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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love.

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert.

This book has been on my “want-to-read” list for about a year. And no, I haven’t seen the movie starring Julia Roberts.

(Are you kidding me? Actually going to a movie that doesn’t target elementary-age children? I haven’t done that in more than a year!)

To show you how clueless I was on the book, I didn’t even realize it is non-fiction. It is a true story written by a 30-something girl in search of her self. Her life is an emotional ghetto after a divorce, so takes off traveling for a year in an attempt to heal her spirit. She picks three countries to live in…spending four months in each. Her choices? Italy, India and Indonesia.

Loved. This. Book!

First, the author is hilarious. I imagine she could write a book about washing machine repair and I would LOL the entire way through it.

Second, the author keeps it real. (Well, as real as you can be for someone in her 30s who takes off for a year without any legitimate responsibilities.) After reading her tale, I’m way more sympathetic towards anyone who has gone through a divorce.

Third, she lives in amazing settings! Italy has always been on my top-10-places-I-want-to-visit list. I’ve never, ever wanted to go to India…but the author almost persuaded me it wouldn’t be so bad. And I never thought about Indonesia until now…Bali sounds awesome. (Honestly, it’s the middle of winter and I’ll take just about anyplace that has warm weather and a beach right now.)

There are tons of great quotes from the book, but here are a couple of my favorites:

“You are, after all, what you think. Your emotions are the slaves to your thoughts, and you are a slave to your emotions.”

And

“As smoking is to the lungs, so is resentment to the soul; even one puff of it is bad for you.”

In case you’re wondering about the title, I’ll sum it up without trying to give too much away.

While traveling through Italy, she spends a lot of time eating. (It was like "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives" from the Food Network…only Italian style.)

In India, she practices intense yoga and meditation. Hence, the praying. (And yes, it made me realize that I need to get my big butt back into a yoga class.)

And in Bali, she finally begins loving herself and others. (I won’t tell you that she falls for an older Brazilian guy. Oooops…I just did.)

It was a great read. And while I’m envious of her travels, I do not envy her personal journey of self-discovery. I’m content knowing who I am and what I want to accomplish in my life. I love my husband and want to be with him forever. I love our girls more than I can say. That’s my chosen journey. There’s really no need for me to leave my front porch to figure that out.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

My Life Broken Down By Segments

*Click on image to get a better view of the chart.
**Of course this is an exageration...I don't really sleep that much.
***Perhaps if I exercised more than I ate, I'd be in good shape!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

5 Year-Old Feminist

Tonight I had this completely uncoached conversation with my five year-old daughter while in the laundry room:

Jenna: "Mom, why are you doing Dad's laundry?"

Me: "That's a good question. Why am I doing Dad's laundry?"

Jenna: "Dad should do his own laundry."

Me: "You're right...Dad should do his own laundry".

Jenna: "It's okay if you do your kids' laundry, but not Dad's."

Me: "I couldn't agree more. Now go tell your Dad."

So it appears that we have a little five year-old feminist living in our house.

Hee-Hee!

(I wonder where she gets it?)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Useful, Beautiful or Joyful?


My mom recently sent me one of those forwarded lists via email. You know, the lists about what’s really important in life, yadda, yadda, yadda. So I was cruising through the list of 45 items that are supposed to have the keys to happiness for my life when I got to #17:

Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful or joyful.

Okay, I get it. Throw away the junk in your life…both literally and figuratively.

Downsize.

Trim.
Reduce.
Minimize.
Simplify.

It sounds lovely.

Let’s start with my fridge. My brother-in-law would tell you I’ve been simplifying my fridge for years. He delights in teasing me about the lack of content inside that major household appliance taking up space in my kitchen.

But I’m talking about the outside of the fridge.

Some days I can barely see the fridge hiding behind the colored pictures, artwork, flyers from school, calendars, newspaper clippings, notes from dance class, party invitations and so on.

How does this chaotic display on the fridge stack up against #17:

Useful…yes.

Beautiful…I love my daughters’ artwork because it shows their creativity and development. So to me, it is beautiful. The rest of it…blah!

Joyful…looking at it all those papers on the fridge does cause tears to well-up in my eyes, but I wouldn’t necessarily refer to those tears as “joyful”.

I guess the operative word in #17 is “or”. It doesn’t have to meet all three criteria…just a minimum of one.

So for now all of the stuff clinging for dear life to the fridge is safe as long as it remains somewhat useful or even beautiful to a five year-old. Of course, that’s just until I get another list of 45 things that tell me a clutter-free fridge is the key to a happy life.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Positive Words

Last month I attended the viewing of a sweet friend and former neighbor. Lucille was 91 years-old, and passed away after a brief illness.

She was a fantastic lady, full of life and positive energy. Lucille had more spunk in her little toe than most people have in their entire body. And she always looked fantastic!

One Sunday in the hallway at church she grabbed me and said, “I saw your picture in the newspaper and I just have to say that I’m so proud of you!” Then she gave me a big hug and marched away in her high heels. (She was referring an announcement in the local paper about a promotion that I had received at work.)

It was such a small gesture, but she'll never know how much that meant to me. I had two very young children, and was really struggling with work/life balance at that time. She helped me feel that I could successfully manage the crazy life of a working mom.


What a big difference a few positive words can make.

Thanks Lucille...I'll miss you!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

My Pants Feel Tighter

Husband: “I felt bad when I ate the last piece of chocolate pecan pie.”

Me: “Why…because you didn’t save it for me?”

Husband: “No. I felt bad because it was the last piece of chocolate pecan pie.”

(Sidenote: I make a pretty good chocolate pecan pie. I acquired the recipe in my beloved Texas, where the pecan tree is the official state tree. We take our pecan pie seriously in the Lone Star state.)

I have no idea how my husband could feel bad about the pie because it’s been a sweet-food fest at our house for days on end. Chocolates, toffee, brownies, candy & caramel popcorn, cinnamon rolls, fudge, pumpkin chocolate chip bread, lemon bread, banana bread, cookies-of-every-variety-known-to-man, carrot cake and birthday cupcakes with ice cream.

Of course, this comes from the man who raids the chocolate chips when I’m not around. If he can’t find chocolate, he’ll dive into a bag of shredded coconut. He’s even been known to dip a spoon into the bag of brown sugar if he can’t find anything else sweet.

I’m not lying…just ask him.

For future reference, if you ever want anything from my husband just toss over a Hostess cherry pie. He’ll be at your service right after he chases it down with a glass of chocolate milk.

I don’t even want to get on the scale to verify the damage I have done over the last few weeks. My pants feel tighter and that’s all the proof needed. And yet, it’s almost torture to get out of bed early enough for some quality time on the treadmill.

Sounds like it’s time for some New Year’s Resolutions at the Windley house.

Eating healthier, exercising more, and regular visits to the bathroom scale no matter how humiliating it may be.

No more sugar-filled treats. No more homemade chocolate pecan pie.

And honey…no more sneaking into the chocolate chips and other stuff. If you want to eat something sweet then cut-up an apple. And no, you can’t dip it in caramel sauce.