7 things I learned in August


Pistol shooting is the bomb! I made the opportunity to go pistol shooting with Jeff, John, and Jarrod (it was John and Jarrod's birthday present) and after 3 hours of safety training a target shooting I learned I love this sport. My body held up well over the course of shooting, although I did get a bit dehydrated and my hips were screaming at the end of the night but, man, I did good!

So good, in fact, we've already scheduled our next shoot, the second week in September. I'm thinking this might be, at the very least, a once a month excursion.

I learned I need a small pistol because, 1) my hands are weak and holding a larger caliber weapon causes cramping and pain in my hands and wrists, and 2) I can get both hands around a smaller weapon and thus, more accuracy.


Eating whole makes the pounds fall off. I completed Whole30, mid August, and after 30 days of whole eating 23 pounds fell off. Glorious, I tell ya! I also learned I can complete a Whole30 without cheating. But, I also learned, it is tough.

The best part is I felt so much better. After a couple weeks of non-whole eating my bodies aches and pains have crept back in and its time to get back on track to, at a minimum, 80/20 whole eating. I'm talking, picking up sugar free bacon, eating lettuce wraps and salad bowls, having a protein for dinner with a big side of vegetables, beginning my day with water - and breakfast. I learned breakfast is the best thing I can do for my body.

While I was on Whole30 I didn't notice the subtle changes my body was experiencing but off Whole30 those changes are screaming at me in a piercing, blaring, thundering voice. EAT WHOLE. It does my body good.


I miss Jeff - and I can do this! For several months Jeff has been working out of town and was just coming home on weekends. Now, he only gets to come home every other weekend. It is excruciatingly hard. It's not like we haven't done hard before; deployments, temporary duties, you name it we've done it. Granted, being two and a half hours apart isn't grand and I miss Jeff terribly but I can do this!

I've stayed busy. I've binge watched shows: Agents of Shield and Flash Point come to mind. I've cooked less dinners. I've binge watched shows. I've decorated our bedroom. I've binge watched shows. I've cleaned and organized the pantry. I've binge watched shows. Oops. I said that already.


Giving is becoming apart of who I am. I had hoped. When I began this journey, this nourish a heart of giving, 52 Weeks of Giving, I'd hoped giving would become a part of who I am. Over the course of these 8 months I learned, like other journey's we walk, if you do something long enough it becomes a habit. One of those seriously rockin' habits you don't want to break.

I learned I cannot out give God. But, there is always a need. He has, over and over again, placed on my heart a way to meet a need, a place to give, a meal to share, a care bag to make, a ministry to bolster. Amazing God!


I can never have enough mugs. Okay. Maybe, there will come a time when enough is enough. But, that time is not now. My collection of mugs is still growing after finding two indigo blue (they're different) mugs at Home Goods in Augusta while I was visiting Jeff, and an Ali Edwards' I Am a Storyteller mug when she came out with her home collection. The two mug trees sitting on our kitchen counter are almost, but not quite, full.

It has been a long time since I collected anything. I didn't set out to collect mugs but as I picked up a practical mug here and a commemorative mug there I realized mugs are practical. The mugs get used every. single. day. They aren't mugs to sit on a shelf and gather dust. They are to be used and enjoyed.


A finished, decorated, clean, organized bedroom makes my heart sing. It has been forever in a disheveled, just about stage of completion but recently Jeff hung the last two prints, one very large one for over our bed and between the maple pencil posts, and another to balance the arrangement on the wall on the other side. Then, I read a room should never be in a design stage of finished.

What did that say?

Upon reading further the article was inferring that changing up bedding, adding a photograph here, replacing a lamp shade with new, throwing a quilt over the bed all can be applied to a room, in my case, a bedroom, to keep it fresh, in a design-flux, yet, - finished. It is the best of both realms.


The new Beauty and the Beast movie is wonderful. When Ashley, Brad, and crew were visiting they brought their DVD copy of the Beauty and the Beast and surprisingly -  I loved it. It is a great story of redemption and acceptance. Even when my kids were - kids, and they watched Disney or Pixar movies it was rare I sat through an entire movie (unlike many other moms who adore their kids and would watch the movies with them and know all the songs and all the lines) and I didn't know the words to the songs or movie lines, either. Except Mulan. For some reason I loved Mulan. A woman hero in a man's world, I guess. Not surprising I adored the movie Wonder Woman.

Back to Beauty - it was good.

what I learned this spring

Today I am joining [and linking up] with Emily P. Freeman (I love how she uses the P in her name) sharing what I have learned this spring.


Homemade Gyros with homemade Tzatziki sauce is easier to make than I imagined and taste just as amazing as restaurants. And, the Tzatziki sauce tastes even better the next day after it has had time to marinate. Two reasons I shied away from making Gyros. Lamb and Tzatziki sauce. Then, I had this idea to make a greek-style meatloaf using lamb and ground chuck sliced thin for the Gyros. Brilliant. Using a hot house or English cucumber, or removing the seeds from a cucumber before grating is necessary for the right texture, consistency, and taste for the Tzatziki sauce. A paper towel works just fine for wringing out the excess water from the cucumber.


Having studied the book of James many times over the years, while studying it again recently, I realized there is always... always... something else God wants me to learn. I almost came to the study of the book of James with the She Reads Truth community, grudgingly, because somewhere in my disheveled, dimwitted, ignorant thoughts were, "I have already done this before." Boy, was I wrong!


A new front porch beneath a flourishing oak tree built loving by my husbands hands means so much more to me than having a porch built professionally. Not that I'd know what it feels like to have a porch built professionally because it was my husbands hands with the help of our sons that built our front porch. And, it is beautiful. And, inviting. And, well-built. So well built in fact, when we recently had tornadic storm activity in the area, I called Jeff and [jokingly, of course] told him a tornado went through. The house is gone but the porch is still there.


Although my sons are beyond the homeschooling age, I still have the opportunity to make an educational impact in my grandchildren's lives by reading aloud to them. When John and Jarrod were homeschooled I read aloud all of their required reading from 7th-12th grade. I regularly commiserate with myself the loss I experienced when I no longer homeschooled, or more importantly had the opportunity to read aloud. But, this summer all my grandchildren will be here for a visit and then three of my grandchildren will only be a couple hours away. I decided reading aloud was going to be our regular ventures when they come for visits. Jeff put up three book ledges at the entrance to the hallway, specifically for children's books.


I really can memorize scripture. If someone told me that at my age I would be memorizing scripture I would have laughed out loud. I have a terrible memory for all things, especially words. But, this spring I memorized Chapter 1 in the book of James. I kept the 'how' of memorizing scripture simple. I wrote out the chapter on index cards and attached them to a ring for easy of flipping the cards. Then, I began to read and recite, read and recite, read and recite...


 Salads in a Jar truly do last a week. I finally got my act together and tried Salads in a Jar. I would prepare the salads on Sunday evening for the entire week. The last salad of the week was almost as fresh as the first jar. I did learn that preparing simpler salads would keep me on track easier than the more elaborate.





what I learned | winter edition

This afternoon I am linking up with Emily P. Freeman for What I Learned  - the winter edition.



1. I read Isaac's Storm in January, which by the way was a really good book, and learned that because of the 1900 Galveston Hurricane, which is the storm the book centers around, meteorologists were able to forensically deduce that it is storm surge, and not wind as they'd previously assumed, that is the deadliest and costliest side of a hurricane. I think I remember from 30 years ago when I studied tropical meteorology that question was considered of high importance and was on my tropical meteorology final exam. Unbelievable how far the field of meteorology has come.



2. After receiving an unsolicited compliment, I learned wearing makeup smooths my face, evens out and tones my skin, and removes redness. At a minimum I now wear make up to church on Sundays. At this time, though, I have no plans to change my morning work day routine and will not be adding 'putting on makeup' to my day. It was very nice to receive the compliment, though:)


3. Duolingo is a sweet little site for learning [and re-learning], or learning what I should have learned in my college Spanish classes. They'll remind you via email. If you haven't visited in a couple days, they'll tell you they miss you. They give good praise reports. They, like it's an actual person, really, cheer you on. They want you to learn. I am a repetitive learner so I review, review, review, already previously-viewed lessons.


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4. David Balducci books are quickly becoming favorites. I'm just about done with The Innocent. I almost stopped reading it because the first couple of chapters just weren't my forte but, man, it turned the corner, just like that. So good! The Last Mile and Zero Day - awesome!

//Life Hacks//

5. Roasted red pepper sauce is amazing! It gives pasta a fresh kick, pop of flavor that blows tired, ole spaghetti sauce out - of - the - water!


6. Giving. A steady flow of giving, makes the heart beat, race, for more. More acts of service, more acts of kindness, more gift giving and making handmade gifts. When I began this nourishing a heart of giving project this year I had no idea the impact it would make on my spirit, my heart, my mind, the upwelling, the overwhelming joy I've experienced each time I have given away my time, my money, my service, my gifts. I am humbled to be apart of God doing something in me and through me. Giving. It's a beautiful thing.

what I learned in August 2016


Bartles and James Pina Colada wine coolers are a refreshing, light-on-the-alcohol beverage I can enjoy for an after dinner refreshment. For a season (a couple of years) my taste buds were wanky and anything alcohol (and chocolate!) had a bitter taste. I never did figure out why. But, more recently, over the last couple of months I have been able to eat most anything chocolate (except M&Ms), and B&J Pina Colada wine coolers (a favorite from many moons ago) tasted great!

Packing a variety of books into my purse or messenger bag to read during various down times is a wise choice. I carry a Vera Bradley messenger bag to work, along with a purse and at any given time I'll have, at a minimum, two books, most often three or four, to read during those quiet moments at work, waiting in the car, - or at a stop light. Because I've found that while I may want to read one book now, I might want to read or begin reading another book later. Thus, a variety of genres works best. Usually, a non-literary fiction, a Christian non-fiction, and even a literary fiction (or what I'd call literary).


Walking in place is torture on the buttocks, thighs, and calves versus not walking in place which, for me, is torture on my hips. I am trying to be faithful about walking everyday this month, missing one mile only a couple of days. To accomplish this, I've begun adding walking in place to increase my distance. Thankfully, it doesn't hurt my hips as much as strictly walking, but, man, it's torture (in a good way) on the buttocks, thighs, and calves.

Organizing my books by color makes me smile every time I walk by my bookshelf. The blue books and the white books are in the front and most visible (because our bedroom is blue and white and that is where our bookshelf happens to be currently.

I missed attending Bible study outside my home. I joined a ladies Bible study Tuesday evenings at my church recently and I didn't realize how much I missed being part of a Bible study away from home - and with women. We are studying I & II Peter and I am getting some serious study time in and loving it! I still have a few more sessions of the Beth Moore and I plan on ordering her new study coming in September, too.

What have you learned this past month?