sunday dinner

IMG_1594My word.  Balance.  Already I’m taking on so many projects I can’t seem to say NO to.  They are all creative and wonderful projects and I know creatively they will help me to grow, to get better, to learn more.  This is another project.  A personal one along with a group project.  In NOW YOU alumni group some gals have gathered to cook.  We each pick a cookbook, try new recipes and share our results.  Some of us have blogs to share them on some will share on IG and others on Flickr.  I have decided I will try my recipes on Sundays, a good way to end the week….or begin it.  However you look at it.  This is our first Sunday meal of 2015 and I combined it with yet another project.  The year-long time capsule film making class I’m taking with Xanthe.  We used our cookbook that my mom actually bought for my oldest because he too loves to cook.  The cook book is “Barefoot Contessa – Back to the Basics” We kept it very simple and not very complicated at all, similar to how we cook anyways.  Tuscan Lemon Chicken and Pan-Roasted Root Vegetables.  We ended our meal with a family game, chocolate fondu with strawberries.  YUMMY!

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Sunday dinner from Tracie West on Vimeo.

List of creative projects for 2015

Cooking with 52 Weeks of Now You/Sunday Dinners

A Year long Film Making/Time Capsule class

Shooting with Soul with a group of gals and a shared blog

Coloring with Miss Moonspinner

All these projects include film and photography

plus my blog:)

Woman Aware and Choosing

Our assignment was to write our facilitator a letter to introduce ourselves as an adult-daughter, a mother and a wife but at the same time I thought those were titles of what I do (sort of) so this is what I wrote;

As you, Sandi read through some of your notes and shared some of your own story, I thought….this is going to be very, very difficult.  I may even cry sometimes and this will stretch me and this will help me to grow.  After all, I can only be the best version of me.  Someone actually said that too this first night.  Yep, best version of me.  Shy, reserved yet having a big heart and finding the gift of encouragement very easy.  I’m a great friend who encourages my friends to follow their dreams, to love and accept themselves, to not be afraid.  Yet I myself do not follow my dreams because I’m too afraid and I don’t really accept myself fully. The strongest things I heard on the first night are the K in our THINK acrostic  as in “Know this, God LOVES YOU, just as you are” It also made a whole lot of sense the part about how “we teach people how to treat us.” I get that.

honor love respectI don’t have the gift of talk but I do have the gift of words.  I’m a good adult daughter and I do all the right things, even when I don’t want to.  I’m a good wife and I do all the right things even when I don’t want to and in both these relationships I withhold information or as you like to use the stronger word lie.

I’m a great mom, I’m fun, I’m adventurous, I’m honest, I’m loving, I encourage them to follow their dreams, I dance with them, I sing with them, I draw with them and I feel like I can be myself 100% completely with these children who love me no matter what.  I often think if I could be like this in ALL my relationships I would be so much better off. 6940422035_18d70b66f8_bI wouldn’t harbor anger and resentment I wouldn’t feel hurt, I wouldn’t pick my skin because it’s the only relief I find now a days.  I keep it all bottled up inside and I just do what’s right and I’m always pleasing and always accommodating and I like to play the entire court. I’m always a good listener too and if I trust you, I tell you my story.  I need to be here.  I just do.

Love your new friend and student

Tracie West

the real truth

I posted this image here at one point but also in a private workshop class and one woman said, notice in the reflection, your legs are smooth. I like the idea of that because I do know this is temporary and there will be an end to it.

And this is just a guess but I’m guessing some of us women feel a whole like I do.  Always doing the right thing even when our hearts are not in it. Never really complaining, never expressing our true feelings on a matter for either A) not wanting to hurt someone’s feelings or B) feeling rejected.  So we just say what we think they want to hear and do what they want us to do and go about our days.  I’m not saying all women, I’m saying some.

Strange, life is amazingly strange

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I’m guessing if one is a blogger and one has children that one might just blog about their child on their birthday.  I have three children.  I have two spring babies and just one fall baby and technically I know he is really a summer baby but in my mind the moment it turns September, it’s fall.  Right here in Southern California September is up there as one of our hotter months of the year, but let me think what I will think, to me the entire month is fall.  He is my fall baby.  I have three, I have two A’s and one D.  He is the one D.    I have three, two righties and one lefty.  He is my lefty.  I have three, two free spirits and one of great discipline.  He, this D, this lefty, this fall baby….he is my one of great discipline.  I joke lots saying “I want to be like Dylan when I grow up.”  It’s hard not to say because he has all the qualities I do not.  I have never had to make him do his homework.  He just does.  He does what he knows he needs to do, he does what he knows is required.  When he was little he shared a room with his big brother.  He was the one who desperately wanted his own space.  Why?  To keep it clean.  A few weeks ago he asked if I might get him some cleaning stuff for his face.  I did.  He tells me yesterday, “I have not missed a day mom, I wash my face twice a day since you got me the stuff” Me, I often forget to take off my make up at night.  Are you getting the picture?  But this doesn’t mean he is not fun.  He is full of fun.  He pranks me nearly every day.  He video tapes me without me knowing and performs silly off the wall crazy stunts while he is secretly videotaping me to see what reaction I will give.  He LOVES a reaction. I would say our most common ground is that we are both dreadfully shy yet completely insane with our behind closed-door behaviors.  And the other really, really big thing we share in common.  We share the same faith.  This common ground creates a bond that cannot be broken.  These two very big things help us to get each other even though we are nearly nothing alike.

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 He began high school yesterday.  The class he is the most excited about?  Finance.  He can’t wait to get into the meat of that class.  In fact he already let me know as soon as he gets a job he will save 10% of his earning in a savings each week.  He said if he really manages his money just right he can be a millionaire.  And if anyone can, it will be him.  I believe it’s no mistake he was named after his uncle another well-disciplined, fun-loving, lefty, man of faith who also just happens to know a lot about finances.

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 He shows me how to do hard things.  I learn from this kid.  I learn from him.  He is a gift to me.  It has been an honor to be his mother.  A complete honor.  Happy Birthday D-man.

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Oh yeah and he is athletic. and these days you might find him doing hand stands simply because he can.

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 or yoga type poses without even realizing it

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The birthday part of today is good.  He had his birthday breakfast.  We are going to his favorite Chinese restaurant tonight and he got that robe he has been wanting (shhhhh, he hasn’t opened his gifts yet)  But on a far stranger and sad note.  Austin was in his first car accident today.  This is how the phone call was received.  “Mom?”  “Yes Austin”  “It happened”  “You were in a car accident?”  “Yep”  And that was that.  He is okay, his two friends who were in the car with him are okay and this is good considering he was sitting at a stand still and was hit by a woman going at least 45 miles per hour.  He was ready to make a left hand turn, had a panic situation when he realize he started to turn left on a green rather than wait for all the cars to clear, the bug stalled and he basically just braced himself for the hit.  He has been a wreck himself the rest of  today and is the type of kid who is very hard on himself.  I mean Rich and I knew this would happen, it just happens right?  At least that’s what I’ve been told.  I totalled out my first car when I was about his age.  I knew when I took pictures of the pretty new/old bug there would someday be a different story.  His world has been rocked, the car shouldn’t be driven at this point.  Rich got the bug home but at 30 miles per hour and with lots of crazy noises.  The kid is wondering how he will get to work now, how he will see his girlfriend, he is devastated that he has “cost” us even more money you know all those normal thoughts.  I hate when things like this happen to people I love. I told him it’s okay, everyone is alive, a lesson will be learned and it will give you problem solving skills, what to do next?  Stay tuned.  Life, it’s still very, very good.  Just one of those things.  unfortunately since it happened on Dylan’s birthday we will not be able to forget the date of his first accident.  And you see we are a family of celebrations.  So we do not celebrate the fact that he crashed his first car, but we celebrate in the fact that he had the wits about him to jump out immediately to see if the person who hit him was alright, that he knew exactly where his insurance card was and that he in his own hand writing got her name, address, phone number, license plate, make model, and drivers license number which happened to be expired and out-of-state but still it was his fault for being the one in turning left.  He even sounded calm on our phone call.  He kept it together when it mattered the most.  The woman even complimented us on our son, She told Rich “you have a good boy here”  So this is what we celebrate.  The lesson learned.

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In the glory days

photo (2)Her she sits today.  even the passenger door got buckled from the impact but I have to say these awesome German-made cars are like mini tanks, could have been far worse and his buddy Kris the one who was sitting up front there, could have had it much worse.

Back to work and real life

sunset

Vacation is all over.  I wonder why they go by so very fast.  We did have a wonderful time though.  We wrapped it up with our Sunday at Balboa where the kids went parasailing.  We couldn’t go on the boat with them so I only have the shot of them pulling away from the dock.  All three went at once with Abbie in the middle and they all came back smiling big and said it was lots of fun.  Abbie actually wished the ride could have been longer.

the boatThere they go.  Abbie has a smile.

tail gateafter the sail, we ate dinner off the back of the truck.

Yesterday back to the grind.  I got up early met my pals for our morning workout.  I had proclaimed Monday as meatless a few weeks ago so yesterday my oldest, his girl and I went shopping for our dinner.  They thought a nice meatless Mexican themed meal would be perfect.  Maddy made the salsa homemade and it was full of flavor and if you like spicy, it was for sure spicy and so very good.  I made the cowboy caviar or as Joyce calls it Texas caviar (either way…it’s amazing)  we used Maddy’s mom’s recipe because this is something they eat on a regular basis and I had no idea in fact I had the hardest time even locating black-eyed peas, I finally asked at the third market where I was told it was a canned vegetable.  I was looking in the beans…. I guess I should have known better? They look like a bean to me even though they are called peas.  But I suppose they really are peas?  I still have no idea.  I should though considering my mom sort of raised us on them and also I like to cook up a batch on New Year’s but I start from dry bean…. Or is it dried pea? My pictures were taken in a rush and with my iPhone so I’m a little disappointed in that part but the meal itself was very good.  Just good old bean burritos with lots of fresh toppings, lettuce, the homemade salsa, no cheese for the vegans but Dylan and Dad couldn’t have a burrito without it.  No meat.  Yes! No cheese. No.  Don’t mess with their cheese.   Austin made homemade guacamole; we had olives and chips to dip into the salsa or the cowboy caviar.  I could eat that stuff by the spoonfuls and it’s all pretty good stuff for you.

cowboy caviar

 the cowboy caviar that I will for sure make again and again, thanks Joyce for the suggestion

Maddy's salsaMaddy’s homemade salsa

cooking the beansAustin tending to the beans

meatless mondaythe meal

I’m disappointed in my progress with my healthy lifestyle journey but remember I have a problem with this instant result kind of world.  I expect my body to do the same.  Patience and persistence.  My two big P words to focus on this month.  Not giving up.  Nope I’m not.  My good friends keep reminding me of it being a lifestyle.  I have made much better choices with water over soda and sometimes salads with oil and vinegar type dressings but I did eat those fried cookie dough balls at the fair and I have dabbled in some not so righteous food here or there.  If I can get healthy and still dabble than it’s not all that bad. Cause I’m not giving up sweets.  I’m NOT.  I’m just a little stubborn.

photoThe support I have in my health, it’s really big.   I like getting up early because of the common goals we share and the fun we have.

RANT…pet peeves. Do you have any? I do!

I will just share one today.  I have a few, like a short list worth.  However today, I will just share one.  Maybe tomorrow I will share another (hee hee)  Today it’s all about the shopping carts.  I pride myself on being a citizen who always puts their cart back where it belongs.  It’s how everyone should be, in my mind.  I almost get as angry when I see someone abandon a cart in an empty parking spot as when I see someone toss trash a.k.a. litter!   There often are times when I see a little cluster of carts that are not where they are supposed to be and I will not only put my cart away but also will collect up  all the stray carts I see.  At Fresh and Easy they have two sized carts which means they don’t stack into each other if they are not the same cart, which means I also take time organizing the carts.  All the high carts in one lane all the deep carts in the other lane.  The parking lots of American would be much more pleasant if everyone just put their CARTS AWAY!!  We could all use a few extra steps. And by chance if you see an older folk who has trouble getting around, perhaps offer to take their cart back for them. So just take those few extra steps. Put your carts away. please.

photo (1)I can’t leave on a negative note so I will share my complete joy over receiving a package of fruits and veggies delivered to my front door yesterday morning.  Like Christmas in July!  Rich got me a groupon for my birthday for organic fresh produce to be delivered.  He just couldn’t get the hang of why they deliver in the middle of the night and so he never hit GO.  He turned it over to me and I think it’s a great plan to be delivered in the middle of the night so it’s just like Christmas in the morning when we open our front door.  I remember back when I was a kid my mom had a milk man because my brother drank so much milk she couldn’t keep enough stocked in the fridge.  It was pretty awesome getting those milk cartons delivered straight to our door.  I’m here to highly recommend a company called http://www.farmfreshtoyou.com  If you are interested send me a personal message and I can give you a 10.00 off coupon for your first order. You can click on the website to see if they even deliver to your area and if they do,  I have a “secret code”  for money off.  My mid morning snack looked just like the picture below.  The produce is so FRESH and so YUMMY!  Thumbs up from me, not just one thumb but TWO!

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love and never giving up

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Already middle of the week!  I just wanted to share a few things.  LOVE.  I will begin with LOVE.  This is not original to me, I was not the first person to spot hearts in all sorts of places.  Lots of people do this especially in the community I spend time in.  I have met so many wonderful people who also can spot a heart, which I call love in the most unusual spots.  I don’t think finding hearts (love) should be exclusive to just one person, my hope is that this will spread, that lots of people will begin to find hearts, little gifts of love in their lives.  It just takes a little paying attention and you will begin to see them.  You will begin to see so many it will feel trippy.  I get so excited when someone finds a heart and shares it with me.  Just yesterday I was cleaning out my purse and I had a crumpled up cup from Trader Joe’s that I had sampled their coffee in.  Abbie spotted the heart right away and asked if I had taken a picture of it yet?  I had not noticed it yet, but she sure did.   Here or there friends and family have texted me, or tagged me on Facebook when they find a heart to share.  I get thrilled every single time this happens. I don’t think I will ever tire of it. I encourage you to find the gifts in your day-to-day, the little bits of love left just for you.

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My fitness goal has been going pretty well.  My first day of fit camp was on June 26th I’m certain at that time I was still around or close to that weight I posted a picture of two weeks prior at 179.  But by the time I had my first measurements which was a little over two weeks later I weighed in at 177.  That was when I also found out my body is 59 years old! Again, what the what???  When this Friday rolls around I get to see if I have improved over the course of 4 weeks.  I didn’t start drinking a shake for breakfast until after July 4th so I count my beginning as pretty much the beginning of July.  I like to round things it makes it easier to remember.  This way at the start of each month I will see where I’m at.  I can share with you that although I have not lost a TON of weight, I feel a difference in my energy level.  My insides are beginning to feel stronger. I have been sleeping through the night….well unless Garfunkel messes with my head. (my cat who likes to knead my head at 2:30 a.m.)  I can hold a plank for a full minute now, not easily though, I shake, I sweat droplets and I nearly hold my breath until the minutes is up, I need to work on breathing, keeping my head up but I can hold that minute.  I can’t wait to hold it with more grace though.  Still pumped, have the best support from my family and friends and health coaches with Activate.  I hope to show you all that with obedience, endurance and faithfulness, hard work and all that good stuff that anything is possible.  It’s up to me.  I watched the best video yesterday,  these words caught my full attention “Get up, look up and never give up”  I’m writing it on my front door. (done)   I need to SEE things.  I have words all around our house.  I’m a word girl, can you tell?  Written that is.  I’m pretty quiet otherwise;)

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WE CAN DO HARD THINGS…..TOGETHER

We adopted this saying “we can do hard things” from our friend Lisa.  I saw it in her kitchen one day written on a chalk board. I kept it logged into my memory especially since my word for this year was CAN.  Then when I began to try to cleanse my diet of sugar, gluten/wheat and diary she told me I was teaching my children that we can do hard things.  I just love that.

Last night Abbie was in tears before bed.  It started because I suggested we clean out her drawers so we could get rid of old and get some new clothes in.  When she began to cry I was confused?  What did I say?  When I asked her what was the matter she told me she was fat.  Of course this broke my heart, I tell her all the time how beautiful she is.  She is funny, quick witted and sings all the time.  In fact she seems full of joy but she is troubled by her weight.  She told me some kids at school make fun of her, they call her fat.  All I could think to say is, first “Abbie you are so beautiful in every way and if those kids are calling you names, then they are not very good friends to you.”  “So I have an idea, you know how I have been eating different this past month?” “Well, you could be my team mate and we could get healthy together, because our bodies need certain things to run right”  She nodded her head and agreed through the tears.  I gave her a big reassuring hug and we prayed.  I told her, we CAN do this, WE CAN DO HARD THINGS. And we can do all things through Christ who gives us strength (Phil 4:13) We can get active together, we can make good choices together and if we are patient we will begin to see changes in our minds and our bodies.  Today she made a quick sign for our front door, she added the word TOGETHER, and then put a sign on top of that which included all our family members…..WE ALL CAN DO HARD THINGS….TOGETHER.