Plexus Update

A week after my initial post about beginning Plexus, I have an update for you.

I only took it one day.

I received it in the mail and took the accelerator pill and the Plexus Slim drink (It is a mix that goes into your water) the following morning. I made a point to eat a regular breakfast and lunch because I wanted to know how this would affect me. Breakfast was eggs and a slice of wheat bread and I don’t remember what lunch was, but it was something normal and from home – not fast food. I had coffee with breakfast (with cream and no sugar) and a lot of water. Throughout the day, I slowly felt worse and worse until the end of my workday rolled around and I had a pounding headache and a large amount of “brain fog.” I was told this was my body detoxing, but since I didn’t alter my diet with the exception of drinking more water, I can’t imagine what or how I was detoxing. I decided that I didn’t trust the pills or drink and vowed to never take anymore.

I’ve decided that I prefer to do things the normal way. Eat lots of vegetables, some fruits, very little sugar and processed foods, take a multi-vitamin and keep my eating out to a minimum. Since it is Saturday I was able to hit up the farmer’s market this morning. Dinner will be asparagus, broccoli, green beans, corn on the cob, some ham slices and cheese. All of that is from local farmers except the cheese. Yum!!

Plexus

I’ve never taken a diet pill. I’ve never taken part of a diet that was more than “eat more vegetables and less junk food”…until now. Or not now, I only ordered it last night. I’m going to try Plexus. I know a few people who sell it and I’ve researched it online – the success stories I keep reading go deeper than weight loss. People talking about energy, feeling more clear-headed, and many other general aches and pains disappearing. Since I am now 36 years old – I hate to admit it, but I am feeling more aches and pains lately. I’d like to lose 30-40 pounds as well, but it is the other things that I am most interested in. The downside is that Plexus is quite expensive – but I’m going to give it a try. If it really is as fantastic as what I’ve read…I think it’d be worth it. I only bought a 7 day supply, so we’ll see how that goes.

Have you taken Plexus? What did you think?

Money

I’d like to create a job for myself where I help people with their budgets. I have seen this scenario far too many times:

Family of four – mom, dad, older child, and new baby. Mom has been a stay-at-home mom and now that the baby is getting a bit older (Usually getting close to a year old), mom and dad decide that she is going to need to get a paying job. So, mom gets a part-time job and she’s bringing home, let’s say, $800 a month. The parents have to pay some of that towards a babysitter, but still bringing home $500 extra per month and they rejoice. They start eating out a bit more. Get cable, because that was a luxury they did not indulge in before. And in a couple of months…they buy a new (probably used) car. Here we are, 6 months after the mom getting a part-time job and she is working so that they can have a few more dinners out, cable, a new car, and a babysitter. They find themselves at the same level of broke-ness as before and cannot put a finger on why. 

Another scenario that I’ve watched play out over Facebook the last few weeks:

Mom, dad, and one child are the characters in this story. Mom and dad only plan on having one child (who is now in elementary school) and they both work full-time. Just after their baby was born, they moved into a very nice (but regular-sized) 3BR 2 bath house. It had a pool and neighbors that they loved with lots of wide-open space for the boy to play. As the years have passed both parents have moved ahead in their careers, they now make significantly more money then before. So they’ve moved into a much larger home. But…why? They aren’t having more children, so “more room” isn’t really necessary. They had a beautiful home before with good neighbors. Why not stay there, pay that house off, and have a paid off mortgage by age 40?

I work at a bank is this happens far more than it should:

Families don’t really keep that close of an eye on their checking account. They overdraw a few times per month. With overdraft charges being nearly $40 per item these days – overdrawing 4 times a month is $160!! Does anybody really have that sort of money to just give up to their bank? 

Another scenario:

I see this one at tax refund time. Some people really get a LOT of money back. Sometimes they get $10,000+. They get their checks and they want to cash them. I hear them talking about their plans – new furniture, a new TV, etc. All fine expenses if these were not the same people for the remaining 11 months of the year who have multiple overdraft charges per month. These are the people I want to reach the most. They will blow through this $10,000+ so fast it is alarming. I want to tell these families to spread this money out over the year instead of spending it all at one time. A $10,000 tax return would equal $833 extra per month!! Why not pay your house payment/rent for the year. (The whole YEAR!) Or continue your bills as normal and let this money just be extra income all year long and improve your lifestyle. I see these families, though. They will spend $10,000+ in 3 or 4 weeks and then struggle to pay their bills for the rest of the year.  

These are just some financial rants that I’ve had for awhile and wanted to tell someone. I encourage you to examine your finances. Are you struggling? Where can you make cuts? You might say “nowhere” but it probably isn’t true. I felt that way until recently. I decided to give up my iPhone and go back to a “dumb phone” and my cell phone bill is now $70 less per month. I still own the iPhone and so use it when I am on wi-fi. Sure, I can’t check Facebook at red lights anymore, but I think I can deal with that. I don’t have cable, but I know that it can easily run $150/mo. Netflix is $8.23/mo and your local library has DVDs you can rent for free. Call your providers and tell them you want to cancel – they will likely offer you a better deal. 

I wanted to offer a different spin on “how to cut back” that is more than just “stop going to Starbucks every day” because honestly…who is really doing that? Does someone really need to have that pointed out if they are struggling with money? I drink Starbucks once every couple of months.  So my advice summed up is this: 1. Do you really need a big house? Can you downsize? The kids don’t REALLY need a playroom and it is okay if they need to share a room for the sake of financial sanity. 2. Keep an eye on your checking account. Get internet banking, create a bills calendar and write everything down. Stop overdrawing even if it means eating Ramen noodles for dinner once a week. 3. Ditch cable and your iPhone if you are really struggling. Netflix is cool! 

 

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Revolution

Every time I pay my cell phone bill, I die a little on the inside. I have an iPhone and I really like it. Except I do not like paying $120 a month for my cell phone. I see the $50 for my monthly data plan on the statement and cringe as I realize that it costs me $4/mo more than my home internet. I have internet at work and I have internet at home. Why am I paying $50 a month so that I can also have internet…where? In line at the grocery? Waiting at stop lights? When I am at dinner with friends or family and feeling bored? Admittedly, I will miss having immediate access to Hopstop when I am in New York – but as I am only there 5 days per year, I feel certain that I can work around that.

Can I do it?  Can I declare a revolution and turn my back on smartphones? That isn’t as easy as it seems, since the one feature I am unwilling to give up is a Qwerty keypad. Can you even imagine having to text the non-qwerty keypad way again? While I was once quite speedy, I don’t intend on reverting quite that far. Verizon no longer sells a dumb-phone that also has qwerty keypads and this is probably the reason.  I’m in a contract until October 2015 – after that…I may even ditch the contract phone and move over to Straight Talk. Does anyone have any experience with them?

Will I really find myself all that disconnected? I’ll still have a phone, I’ll still have my iPhone for use on wifi, and I have a Kindle which also can connect to wifi. OH, and I have a laptop with internet access at home and I have internet access at work.

I think I’ll be okay.

Have you ever considered ditching the smartphone?

Good, Not Better

I’ve been thinking.

I hear this from people – when something bad happens to someone or occasionally I see memes on Facebook that insinuate this…that God won’t take something from you if He does not intend to replace it with something better.

I’m not sure that is biblical.

Yes, the bible does say “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28. Does this verse imply that everything will work out for good to each individual person if they love God?

It cannot mean that, it just can’t. That would mean that if someone’s child passes away, that God has something better in store. Any parent would tell you that NOTHING is better than the child they lost. There will never be a situation given to them that causes them to look back at the loss and be okay with it. I will say that, in my experience, people who have suffered such a horrific loss are some of the most beautiful people I know. Not right away – but as the years pass, they become beautiful spirits.

Here is what I think it means: It means that all things work together for good. ALL THINGS. Not YOUR things. In the whole big scope of the world and every single living and breathing person existing upon this earth…such great losses can be worked together for good for someone. The word is GOOD and not BETTER. The bible doesn’t say that all things work together for better. Your child has a debilitating illness – it will lead you to meet people that you never would have met with a well child. Is it better for you to make those acquaintances rather than having a healthy child? No. But for somebody it is working together for a purpose.

What now?

So sorry, dear blog. It has been 3 months since I updated you.

Last weekend I graduated from college!! I also gifted myself a two week vacation from work. I would have gifted myself a trip somewhere, but finally had to decide in the end that I didn’t have the money and apparently the money you receive upon graduating high school is a one time deal. I did receive a $10 Chick-fil-a gift card and a $20 bill…but not enough to fund a vacation. Or enough to make my first student loan payment.

The thought pounding through my head over the last 9 days since graduating has been “What now?” and it has maintained a nice steady beat. What now? I know that good jobs exist in my little town of 70,000 people – but you have to know the right people. I don’t know where to find these people, but I am trying.  In the mean time, I am blowing up Indeed.com and applying for everything that could be a step in the right direction for a 36 year old bank teller with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and who minored in Human Resources. I can tell you that being a bank teller is not what I wish to continue doing. At first, I just didn’t want to continue doing it because I am very bored of that job and it does not pay enough. But then last week, just 30 minutes from where I live, 2 bank tellers were murdered during a botched robbery and I definitely do not make enough money for that sort of risk.

Love

We are all pretty familiar with the “love chapter” in the Bible.  I was listening to Christian radio today and there was a song that started off quoting part of it “If I give all I possess to the poor and give my body over to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13:3 NIV)

I don’t think that I love people. There are people that I love – I love my family, my friends and (some of) my coworkers…I love those people in my circle. But I don’t love people. They annoy me with their selfishness (But really, it is just my selfishness reflected back to me). I’m annoyed when they cut in front of me in line, when they take the last of an item, drive too slow, drive too fast, or take too long.

If I am understanding the Bible, I’m meant to love people. For a while I interpreted that to mean that I would just make a point to not get annoyed by them. But that isn’t love.  I see people who genuinely love people. I am not one of those. I don’t know how to become one of them. But it seems to be pretty important to love everyone, not just talk myself out of being annoyed by them and calling that love.

“And now these three things remain: Faith, Hope, and Love.  But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13 NIV

16 Minutes

Last night I experienced the longest 16 minutes of my entire life.  My baby niece, Charlotte, put a toy road construction cone into her mouth where it became lodged in her airway.  My sister lives just down the hill from me, in fact, our backyards meet.  I’ve written out the timeline because while it was all happening, it didn’t feel like it was real.  That I wasn’t really standing in the yard holding my niece who was covered in sick and her own blood, waiting for an ambulance.  All while my five-year-old niece was hysterically following me around half-praying and half-screaming to me that “Charlotte can’t die!!!” Adrenaline is amazing, because it allowed me to check out of that situation enough to get things accomplished.  It made minutes last hours.

7:46 – Lisa calls me and I can hear it in her voice, a very panicky “Come NOW” is all she says and I run (like the wind) down the hill to her house where I meet Audrie at the back door who is crying and screaming to me that she doesn’t want Charlotte to die.   I had no idea what had happened.
I ran into the bathroom where I found Charlotte barely breathing (her breathing sounded very raspy as she was either breathing around the toy, or through the hole in it).  She had been throwing up and the toy was cutting her throat causing blood to come out of her nose.  She wasn’t crying, but it was because she couldn’t breathe enough to cry, she was standing up inside the tub looking at me, trying to breath, wanting to cry, unable to really do either one.   Audrie is kneeling next to me at the tub, still crying and screaming that she doesn’t want Charlotte to die.  Lisa is telling me to call “someone” and I ask “who, like Mom?  Or 911?” She replies with “I don’t care, just call somebody” It was then that Charlotte’s airway became fully blocked for a second and she wasn’t breathing, that I realized I needed to call 911 immediately.  In hindsight, of COURSE I should have called 911. For a bit I was beating myself up over not realizing that sooner, but when we realized that only one minute passed between her calling me initially, and me calling 911, I realized that I didn’t contemplate it for as long as I had imagined. 
7:47 I took Lisa’s phone and dialed 911.  As it rang, I realized that I didn’t know their address and so I walked outside on the porch so that I could find their house number.  Audrie has followed me out and is still hysterical, but starts yelling at me that I need to put the phone on speaker, because her mom’s phone won’t work unless it’s on speaker.  911 answers and I am telling them the situation “We have a baby who is choking on a toy, she’s 9 months old” and they asked me for my phone number – this wasn’t my phone and in this day of cell phones, I don’t have my sister’s number memorized.  But since the phone is on speaker, Audrie knows what they are asking for.  Through her hysteria, she starts screaming out the phone number. I ask her to calm down and repeat it into the phone, which she does.  (Awesome!!)
Unknown time – maybe still 7:47 or maybe 7:48 I go back into the bathroom where Charlotte’s situation is the same.  Very raspy and labored breathing mixed with occasional split seconds of not breathing at all.  She still isn’t turning blue and her face is only slightly red, so I know that she is getting oxygen, but I’m just not sure how long before the toy lodges itself just right and blocks her breathing entirely.  Lisa leaves the bathroom to change into regular clothes while Audrie and I are in the bathroom while Audrie begins to pray “We really NEED a miracle” she would say, mixed still with uncontrollable crying and “I don’t want Charlotte to die” Charlotte is still having a VERY hard time breathing, not much air is getting in – so I decide to grab her and take her out on the front lawn to wait for the ambulance.
While in the yard, she begins mixing between not breathing at all and even more labored breathing.  I just keep telling her “keep breathing, baby. Keep breathing.” A fire truck arrived first (why do they send fire trucks? But I don’t care.) I practically threw her at the fireman and he takes her and runs over to the ambulance which just behind him.  Behind the ambulance is a police car and then a rescue squad truck.  Almost immediately upon them arriving, there are five or six paramedics/police men, firemen with Charlotte.  They have her upside down and are shining a light into her throat.  They decided to take her to the hospital via ambulance.
Audrie and I ran back to my house so that I could also put on clothes (I was wearing shorts – the kind that you do NOT go out into public wearing) and Audrie was still pretty close to hysteria, although she has calmed down a little bit.  My neighbor who had been outside to witness me running, came over to make sure everything was okay.  Audrie tries to answer him, but she makes very little sense trying to talk to him, she was still bordering on hysteria.  He must have started walking over when the emergency workers arrived – since not much time had passed, it really had only been enough time for him to see the ambulances and then start walking over.  Although it felt like hours.
Lisa rides with Charlotte in the ambulance while me and Audrie rode in my car to meet them.  We got to the hospital the same time as the ambulance.  Just as we arrived Lisa texted me to say that they got the toy out. WHEW!! I was so happy to be able to share that news with Audrie because it brought her all the way down to calm.
8:02 I immediately called my mom back to let her know the toy had been removed.
The longest 16 minutes of my life.
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Time for a cat?

I just had such strong feelings about my frozen breakfast food that I was attempting to eat at 5:30 in the evening, that I emailed the company.  What have I become?

For your pleasure, I will share the note with you:

I recently purchased Marie Callender’s Cheddar Biscuit with Sausage, Egg, and Cheddar. The time on the box says 1 minute 30 seconds, but that leaves you with a frozen middle-of-the-egg. So, I add an additional minute. The biscuit also sticks to the bottom of the container, and I haven’t figured out how to keep that from happening.

(In writing this, I feel like I am recreating something that would appear on the humor section of Pinterest. Someone who takes their frozen breakfast foods very seriously. I’m not that person, I just don’t like my biscuit to be stuck.)

That’s right, I even called myself out on how ridiculous my note sounds.  I hope I at least make someone laugh.

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Kidd Kraddick

If you’ve never heard of Kidd Kraddick, allow me to make a small introduction.  He was a radio personality who hosted a syndicated radio show in over 100 markets in the United States. He has a charity called Kidd’s Kids, and every November they take families of chronically or terminally ill children to Disney World.  Anywhere from 40-50 families attend each year – and it’s the entire family. Mom, dad, brothers and sisters.  A carefree week for the family at the happiest place on earth.  No doctor appointments, (although they do take doctors with them, diseases don’t take a break just because you’re at Disney), no hospitals, just surrounded by families who know what it is like to spend a lot of time being sick.  On Saturday afternoon, at a charity golf tournament for Kidd’s Kids, Kidd Kraddick passed away.  The autopsy report has listed his cause of death as an enlarged heart and blocked arteries.  Whether he knew of this heart condition is between Kidd and his doctor.  I had wanted to blog about Kidd, but couldn’t figure out what to say.  Then, I commented on a blog post from a former employee of Kidd Kraddick in the Morning and it came out just right.  My comment will be posted below, if you’d like to read the original post, you can click here. (It seems the website has crashed, her blog is receiving too many hits.  Hopefully the server will come back up as traffic subsides.)

Her blog is back up, and here is my reply:

I don’t know if I can be considered a “long time listener” since I know that there are others like you who have listened for 20 years and longer. I am not entirely certain how long I have listened, but I know it was at least one year prior to Kellie becoming pregnant with EK, which would put me in the 8-9 year range of listening to the show. The first couple of years I was a casual listener. Then, October 2007 I donated to Kidd’s Kids for the first time. My niece was born just a few days prior to Kidd’s Kids day and I felt that I needed to pay my “healthy kid tax”. I think I gave $20, but that $20 made me more interested in the trip that year. I’ve given each year since, and with each year, I felt like I came to get to know the cast more and more. People came and went, but then Jenna and J-Si joined and it all seemed to settle into a very comfortable group. I listened to the show ALL THE TIME. I had the podcasts on my iPod for long trips, I listened in the morning getting ready for work, I had it on again in the evenings. On Saturdays, I would listen to it while cleaning the house. Over the 8ish years of listening, Kidd Kraddick (and the whole crew) became like friends. They were always there at the touch of a button.

I can’t imagine how the show can continue, and that saddens me – they are such a big part of my life. Strange to say about people I never really knew, but when you live alone and literally listen to them in all your down time at home and in the car, they become like family to you.

So that I end on a lighter note – Kellie retweeted from a listener earlier “The only thing that makes this sadder is that he died in the only state that ends with an A.” Well done, fellow listener. Well done.

I’m going to go eat some corn.

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