Happy New Year!!! So I haven;t done a very good job of maintaining this blog. I decidedtonight to look and see what I accomplished this year that I have not marked off and plan some goals for the beginning of 2014.
Get my Bachelor's degree - After 20 years I graduated cum laude with my Bachelors of Science in Business Administration on December 14, 2013. I am very happy to have completed this goal.
Donate blood 4 times - I am going to have to mark this complete. I only was able to donate three times since I created this list. Now that I have gone to Haiti I am not eligible to donate blood. I really like to be able to donate blood but going to Haiti changes lives too... mine included.
Donate money to charity - I have done this in a couple of ways. The one closest to my heart is that I sponsor Theodore. He is a resident of the Cambry orphanage in Cayes, Haiti. Being his sponsor is much more than a financial commitment though. He has a huge piece of my heart there in Haiti with him. It doesn't hurt that he is the cutest thing ever!!!
Teach Karson to drive - I can only claim partial responsibility for this one but she is a driver now. She has yet to take her driving test but she has completed drivers training and is a pretty good driver. It makes me very nervous to think about the fact that she is growing up and will be on the roads alone.
Increase 401K contributions - I increased my contributions by 1% in December of 2013. I intend to continue to increase it each year.
Go on a mission trip to a foreign country - In October of 2013 I went with Give Hope Global to Cambry orphanage in Cayes, Haiti for a week. What a life changing experience. The children and people there are so loving and kind. It was a total low stress environment that my heart and soul long to be back in. I will be going back in 10 days and then again in June. I am not sure that I will be able to let a trip go by without me being on the plane.
Makeover for bedroom - I would say this is 95% done. The only thing that was not done was to paint the walls. I got all new furniture and a new mattress. It makes a huge difference in the room. One of the funny things about that experience was when Mom and I went to Ikea to buy furniture. Let's just say that it was not intended to fit in my car with two people in there also. With some creative packing and a horizontal mom we made it back home in one trip. Putting the bed together with Karson was also a very laughable experience. Note to self: Probably not a good idea to put furniture together after midnight. :)
Priorities for the first part of 2014
Leave an inspirational note inside book for someone to find
Take a road trip with just me and Karson
Pay for people's order at drive thru
Go to a movie by myself
Volunteer at a soup kitchen
Clean out storage building
Start and maintain a blog - Have to work on the maintaining part :)
Visit the elderly at a nursing home
Organize Laundry Room
Restring Nana's pearls
Set up and maintain craft area/office - Craft area is set up - Might move it or try to figure out some way to may it a pet free zone. Have to work on the office part of this equation.
I have been wanting a new camera for quite a while now. Nothing was wrong with the camera I had. It is a Nikon Coolpix point & shoot camera. I just wanted something with more features, a better zoom and higher quality photos and video. I am not and will never be the next great photographer. I didn't see the need in getting a DSLR with all the lenses and stuff to carry around. I am one that if I get something that there are optional accessories then I want the accessories even if I don't need them. So, it was better for me to pick a camera that didn't have all the fancy accessories.
Enter the Nikon D5100.
"The D5100 is a high-performance D-SLR designed to stimulate your creative side and help you create still images and movies like no other. The swing-out vari-angle monitor combines with the camera's D-movie function to enable unique shots from any angle. Still images or movies can be shot using a special effect to add a sense of magic. High Dynamic Range imaging lets you capture exquisitely detailed stills of high-contrast scenes. The perfect way to capture your view of the world, this camera was made with freedom of expression in mind."
Doesn't it sound all important? Well, thanks to Josh and Christmas 2012 it is now mine. :)
I got my embroidery machine for Christmas 2011. It sat for 9 months with me being intimidated by the embroidery functions of the machine. I loved it as a sewing machine, but was just too scared to try the embroidery part. Of course I had spent money purchasing patterns to embroider, purchased embroidery thread & stabilizers and yet fear overtook me.
Finally about September or October I got up the nerve, gritted my teeth and did some sample embroidery on some scrap white fabric. Ok, I think I've got this. Why was I scared? Piece of cake....
With my new found confidence I committed to doing some embroidery for some people for Christmas gifts. The anxiety came back. What if I mess up the item they purchased? What if they don 't like it? What if What if What if.... I might spontaneously combust!
So in typical Debbie fashion, I committed to doing something that was not just a simple design but basically 12 images into one design. What was I thinking? I did some research with my bff Google. I learned that the best thing to do with such scenarios is to use some digitizing software to combine the images into one. By doing that the images will be lined up properly, make it look better, easier to embroider, and therefore less stressful. Oh if it was that easy... I must have downloaded 6 different software demos before I found one that was written for me. After wanting to scream and losing sleep I had the first file ready to go.
Once again I was nervous so I did a sample on my trusty white fabric. It looked awesome! I was in the clear. All smooth sailing from here. No No... Not so quick. Of course it couldn't just go smoothly for me. On the last letter of the name, my needle broke. I replaced the needle and tried to get it going again only for it to cram the dress down into the machine, tearing a hole in the dress. Depression has officially set in. Now I have to find another dress. Ugh! After driving to two different Old Navy stores in Charlotte, I found one 5T dress. It was a different color but it was my only choice. I felt horrible.
Back home I now have the replacement and now the pressure is even greater than ever. I now know that not only has my machine failed me on one dress but I have the only 5T to be found in my hands. What if something happens to this one? AAAAHHHHHH!!!!!!!! Breathe! So I doubled up on the stabilizer, took a deep breath and tried again. Success!!!
So after the first dress catastrophe, I successfully embroidered 2 dresses, 5 hand towels and 2 stockings. I think I can officially say I have learned from trial and error. I have confidence that I know what I am doing.... Doesn't mean I won't be a nervous wreck next time I go to embroider something. :)
So when I created my 101 in 1,001 list I made sure to include some things that were all about me and making me happy. On my 37th birthday (10/16) I marked #29 off my list.
A wonderful young lady called me one afternoon in early October and said, "I notice it has been a while since you have been in to see us and I was wondering if I could make you an appointment for a massage." All the while she was speaking the only thought running through my head was "Are you an angel?" I was in stressed out mode (as is typical it seems) and decided that my birthday was the perfect opportunity to do something for myself. So I booked a 90 minute massage and a facial starting at 12:30 not specifying who I wanted for either service.
I anticipated my massage and facial like you can only imagine. I took the afternoon off work to focus on me. How great this was going to be, right? I wish! I had a young girl do my massage. I am not sure she had enough strength in her hands to squish a grape. And let me tell you, she was a big fan of lotion. After 90 minutes of a "light" massage I was greased up and ready to slip and slide. Then comes the facial. Surely it would be better and relaxing, right? Not so much. She talked non-stop and mashed and pushed and pulled on my face in ways that I don't think is humane.
So lesson learned. I know now when it comes to massages to never cheat on Dani again. Dani was born with magic hands. I went and saw him this past Saturday and he reaffirmed my faith in magic hand massages :)
When I added #25 Make a Dress to my 101 in 1001 list I did not think it would have the impact on my heart and life that it has.
I have always been one who loves to do for others. That is why when an opportunity came up to provide a service to the children in an orphanage in Haiti I knew that I was up for it.
My mom participates in a group at her church that call themselves the KnitWits. They basically use their different needlework and sewing talents to provide various acts of love and charity for others in need. One of their members had a daughter that had recently gone on a mission trip. The idea came from that to make dresses for the little girls the next time someone we knew was going on a similar trip.
Enter Blessback Worldwide and the children in the Cambry orphanage. The CEO of my company is affiliated with this Non-Profit organization and has often shared his experiences and love for the children in this orphanage. I knew that they were going on a trip in August. I reached out to him and he put me in touch with his daughter who was able to provide me the names and some great information about the girls there. There are 45 girls living in Cambry ranging in age up to 18.
Karson, my mom, 6 other KnitWits and myself divided up the list and set out to make all of the girls their own personalized dress. Because the children get so little that is theirs alone, we made effort to try to make them feel loved from someone they have never met in South Carolina. Each girl was sent a dress with a personalized tag sewn in the back of the neck that said "Made with love for (their name)", a matching hair accessory, a handwritten letter to them, and a picture of the person that made their dress. The dresses were blessed in church before they were given to Blessback for their journey to Haiti.
Making these dresses, writing the letters, and then seeing pictures of the girls with big smiles on their faces has really touched my heart. I want to do what I can to be closer affiliated with this organization and the children of Cambry. There is a trip coming up in January. I am trying to decide if it is the right time in my life to join the group on their journey. It is not a matter of want, because I want to go really bad. It is more a matter of timing and is this the right time. More to come on that....
I will leave you with some pictures of the dresses and the beautiful faces in Cambry. Please keep these children and this organization in your prayers. And as the header on their website says, You are blessed. Bless back!
One down 100 to go... Who would have thought that when I made the 101 in 1001 list that the first one to be completed was buying a new car. This came to the top of my list because of the crazy past couple of weeks that I have had. My air went out in my Explorer. I was trying to suffer through it even though it was miserably hot. Then one not so glorious Wednesday the serpentine belt snapped due to the compressor being locked up. Fearing this was the beginning of what may be on repair after another I opted for a new (to me) car. When I went car shopping I was planning on getting a used car that would be a minimal payment but still make me feel like it was a better vehicle than my Explorer. Let me tell you, there is a bunch of junk out there that they are trying to sell for a ridiculous amount of money. So after a long frustrating day I changed direction completely and ended up with this.... A 2011 Kia Sorento.
I picked it out and bought it all by myself. I really am growing up :)
While it wasn't what I planned on when I started my search, I am happy with my decision.
...the weight loss wagon that is. After more attempts than I can remember to get to my goal weight, it just has not happened in the last 12 or more years. I now find myself at the heaviest weight I have ever known. It is time that I claim my health and my future. I am not going to claim to become a fitness guru in the next 30 days but I am going to take the steps that I know I can do to accomplish my goals. There are so many different weight loss programs out there that I really think are just money making schemes. I have been successful with Weight Watchers in the past and so that is the path I am laying out in front of me at this point. I know to reach and maintain my goals I need to do something that I will commit to doing for life. Tomorrow is my new Day 1... Here's to hoping that this will be the last Day 1 in my future.
Here is a picture of me (and Denny Hamlin) taken Memorial Day weekend. This picture really hit home to me that I am done with this struggle in my life. (That and the fact that I split a pair of pajama pants when I sat down) : )