Posted in daily life, gardening, Loosing Weight

How Has my New Years Resolution Fared the Year?


State of my Weight

So, at the start of the year, I made a New Years Resolution. Like many Americans, my resolution included losing weight. My goal was 20 lbs by Christmas.

At the start of the year, I was 200 lbs. As of last Friday morning, I was 182 lbs.

I’m so close I’m starting to wonder whether I set my goals too low. Maybe I should shoot for 175 instead.

I can’t tell you how excited I am. I haven’t had this easy a time losing weight since I was 19. Then I lost 17 lbs in five months. This year, I’ve lost almost 20 in almost six. (I was last 200 lbs in March.) Three of those pounds I dropped in the last week. I wasn’t going to count those pounds, but they stayed off, so I guess I can!

I’m going to attribute my success to well, number one, God. Without His support, I wouldn’t have had the hope to persist. The next person I’m going to thank is my husband, for being such a good, competitive sport. Thirdly, to the wonderful trainers at Gold’s Gym. They’ve helped and encouraged me, listened and given advice, and help me find exercises that are easy on my sore knees.

And I have no idea why I have sore knees. But they’ve been hurting all summer, and the people at Gold’s Gym have been great about working around it.

Our Finances and Garden

Money wise, we’re good. God’s blessed us so much it still boggles my mind. We’re in the middle of trying to buy some land, and we’re waiting on the loan to go through. I tell you, never has waiting been so hard!

My garden is still alive. I pulled up my tomato plants a long time ago (they didn’t fare very well through the summer), but my okra plants are thriving and giving me more okra then I can use. I’ve frozen almost a gallon Ziploc back full, and the plants show no signs of slowing down any time soon!

I did plant green bean plants at the end of August. They’re about a foot tall now, still growing and green. Not as leafy or bushy as I like, but I also planted a different breed then I’m used to. I have no idea how these guys will turn out or how they will be different than Blue Lake, but I’m eager to see. Hopefully they’ll continue to grow, and here in a month I’ll have some fresh green beans to enjoy.

Posted in daily life

My Garden Harvest and July 4th Wedding

My Summer Garden Haulgarden haul

Okay, first, let me say that only the tomatoes came from my garden. They’re finally ripening. Yeah! Oh, and some okra we ate before I could get a picture of it. The rest came from my mother-in-law’s. However, they are all in my freezer, so it’s mine. All mine.

What you see here is a bunch of green beans, some corn, cucumbers, and lots of squash. Lots and lots of squash. I think I got only about a quarter of what my mother-in-law actually grew. And there’s more out there, too. Which is more than I can say for my squash plants. They’re happy and healthy and green and loving the heat and putting out blossoms galore–but I don’t have a single squash yet. I’m mystified. I don’t know what’s wrong with them, why they aren’t producing fruit, but I think I’m going to have to get rid of them. It’s not like I need more squash anyway.

She says she had to pick the corn a little early because critters got into the rest. I haven’t had a chance to try it, yet, so I don’t know how it tastes, but it looks good.

tomato haulI think this will probably be it, though, for our gardens. My mother-in-law will probably get more squash, and might get some tomatoes if they survive the heat long enough for them to ripen, but I know that after my tomatoes finish ripening, I’m pulling the plants. They’re done. Oh, and my green beans. They survived June, but they aren’t going to survive July and they definitely aren’t going to survive long enough to flower. Planting them at the end of May was a good idea, but I really should have known better. Green beans don’t do great in 95+ degree heat. I might try planting more green beans at the end of August, though. Try for a fall garden.

My Sister’s Getting Married


Okay, let’s just say I’m excited for my sister. It’s been a long time coming. After ten years of futile searching for the right man, she finally found one this spring. It’s pretty much been a whirlwind roller coaster ride every since. Unexpected, to say the least. How many people get to marry their best friend’s family? She does. It was a welcome surprise, that’s for sure.

So no matter what I think or what concerns I have (and let’s face it–she’s my sister. I’m always going to worry about her, even when she’s old and grey. I’m pretty sure she’ll worry about me, too), I’m going to celebrate. And it’s the fourth of July weekend. Double reason to be happy.

So stay tuned. Hopefully next week I’ll come back with pictures!

Posted in daily life, gardening

My first crop and other things

Green beans are in!

first crop of greenbeansI have to admit, I’m excited. I picked my first crop of green beans this week. It wasn’t much, just enough to feed my husband and I. Still, it’s the first crop, and there are more blossoms on my plants. Meaning, here in a week or two, we’re going to have more. Yippee!

As for the rest of my garden, my tomato plants are finally blossoming. My okra looks good, but hasn’t blossomed yet. I’ve planted some squash plants, and they look good, too. I don’t think I’ll be getting any squash or okra until June or even July, but I’m not worried. Can’t wait!

What else I’ve been up to

While I haven’t done much writing on book two of the fantasy trilogy I’ve been working on, I have been doing some editing and rewriting on book one. Now, this isn’t the first time I’ve edited and rewritten the book. More like the third or fourth. But to all of you aspiring writers out there, I’ll tell you a secret.

The more you edit it, the better it’ll get. Until you edit it to death. That’s bad.

I’ve got a good group of ladies (and men) helping me critique it to be the best it can be. While I don’t make every change they suggest (that’s my prerogative as a writer), I do make a lot, and they do have a lot of constructive criticism. I have managed to edit out an entire nine pages thanks to their efforts. I didn’t think I had nine pages to get rid of, but apparently I did.

I do look forward to the day when I can get back to writing book two. Oh, and finish writing notes and world building. That’s still going on. But I’m no longer in a hurry, and the work is ongoing. I’m having fun, and that’s what’s important.

Posted in daily life

Gardening and Weight Loss Goals Realizing

Good News Everyone!

greenbean blossomsMy green beans have blossoms! Squee!

I can’t tell you how excited I am that my green beans have blossoms. They have, one and all, bounced back from being poisoned via the evil weed killer. Now, not only do they all have beautiful new green leaves, they have blossoms as well. There’s even one baby bean in there. It’s so cute! And edible. 🙂

I wish I could say the same thing about my tomato plants. They still aren’t doing that well. I had to replace one of my tomato plants, and the other isn’t looking that great. However, it’s still alive, so I’m hoping it will recover and give me some tomatoes before the Texas summer heat rolls in and kills all my plants.

On the other hand, it’s finally warm enough for my okra plants. They’re growing up a storm, thought they aren’t anywhere near close to giving me okra to eat. I just wish I could remember what breed of okra I bought. Some okra can get rather tall, while others stay small and bushy. If I knew that, I could better estimate how long I have till its harvest time.

In other news

So I’ve been trying to lose weight. Like, for forever. I know what you’re thinking–so what? So is 3/4 of America, and most of them are failing!

Believe me. I know. I was one of them. Was, being the operative word.

After exercise 5-6 times a week since the first of the year, I am happy to announce that I am FINALLY loosing weight. And just so you know, I waited two weeks to announce this because I wanted to make sure I wasn’t just losing water weight. However, the three pounds that I lost survived the weekend, so I guess that makes it official.

I’ve lost three pounds! Yippee!

I know you must think that’s stupid. I mean, I’m getting excited for losing three measly pounds. I could easily gain it all back in a week (especially if I stop exercising). What’s all the hubbub about?

It’s three pounds. It’s weight that’s gone and jeans that are fitting better. It’s the fact that I have energy and that I’m no longer depressed all the time. I’m walking around with a bounce in my step and I’m excited for the future. I even shave my legs, pluck my eyebrows and wear dresses.

That’s what this is all about. It’s about being lighter, eating less and living a healthier lifestyle. It’s about making all of those changes stick so that when I start having kids, I’m not immediately having health problems due to being overweight. That’s my goal, and I have to stick with it.

And now that the weight is finally dropping, I’m not about to stop now. I’m going to keep exercising and eating less. I’m going to continue to introduce one new healthy habit a month into my life until I reach my goals. And when I reach my goals, I’m going to keep with my new habits until that new me becomes the New Normal Me, and the New Normal becomes the Permanent Me.

Oh, I know it may not happen. The Lord could come back before I reach my weight loss goals. I could have an accident and become a paralyzed. Heck, I could have One Really Bad Week and lose all those shiny new habits I’ve just acquired. I don’t know the future, and that’s okay. That’s what relying on the Lord is for. What I can’t do, He can.

Posted in daily life

The Challenges of Gardening in a City

My garden got hit by herbicides

herbicide driftI’m a country girl at heart. When I moved away from home to the big city and finally had room to put in a tiny garden, I thought the only challenges I would face would be a lack of space and the need for lots of fertilizer. I’d heard of herbicides and pesticides, and I knew that you didn’t want to spray them on your crops for fear of killing them, but I’d never seen the damage those things could cause until a few weeks ago.

When I first saw this, I didn’t have a clue what had happened to my plants. All I knew was one day they looked fine and healthy. The next day, half the plants looked like this. I had no idea what had caused the damage. I thought maybe some kind of weird virus or bug had gotten a hold of my plants, but I saw no holes or discolored leaves. I thought maybe a lack of watering had damaged my plants, but that wasn’t the case. Nor was it a case of not enough or too much of any particular nutrients. It took me three weeks to figure out what it was.

It was a case of herbicide drift.

Someone near me–maybe one of the houses in the neighborhood or maybe the maintenance man who works here at the apartment complex–sprayed weed killer. They weren’t trying to be mean or trying to kill my plants. Just the weeds. Even so, that herbicide drifted on the wind and landed on my tomato and green bean plants. Causing this to happen.

I’m a little upset. This is my first garden, and I’m worried that my plants may be damaged beyond repair. I was looking forward to some fresh veggies, and now I don’t know if that will happen.

There’s not much I can do. From what I’ve been able to find out, either your plants die from herbicide drift or they bounce back. Considering its been three weeks and my plants are still here, they might yet bounce back. I can only hope and pray that’s the case.

Posted in daily life

What I have been up to lately

My Garden

garden plantsMany of you know I have been preparing my yard for a garden. Well, after a working the soil and a weeks worth of rain, my garden was ready for planting.  Last Tuesday I planted a few tomato plants, a row of green beans and a row of okra. I can’t wait for it to sprout. I’m looking forward to sitting in the backyard, reading or writing, watching my garden grow, and eventually enjoying the fruits of my labor.

This is what my garden looks like so far. At least, the part with plants. You can see my two tomato plants and my three flower pots. I’d show you what the rest looks like, but it will be a few weeks before the seeds sprout.

Fitness Update

At the beginning of the year I started bike riding around the neighborhood. Well, I’m still at it. I’m up to riding 9 miles a day 5 days a week. To top it off, my husband and I have outlawed fast food. We can go out to eat, but no fast food. So far, it’s been three weeks and we’ve kept our resolution. Alas, neither of us have lost weight. I try not to be worried. It’s a step in the right direction. If it takes all year to see results, then that’s what it will take.

One year? I wish. It took me eight years to get like this. I’d be amazed if I could get into shape in one year.

Writing Flop

Last week, I attended the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of ACFW. Their guest speaker talked about how to finish a novel. She had lots of pointers and afterwards, I raced home, motivated to get started on my new book. Unfortunately, I haven’t done a single thing on it.

Sigh. I need to work on my writing resolution. I’ve had progress in other aspects of my life. Why not this one?



Posted in daily life

Of Dirt and Shovels

My Garden Project

backyardHaving grown up on a farm, I’m used to having a garden. I haven’t had one for the past few years, and it felt weird. I mean, I’m a farm girl. Growing veggies is required. Non-negotiable. Like trying to bake a cake without flour.

Then my husband and I moved into this apartment last December. Lo and behold, it had a patch of dirt. My very own patch of dirt I can do whatever I want with. So naturally I’m going to put in a garden.

My vegetable garden doesn’t look like much, but let me tell you, it’s come a long ways from before. What you see here is about five hours work with a shovel and a rake. The yard was hard packed and infested with weeds, which I had to break up and get rid of.  Hence the five hours of work.

And the job isn’t done yet. The soil has to be prepared before a single plant can be put down. That means fertilizer needs to be worked in next. Of course, my parents are pushing me to get the soil tested so I know what kind of fertilizer to use. That’s next on the list.

Then comes water, so I’ll be investing in a water hose. And if I manage to get all that done before spring comes, then I might have to wait until proper time to plant. The last thing I want to do is for my new plants to get frostbit by planting to early.

It’s a lot of work, but it’s going to be worth it when I start bringing in tomatoes and green beans come summertime. I can’t wait.

Posted in daily life

My Little Experiment: Green beans in a Pot

green beansTexas Spring

Those who know me know that I grew up on a farm in Arkansas. I grew up surrounded by large trees, large pastures, lots of cows, and a huge garden. Coming to south Texas was–and still is–a large culture shock. I’m not used to the stunted trees (AKA, overgrown bushes) the total lack of topsoil, the borderline-desert environment, and the fact that south Texas is pretty only two months of the year.

Spring, by far, is the prettiest time of year here in south Texas. That’s when it rains down here, and then the grass grows, the leaves green up, the wildflowers bloom and the bluebonnets pop up. Therefore, that makes it the only time of year to plant and grow a garden. Well, I’m sure that you can grow a garden in the summer, but only if you want to spend a few hundred dollars on your watering bill keeping your garden alive.

My Garden

Now, I live in apartment. I have no green space, save whatever I can fit in pots. I do, however, have a small patio, which is the perfect size for flowerpots. I had always told myself that if I ever lived in an apartment, I would grow my green beans in flower pots. Hence I have.

This picture is the result of a little experiment of mine. I wanted to see if I could sprout these plants indoors over the winter/early spring from seed, and then transfer them to the pots. As seen in the picture, the experiment was a success. Out of 8 seeds, 7 sprouted. The plants are doing well, and are even starting to flower. Assuming there are still any bees or other insects still around to pollinate, here in another two weeks or so I should have enough homegrown green beans for a meal or so.

My only regret is that I only decided to do eight plants. If I’d known earlier how well it would do, and how much space I would have left over, I would have bought at least three if not four more pots this size and then had more green beans. Maybe even enough to can a batch. But I had only wanted to use the supplies that I had on hand, so oh well. Live and learn.

Of course, by this time next year I hope to be moved into a real house in the Dallas area, so I’ll be able to put in a real garden, with lots of green beans and other vegetables besides. Dallas, I’ve been told, has more topsoil and more rain. Keeping my fingers crossed!