Thursday, December 29, 2011

Randomly Me

"The odd thing about this form of communication is that you're more likely to talk about nothing than something,but i just wanted to say that all of these nothings have meant more to me than so many somethings."

-You've Got Mail

I've blogged about this before, and I've spent a lot of time giving it thought. Most "experts" in the blogging world will tell you that you should pick one general topic for your blog and be an "expert" in that field. For instance, be a healthy living blog, a fashion blog, a mommy blog, a cooking blog, etc. Basically, pick a topic and stick with it.

I love writing, and I enjoy having a spot here at Living Life Without a Net to share my experiences...even if my posts have been few and far between. The truth is, I tried to figure out what kind of blog LLWAN was going to be. I started out this blogging journey inspired by my friend Monika's fitness blog, In Training. I remain inspired by healthy living blogs such as Healthy Tipping Point and It All Changes. These blogs encourage and inspire me to want to have a blog. But what would I blog about? When I tried to sit down and think of one subject to blog about, I just couldn't find that one thing that made me want to devote my entire corner of the blog world to it. So I stopped posting. I thought maybe if I just stopped posting, I would have that Oh Yeah moment when it would all fall into place or I wouldn't care about blogging anymore. This course of action did not work. The more blogs I followed, the more I wished that I was posting, and the more I thought about what to blog about the more I thought about how random my life is.

Some people are able to compartmentalize all of their roles and parts. Me...I'm more like a whirlwind of craziness. I'm usually doing 20 things at once. The lines of who I am and what I do are constantly blurring, and I've finally come to terms with the fact that this blog is the place where they all converge. I'm ok with that. Besides, I'm writing this blog to have fun, not be an expert. And I hope that we will all have fun with it along the way!

My blog resolution for 2012 is to just be myself and to post more (2 days a week to start and we'll see where it goes from there). I hope you'll follow along on my sometimes wacky, rarely boring journey.

I pray that 2012 is a year full of love and blessings for each of you (and by each of you, I mean the 1 person that is subscribed to this blog).


Sunday, September 4, 2011

Is It Really September???

I can't believe that September is here. How did I miss the whole month of August without even posting one entry on here? Oh yeah that's right...the hubby and I produced a concert with 10 Christian rock bands, took a week off for a stay-cation in there somewhere, coordinated a blood drive, hosted a concert for 10 churches, attended an endless list of fall planning meetings, planned the fall semester of 1st grade for the Dude, and even went fishing in there somewhere...the list goes on and on.

Labor Day is here, and it's the official end of summer. It seems that even the oppressive 105+ degree temperatures may have gotten the hint that summer is done. 80 degree temps after 60+ days of temperatures over 100 seems like an Arctic blast.

Fall is one of my favorite times of year. I get nostalgic for school supplies (more like office supplies these days), walks to the park, and dates with my hubby (we started dating in the fall). It's a beautiful time of year. After what seems like the endless heat of summer, the weather breaks and it's like nature takes a deep breath. I'm excited about the cooler temps because I can spend more than 5 minutes at a time in the Community Garden, and I can actually start planting.

I guess it really is September.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Fail to Plan. Plan to Fail.

We've all heard this before and rolled our eyes at it. Maybe that's just me. I'm a chronic eye roller. It's almost become a game of its own like *insert Michelle's eye roll here*. I actually did receive that in a "professional" email once, but I digress.

This week I have been working on the fall plans for the community garden that I coordinate. Thinking about fall has been a nice mental break from the oppressive 100+ degree heat. When it comes to gardening, that old saying becomes true. Failing to plan in the garden sets you up to fail. Yes, many things about gardening are trial and error, but having a plan will help you make the most of your space and hopefully increase your harvest. Of course, life is not so unlike this. Having a plan to reach a goal reinforces the goal and makes it so much more likely that the goal will be achieved.

Gardening has taught me many life lessons and has really been an exciting experience - and it's only my first season. Gardening has allowed me to meet many people who desire to make a difference in their community and help their families live more healthy lives. To me, gardening is as much of a spiritual activity as it is a physical one. With all of that in mind, I have been encouraged to launch a new gardening page on my blog to follow along with my fall gardening notebook. Look for this in the coming weeks. Even if you aren't a gardener, be sure to stop by and see this city girl get her hands dirty. It will make for a good laugh.


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Time to Face the Change...

Ch-ch-changes. Everyone, sing it with me now! Ok. No one? Anyone? (Crickets chirping?) Not my favorite Bowie song, but definitely the one that comes to mind whenever I feel change is in the air.

Do you have that moment when you feel change is coming - whether it's necessary or even dreaded? You can just feel a season of change is coming. Facing changes is not always my favorite thing to do, but most of the time I find change to be a relief, especially if it's something I've been thinking about or dealing with for a long time. Besides 98% of anxiety about a situation or change is in the time spent over-analyzing it rather than in the actual change. At least that's the way it has been for me. Most of the time, I have found that I usually make something out worse in my head than it actually ends of being.

I'm in a season of making changes. These changes are mostly in areas of my life that I've been trying to make positive changes in for quite some time now. Positive change for me seems to be more of a process and less of an all-at-once destination. That is where prayer comes in for me. It helps me to lessen my anxiety and worry and focus live in the moment instead of the woulda-coulda-shouldas. It keeps my footing firm on the path I am on, instead of wandering. I've mentioned this verse before, but it is a verse that I constantly come back to - Matthew 6:27 - "Who of you can add one single hour to your life by worrying?"

So how do you deal with change? Do you dread change or try to positive and focused when change comes?


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Just Start Somewhere

If you're going to get anywhere, you've to to start somewhere. It's a simple thought, but sometimes I think it's half the battle. Taking the first step toward starting in the direction of positive change or just starting something new in general is always the most difficult because it's the first step outside of our comfort zone. It's the first step away from what we think we're certain of and toward what we see as unknown. Emotions and the concept of the comfort zone are powerful things. They can overcome what our logical mind knows. They can skew the way that we truly see ourselves. They can turn positives into negatives. When you look at it in that light, you have to wonder, what's so comfortable about a comfort zone?

I got thinking about all of this last night as I tackled cleaning a room in our house that has become the catch-all room of the house. The room was a disaster. It's a room that often gets neglected because no one really ever sees it, and lets face it, it's the perfect room to pack things into. Out of sight - out of mind. I stood in the doorway of the room, looking at things strewn about, and I felt panic and uncertainty start to creep in. I almost backed right out of the room, turned off the light, and slammed the door. Then I realized that wasn't going to solve my problem. If I walked back in the room tomorrow, it would still be a mess. I didn't know where to begin, so I just started somewhere. I started picking things up and sorting them into categories (toys, furniture, clothing, etc). It took about an hour, but pretty soon I could actually see the floor. I could finally see some sort of order in the room. The room is by no means finished, but there is order to it, which makes it a project that I'm much more willing to come back and finish. I even have some ideas about turning the room into something that will be used and is a positive change.

What does all of this have to do with comfort zones and life? A very wise woman, a.k.a. my mom, used to tell me that our rooms/homes are an outward expression of what is going on inside of us. A cluttered room means a cluttered mind. I believe it. I know that I keep myself so busy that I don't get around to cleaning house on a regular basis. I keep piling stuff up and then ignoring it. When I step back, I realize that I've let myself get too busy and let my priorities get out of whack. A home should be a place of peace and sanctuary, not a place to dump stuff between activities. To get anywhere, you have to start somewhere. I'm a work in progress.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Rollahcosta of...

Do you know that moment on a roller coaster when you're going up this really big hill and you don't know what the drop on the other side is like? You don't know whether to be excited or puke or BOTH. You just know something is coming, so you hang on for dear life and go with it. After the first hill, it gets a little easier. You look forward to the adventure of it all. Heck, you might even let loose and throw up your hands.

That's my life right now. We're getting to the top of the hill, and I'm about to scream my head off. But it's one awesome ride, and I wouldn't change it for anything.


Friday, May 6, 2011

5 Things in Life I Learned From Being a Community Gardener

It's the end of an era. Well not really. It is actually the last blog post in my very first COMPLETED series. I feel like I can conquer the world now. Okay. Maybe I'm a little more excited about this than say the rest of of humankind.

To be honest, when I stated thinking about this series, I had 4 solid ideas for posts and one kind of eh idea. As the end of the series got closer, I was starting to get a little worried. Would it have to end with such a boring post? Standing in the community garden, holding my very first harvested onion, I had my Gru moment *LIGHT BULB*. I would write about the lessons I have learned as a community gardener. Now I know what you're thinking - this isn't a gardening blog. No worries. Not all lessons learned in a garden are about gardening.

Holding the first onion harvested out of the community garden

Here are the 5 Things in Life I Learned From Being a Community Gardener:
1. Playing in dirt is pretty darn fun.

2. Balance is key. The garden, like life, takes a balanced mixture of quality materials to grow and be healthy. Being out of balance affects everything from your health and appearance to the fruit that you bare.

3. Sometimes you have to take the good with the bad. The thing you think is a pest might actually be very beneficial to the garden. Sometimes the "pests" have value.

4. Be flexible, but be strong. When the wind and storms toss you about you can bed and not be broken.

5. Gardening has the ability to bring communities together and get people talking. I love when people stop by and chat or just come out to look at the garden. I love how people have come together to build it and take care of it. I know it has definitely been a bonding experience in my family.


Wednesday, May 4, 2011

5 Things in Life I Learned From My 5-Year Old

I can't believe that I am on the fourth installment of this series. I know I'm a couple of days behind, but my philosophy is better late than never. In the past, I would have probably gotten bored around day 2. I know. I know. I'm that kid in right field chasing butterflies instead of keeping my head in the game. They say that the first step to recovery is acknowledging the problem. In that case, I'm half way to becoming a responsible human being.

Blog 4 of the 5 series is about the lessons I have learned from the Dude. No not that Dude...

This Dude...

This is C5. My favorite little dude in the world! *Sappy alert * I've mentioned before that I never thought I would be a mom, but I'm so glad that God thought differently. Once this dude started dancin' around in my belly, I knew there was something amazing about him. He has the best little heart. He's goofy and adventurous. A hug and a smile from him makes my day.
I'm learning things from him everyday, but here are 5 Things in Life I Learned From My 5-Year Old:

1. Everyday is an adventure - face it with anticipation!

2. Laugh. Laugh a lot. Laugh when you're happy, and don't be afraid to laugh at inappropriate times.

3. Sometimes all someone wants from you is to spend time with you. Your time just might be the best gift you can give them.

4. The simple things in life can be the most extraordinary.

5. There is nothing in the world like a child's faith. They still know that God can do anything...and they're not afraid to ask.


Saturday, April 30, 2011

5 Things in Life I Learned From Being A Church Secretary

I'm a church secretary. It's a job title that encompasses a lot of different things. It's rarely boring, often surprising, and occasionally bizarre. It's the job I was born to do, or maybe I was born doing it??? For most of my life, I watched my mom be a church secretary. I spent a lot of my time in church offices doing something. If there's a job in a church, I've probably done it. Being a church secretary is something I never thought I would "grow up" to be, but sometimes God has other plans. The time in my life I have served as a church secretary (in 3 churches actually) have been enlightening, rewarding, and challenging all at the same time. I have been blessed and confused all at the same time. I've met some lovely people, and some not-so-lovely people.

In honor of Administrative Professionals Day last week, here are the 5 Things in Life I Learned From Being A Church Secretary:

1. I may not always understand His ways, but I know that God always has a plan.

2. Just because someone is church-folk doesn't mean they're going to be nice. People are people. Don't hold that against God.

3. Love your neighbor as yourself - even when they are driving you bonkers. Just remember you've probably driven someone crazy before.

4. Nothing compares to seeing the light of Christ shine through someone.

5. It's not your job to please everyone, but it is your job to please the One who matters most. Balance and boundaries are key, because someone will walk right over you and keep tap-dancin' on your face if you let 'em.


Friday, April 29, 2011

5 Things in Life I Learned From My Pig

Everyone, this is Jack. For today's royal occasion she is Lady Jackalean of Bedfordshire. Most days she's known as Jack, Jackie, Jack E. Piggles, Fatty McGee, or Fatso. Here's a bonus lesson I've learned: Don't talk about your pig, Fatso, when someone of the heftier persuasion might accidentally overhear you without having a picture of said pig available to display.

Jack is a potbellied pig aka DIVA. She was adopted from the Living Nativity scene at our church last Christmas when she was just a wee itty-bitty piggy. Isn't she a little cutiepatootie? My husband would probably beg to differ (I love you, Honey!). Jack lives for eating, scratching, eating some more, scratching, eat...well you get the point. She barks like a dog and sleeps under a blanket with her head on a pillow.

So on day two of the 5 series, here are the 5 Things in Life I Learned From My Pig:
1. A little mystery keeps life exciting. I think this one deserves an explanation. When we adopted Jack, we were told that she was a he. We respected his/her privacy for the first few weeks, but it soon became obvious that she was a girlie.

2. Take time to slow down a little - get a good back scratch, smell the flowers. Being in a hurry is overrated. Watching someone else who is in hurry chase you out of the backyard and into the house like a mad lunatic is priceless.

3. Sometimes you have to throw your weight around to have your voice heard.

4. Hiding your head under your favorite blanket will not make your problems go away.

And last, but not least...

5. The grass may be greener on the other side, but there might be a mean person on the other side chasing you out of the neighbor's yard.


Thursday, April 28, 2011


Yes. It's true. I'm going to attempt another blog series. Nothing quite as dramatic as the last one I attempted about dealing with my anxiety. This one is going to be short, sweet, and to the point...5 points to be exact. Most of all, I think it is going to be FUN! And lets face it, we all need a little fun in our lives.

So in honor of May, the 5th month, being just around the corner, and C5 (Yep, he's the 5th) being 5 for just a couple of more months, I've decided to do 5 posts (hopefully in 5 days) with 5 points. Do you see a pattern forming here?

5 is the a fun least in my house it is. Doing a little background info about the number 5, I saw that the Biblical meaning for the number deals with grace and redemption. It has to do with lives being moved by the Spirit. That just made me think how much I have been blessed by God's amazing grace. Life in the Spirit is never boring!

So lets kick off the 5 series with 5 Random Things About Me...
1. My favorite radio talks shows are about fishing, cars, and gardening.
2. My uncommon phobia is a fear of balloons popping. This is either considered globophobia - the fear of balloons or ligyrophobia - the fear of loud noises.
3. I'm a community gardener.
4. I'm in the process of reading the entire New Testament. I've probably read it all over time, but never in order from beginning to end.
5. I collect tattoos. I've got about 13 right now.


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

'Chelle Part 9,994 - The Mommy Years

I'm relatively convinced that my son is the reason for the glut of sequels coming out of Hollywood. Ok. Maybe the dude isn't the reason for the massive amount of sequels, but he definitely helps keep the sequels in business. In his short life of 5.75 years, he has been conditioned by the Hollywood machine to ask for sequels. Here's how a recent conversation about movies went: "Momma. Momma. Can we watch that crack movie?" "You mean 2012, Dude?" "Yes, Momma." *Momma turns on the crack movie.* "No, Momma. The NEEEWWW crack movie. Not this one." "This is the only crack movie, Bubba. There isn't a sequel." "Well they should make a new one. This one is old." This generally happens with every movie we watch.

Maybe I should tell him that 2012 is a remake of another movie? Nah. Besides, I'm a sequel gal myself.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Bon Voyage, Vacation!

Today is the last day of my vacation. Can you hear the sobs? It was a lovely stay-cation. It was equal parts fun (shootin' up bad guys at Legoland) and productive (you can actually see the surfaces of my kitchen counters and dining room table). The best part about the week was that I just got to be 'Chelle - momma and wife. I got to tend to my home and wash dishes and cook breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I got to enjoy myself and my family without being too tired to feel up to doing things.

I'm a whole lot nicer person when I'm on vacation. Maybe I was meant to be a retiree? I felt empty, and now I feel full of sunshine, blessings, love, and 5 year-old smiles. Vacations are nice!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Under Construction

I've come to the realization about three things: 1. I'm such an irregular blogger (going 2,3,6 months between posting), 2. I'm such an irregular blogger because my posts are generally long-winded (yeah I said it), 3. Lately I've been thinking in random blips of funny and 'Chelle-osophy (can you get what I'm hinting at here?).

Like my life, this blog is constantly in a state of being under construction. I'm changing the format a bit so that I will (hopefully) be more likely to post in a more timely manner (at least a month between posts) with my wacky schedule. Look for more posts, more often, and shorter than a small novel. Mostly just random thoughts that fly through the mind that is 'Chelle.


Monday, February 14, 2011

A View From a New Reality - A Review of Under the Overpass by Mike Yankoski

How many times have you walked down a street that you saw a homeless person and walked by quickly, trying hard not to make eye contact? Or pretended to look at your phone so you don't have to stop and talk to them? Maybe you crossed the street so you didn't have to walk across their path? Now imagine that the tables are turned and you are now that homeless person you tried so hard to avoid. What would it feel like to be constantly looked down upon and thought of as less than human because of the way you look, the way you smell, or the fact that you are living on the streets? What would the world look like living on the streets? Author Mike Yankoski explores this topic in his book, Under the Overpass.

In 2003, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out on a journey across the country - a 5-month experiment into what life living as a homeless person would be like. The idea of living on the streets had come to Mike while hearing a sermon about being the Christians we say we are. After much prayer and counsel, Mike and Sam walked away from their lives as typical college students and began living on the streets. They chose to experience homelessness in six cities across the United States - Denver, Washington D.C., Portland, San Francisco, Phoenix, and San Diego. Each city brought its own challenges and introduced them to a new cast of characters - the drug addict who was an amazingly talented musician, the woman who decided living on the streets was better than life in an abusive home, and the homeless man who tried to share the love of Christ by feeding others in need out of the back of his truck using funds from his government check. These are just a few of the people that they encountered along the way.

Even though they were visitors in the world of the homeless, life was hard for Mike and Sam. By living outside, they were constantly at the mercy of the elements whether it was cold, extremely hot, or raining. Each  day was a daily struggle of searching for food either by traveling across town to a rescue mission or church, or by panhandling on the streets playing worship songs on their guitars. Another challenge they faced on a daily basis was finding a "safe or comfortable" place to sleep. Of course, these are relative terms on the streets. Bathing and cleaning their clothing was generally a luxury that often alluded them for weeks at a time. While life was difficult, both Mike and Sam experienced spiritual growth and enlightenment through a deeper reliance on the Lord to meet their needs. 

While I found the book intriguing, I went into reading Under the Overpass a bit skeptical of the premise of the book. After all, why would two college students choose to be homeless and what good would becoming homeless do to help those most in need? Even Yankoski writes in the expanded edition of the book that their experiment was not necessarily the best way to serve the homeless community. That being said, the book gives great insight into the challenges faced everyday by people on the streets. From hunger to addiction and mental disabilities, the people on the streets have many obstacles in their path. Under the Overpass is also a great commentary on the modern church. Churches say their doors are open to sinners and those in need. Sadly, though, many churches just want the people who walk through their doors to come in nice neat packages and need as little from them as possible. 

Someone once tole me that ministry is messy. I think people are just people and sometimes they are hurting, or dirty, or they may smell. Under all of the grime is a person who deserves to be treated with dignity and respect and who needs the love of Christ as much as anyone else. Overall, I would most definitely recommend Under the Overpass as a great read. It will give you a view from a new reality.

Please note: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review

Saturday, February 5, 2011

This is What Falling Off the Wagon Looks Like

It's been awhile since my last post. Mostly, it was my busy schedule that kept me from blogging, but then there was just the fact that every time I sat down in front of this blog that I had to face how much my progress was derailed. Last night I had a dream that I was writing this post...even down to the cheesy movie reference below. That was just what I needed to get back in the blogging saddle again.

Have you seen that Julia Roberts movie, America's Sweethearts? In the movie, Julia's character, Kiki, has lost a bunch of weight. At one stressful point in the movie, Kiki is found at a table eating tons of food that she hasn't eaten in a long time. She says, "See this? This is what falling off the wagon looks like."

Well this post is about what falling off the wagon looks like. I took the holiday slide and kept on slidin' - right on into February as is may seem. After the success of completing my first 5k, I just STOPPED. Stopped training. Stopped following my eating plan. Stopped blogging. Just stopped. I fell off the wagon :-(

Looking back, I think that my lack of planning is what derailed my progress. Between working at a church and just normal holiday craziness, Thanksgiving through mid-January is generally my busiest time of year. I know this. I've known this for 3 years now. This is my craziest time of year. I should know to plan to have healthy meals PREPPED. I should know to plan to MAKE TIME to work out. I should have a training PLAN IN PLACE. I should know these things, right? The thing about falling off the wagon is that sometimes, even when you're just hanging on by your fingernails, you don't realize how far you've fallen until the wagon backs up and runs over you. 

So where do I go from here? I get back up on the ol' healthy living horse, that's what I do. I start by keeping my food/symptom diary again. Doing this helps me keep things in perspective, and also helps me not have to "guess" about what I ate that might make me feel bad. I will set some goals and find another 5k to train for. Having an event to train for helped me keep on track and gave me an end result to work toward. Working out just for the sake of working out doesn't work for me. I like working out and all, but honestly, when life is busy and I'm tired, it is usually the thing that I drop. Oh yeah and I blog more. Blogging, even once a week, helps me evaluate my progress and see what worked and what needs to change. 

And I'm off to start my next adventure!