How did I do?

At the end of 2020, I had some ideas on how I wanted to navigate 2021. In true form, I was hopeful as I tend to be. I captured these ideas in my popular blog post Top things I’m letting go of in 2021. I was determined to work on things that were in my control despite the chaos in the world such as the pandemic. So how did I do in the 6 areas I identified as wanting to let go of in 2021? Spoiler alert, I didn’t totally eradicate everything on my list. And it would have done me some good to review my list periodically throughout the year.

1. Offence – I think I did alright here when it came to other people that don’t live in my house. I indicated that I would forgive people immediately, and for the most part, I did. However, when you’re in a marriage, offenses occur on a daily basis. When you have children and they live with you, offenses occur on a daily basis. You get where I’m going with this, don’t you? I was constantly challenged with not taking offense with my family. They know how to tug on my weaknesses and which buttons to press. It’s an ongoing process and at least I’m aware.

2. Stressing – I indicated I would stop stressing about my never ending workload. I realized I needed help outside of myself and my circle of friends and family to tackle stress. Therefore, I’ve been investing my time and resources in working with a therapist since April 2021. It’s one of the best decisions I’ve made in 2021. She gives me lots of tools and homework to help me manage, plus I get assessments every few months to track my stress levels. I wrote about some of my therapy experience in the blog post What therapy is teaching me. Some of the tools are deep breathing, journaling, exercising, meditating, speaking assertively (practice exercises), and engaging in planned and unplanned mindful activities. I also tend to my beautiful 60+ plants throughout the inside and outside of my home. My cats, Beignet and Cannoli, also help me keep stress at bay with their loving presence.

One other thing about stressing I said I would let go of is not worrying about cooking for my family because they often prefer to eat out. Well, to my surprise, it wasn’t long before they started complaining that I wasn’t cooking as much for them like I used. So, I amped up my cooking for a while, but slowed down again since I started my vegan/plant-based journey in June 2021. I do make it a point to make them a meal at least once a week, but it’s too much to cook meals for myself and them at the same time. They are welcome to my meals, but they seldom partake except for my son on occasion. They’ve become a very self-sufficient bunch, especially since I ensure we have well stocked groceries.

3. Bad Sleep Habits – I indicated that I would go to bed earlier instead of waiting until 10:30pm to either get ready for bed or go to bed. After experimenting, I learned it’s best for me to start getting ready for bed at about 8:00 pm so I set an alarm on my phone for this time every night, except the weekend. This time works for me because I love taking long showers or baths in my beautiful, ‘spa like’ bathroom. It takes me about 45 minutes to an hour because of my nightly ritual. I’ve been improving my sleep habits, but I struggle with insomnia possibly due some recent medications and my hormones.

4. Underestimating Myself – Through therapy, I’ve been exploring this one and can honestly say I’ve made improvements. At 48 years old, I’m at an age where I have several competing things going on with my life in terms of career, family and health. I went through a period where I felt a complete lack of control over things in my life, which in turn made me underestimate what I could do. What I particularly wanted to explore is why I underestimate myself with certain people because I generally exude confidence. I have tools such as my list of “Power” statements I reflect on that I not only memorized, but also stored in my phone so I can refer to them when needed. I’ve had tough conversations with several people in 2021 and gained more confidence after tackling those situations.

5. Weight – Welp, I didn’t lose weight. In fact, I gained a few pounds…even with being on a vegan/plant-based diet for 6 months. There are some other reasons for that such as taking a medication by way of injection for 4 months to prepare my body for a surgery (future post) I’m having soon. However, physical weight is not the only weight I hoped to lose. I’ve been actively utilizing the tools from my therapy sessions to help me.

6. Guilt – The key to this one is self-compassion. I never thought about being compassionate with myself until my therapist encouraged me to do so. This was a difficult concept for me to grasp because I only think about compassion for others. An exercise I did to help me was made a list of how I can express self-compassion. When my internal dialogue sounds negative, I review my list and do some deep breathing exercises. I refer to my list often.

Although I didn’t know it when I wrote the initial post, therapy has been tremendous in helping me overcome many of the things I identified. Perhaps I was being overzealous when I indicated I would “let go” of them in 2021. Perhaps the question isn’t how did I do, but how am I doing? It’s a process that I can’t put a time stamp on that may take a lifetime. I know how difficult it can be to change patterns of thinking because I’m going through that now. I will definitely continue to work on letting go so I can have a more peaceful, healthy, and happy life.


Top 12 things 2021 had me out here doing

What a year! Like many of you, I’ve been reflecting on 2021 and my first thought is that it FLEW by so FAST. And with each month, it seemed to go faster. It’s practically a blur, but so much has happened. Also, it’s been a doozy, FOR SURE. I’ve experienced so many emotions this year from joy and excitement to pain and sorrow. This pandemic has been mind boggling and ever changing. I’ve been doing my best to keep myself and my family safe and healthy.

I know many people are ready for it to end, but I’m learning that there is no sense in rushing it because it will end eventually. I recall a colleague saying to me in 2017 that it was a rough year and she couldn’t wait for it to end. That year my mom passed away and I’m not sure what the year ending sooner would have accomplished because she’s still not here 4 years later. I’m learning that each year is intertwined with many emotions and experiences because it’s called LIFE. Before you know it, it will be gone. There is beauty all around us and we have to choose to keep our eyes on it.

To keep this post light at a time when I know many are suffering and/or want this freaking year to end, I will share the many first time experiences I’ve had in 2021. It’s amazing to me how just when you think you’ve experienced a whole lot, God let’s you know there is a whole lot more for you to learn and do. Here’s my list of 12 things, in somewhat chronological order, 2021 had me out here doing and/or experiencing:

  1. No electricity and water for days – You might have heard of SNOVID (SNOW during COVID), no??? Well, here in Texas in February of 2021, it snowed, the temps fell below 10 degrees, and the power went out. I had no idea that we would be living like it was the 1800s just because it got cold. This is ludicrous coming from a person who grew up in Chicago where it would need to be a blizzard before the city shuts down. People in Texas were literally freezing in their homes and sadly, some people died. I wrote a series of blog posts about the experience starting with Is this Texas? and then Is this Texas Part Deux?. The stockpiling I learned about earlier in the pandemic came in handy because we had plenty of food and water for drinking.
  2. Pooped in a plastic bag- This is a continuation of #1. I had to get REALLY creative once the water went out a few days after the electricity did. I think when you are in dire straights, your instincts kick in, which is the only way I can explain why I would get the idea to poop in a bag. Since there was no water to flush the toilets, this made the best sense to me. I passed this nugget on to my husband and kids. We did what we had to do, but I hope to not experience that again. I might be ready to go camping next summer though. (Is that what it’s like? I’ve never been camping.)
  3. Boiled snow- This is another continuation of #1. Again, we were being creative in the face of a dire situation. We had no running water for washing our hands, face, body, cooking, cleaning, flushing the toilet, etc. And as the freak situation would have it, when our electricity finally came back on, the water stopped. We were able to boil the snow to wash the few dishes we had and fill buckets to flush down the toilet. This experience showed me we could survive anything and we gained some survival techniques in the process. I learned to keep a supply of paper products, plastic cutlery, and aluminum pans/containers on hand because you don’t want a sink of dirty dishes when you have no water. I also believe the experience further bonded our family.
  4. Colonoscopy- Aside from the horrendous preparation for the procedure, my first actual colonoscopy went fine. Previous medical advise was for adults to get their first colonoscopy at 50 years old, but my doctor told me the guidelines have changed to 45 years old. Therefore, I was scheduled for my first colonoscopy a few months before my 48th birthday. The preparation entails taking medication that will clean your bowels completely out. It will clean you out to the point of feeling like you’re peeing from your butt. I vividly recall telling my husband I wasn’t going to make it (a little dramatic). He told me I would make it and he was right. I’ll move on now.
  5. Bought a new home and moved out of Austin- In the 20+ years of living in Texas, we’ve always lived in Austin. I never thought we would live outside of Austin, but we fell in love with our dream home, which was to be built in a small town about 10 minutes away from where we had lived for 14 years. The town of Buda is very quaint and growing very rapidly. We’re so close to Austin, we still do our shopping and other activities as we normally would. Although this is our second time having a home built, it is our first home in a single story and we absolutely love it.
  6. Bought a luxury car- A few months after we moved into our new home, wouldn’t you know our trusty Jeep Grand Cherokee stopped workingWe knew it waa coming though because we’ve had our vehicles for 10+years. Going down to one vehicle wasn’t a big deal to me because I’ve been teleworking since March 2020 so sharing a vehicle with my husband, Bryan, was fine. Plus, my son also has a car. I didn’t even get to see it one last time before it clunked out because Bryan left it at the car repair shop and arranged for the someone to take it to the junk yard. I didn’t care what our next vehicle would be, except I knew I wanted it to be an SUV. Bryan did all the research and a few months later, we brought home our beautiful preowned Audi. She rides smooth like butter and is so pretty.
  7. Wore shorts to gym class- I love Zumba fitness and from about the spring, I started attending my beautiful Z-sister’s class on a regular basis. She’s such a great instructor and exudes SEXINESS. She sometimes wears shorts and inspired me to wear shorts to class in public and I did it several times. I will devote a complete blog post to this because it taught me to accept my body. As long as I was comfortable and enjoyed my shorts, that’s what matters.
  8. Came down with pneumonia- Right after July 4th, I came down with a bad case of pneumonia, which took me out for about 2 weeks. I was tested for COVID twice during that time and tests came back negative. I’ve not been that sick since I had bronchitis for the first time in April 2020. My therapist believes it was the stress that caused it. The medical doctors don’t know why I got it. The whole experience changed my mind about returning to the office to work. I believed if the pneumonia was a taste of what it would be like to get COVID, then I needed to be extra careful. At the time, my leadership told us the staff had to work a hybrid work schedule. We’ve since been allowed to choose how we want to work and I chose to do 100% telework to minimize my exposure to the virus. Working from home has improved my quality of life immensely. This by far was one of the best decisions of 2021.
  9. Tried new foods- I’ve been on a mostly vegan/plant-based journey since June 2021. This is the longest I’ve ever done it. Considering that this is a lifestyle change, I decided to broaden my food palate, so for the first time, I made oyster mushrooms and tried some plant-based foods like beyond meat. I’ve even been eating and cooking tofu on a regular basis. All are delicious when prepared the way I like them. I changed my diet for mostly health reasons. You can read more about what I’ve learned about eating this way from this post: Vegan truths I can’t ignore
  10. Breast Cancer Awareness Walk – It’s been 5 years since I was diagnosed with breast cancer and I don’t know why it’s taken me 5 years to actually participate in the Susan G. Komen More Than Pink Walk. And honestly, if Bryan hadn’t signed us up, I still wouldn’t have participated. It was Bryan, myself, and our 2 kids that did the walk and it was an amazing experience. I was so inspired by all the women who are trying to heal and get over this disease. It’s astounding how many people are affected. Not only did this activity bond our family, but they got to be in the company of so many other people affected by breast cancer. One of the most touching moments was me writing a note to my mom, who died from complications of a different cancer, in a booth devoted to those that passed on. I cried as a wrote the note thanking my mom for passing down her warrior genes to me.
  11. Rode in a Tesla- I’m not really into cars. I’ve always been the type of person who is practical and care more about the vehicle being dependable and a smooth ride. I mentioned in #6, Bryan picked out our new, preowned vehicle. I didn’t care too much about what it would be except I didn’t like this battery powered one we test drove earlier in the year. While in Chicago in November for my Uncle’s funeral, I stayed with my sister and my brother in law who have a Tesla. I never paid attention to Teslas even though we’ve known the headquarters and factory were moving to Austin. It definitely looks and feels like a futuristic car. It was fun to ride in.
  12. Two trips to Chicago in the same month- At the end of the summer, Bryan expressed he really wanted to see his mom and uncle since they’re getting older. He wanted us to plan a trip to Chicago for Thanksgiving. My general rule has been I don’t do Chicago when it’s cold. PERIOD. However, I was willing to go so we could see our family. Sadly, I learned my Uncle on my father’s side passed away at the beginning of November. Since he was a close part of my family, I flew solo for his funeral. That trip was a blessing in disguise because I didn’t realize how much I needed to get away from work and how much I missed my family. It was wonderful seeing them. On top of that, I got to see them again at the end of the month for Thanksgiving. It was one of the best highlights of 2021.

Enjoy the pictures!

Photo taken from my back yard during SNOVID in February 2021
Our beautiful new kitchen inside our new home. The refrigerator has since been replaced and clutter abounds.
Our new home has been a blessing! We love it!
At the More than Pink Walk, Austin, Texas, October 2021
Look at those shorts…Sweaty after a Zumbathon with this beautiful Zumba fitness instructor in August 2021

Home stretch of our new construction build

Preparing for our new home has sucked up most of my mental space and time these last few months. I’ve not been able to blog as much which I’m bummed about. Interwoven with work, I’ve spent most days packing, visiting the house, and planning with a little shopping in between. I’ve been on YouTube incessantly watching “Empty House Tours”, interior design videos, and the like.

We started packing in January so we would be ahead of the game. Since I despise moving, I definitely didn’t want to torture myself further by waiting until the last minute. Our two children have boxes piled in their rooms too. The downside of packing so early is our cats have been terrorizing some of the boxes – peeling off the labels and digging holes. Now, they both just seem overwhelmed with all the boxes and new packages. They know something is up.

Beignet having a serious talk with himself and my new purchases.
Beignet atop of Bryan’s new side table in the midst of the garage mess. Cannoli walking towards me.
Kitchen metamorphosis. LPC

If you’ve never had a home built, it is an exciting and fun process. It might not be for everyone because it’s a long process requiring attention to detail and planning. Our process has taken about 6 months. An added bonus is in that time, our credit scores have increased substantially which puts us in a better position at closing than when we started.

Some people may want/need to move in more quickly. If you have time, a new construction build may be the option for you. It was the best option for us although it wasn’t in our initial plans.

Once you’ve determined affordability for your budget and the best location, the main things you need are patience and imagination.

You need patience for the process – anywhere from 4 months to years depending on the type of home.  There are also many decisions you need to make (depending on your builder) which will challenge your patience,  especially considerating your budget. We signed our new construction home contract in August 2020.

Me on our freshly cemented foundation….maybe not so fresh😉. LPC

Your healthy imagination is needed to help you envision your home. There are usually model homes built with all the bells and whistles (i.e., upgrades). Those upgrades come with individual prices and they can add up quickly. It’s up to you to know and stick to your budget.

Freshly laid ceramic tile. LPC

We’ve been fortunate to have experienced this process with our first home circa 2000. With life’s twists and turns, we sold our home during the housing recession of 2007/2008. My husband, Bryan, was laid off work from the job that brought us to Texas. Things were tight for a couple of years before deciding to sell. Although it was painful, it was the best decision we made for our family. For almost 14 years, we’ve been renting a duplex.

Renting isn’t bad when it fits your needs. I’ve heard the perspective that renting is like throwing money away. It’s only been recently I’ve been hearing more advice to the contrary. I was tired of being house poor. I was tired of worrying about how we were going to pay the full mortgage each month. Although we downsized, renting a duplex was the best option because it was what we could afford and eventually allowed us to live below our means. Looking back, it was some semblance of the lifestyle we had been living in the house in that the rental had a huge back yard for our children to play, the same amount of bedrooms, and a garage for storage.

Master bath under construction. LPC

Our lives have evolved so much in 14 years and now it’s time to move on. In a few years, we’ll be empty nesters which was a very important factor in planning for our house. Our children are 15 and 20 years old. This will be our retirement home. I’m hesitant to call it our “forever” home as I often hear on home improvement shows.

My favorite space. LPC

What side of town do we want to live? How much space will we need? Do we want to walk up and down stairs? How much yard do we need? What rooms/features are essential for our lifestyle? Which builder will maximize our needs/wants within our budget?

With so much to decide in the planning, we are so pleased our structural and design selections have come together beautifully. You’re just not sure because you pick your selections at one time (or more depending on your builder) from pictures, swats, and samples. Also, the budget is the main factor in making the selections.

Once we ruled out other builders and selected “the one”, we selected a floor plan which was not the model home. We made extra efforts to view this particular floor plan to ensure it “SPOKE” to us and was OUR home. We found the floor plan at different communities outside of ours and made arrangements with that communities’ sales office to view.

We chose a single story, open floor plan with 3 bedrooms, a study, a large kitchen open to the dining and living rooms with a laundry room, pantry, and 2 car garage.

The boxes are multiplying

In less than a week, we’ll be closing. We encountered a plumbing problem at the walk through which delayed our closing by a few days. I’ll share what happened in a future blog post. I plan to post more detail about this new construction process in the coming months. I’ll even share video footage I recorded. I’m determined to learn how to record great videos!

The day after the walk through, 3/17/2021 🤯😱

Stay tuned…


Top things February 2021 had me doing for the first time in my LIFE

The 3rd month of 2021 feels more like the 6th month considering everything that’s happened in the world thus far. I do welcome March with open arms and hope for subdued weather, productive packing, a smooth move to our new home, a healthy family, and reconnecting with friends. If you don’t know about the winter storm in Texas the week before last, you can catch up in my blog posts Is this Texas? and Is this Texas Part Deux? It took about a week for me to process what happened. Just when I thought I experienced mostly everything in life, I was wrong. Here are the top things February 2021 had me doing for the first time in my FREAKING LIFE!!!

  1. Dress for freezing weather inside the house – We went without electricity for over 50 hours. For us, no electricity means no stove and other electrical appliances, no heat, and no hot water. Everything in the duplex operates on electricity which translates to we were sorely at a disadvantage. Some homes have gas and electricity which will be the case in our new house. The weather was in the single digits outside. What I know about the cold having grown up in Chicago (where winters are long and miserable) is to LAYER UP. I put on so many clothes at one point it was uncomfortable to lay in bed under the blankets so I had to take some off.
  2. Collect snow to fill buckets and the bath tub – Well, it was my husband, Bryan, who filled the buckets. We picked up on that tip from Facebook and talking to our neighbors who were in the same situation. One thing about a natural disaster or any stressful situation, is that your creative juices start flowing at some point. Mine kicked in early. On the 3rd day of no electricity the water shut off. This means we could not flush toilets, wash the dirty dishes in the sink, do laundry, wash hands, take a shower….YOU GET IT. The purpose of collecting the snow was to help with flushing toilets. Within an hour of no water, my son said he had to do a NUMBER 2. Of all the weeks, he decided to consume protein shakes daily so he could bulk up his physique. It wasn’t pretty and the snow didn’t help. My husband cleaned up the mess.
  3. Poop in a plastic bag – I probably should have included a disclaimer that this post might be a little TMI (too much information), but since I already typed #2, I might as well continue along in the same vein. I was really worried about not having water to flush the toilets, especially after my son’s experience. The snow wasn’t working out. My bowel movements are very regular since I eat lots of produce and fiber. Bryan had been searching for gallons of water for a couple of days now. All the stores were sold out. I slowed down my water intake hoping that would cause my bodily functions to slow down. It worked for a little while but then the inevitable happened. It was right before that moment the idea came to me to poop in double plastic bags. I thought it would be less messy and it was. I was a little grossed out but I did what I had to do. I shared my experience with my family and made sure they had access to plastic bags, disposable gloves, cleansing wipes, and disinfecting wipes.
  4. Melt snow and ice – One things for sure…we were trying to make the best use of the snow. The electricity came on at 11:54 pm late Wednesday (electricity went out Monday afternoon). A few hours earlier, the water was shut off. We had plenty of individual bottles of water; however, none of the stores had gallons of water or water PERIOD. In order to wash the dishes that were in the sink, I gathered all the ice cubes from the freezer compartment and boiled them. I successfully washed the dishes. We boiled the snow for the toilets. It was a smooth operation: collect snow in one bucket, pour the snow in the large pot on the stove, once the snow starts boiling, pour the boiling water into the toilets, fill bucket with snow and start all over. We did that for a few hours.
  5. Not taking a bath or shower for a week – When the electricity went out, so did the hot water. When the electricity came back on, we didn’t have water. Thankfully, we were able to buy a box body cleansing wipes from Costco mid week. We were all so relieved to be able to take showers by the weekend.

It’s amazing what we experienced in February. Never in a million years would I have imagined this. During the ordeal, I was keenly aware that we were experiencing a collective trauma here in Texas. My husband and I banded together to keep our children as comfortable as possible during the circumstances. By the weekend the weather was in the seventies which reminded me why I love living in Texas.

I’m grateful I didn’t have to go through this alone as some people likely did. I also know we had more resources than others and I was grateful for that too. People were helping each other all over the state. A couple of friends even offered their homes to us. However, with COVID, we didn’t want to take any chances. We knew the power would be back on eventually. We just had to withstand the discomfort and we preferred to do that with each other. It was definitely a bonding week for us.

I’m looking forward to March with a little hesitation though. We’ll see what it’s store. I’ll keep you posted.


Is this Texas Part Deux?

What a week! It’s so surreal it’s difficult for me to describe. If you haven’t read my post from Tuesday, you can get the background here at Is this Texas? As I spend the next few days gathering my thoughts, I want to share my posts from my Facebook feed so you can get a picture of what it’s been like with no electricity for 48 plus hours and no running water since yesterday. These posts are as I posted them on my page including the pictures, though I’ve added more description here for some of the pictures. This is something like “a week in my life” during a national weather disaster.

Where ever you are in the world, I hope you are warm, safe, and have enough food to eat.

Monday, 2/15/2021: View from our backyard! ❄❄❄ What’s up with this weather??? The hubby & I moved from Chicago to Austin to get away from this record breaking ish!!! The lil girl has already been outside playing in the snow. We can take it for about a week, but no more please & thank you. 🌬

Picture taken from my backyard

Monday, 2/15/2021 after 6pm. Y’all!!! We’ve been living our BEST lives over here during this weather. I managed to get a workout in & my dinner cooked before our POWER went out after 5:30pm. Got some delicious chicken & rice casserole with roasted bacon wrapped asparagus on deck. I hope everybody is staying warm & cozy. I guess we’re going to bed early tonight.🤷🏾‍♀️✌🏾

Dinner before power outage
Chicken & rice casserole
Bacon wrapped asparagus per my husband’s request.

Tuesday, 2/16/2021 morning. We are so cold!!! Power has been out since yesterday at around 5:30 pm, which means no electricity, no heat, no hot water, but we’re MAKING DO. It’s 50 degrees in house and maybe 20 degrees outside. I’m eating a healthy bowl of cereal – brown rice crisps, homemade muesli, chia seeds, fresh organic blueberries, banana, a little maple syrup, & almond milk. If you have no power, please hang in there!✌🏾

Cereal with all the fixings

Tuesday, 2/15/2021 afternoon.We’re headed for another night of no power…translation: no heat, no electricity, and no hot water. It’s been over a straight 24 hours…others on my team have gone over 40 hours. Even the cats know something’s up so they cuddled with us when they weren’t chasing each other everywhere. Shout out to hubby for waiting for hours to get us some hot subs, to the manchild for shoveling snow, & to the lil girl for sitting in the warm car to charge my phone. We have plenty of blankets, warm clothes, food, toilet paper, water, etc. BUT prayer works especially for those who have to work during this stuff and those who don’t have shelter. 🙏🏾 I’m not looking forward to tonight but I’m truly with the loves of my life who have each other’s backs…we’ll be OK. Oh & 2021, JUST STOP IT in my cat momma voice.💕

Beignet all cozy on our bed.

Wednesday, 2/17/2021 late morning. Y’ALL we still don’t have power since Monday!!! BUT we’re making the best of it. I’ve already exercised for the day 💪🏾🏋🏾‍♀️and am working on completing my 2021 vision board. When times are hard, tap into that creativity! That’s what I do! Hubby actually got my phone charged to 99% in the car. Caleb found out Walmart is open but he’s going to pass on going into work. Elise already had a tuna sammich & Caleb & I had protein shakes. Hubby is a big baby & prefers to have a standoff with himself when he doesn’t have his preferred options (aka hot food). I bet he’ll eat a PBJ sammich soon. Don’t tell him I said that ok. 😉😉😉You know we’re moving next month to our new house & have been packing. WELLLLL, last month I found an old Essence magazine from May 2014 (my bday month)!!! Lots of beautiful brown women in here who’ve been inspiring me. This is only a peak at my vision board…it will be organized a certain way. We’ll see if we get power today. Laters!✌🏾

Dressed for the outside in the house but having some fun
I still haven’t finished my vision board! Boxes in the background…🐈🐈on the bed.
Love these images. I’ll continue to work on them. I need MORE.

Wednesday, 2/17/2021 early afternoon. Anybody ever tried smoked oysters? This seems like an opportune time to try with no power in the house & all.🙃 NOT BAD! I doctored them with hot sauce & chives…added a few slices of pepper jack cheese & crackers for a snack. I ordered these from Thrive Market (online health food store). I also have plenty of canned sardines and pouches of tuna and chicken. If you find this disgusting, keep scrolling.🍱✌🏾

Doctored canned smoked oysters, pepper jack cheese, and crackers
Purchased from Thrive Market. I thought they were alright for my first time. I’d eat them again.
Nutrition information

Wednesday, 2/17/2021 in the late afternoon. So not only was there a boil water notice for SW Austin, we now have no water. PERIOD. I have nothing else to do & thought I’d feel better if we had a few extra gallons of water to flush toilets & maybe a couple extra flashlights/candles. We have plenty of everything else including ind bottles of water. So hubby took me on a trek to get gallons of water. We got out here in these streets! And guess what??? Stores are closing early. Sprouts – closed early despite a line earlier. Got in line at the “big” Randalls on Mopac/William Cannon & they turned us away cause they were at their limit.We got to Costco at 2:43 & they were closing early at 3pm. We were in line by 2:55 pm. Bought flashlights, cleaning wipes, body wipes, & case of ind bottles of water (limit one per person). Now, I’m in the car waiting for hubby who is in Target. It’s a mess out here but I’m looking at this as an adventure. Do you know it feels warmer outside than in our house? I think I’m building a tolerance for the cold. Elise said “I like the snow but it’s not worth it if we can’t have electricity.” Y’all stay safe & warm!P.S. Hubby walked out of Target with no water. Oh well, snow in the tub will have to do.

Thursday, 2/18/2021 in the morning. Update: Our electricity was finally turned back on at 11:54 pm last night after over 48 straight hours without. Thank God for that. Still no water in the pipes though.

Thursday, 2/18/2021 in the early evening. It’s really no joke not having running water but thankful we have electricity again. It’s been a busy day of using our creativity to figure out how to wash the dishes and other crazy things but we did it. This is probably my 1st food post presented on paper plates & on my bed but LISTEN, we not using real dishes & cutlery til we get running water & it’s my business to eat on my bed after this freakin week. Shout out to hubby AGAIN for spending hours in them streets & coming back with the paper plates, plastic cups, & plastic cutlery. I enjoyed cooking again: beef pasta, with broccoli/ cauliflower au gratin, garlic toast, & cucumber slices. I’ll worry about carbs after this catastrophe is over. Yum! 🥘🍲🥣

It really is like reliving these moments as I gather them in one place for this blog post. Each day was getting worse mentally and physically but I’m so thankful the weather will be better in a few days. As my sister and I discussed yesterday, this is a piece of history that will be talked about for years to come, just like 2020 and the pandemic. We are ‘living’ history and I want to capture it the best way I can.

Let me know what you think about my experience. I’d love to hear how you are doing.


Is this Texas?

2021 isn’t going to disappoint us is it? On this Tuesday, February 16, 2021, my household has been without power since 5:30 pm on Monday. This means no electricity, no heat and no hot water….no hot food, no hot tea or coffee, and no warm showers. It was cute when we were scrounging for candles amidst the sea of boxes because we’ve been packing for our move to the new house next month. We found a flashlight for which we have no batteries. We have plenty of matches. When I woke up this morning after an uncomfortable night of sleep, to say the least, it was 5 degrees. The 5 or so inches of snow that had fallen on Sunday was still frozen on the ground. This is no longer cute. We’re FREAKING COLD!

Let’s face it…Texas isn’t used to this kind of weather and we’re in for it at least until the weekend. Almost half of Austin is without power. This weather has broken 30-year old records. Growing up in Chicago, the only way the city would shut down was due to a blizzard which was rare. Here, most everything is shut down, at least on my side of town. People are furious! I’m not going to bash the electric companies and the like. My heart goes out to those who are aging, young babies/children, and those who are ill. I’m not angry…just trying to survive until power is restored.

I warmed up this morning by getting dressed in warm clothes including my winter hat and fuzzy socks. I was so pleased to catch the last bit of warm water in the pipes to wash my face. I put one of my exercise DVDs in my laptop, put on my gloves, and racked up some steps and zone minutes (Fitbit). I cleaned up the kitchen area a little after my husband, Bryan, and son, Caleb, warmed up in their vehicles. Caleb has heated seats in his car. Nice!

I’ve decided to have a positive outlook. My agency closed our offices across Texas. I generally appreciate being forced to slow down. Also, it’s almost like we’re camping indoors. Keep in mind, I’ve never been camping. We have plenty of non-perishable foods, toilet paper, water, and general necessities. I’m not worried about the fridge and deep freezer defrosting in the garage because it’s very cold out there. It’s about 50 degrees in the house. The fridge in the house is losing cool air but it’s fine for now. I can always move items to the garage.

So as I lay in bed under 3 blankets, I’m making lemonade out of 🍋s. The good news is that this will all go away by the weekend! I may have a different perspective if we have to spend another night without power. I’ll let you know how it goes.

How are you faring in your neck of the woods?


Top things I’m letting go of in 2021

Be proud of yourselves folks. We made it to 2021! Making it through 2020 means you can overcome anything. Well, in Texas, we still have a few minutes, but I’m counting it early. I was trying to explain to someone this morning that 2020 felt like it flew by rather quickly, yet was excruciatingly long at the same time. How could that be?

How could a year that was traumatic for so many people worldwide, be one of the best years of my life? Only God knows. There is not much I control in this world. What I can control are goals I set for myself and my attitude. Every year, I strive to be better and grow, which entails taking inventory of my life. I came up with a short list of things I’m letting go of in 2021 and I’m sharing with you. I hope my list inspires you to let go of some things no longer serving you too.

  1. Offense
    • I was introduced to the book the “Bait of Satan” through my Life Group in the fall of 2020. A Life Group is comprised of a small group of couples from our church who gather for several weeks to study a lesson together. The book really opened my eyes to offense, how it manifests, and destroys relationships. The concepts are totally counterintuitive to how most people (i.e., Christians), including myself, think. This is a must read, especially if you are a Christian.
    • I will forgive people immediately, whether they are aware or not, and move on.
  2. Stressing
    • On my 2020 Vision Board, I glued the phrase “Care more, stress less”.  I’ve been practicing not caring too much about what people think of me for years now. I need to work on the stress less.
    • I need to stop stressing over my work “to do” list. I put in ample hours. It’s a never-ending list. I will put in my daily hours and then cut it off.
    • I need to stop caring so much about my family having a homecooked meal every day or leftovers of a homecooked meal. I live with two teenagers and a husband who loves fast food. They don’t care.
    • I will instead cook smaller portions of mostly healthy meals I want to eat.
  3. Bad sleep habits
    • I will not slouch around until 10:30 pm to get ready for bed.
    • I need to be ready for bed by 9:30 pm during the work week. Period. “Being ready” means I will have taken a shower, my pajamas are on, and I’ll have a book in hand and am in the bed by 9:30 pm…no phone or laptop.
    • Getting enough sleep is a cure for just about everything.
  4. Underestimating myself
    • It doesn’t happen often as I’m usually very confident, EXCEPT in situations where I’m with people who I PERCEIVE are very knowledgeable. I’m surrounded by smart people on a daily basis, but it’s certain people. Time to unpack that and let it go.
    • Also, no more second guessing or doubting myself.
  5. Weight
    • The physical weight that causes me to be overweight and puts me at higher risk for certain diseases.
    • The mental weight of perfectionism.
    • The mental weight of anxiety.
    • The mental weight of things I can’t control.
    • I’m developing a plan to be much lighter.
  6. Guilt
    • For not being the parent I think I should.
    • For not being the wife I think I should.
    • For not being the sister, aunt, friend, cousin, etc….I think I should.
    • For not doing everything everybody else thinks I should.
    • For taking time for myself.
    • I will work on more positive affirmations and self-talk and acceptance.
LPC’s 2020 Vision Board. I’ll start working on 2021’s next week.
This book and study guide continue to blow me away. I have a lot of growing to do. LPC

I’ll follow up with a post on my vision for 2021. What are you letting go of in 2021?

Cheers to another year full of opportunities, the unknown, joy, peace, blessings, and light lessons!