Monday, September 26, 2011

Finally... 40.

It has been the most wonderful weekend, filled with simple celebrations and surrounded by friends.  I am grateful to have several other luncheons and special things this week.  I feel wrapped in love by all the messages, Facebook posts, cards, and gifts I received.  But the best part, what has set upon me most heavy - is that time is truly the greatest gift you can give someone.  Time to spend with them, time you've thought of them - it is by far the best gift of all.

I could update again from my list of goals for the year, but it feels more important to round this milestone with just THANKS.  Thanks for walking these months with me.  It isn't the end of something, but a great new adventure up ahead. I am thankful for every day I'm alive and sharing life with those friends and family I am so blessed to have.

My cup runneth over.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Last days of 39 -

Just a few more days of 39 to go!  Here is the final list update, and then I have a few more things to write about around my birthday. 

31.                  Ride a roller coaster.

Okay, I have ridden some roller coasters this year.  The biggest ones for me were on the October trip to Disney with Taylor.  I hate them, but I rode some good ones that didn't make me want to cry, and that was a big step forward I think.  I have to admit even feeling a little embarrassed when riding Space Mountain, at how beneath all the terror I actually *might* have even liked it.  A little bit.  Only a little bit.  When I was 13 and rode with my sister I cried getting on it and off of it, so I think I've made strides since then.  I'll leave it at that. 

But one of the main reasons I really wanted to ride a coaster this year was to get a photo of me doing so.  I love this song by David Wilcox and have long hoped to have a picture to represent it and my birthday.  Maybe we'll get there in the next few months, where John and I are actually together and he can get the photo I'm wanting.  I don't completely trust anyone else with a camera on a coaster!  :)  Anyway, here are the David Wilcox lyrics I love - the song is called "Top of the Roller Coaster."  Pretend it says "40" not "30." 

Say good-bye to your twenties
Tomorrow is the "Big 3-0"
For my birthday present
I've got a place where we can go
It's a lesson in motion
To ride the wildest ride
We're gonna climb to the top of the roller coaster
And look down the other side

So let me ride in the front car
And you ride right behind
And I'll click my snapshot camera
At exactly the right time
Shoot back over my shoulder
Catch the fear no one can hide
When we tip the top of the roller coaster
And look down the other side
Over the hill

So when the prints come back
We can look at that unmistakable birthday fear
Like your younger days are over now
And its all down hill from here

It was a happy birthday
You surprised us all
So take a look at this glossy picture
I framed it for your wall
It's the moment of truth
It's the top of your youth
The camera don't lie
You might be screaming
But there's a meaning
In the laughter in your eyes
It seems to be saying
"Of coarse there will be fear"
But this is why we stand in line
Spend that time
Make that climb
To finally feel the other side
And it's all down hill from here

We're gonna climb to the top of the roller coaster
And look down the other side

32.                  Ask for letters.  Write some letters.

I didn't fully explore this as I was hoping to do - but I will continue to be conscious of letting people know I love them in writing - I don't do it near enough.

33.                  Be content. 

Every day this is something to keep in perspective.  Perspective - that is a very, very big word with me.  I find that I need a fresh one very often.  Being content and being thankful go hand in hand for me.  When I start to feel resentful - I know I need a big dose of perspective. 

34.                  Plan a big 40th celebration!

After basically a year and a half of thinking I was going to come up with some enormous not to be missed event - I think I failed.  I have a couple of small things going on, though, and turns out that is probably just what I wanted in the first place.  A few things are a little further out on the horizon, but I am really looking forward to spending time with friends and family over the next week or so.  I have plans to hike Stone Mt. with Larry my best college friend.  I have dinner plans with my family.  I have a tea with my mom, aunt, sister, nieces, and kiddos.  I have a painting party with a few close friends.  Some other close friends are taking me for a surprise luncheon.  How blessed am I?  So, while there is no killer event planned after all, there is more than enough of happy to go around for me.  I'm so grateful, and very excited about my big day!

35.                  Stop interrupting.

This may not be possible.  But I'll keep trying.

36.                  Be grateful every day.

See #33.  :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Was 13 months... now less than 13 days!

The days are ticking to the end of 39... 

A few more updates:

26.                  Read 50 books or more.

So, I completed this goal a few months back, and I haven't updated it lately, so I'm not posting all the regular links and information, but here are a few other books I've had my nose in lately.

Bossypants by Tina Fey - Laughed and laughed and laughed on the plane to Boston.  Laughed so hard the poor woman beside me asked me what I was reading so she could get it.  Later, other parts weren't as funny, some even lagged, but since I don't laugh nearly hard enough or often enough, I completely enjoyed giggling with Tina Fey.

Sisterhood Everlasting by Anne Brashares - Loved all of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, so I was excited about a new release with these characters.  All I am going to say is, this was the opposite of Bossypants.  I cried and cried and cried.  And, it was very satisfying and lovely.

Baby Proof by Emily Giffin - I wish I hadn't read this.  While the different storylines of the female characters were interesting, I finished the book and felt really disgusted with the main character, her choices, and her outcomes.  Ugh! 

27.                  Get our finances in order with a set budget.

Good for us.  We can always do things to improve, but I'm proud of our work.

28.                  Complete my gratitude project.

Elizabeth and I had wonderful ideas in mind while considering writing a photojournalism type book on gratitude.  But then our notes were accidentally throw away by someone else, not us, who didn't know what they were.  And then - life happened, and we have both been busy.  Hope we are both at least 'practicing' gratitude, which I am thinking is the case!  :)  Hope we get to work on something else together or that there is still hope for this project.  Check out Elizabeth's beautiful photography at

29.                  Have a physical.

Check!  Did it last November!  I sure hope it doesn't mean I need to do it again...? 

30.                  Face my fear of water.

My friend Sarah doesn't call me Elphaba for nothing.  I hate water, at least if it requires putting my face in it.  Love to drink it, be near it, listen to it, shower in it - but who am I kidding?  Despite how easy others make it look to dive into it, I'm out.

Only a few more updates to go... before the big day!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Getting close!

It's the most wonderful time of the year!  September has begun, which means the clock is ticking pretty quickly to my birthday on the 24th.  I've gone from 13 months when this blog started to just 22 days left.  Wow.  Time for a few more updates.

21.                  Say YES.  But only to what is right to say YES to…

I have done really well with this over the past year - and, I have to say, there have been some pretty big things to say NO to, which has been a struggle.  I'm proud of the decisions I've made.  No regrets yet.  And, after a very busy year last year of volunteering, I've cut back dramatically and appropriately this year.  With children now in two different schools again, it was necessary.  Good efforts here. Check!

22.                  Make a regular practice of prayer and meditation.

I have had several great resources this year that I have used - although not regularly.  One of my favorites has been the latest book by Jan L. Richardson called Sanctuary of Women.  I bet I have bought 10 copies of it to share with friends.  If you don't know about Jan or her work yet, you must check out her website:  She is one of my favorite spiritual writers.

I must admit that prayer and meditation are not my strongest gifts, so this area continues to be a work in progress.  And, perhaps, that is the way it is meant to be throughout your life.

23.                  Stop using bad language. 

Damn it – I forgot about this one!

24.                  Drive with full attention.

I think we all have moments where we catch ourselves not fully engaged, but driving needs to *not* be one of those places.  Having this as a goal this year has reached into my reminder mode when I catch myself zoning.  It is easy to get on auto-pilot - which is a scary realization of how many OTHER people ARE on auto-pilot while I am out driving, running, walking with my family... Makes me hyper-sensitive these days!

25.                  Spend time with people I love.

What a beautiful year of opportunities to spend time with people I love!  I could recount so many great times over the past year, new friendships, and fun with my family.  Hooray for all those gifts!

Thanks to Sarah and Temple, who last October (during a particularly tender conversation) gave me "permission" to stop playing life hostess.  My efforts at focusing on *some* friendships, in particular those who were not being returned, had become very taxing.  While letting some of these efforts go has caused me to also stay less regular even with other relationships, it has also been freeing.  I'm grateful for that conversation last year.  It has allowed me time to spend with other people who WANT to spend time with me, and has helped me see more clearly where I was wrongly investing.  Thanks Temple and Sarah - you are two people I definitely DO want to see.

More updates coming soon...

Friday, August 12, 2011

Feet on Concrete

16.                  Exercise for a total of 500 miles.

Okay, I haven't updated this since March!  In April I went 35.5 miles.  In May, I put in only about 20.  In June, I averaged right at 30.  In July, I put in 41.  So, in the last four months when I haven't logged, I gained 126.5 miles!  Which puts me roughly at Columbus, Indiana.  Indianapolis, here I come!  That puts me at a grand total of 484.9 miles - I'm almost to my 500 mile goal!!  That still leaves me with 256.1 to go to Anneliese in Chicago, and it will likely take me past my birthday, but I'm going to make it!  Just bought some new shoes from West Stride, and for the first time ever, I can document that my shoes have taken me an awfully long way. 

17.                  Forgive someone… and then move on.

Check.  Got that one covered.  Moving on. 

18.                  Explore cooking.  Then, throw a dinner party.

I've tried a lot of yummy new recipes lately, and had pretty good luck.  The most recent was borrowed from my friend Melissa - Bailey spent the night with Melissa's daughter and they made Chicken Divan.  Bailey couldn't stop raving about it so Melissa was kind enough to share.  She helped me cook and we had fun serving the family.  Yum! 

We threw a dinner party recently, but it was burgers.  Does that count?  I never said it had to be fancy, right?  :)  Love having friends over.

19.                  Do something incredibly romantic.

Coming up this weekend!  I got tickets for John's 40th birthday to go see Big Bad Voodoo Daddy with the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra at Verizon Amphitheatre.  I set up a romantic dinner basket for us, and got our friend Hannah set up to kid-sit for us.  We're all set up for a fun night out tomorrow, and I'm really looking forward to it!   

20.                  Get all my photo albums caught up.

Can you hear me laughing?  This is just bigger than I have had a chunk of time for, but I haven't given up yet.  I'm holding out hope that I can get to this - I do want to do it and it would be a huge organizational hoorah! 

More to come. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Steady as She Goes...

11.                  Paint a canvas.  Draw and frame a picture.

12.                  Enjoy what I eat.

13.                  Go to a few movies all by myself.

14.                  Listen to my children.

15.                  Date my husband.

All five of these things I have done.  And then I have not done.  You've already seen my not so fancy painting in a previous post; but I haven't yet taken time to draw again.  I have savored many meals; and also slammed down many others with no consciousness.  I have gone to one movie alone - Morning Glory.  LOVED it and tried several more times - but ended up with friends, which of course turns out to be even more enjoyable.  I've sat patiently and listened to my kids; but other times I've muttered lots of "mmms" and "oh reallys."  I've dated my husband, and we've had some fun outings; but they have been more chance or scheduled by demand than enjoyed and softly planned.  In other words - "Here is somewhere we have to go, wanna get a sitter and go together?" rather than, "Hey, good looking, what are you up to Friday night?"  I'm not sure there is much of an alternative right now, where we find ourselves in life, but I'm still trying.

So many good things going on.  Kids are back in school now, we're back to some sort of developing schedule, and the clock is tick tocking toward Sept. 24.  More updates to come - steady as she goes!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

More updates!

More updates! 

6.                  Participate in a 5K/10K… and a 1/2 marathon.

The only race I participated in this summer was the Peachtree Road Race, the hottest 10K - literally and figuratively.  I had my slowest time ever, but hey, who is couting?  I hadn't been training and I was just glad to finish.  But now I'm aiming for a possible 2nd half marathon...  considering the Disney Princess Half in February next year.  Anyone else on board for that one?  In the meantime, I'm starting over with some basic training.  AND - I'm gearing up for my first 5K back on training - the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Run for Your Heart on 9/17.  Please consider running with me, or making a donation in honor of my 40th birthday!

7.                  Lose 10—15 lbs.  Again. 

Who am I kidding?  I gained 15 pounds this year.  But, I'm back on track and hopefully whittling back down with my new training plan and kids going back to school in less than 2 weeks...!

8.                  Earn a bikini.

I wrote about this one before - and the more the summer has gone on, the more afraid I am.  There are very few people in the world who need to be wearing a bikini.  And, most of those are airbrushed.  After some of the near losses of swimsuits I saw at the beach and waterpark this summer, I am even more convinced.  There are too many great swimsuit options out there these days to be focused on an unnecessary bikini. 

9.                  Do something that really scares me.

Waterslides and roller coasters.  That has been a big thing for me - I hate both of them and I've tried out several this year, so hooray for me.  I also have had to deal with some pretty difficult things over the past year, so I feel I can really check this one off with gusto.

10.                  Go camping in our new tent.

Check!  Went camping with the Herdens back in June and had a blast.  Also LOVED our new tent, a gift from the Joys.  Really spacious and room for all four of us.  Next stop - I'd love to camp overnight at Stone Mountain.  Considering it sometime in the next few months or the upcoming year.

Lots more updates to come!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A whole lot of catching up to do!

I'm not kidding.  I have a lot of updates, so get ready.  First, as I find myself in month 11 of 13 going on 40, I feel the need to take a good hard look at my list and see where I am.  So, here we go.

1.                  WRITE. 

If anything in the last few months, I have stopped writing.  I think about writing - does that count for anything?  The reality is - it isn't going to happen in the next three weeks until school starts.  Maybe not even then. 

2.                  Help people who really need it.

I am almost to the point of reaching my goal for Children's Healthcare of Atlanta.  I was hoping to raise $1000 before my 40th birthday.  If you care to donate, you can follow this easy link:  As of this moment, I am just $155 from making this goal.  Any amount would help!  Thanks for considering it.  I think CHOA is an amazing organization - one you never hope you need, but are so grateful for when you do need it. 
Also, as part of my continued commitment to CHOA, and as a way to help celebrate my birthday, I've invited my running/walking friends to join me for a "celebration" the week before my birthday.  I'm asking friends to sign up as my "team" for the Dunwoody Friends First Annual Run for your Heart.  If I missed you on that invite, please plan to join me!!  Let me know if you want to come so I know who is on my "team" that day.  You can also "run" as a "phantom runner" if you just want to donate.  Please consider this great event!

3.                  Have a massage.
Thanks to my amazing Girl Scout families, my incredible co-leader Lizzie and I were given a gift card at the end of the school year to Jolie Day Spa.  Something seems to always be wrong with their website or I would post that, sorry.  Anyway, back in June I went for my favorite - a hot stone massage.  Thanks Brownie moms and dads!
Also, thanks to my amazing 5th grade committee that I chaired with my beautiful friend Justine this past year, we were both given a gift card to Natural Body Spa in Buckhead.  I went the day after participating in the Peachtree Road Race (notice I said "participating" rather than "running").  They also ran a special that if you brought in your PTRR number you got 25% off!  So, I was able to stretch my gift card a bit, and I had a very rare mani/pedi too.  NBS is the best - love that place.  Thanks 5th Grade Committee!!  I loved every minute!

4.                  Go on a *big* trip to a place I’ve never gone.

John and I just got back from Boston and Salem, MA.  We have always wanted to go there!  It was really fun and I got to see a lot of sights.  Here is a photo or two!

It was a nice trip and we enjoyed seeing a new place that has long been on our must do/bucket list!

5.                  Take my kids out of town by myself.

As you might recall, I did this in October with our big Orlando trip.  Since then, we  haven't had any other big adventures without John, but I do feel accomplished on this one and can definitely check that one off!

Okay - look for more updates - coming soon!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


10.                  Go camping in our new tent.

We had the best weekend!  We went camping with our friends the Herdens at Amicalola Falls in North Ga.  Thanks to the Joys, we received a new tent like two Christmases ago, a bigger tent that we have really wanted to try.  But, when we have gone camping and needed a tent in the time since, it has been a combination that just needed our smaller tent.  So, this was one of my goals this year, to go camping and use that great new tent! 

I am attaching a picture below.  It is not very flattering of me, as I am too close to the camera and look like The Attack of the Giant Woman woman, but it was still a very fun moment and a great memory.  We enjoyed walking/hiking/climbing the area around the falls, then went tubing in Blue Ridge.  It was really a fun time and Jen said we needed to make it an annual tradition.  The best part was just sitting around the fire eating hot dogs and s'mores and having fun with everyone.

Also, happy 17th anniversary to Jen and Ralph!  Who knew that they'd be spending that special day with 5 kids and 2 extra grownups on a campout?  Glad they chose to share that time with us!  Thanks for a great weekend!

Monday, June 6, 2011

So behind...!

Hello, and welcome to my blog.  At least, that is how I am feeling - like I need to reintroduce myself.  The last few weeks have been nuts.  Chalk it up to the month of Mayhem.  So, I realize I have not updated my books or miles since APRIL!  So, this post is on the books I've read in April and May - there are a lot!

26.  Read 50 books or more.


39.  The Blessing of a B Minus by Wendy Mogel
The Blessing of a B Minus: Using Jewish Teachings to Raise Resilient Teenagers
I loved Mogel's previous book, The Blessing of a Skinned Knee.  It is one of my two most favorite parenting books, along with Hal Runkel's ScreamFree Parenting.  As the mom of a rising middle schooler, I felt this new one geared toward parenting teens put me ahead of the curve.  I also bought it for my sister in law Kelly for Hanukkah, another reason I felt excited about reading it.  But, I found very little new in these pages.  I found myself skipping forward and internally saying, "yeah, yeah, I got it."  Maybe my kids are too young yet and it didn't feel applicable, but my gut feeling is that this just wasn't as good as the first book.  I do heartily recommend Skinned Knee, though.  Go get that one instead!

40.  Love Wins by Rob Bell
Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell, and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived
Loved it.  Loved it.  Loved it.  This book was not even on the shelf yet and causing tremendous controversy.  I have found that anything that gets traditional church blood boiling is worth looking into.  Rob Bell made the cover of Time and about 10 other magazines, and I saw him on several mainline talk shows and news channels.  But best yet, I saw him in person with my friends Lisa, Alison, and Patty.  We heard him speak at a small church in Atlanta.  Also, got to witness the protestors outside, etc. etc.  This book is very logical, and in that regard varies a little from his past books that feel more heart centered - but that is what I love about Bell.  He makes good solid tradition, research, and language into relevant material.  I am grateful - despite what many might say to the contrary. 

41.  Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine
Writing Magic: Creating Stories that Fly
I thought this book, written by the author of Ella Enchanted and other great books, would be geared to adult writers.  But wonderful news - it was geared toward children who write.  I  loved it, and passed on this treasure to both my children.  Great, fast read.  Love the way it is written and could go back to it again and again for inspiration.

42.  The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
The Red Queen: A Novel (The Cousin's War)
Great chaser to her book The White Queen from the year before.  I got this one from my sister for my birthday but just had a chance to get to it.  Always enjoy Gregory's work, and these two do work from before Henry VIII and the time of the Tudors - instead, exploring the royal beginnings of the Tudors.  Fascinating, as usual.  May I recommend getting a genealogy chart before diving in?

43.  Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine
My daughter bought this at the book fair this year and then asked me to read it.  It came on recommendation of our media specialist Lindsay Waddell.  All I can say is WOW.  A tough read, but inspiring.  But - wanna see something weird?  Just saw this book written up for review -
Long Drive Home: A Novel
I have NEVER ever, ever seen a book with the exact same cover image.  Isn't that weird?


44.    A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
A Discovery of Witches: A Novel
I CANNOT BELIEVE  how good the reviews are on this book.  I suggested it for our book club, and I feel ashamed by that.  So weird, so weird, and the author takes this subject matter WAY to seriously.  Despite my love of Harry Potter and Twilight - listen up folks, vampires are not actually real. 

45.  Soul Surfer by Bethany Hamilton
Soul Surfer - Movie Tie-In: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board
Bailey and I enjoyed the movie so much - we are big fans of Anna Sophia Robb.  Bailey then asked to have the book for her birthday, which my mom bought for her.  I loved getting more insight into the story, and also the photographs in the book, as well as some updated information on the family's experience with the movie.  But - as many of these kind of books are, it is not incredibly well written.  Still, I find Bethany Hamilton very inspiring.  Her story is amazing, even if her book isn't.

46.  gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
Gods in Alabama
I tried, I really did.  But I just could. not. choke. this. down.  I can't take one more book with a Southern character that is all whacked out.  Ugh.  Awful. 

47.  The Name of this Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch
The Name of this Book Is Secret (Secret Series)
Okay, I also can't take one more book that has a review on it that compares it to Harry Potter.  Double ugh.  This one is no where close.  The kids and I read it together, and it is okay, but I was glad to be done with it.  It took us forever to read - and I think it was mainly due to it just not being that interesting.  Sheesh.

48.  Ape House by Sara Gruen
Ape House: A Novel
Water for Elephants it is not - but interesting on a very different scale.  Worth a look - unpacks a fascinating subject, and brings some creative characters along - including the apes.

49.  Matched by Ally Condie 
Matched (Matched (Paperback - Trilogy))
Listen up Hunger Games fans everywhere - this is a fun, fast read with a flair of Katniss Everdeen.  I read it in about 16 hours at the beach and couldn't put it down.  It isn't life changing for the reader per se - but is life changing for the characters, and has some great lines and insights to boot.  Not sure I like the ending, but it was engaging enough for me to look heartily forward to the next one. 

Lots of pages down and only 1 book until I meet my goal - so I'm almost there with time to spare!  Be back soon with April and May miles.