How about a resolution to Be Yourself? (a.k.a. – a Proverbs 31 post)

You are more precious than rubies.

You are more precious than rubies

I am reading a new book that I’ve wanted to read for awhile now: A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans. I am enjoying it immensely. I avoided it for a while after hearing about it, because I expected a self-righteous written lecture about how to obey all the Old Testament legalities that most of today’s Christians consider unimportant. But it isn’t that at all.

Consider her “Proverbs 31” chapter, where she studies the chapter of Proverbs that begins “A wife of noble character who can find?” and continues with a long (looooong) list of all the things this exemplified woman does in her role of virtuous woman. I expected this chapter to make me feel “UGH”, but to my complete surprise, that isn’t how this author writes at all.

In this time of New Year’s Resolutions, I simply adore how Rachel Held Evans addresses the Proverbs 31 woman. First, she points out that no such woman ever existed. The chapter is not about someone who did in fact “do it all”. Also, in Jewish circles, it is not considered to be a list of things that all women should strive to master. In fact, the only instruction in that passage is given to other people – they are instructed to “honor her for all her hands have done”. Simply put, it is not a to-do list!

You are not blocked from being a valorous woman if you can not sew. You are not blocked from being a virtuous woman if you can not cook. You are not blocked from being a woman of noble character if you are not married. Not at all.

So what if you work, and purchase the clothing you wear from another person? The Proverbs 31 woman had servants, surely she didn’t sew every single item she wore, so if you work honestly and spend your money honestly, you are still clothing yourself and are a valorous woman.
It doesn’t matter if your method of cooking is opening a can of soup or ordering pizza. The point is that neither yourself nor your family is going hungry because you ignore them. So you are still a virtuous woman.
And since our society today does not require a male person to be the sole representative for his family in matters of law or policy, so if you are a single or widowed or divorced woman, you can still can be a woman of noble character without a husband today.

It’s not a to-do list, folks. You can use the strengths God already gave you, to be the best you can be, without trying to copy anyone else. You don’t even have to copy the non-existent Proverbs 31 woman.

So enough with the resolutions to change. Enough with the resolutions to be “good enough”. Enough with the resolutions to be more like someone else – whether that person have a model’s figure, an Olympian’s strength, or the homemaking instincts of Martha Stewart. Enough.

God made you who you are. How about a resolution to Be Yourself this year?

For my part, I ordered a unicycle. Yep. A unicycle. If I were to rewrite Proverbs 31 for myself today, “makes others laugh” would be part of it, I’m sure.


I’m so tired that I…

This has been a crazy tiring few weeks. I was already exhausted from selling fireworks at my church’s fundraising stand when God blessed us with a new foster child. He’s an amazing child. He’s smiley, loves toys, and has a most contagious laugh. He eats, he plays. and he sleeps – sort of. It’s the “sort of” that gets to me!

This week I’ve become so tired that I:

Wore my socks inside out – and once I noticed it I put my shoes on them anyway!
Put my car keys in the refrigerator.
Lost my car keys four separate times.
Put a stick of butter into the dish cabinet.
Spent five minutes looking for my sunglasses that were already on my head.
Drove on autopilot to the wrong store. Twice.
Spent five minutes just standing in an aisle of WalMart – because I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to get there. It was diaper rash cream.
Put both my contacts into the same side of the case.
Forgot to eat at least seven meals.
I haven’t done any laundry except diapers (we cloth diaper) for two weeks.
Forgot to put a plastic bag in the diaper bag twice (and we’ve only been out in public twice – that means I forgot every time.)
Did not notice that new baby broke the cat door that we keep locked, and one of the indoor-only cats got outside (thankfully hubby noticed and we got him back in two minutes, but that one was scary!)
Forgot to lock the car doors – and we *always* lock the car doors.
Lost the tube of neosporin, found it in front of the TV. (Why there? I still have no idea.)
Forgot what day it was and just stared at the calendar wondering which appointment I was missing.
Neglected to look up directions to one of the appointments new baby needed to go to, until I was almost there and had to pull over to figure out where it was.

Have I mentioned I’ve never parented before? I think I’m as tired as any parent of a newborn. But my baby is 25 lbs and does not stay where he’s put! Baby gates are my friend. So is my Mai Tie baby wrap – a wonderful invention.

There have been no disasters. Lots of weirdness, of course! The cats took advantage of my distracted condition and stole chicken breasts straight from the frying pan. The dog is still scared of him, but has overcome it – for mealtimes at least, when she permits him to touch her while she eats the food on the floor around his high chair. My husband put a large roasting pan full of fresh eggs into the oven. It was intended for safekeeping, there wasn’t anywhere else to keep that many eggs away from the cats. And it was safe, until I preheated the oven. D’oh! So the house is chock-full of weirdness right now.

But that’s what makes life, right? And at our house right now, life is good.

life is good - simple as that

P.S. – Baby says afsdlmvpoj2419p8fmdvlknqw98AFDOIUGXD3!

How much food do you have available?

My hubby and I are embroiled in a “discussion”. 😉 Yep, discussion. On how much food I like to keep available at any one time vs the available space in the kitchen. The food has rather taken over the kitchen, and even taken over part of the garage. I’m not one of those end-of-the-world preppers! But I do believe in buying things when they’re on sale so that I don’t have to pay full price later. But there have been some good sales lately, so everything is rather overflowing with food.

Full Pantry

No, this isn’t my pantry.
But it’s pretty close!
Image from

I have probably 20 lbs of pasta – purchased at approximately 50 cents per pound.
A dozen cans of green beans, a dozen of corn, and 6 of baked beans – purchased at 33 cents apiece.
About 15 cans of tunafish – purchased at less than 75 cents apiece.
Three loaves of bread – free because of a deal with a local restaurant.
About six pounds of fish – purchased at about $1.50 per pound.
Boxes and boxes of couscous, rice, and similar starchy sides – purchased at less than 75 cents each.
About two dozen cans of diced tomatoes – purchased at approximately 25 cents each.
About 20 home-canned cans of pinto beans and black beans – purchased dry at less than 50 cents a pound.

And that’s just an example. I have more food than that. 🙂 And a garden. Plus the eggs from the laying hens. Plus the chickens we butchered last year that we haven’t finished eating yet. So a lot of food.

But that’s how we handle living on a grad student’s living. I don’t know how I’d handle living in a place where the culture said you go to the market each day to purchase just what you will cook for that day. I would HATE paying the going price for everything, all the time.

Also, it’s great to have this much food available for when life happens. If I don’t get to the grocery store when I expect to, it’s no big deal. I can be sick, or have a flat tire, or get a last-minute invitation to do something, and it’s OK. I can run by the store for milk and forget the rest until the next day or so, because I know I have plenty for dinner that night – and the next. I can invite people to dinner with no advance planning. I can attend a last-minute potluck without stressing (and without buying chips or a veggie platter!).

But – storage has become an issue. My idea of clean is – organized, knowing where everything is, and nothing is dusty. Hubby’s idea of clean is – empty. Quite a difference there! So I need to either curtail the sale-shopping, or build some shelves in the garage where out of sight is out of mind.

So what’s in your pantry? How much food do you have available? Could your local grocery store workers go on strike for a week without bothering you much? Where do you store food that you aren’t going to eat right away?

Or in other words – just how far out of the norm am I?

Edited to add – hubby just posted his version on his own blog. You can read it here: Come on, readers, read them both then come tell me I’m right! The inches of storage space may be on his side, but the dollars in the grocery budget are on mine! *grin*


The mouse vs. the Thumbcat

Chapter 1 

Enter the mouse: scritch, scritch, rustle, squeak. In the wall of the bedroom. He’d never been here before, and the surroundings were unfamiliar, making silent running an impossibility.

Rustle. Rustle, scritch, rustle.




image courtesy of the Thumbcat, taken with his permission

Chapter 2

Enter Thumbcat, padding into the room on soft, silent cat paws. A simple hop onto the bed, and he stares silently at the wall, eyes following the invisible trail of the mouse on the other side.

Scritch, rustle, rustle, scamper, rustle, rustle.

Thumbcat slaps the wall with his paw, and the noises stop abruptly.

The next night the play is repeated.

Rustle, scritch, scritch, scritch, squeak, rustle, rus-. This time Thumbcat steps on a bedspring and it squeaks. The noises in the wall stop abruptly, interrupted mid-rustle. Silence reigns.

Scritch. A hesitant pause.

Scritch, scritch. Rustle, scritch.

Rustle, rustle, scritch, scamper, rustle, rustle, scritch, rustle. Thumbcat’s eyes follow every imagined move.

This continues on a regular basis for two weeks. Mouse on one side of the wall, Thumbcat on the other. Never meeting, always knowing the other is there.

Until one night.



Chapter 3

Scritch, scritch, rustle, scamper… what’s this? A hole? A hole into the side of the wall where the bedspring-squeaking, wall-thumping-with-paw animal lives? Yes, it is! What else may be on the other side? Food perhaps? A warmer place to sleep? A roomier place, certainly. It’s worth the risk. The mouse squeezes though the hole and steps gingerly into the room and comes face-to-face with…

Thumbcat. The room is the bathroom, where the Thumbcat likes to sleep on the fluffy bath mat. And Thumbcat’s sensitive cat ears heard the quiet, but not silent, entrance of the mouse.

The battle was epic. Around the toilet! Up and over the sink! Into the bathtub – hiding in the shower curtain – but never for long as Thumbcat buffets the folds with his paws. Behind the toilet again! Around the trash can!

The battle ended as many of these do, with a solid thunk from the Thumbcat’s paw. The mouse lay where he fell, never to rustle in the walls again. The Thumbcat walked away, to sleep somewhere that did not play host to invading mice.

At least… this is what I believe happened. We humans slept through whatever battle there was, lulled by the absence of scritching in the walls. The only fact to show there was a battle was the dead mouse on the bathroom floor that I almost stepped on.  That, and Thumbcat sleeping on the couch instead of the bath mat, and licking his paws.

At least he didn’t bring it into the bedroom and give it to us as a present! And we will sleep better knowing he is on the prowl.

Whatever you did for one of the least of these …

Hubby and I have entered the world of foster care. We will be working with at-risk infants. That will be the ones born with drugs in their systems, or ones who aren’t gaining weight appropriately, or have feeding tubes, or need apnea monitors, or have broken bones, or are living with other similar issues.

We have not chosen an easy road, but rather one offered to us by God.

We are currently in training/licensing classes. We’ve taken three of the required eight, so far. Each is three hours long, so nine hours of training completed so far.  After those classes we go on to have classes in CPR, First Aid, Child Restraints in Vehicles (car seats), and special training for the medical issues we’ll experience once children are in our home.  With those things being extra classes after the training ones, you may be asking “what are in the training classes?”

From our training manual:
Voices of Youth video – actual people who were in foster care as children, talking about how many foster homes they had, why they moved so much, and what stuck out in their minds about certain caregivers.
The legal process – from the first phone call from someone reporting an abused or neglected child, through the child entering foster care, the court hearings that happens while the child is recovering in the foster home, through the child either returning home or being adopted. It’s a process which can take several months to several years.
Explaining that all foster parents are mandated reporters – what that means, what we report, and a reminder of what happens when we do.
Explanations of what tends to bring children into foster care.
Information about addictions and family systems that lead to children being removed.
How a child learns to communicate their needs, and what happens to that child if his/her needs are not met, and the larger impact if a child never forms a healthy attachment to a caregiver.
The impacts on a child’s development when he/she is placed into foster care. A reminder that the child’s first day in care is likely the worst day of that child’s life. (We expect it to be the best day, but from a child’s viewpoint it usually is not.)
Ways we as caregivers can minimize those traumas and help children develop attachment.
Types of development – physical, cognitive, emotional, social. How a child can be a different “age” in each area.
Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder, and the ways it impacts a child’s development.

And that’s just what we covered in the first three classes!

The classes are pretty intense. Lots of videos, lots of explanations being given by people personally impacted by what we’re studying.

A video of an adorable girl whose biological mother drank alcohol to excess during her pregnancy – resulting in this seven year old girl being unable to hear the instruction “touch the red circle and the blue square” and follow it correctly. She was cheerful, she wanted to follow the instructions, but she could not hold them in her mind long enough to do them.

Photos of typical bruise and burn patterns we may see in the children when they arrive in our homes. I couldn’t watch all of that one.

This is not going to be an easy road. My heart already hurts for these children, and I find myself reading books and internet postings to be sure that I know a multitude of ways to help the chlidren we’ll have with us, for as long as they stay with us.

I’m excited about this opportunity. I’m nervous about this opportunity. I’m definitely praying about this opportunity. And we’d appreciate your prayers as well. I’ll keep you posted!

Grocery shopping on a budget

Like most people, I dislike being constrained by a budget. I want what I want, when I want it, darn it! But in reality, being on a budget hasn’t meant that I have had to do without things that I want. It just makes me have to be creative in order to get them.

I’m very pleased with the results of today’s grocery shopping trip, so I thought I’d blog about it. I’d love to hear about your great budget-constrained shopping trips, too!

Our grocery budget (aka kitchen-and-bathroom budget, as it has to cover food, anything needed for food prep and cleaning, and personal care items) is $200 per month. That’s $25 per person, per week. I like to spend about $120 of it in a single trip early in the month, to minimize all those “extra” things I want to pick up every time I walk into a grocery store. One trip = one time I have to resist temptation.

So with $120 in my mind for my target dollar amount, I went to the grocery store. I start the trip by spending 98 cents on a fountain drink to sip as I walk through the store. This REALLY cuts down on the “that sounds good” type of temptation. I adore Coca-cola, and would rather have some of that than almost everything else. And if I’m currently drinking something awesome, I am much less tempted by anything else in the whole store. I discovered this by accident, but use the knowledge almost every time now.

Next, I always start in the vegetable section. I can fill half my cart in that section of the store, and that eliminates the “this doesn’t look like enough food” temptation to add things to the cart. I have learned how to cook such inexpensive items as cauliflower, cabbage, and carrots. I can do each several different ways, and when cooked well they are really delicious and filling. For less than 75 cents per pound, sometimes as low as 45 cents per pound.

Then on to the meat section. I don’t pay more than $3 per pound for “everyday” meat. We will sometimes splurge on steak one night if we have the money at the end of the month, but for the standard grocery trip my limit is $3 per pound. Recently there has been boneless/skinless chicken breast for $1.98 per pound. And pork carnitas (uncured pork, rather than a cured ham) for $1.68 per pound. I like those a lot. I did pay $2.99 a pound for tilapia today, that’s a decent price for it. (A tiny vent: I live in OREGON, so why can I not find fresh fish for a reasonable price??? It was cheaper in Colorado, where you know it’s spent time and gas and wages to get there. I have no clue how that happens. So I have to spend almost $3 per pound for *frozen* fish imported from somewhere else. Sigh. Vent over.)

Hubby and I do like peanuts, and the ones in the shell are about $1.10 per pound today, so I pick up several pounds of those. And I love the bulk bins for spices, it lets me try new ones by buying a tiny amount. Today’s new spice is curry, which I have never cooked with on its own, only in a packaged mix. About 35 cents for this experiment. Hubby likes his whole milk, and I like sharp cheddar cheese. The deli has fresh sliced turkey for $1.98 per pound today! Incredible price, so I pick up 3 lbs, wrapped in one-pound packages for easier freezing. This is an unexpected hit to the budget, I don’t normally need lunchmeat in December when hubby isn’t in school and packing a lunch, but it will store well and I think I have the money since I’m finding really good deals today. This deli is nice in that the display case shows not only the front of the meat packaging, but also the back with the nutrition information. It’s amazing the junk a lot of companies add to their lunchmeat. Carrageenan? Hydrolysed soy proteins? It’s MEAT, folks. Just slice it up, please, and skip the artificial colorings and other junk. The turkey that was on sale was pretty good, at least the junky ingredients were *after* the “contains 2% or less” part of the ingredients list.

So far I have only shopped the “fringes” of the grocery store. But we do want a few convenience foods that are found deep in the aisles. By this time, my cart is looking pretty full. And I’m aware I’m getting close to my grocery limit, so the temptation to pick up anything not on my list is getting less and less. A quick stop for frozen burritos. And packaged mac-n-cheese. And tuna fish. (This stuff is GOOD, why do they hide it in the aisles?) Bottled spaghetti sauce, because I just can’t find a good homemade one yet. And a case of Coke. (You saw that one coming, didn’t you?)

On the way to the checkout I passed a display case of ground beef. That’s odd, beef is normally in the back of the store. I eyeballed the back-of-the-store ground beef today, but at $3.68 per pound I wasn’t even going to look closer. This display was odd, so I walked up to it and saw… ten-pound chubbs of ground beef for $1.88 a pound! Seriously? I look all around, expecting to see a “when you spend two thousand dollars in one trip” type of sign, but there wasn’t one. It’s just normal (but extremely long) chubbs of ground beef for a ridiculously low price. I’ve never seen it that low here in Oregon before. It’s only 75% lean, but so was the $3.68 stuff in the back of the store. For more lean, you’ll pay more than $4 per pound. So I stand there in the aisle and stare at the groceries in my cart. I’ve gotten pretty good at estimating the amount I’m spending, and my gut tells me I have between $100 and $120 in my cart already, and I don’t want to spend more than $120. I mean, I have it if I need it, but I don’t know if this deal counts as “needing”. It’s not like it’s crackers or dessert that definitely are just “wants”. Like the deli turkey, if I can afford this it will mean I have some good grocery savings next month, but it’s not something I need this month. So it’s borderline. I decide to take it up to the register with me, and see my complete total before deciding. I also decide that if I need to put something back, both the $6 package of fish as well as this inexpensive ground beef are potential candidates. It’s good to have options.

To make a long story short, my bill was $97 before the two packages of meat, so I got to add both of them. (Yay!) My attempt at spending $120 was spot on when the register showed a final tally of $120.75!

Ready for the list of what I got for my $120.75?

10 lbs ground beef
6 lbs chicken breast
6 lbs sliced turkey breast
4 lbs pork
2 lbs fish
2 cans tuna fish
5 lbs onions
4 lbs carrots
2 heads cauliflower
8 Roma tomatoes
6 green peppers
6 large bananas
1 package celery
1 head cabbage
2 bags salad greens
1 apple
5 lbs potatoes
Curry spice
Garlic powder
1 gallon milk
2 lbs sharp cheddar cheese
3 lbs peanuts in shell
10 lbs spaghetti sauce
Nestle Quik powder
2 lbs egg noodles
4 packs Ramen noodles
16 frozen burritos
4 packs mac-n-cheese
1 bottle Ranch dressing

I’m sure you’ve noticed a lack of some things that are considered staples in the typical diet. But I’m sure you’ve also noticed that at least twice I purchased things this month that I don’t expect to eat until next month. Right now I don’t need any bread, because there are at least 4 loaves in the freezer from an earlier sale. I don’t need butter because I have approximately 6 lbs of it in the freezer from the Thanksgiving sale (butter that was normally almost $4 per pound was $1.88 per pound). I don’t need breakfast cereal for hubby because he has at least 3 boxes of it in the cabinet from a similar sale. Same with spaghetti noodles. (Wondered what I was going to do with all that sauce, didn’t you?) I have pounds and pounds of those noodles already.

I ran into some Master’s Commission students I know on my way out the door. They couldn’t stop commenting on my huuuuuge chubb of ground beef. It seemed to amaze them that I got it for $1.88 per pound. I explained the concept of buying in bulk, and told them they could do it too if they combined their grocery money and agreed on what to get. I don’t know if they’ll think about doing that, but at least I said it. They’re great guys, and like other college age guys, they’re *always* hungry!

So now you know my budget shopping strategy. Buying in bulk and building your meals around items that are on sale are two staples of it, but they are the commonly known ones. Everyone can use more techniques to avoid temptation buying, and hopefully you found a few in this post. Being able to tell how much you are spending at any given moment is a skill worth cultivating (or keep a running total on the paper with your grocery list, whichever works for you). Anything to bring that grocery bill down to manageable levels is worth talking about and sharing with others!

Now I’m off to finish putting away more than 5 paper bags stuffed full with groceries…

Growing Pains challenge – week 10 report and challenge summary

Ranting About Rectangles - Growing PainsMy last week! I did it. I completed my challenge. I learned some good things about myself in the meantime.

But first things first – the list of three things.

First thing – The gym. More weight lifting, more stretching, more resistance training, more bicycling.

Second thing – Cleaning! The bedroom took 6 hours. Mostly because I hate folding clothing, so I don’t. But with a housesitter coming so we could go to Seattle for the weekend, I needed everything folded and put away. So I folded. And folded. And folded! And after that I organized, and put away. And only after that did I get to the actual cleaning. But it’s all finished, and looks great!

Third thing – Doing some of my husband’s chores. His final paper for the quarter was due Monday (yesterday), so I did what I could to relieve any other stresses he might have – including things like doing the dishes.

Whew! I am completely finished with this challenge. I’m glad that it’s over. REALLY glad. But I learned some good things, too.

Part way through the challenge I realized that it was suddenly easier for me to do things I did not want to do. Practice makes perfect, I guess.

I also learned that the bar for “things I don’t want to do” isn’t set as high as I thought it was.  When I started I thought there were many things I didn’t want to do. But in reality, there are really only a few things that I truly don’t want to do. The rest are things that aren’t my favorites, but that don’t cause me any real problems when I’m faced with doing them.

I also learned that I enjoy my free time much better when I don’t have a task hanging over my head that needs to be done. Even if I’ve scheduled some chore for later in the day, I am not completely immersed in the thing I’m enjoying because I know I still have to do the chore. It’s better to get the chores over with so I can lose myself completely in what I want to do.

This challenge also resulted in my husband and I altering some of our chores. I took over cleaning the cat litter boxes, and doing dishes more often. He feeds the chickens and rabbits more often. The chore assignments are more fluid now, rather than assigned to one or the other of us. I don’t know how that will work in the long run, I guess time will tell. But for now it’s working just fine.

And I have a new habit – going to the gym twice a week. I still don’t like it, but I’ve lost two inches around my waist! I’ve not lost any pounds, but since my waist is shrinking I must be replacing some fat with muscle. I like that. And I have definitely improved my strength. I got a 75-80 lb bale of hay out of the car, through the house, and upended into a container next to the rabbit food without waiting for my husband to get home! I’m proud of myself for that.

So all in all, I’m glad I did this experiment. 10 weeks of having to do things I didn’t want to do, and on a regular basis, was good for me. I’ll probably do one or two more items on purpose, since the timeline of this was set to mimic my husband’s graduate school quarter, and I did not factor in the fact he’s having to spend a couple days past his official end date doing grading for student papers (he’s also a teaching assistant). So I’ll do a couple more things to complete the same time period he is, and so our “holiday breaks” start at the same time. See? It really isn’t as hard doing things that I don’t want to do, as I thought it would be. That’s probably a good thing for me to learn, and remember, for the rest of my life. Just do it.

Thanks for reading along with me!

(New to my Growing Pains challenge? Here’s the original post that explains it:

Growing Pains challenge – week 9 report

Ranting About Rectangles - Growing PainsNext to last week completed – only one more to go!

First thing – The gym. I injured my shoulder earlier in the week, so I focused on my legs for this workout. Now they’re sore! But it’s a good sore, the kind that means muscles are growing stronger. I like that. I’d hate to think I’m doing all this working out and getting no benefit. I still haven’t lost any weight at all, so I’m glad *something* good is happening. Strength is good for those of us running backyard homesteads. Almost everything I do requires strength of some kind, so more of it is good.

Second thing – Still not eating out. This is harder than I expected! I’m seriously going through restaurant withdrawal.

Third thing – I clipped my dog’s hair. I didn’t want to do that, but she’s been scratching and I just couldn’t keep it untangled. We’re doing other things for the scratching, and are slowly getting it under control. But once fur starts getting tangled, it just keeps happening, and it causes more problems because she pulls on the tangles when she scratches and that hurts her more. So my beautiful, blonde, long-haired dog is now short-haired. Oh, she’s still beautiful and blonde, but she looks WAY different. Think: clipping an unusually long-haired Golden Retriever until it looks like a poodle. Yeah. If her hair had been able to be spun into yarn I could have made a whole blanket out of the fur I clipped! There really was that much. But at least now we can treat the itchiness without the complication of hair mats.

Nine weeks down, one to go. My hubby feels the same about the amount of school he has left this quarter. “Only one week to go!”

(New to my Growing Pains challenge? Here’s the original post that explains it:

Growing Pains challenge – week 8 report

Ranting About Rectangles - Growing PainsI must type this quickly to make my “I will post on Tuesday” deadline!

First thing – The gym. I’m back to going twice a week. It’s good to finally feel healthy again! Even going twice to the gym can’t dampen my happiness about that.

Second thing – I went to my Wednesday night class. I really didn’t want to. I’d had a rough day, and just wanted to sit at home and eat a good dinner and relax. But I know from experience that when I want to skip a normally good spiritual activity to “rest”, it means I need to go regardless of how I feel. So I went, and it was the right thing to do.

Third thing – I didn’t take myself out to eat this week, either! Yay! I want to break myself of that habit, and now is as good a time as ever, isn’t it?

Bonus thing – I cleaned out the car. Cars I drive tend to get very cluttered because I don’t always take out the things  I put in… oops. So I cleaned it out. But it’s not one of my regular three things because I can not remember if I did it this week or last week! I tend to think I did it this week because it isn’t cluttered with new stuff yet.

Eight weeks down, and two to go. I’ll try to post my self-report earlier next week. I tend to not be very eloquent in my writing when I’m dashing to meet a deadline. Like tonight. I have hair dye on my hair, it’s wrapped in a plastic bag, I’m trying not to lean on the back of the couch just in case I have dye on my shirt that I don’t know about, and I have to rinse it out of my hair in … 1 minute. Gotta run!

(New to my Growing Pains challenge? Here’s the original post that explains it:

Growing Pains challenge – week 7 report

Ranting About Rectangles - Growing PainsAnother successful week at doing things I don’t want to do.

First thing – The gym. I was sick (still) this past week, but went to the gym once anyway. A shorter workout than normal, but still a workout. And I found a new stationary bicycle – a recumbant bicycle where my feet are at about the same level as my hips. Comfortable, and works my legs the same as the typical bicycles. Doesn’t work my lower back the same way, though. Good for certain types of exercise, though.

Second thing – I went to a baby shower. That doesn’t sound like much, but I haven’t been to a baby shower in about ten years. As a woman who deals with infertility and who has suffered through fetal loss, I started avoiding baby showers. I certainly don’t mind celebrating others’ families, that’s not the issue at all. I cheerfully purchase gift certificates, presents, and cards for expectant parents. I bring food to families with new babies. The issue is the baby-crazy atmosphere often present at the showers themselves.Tw0 hours of being in a room full of women, only half of them known to me, who only want to talk about babies. For those who have suffered fetal loss, the worst question in the world is “how many children do you have?” An incredibly common question in that environment, it opens up a huge thing that just shouldn’t be dealt with in the celebratory atmosphere of a baby shower. That said, I went to this one. It was important that I go. I didn’t want to go. I survived.

Third thing – On a lighter topic, I love eating at restaurants. Soooo luxurious to have someone else make my food, serve it, and clean up after it. Now don’t get me wrong, I love to cook, but I love restaurants too. I have a certain amount of cash each month that I can spend as I see fit, and the majority of it always goes to eating out. Buuuuutttt… that’s not the best choice I could be making. Restaurant meals often have too much fat and sodium. They certainly don’t usually use the well-kept, cleanly-fed, humanely slaughtered types of methods that I think best and that I practice at home. And there are better things I could do with my money. So my third success of the week is NOT eating out with my personal money. Whew! It was difficult, but I did it. I was even at a restaurant with some friends and didn’t order anything! Yay, me!

Bonus thing – I have continued my success at not agreeing to more than I might be able to deliver. My ability to stick to my priorities has been much better.

Seven weeks down, and three to go. I still see a lot of working out in my future… maybe I better not think about that too much!

(New to my Growing Pains challenge? Here’s the original post that explains it: