Saturday, July 25, 2009

The Wisdom of the Woodcutter


One of my book study assignments for the lesson our group is doing is to share this story with a friend and share what I am learning from it. So, I thought I would share it here.....



Once there was an old man who lived in a tiny village. Although poor, he was envied by all, for he owned a beautiful white horse. Even the king coveted his treasure. A horse like this had never been seen before—such was its splendor, its majesty, its strength.

People offered fabulous prices for the steed, but the old man always refused. "This horse is not a horse to me," he would tell them. "It is a person. How could you sell a person? He is a friend, not a possession. How could you sell a friend?" The man was poor and the temptation was great. But he never sold the horse.

One morning he found that the horse was not in the stable. All the village came to see him. "You old fool," they scoffed, "we told you that someone would steal your horse. We warned you that you would be robbed. You are so poor. How could you ever hope to protect such a valuable animal? It would have been better to have sold him. You could have gotten whatever price you wanted. No amount would have been too high. Now the horse is gone, and you’ve been cursed with misfortune."

The old man responded, "Don’t speak too quickly. Say only that the horse is not in the stable. That is all we know; the rest is judgment. If I’ve been cursed or not, how can you know? How can you judge?"

The people contested, "Don’t make us out to be fools! We may not be philosophers, but great philosophy is not needed. The simple fact that your horse is gone is a curse."

The old man spoke again. "All I know is that the stable is empty, and the horse is gone. The rest I don’t know. Whether it be a curse or a blessing, I can’t say. All we can see is a fragment. Who can say what will come next?"

The people of the village laughed. They thought that the man was crazy. They had always thought he was fool; if he wasn’t, he would have sold the horse and lived off the money. But instead, he was a poor woodcutter, an old man still cutting firewood and dragging it out of the forest and selling it. He lived hand to mouth in the misery of poverty. Now he had proven that he was, indeed, a fool.

After fifteen days, the horse returned. He hadn’t been stolen; he had run away into the forest. Not only had he returned, he had brought a dozen wild horses with him. Once again the village people gathered around the woodcutter and spoke. "Old man, you were right and we were wrong. What we thought was a curse was a blessing. Please forgive us."

The man responded, "Once again, you go too far. Say only that the horse is back. State only that a dozen horses returned with him, but don’t judge. How do you know if this is a blessing or not? You see only a fragment. Unless you know the whole story, how can you judge? You read only one page of a book. Can you judge the whole book? You read only one word of a phrase. Can you understand the entire phrase?

"Life is so vast, yet you judge all of life with one page or one word. All you have is a fragment! Don’t say that this is a blessing. No one knows. I am content with what I know. I am not perturbed by what I don’t."

"Maybe the old man is right," they said to one another. So they said little. But down deep, they knew he was wrong. They knew it was a blessing. Twelve wild horses had returned with one horse. With a little bit of work, the animals could be broken and trained and sold for much money.

The old man had a son, an only son. The young man began to break the wild horses. After a few days, he fell from one of the horses and broke both legs. Once again the villagers gathered around the old man and cast their judgements.

"You were right," they said. "You proved you were right. The dozen horses were not a blessing. They were a curse. Your only son has broken his legs, and now in your old age you have no one to help you. Now you are poorer than ever."

The old man spoke again. "You people are obsessed with judging. Don’t go so far. Say only that my son broke his legs. Who knows if it is a blessing or a curse? No one knows. We only have a fragment. Life comes in fragments."

It so happened that a few weeks later the country engaged in war against a neighboring country. All the young men of the village were required to join the army. Only the son of the old man was excluded, because he was injured. Once again the people gathered around the old man, crying and screaming because their sons had been taken. There was little chance that they would return. The enemy was strong, and the war would be a losing struggle. They would never see their sons again.

"You were right, old man," they wept. "God knows you were right. This proves it. Yours son’s accident was a blessing. His legs may be broken, but at least he is with you. Our sons are gone forever."

The old man spoke again. "It is impossible to talk with you. You always draw conclusions. No one knows. Say only this: Your sons had to go to war, and mine did not. No one knows if it is a blessing or a curse. No one is wise enough to know. Only God knows."



I am learning MUCH...both from this story and from the crazy twists and turns that life takes. I am still processing it all. I'll get back to you when I am able to better articulate what I am learning...

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Empress' New Socks...

I posted this photo of my weigh in yesterday....



Two of my MOST Favorite bloggers, Amy and Grace, asked me where my cute colorful socks were. I love you both and I hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but here's the story as to why you can't see my cute colorful socks...

You see, I have a tradition of wearing cute, colorful socks for my weigh in photos each week. In my quest for the cutest, most unusual socks, I found a gypsy who is able to weave socks out of the most exotic threads in the world. They are magic socks and can only be seen by those with superior will power and committment to their healthy eating plan. (and an unusual affection for many cats) Of course I had to have a pair. So at great expense I engaged the gypsy lady to make me the most colorful and unusual socks ever. I am wearing them in this photo...

But remember, they can only be seen by those who possess superior will power, committment to a healthy eating plan and who live with many cats.....just sayin'








.....ok....the truth is that I just flat out forgot...but I do have really nice gold polish on my toenails....does that count?

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Kittens, Diets, and TV!

I've been eating on plan and doing lots of walking with my sister. It's nice having my sister here. It's nice to have a walking partner and I am enjoying the time we're spending together. I have photographed some of my menu choices but not all and not consistently.


The kittens are growing so unbelievably fast! They seem to enjoy television! Fred likes action movies while Ethyl prefers Nascar Races!





Saturday, July 18, 2009

Let's Do Lunch...in Fallbrook

...no, not the diet plan by the same name....I met some friends for lunch...for real...in Fallbrook.

Last weekend I had the opportunity to meet a couple of ladies that I have, until last weekend, only known through blogging (and an infamous diet forum.) I had such a great time!

Here's how it played out. Grace, who is a fellow blogger and an ex-Kimkins member was out here on the west coast on her way to Alaska on business. Nanci who is also an ex-Kimkins member, and friend to Grace, lives here in Southern California. So we decided it would be fun to meet up half way between where I live and where Nanci lives. We decided that Fallbrook would be a good place to meet and agreed on a time. We exchanged phone numbers and chose a restaurant based on the recommendation of some friends and on the basis of the on-line reviews. On Saturday morning I mapquested my directions and set out for Fallbrook.

It was a beautiful drive. Fallbrook is a charming place nestled among the hills north of San Diego. As I drove to our destination I found myself wondering how I would recognize Grace and Nanci. I couldn't recall ever seeing a picture of Grace with a clear view of her face (now I know it's because Grace doesn't post pictures of herself on her blog) and I don't think I've seen a picture of Nanci at all. I wasn't overly concerned though because I have pictures all over the place so I figured they might recognize me even if I didn't recognize them. Plus, I thought that whichever of us arrived at the restaurant first would just tell the hostess we were meeting friends. I knew that somehow it would work out and we would find each other.

I arrived in Fallbrook and followed my driving directions to the restaurant we chose. Hmmm..it didn't look very busy as I pulled into the lot. The parking lot is behind the restaurant and as I rounded the back of the building I realized, to my surprise, that there were no other cars in the lot....not even one! I parked my car and got out as the realization dawned on me that the restaurant we had chosen was NOT OPEN FOR LUNCH! Even though I knew that the restaurant was closed, I had to make sure. I walked to the front and read the hours on the door...right there near the CLOSED sign!...LOL. Sure enough, they didn't open until 4pm on Saturday.

So I pulled out my phone and called Grace's number. Our very first telephone conversation was me saying, "Grace, you aren't going to believe this but the restaurant is closed." She and Nanci were almost pulling into the parking lot when I called them. So we decided to meet there and then find someplace else to go. The problem of how we would recognize each other was solved! We were the only people there!

We decided it would be a hoot to take a photo of ourselves in front of the closed sign..without Grace's face showing, of course. Here we are...



We also had to take a photo of our feet. I love that Grace likes foot pictures too! Look how feminine and pretty Grace and Nanci's feet are! Mine is the one in the red Chuck Taylor.



We ended up at a sweet little Irish Pub down the street from our original place. We all had steaks and vegetables and salads....and NOT just a "finger grab" of salad either. Nice big steaks, full fat dressing, loads and loads of iced tea. You never would have guessed we all came from a diet forum that promoted starving! We ate and talked and laughed and shared stories. It was as though we had always been friends. I felt comfortable and at ease with these ladies from the moment we met! Lunch lasted from 1pm until after 5pm and I think it would have gone on longer if we hadn't all gotten stiff and sore from the pub chairs!

I am so glad for the opportunity to meet and enjoy the company of these two special ladies! I hope we get to do it again in the near future.
Go on over to Grace's blog and meet her yourself! You won't be sorry...and you'll get to hear about us posing for pictures with a buffalo, under an old pepper tree in the parking lot, next to the young couple who were just parked there trying to enjoy a little weed...we didn't ask them to share...we really didn't.

I'm doing it....

really I am! I am staying on plan. I am counting points. I am walking...and walking. I am just not being good about posting it. I haven't been consistent about photographing my food....but I have been consistent about counting points and staying on plan. The consistent blogging of my days is just around the corner...really it is..

Life continues to be crazy busy here at our house. My sister moved in with us. We have two new kittens (who have captured our hearts in a BIG way...LOL) I have trained (and then fired) a new assistant at work. It seems as though we hit the ground running and don't stop until we fall into bed at night...and yet it feels like we aren't getting anything done. What's up with that?

I got an iphone...finally...I love this phone! Oh my goodness...I love this phone! This is the best gadget ever! Did I mention...I love my new phone!?

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm still trying to get back into the habit of photo journaling my menus...and forgetting to take pictures more than I am remembering! But here's what i do have for yesterday...
Breakfast was a Weight Watchers yogurt, some uncooked oats and a half an apple. I also had my usual morning coffee with almond breeze and a little cream (carefully measured of course) for a morning total of 6 points.



Lunch was a frozen entree on a bed of greens garnished with grape tomatoes for a total of 6.5 points.



My afternoon snack was an apple and some hummus. Yesterday was a VERY snacky day and my assorted snacks and skinny lattes added up to a grand total of 17 points!!! Oh.my.goodness!! So...I used up a pretty good chunk of my weekly points with those choices! ahem...moving right along...



Dinner was a skinless chicken thigh and some green beans as I was running out the door to bible study....4 points.

Total for the day: 33.5 points
weekly points used 9.5

Life is super busy for me right now....but I am determined to...at the very least...journal my menus!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

I'm back...

I am back...back on track...back on Weight Watchers...back to the accountabilty of blogging my menus...

Ouch!...weigh in...'nuff said


Breakfast was a blueberry smoothie that I didn't get a photo of. It was made with one cup of frozen blueberries, one cup Almond Breeze, 1/4 cup of uncooked oats and 1/4 cup wheat bran.

Lunch was a frozen entree over mixed greens with half of a very large apple.



Snack was a Weight Watchers yogurt. This was REALLY good and only 1 point!



Dinner was roasted chicken breast and salad.



After dinner I had some golden spoon yougurt and a fiber one bar for a total of 24.5 points.

OK...not the best, most complete food journal post...but it's a start...

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Kittens!!!

We have two new kittens at our house! Meet Fred (orange and white) and Ethyl (Tri Color)

We are so excited to add these babies to our family!!!















Thursday, July 2, 2009

An Amazing Box of Red White and Blue Goodness!!




A few weeks back I signed up to participate in Mamarazzi's "Red, White and Blue Swap" I was lucky enough to be paired up with a super cool lady...Trina at "The Life and Times of the Perry Family" On Monday I received this wonderful package...stuffed to overflowing with Red, White, and Blue goodies! I was so excited to unpack this box and discover all the treasures inside!


I loved how the box was lined with bridal netting and sprinkled with Red, White, and Blue confetti stars! How fun is that!? Just look at how cute the box looked, even after I emptied it!


Everything was wrapped in festive red and blue paper and had the added touch of little personalized notes on each one. I Loved this touch!


There was this darling frame with a suggestion of using it for a photo of Cloe or Vern. Honest to goodness I've been meaning to put out a photo of Cloe ever since we lost her and I kept putting off finding a frame! Now I have one and I will be adding a photo of Cloe soon.
I love this patriotic heart light for sticking up in my car window!


Red White and Blue yummy treats!
I am so, so touched that Trina included these "Treasures for Autumn!" She will be so excited to get these when she comes here on Saurday.

Red, White, and Blue scented candles....I love these!




Another sweet gift with Autumn in mind. Autumn will love baking these with Grandma Honey for a tea party!

Then there was this wonderful basket just filled with tons of Red, White, and blue stuff! This was a treasure chest! There are socks, and scrunchies, and nail polish, and chapstick, and magnetic bag clips, and window clingies, and a note pad, and even red, white, and blue tumblers!



Wait! I'm not done yet! I was amazed at how much loot Trina was able to squeeze into that box! A bottle of car air freshener

and a sneaky brush for the cats...sneaky in that it fits in the palm of the hand so they think you're just petting them....nice!
And a blue wind twirler thingie...I love watching these!

And last...but not least...my favorite things in the box...these darling little, country style, nick knacks! These are absolutely adorable!


Trina did a wonderful job putting together a box of Red, White, and Blue blessings! I love all of it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Ok...so I didn't get the photos..

I started the day with every intention of doing my photo journaling of my meals....and then I completely forgot to take a photo of my lunch! (I didn't eat breakfast.) Then, there was some family drama that happened which culminated in my younger sister coming to stay with us for a while....so I was distracted for the evening and didn't get the photos. Sheesh!

The good news is that I did make healthy food choices. I just didn't get the photographic evidence...LOL.

Breakfast:
Coffee....3 cups with cream :)

Lunch:
Bocca burger patty on a Western Alternative bagel and Pringles Light Chips.
Diet Coke

Dinner:
Turkey wrap from the Costco food court
Diet Coke

Snacks:
Fat Free frozen yogurt from "Golden Spoon"
Bowl of puffed millet with Almond Breeze
3 blueberry newtons


So...this was a MUCH healthier menu than I have been eating recently! Today I will photo journal my day...I really will.