Posted in My life in pictures, Post A Day Challenge

286/365 Finally Ready for Food

Finally! After several spa treatments and some rest this afternoon, I’m finally ready for real food. Here we are outside the Aventura Cove side of the resort.

Mexico Vacation 2012 143

My photo for today was so fuzzy. Thanks to Matt and Michelle for providing a backup.

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Posted in My life in pictures, Post A Day Challenge

216/365 Stranger Danger?

Tonight I had the wonderful pleasure of having dinner with my new friend Debra from our growth group. I only met Debra a few weeks ago but, as with everyone in our small group, I feel like we’ve known each other for much longer. You see, it seems we are a group of sharers, and it’s one of the most liberating and rewarding experiences ever. Each person in our group has been so transparent and the honesty is sometimes overwhelming. We still have several weeks to go before we finish our study and I have no doubt that these relationships we are fostering will continue to grow well beyond our 10 week study.

I took advantage of a free Monday evening to invite Debra, who lives nearby, to meet up for dinner and some get-to-know-ya-better chit chat. Oh, and get-to-know-ya-better we did. It took us 2 hours just to eat our meal because we were both talking so much.

It was in the middle of one of my long-winded stories that the lady in the booth behind Debra decided to join us at our table. She literally grabbed her giant, almost empty, margarita glass and scooted right into the bench with Debra and began to recount pieces of the conversation we were just having. She explained how she and her husband had been listening to us talk and that she wanted to tell us ‘we were beautiful’. She explained that she had been listening to us talk about other people not in a bad way, but with love. She shared personal information with us that most definitely fell in to the TMI category and then went on to praise us for not sitting there gossiping about others. At some point Jesus became the topic of conversation and she squealed with drunken delight as she proceeded to proudly display her Jesus earrings that ‘she wears every day’.  Then she strangely began lecturing us on how we should unconditionally love everyone, just like Jesus did.  Then, in her next breath, she praised us for being good Christians and that the world would be a better place if there were more people like us.  It felt like several hours ticked by although I’m sure it was only about 15 minutes. Every now and then she would compliment us and then lecture us some more on unconditional love. She sat and talked and shared and talked some more until her husband, ever so delicately, encouraged her to get up and leave. After a few more minutes of “Bless Yous” she had finished her margarita and they were gone.

When I say “God bless Debra” right now, I truly mean God bless her. She sat there and tolerated this strange, very slurry lady hugging on her, and never once expressed any discomfort. I sat there completely in shock and bewilderment. I had no idea what to say or do. Debra was a champ and is now my new hero. Honestly, I think I would have handled that situation in an entirely, less Godly way had I been with anyone else. She was the epitome of grace under pressure. And the best part was when the lady was gone she looked at me and said, “She was nice. And that was odd.” And that was it. We picked up our conversation exactly where we had left it before our interruption and I never once thought about the lady and what had just happened again.

Well, at least not until I got home. As I sat thinking about what my blog would be about tonight, I kept thinking about the new TV show, “GCB” and desperately wanted to post the show’s logo. Seriously, while that lady was praising us for being good Christians, my warped sense of humor kept replaying that show over and over in my brain. I soooo wanted to come home and post that “tonight I was a GCB” but, alas, my fear of Debra reading this and NOT appreciating the humor kept me from doing just that. I did just a few hours ago give her the link to this blog and invite her to read my post from yesterday, so it is very likely she’s at this very moment reading. (*waves* Hi Debra!)

So, I moved onto plan b. Since the topic of our conversation had been all about unconditional love, I hit the googles and started searching for images reflecting scripture about God’s unconditional love for us. And of course, the rabbit hole opened up and here I am 2 hours later with a completely different post flowing from my fingertips to this page. After reading verse after verse and several bible study lessons on what unconditional love truly means, I settled on this one. I won’t share the details of our conversations or the personal stories from the tipsy woman, but I found this particular verse to be very appropriate for our evening’s conversations.

Debra, if you are reading, I just want to say again how much I enjoyed our evening. Your insight and perspective are inspiring and enlightening. I look forward to many more talks about faith, God, struggles and Jesus’ love for us.  I think I’m going to learn a lot from you.

Source: pinit.tk via Diana on Pinterest

Posted in My life in pictures, Post A Day Challenge

158/365 Reconnecting

Today has been a day of reconnecting. I had lunch with very dear friends and was able to wish them happy travels as they head to New Zealand for a 2 week cruise. After work Gil and I had dinner with more dear friends, Ross and Elise (below). We had not seen each other in months it was so nice to just have dinner and hang out. On our way home we popped into Collage in Ybor to catch the last few songs of my friend Matt and his band, Fight Another Day. We had not see Matt in a very long time so it was fun to catch one of their shows.  I’m really thankful for so much friendship and support as a new chapter starts in my life on Monday. I’m trying to see beyond the negatives  and focus only on the blessings, and today was all full up with blessings and good stuff.

Posted in beaty, Post A Week Challenge, Treasure Chest

Monday’s Treasure Chest – Feathers, Friends and Google TV

I can’t believe it’s been so long since I posted a Monday Treasure Chest. I’m going to try and get back on track with that by posting a few things I’m thankful for today. And yes, I realize today isn’t Monday but for the sake of this blog, let’s just pretend it is. Okay?

I am rockin’ some new feather extensions in my hair. I LOVE them! I want more. As a matter of fact, I’m already plotting ways to make that happen before we leave for vacation next week. My super awesome amazing hair designer, Sugar, ordered the extensions because I begged and pleaded and she loves me. They came in Friday afternoon. Yes, I was at the salon bright and early Saturday morning to get my new bling. Did I mention that I love them? If you are in the Tampa area, you should definitely go see her and get your own. See how awesome they look?

I also want to recognize a couple of people in my life who mean the world to me. You know who you are and I can’t thank you enough for being the real deal when it comes to walking the walk and talking the talk. I respect and admire you and and hope to live my life as authentically as you do. When I needed a sympathetic ear yesterday, you were both there for me. We haven’t talked in months but there was no doubt in my mind who I would turn to when I needed truth and honestly. You are two of the most beautiful women I’ve ever met and I am blessed to call you friend.

The last on my list is sort of a shameless plug in order to get myself some extra entries in a contest over at Aiming Low. Well, it’s not entirely insincere that I would write about Aiming Low because I do completely and utterly love the site and regularly stalk follow a few of the bloggers over there. I mean, who wouldn’t love a site that brings several of your all time favoritest bloggers (Anissa, Faiqa, and Cecily) together in one place?  How can you not be sucked into a website that’s is described as “…a group of women/men/moms/dads/bloggers/friends/writers that believe that there’s no shame in serving mac and cheese for dinner three nights in a row, Febreeze was created to make a questionably clean shirt smell ready-to-walk-out-the-door-fresh and that slack isn’t a way of life…it’s an art.” I do highly recommend you scoot right on over there because I guarantee there will be laughter in your future if you do.

One of the bloggers over at Aiming Low, MommyGeek, is launching a new bi-weekly column about geeky stuff. Helloooo. I’m all over it and can’t wait to read each new article she posts. She kicked off her new column in style by telling us all about Google TV and now I’m all in lust and must own this. Oh, and to make it even better, Aiming Low and Dish Network, are giving away a Google TV system. OMG! Can you imagine how much my dear husband would love me if I actually won this spectacular prize? So, I’m telling you guys all about it for two reasons. First, by doing so, I’m earning an extra 10 entries in the contest. Second, and against my better judgement, I’m sharing the opportunity for you to also enter to win the Google TV from Aiming Low and Dish Network.

Have a great week!!

Posted in Post A Day Challenge

Valen-What?!?

Gil and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day. We celebrate our Valenversary instead. Valen-what you ask? Valenversary. Gil and I met on February 15th so we choose to celebrate that day instead of the traditional Valentine’s Day holiday. Get it? Valen-versary. I know, we are complete dorks and we are ok with that.

For weeks now I had planned to write this open letter to my husband on our special day. I have thought about the things I wanted to say and I even made some notes along the way.  I struggle with choosing words that say what I feel. I have a really hard time expressing my emotions with written words. This is one of the reasons I wanted to start a blog. I thought the exercise of writing daily would help me to move past whatever it is that blocks my ability to convey my sentiments outside of my head. I also realize from my blogging experiences that I have a really long way to go.

For every momentous occasion in our lives that call for a greeting card, Gil always writes the most beautiful words to me. And what do I do? I sign, “I love you”.  That’s the best I can do. Really, it is. I have the worst case of greeting card anxiety ever recorded. Ok, maybe I’m the only one so I guess that makes my last statement a very accurate one.  I don’t know why the words won’t come but they don’t.  And guess what? They aren’t coming for me now either. I was off to a great start and then I lost it. It was just gone. I am going to save what I started because if the words ever find their way back to me, I feel like it’s going to be a great post. But in the meantime, I still want to tell my husband how I feel on our special day.

While researching quotes for the blog I was going to write today, I found this poem by a man that may or may not have ever existed. His name may or may not be Roy Croft.  After reading the poem, I think maybe I wrote it in a previous life. Maybe I used up all my good words in some former iteration of myself and that’s why I struggle today. I know, I’m being silly but the truth is, this poem says everything I want to say.  Just because the words aren’t mine doesn’t mean I don’t feel what they say. So, here it is, an open letter to my husband, for our Valenversary.  

Dear Gil,

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

You came into my life six years ago today and filled a void in my heart that I didn’t even know existed. Thank you for rescuing me. Thank you for being my best friend.
I love you.

Posted in Post A Day Challenge

Jealousy and the Dildo Incident

You know how they say that some people come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime? This is the story of one season of my life.

I’m not sure what it was today that sparked this memory but I suddenly felt an urge to write about my old friend The Princess (not her real name, obviously). She was such an important part of my life but we weren’t able to sustain that friendship for some reason, not the least of which was my jealousy and the dildo incident.

For the first time in my 33 years, I had moved away from my small town home. I had recently gotten divorced and desperately needed a change in scenery. I chose Jacksonville because it was the first place I got a decent job offer.  I formed a friendship with one of my coworkers right away and we started hanging out a lot during the evenings and most every weekend. Pretty much everything thing I did for a year revolved around The Princess’ custody schedule with her son. So basically, if her son wasn’t with her, we were out and about and we were always up to no good. We were living life on the edge, totally reckless and completely carefree.  Remember the part where I said I had just gotten divorced? Yeah, it was that “I’m free as a bird for the first time in my life” kind of no good.

On one of our crazy excursions, I think to an adult themed store for Fantasy Fest costumes, we had a conversation about vibrators. She seemed intrigued by one of the devices and talked about how she would never buy one of them for herself, but wouldn’t be opposed to having one. Ok, as wrong as I might have been, I took that as a hint so that when Christmas rolled around, guess what I bought my friend? And I’m not talking some cheap little AA battery required model. I dropped a big bill and she was going to need a few D batteries to get that baby cranked up.

Christmas came and went and we exchanged our gifts to each other without much discussion. She seemed appreciative and shared a few jokes but we never really talked about it again for a few months.

Sometime after the holiday season, The Princess met a guy, and she started spending a lot of time with this guy. I think she even went on to make him her Mr. Princess, but I’m not sure. Anyway, guess what happened to me when her relationship with Mr. Princess turned serious? I was kicked to the curb. I was alone. This was my fault. I’ll take the bulk of the blame, but I have to put some blame on the situation. For the previous year I had spent so much time with The Princess that I had not developed any other female friendships. None. Not a one. For this reason, when she started leaving me out, the green eyed monster began to occupy my every thought.

This time in Jacksonville was not a good time for me, mentally speaking. I had some issues that I should have been dealing with but decided to party and forget about them instead. I did a lot of “forgetting”, so what may have started as a mild form of depression and self-loathing just festered into something really dark and unreasonably foolish. My thoughts betrayed me and I began to distance myself from The Princess, both socially and at work. Fortunately, I did remain sane enough to maintain every level of professionalism that one might need to get through the work day.

I don’t remember when it happened but I think it must have been early spring. I was at home, alone, playing some silly computer game when my caller ID indicated The Princess was calling.

“Hello”

“Hey, it’s Mr. Princess and The Princess” (male and female laughter)

“Hey, what’s up and what’s so funny?”

More laughter.

“We called to tell you that The Princess will no longer need the gift you gave her,” (uncontrollable laughter by both of them) “And we’ve thrown it out for the garbage men to pick up tomorrow.”

“OK, why are you telling me this?”

More silly, giggly laughter.

“We just thought you should know.”

“Ok, bye?”

HUH?  What just happened? I was in shock. I could not speak, I could not think. I was seething with anger and crushed from the hurt all at the same time. How could she have done that? Why would she have done that? Why was it so funny to them? Had they been sitting around laughing at me and felt the need to call and ridicule me? I was so confused. That was the moment that our friendship died.

The Princess had been such an important part of my life for over a year. She became my mentor by day and my partner in crime by night. She was my confidant and my soul sister. We laughed and we partied and we sometimes even cried together. I don’t know what my life would have been like had she not been there with me during this transformation I was going through. I was like a snow covered mountain just before the first spring thaw. My time with The Princess represents the melting snow and ice as winter turned to spring. It was quick and severe and sometimes devastating but it had to happen for the seeds to grow and the flowers to bloom. I don’t have any regrets about the way that my jealousy and her dismissal of my gift ended our friendship. It was our time and it passed. We had our season and I’m okay with that.

(32/365)

Posted in 30 Days of Truth, About, Me, Post A Day Challenge

About (Me), Part I

(30 Days of Truth – Day 28: About, Part I – Me)

I looked at today’s topic and realized that yesterday’s blog post really covered my biggest dream in life so I’m not going to bore you with more on that subject right now. I’ve got something much more boring to talk about tonight. ME. Okay, I know I’ve pretty much talked only about me for the last 27 days but this one is going to be different. This one is going to be about me and about my blog.  And, you can totally blame Danny Brown for this.  Danny is kind of a big deal in marketing, social media, blogging, philanthropy and a host of other things I’m sure. In addition to his own blog, Danny is also a contributor for one of my favorite sites, For Bloggers, By Bloggers and it was his post today “Why Telling Us About You Helps Promote Your Blog”,  that served as a swift kick in my arse to do what should have been done 27 days ago.

In Danny’s blog today, he says that the About page is “the single most important aspect of your blog when it comes to letting your visitors know who you are, after the content itself.” I’m a very bad little blogger because my About Me page was completely an afterthought. I added it before I went live because every blogger has one and I had to have something. I used the words that Gil and I had developed a long time ago and I didn’t bother to elaborate or expand on that text. I want my readers to want to know me and if my About Me page isn’t enticing you to come back or read further, then why even include it? I want to change that starting right now. I want to enhance my About page to include more about me and about my blog (Part II Coming Soon). And I have a plan to do just that.

Before I get too far ahead of myself, here goes my attempt to describe me.

About Me

I am Lee and I am a girl. There has been some confusion before so I thought I would clear that up right off the bat. Wait…I just realized that didn’t come out right. The confusion is with my name and the fact that it’s spelled in the traditionally masculine spelling and people often think I’m a guy if they haven’t met or talked to me. Everything else about me is all girl and there is no confusing that.

I have been married to Gil Gonzalez since June 13, 2009. I am very lucky in that my sweet and caring husband also happens to be an incredibly talented writer. I live to read the words he writes.

I am step-mother to his beautiful children, Natalie, 11 ,and Daniel, 9. They live with us part time and rarely a day goes by that we don’t see them, even if they sleep most nights at their mom’s house. And yes, we all get along beautifully.

I work for one of the top global defense government contractors in the world. My title is Program Management Specialist but that was mostly made up when I needed something to put on a business card. Basically, I work in business operations in direct support of the program manager on a $1.5B  US Special Operations Command IT contract.  I’m kind of a jack of all trades when it comes to basic business processes so I pretty much fell into this role and it is The.Best.Job.Ever. It’s as if it ws created specifically for me.

I love cats, especially my cats, way more than I should. For your future reference and because I know you are dying to know <don’t roll your eyes at me LOL>, their names are Peppy, Dudley, Boo, Monkey and Vancouver.

I love being crafty but I never make the time to do it. I LOVE LOVE LOVE needlepoint but haven’t picked up a needle in forever. I like sewing, cross-stitch and embroidery but my passion is needlepoint. I miss it so much. I can do other crafty things but only if I have good, solid direction. I’m crafty but not overly creative when it comes to making things. I have also discovered that I can paint if guided by a professional. I’ve only done this successfully three times but I intend to do it much more. I really like the focus I have when painting and I want do it again very soon.

I love social media and I love the interwebz. I love how this pile of pieces and parts and this big cloud in Inter-space brings the world to me every day. I could sit at my computer 18 hours a day and not get tired of it. I love techie, geeky speak and I want to learn everything I can about everything related to this humming box on my desk.

I like to take pictures. I mostly stalk my cats and the insects around my house for that perfect shot. I don’t know the ins and outs of a camera but I get lucky sometimes. I want to take an actual photography class at some point but there are so many things ahead of that on my list of to-do’s that I’m not sure it will ever happen. In the meantime, I’ll just pretend like I know what I’m doing and only share those rare exceptional shots I’m able to capture.

My life would be complete if I could make a comfortable living providing social media solutions and planning fundraising events for charitable organizations.

Now, why don’t you join in the fun? Why don’t we all share and get to know each other better?

If you know me, leave a comment below with one a fact about me that I left out of the list above and one interesting, funny or profound tidbit about yourself.

If you don’t know me, leave a comment below and ask me any question you would like for me to answer about myself and then tell me one interesting fact about yourself.

I really hope you guys play along….this could be really fun.

And, as always, thank you for visiting me here!