Wild Weekly Photo Challenge: Sunsets

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Photo Credit: littlemisswordy.com

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Let’s Be Wild Weekly Photo Challenge – Sunsets

At the age of 2, he couldn’t grasp the concept of one day ending and another beginning. Every night we had a version of the same conversation always beginning with, “Mommy, when is it tomorrow?” Ever a mom, ever encouraging a good night’s sleep and rest for all, my standard response was always, “Well the sun goes down so it can be rested enough to shine on us again all day tomorrow. Once the sun wakes up and starts to shine, and starts to peek through your window, we know it is tomorrow.” Truth be told, I often followed it up with, “then and only then, should you get out of bed and wake mommy up” but I digress.

The above photo was taken on a little weekend getaway with a girlfriend at a time during which she was making some tough decisions regarding her future. I captured this photo at a spot that brings her peace of mind, a spot that fills her lungs and fills her soul. Life changing decisions can leave us paralyzed with fear…fear of the unknown, fear of failure, fear of being alone. And while there is hope in a rising sun, there is also something to be said for a sunset. Laying the past to rest, facing a new beginning, and the unfaltering assurance that the sun will again shine down on us tomorrow.

What? You Like My Blog? Piss Off!

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“Nice shoes.” “Great hair.” “Love your outfit today.” All fine compliments, and all compliments that would bring a smile to our face, brighten our day, make us stand a little taller. I’m five foot two and half and I’ll take any opportunity for a little more height, but it’s more than that. A compliment is a positive thing to be shared and received in a positive light. You wouldn’t respond to any of these compliments with a “Piss Off” or a “How dare you?!” would you? Okay, well if you would then maybe you should stop reading and check out my top posts on the right side bar.

In the blogging world there are awards. I’m sure you’ve seen the One Lovely Blog Award or the Very Inspiring Blog Award, to name a couple. When I first started my blog, I was fearful the blogging world would be an extended gripe session for those whose friends banned them from Facebook, a larger canvas for those from Twitter who couldn’t describe their gripe in 160 characters or less, or those from Pinterest who just didn’t think one photo would do their gripe justice. Well, Little Miss Can’t Be Wrong, I mean Little Miss Wordy was so wrong!

In the short time I have been blogging, I have encountered some really kind, friendly, positive people who just happen to be extremely talented too. They are positive folks who go out of their way to welcome, motivate, and encourage each other. They share their thoughts, their knowledge, and even their tips for a more successful blog. That’s right! These folks are willing to share their followers and ultimately the spotlight. Not something we often see in our daily lives is it?

Which is why I was surprised when I saw a newbie blogger (even newbie-er) than myself, ask what such and such award meant because they were just awarded one. The response posted in the comments read, “it doesn’t mean anything at all…just like a chain letter.” Well, that’s encouraging (no really it isn’t)! The award may not be the Nobel Prize (no really it isn’t), but it is still a compliment.

It means someone did something every blogger/writer looks forward to no matter how long you’ve been blogging or what your ultimate goal is in doing so.

A) Someone actually read something you wrote.

B) If they are giving you an award, chances are they chose to follow your blog and have read multiple posts.

C) They like your writing so much they have taken the time to go through the award process just for you.

D) Did I mention they actually read what you wrote? Let’s not kid ourselves, if we didn’t want others to read our writing, then we would just keep a diary, with a key, and lock it and hide the diary under the floorboard in the closet, and guard the key with our lives. 

Let’s be honest here. When someone hits that “like” button on your post it makes you smile, unless you’ve had one too many Botox visits. When someone chooses to follow your blog, it makes you feel warm inside unless your Depends are leaking. And when someone decides something you wrote is worthy of being Freshly Pressed, I imagine you feel all the above and then some, unless you’re dead inside!  A compliment is a compliment!

So to those who have decided my blog is worthy of these awards, I say “Piss Off!” (no not really)!! I say THANK YOU from the bottom of my little writer’s heart for taking the time to read my thoughts, my stories, view my amateur photos, and encourage me to keep sharing! To the rest of the blogging world and readers out there, I say “like” my posts, leave your comments, share my writing, and follow me…there is no greater compliment!

Connecting the Dots

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The past few days, I have been reminded of the age old childhood activity of connect the dots. Once all dots are connected you see the end result. At times, it makes you smile and others it leaves you wanting and feeling a bit ripped off. In life though, how do you connect the dots, when you can’t see the next dot? As a kid, I never gave connect the dots a second thought. Never considered the next move as I eagerly made connections from dot to dot safe in the knowledge that eight would always follow seven. I couldn’t go wrong when each step was so clearly numbered for me. But now…the steps aren’t always clear. If you start connecting dots in the wrong direction, you alter the end result. Each dot seems a crucial part of the big picture.

Photo Credit: ithinkyoureswell.com

The first reminder of this childhood game came while I was homeschooling my 1st grader. He had to connect the dots, each dot representing the answer to a math equation. Before he even started, he tried to guess what it was, sure it was Frankenstein. After much problem solving, he connected his dots only to reveal a guitar instead. The two little screws on the guitar led him to believe it would be Frankenstein. I’m sure the fact that we just celebrated Halloween had something to do with his vision as well. I thought he might be disappointed that connecting the dots didn’t reveal what he initially thought it would, but quite the opposite happened. He was thrilled with a drawing, albeit a pointy one, of a guitar. Just goes to show, life has a way of surprising us even when we think we know what’s coming. Sometimes, even if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it ends up being something else.

Photo Credit: Be Aware

Other times it is a duck! I came across To Be Aware‘s Duck series discussing how the human mind works. His eye candy for this post is a duck. Well, of course it’s a duck, but it’s a connect the dots duck! I have to admit, I found his post deep…really deep. And, I’m not sure I totally get it, probably because I’m not good at math. Whenever I don’t get something, I always blame it on math. It’s like when my kids can’t find something and I blame the housekeeper, but that’s a whole other post. Stay tuned for Housekeepers Across the Globe Unite! Where was I? Right, Duck Series is definitely worth a read so head on over there. Heck, I read it twice, and am now following his blog because I’m that intrigued. Let me know if your human mind works differently than mine. A sure sign will be if you totally get it the first time you read it.

If you didn’t get it the first time, no worries because a re-visit can be beneficial. Take Roy Lichtenstein for example. October 27 was Roy Lichtenstein’s birthday. He would have been eighty-nine years old if alive. Lichtenstein was famous for his Pop Art in the 1960′s. “Primary colors–red, yellow and blue, heavily outlined in black–became his favorites. Occasionally he used green. Instead of shades of color, he used the benday dot, a method by which an image is created, and its density of tone modulated in printing.” His art looked like a comic book scene with it’s characters coming to life through the word bubbles he often gave them. For the first time, since his death in 1997, his art is on display at the National Gallery of Art. It has been in Chicago and will travel to London and Paris next year. It seems young people are just as drawn to his work today, showing dots can be revisited and yield similar results each time.

Last night’s election results left a country divided. There are those who believe they have connected the dots for America’s future, and are already celebrating the big picture even though it remains to be seen.  There are others who don’t believe the big picture will be a positive one no matter how creatively the dots are connected…simply because they don’t believe in the artists, the dots, or the big picture that’s been promised. The truth is, none of us knows what that big picture will truly look like. We can hope for a guitar and end up with a Frankenstein or vice versa.

Wouldn’t it be nice if it was Frankenstein jamming on the guitar?

Photo Credit: cafepress.com

Feed your Fitness Soul…Physically, Mentally, Spiritually

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Kate over at BeyondFitPhysiques.com found my blog, and asked if she could interview me and feature littlemisswordy on her site. I was thrilled given that I wholeheartedly believe fitness goes beyond our physiques. Well, being littlemisswordy, as I tried to answer Kate’s questions individually I kept wanting to say more, wanting the ladies reading this to get the full message of the importance of feeding your body physically, but also feeding it mentally and spiritually. I hope I achieved that here.

FEED YOUR FITNESS SOUL…PHYSICALLY, MENTALLY, SPIRITUALLY!

We all have a story, and we all have a fitness story. Yes, even you! We all have something we turn to that feeds us physically, mentally and spiritually. Fitness is about finding that balance among all of these things so as not to tip the scale so to speak. All the personal trainers in the world and all the health and fitness magazines on the stands can’t tell you what that balance is or how to achieve it, the balance for each of us being as unique as our DNA makeup. However, to ignore the advice that’s out there would be detrimental to finding our own fitness balance. If it takes a village to raise a child, why shouldn’t it take a whole industry to feed our fitness soul?

My fitness story began as the little girl who climbed trees, raced the boys (and won), and was happy to be an overall active tomboy. What I would do to experience that childlike energy again. I look at my two children who are ten and six, and see them approach each day with a newfound passion for being active. Then I watch them feed that drive throughout the day, until they have satisfied (and yes at times exhausted) their bodies. And I think…I want to exhaust my body, my mind and my soul in such a way that I know I have fed it to its utmost potential.

When my dad passed away, I found myself feeding my body (with food), my mind (with sadness), and my soul (well it was starving). It took me some time to realize I needed to make a change. I know, the word alone is enough to make you want to hide under the covers. It conjures up the mysterious and the unknown…but also the necessary. As scary as change is, the first step is the scariest, but that step leads to the next and before you know it you’re making strides. I started feeding my fitness soul by incorporating more salad into my menu. One of the ways I do this, is to make a huge salad at the beginning of the week. I’m talking iceberg lettuce, red onions, green bell peppers, carrots, radishes, cucumbers, and celery in a large container I keep in the fridge. It is so much easier to grab for it when it’s already made. I grill chicken breast, slice it up and throw it on top. I’ve read of folks who prep a lot more than that for their weekly menu. I’m not great in the kitchen nor do I enjoy that room of the house. I always say my dream kitchen would have double microwaves instead of double ovens, if that’s any indication. I also started running with a friend. Truth be told, she ran and I tried to breathe while I jogged really slow. She literally ran circles around me, but each day I set a further goal for myself (the next tree, the park bench, etc.) until I was running/jogging three miles a day. I was realistic from the get go about how far and how fast (or slow in my case) I would run. I was also realistic about the time of day I scheduled these runs. If you’re not a morning person, don’t promise yourself you’re going to get up at 5:00am. Chances are you will gladly allow your bed to hold you hostage. I know I would. These small nutrition and exercise changes pack huge benefits when feeding your fitness soul.

Speaking of which, find what truly feeds your soul and make sure you incorporate that into your life. Whether it’s your church, time with your friends, your favorite television series, reading, a bubble bath, feed your fitness soul with it. Mine is writing and I have made it a point to write. I think a book would be great in the future, but for now I have taken the small step of feeding my soul by blogging. Honestly, some days my writing feeds my soul more than my workouts do and that’s okay. It’s all about balance so I make it a point to make both a priority. I have found I have more energy, am in a better mood, and can think more clearly when I am making these a priority. Having said that, we all have a bad day…a day that keeps us from the gym, from reaching for that healthier snack option, or grasping for motivation in the darkness and coming up empty-handed. I have those days, but try to avoid them by starting my mornings with my “productive shoes” on. I don my sneakers first thing in the morning even if I’m not working out until later that day. I try to stick to a weekly schedule of one hour of cardio 4-5 days per week, and one hour of weight training 3 days per week. If it’s on the calendar, then it’s a goal. If it’s a goal and I have my “productive shoes” on, I have a much better chance of sticking with it! Set goals big or small. They are extremely motivational. Push yourself to the next level. If you have completed a 5k, set a goal for a 10k. If you’ve always been a runner, add biking, or a triathlon (there are some out there that cater to beginners, or women only, etc.). If you’ve never used weights, pick up a DVD, or sign up for a class at the gym. Keep adding, keep changing, keep setting goals and keep your fitness story going! Most importantly, keep feeding your fitness soul!

How do you recharge physically, mentally, or spiritually?  What’s your own personal perspective on balance?

JU GOTTA PROBLEM?

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The thing about life is at some point no matter who you are, it’s going to throw you a curve ball. It is going to come out of nowhere, when you’re coasting along and you least expect it and shock the hell out of you. Life isn’t carefree no matter how simply you choose to live it. We all face obstacles at some point on our journey.

I used to love a show called Ally McBeal that aired in the late nineties and starred Calista Flockhart. Ally McBeal, the main character, is a single young lawyer looking for love and fulfillment in life. She works for a Boston Law firm with her ex-lover and his wife, a money loving boss and an annoying receptionist. With all that is going on she must contend with her feelings and her over active imagination. The show had some great lines, but there’s one I remember in particular that’s come across my mind a few times this past week. The scene takes place between Ally and Georgia (her ex-lover’s wife who is also employed at the firm) in the law firm’s co-ed bathroom where Georgia confronts the constantly insecure, narcissistically obsessed but at the same time never really happy Ally, with the question “What makes your problems bigger than everyone else’s?”  To which Ally simply replies, “They’re mine.”

I was born and raised in Hudson County, New Jersey, and have been glued to the news since before Hurricane Sandy, SuperStorm Sandy, Frankenstorm, or whatever you want to call it became news. I have seen reports of people having lost their homes, having lost electricity, having lost family members, having lost all the food in their fridge, having lost their cars, having lost their businesses. The stories are endless. On certain social media sites, the initial posts revolved around prayers for safety for all in the storm’s path. In the wake of the storm, the posts became more about immense gratitude that they had survived the storm and friends and family were also okay. One particular post read, “Sandy thank you for opening my eyes and making me a more humble human being…” As more days have passed, the initial shock of Sandy’s destruction is beginning to wear off, and folks are trying to get back to their normal lives, the tone of the posts have changed. You see, those who didn’t lose their homes or their cars and still have to get to work, are now faced with lines for gasoline that last for miles. The wait is sometimes hours for a ration of gasoline, often not enough to get them to their destination. Those who lost their cars are trying to rent one, but are running into the minor detail that while there are still a few cars to be rented they require gasoline. Some people are running out of food, and if they are lucky enough to make it to the grocery store, they find shelves aren’t being restocked. After days without electricity, a gasoline shortage, and possibly a food and water shortage, people are starting to lose patience. The posts are not as warm and fuzzy, not as many of the peace on earth and goodwill to others kind . They are more along the lines of “we still have no power!” and “when will the electric company make it to our neighborhood?” Since schools are closed until further notice, parents are posting more along the lines of “my kids are climbing the walls” and “we are running out ways to keep the kids entertained.”

At first glance, I admit my immediate reaction was one of disappointment. Sandy destroyed homes, entire towns, and lives. How can no electricity be your number one concern when there are people who can’t even hold a proper funeral for their loved ones, and others who still haven’t found the missing? And that Ally McBeal line came flooding in and wouldn’t leave me. As human beings, we are creatures of habit. Not matter how much we simplify our lives, we find comfort and safety in the world we have created for ourselves. When something storms in and changes that, no matter how minor the change it affects us individually as only it can. We can feel sympathy for others…believe me. I’ve had a heavy heart for ALL those who have been affected by Sandy. However, we are only human and when faced with imminent danger, our survival instincts kick in and we protect ourselves and our loved ones first. In real life, it isn’t human nature to place the oxygen mask on the passenger to your left before placing it on yourself. We all have problems, and while some would fall at the top of the charts if there existed some life rating, those problems directly affecting us will still seem bigger to us. Why? Because they’re ours.

Liebster means “favorite” and “dearest” in German…I think.

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So…I didn’t make it into the Top 25 Blogs over at Circle of Moms today. Rejection isn’t pretty, but I did feel the love from all those who voted for me. :-)  I did however, get this prestigious little Liebster Award given to up and coming bloggers!

A HUGE thank you to  Mom’s Eye View NYC and Adventures of a Whitty Girl 

for nominating me!

I am really enjoying both of their blogs and recommend you head over there and check them out. Mom’s Eye View NYC is life from the perspective of an Urban Mom in NYC. Being a Jersey girl myself, she had me at hello. Adventures of a Whitty Girl shares her thoughts on being a new mom to the cutest little Owl (her daughter’s nickname) I have ever seen!

I also recommend the following blogs (Doing it here so you don’t feel compelled to have to read til’ the end. You’re welcome!): The Chatter Blog, Motherhood Is An Art, Keeping it Real, My Chocolate Soul, Inner Angels and Enemies, 1 Story a Week, A New Free Life  I had a hard time determining total followers on some blogs, so some of these may have more – regardless, happy reading!

1. If you could give your 13-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Nothing ends up being as monumental as it seems at 13.

2. Are you a social butterfly or a wallflower? Those who know me would say social butterfly, but I definitely have my wallflower moments.

3. How do you feel about roller coasters? It’s definitely a like/hate relationship. I pretended it was fun recently just to convince my 10-year-old to ride!

4. Hardest part of blogging? I wish I had more time for it. Sometimes, I feel like I spit stuff out on the screen just to get the thought out of my head.

5. What time of day are you most likely to blog? I am interrupted a lot while I blog…it’s amazing I write a coherent sentence.

6. Favorite musical artist? Tough one, but saw Lady Gaga last night and she puts on an amazing show!

7. What song do you not necessarily like but can’t help but sing along to? You Never Even Call Me By My Name: David Allen Coe

8. Favorite Actor? Morgan Freeman. I’m convinced I would sleep better if he read me a bedtime story. 

9. Do you consider yourself a dog or cat person? Dog…missing my babies a ton these days. :-(

10. How do you take your coffee? I drink coffee for the protection of others with a little milk and two Splenda.

11.What is your favorite childhood memory? I’ve written about some on my blog. They usually involve my dad and family gatherings.

12. What is your favorite article of clothing and why? My swimsuit, but only because it directly correlates to my being at the beach.

13. What is the best party you’ve ever been to? Latin Grammy Awards 

14. Do you like bananas? Why or why not? Love them, though my trainer insists I should consider them a treat. 

15. What could you spend hours doing, but you are afraid to tell others you enjoy? No answer expected here right?

16. What is your least favorite food? Beans of any kind.

17. Do you watch New Girl? It is the best comedy on television and should be watched by everyone. LOVE IT!!!

18. What is the best Halloween costume you’ve ever worn? Cindy Brady, but only because some little girl asked me if I was Britney Spears. LOL!

19. What is your favorite scary movie? I don’t like them…total chicken I know.

20. Are you a Harry Potter fan? Why or why not? I will only drink out of my ButterBeer mug, you be the judge. 

21. What is your favorite Halloween candy? If you don’t celebrate Halloween, just your fave candy. If you do it has to be one of those candies you only get at Halloween (i.e. Smarties, Sugar Daddies, Pixie Stix, Krackel Bars, etc). I love chocolate, but usually only get Smarties for Halloween.