A Page From Mary Lu's World

Sharing Life With Others

Being Blessed Through Developing Relationships

One thing that I have always been passionate about (even before I knew what that really meant) is real relationships and connecting with people.  I hope you’ve had that happen before with an instant connection to someone who gets excited about the same things that you do. I want to tell you about some amazing things that have happened for me over the past few months.

As many of you know we moved to Virginia in the Spring.  This move was one we felt was directed by God and we made the leap of faith.  After we got here I realized I had been given everything I had asked for…a low stress job and being near my parents.  Then I started asking “why isn’t that enough?”

Life is “iBlooming”

I am a HUGE fan of the folks at iBloom who have been an encouragement to me for several years through social media.  After watching one of their webinars I signed up to take a course in social media management.  I have experience managing social media platforms from my work at WSPA-TV and my own personal pages, I thought this would be a natural fit.  What I’ve learned about myself is so much greater.

The group of women that I am taking the class with are over the top AMAZING!  We have ladies at every level: those like me who want to start a business, some who have an established business and want to grow their social media, and others who want to be able to teach social media skills to others. I have been very fortunate to be in groups of loving women before but this is so much more.  We all interact in our Facebook group sharing ideas and information.  We have an incredible teacher, Dr. Jennifer Bennett, who is so down to earth and passionate about sharing her talents with us. What is so unique is that we share the same passion for helping people.

Special Connections

Through this group I’ve become friends with a very special lady, Tracy Barse, who is the Co-founder and Director of Marketing with FindGreatCompanies.com.  Tracy and I have forged a strong bond where I will be able to help her with her business as a way to gain experience with clients in social media.  Her business is so fascinating because her organization has found a way to help any size business to promote themselves online.  (To my friends who own businesses you really need to check this out.)

Getting Graphic

One area where I’ve been particularly drawn to is making graphics for social media.  I have always liked to take pictures and my mom (very wisely) has been telling me that I need to find a way to use this talent.  Through the class and encouragement from people like Tracy I started using different programs to build graphics.  I am having so much fun.  My mind whirls about almost 24/7 with ideas of things that I can put together.  I’ve been making graphics for Tracy’s businesses.  What a thrill when I see something I created on a business social media page.

fgc

Today I had the chance to speak with Sue Graber a representative of SendOutCards. Tracy connected us because she thought there might be a way to incorporate my pictures and graphics into cards.  If you haven’t had the chance to see what SendOutCards is all about please check it out.  In the comfort of your own home you can pick cards to send a ship to anyone.  I’m particularly interested in their Sendcere division where I can post my creations and other people may choose to send them! Sue has a heart for helping people and we will likely work together on some projects in the future. I find it really fascinating that my friend Leslie Coty sent me a card from SendOutCards a couple of weeks ago.  I think that God was trying to tell me something.

I am very grateful for all that has happened in my life since March.  Seeing all of the little pieces falling in place here and there is extraordinary.  Being excited about life and open to the possibilities is simply the best.

I’d love to hear from you about some of these special moments when God has connected you with people that inspire and help you be better. I encourage you to take a peek at the links in this article.  You might find yourself “blooming where you are planted!”

Blessings to you,

Mary Lu

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Do Something!

Have you heard the Matthew West song Do Something?  This has really gotten me to thinking every time I hear it on the radio.

Take a few minutes to watch the video and more importantly listen to the words:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_RjndG0IX8.

God created each of us with talents and abilities.  He wants us to use them…not complain that one person can’t make a difference. Simple things like smiling to a stranger or asking our neighbor how they are doing is doing something.  I watched something really neat happen a few weeks ago when we were eating out.  Three men dressed in fatigues were eating in a local restaurant.  I saw another man approach the waitress and talk to her for a few minutes.  He paid for their meal.  When the soldiers finished their meal and were looking for check the waitress told them that it was all paid for.  They wanted to thank the man but he was already gone.  She told them that he wanted to thank them for their service.  That is seizing a moment!

The Do Something Summer of Purpose movement has spawned a lot of good things going on in the world.  Reading about it makes you realize that there are so many people who want to help others.  It has been neat to watch this move beyond the walls of the church.

Doing something for others doesn’t have to be a big show and you don’t have to be a big star.  God commanded us to love one another.

I’d love to hear from you.  Have you or your family done something for others lately? If you haven’t maybe it is time to rally the troops and come up with a project to support.

Grace and Peace to you,

Mary Lu

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Turning 50!

Thursday, June 26, 2014 I turn 50…wow!  As I approached this milestone, I’ve encountered so many people who are celebrating the big 5-0 too!

cake

The dream Dale and I shared and prayed for in South Carolina was for an opportunity to live closer to my parents in Roanoke, Virginia and a job where I would not be so all consumed with work as I was in television.  Without a doubt God granted that prayer.

This move to Virginia has been a journey where I thought the path was pretty clear.  Move to a new job, new town, and Dale would follow in six weeks after me.  As it turned out the only part of that plan that remained the same was Dale moving here.  I changed jobs after two months here and then I began traveling almost an hour to work each day.

So guess what???   We are moving again.  After about a week of driving back and forth we knew that we needed to look for something in the Roanoke area.  After weeks of searching, we have been granted another gift (I will claim it as my birthday present…..our new place is literally in the backyard of the condo complex where my parents live! We already felt so fortunate to live closer to them but to be around the corner is INCREDIBLE!!

What I’ve learned so far.

I’ve been thinking about writing this blog for several weeks.   I wanted to share a few things that I’ve learned in my 50 years on earth….at my advanced age I’ve heard it is ok to speak your mind (ha, ha!)

Every single person matters.  God made everyone with unique gifts and abilities and he expects us to do our best.  So whether you are the last person hired in an organization (or even a temp!) or you are the CEO leading thousands of employees YOU MATTER!!!  Everyone has a role in participating in life.

Every experience you have (good and bad) make you who you are.  In my life, I have been married three times.  I have wonderful parents who have been married for over 50 years and they are exceptional examples of love and commitment.  It is still is a little bit hard for me to imagine why things didn’t work out for me.  I did receive a wonderful gift from marriage #2 of a great son who still lets me hug him and calls to update me on what is going on in his life.  While I will say marriage #3 is the charm, there are so many aspects from the first two marriages that I have been able to share when I encounter people who are going through those heart breaking decisions.

One thing that a lot of people don’t know about me is that between marriage one and two I tried to take my life.  Every single day I praise God that I did not succeed.  I was in a very dark place and didn’t see a way out.  There was a light that came to me during that time through my family and friends who showed me that I mattered.  I have been able to share that experience with so many people and even as a journalist.  When you have an experience you bring “a little something extra” to the table.

I have had a lifetime of being loved by the most incredible parents who have always been there for me.  We’ve had (and still are having) adventures, we’ve laughed until we had tears running down our faces from laughing, and they’ve made me feel like I am the only person who matters in the world.  They sacrificed to provide for me but most of all they were there.  And they are pretty awesome grandparents too!

Friends are invaluable.

I am so grateful for the bushel basket of friends that I have.  Many of those have been along for the ride with me for more than 20 years.  These are the kind of friends that you don’t have to speak with or write to for years and then you pick up right where you left off.  My friends have listened to me when I was having problems in my life…I’m sure they got sick of it but would never say a thing.  But these same people where the ones I wanted to share my good news with.  I couldn’t have made it without all of you!

Life continues to transition.

I had a rewarding career in television news where I was able to do just about anything I wanted to do thanks to trusting souls who allowed me to be myself.  I lugged 75 pounds of photography gear all over the place, interviewed regular folks and celebrities like Burt Reynolds, and used my talents in the edit booth to continue the storytelling process.  Later I managed teams of gifted journalists who made my days a little crazy and hectic but rewarding.  I am proud of that time in my life.

As for now, I’ve been given a chance to find Mary Lu again.   I got a little lost in the adrenaline, emails, text messages, and phone calls at all hours of the day and night.   Don’t get me wrong….I loved the majority of it.  After the first few weeks it was kind of crazy only having one phone and not having too many people depending on me.   In fact, in my current job I am responsible for just me….a little hard to imagine.

In this time of change I have learned to appreciate the beauty around me and see things that I might have missed.   That is why on my Facebook page I post pictures from what I call my “Outdoor Gym.”  I walk outside several times a week and in the area where I live there are so many reminders of God’s presence and beauty.  I’ve watched seasons change, leaves sprout, flowers grow, and nature in full bloom…along with trees that provide incredible shade for me. I’ve been able to unravel little parts of myself and explore more because I have the time to do so.

The biggest change in my life is when I realized how important it was to have a relationship with Christ.  I always believed in God but I didn’t realize that He is there all time in the driver’s seat….and yep, I’m the passenger.  Trusting Him instead of trusting my own instincts has been one of the biggest challenges.  It is a daily battle.  When I allow Him to “take the wheel” it is still amazing to watch it all play out.

As I close out 50 years, I look forward to what is ahead.  Dale and I will be packing again (anyone want to help??) and moving to our new home.  We will be able to share many more cherished moments with my sweet parents.  I look forward to seeing what is ahead for my son Barry ..and maybe some grandchildren?  Of course that will be many, many years down the road.

I’d like to issue a challenge to all of you:  live each day like it matters, treat others with kindness, and find ways to make a difference. Something as simple as a smile can make someone’s day!  I’ve been inspired by this song by Matthew West  called ” Do Something.”   I hope you might be inspired too!

Thank you for sharing this journey on my blog and being part of my life!!!

Blessings,

Mary Lu

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My first day

This is just a quick post to say everything went great today at Advance Auto.  I had my head buried in spreadsheets verifying information for the facilities department team.  You have no idea how much there is to keep up with with thousands of stores. Everything from A/C not working to trees about to fall from adjoining property.

Things you don’t expect

One thing that was really surprising to me today was how quiet it was.  I’m used to noisy environments and at one point I realized that I could actually think….what a concept! There are easily 100 people working on the same floor as me and it was quieter than a library. And at 5pm we all left work.  I’ve never worked anywhere that everyone left at the same time.  :)

Inspiration is everywhere

I also love all the inspirational quotes around the building emphasizing team work and success.  So important to remember that everyone is important in every organization.

Food

My new workplace has a cafe where you can get a hot breakfast and lunch..and they serve Starbucks coffee there too.  To my friends in TV, don’t think you all are the only ones who have cakes at work.  Today at 3pm we celebrated the birthday of one of the ladies on the team which a big chocolate cake.   Oh and in the breakroom, which is right around the corner from my desk, there’s a machine that has ice cream and frozen dinners.

Kudos

A big thanks goes to Kim Rutherford and Robin Yarborough from Kelly Services who gave me a shot at interviewing for this position. You never know what can happen when you let others help you.  And the biggest kudos goes to God for helping me navigate the path every day!

Tomorrow

I will be back at work with the spreadsheets and the stacks of paper.  I can’t believe I am fortunate to work at a great place.

Blessings,

Mary Lu

 

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Changes keep coming…

Life in Virginia in a word is breathtaking. I have so enjoyed learning about the ‘burgs (Christiansburg and Blacksburg), exploring my favorite walking trail (The Huckleberry Trail), and living in the mountains.  We’ve only had a couple of hot days so far and I love having our windows open…so do our kitties.

skyfarmers markettrailflowers'bird

Work challenges

My work has been challenging but almost as soon as I started I felt like something wasn’t quite right. I had a lot of peace about the decision to move here.  God and I had many discussions.  Dale and I had many discussions.  I talked a lot with my parents.  We all felt that after working at WSPA for 24 years and knowing what the right thing to do “almost automatically” that I was just settling in and it would take awhile.

Anyone who knows me, knows that I don’t wear a lot of make up and have only had my nails done less than a handful of times. Working in an environment where women do these things almost automatically was a bit of a learning curve.  We sell a popular line of make up and skin care products…there are a lot of tubes, bottles, etc. I started pacing myself and concentrating on what I absolutely had to do.  I have a lot of helpful employees who could answer questions for clients. Even with all of this I still felt like something wasn’t quite right.

We didn’t know God was waiting to reveal a plan…

Kim Rutherford, who runs the local office for Kelly Services in Roanoke and is a personal friend, had been one very encouraging soul during my job search.  I had shared with her this unsettling feeling. We worked together to start seeing if there might be other opportunities in the area for me.

Several weeks ago she mentioned a position to me that involved accounting.  Once again, those who know me know that accounting isn’t my thing.   As it turns out this company dropped the accounting requirement.  She and her office reached out to me and asked how I was with Microsoft Word and Excel.  I said I use the products regularly.  Then they used an online test to see how good I was. Lord have mercy,  I felt like I was taking the SAT’s.  I knew that I hadn’t done well.  I don’t know if God changed the results but they said I did well!  I was pitched to this major corporation.  The next week I had an interview.  I really liked the people who interviewed me.  I felt it went well.  A week later or so we found out that it was down to me and another candidate.  Then we waited and waited some more.

What happened on Monday..

I reached out to the Kelly folks to see if they had heard if there would be a second interview. Monday afternoon I got a call that they wanted to interview me a second time next Tuesday.  I checked my schedule and I could make it.  Less than an hour later I got a text message from my friend Kim saying “Hey they called back and want you to start next week! Call me!”  Kim and I discussed what was going on. The company needed an answer pretty quickly.  Dale and I were in a thrift store.  So we discussed the opportunity amongst the used books.  This new job would be an incredible opportunity.  We left the store and talked some more and decided this was something too good to pass up.  I called Kim back and said yes!

Where will I be working and what will I be doing?

I will be an admin support specialist at Advance Auto‘s headquarters in Roanoke, Virginia.  I will work in a team that helps to solve problems for the company’s 4500+ stores.  If there is a problem with the store (like the a/c breaking) they send in a request to the fix-it desk and the team figures out how to best solve the problem, dispatching people to fix it, etc.

Advance Auto is the only Fortune 500 company in the area.  They have 1,600 employees at the facility where I will be working. They are dedicated to creating a positive culture for their employees and have a lot of opportunities to receive leadership training.

I feel this position suits my skills very well.  I really can’t believe it.  I start on Wednesday, May 28! Everything has happened so fast but I believe that this really is part of God’s plan and I give him all the glory!

Dale also received some incredible news today.  He will be training to be an on call assistant with Edward Jones offices in our area. His training should begin soon.  Also, there are some definite teaching possibilities on the horizon.  We are very grateful for what has been given to us.

Thank you to my friends and family who have been with me on this journey with me–praying for me, listening to me, and just being incredible.

Blessings on your day,

Mary Lu

P.S. for those who are wondering…I’ve lost a total of 20 pounds since I’ve been concentrating on exercising and watching what I eat.

 

 

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Transitioning….

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind!  From putting in my resignation with a place I worked at for 24 years, a major move, and now starting a new job this week…..I’m tired and exhilarated at the same time.

I still have to pinch myself to make sure this is all real.  I still cannot believe that God granted me an opportunity to work in Virginia for a wonderful company.  I’m so close to my parents that I’ve eaten dinner twice this week with them.  That is so very cool!

This community

Can I just say….I LOVE SMALL TOWN AMERICA.  Oh my goodness, every place I’ve gone people are so friendly.  I’ve found this true in the big box stores too.  I know at some point I will run into someone that isn’t like this but so far so good.  I went to a downtown merchants meeting in Blacksburg yesterday morning.  Everyone was welcoming and wanted to know more about me.  People just seem to take an extra minute to smile or ask how your day is.

This week I’ve spent four days in Roanoke training.  Tomorrow I am opening the Blacksburg salon…I’ve only been in it one time. The folks at Polished have checklists for everything (my kind of organized folks) so it shouldn’t be too much of a problem.  The ladies who work in BB have been without a manager for a long time so I know they know the ropes and will help me.  My boss is coming over later in the morning and we will be setting up my office.  Yes, I get an office with a door!

Where I see God

barn

sunrise2 sunrise

I think the thing that has helped so much this week is the drive between home and Roanoke.  I watched winter rare up again and breathtaking sunrises…and I saw the sun set a few times.  These visual images remind me of how in control God is and I am not.  I am resting in His sweet embrace.

I hope each one of you is having a great week.   I’d love for you to share your thoughts with me.

Blessings,

Mary Lu🙂

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Time to journey north!

As I sit in a sea of boxes for our impending move to Virginia.  I am compelled to share the story of how this move happened…this is truly a gift from God.

Why I was looking:

For the last year I have been on a journey to find a way to move nearer to my parents.  I’ve felt God leading me as well as watching several dear friends lose their parents in the last few years.  I love my parents dearly and praise God that they are in good health.

Truth be told, I have been searching for many years for an opportunity to stretch and grow. Also one where I wouldn’t be in demand 24/7.  I’ve loved the television news business.  I have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of talented journalists and been part of exciting events and coverage that is important to the communities where I have lived.  It was time for a change.

The job search:

After prayer and many conversations with my husband, a year ago I started applying for jobs in the Roanoke, Virginia area.  Most of them were through several employment websites and I was targeting office manager/marketing positions.  Last summer I started networking in that community. My parents were a huge help in suggesting people that could share with me what was going on in the Roanoke area.  What companies were good to work for? What sort of opportunities were growing? Where I might fit in for a new career?  I had the blessing of meeting with so many local business people who shared an hour, a cup of coffee, and in some cases several hours to give me valuable insider insight.

I had many interviews that might be the right fit.  My husband and I spent hours looking at apartments to know where we might want to live, where we could take are sweet cats, and all those things you need to know when moving.  After a few interviews not leading to a job offer you begin to question the vision.  Job hunting is hard work and when it is in a different state it is even harder.

The power of networking:

There was one lady who I hadn’t had a chance to connect with.  Her name is Laura Godfrey and she is an entrepreneur in the Roanoke area.  She is the owner of Polished by claire v. salons.  Laura and I tried to meet on one of my trips to Roanoke for an interview and it didn’t work out.  My brilliant mother had read about Laura’s work and said that she was one that was doing good things in the community and perhaps she might be of help.

Read more about Laura Godfrey and the Polished salons in this article published recently in the Roanoke Times.  I think you will realize why I wanted to be a part of this organization.

The Laura/Mary Lu connection:

Laura and I did connect one January afternoon.  She called me and apologized for the delay in getting together via phone.  She and her family had been ill.  In fact, she had a terrible cough and I felt a little guilty making her talk so much. She asked how she could help me.   I explained I was trying to network with people in Roanoke in hopes that someone would know of a position where my skills might be needed.  She and I fell into a very easy conversation with no expectations. After speaking with her for 45 minutes she said that she had been working on creating a position for her Blacksburg salon that would involve overseeing the staff, networking in the community, and a little marketing.  She asked me if I would be interested in something like that….and I said YES!

Research for the interview:

A few days later, we set up a time for me to come up and interview with her in Roanoke.  Our meeting wasn’t going to happen in Blacksburg and I wanted to see what that location was all about.  It started with some research. My mom and I scouted out the location the day before.  It is an adorable little shop right in the middle of downtown Blacksburg. 

Polished

The next day I had myself booked in for a manicure.  I figured the ladies who worked there didn’t know me and didn’t know I would be coming so I could go in as a regular person. The experience was great, the shop was absolutely charming, spotless, and felt very inviting.   I started imagining what it would be like working in an environment that was so relaxed (that would take a little getting used to!)

One thing I remember about Blacksburg that day was that it was 8 degrees!  I thought to myself if we move here I will have to get a new winter wardrobe!  South Carolina never gets this cold.

The interview:

I had my interview in the afternoon that day in a bakery across the street from the corporate offices for Polished.  It was cold there..in the 30’s…but not too bad. It was snowing a little too which added a special feel to the day for me.  Laura Godfrey and one of her associates met me there.  And we had a great talk for over an hour.  She told me what she was looking for and I told her that I thought I could do a good job meeting the needs/goals for the Blacksburg operation.  She told me that they wouldn’t be hiring until March and they had other people to interview.

After the interview:

I remember walking to the nearby parking garage feeling like the interview went well.  I had gotten to the point of not getting my hopes up and this time I handed it over to God.  I also have recognized that each of these opportunities that I have been granted to be interviewed are gifts: more practice to improve my interviewing skills, meeting new people and learning more about the area, and another chance to figure out what it is I really want to do.

One thing I didn’t do associated with this interview was to look at housing.  We spent so much time doing that before that I thought I would save myself the time and do when I got a job.    Looking back, I don’t know that it made a difference but it allowed me to spend more time with my precious parents.

Waiting continues:

As February progressed, I continued to pray for positions that might come open.  Always praying that the best person be hired for the needs of a business.  This helps to take away a little of the sting of rejection.

Things progress:

One day in February I received an email from Laura Godfrey who told me she had retained a hiring consultant to help her choose the person to fill the Blacksburg manager position.  While that might have scared some folks, I’ve worked with consultants my whole life in television and I recognize the value of having someone from the outside come in and help make decisions.   We were to talk via conference call with several people associated with Polished and the hiring consultant.

The day came for the interview.  I rushed home and spent time praying before the call that I would not sound desperate for a job, that I would be able to answer the questions intelligently, and remember that this was an opportunity to share ideas with others.  For one hour I was asked questions about how I would approach different employee situations and provide examples.  After supervising people for 20 years I had plenty of examples. I didn’t find a question I couldn’t answer readily and thoughtfully.  When the call was over Laura spoke up and told me that I would know by the beginning of the next week.  This call happened on a Thursday…so I figured that I didn’t have long to wait.

The email that began the big change in my life:

Monday went by and I didn’t hear anything.  Close of business Tuesday went by…nothing.  But Tuesday night my iPhone went ding alerting me to an email and there it was:

Hi Mary Lu,

Do you have time to chat tomorrow?

Thanks,
L

 

I will admit I went a little crazy…yes I shouted to my husband that I got an email.   Then my mind started being rational.  I thought that this lady was so nice she might call me to tell me I didn’t get the job. I shared the news with a couple of friends who told me I was nuts and said things like, “You’ve got this!” “I know this job is yours!”

Day of waiting:

Laura and I were to talk at 4:30 p.m. that next day.  I went through my day trying not to be excited, focus on my job, and looking forward to that chat!   I managed to get out of work on time at 4 p.m. I checked my personal phone and found that Laura had sent me two emails that she was going to be delayed.  I told her not to worry that I would be waiting when she called.  I did some errands and made it home.

The call!

The phone rang a little after 6 p.m. When I answered she apologized for the delay and told me she hadn’t made it to her computer to send me the offer letter so we could talk about it.  When I heard the words offer letter…I REALIZED WOW, IT HAS REALLY HAPPENED!  We ran through the details.  I told her it sounded great and that my husband and I needed to talk about it before I could give her a final decision.  Later that night she sent the letter.  Dale and I talked and realized this was an opportunity that we needed to embrace.

Final thoughts:

This is truly a journey of faith.  I asked and continue to ask God daily to guide my steps.  Am I perfect, far from it!  Do I love the Lord? ABSOLUTELY!  Does He answer prayer?  Yes, not always the way we want.  Does it require patience? YES!

This opportunity absolutely blows my mind.  The job will incorporate things that I like to do and am good at.  I am the least likely person that you would find running a spa/salon.  I keep reminding myself that Laura needs someone to manage her staff—I have lots of experience there.  She needs someone to network in the community—this is how I found Laura.  And by the way, this particular job was not advertised anywhere that I could find.  Marketing is one of the other areas that they need help with—I had the honor as serving as a volunteer with MissionNext.  I helped them promote events and activities for their organization.

This last week has been filled with lots of hugs, good wishes, and tears. Monday night there will be a gathering of friends as we say final goodbyes.   So many people have surrounded us with their love.  We look forward to this new adventure and can’t wait to see what is next!

When I get settled I will get back to regular blogging. I’ve been running a little behind due to all of the changes.  I have an interview with one of the owners of The Grain Loft in Greer that I need to incorporate into a blog.  Also, I am continuing The Daniel Plan.  I haven’t been following it exclusively but I can testify that I have lost 15 pounds!  My new job will be half a block from the Farmers Market in Blacksburg that is open Wednesday and Saturdays.  So I will have no excuse for not getting locally grown food!

Thank you for all of you faithful readers.

Blessings,

Mary Lu

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Derailment or Opportunity????

Every day as the assignment manager at WSPA-TV is different for me due to the nature of news.  I hope when I walk in the door that things will be calm, no rain to cause accidents, and in general I hope that people will behave.  Guess what?  Life isn’t like that and so begins the news day.

This has been a particularly grueling couple of weeks with the snow, tornadoes (yes, we have them here in SC), and breaking news.  While gathering information for one particular story on a train derailment in Newberry County I have had this theme running through my head.

Is my life derailing??? Or is there an opportunity here??

Courtesy of Newberry Co. Sheriff's Office

Courtesy of Newberry Co. Sheriff’s Office

This picture kind of says it all.  The train isn’t completely off the tracks.  Some of the cars were listing to one side.  I’ve felt a little like that.  A little over a month ago I started The Daniel Plan which focuses on eating whole foods, focusing your life, and incorporating exercise.

How things began

The first few weeks of any new program I am excited and embrace things to the fullest.  If you follow this blog you know there have been some challenges along the way.  During the snow and 12 hour days at the TV station things started to change for me.  Old habits came back.  When Waffle House biscuits showed up several mornings in a row it was like manna from heaven.  Until… you start remembering what those biscuits do to your body.  I can tell you that after I would eat them that I didn’t feel better.  I was more sluggish and tired.

I have realized that lack of sleep, more stress (do ever wonder how much you can take without falling apart?), and when you are off a regular schedule life can derail in a moment, hour, or over a period of days.

Here is the opportunity

Instead of beating myself up (truth disclosure: yes I did have guilt and beat myself up), I started forming a plan to move forward:

  • I spent a little time at the end of last week and discovered the Rail Trail in Spartanburg.  I’ve heard about it for years, gathered information on it’s development for my job, I’ve shared information on Facebook but I had never been on it.  Wow, what a little treasure.  I walked it twice last weekend.

trail

 

  • I am focusing back on my eating plan and creating a menu for our brand new week.  The Daniel Plan cookbook is set to arrive at my doorstep in the next couple of days.  Very excited!
  • I hope to explore the Swamp Rabbit Trail this weekend and buy a new pair of shoes at Fleet Feet  in Greenville.
  • I need more yummy lettuce from Tyger River Smart Farm and good stuff from The Grain Loft!
  • Probably the biggest decision is to take a break from school.  I have been in classes for 2 1/2 years. While I have a handful of classes.  I need to clear up some areas of my life and my health is the most important part to get on track.

Lasting quote

Here is a quote that my mom shares with me every so often:

Today is a gift, that is why we call it a present  –Anonymous

Where do I go from here?

Onward and upward!!!   Full steam ahead on the track of life.

Thanks for taking time to share a little part of my life.

Mary Lu

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Thoughts About Winter Weather

For those who have been following my blog on The Daniel Plan we will start that up when the new week comes around. The winter weather and my crazy schedule got me severely off track.  You know what?  Life happens and we just have to roll with it instead of obsessing that we’ve made mistakes.

When massive storms come into our area most of the world stops but first responders, doctors, nurses, and other essential personnel kick into high gear.  This includes those in television news.  I’ve had the opportunity to talk with or message with colleagues in the path of this storm.  It is pretty much the same everywhere.  Everyone is working long shifts to tell the best story for our viewers.

I wish people knew some of the “back stories” of dedication of my co-workers.  One in particular this time around is Kevin Patton who is a photographer at WSPA.  After working a 12+ hour day Wednesday.  Got up super early Thursday morning to take his wife to work in Greenville.  It was her first day back after maternity leave.  She is a dedicated nurse and is one of those people who HAD to be at work.  He made sure she was there safely and then waited for his day to begin.

These long coverage events make you weary and worry a little.  Family members are at home waiting for  you to come home at some point.  At work you wonder if they are ok, do they have power, is there enough food?  When you do arrive home all you want is some food and sleep.

We are very fortunate with this storm that we didn’t get much icing like our friends in the lower part of the state.  And we are blessed that snow doesn’t last very long around here.   I see some 60’s coming up in our forecast. :)  Our northern friends still have many months of this to contend with.  I know the groundhog doesn’t agree but I’m hoping this is the end of winter for us.

To wrap this up, I am very proud of the team I work with at WSPA-TV.  We all work together and try to do the very best every day and kick it up a notch when it comes to storm coverage.

Here is my favorite picture that I took when leaving on the first day it snowed.

wspa snow

I hope you all have enjoyed your taste of winter and are ready for Spring to bloom!  I am!

Blessings,

Mary Lu

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Yummy things and feeling crummy

This has been another week of ups and downs.  I was able to get out and walk and enjoy some of the nicer temperatures through the week.  When we hit Wednesday I knew something was about to change. My sinuses started to burn and yes, I came down with a terrible cold.  I’m working hard trying to get rid of it.  I knew it would be hard to beat because my husband has had it for over a week. Who has time for slow downs??

Last weekend I made the yummiest (is that a word?) salmon salad with Tyger River Smart Farms lettuce. I picked up our weekly supply at The Grain Loft in Greer.  Have I mentioned how tender and delectable the lettuce is?  You must try it.

salmon salad

The Weight Loss

I lost one pound this week. I will admit that I haven’t done the best job of keeping on task with the diet.  Our God is one of second, third, and infinite chances.  He knows I’m working on it. He loves me and every day is a new chance to succeed!

Find of the week

One of the things I’ve missed a little is candy on The Daniel Plan.  I was inspired by a recipe I found while scrolling through Facebook one night.  It is also a slight take off of a recipe in the The Daniel Plan which calls for dipping frozen banana halves in very dark chocolate and then rolling them in nuts.

My version is cutting bananas into 1/2 to 3/4 slices and place them on a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet.  Then put a little bit of natural peanut or almond butter between two slices and make a little sandwich. (This gets tricky with the natural peanut butter because the slices want to slide.) I melt a large bar of very dark chocolate (70 to 80%) in a double boiler.  I spoon the chocolate over the banana sandwiches :)  If you could stand the wait it probably would be better to freeze the banana sandwiches a little and then coat them or dip them in the chocolate.  After you’ve coated them then pop them in the freezer.  You can eat them after an hour.  After approximately 5 hours you can remove them from the parchment paper and put them in a freezer bag. While I won’t win any awards for presentation THESE ARE SO GOOD! They are extremely satisfying even after you’ve had just one.  It is extremely easy too.

candy

 

Do you have any nifty little treats that you’d like to share?  I’d love to hear from you.

Blessings to you,

Mary Lu

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