bomb. (At least in my estimation.) Sunday was busy with church, a nap (duh!) and then our last week of FPU.

I’ve been contemplating weekly challenges and this week – because it will be easier for me 🙂 – I’m given (issuing?) four challenges. There would have been fine but clearly, I’m posting late (during commercial breaks during Dancing with the Stars), so there’s really not time for a challenge today. Please accept my humblest apologies for giving you a day off. So, here are the four things that I’m challenging you to this week. I would love to hear from you and get some progress reports. Pictures would be even better.

Challenge #1: Make a menu plan for dinner. Plan 4-5 dinners per week. Have leftovers two other nights (or sandwiches or let the family fend for themselves). That still leaves a night to order pizza or eat out if you choose. I posted last week a four meal plan along with a grocery list. All four meals utilize the slow cooker (Your BEST friend in the kitchen, I kid you not. Unless you have a chef.) Here’s the link to that post:

https://lifedoesnthavetobethisway.wordpress.com/2014/03/20/four-dinners-shopping-list-for-next-week/

I followed that post with four additional posts with step-by-step instructions for each meal including what to do in the morning (as in, put things in the slow cooker) and what to do to complete the meal. Easy peasy. You can’ find those posts on the blog or on the Facebook page under “Notes.”

Challenge #2: Get some exercise. It’s not a dreaded word. Be not afraid! I’m not expecting you to go run a 5K this weekend. (But, hey, that’s entirely up to you!) But – gasp! – summer is just around the corner and that means swimsuits! Yikes!! I shudder. If you don’t have an exercise regimen (I said that in my mind in a serious voice), it’s time to get with the program. If you are not an exercise-r, start slow and easy. (Disclaimer: Consult you doctor before beginning an exercise program.) Walk the dog. Walk around the block. Take a class. If you moving from your couch for the first time in a long time, walk to the mailbox and back. Based on all that I’ve read – and that’s a lot – you need to be exercising 3-5 times per week for 20-30 minutes per session. The key to continuing with exercise is finding something you enjoy (and you will find it) and do that. You won’t go back to the gym if you hate the gym. (I hate the gym. Just saying.) I like doing my walking and running outside as opposed to on a treadmill and I really enjoy Zumba and yoga. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.

Challenge #3: Get together with a friend. Someone you haven’t seen in a while or haven’t had a real conversation with in a while. (K, I’ll be in touch!) Life gets crazy and we let this go. But friendships are important and you have to tend them to maintain them…just like a garden. If you can, spend 30 minutes over a cup of coffee or tea just catching up. Hey…you can do challenge #2 while catching up. In fact, that’s an awesome idea. Walking and talking is GREAT! Did that just today with my buddy Kathryn. If you can’t physically get together, there’s Facetime (I’ve done that now!) and Skype. But in person is always best. Find 30 minutes. It’s one sitcom or reality show. You can do it. (That’s why we have DVRs.)

Challenge #4: Do something for YOURSELF. Take a nap. Get a massage. (I’m doing that Wednesday.) Pick up and read a book you’ve had your eye on. Take a bubble bath. Do all of these things. Watch a movie you’ve been wanting to see. Do all of these things. Just do something that’s just for you that makes YOU happy. It’s not being selfish. Sometimes you just have to take care of yourself in order to be able to take care of the people in your life. If you don’t, it will catch up with you eventually. Anything that can “catch up with you eventually” is never good. Never.

And try to remember to do one or two of these things for 15 minutes a day. Just 15…no longer. Little by little does the trick. The tortoise always beats the hare. You know the drill.

  • Purge something (a bookshelf, a drawer, a closet, a cooking magazine collection…ahem!) and separate things into the give, donate, and toss categories. And then give, donate or toss them.
  • Straighten up the area you see first thing in the morning before you go to bed at night. What a relief to have an area free of clutter to wake up to.
  • Make your bed. It really does make a difference in how your room looks and feels.
  • Put away your laundry. (I’m working on this one.) I do mean the clean laundry, not the dirty stuff.

Let someone you love know that you love them every day! Smile at the cashier at the grocery store. Do something nice for your hubby or wife “just because.” And have a GREAT week!

Lynne

 

 

 

Thursday Thoughts

Good evening, all!

So, it looks like Thursdays will be the day for faith, family and relationships. To me, these are all very much intertwined in my life. Some of my most important relationships were forged through church-related activities. I love my HOME group (small group) at church! I love the ladies in my group especially and enjoy spending time with them. I enjoy my ladies’ Bible study with my immensely. My besties are church friends…and some of them go way (way!) back.

Friendships are very important! Neglecting your friendships and trying to get through life on your own just isn’t fun. In the craziness and busyness of everyday life, we can let friendships fall to the wayside, so we have to be intentional in maintaining them. A phone call, a text, an email, a card…any of these are great ways to let someone know you’re thinking about them. But better yet, find some time to spend together. A few of my friends and I have been doing a Bible study together for the last couple of months. Not only do we get to study the Bible together, but we get to just spend time together and that is like “icing on the cake.” Sometimes (like today) Bible study spills over to lunch – and I’m okay with that.  (Thanks for lunch, April!)  The ladies in my HOME group get together one night a month for a girls’ night out – no hubbies, no kids. When you are able to do these kinds of things, you have the opportunity to build real friendships, not surface-only acquaintances. And you NEED these friends. Because at some point, you’re going to have a problem that you can’t get through on your own. And while you have your hubby and family, sometimes you just need your girlfriends. (Or guy friends, if you happen to be a guy reading this.)

Here’s a little challenge for you.Think of a good friend that you haven’t been able to see for a while and get in touch. Set up a lunch (or any meal) date. Get together for a cup of coffee. Meet up and take a walk. Just make sure she knows you’re thinking about her and that you haven’t forgotten her. 🙂  It will be good for both of you!

Have a good night! Stay warm and sleep well!

Lynne

Throwback Thursday: The Importance of Friends

Good morning, y’all!

The last couple of weeks, I have seen some great examples of friendship illustrated in my life and the lives of those around me. And I keep seeing things on Facebook about “Throwback Thursday.” So…here is a post (from Thursday, January 24) about friendship that I am reposting today in honor of my wonderful friends and “Throwback Thursday.”

~ Lynne

 

Good morning! And Happy Thursday! Friday is just a day away. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…”

Today I want to talk about the importance of friends. Friendships – good ones – enrich our lives in so many ways. Now I’m talking about real friendships here, not surface ones. Those are called “acquaintances.” I’m talking about those few people in your life that you could call at 3:00 a.m. in an emergency and they’d be wherever you are as fast as their fannies could get there. You only need a few – a select few. Ones that you can tell a secret to and know that it won’t end up on Facebook before you’re done talking. Ones who say “I’ll pray for you” and you know that they will. Those who will walk alongside you through good times and bad times. No one needs “fair weather” friends – the ones who are around when all is good but hit the door running as soon as something bad happens. Nope, you don’t need those.

Last night, the ladies from my small group (from church) got together for our monthly ladies’ night. There were eight of us there. There was eating (duh!) and laughter and some serious conversation – and some not so serious. Hence the laughter. Every month when we get together, we learn a little bit more about each other. We open up a little bit more and share more about ourselves. We are a support group for one another. Each of us knows that the others are there for us. I hope that even the new ladies feel that way. Have a crisis? Call one of us. Need a meal? Call one of us. Need to hear words of encouragement? Call one of us. It’s that kind of group. I feel like we grow closer every month. (Our group also has a monthly guys’ night…I have no idea what they talk about. Hopefully, they are getting the same friendship base as we are. Guys need friends, too.)

Then there are those friends that you’ve had since you were young. I have two friends who were my first friends when I moved to South Carolina in the third grade. We were close all through high school and even through college. Now that we don’t live as close or go to the same church, we don’t see each other very often. But when we do, we can pick right back up like we saw each other the day before. I know I could call either of them at 3:00 a.m. and they know they could call me. We’ve been through a lot of good times and some tough times together.

Then there are the friends who really do life together with you. Your BFFs. You can have more than one. You can’t have ten. At least, I don’t think so. You should have a core group of friends that you interact with and converse with and share with on a very regular basis. The ones who will tell you that you have spinach in your teeth, or that the outfit you’re wearing does indeed make you look fat, or that you are being grouchy and need to chill. The ones who will walk with you through any crisis whether it’s yours or one of your children’s. The one’s who sit with you at the hospital through your dad’s surgery, or listen to you rant about one thing or the other without judging (or without laughing out loud…usually), who plan birthday surprises for you, whose kids know that they can call you if they can’t get their mom. These are the really deep and abiding friendships. You probably only have a few of these and that’s good. There are just some things you can’t share with your 1,247 Facebook friends. Or that you shouldn’t share. Seriously.

When you have kids – especially little ones – it’s sometimes hard to maintain any relationships outside your house. But it’s important. You’ll need someone to advise you, to guide you, to just hold you together some days. When you call them crying and blubbering because it’s been three days since you last got sleep, a really good friend will show up, take care of the kiddos, and send you to take a nap. And strongly suggest a shower. She’ll do a load of laundry and clean your kitchen And then have coffee ready for you after your “recovery period.” Don’t abandon your friends when your kids are young. You will definitely be needing them when those kids turn into teenagers. Just saying.

It’s so important to maintain these friendships! I can’t stress that enough. We need friends. The super close ones will be by you for a lifetime, I hope. The close ones will vary during the stages of your life probably. You’ll meet new people and will feel a connection and your friendship circle will grow a little. Don’t abandon your friends when life gets busy or hard. That’s when you need them most. Don’t be embarrassed to asked for help. Anything you’d do for them, they’d do for you. Remember that. You don’t always have to be the giver in a real friendship. Sometimes you’re the receiver of the love and kindness. Accept it.

I hope each of you has at least one friend who is going alongside you in your journey to simplify your life. One who is cheering you on at each success and accomplishment. Who comes over and praises you for your clean living room and diminishing laundry pile because they’ve seen the “before” in person and know what a big deal this is for you. They didn’t make you feel bad for the mess, but they sure make you feel good for the progress!

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! Be sure to reach out to a friend today…just to chat or to show them your before and after pictures of your challenge projects. If there’s coffee shared, all the better! :)

Lynne

Tuesday Tips: Maintaining REAL Friendships

I know this is late, but I got to spend most of the day babysitting a little “snuggle bug,” and then it was on to fixing dinner. 🙂

I’ve been thinking a lot about friendships lately. Don’t really know why, but it’s been on my mind. So many people come into and out of our lives through the years. Some are acquaintances. Some are friendly friends. And some are true, lasting, “call them if you need them in the middle of the night” friends. You don’t need a lot of those. Just a select few. But with so many of us being busy, busy, busy all the time, how do we go about maintaining those friendships? Here are just a few – four, to be exact – “tips” for doing just that.

1. Keep in touch when you can’t see one another.

With today’s technology, social media, etc., there’s really no excuse for NOT keeping in touch. Send an e-mail, send a text, make an actual phone call. Chat on Facebook. Just let your friends know that you’re still around and you’re still there for them even if you can’t see them face to face on a regular basis.

2. Be there for important life events when possible.

Weddings, births, birthdays, funerals, etc. If something major is going on and you can be there to hold a hand or better yet celebrate, be there. Take the time if you can so at all. I have a couple of friends who have been with me – and I with them – through every big good and every big bad thing that has happened in our lives since we were children. I can’t imagine life without them. I don’t see them as often as I could or should, but I know where they are and they know how to find me.

3. Remember birthdays.

Send a card. Send some flowers. Make a lunch date. Just remember her birthday. (Or his, if you’re a guy. But don’t send him flowers. Maybe not even a card.) Give them a shout out on Facebook or Twitter to show the love. Remembering someone on her birthday makes her feel special, and it’s so easy to do.

4. Pray for them.

Whenever a friend comes to mind, say a prayer for them. Just thank God for your friendship and ask Him to bless their day in a special way. And let them know they came to mind and you said a prayer for them. In times of crisis, pray for them constantly.

God sends us a few special, close friends in this life. Neglecting them due to busyness is a sad thing to do. Now, go text, call, or email someone right now and let them know you’re thinking about them and that you love them and appreciate their friendship.

Blessings,
Lynne

P.S. If you have other tips for keeping friendships vital, please share them with the rest of us. Thanks!

Friends…You Can’t Live Without Them

Good morning!

The ladies from my church small group had our monthly “girls’ night out” last night. As we were sitting around the table, Teresa and I were discussing what today’s post should be about. Sometimes there are things that just pop into my little brain and I could write and write. Some days…well, it’s just not that easy. As we sat there with our friends laughing, talking and eating, Teresa suggested writing about friends and friendships. So that’s what I’m going to do. 🙂

I know we’ve already written a post about the importance of friendships. But it really is an important topic, so I’m going to touch on it again. Seriously, you need friends. Not hundreds of them. Just a few – even two or three – really close ones that you can call on no matter what. Looking around the table last night, I knew that those women sitting there were among my “chosen few.” 🙂 We are a mixture of women…different stages of life/children; different occupations; home schoolers; full-time workers; black; white. But what we all have in common is a love for God, for our families, and for each other.

When difficult or stressful or exciting  things come along – and we’ve had a few of those in our group in the last few months – we’re there. Need a meal? Gotcha covered. Need a shoulder to cry on? Done. Need someone to help you move into a new house? Alrighty. We cover each other in prayer when a crisis hits. These are the kinds of friends you need. The ones who walk in when everyone else is walking away or walking out. The ones who walk right along side you either physically or emotionally – sometimes both – through whatever it is that you are going through.

And we can celebrate the good stuff, too! Birthdays, new jobs, new houses. Our monthly girls’ night is a regular celebration of our friendships. Those nights we spend laughing and talking bring us a little closer together each time. (Oh, and eating. Don’t forget the eating. We certainly won’t!)

You need friends. People who try to drag you into their drama aren’t good choices. People who bring you down more and more with each minute you spend with them…not so much. Friends cheer you up, lift you up in prayer and hold your hand when the going gets tough. But they don’t drag you down when the going is good. Everyone has bad days and a good friend will listen to you gripe and complain about yours. Then she’ll tell you to put on your big girl panties and deal with it. (She’ll put her big girl panties on and help you deal if necessary.) She might offer to beat up the source of your anxiety and stress. (In jest, of course. Maybe.) Somehow, she’ll make you smile in the midst of the craziness and give you a glimpse of happiness and joy in spite of what’s going on in your world at the moment.

Friends are with you when you are at your lowest point…physically, emotionally, spiritually. True friends will recognize when they just need to sit and hold your hand. When they need to cry with you. And when you’ve passed the point of being upset and have started wallowing. Friends don’t let you wallow in self-pity. Friends help you up out of the miry mess, hose you off, and push you on the path to something better. Even if you don’t want to go there. Maybe especially if you don’t want to go there. Good friends don’t let you keep wallowing. They just don’t.

Surround yourself with people who lift your spirits. Who lift you up in prayer. Who aren’t afraid to say, “Alright. That’s enough. He/she/it is not worth you being miserable. Forgive him/her/it and move along now.”

The best way to find the kind of friend you want and need is to BE that kind of friend to someone else. Be supportive, but don’t be a crutch. Be sympathetic, but don’t let someone wallow in sadness forever. Be honest, but don’t be hurtful. Be available, but don’t enable. Be the kind of person that you would want to hang out with.

Remember, you don’t needs tons of friends. Just a few select friends. And this is a situation where you need to be selective. Very selective. You can’t tell your innermost secrets to 20 people. Those 427 friends on Facebook? Nope. Fewer than ten…with a couple of those being very close. Those are the ones you can call at 4:00 in the morning. Those are the ones who sit with you at the hospital. Those are the ones you’d fight for. Those are the ones who cry with you and then make you smile. Those are the friends you need.

NOTE: Airing your drama on Facebook to all your “friends” will not win you any real friends. Your real friends will tell you to take that crap off of there. Just saying.

Make time for your real friends. A call, a text, an email, a note or card in the mail (gasp!). Don’t neglect them as you go through the day-to-day stuff that is your life. Don’t get so busy that you don’t have time for your friends. A good friend is hard to come by and nurturing friendships takes some work. So worth it! So. Worth. It. Because you’re going to need them one day. Don’t let that day come and you turn around and find there’s no one there because you haven’t had time for them.

Treasure your friends. Value them. Let them know how important they are to you! In fact, call or text or email one of your closest friends RIGHT NOW and tell her you hope she has a spectacular day!

Blessed beyond measure!

Lynne

Celebrate!

Focus on your accomplishments, not your failures. Count your blessings. Celebrate the life you’ve been given. John Maxwell

Today I want you to focus on your accomplishments. We need to every so often stop and reflect on your accomplishments. Look around your house. What are you not tripping over? Laundry maybe? How does it feel to not be stressed every evening racking your brain about what you will fix your family for dinner. Does it feel good to wake up and dishes are done? Celebrate those accomplishments! If you have a Lynne personality; you will go sit on the porch and celebrate with a cup of coffee. If you are a Teresa personality; you will grab a hand full of chocolate and celebrate sitting on the front porch. Well, that is if it is warm enough. Here in South Carolina, one day it is eighty degrees, the next day it is fifty – eight degrees! So it is a possibility! The point is find somewhere today that you can get alone and focus on what you have accomplished so far! You deserve it!
Here is what I do not want you to do! You are not to look at what you haven’t done yet. The recipe you tried that did not work out so good. Let it go! Think only on the things that are working well! This is the day to forget what you haven’t done yet. What hasn’t worked out. Only look at your accomplishments!
Take a minute to write out at least ten blessings in your life right now. Here are mine.
1. I have a God who loves me unconditionally.
2. I have friends who are willing to tell me when I need to work on something in my life and who are also there to walk me through the hard times in my life.
3. I have friends who laugh with me and cry with me.
4. I have a group of old and new friends on Simplify 2013 who encourage me every day to keep my life in balance.
5. I have a husband who loves me unconditionally. Who supports me!
6. I have three children who are now grown and we have unbelievable relationships.
7. I have a great job!
8. The sun is shining today! (Little bit more about me, I don’t like the cold!)
9. I have an awesome church!
10. I have a new book on my Kindle. (I love to read!)
I want you to celebrate the life you are given today! I hope you will take a minute to let us celebrate with you and put a few of your blessings on the Simplify 2013 facebook page or tweet them with #Simplify2013. Off to celebrate my day! ~ Teresa

The Importance of Friends

Good morning! And Happy Thursday! Friday is just a day away. “Tomorrow, tomorrow, I love ya, tomorrow…”

Today I want to talk about the importance of friends. Friendships – good ones – enrich our lives in so many ways. Now I’m talking about real friendships here, not surface ones. Those are called “acquaintances.” I’m talking about those few people in your life that you could call at 3:00 a.m. in an emergency and they’d be wherever you are as fast as their fannies could get there. You only need a few – a select few. Ones that you can tell a secret to and know that it won’t end up on Facebook before you’re done talking. Ones who say “I’ll pray for you” and you know that they will. Those who will walk alongside you through good times and bad times. No one needs “fair weather” friends – the ones who are around when all is good but hit the door running as soon as something bad happens. Nope, you don’t need those.

Last night, the ladies from my small group (from church) got together for our monthly ladies’ night. There were eight of us there. There was eating (duh!) and laughter and some serious conversation – and some not so serious. Hence the laughter. Every month when we get together, we learn a little bit more about each other. We open up a little bit more and share more about ourselves. We are a support group for one another. Each of us knows that the others are there for us. I hope that even the new ladies feel that way. Have a crisis? Call one of us. Need a meal? Call one of us. Need to hear words of encouragement? Call one of us. It’s that kind of group. I feel like we grow closer every month. (Our group also has a monthly guys’ night…I have no idea what they talk about. Hopefully, they are getting the same friendship base as we are. Guys need friends, too.)

Then there are those friends that you’ve had since you were young. I have two friends who were my first friends when I moved to South Carolina in the third grade. We were close all through high school and even through college. Now that we don’t live as close or go to the same church, we don’t see each other very often. But when we do, we can pick right back up like we saw each other the day before. I know I could call either of them at 3:00 a.m. and they know they could call me. We’ve been through a lot of good times and some tough times together.

Then there are the friends who really do life together with you. Your BFFs. You can have more than one. You can’t have ten. At least, I don’t think so. You should have a core group of friends that you interact with and converse with and share with on a very regular basis. The ones who will tell you that you have spinach in your teeth, or that the outfit you’re wearing does indeed make you look fat, or that you are being grouchy and need to chill. The ones who will walk with you through any crisis whether it’s yours or one of your children’s. The one’s who sit with you at the hospital through your dad’s surgery, or listen to you rant about one thing or the other without judging (or without laughing out loud…usually), who plan birthday surprises for you, whose kids know that they can call you if they can’t get their mom. These are the really deep and abiding friendships. You probably only have a few of these and that’s good. There are just some things you can’t share with your 1,247 Facebook friends. Or that you shouldn’t share. Seriously.

When you have kids – especially little ones – it’s sometimes hard to maintain any relationships outside your house. But it’s important. You’ll need someone to advise you, to guide you, to just hold you together some days. When you call them crying and blubbering because it’s been three days since you last got sleep, a really good friend will show up, take care of the kiddos, and send you to take a nap. And strongly suggest a shower. She’ll do a load of laundry and clean your kitchen And then have coffee ready for you after your “recovery period.” Don’t abandon your friends when your kids are young. You will definitely be needing them when those kids turn into teenagers. Just saying.

It’s so important to maintain these friendships! I can’t stress that enough. We need friends. The super close ones will be by you for a lifetime, I hope. The close ones will vary during the stages of your life probably. You’ll meet new people and will feel a connection and your friendship circle will grow a little. Don’t abandon your friends when life gets busy or hard. That’s when you need them most. Don’t be embarrassed to asked for help. Anything you’d do for them, they’d do for you. Remember that. You don’t always have to be the giver in a real friendship. Sometimes you’re the receiver of the love and kindness. Accept it.

I hope each of you has at least one friend who is going alongside you in your journey to simplify your life. One who is cheering you on at each success and accomplishment. Who comes over and praises you for your clean living room and diminishing laundry pile because they’ve seen the “before” in person and know what a big deal this is for you. They didn’t make you feel bad for the mess, but they sure make you feel good for the progress!

I hope you have a wonderful Thursday! Be sure to reach out to a friend today…just to chat or to show them your before and after pictures of your challenge projects. If there’s coffee shared, all the better! 🙂

Lynne