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Monday, November 28, 2011

Changing it out

Today is the day...out with the Fall decorations, clean, and then start to think about Christmas decorating.  It's a big day.  The holidays abruptly take a big turn.  Bye bye orange and brown. Hello red and green. 

Is your head spinning?

There's little time to adjust.  In fact, some people tend to overlap.  That's something I have never wanted to do.  As I have said before, one holiday at a time please! 

So, today is the official day in the Fabian home where the seasons change. 

Today is also the day where my "to do list" becomes huge.   "Christmas is a coming, Christmas is a coming!"   The countdown has started.  The calendar is filling up.  

Here we go!!!!

 

Monday, November 21, 2011

Being thankful

Hi All,

I know it's going to be a busy week ahead as we all prepare, and then feast at Thanksgiving.  It's kind of ironic that my post before this one is about obesity.  Ha!   But, Thanksgiving day is the one day where it's acceptable to overeat and enjoy all the wonderful foods prepared for the event.  The meal is "THE" event.  Family and friends getting together around the table.  So, don't count calories. Take a second helping of turkey dressing, or mashed potatoes (is the plural with or without "e" ? I never know.)   Have pumpkin pie - maybe two slices!  Go for it! 

But, while you are feasting don't forget to be thanking too.  I mean, it's in the holiday's name!  You know like Christ is in Christmas??  (And, don't forget that.)   I try to think of ways to make the day a special day for thanking.  In the past I used a book I found that gave the Thanksgiving history and had an interactive reading to share around the table.  It caused some eyes to roll, but that's okay.

Here's a warning to my family:  I have a new idea for this year!   I won't put the details here, because that will spoil the fun!?!?   But, just start thinking about what you have been thankful for this past year.  Be prepared!!!   I'll tell my blog friends about our special time around the table after Thanksgiving. And I'd love to hear what your special new or old Thanksgiving traditions are.  What do you do that's unique and special? 

I look forward to this time each year EXCEPT for the traveling.  I wish I could be a genie and cross my arms and blink my eyes and be at my sister's for the get-together.  It is the worst travel weekend of the whole year.  The road to my sister's is long and crowded and at one point the major highway goes down to one lane. Yes, ONE LANE!!!!  It's crazy!  It's not for roadwork, or a temporary detour.   The road just goes down to one lane for about a mile (to then merge into another road.)  On a good day there is a backup there.  We'll be sitting in a backup for an hour - or more -and there's no getting around it.  Believe me, I have looked for another route.  There isn't one.

So, I plan on bringing my Kindle and my Ipod (thank you technology) and will take deep breaths, and remind myself we will eventually get there.  And when we arrive, I will be THANKFUL on THANKSGIVING! 

Lastly & a totally change of topic:  GO GAMECOCKS!!  This Saturday is the annual rivalry football game of Clemson vs. U of South Carolina.  It is for bragging rights for a year as the two biggest schools in South Carolina go at each other.   I'd love to see another Carolina win!  

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Obesity in America

I just read an article in this morning's newspaper about some food company lobbyists swaying Congress into relaxing healthy food requirements for school cafeterias.  The lobbyists want to see a dab of tomato sauce on pizza count as a vegetable again.  They want potato and salt limits to be upped.   I get it: these lobbyists represent companies that produce and sell large quantities of pizza and french fries to school systems and their profits have dropped recently due to cutbacks.

The food companies are putting their bottom line against the children's bottom lines.  Literally!  American children in the past couple of decades have gotten bigger.  It's not from healthy eating!  It's from living on too many carbs and fats in their diets and a lack of daily exercise. 

I recently traveled outside of the country and immediately noticed when looking around international airports and touristy areas which people were Americans.  The big ones!   I think it's interesting because our forefathers came and settled in America to gain freedom, to live life to the fullest, and to work hard and then get rewards from putting in the effort.   Perhaps bigger bodies and bigger children is the end result of this.  

But, I'm no doctor and I know with extra weight on a person's frame and the wrong kind of food put into the body, comes all kinds of health issues.  Diabetes is rampant now.  Knee and hip problems.  Clogging of the arteries.  There's even the need for bigger, stronger seats, and clothing.  The list goes on and on. 

A change has to start with our children!  We can't let food companies tell Congress to ignore food standards and allow them to rule what our children eat at school.  One industry's profits can not be worth the price of unhealthy people and years of medical issues and bills.  There has to be a change in thinking.   You ask why I care so much? Some of  the children who eat in school cafeterias are getting breakfast & lunch there, and their families are on gov't assistance.   That's fine.  We should definitely feed them.  But, we can't feed them empty calories and fill them with food that has no positive substance. We can't make them fat!   Selfishly, I think as a taxpayer I could very well be paying for their medical needs the rest of their lives.  And morally, it's wrong to intentionally give unhealthy food because it's cheaper and a few companies make more money from it.  It isn't fair to our children. 

I feel like I'm really on my soapbox right now.  Sorry.  Sometimes an issue jumps out at me and it bothers me to the core.  I feel responsible for all our young people and want to give them the best start in life - here in America - as possible.  

I want our children to grow up healthy and as active as possible, so they can lead a productive, happy life.  Giving them proper nutrition in school seems like a no brainer to me.   It starts a lifestyle of eating habits for life!  It can really make a difference to us all! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Monday, Monday

As the Mamas & the Papas sang it's Monday, Monday - can't stop that day!  It's a new week and I'm sitting here in front of my computer thinking about what is on my schedule this week. I'm thinking about what needs to get done, what activities are coming up, and how best to manage my time.

First, it's Monday, November 14th.  so, happy birthday to my first-born niece Erin!  I remember when you were born and the joy of watching you grow up. Fun times..."do the chicken dance with me"!  And, now you are a Mom of the cutest little boy with another one on the way!   Time flies sometimes!

Which brings me to today's post:  It's a new week and one week closer to the holiday season(s). Thanksgiving is NEXT Thursday!!  Can that be right?  Here in the beautiful lowcountry we are still having nice warm temperatures and flowers are blooming.  It's still gorgeous out!  But, yet, it's mid-November and Thanksgiving is around the corner.  We will head to my sister's for the annual get-together again.  Thanksgiving & a bit of Christmas - combined.  We call it "Thanksmas".  

I'm thankful we get this opportunity each year to gather.  We lost two family members (my mom & brother-in-law) some years back but our group is growing again, and it's joyful!   Everyone brings some food, we share the meal together, sit together as a family.  It doesn't get to hapen often enough.

A Facebook friend of mine has been using November to list something he is thankful for every single day on his wall.  What a great idea!  I am going to try and remember to do that next year.  Let's make the whole month a "thanksgiving" month!

So, it's Monday and a new week.   I am looking forward to tomorrow evening's spaghetti dinner & auction fundraiser at church for our "Backpack Buddies" program, and I'm looking forward to the usual events of the week.  I'm also REALLY looking forward to a "country night" for me on Saturday!  A girlfriend and I are going to see Josh Turner in concert at the Myrtle Beach House of Blues!  Josh is a local boy (raised in Hannah, SC - between here and Columbia) and he's now a huge country star.  He's the one with the rich deep voice - he first sang the song  Scotty McCreery did to get the "American Idol" attention.  He's pretty easy on the eyes too!  I have seen Josh Turner a couple of times, but seeing him at HOB's is a treat because it's a small venue and you can get up pretty close.  

Oh - Let me take a minute to update you all on Miss Honeybee.  She turned 6 months and she has definitely turned the corner with her behavior.  She's 90% trained to go outside.  She's into routines and has settled down alot.   She's a sweetie!  I want to take a Christmas picture of her soon (I bought her a holiday bandana - of course) but she put her nose into a red ant hill over a week ago, and got about 8 or 9 bites right above her mouth.  Poor thing.  It was scary at first because she immediately starting foaming at the mouth. I think it was a physical reaction to the bites, and a way to get her healing saliva on to the bite spots.   Poor thing.

Well, got to get my Monday going now...   you just can't stop that day!!   I hope you all have a great week ahead!   

Friday, November 11, 2011

11-11-11

Today is November 11th, 2011.  Or 11-11-11.  

It's pretty cool when dates come up like that.  When something big happens on them it's easy to remember when it happened and for some who might be superstitious it's a bit freaky or scary.  Luckily I am not one of those people.  I know someone about to give birth and today would be a good day for it.  The child would always have 11-11-11 to write down in the "birthdate" slot on forms and papers.

But I'm thinking about 11-11-11 more today because it's Veterans Day.  It's a date picked on the calendar to officially stop and thank all the Americans who, whether drafted or enlisted, gave their time and put their life on the line for our country.   This day is for those soldiers who LIVED to tell about it.  (If they didn't then we will honor the dead who gave the "ultimate sacrifice" on Memorial Day.)

I have always had very mixed feelings about the military.  In reality I know it's necessary to have the military to keep our country safe and free.  Without the men and women who are in the Armed Forces we would very well have been taken over by another country,  one with dictators and ideas we do not believe in.  Our forefathers came here for a life of freedoms and fairness, that even with some problems, is still an amazing way to live!!   We Americans are very fortunate.

So, this musing is not to talk about the problems we still have here in our country. Instead, it's to remind ME that today is a celebration day for all those who served and have helped keep this wonderful place we all call home the way it is.  I admire those who have fought for it. I know they are proud, and I also know they are forever changed.

So, here's my confession:  I put God first, then my family, then my country.  (3 things I will NOT forget Gov. Perry! ha)  Seriously, in that order!  So, I sometimes think and struggle with what God thinks of how we fight each other and kill in wars.  Murder is wrong.  But when it's organized and for a "better good" is it acceptable?     Then, I think of my family.  I have 2 daughters that I love beyond words and I admit, I am glad they didn't serve in the military.  I feel guilty for saying it.  Had there been a draft 5 - 7 years ago I don't know what I would have said to them.  Encouraged them to be a draft-dodger?  Maybe. 

I have some cousins who I love, and who have served and have children who have served - and rightly, they are very proud.  Please know I am not writing this to be offensive.  Really, I admire what military service takes, mentally and physically.  I admire the strong belief of being in an organization that keeps our country free.  So, thank you.  Really, thank you!!  

I know learning to use a weapon, learning to fight, and being a member of the armed forces is tough. It's life-changing.   War always brings with it pain and death.  It is not something ever totally out of the minds of those who saw action.  Even if they come back to the US and don't talk about it, the memories and the "mindset" is still there.  Yes, forever changed.  So, today, 11-11-11, I stop and say  I'm glad you stayed alive and are living as a veteran of war.  I admire your bravery and your willingness to put your very life on the line for America.  I truly thank you for that. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Giving a Good Start

Hello friends and family!  I want to let you know about a new program I started back in September.  I was thinking back then about how I wanted to spend my time, and how I could make a difference in the world.  I ain't getting any younger you know!

I had been involved with various charitable organizations over the years.  I was deeply involved with school activities when the girls were growing up.  I liked helping, and I knew I wanted to continue giving back with my time. In an effort to follow the Golden Rule - Do unto others as you would want them to do unto you - I thought about what little ole me could do.  I also had (and still have) a desire to make a difference, and to let people know I am a Christian who is blessed and I want to share all God has given me.

So, I made a list.  Yes, I actually wrote down on paper the things that bring me joy (it's a good thing for everybody to try).  I wanted to pick a venture that I knew was something that I would feel good about, not tire of, or come to think it as not important.  

I let the list sit on the table for a few days.  I thought about how some of the charities I had been connected with in the past were too "meeting heavy" and too "fundraising heavy."  I wanted to do something that was turn-key and saw quick results.  I wanted to find something that was local and hands on.

Top of my list:    I LOVE LOVE LOVE babies!  I love pretty much everything about them. My mother-in-law used to say "I could just eat him up" (a southern expression?) and that is how I feel.  A baby is in the room? My focus is on that baby!  

I decided I wanted to do something with babies! So, once the decision was made I conferred with my pastor because I wanted to put something together through my church and get the support of other members.  

My new charitable effort is a baby layette program for the two local hospitals here.  As it would just so happen (hello God?) a head nurse of the OB department of one of the hospitals goes to my church. I spoke with her and she told me how some mothers who give birth don't even have an outfit for the little one to go home in.  They are not prepared at all! No baby clothes, no diapers, no receiving blankets, nothing.   I think it's hard for most of us to believe it when we come from families who joyfully expect and prepare for a new baby's arrival! 

So, I have turned my guest bedroom into baby layette central!  I have started collecting baskets, and all kinds of newborn baby clothes, and infant diapers, blankets, etc.  Anything and everything for a newborn!  I have put together baskets full of these goodies and passed them on to my church friend from the hospital.  She now keeps 2 or 3 baskets in her car and hands them out to the needy moms right before they go home.   I have also included in each a hand-written note to let the new mom know that she is not alone, that we love her & her new baby, and hope the items in the basket help.

It's a GOOD START and a gesture of caring.   

So far my church family has been donating generously and I am very appreciative.  But, if you would like to give to the program too, please do!!! Most of you know me and can reach me.  I will gladly come pick up items. (There is also a bin in the church narthex.)   I can take new and "almost new" baby clothes up to 6 months, blankets, towels & washcloths, hats, socks/booties, disposable diapers for newborns, and baby shampoo and soap.  No baby powder please.  I am also collecting baby beanie stuffed animals because I try to put one in each basket.

Thank you.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Oh golf, how I love ya (and hate ya)

I have been trying to play the game of golf for a long time now.  How long?  Certainly long enough to know that it is one of the most humbling things a person can do.    Let me explain why.

Most games or activities when you do it for awhile you generally get better at it.  If you play the piano or if you work on crosswords or "fill in the blank - pick anything" you learn the ins and outs and improve.  With repetition you can develop skills.

Okay. I suppose to some extent I have learned more about golf over the years.  Over time I have watched others play, taken a few lessons, read "how-to" books, and learned the lingo of golf. " Keep your head down" and "turn from the waist towards the flag" and "bend the knees slightly, butt out."   I know the etiquette of golf.  "Farthest on the green putts first" and "don't step in someone's line".  "Always mark the ball before lifting it."

I enjoy the social aspects of golf immensely and love being in the great outdoors.  Golf courses are beautiful places!  I live in an area that has many courses and I love being on them and seeing the gorgeous terrain and the birds and animals that live around them.   I also love the exercise I get from golf.  I know some people will differ with me, but golf can be good for the ole body.  Especially for me, a high handicapper.  I swing and hit the ball many, many times each round.  The swing action is good for the waist, the squatting to look at putts is good for the legs and butt, and when I walk a course I get some cardio work done too.

So, yes, these are reasons I play golf and continue to go at it. 

But, now, let me talk about the "humbling" part.   For me, when I start a round of golf I have hopes and expectations.  I must admit I think to myself "maybe I will score well today!"   For some reason I usually do have a pretty good first hole.  I get off the first tee well.  So, that builds my hopes a little higher.  I tell myself this might just be a good game of golf today!   

Mistake!!!

Golf is a game where the brain is very active.  Pretty soon I start thinking too much...I am trying to remember how to hit the fairway wood, and chip up...and then putt accurately. I'm counting each and every stroke.  A bad shot?  My brain says "Oh no, I shot  poorly and got a 7 so next hole I have to hit the ball well and make up for the bad shot. "  In golf whenever I try "too hard" I get worse.  I start to tighten my grip or swing too hard.   Then it's downhill  from there.

So I'm in this beautiful environment and I get mad at myself, and a bit embarrassed.  Golf is a game of honesty.  You don't lie about your score.  You deal with it. 

Now, here's another humbling aspect of the game:  On a rare occasion I play a pretty good round for me.  As we say "the golf god" is kind that day...or perhaps my body is just in sync better, or my brain is staying out of the way.  Who knows!   But it does happen!    A good thing, right?   Yes - and no!   So, now my expectations have gotten bigger and my brain plays more tricks on me.  

You know, the PGA commercials that say "these guys are good!" when talking about the pros on tour?  How right that ad is!  They amaze me how they seem to stay calm and focused at the same time.  Can you even imagine playing the game with those huge galleries watching, not to mention the millions in the TV viewing audience?  And playing for thousands of dollars?  I play enough golf to know they are really, really incredible!

So, I admit I do not practice golf like I should.  I don't like to go out by myself and practice on the driving range, or spend time hitting ball after ball out of a sand trap.  The pros do. 

So, then my brain tells me "no wonder you are no good...you don't practice. What do you expect?" But, then it happens....  I hit an amazing shot that gets plenty of loft and goes in the direction I want it to go!  My partners on the course say "great shot"!   Why, thank you.   Oh...but now I have to hit the ball again.   Oh no. I get nervous." I want to do TWO good shots in a row.  Maybe I can make a par!"
Stop it brain!!!

I know if you are reading this and play golf you are totally understanding me.  I think we all have the same thoughts, perhaps some more often than others.   Golf is a game where you never really achieve a goal.  Or if you do finally hit a score you do like, you than try to better it.   You learn to stay humble and thankful at the same time.

Oh golf, how I love ya - and how I hate ya!  

 

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The countdown

Well, I guess you have noticed it's November now.  It's time to turn the calendar to a new page on the wall...and it's time to start the...drumroll please...."the countdown".  How many shopping days are there til Christmas?  

If you are like me you have already started to pick up small gifts - or started to browse through the stack of catalogs coming in the mail. Have you started a list yet?  Have you thought about what is new and hot this year?  I try to prepare the list early, and  to schedule out the gift buying so I can stay away from malls and reduce the stressful last minute shopping.   My mantra each Christmas is "Remember the reason for the season" - and don't stress!

My plan is to have most presents purchased by the second week of December.  That gives me plenty of time to wrap, and to doublecheck the list (yes, we try and keep the two daughters' gifts even in number and dollar value.)   Hubby always shops some too (he actually likes it! crazy guy) and so we end up with a huge pile of wrapped boxes and decorative bags under the tree.  

Speaking of tree:  we have an artificial one since I have allergies and it is also less messy to cleanup and put away.  This will be the first year when daughter #2 won't be home early enough to help decorate it. ) :   It's been tradition that she hang the special ornaments:  the ones we got when the girls were little (some homemade - I love those)  and the ones we bought on vacations, or from other places we lived.   Then I come through and add all the "filler" on the tree and balance the ornaments out.  When do you put your tree up?  Please NOT before Thanksgiving!!! One holiday at a time is all I can take!  I try and wait til mid-December to put ours up.  If  the tree goes up too early it loses some magic by Christmas Eve.  My blog, my opinion.

I have a question. Are Christmas cards becoming obsolete?  I mean the ones you mail out with a greeting, and a family update letter, and a picture.   So many of my friends and family are now on Facebook with me and they see what our family is doing all year through.  There's really no longer a need to "fill them in" or to send pictures to show how we have changed.    So, what do you think?  Just send cards to the people who have yet to get online?  

Well, there's time to think about it all still.  Weeks actually.  Advent (the church's time of preparation before Christmas and the start of the church year) is 4 Sundays/weeks leading up to December 25th. So, I think that should be plenty of time for me too.  Right?   Ha!!

I hate to admit it, my countdown has already started.    Take a deep breath, Marla, and think about Thanksgiving...    don't rush, don't stress, don't prepare for Christmas yet.  

Oh - yes. There will definitely be more blogs on this subject.