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.

My heart

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You see, my heart, it is my faith.  There are times when it just doesn’t seem as though things are going quite our way.  We struggle like I know so many of us do.  And although things are not panning out the way we had envisioned I know there is one thing that can’t be taken from me and that’s my faith.  Sometimes it’s very hard to understand why people get sick with cancer, or lose their homes or a loved one.  All the really bad things that are unexplainable and often seem very unfair.  However the reasons to me are simple.  It’s because I can’t do this alone.  I have my faith, my Heavenly Father to pick me up and carry me when I don’t feel as if I can walk on my own.  This is what works for me.  This is how I survive in a world that can be unfair.  When I focus on the LOVE He sprinkles virtually everywhere.  When I focus on the good, the blessing in each and every day. These gifts, these blessings, they are what keep me focused on Him.  The fact that I wake up each day, that one thing is enough to be grateful for, just waking up.  If it were only that one thing, still I would be full of gratitude because each day is a blessing, a gift.  I got out of bed today.  Today is good.  I’m reminded of this in Lamentations 3:22 “Because of the Lord’s great LOVE we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.  THEY ARE NEW EVERY MORNING.”

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Today a little wind has been taken from my sail but in the big scheme of things it’s gonna be okay.  My first-born son,  the one who drove to Hollywood Monday night, he made it home safe.  My husband the one who loves me so much he buys me weird gadgets to help my itchy skin because he wants it to get better as much or more than I do.  My garden and the three pumpkin seeds I planted and have shown signs of growth in less than 7 days.  The home, this home that I have full of LOVE and shared faith.  The friends I have who lift me up and encourage me, they are gifts for my soul. The littlest and only girl we have who leaves me video messages full of love and expression.  The second born who is completely silly when he has too much chocolate. My family who stands by me no matter what I have such wonderful parents and this includes my in-laws. These are also my heart.   You know I could go on and on and on.

Back to work and real life


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.


IMG_5276Just like this pretty plant Sarah gave me reaches for the light I too am reaching.  I wrote a post not very long ago about obedience.  The word still sits in my heart.  I think of it every so often and I realize how important it is.  Lately health has been my main issue.  It has been about 4 years now that I have had a skin condition on my legs, itchy, scaly and as several doctors have told me, my anxiety and OCD issues do not help the cause.  All the picking that goes on.  Most people I meet would never ever know.  I always wear long pretty skirts and long pants.  However for all these years I have been seeking out a way in which they will heal.  I believe with my entire heart that they will not remain this way forever, it’s just a temporary bump in my road.  Also a few weeks ago I posted about my jeans being tight and my weight climb.  I shared how I met a great gal who invited me to a FREE fitness camp and I went, I have been going faithfully and I love it.  Dylan sometimes joins me too.  My goal is to get into shape, be healthy and strong.  TO HEAL, it’s top on the list. I’m reaching towards my good health and I’m fortunate because Rich is fully on board with me being healthy, always encouraging, Abbie is beginning to follow suit and last night as we ate our turkey tacos (my shells not fried) Abbie said, “I’m passing on the rice tonight”  later that night I walked with a friend and we brought our daughters along for the walk too, they had fun, we had fun.  It was a win/win.  I also have a 14-year-old very ambitious home fitness trainer.  We have had such fun working out together, he seems to beam while we are doing it.  We give the hi-five/fist bump at the beginning of our work out and also at the end.  We listen to some good music and we laugh lots.  So I’m still pumped up.  I have a count down on my page till end of the month to see what changes my body will make.  I have not seen the scale go down really but I can feel in my clothes my body measurements are adjusting.  It will be a long process.  I just need to STICK to it. I will be reaching towards that goal until I get there.  Once there.  I need to stay there.  That’s the HARD part.

That’s it for now.  I have a meeting with my fitness Coach Pam (the great gal), she doesn’t charge me anything, she runs a free fitness camp M, W, F at the park before work and now is adding T, Thurs evenings.  It’s free, it’s fun and I’m loving it.  She has a proposal for me, so I’m ready to hear about it, share about it later this week and excited about the possibilities.

photo (1)Last night with Dylan.  He has to make sure you all know we are the WEST’S living on the west coast.  Silly. 

photo (2)After our workout last night, he jumped in the pool. 

ONE LAST THING,  new to our nightly ritual, I read a chapter of a book to Rich called “The Love Dare for Parents” We have done it now 4 nights in a row.  I read.  He listens.  Then I say “thanks for listening” he laughs and we go to sleep.

moments in the garden AND Thursday and Friday Dinners


This post will mostly be pictures.  It’s Friday!  Yeah!  Heading out for a brisk walk with my neighbor and I worked out 3 times this week with my morning Activate friends.  Plus a round of my own stairs.  I completed the five days of meals! I only went to the market one time this week.   No joke, I normally go to the market every single day after work and pick up what we are having for dinner.  I know it’s not the best plan but it’s what I tend to do.  So it felt sort of weird not going to the market every day.  The one time I did go it was just for  milk and soap. Here are some shots from my garden and the last two meals.  Our favorite meal of the week was the pork, which surprises me since it’s just something I never think of.



Three more yummy berries.  I was told it wouldn’t yield much on its first year and I don’t expect a whole basket, especially when we are eating them as they ripen but the idea of them is so exciting to me.



IMG_5188Drying the cilantro seeds that I let go to flower to see if I can plant these again once they dry out.


photo (3)Thursday and Friday meals, a little heavy on the bread for Thursday, we can tweak that in the future and the chowder was ok.  I think it feels like more of a winter or fall dish rather than summer, but maybe that’s just me.

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Am I ready? Yes I am.

Last week was busy because I planned it that way.  Last week was strange.  When I use the word strange, I mean it took me to places I had not planned on going.  Anyone who really knows me, knows this.  I’m usually game for “almost” anything. (except extreme heights and small spaces)  So it begins with my friend Lilly who owns that cool store, “Share and Do Good”  https://www.facebook.com/ShareAndDoGood?fref=ts   She sends me a message that there will be a maxi skirt warehouse sale near her shop.  Of course I’m IN!  You do remember my recent post called https://lifeinthewyldewest.wordpress.com/2013/06/11/uggggghhhhhhh/  where I completely vent about my current weight and my tight jeans!  The invite couldn’t come at a more convenient time.  So I meet up with Lilly and a few of her friends, a couple of the gals actually go to my church so we have that in common, I had already met Shannon but Pam and Janet, they were new to me.  I picked up real quick that Pam and Janet were into health and fitness.  So I ask “are you guy’s personal trainers for a living?”  And funny I should ask, they invited me to a FREE fitness camp three mornings a week.  FREE?  I explained that I had signed up for a boot camp ONCE, and only ONCE, like as in one morning was enough for the rest of my life!  Pam went on to say “it’s not like boot camp at all, it’s all at your own pace, personal goals and achieving your own personal challenges”  How could I pass this up?  Me being me, I couldn’t.  So last Wednesday I show up.  It was awesome, completely awesome, I felt energized for the rest of the day.  Nice jump-start and it wasn’t murder, it was just a slight burning of the arms and a little sweat, no red-faced heart palpitating disaster like boot camp was.  Plus they didn’t yell at me. I can do this.  I can really do this.  It seriously couldn’t have come at a better time.  It’s like painting a room, one has to be in the mood, or it’s like washing windows, again one must be ready for that sort of thing.  I feel ready.

walking shoesYou know when you see real walking shoes and not my toes or converse then I mean serious bizz

 In-between this unexpected twist of events this week I was able to get in a swim visit with cousin Jeanie, which was pretty awesome, Friday I hung out with S.A.L.T. that’s what we call ourselves. Shauna, Alice, Lisa and Tracie, we try very hard to hook up a few times throughout the year to catch up. Thursday I weeded my garden, blogged about my smoothie, and had my first official float in our backyard pool (I don’t mean a drink, I mean to float on water), I love to float and I mean LOVE and I got to see my longtime friend Debi who I have not seen in a whole entire year. It was a fantastic week.



Last Friday I got to walk with my new Activate friends.  It’s a small group of awesome people just trying to get healthy.   I got the full evaluation.  I KNOW I’m overweight, that’s no secret but I had no idea my body was that of a 59 year old!  What the what? Or as Aunt Mel likes to say, “What the Cus!!” So guess what? 24 Activate not only teaches free fitness classes they also promote and sell herbalife and I had my first shake Friday and it tasted so GOOD.  I may give it a go.  Not sure if my budget can afford it but I may be able to figure something out.

banana lovefinding love in my frozen banana

You see in our family we have a history of diabetes and heart disease.  They are the number one killers in our family.  I lost my great grandpa on my mom’s side to a massive heart attack and my grandpa (my mom’s dad) had diabetes and heart disease and died far, far too young.  We also have women in our family who have diabetes and heart troubles.  But with proper diet and exercise this can be avoided.  So really.  It’s up to me.   I can really help to prevent some of this.  Like Pam said,”we can’t run from our bodies, we are stuck with um, so we need to make it work the best for us.” We have that control.  It may be expensive to eat right but if I don’t take care of myself now then my medical bills later could be expensive I may even have to be on medication one day? Why wait for that to happen? I know there are other ways to be healthy besides using herbalife but once she went over the benefits etc.  I mean one guy in the group was suffering from joint pain and guess what?  No more.  Just all the wonderful nutrients in the product benefit us in many different ways it seems.  I do want to be less heavy. I do.  But more than that, I want to be healthy.  I also want to be STRONG.  I’m not exactly sure what I will decide but I do know I’m ready for change.

walk path

This is part of the walking path we take, I love that is reads SHARE!!

So I also want to share my stats with you now because I know they will be changing.

I accidentally deleted them but I think my weight was 177 and my body age was 59 this is all I remember.

Muesli for breakfast and coffee in the afternoon

Last night before I went to bed I made up a little breakfast.  A recipe my friend Andrea from Indiana sent me.  I couldn’t eat it on my 6 week elimination diet but I figured now was a great time to give it a try.  It’s Muesli and it was very easy and nearly ready by the time the sun came up this morning.  Andrea sends me this recipe courtesy of a cookbook called “Nourishing Traditions” She also explained to me how by soaking our grains it helps to break down the physic acid and to neutralize enzyme inhibitors and encourage production of numerous beneficial enzymes.  She swears by it and I trust her fully.   You see I couldn’t do this alone, I have a tribe of awesome women who give me ideas, who support me and who also encourage me through prayer and encouragement.  I’m ever so grateful for this tremendous support.  I also of course have some male cheerleaders too, the men in my life who mean the most but there is just something special about sisterhood among women and I cherish it.

I used what I had on hand so it’s missing raisins and flax seeds but it still tasted super yummy, warm and had a great texture and was very filling.  I have enough left for one more morning and maybe next time plan to half the recipe.  The recipe will be on my recipe page.

This afternoon when I got off work I ran to the store to pick up some things for tomorrow. I’m making sweet potatoes a recipe I found in Martha Stewarts publication “Every Day Food” and it will include coconut milk and gosh darn it, as I type this I realize I forgot that key ingredient!!  So I will be heading out yet again.  In the meantime I sit here blog out my breakfast and also share a cup of coffee with you.  I was going to make a smoothie with frozen cranberries, almond milk and pineapple but Austin wanted me to make him some coffee this afternoon with the French press.  I switched to coffee so I could enjoy it in the mug Andrea sent me this past week.  I added cinnamon and it’s a yummy warm treat.  She filled a box with thoughtful gifts.  She is one of the encourages I speak of.  The best part to me was I found this package at 4:15 a.m. when I was up with my little dog Pablo.  I opened the front door to let him out and as I turned around to come back in, I found this box on my front porch.  It felt sort of like a dream.  I decided to open it and the card was filled with encouragement and thoughtful gifts, like this mug, the balance rock which I carried with me all day today in my pocket, a pretty blue glass star, two sea shells, a felt heart, a dried flower bud, herbal teas and a pretty purple lantern with some candles.  She included her phone number in the card and although we have been email friends for quite some time I had never heard her voice or talked to her on the phone.  This week I called her, told her my thanks over the phone, she has the sweetest, most kind voice and her entire pace seemed nice and slow and relaxed, it was like a slice of happy peace talking to her and she so reminds me of my other Indiana friend Angela.  Over the past few years it has been such a honor to meet some of my photographer friends, to learn from them to be inspired by their work and to in the meantime form unexpected friendships.  Another something to be grateful for.