Throwback Thursday, Sandals Style

In 2005, my husband and I celebrated our five-year anniversary at the Sandals Resort on the lovely island of St. Lucia.  Joy, over at The Sowell Life, blogged about her destination wedding at Sandals, which brought on a feeling of nostalgia.  Here are some Throwback Thursday pictures from that memorable anniversary celebration.

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Five Places I Want to Visit in Alabama

I’ve lived in Alabama for each of the thirty-something years of my life. Even thought I live in the central part of the state and have traveled to cities and towns in the northern, southern, eastern, and western parts of the Yellowhammer State, I’ve somehow missed visiting these places:

1.  Lookout Mountain

Experience Lookout Mountain Alabama!

I’m almost embarrassed to say that I’ve driven right past Lookout Mountain in Alabama to enjoy the view from the Tennessee part of this attraction which is conveniently located on the boarders of three states: Alabama, Tennessee, and Georgia.  I’ve fallen victim to looking outside when I’ve got something good right here at home! 

2.  Ft. Morgan

I’ve traveled to Alabama’s gulf coast several times.  I don’t know how I’ve missed visiting this historic place. 

3.  Point Mallard Park

This north Alabama park seems like a great place for families.  Point Mallard Park is made up of a water park, golf course, ice complex, camp ground, and strike zone.  I’m getting excited just typing about it! 

4.  Gee’s Bend

Gee’s Bend Pastimes to Patchwork Tour

I’ve read and heard so much about the rich history of the Gee’s Bend quilts.  I’d love to visit this place someday soon. 

5.  Cathedral Caverns

I grew up close to Childersburg, Alabama, which is the home of Desoto caverns.  Needless to say, I’ve visited Desoto Caverns no less than 72 times.  But, I’ve never had the pleasure of visiting Cathedral Caverns.  My husband thinks that if you’ve been in one cave, you’ve been in them all.  I think I’ll be the judge of that my self!  I’ve got to visit Cathedral Caverns if for no other reason than to see how similar is is to Desoto Caverns. 

Well, there you have it.  I’ve given you a list of five places in Alabama that I plan on visiting in the near future.  I have a few more weeks of summer vacation left, but I have so many things to get done in those few weeks.  Maybe I’ll get to visit these places before the end of this year?  We’ll see. 

Have any of you ever visited these places?  Please share your experiences with me if you have! 

Thanks,

Cherith L. Fluker, Diva on the Run

 

Sunday Self-Reflection

Today is Sunday.  Sunday means different things for different people.  For some, Sunday means a day of worship.  For some, it’s a day of rest.  Some use it for family time.  For me, one thing’s for sure – it’s a day of self-reflection. 

About four months ago, I vowed that each Sunday I’d take some time to do some self reflection.  I have secret list of goals and I check myself each Sunday to see if I’m doing things that will put me in the position to reach those goals.  If not, then I make the necessary adjustments to put myself in line to do so. 

Today, I’m reflecting on some of my favorite quotes.  I decided to share some of them with you.  Take some time to do a little self-reflection.  We, as busy women, so often get wrapped up in everything and everybody else.  You deserve a little time to think about you! 

Here are five of my favorite Sunday Self-Reflection quotes:

1.  “It is necessary … for a man to go away by himself … to sit on a rock … and ask, ‘Who am I, where have I been, and where am I going?”   ~Carl Sandburg

I generally replace “sit on a rock” with “lie on a massage table” (wink, wink). 

2.  “Truly recognize your own faults and don’t discuss the faults of others.  Other’s faults are just my own.  Being of one substance with everything is called Great Compassion.” ~Ven. Master Hsuan Hua

It’s so easy to get caught up in finding faults in everyone else.  And honestly, it’s way more “fun”.  Society has really fostered this finger-pointing behavior that so many of us have.  Its up to us to foster compassion. 

3.  Actions have consequences…first rule of life. And the second rule is this: You are the only one responsible for your own actions. ~Holly Lisle

Need I say more?

4.  As long as you think you’re green, you’ll grow. As soon as you think you’re ripe, you’ll rot. ~ Scott Horton

I hope I never get to the point where I think I’ve learned it all.  I’m a lifelong learner and I use everyday as a chance to learn, grow, and become better than I was the day before.  I’m forever green. 

5.  “If you don’t run your own life, somebody else will.” ~ John Atkinson    
 
Another one that needs no explanation.  I learned a long time ago that people will make decisions for you based on what’s best for THEM.  You have to be in charge of your own life.
 

Friday Five

I’ve decided to join in on the Sowell Life‘s Friday Five link up!  I enjoy reading Joy’s blog and meeting fellow bloggers each week through the link ups.  So, here’s my Friday Five:

1.  Free product samplesImage

When I started blogging, someone introduced me to a few websites that will send you product samples for free in exchange for a review on your blog.  It took me a few weeks, but the product samples have slowly been rolling in.  I’m really excited.  Who doesn’t like free stuff? 

2.  Home-grown veggiesImage

Last year, I planted my very first raised-bed garden.  It was a lot to learn and a lot of hard work.  But, the harvest was amazing.  It is shocking what a few seeds, some soil, sun, and water can produce.  My little 5X5 bed produced enough snap peas, tomatoes, peppers, and spinach to feed my family all summer long!  The feeling of pride and accomplishment that I felt when I served my family a dinner featuring sides from my garden gave me the momentum that I needed to make vegetable gardener an entry on my resume. 

3.  Centennial Celebration of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. 

Image This week, about 300,000 of my closest friends and I will be continuing the year-long celebration of our beloved sorority turning 100 years old!  Delta Sigma Theta is a sisterhood of college-educated women dedicated to promoting academic excellence and providing service to those in need.  Happy Centennial, Delta Sigma Theta!  One hundred sure looks good on you! 

4.  Flowers

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Since I’m a pro at vegetable gardening (what are you laughing at?), I decided to try my hand at growing flowers, too. 

5. Piano LessonsImage

For whatever reason, I have the sudden urge to play the piano.  When I was little, I took piano lessons, but I hated it!  Literally.  Now, twenty years later, I’d give my right arm to be a talented pianist.  So, I’ve dusted off my old books, turned to YouTube (you can learn to do ANYTHING on YouTube), and reintroduced my fingers to the black and white veneer-covered spruce. 

Have a great weekend!

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I Stand Corrected

This week has been a busy one for me.  So busy, that I’ve only blogged once this week!  My long-awaited graduation day is rapidly approaching and one of the requirements is an electronic portfolio.  The aforementioned portfolio is to consist of my responses, reflections, and artifacts proving thorough understanding of all of the objectives that have been taught in all of the courses that I’ve taken for this thirty-three hour educational specialist’s degree.  Keep in mind that I’ve been working towards this Teacher Leader degree for a little over a year and that in addition to pursuing this degree I’ve also been a wife, mother, teacher (high school and junior college), dance mom, basketball mom, tutor, you get my drift…

 

I’m a self-professed Superwoman and sometimes I think that I take on extra tasks just to see if I can outdo myself.  Seriously, I don’t think I’ve uttered the word “no” in so long that my lips and tongue may not even know how to form the shape needed to successfully say the word.

Yesterday, I excitedly pressed the submit button to turn in my portfolio to my advisor!  Boom! A whole week early!  Superwoman has done it again!!  Time to celebrate!  Then, just as my toe was pointed, lifted, and headed into the right grapevine to begin the electric slide, I heard the buzz of my iPhone indicating that I had received an email.

The email was not one I was expecting.  Not at all.  It was a message from my advisor asking me to set up a call with her to discuss my portfolio.  Seems that it needed a little more work.  Why I initially got so upset, I’m still trying to figure that out.  When I got off the phone and truly evaluated how much time I’ve spent working on the project, I felt silly that I, even for one second, got offended.

I’m a teacher.  If I don’t know anything, I know that teachers  have the gift that tells them when students hurriedly complete assignments so as not to interfere with the other things that they have going on in their lives.  Why would I think this instance would be any different?

I stand corrected.  I stand corrected that I can slip some work by a teacher and he accept it as my best because I’ve submitted nothing but my best all semester long.  I also stand corrected in thinking that I’m Superwoman.  I’m figuring out that being a jack of all trades makes me the master of none.  At this very moment, I’m making a list.  I’m going to check it twice.  I’m erasing all the things that prohibit me from having the best life possible.

My First Product Review!

Disclaimer:  This is a product review for Swaggable.  Swaggable sends me a free product to review from time to time.  Swaggable in no way sways my opinion of the item.  I do not accept cash payment in return for reviews.
Happy Monday!  It’s been raining in my neck of the woods for about 7 days straight.  If not more.  The rain has cooled off the temperature  and it looks like an April morning outside instead of a July evening.  Here’s a picture of what the sky looked like when I was headed to work this morning:
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My day was brightened when I went to the mailbox and found this:
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I received my very first product to review:  Runa Cinnamon-Lemongrass Guayusa Tea!

 

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My package from Swaggable included samples of the tea along with a money-saving coupon for any Runa product.

Thank you, Swaggable for allowing me to try this Runa tea!  Though I’m not normally a warm tea drinker, this cinnamon-lemongrass tea tasted great!  It was not as bitter as I was expecting it to be.  I added a little bit of honey to sweeten it and it tasted fabulous.  I drank it this morning before going to proctor a standardized test and I was very alert and focused throughout the entire test session.  I really enjoyed this tea. It was a little pick-me-up for this otherwise dreary day.

Runa Cinnamon-Lemongrass Guayusa Tea

Friday after the Fourth

For me, the Fourth of July is a day to relax and enjoy the day with family.  We celebrated the day by watching fireworks at the lake.  Other than that, we did a whole lot of barbecuing and eating, just like most other families in the South.

Today, we slept in to recover from all the Independence Day fun.  Since my Internet is still not working, the kids and I drove over to Barnes and Noble so that I could submit some homework assignments.  They also picked up new books, and I must say that I was pretty impressed with their selections.  My son chose Out of My Mind and my daughter chose Trading Faces.  It only took them an hour to make their final selection.

After spending a little time reading and surfing the web in the Barnes and Noble Cafe, we came home to enjoy some leftover barbecue.  Then, I treated the kids to The Special Place Ice Cream Emporium.  If you live close to Pell City, you absolutely MUST give it a try.

I had to double check my phone to make sure that it wasn’t still July 4.  The neighbors are finishing off their last rounds of fireworks and I can still smell a hint of hickory in the air as I step out on the back porch.  It’s kind of hard to say bye bye to yesterday when the celebration continues today as well.  So, this phrase seems only fitting for today:  Happy Friday after the Fourth of July!

Time to Reevaluate How I Spend My Time…Or is it?

I woke up yesterday only to find out that my internet was not working.  After resetting the modem and router several times, I finally figured out that the problem was bigger than my simple troubleshooting abilities.  After lunch with two of my closest friends, I decided to stop antagonizing the kids (or at least that’s what they called it) and call my Internet Service Provider for assistance.

After about 45 minutes on the phone, several of which were spent listening to some pretty groovy “hold” music, my technician determined that he was going to need to perform some additional tests and that I’d have to wait 24-48 hours before they could determine the problem.  Bummer.  Major bummer.  Our whole lives revolve around the internet.  I actually think I saw a tear form in the children’s eyes when I informed them that they’d be internet-less for the remainder of the day.

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It was at that moment that I began to think, “Who are these monsters that I’ve created?”  Why are approximately 75% of the things that they do at home all internet related?  Instagram, YouTube,  Kik, Skype, Face Time, Pinterest, Snap Chat, need I say more?  My kids, and I, are always plugged in to the world wide web in some way or another.

Going one single day without the internet showed me just how big of an issue this really is.  I really need to sit down and talk to my children about limiting their time on the internet.  The best way to teach them this is to be an example, right?

Okay, I’ll do it as soon as I finish updating my blog (which requires the internet).  Well, then I have to submit my homework assignments (which also requires the internet).  Then I have to check my email (oops, internet again).

Maybe the kids are right?  Pass me a tissue.  It’s definitely time to start crying.

Transformation Tuesday

Just the other day, my husband and I were talking about being adults.  You see, I’ve known my husband for over half of the thirty-something years that I’ve spent on earth.   We were reminiscing about the times of old and how we have both grown into totally different people.  Our conversation was very positive as we talked about several different aspects of our lives.   It was a fun conversation.  We stayed up half the night laughing and talking.  I really enjoy it when life slows down long enough for us to have moments like that.

Not only did we talk about our personal transformations, but we also talked about the transformations that have occurred around us.  Take for instance our college alma mater.  We are both members of the Auburn family (class of 2001) and as I’ve mentioned several times before, we want our children to become a part of the Auburn family as well.  On one of our attempts to brainwash our children show our children around the campus, we quickly found that things were very, very different from when we were students on the Plains.  Did it make the campus any less amazing?  Did it make us not want to send our children to Auburn University?

Change is inevitable.  Seasons change. Friends change. Styles change. Prices change. Places change.  Minds change.  I think you get my drift.   The thing is, change is not always a bad thing.  In fact, change can be a very powerful thing.  I can think of at least three things at this moment that I’ve changed about myself that have indeed made me a better person.

Embrace change.

Super Soul Sunday

For the first time ever, I tuned into Super Soul Sunday on OWN.  I ran across the preview for the show and learned that India.Arie was going to be the guest on the show today.  Thanks to DVR, I am now enjoying learning more about my favorite neo-soul artist.  Oprah has a way of asking every question that you’ve ever wanted to know the answer to!

India and I go way back to Acoustic Soul (2001).  Her soothing vocals coupled with her meaningful lyrical content make listening worthwhile and enjoyable.  After listening to India’s songs, you feel uplifted, confident, loved, loving, and appreciative.  Definitely feel-good music.  My son has downloaded India.Arie’s latest album to my iPod.  I can’t wait to relax and listen to it in its entirety.  I know that I won’t be disappointed.

Songversation

Any India.Arie fans out there?  What are your thoughts on Songversation?

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