Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Fun in Fall

I love the excitement that fall weather brings. It is time to trade the summer clothes and sandals for sweaters and jeans, preparing for Halloween, Thanksgiving, bonfires with friends (and hunting season!). The green leaves on the trees turn to gorgeous shades of reds and yellows.

After searching for a great day trip, my kids and I decided on Skyline drive, about an hour away from where we live. We packed up the car, grabbed a few snacks for the trip and headed out. Once we made it to the Shenandoah National Park, we were in awe. We drove slowly through the windy road and stopped at just about every vantage point we could.

We stopped and parked in one of the lots and took a nature walk to get an up close view of the colors. We played in the leaves and laughed. The kids ran around the trees and studies the various leaves and colors they had.

After a long day of enjoying the sights, we were rewarded with a phenomenal sunset. It was just another one of nature's spectacular portraits of color and texture.

Where are you enjoying the outdoors this fall?

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Another year

Could it really be another year has come and gone. And if it has, where did it go? I had someone recently point out to me that I haven't posted in a while. I had taken a break from sharing my thoughts with you. This last year has been one full of broken promises and turmoil, but it doesn't stop me from believing. I continue to be let down by people in my life and I still choose to try to see the good in people. I have made new friends and lost old ones. Life still goes on...

Yesterday was a pretty hard day. The 10th anniversary of September 11th, 2001, was filled with tears, chills, and anxiety. Ten years ago, I was 5 months pregnant with my second child and in Pennsylvania getting ready to come back to Virginia. I was a stay-at-home mother, married with a family, and I thought, happy. Ten years later, I am a hard-working single mom, struggling to make ends meet. I don't see my kids enough, I work too hard.

Yesterday was also filled with hope. My girls have grown into wonderful little women. They have such loving hearts and are so giving. I am so proud of who they are becoming. My career has finally started to take off. I have started to focus on doing things that make me happy. I am taking more time for the outdoors and photography. I am working on being creative with crafts and experimenting with baking. I am even toying with the idea of starting a new blog based on some of my other passions, as well as possibly taking on a part-time job for a bit of fun money for travel and other fun things I have been wanting for a while.

I hope to be back on a more regular basis and jotting down my thoughts. Please come back to visit and see what the next year holds...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

I will never forget...

Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning
Alan Jackson

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Out in the yard with your wife and children
Working on some stage in LA
Did you stand there in shock at the site of
That black smoke rising against that blue sky
Did you shout out in anger
In fear for your neighbor
Or did you just sit down and cry

Did you weep for the children
Who lost their dear loved ones
And pray for the ones who don't know
Did you rejoice for the people who walked from the rubble
And sob for the ones left below

Did you burst out in pride
For the red white and blue
The heroes who died just doing what they do
Did you look up to heaven for some kind of answer
And look at yourself to what really matters

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

Where were you when the world stopped turning that September day
Teaching a class full of innocent children
Driving down some cold interstate
Did you feel guilty cause you're a survivor
In a crowded room did you feel alone
Did you call up your mother and tell her you love her
Did you dust off that bible at home
Did you open your eyes and hope it never happened
Close your eyes and not go to sleep
Did you notice the sunset the first time in ages
Speak with some stranger on the street
Did you lay down at night and think of tomorrow
Go out and buy you a gun
Did you turn off that violent old movie you're watching
And turn on "I Love Lucy" reruns
Did you go to a church and hold hands with some stranger
Stand in line and give your own blood
Did you just stay home and cling tight to your family
Thank God you had somebody to love

I'm just a singer of simple songs
I'm not a real political man
I watch CNN but I'm not sure I can tell you
The difference in Iraq and Iran
But I know Jesus and I talk to God
And I remember this from when I was young
Faith hope and love are some good things he gave us
And the greatest is love

I will never forgot that horrific day, September 11, when those beautiful places were destroyed by cowardly, evil attacks. Even now, I can remember everything like it was yesterday. The song by Alan Jackson that I referenced above still brings tears to my eyes.

I was in Pennsylvania, visiting my family. I was five months pregnant with my second child. I had just put my youngest in her high chair to get her some breakfast, while I got our stuff ready to go back home to DC. I turned on the television to turn on PBS for her. The television was on one of the local news stations from the night before. I had turned it on to see the second tower being hit by the plane. I sat on the coffee table as I felt my knees go weak. As I watched in stunned silence, my dad called from work to ask if I heard about it. I told him I had it on as tears streamed down my face. When I had found out that the third plane hit the Pentagon, I lost it. I knew I had friends at the Pentagon, and my husband at the time worked in another government building in DC. I tried to call him, but phone lines were already insane. His father called me to see if I had heard from him, as he was as worried as I was. My father left work, because he was concerned about me going into labor early from the stress. My parents wouldn't let me go home, as we didn't know what was going to happen at this time. I just wanted to go home and have my family together. Life seemed to have gotten so much shorter.

These horrendous attacks took so many lives, so many loved ones. I am fortunate to not have had anyone I loved injured in those attacks. A close friend was in the Pentagon when the plane hit, but thank the Lord she was on the other side. She had just left a meeting in that section. Even though I am not personally effected by this tragedy, it does not mean that my heart doesn't go out to the friends and families of those who were. Thank you to those who volunteered to go to these sites to help the victims. Bless those who lost their lives in those buildings and in those planes. Bless and protect those who serve and still defend us today. I will never forget...

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Guaranteed Piece of (well you know)...

Last October I started a new job and not being familiar with the new area, I decided to buy a GPS to help me get around. I did a ton of research on the various options out there, and after recommendation from my parents as well as the salesperson, I decided to go with a Garmin unit. I was fairly happy with it for eight months but that was short lived.

I used it on a regular basis, even if I knew where I was going, I used it to give me an idea of traffic and estimated time of arrival. I once used it on a trip to the beach (a trip I have made many times over the years) to see if there was another route that I could take to get me there faster. After all, who isn't in a hurry to get to the beach?! :-) While trying to program the unit with the location I was going to, it couldn't find the beach I was going to. It's not a small beach, it's actually a pretty major area. So why could this GPS not find the area? It actually froze while trying to find it. I turned it off and continued my trip. I found the number for Garmin and gave them a call to see if there was an update I was missing. I was on hold for two hours and no one ever answered. I was very annoyed. I hung up and gave up. When I was about an hour away from my destination, it decided to "find" the location. Do you really need to be an hour away from your destination for it to be found?! This happened on several of my trips to this location.

Last month I plugged in my unit to go somewhere and it wouldn't even turn on. Well, it would start up and then the screen would go black, then start up again. Endlessly. I pick up the phone and call Garmin first thing when they open and was on hold again, this time for a total of three hours, again with not one person answering. They recommend you call first thing to prevent a long wait time. I wonder if I should call about an hour before they open to "get in line". Makes me wonder if there are that many customers calling due to the same issues, or if there is one lonely person answering the phone. (Maybe no one at all....)

So I decide to e-mail the company. They respond a couple of days later and recommending doing a reset of the unit. (Thanks, that didn't occur to me!) If that doesn't work, update it by syncing it with the computer. Umm, hello?! How can I sync it with a computer when the thing DOESN'T TURN ON?! So I politely write them back thanking them for their simple but difficult "solutions". They agree to let me send the unit back (on my dime) and they will send me another unit once they receive mine. So almost a month later, I get my new unit.

That was last week. Since I live so close to work, I didn't use the unit this week until yesterday. I was headed to see some friends, and since I moved to a new area, I wasn't sure the best way to get to their place. So the first time I use this replacement unit, it freezes on my en route. It almost caused me to miss my exit. So I have to turn off the unit and turn it back on and hope it turns on in enough time to tell me where I am going. Ok, I think, it's just a glitch. Wrong. It happened again today on the way to my appointment with my client. So I got to write this wonderfully responsive company again. Yay... NOT! I can't wait to see how long it takes this time...

Needless to say, I will not be recommending Garmin to anyone! I'm just saying...

Friday, June 4, 2010

HuntingLife.com » HuntingLife.Com Launches iMapMobile iPhone Application for Hunters and Outdoorsman

This app is awesome! I have used it so many times to see the weather for the week as well as tracking some of the spring storms we have been having lately. I was able to tell how long I would be driving in a storm this weekend while out of town. The zoom capability helps you to be able to view the exact area you are in! Even if you are not a hunter, you have to buy this app and use it on any outdoor activity!

HuntingLife.com » HuntingLife.Com Launches iMapMobile iPhone Application for Hunters and Outdoorsman

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Years Resolution

Here it is again, that time of year when we all decide to do something different in our lives. The new year brings us a new opportunity to change those things that we aren't happy about. Some people may choose to diet, or further their education, or a variety of other things. I am choosing to do those things and many more this year. In order to hold myself accountable, I am choosing to share my resolutions publicly. I challenge my readers to do two things. Check in on me, I want you to hold me accountable too. I will be posting about progress (and frustrations) here for you to read. The second challenge, if you feel comfortable, share your resolutions with me, if anything to just make me not feel alone. :-) We can all support each other grow in this new year.

The first resolution, and I know I am not alone in this, is to be healthier. I am back on the Body for Life program. I have planned my week, went to the store and bought everything I need. My problem is I am away from home for about 12 hours a day. When I get home, I don't feel like cooking. I usually either pick something up on the way home, or pull something quick from the refrigerator or pantry, not usually the healthiest. Today (and every Sunday) I plan on cooking up a storm, portioning out my meals for the week and enjoy. No more hitting the fast food on the trip home, with having meals already prepared, I can come home and heat and eat something healthy.

The other half of being healthy is getting myself to move! One of the things that is a huge challenge for me is working out. I have a torn tendon in my ankle that scares me. I am prone to turning it and re-injuring it. I was starting to be a runner (granted it was years ago) and I enjoyed it. I plan on starting out slow and am seeing a surgeon to try to take steps to repair the ankle for good. Until then, I am taking things slow. I found a Wii under the Christmas tree this year. I went out yesterday and purchased the "Your Shape" for the Wii. I started with my profile and did the initial fitness test. (I will mention that I "tested" well, but I am a bit sore today already! No pain, no gain, or I guess in my case, loss...) There were several things I like about this game, and therefore, the reasons I purchased it. First of all, I didn't need to purchase the Wii Fit. Since it is after Christmas, the finances just weren't there to fund this purchase, although it is something I will most likely buy in the near future. The second reason I decided to purchase this game is that the package comes with a camera that attaches to the Wii sensor bar. The camera detects your movements to ensure you are doing the motions properly. One of the most frustrating things about exercising is doing all this work and not seeing the results. I am excited about having someone to check my form and not be in a gym for all to see my being corrected. I am just not ready for that kind of public humiliation. :-) The game also scans your body (and no I didn't try to suck anything in!) to get an accurate representation of your body. This scan allows for the computer to suggest areas that you might need help on. There is a calendar that allows you to select the number of work outs you want to schedule per month and time. I am excited to get to working out with this program. I think that the fact that it is "game like" and in my home may make it harder to ignore. It allows me the flexibility to work out at any time. We will see how it goes....

The second thing that I am going to focus on this year is myself. Ok so I know being healthy is focusing on myself, but there are other parts of me to focus on. I am going to further my education and get a certification to help further my career. I am also going to focus on being more organized. I can be really focused and organized at work, but I need to bring that home. I am going to get into a routine to make life easier. I am hoping that since I have my Sundays planned out with cooking that I can portion out the rest of the tedious tasks around the house during the rest of the week. If I schedule out my evenings, I can accommodate not only the work out routine, but also the dusting, laundry etc. I am hoping that becoming a mom with a routine will help encourage my daughters to do the same. I also want to ensure that if I have scheduled myself to do all of these things in the time allowed, it will allow for me to do some of the things I love. I want to write more as well. I have said it before, but writing is the door to my soul and provides me with sanity. I am doing more to ensure that my stress level is in check. I am hoping that writing will help me with that.

I will continue to be a dreamer this year though. There are dreams that I refuse to give up on. Dreaming makes me happy. I don't think I am unrealistic in my dreams. I know what I love to do, where I would love to be, and who I would love to be. After all dreaming is the imaginative thoughts indulged while awake.

As I write I am enjoying one of my protein shakes. I guess that is a good start. Now if you'll forgive me, I have some cooking to do. I hope you all have a blessed new year and it brings you all that you dream about.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Has it really been that long since I have been able to sit down and write?! I am amazed at how quickly time flies. Just as I was ready to jump into my Mary Kay business, I lost my full time job. I was unemployed for part of the summer and into the fall. It was a long and difficult time for me. I was wondering when it was going to end. It was a daily struggle. I do not know know where I would have been without the love and support of my family and friends through this time.

I am saddened by the fact that I haven't written about most of this experience. In my trials, I ended up retreating into myself and really reflecting on my life. It would have been more therapeutic for me to write more, but I just didn't. Sitting here writing now is such a relief and joy. I write this mainly for me, but if I can help just one person realize there is silver lining somewhere for them as well, then it would be the best scenario possible. It would make all my times of struggle worth it.

Well, the hands of fate had finally turned in my direction. A job that had come my way last year around Christmas (and had turned down) became available again this October. I think that things happen in your life, things you go through, a divorce, a bad relationship, or losing a job, to help you understand how strong of a person you are. That is not to say I didn't struggle, or wonder why me, I had my days. I have, however, been able to look back on this whole ordeal and realize how much experiences in life shape you and help you grow as a person. I am a better and stronger person because of the things life has handed me. I can't say I am grateful for them when I am gong through them, but after getting through them, I realize how much of an experience it was.

I have been very busy with my new job and trying to get myself back on my feet. I love the everyday challenges of my job and feeling such a sense of accomplishment. I am now able to start focusing on my Mary Kay business again, and enjoying all that it has to offer. I am also able to be the mom I want to be, providing for my kids. I am a very lucky girl.