Count it all joy …

Have you ever had one of those times in life when you decided that you were going to really ramp up and make some life altering change or hit a new goal or perhaps even develop a new habit. You spend weeks planning and preparing for success. You have a plan, determination, support group, prayer team and all the angels in heaven are rooting for you. Starting day arrives and you are off full speed ahead and WHAM! Uhm… who would be so inconsiderate and put that mountain right in the middle of my road to success?

Well for me that goal is a healthy lifestyle. As soon as I hit my stride, an obstacle comes across my path. I stumble  fall… and have trouble getting back up. I even sometimes forget where I was going and why. It is usually small things that trip me up. So this is how I startedImpressive if I say so myself. I’ve resisted eating out too much and that whole bag of wonderfully greasy fries from fresh cut potatoes was no challenge for this girl! Then came the family gathering … family styled Italian birthday dinner. I took bites of everything and was satisfied! Woo-hoo! When the dessert came, I tasted the cheesecake and did not bother with the brownie creation. Then our server came with a dessert just for the lady in the white shirt …ME! A wonderful oversized piece of Tiramisu! My favorite dessert thank you. We laughed and passed desserts around the table and my Tiramisu came back to me with one small piece eaten from it. Yep. It appears only I like Tiramisu! So I boxed ate it -all. No guilt! Enjoyed it immensely.

Fast forward to the next day. To the mall to get some steps in before lunch and our 3 hour drive home. WHAM!!!!No, I did not purchase these. They were a gift!! So far I have resisted but this picture is driving me nuts!! So glad they are downstairs and I am lazy. This is definitely a trial but I’m growing stronger each day and really taking the time to seek and nurture my goals.

My next goal/obstacle adventure … getting to the gym! Got the gym membership, gym clothes, eReader, cheerleaders, band of angels and …. the car quit ūüė≥ūüėĖ well, that’s another post for a different day. Until then I will press on!

Be blessed

Born A Crime 

In my quest to read 25 nonfiction books in 2017, I have started with Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. This was a really good book to start my quest on. When I choose a book to read, I look for one that will give me some insight into a worldview that is different from what I currently understand. I love being able to carry away nuggets and/or quotes from the book but, my favorite is to be absorbed into new people, new cultures and new ideas. Noah’s book gives some historical accounts of Apartheid and his own personal experiences. This compilation of stories made me laugh as well as made me ponder. I also drew some insight into the South African culture and it’s different races (I’m sure this was only the tip of a very large iceberg). The stories are told in such a vivid manner that they pull you in and take you to a very faraway place that is also very near and very real.

I knew the concept of apartheid but I did not know how expansive the ramifications were. Told in humor yet realism, you get a real picture of the true damage to lives and to mind. I often see or interact with persons in wonder what their journey really is. I wonder also, how did they get to the very point that we meet today. This young man’s journey often had him pinned against the odds of … well, everything -and it would have been difficult at best to overcome. But, he was blessed to have something dear and precious to help shine the light on a different path for him to follow  -his mother. Patricia, Noah’s mother, and her family provided an infrastructure that would allow him to grow and be protected and yet to take chances in life. I sense that she is a woman to whom I would have relished the opportunity to meet. Her strength, resiliency and stubbornness is amazing in the feat of her environment. She has a no nonsense Jesus, the whole Jesus and nothing but Jesus approach to life and she holds true to what she believes.

Now, the quote that I take away from this book, “you will often hear it said, give a man a fish and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he will eat for a lifetime. What you don’t say is, and it would be nice if you gave him a fishing pole”. Teaching/learning a skill is one thing. Ensuring the tools for success is another. A woodworker can learn the skilled art of making beautiful furniture and cabinets but without the tools to cut, carve, chisel, smooth, and blend, -all the apprentice has is an unused skill.

The title of this book comes clear early on. A human born of one black parent and one white parent is somehow a crime. So now this child has to navigate a world where he is not accepted fully by black, white, or colored. I often ponder why must we put each other in boxes? When we are born we must choose a box -either white, black, African-American, Latino, Asian, Chinese etc. being human is simply not enough.

This book is full of insight through stories that help us gain knowledge and understanding of another’s world through the experiences told by another brilliant human.


The weekend is in sight and I for one -cannot wait! This is how I spent my Saturday evening weekend before last …20161228_224225789_ios

Yep. leftovers in front of a nice fire while listening to some light jazz -a.l.o.n.e. This weekend will a family celebration of birthday. I am so ready to head to Alexandria, VA and part take in the festivities. #family #weekend #fridayeve

Gwendolyn’s Favorite Things

It appears that I have become a gadget lover. I’d rather think of myself as a organizational strategist. I am seeking to create an environment that is efficient and simplistic while utilizing time management¬†as a tool to keep on target and moving forward. Well … it sounded nice anyway. Ha!

Since I have been slacking in my blogging efforts, I have two favorites to add tonight. One is a remnant from 2016 that is actually guiding my 2017 goals. I searched for 9 months for a planner/calendar/journal that could serve my needs in one. If all three could be in one book that would be the¬†icing on the cake. I did¬†find a smaller one that I used for six months and I learned a lot about myself¬†what I really¬†need. I need a journal, a calendar and planner and I needed in the 8.5 x 11 inch instead of¬†8 x 5.¬†The planning section was only 2 pages.¬†Not nearly enough room to plan a year and¬†track my goals and success. I¬†was able to¬†see that I really was a journalist and loved to¬†reflect. When I reflect I am able to patterns of¬†behaviors that are contributing to where I currently am¬†on¬†my journey. As a Christian, I love having nuggets of Truth written to encourage and guide me daily. So yes, it would be a miracle to find¬†something¬†that could contain all that. In a feeble google search, I¬†typed for ‘best planners for 2017’ and up popped¬†Passion¬†Planner as one of the selections. I¬†indulged and it was exactly what I was looking for and from an organization that was giving back in¬†its own unique way. I ordered¬†one in¬†late October or early November. It has been transformational. The Passion Planner has been a great asset to helping¬†me stay organized and on task with my goals from daily to monthly to yearly to three years even unto a lifetime.

For some reason, Teal and Turquoise have been my favorite colors for a five years now. So I was thrilled to see this planner in that color. I am also very creative and wanted to be able to personalize my weeks. But I have seen many in the #pashfam who have exceeded my efforts of creativeness. This post by no means gives you the full details of the abilities of this planner. So, I suppose you will have to do a google search of Passion Planner or just do the hashtags and see what happens. I’M SO THRILLED ….

My second favorite thing would be my Instant Pot!! Got one of these for Christmas from my son (#bestson2016) and fell in love! I make my red beans and rice from scratch and it always takes all day to cook my beans in a crockpot or overnight. Today, after cleaning my beans and letting them soak in water for 30 minutes (found this step to be unnecessary), my beans with ham bone, smoked turkey, onion, bell pepper, bay leaf and spices were done in 50 minutes!! I did not prepare the rice in there -this time. A few nights later my son made pulled pork from a Boston Butt that was lost in the bottom of the freezer. It was so tender and flavorful and ready in just 70 minutes. Below is my husband surveying the beans when we first opened the pot to see the results.

I got the largest size which is great for leftovers and when we have family gatherings. Now that we all get off work and home around 6pm, we don’t have worry about waiting to cook a pot of chili or chicken. I can have a homemade hearty meal plus leftovers on the table within an hour. This will free up lots of time to blog and quilt. I just use my planner to stay on target each day. Although it is just January, I am off to a great start. I have even carved time to start practicing Pilates!

Happy New Year!