Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Creed~And No, Not Creed From "The Office"

Yesterday I received an e-newsletter from the current president of The Zeta Chapter of Alpha Delta Pi. (Southwestern University.) I am an Alpha Delta Pi and was an active member from January 1994 to May 1997. The newsletter informed me of what was happening in the chapter and prompted me to visit the new website. I was immediately excited to visit the site and hoped for a stroll down memory lane. (Just the night before I had a dream of my freshman dorm and revisiting it as an adult. In the dream I visited my old room and nothing had changed....down to the telephone! In the dream I cried tears of joy. I think it is a symbolic dream of re-birth....in many different capacities...a longing for my youth and also excited anticipation of re-visiting the campus for Homecoming in two weeks!) I digress....I clicked on everything that could possibly be "clicked" on. I had a great time remembering the Greek alphabet, the letter's various meanings, the symbols central to ADPi, etc. Then I clicked on our Creed. We each received this lovely document as a part of our membership. We each recited this Creed by heart. We each heard it as young women going through RUSH on the third night. (After the cheesecake and ice water!) I remember my little sister, "diamond," Ciara was assigned to me on the last night of RUSH. She asked me a simple question, "Why should I want to be an Alpha Delta Pi?" At the tender age of 19 I am sure I gave some ridiculous answer that probably had more to do with beer and boys than with friendship, womanhood, fellowship and leadership. (Sorry Ciara....you joined anyhow!) Some 15 years later this Creed is of infinitely MORE relevance to me now than it was then. I was really taken aback by the words of the Creed. I would like to share the words of the Creed on today's post. Rest assured, this Creed can be read by everyone, lived by everyone and exemplified by everyone. There is a popular quote in ADPi: "ADPi is not something you become, it is something you already are." Reading this Creed yesterday really made me flip that notion upside down. The woman described in this Creed is not someone I already "am" it is someone I strive daily to "become!"
I believe in Alpha Delta Pi. I believe that my sorority is more than a ritual or a symbol; that it is a way of life. I believe that the principles established by our founders in 1851 are enduring attributes exemplifying the highest ideals of Christian womanhood. I believe that our motto, "We live for each other," expresses the true spirit of fraternity; and that by living this motto my life will be enriched by true friendships and unselfish service to mankind. I believe that the privilege of membership in Alpha Delta Pi brings the responsibility to do my best in whatever I undertake, always remembering that leadership requires confidence tempered with humility and courage blended with tolerance. I believe that I must strive to become a well-balanced person by following the dictates of the four points symbolized by our diamond-shaped badge; first, strengthening my own character and personality; second, watching my attitudes towards my fellow human beings; third, recognizing the value of high educational standards; and fourth, developing faith and loyalty. I believe that these four guide-posts, guided by the stars and friendly hands clasped in the Adelphian bonds of fellowship, will lead me to achieve a rich and useful life. - Caralee Strock Stannard

Ciara, I can tell you now, THESE reasons, THESE ideals, THESE notions that we still talk about all the time are the reasons you became and ADPi and are the reasons our friendship has endured these 15 years. You always hold me accountable to these standards. We are becoming "this" woman together...still! How privileged I am to have had you by my side this entire time.

I could not survive without 100 calorie sweet snacks! Admittedly, I do not have much in the way of a sweet tooth. However, every once in a while I want something sweet alongside a hot cup of coffee. I have found that a 100 calorie snack pack of chocolate cupcakes (with the cream filled center) and coffee cake cupcake snacks do the trick EVERY time! They are individually packaged so there is little temptation to indulge beyond the serving of three. In addition, they travel quite nicely. And best of all they are low in points! Very low! I don't know the names of any brands. I just recognize the boxes. You can find them with their better known, less friendly, more venomous cousins, Twinkies, Ho-Hos, Ding Dongs, etc! Happy snacking. (PS...This stuff comes in really handy during the ever so sweet holiday season officially kicking off this Saturday!)

Goodnight, friends. Happy Hump Day. I look forward to the end of this week and spending time with old friends and family.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

'Bout Time!

My behavior is inexcusable! This is the longest period of time I have gone without updating the blog! For shame, Patricia. However, this is a blog about celebration and not condemnation so I will politely forgive myself and hope you, the reader, might forgive me, too!
Today I celebrate being busy! Of course I am celebrating it....for it is the reason I have not blogged for such a long time. A poor excuse...to be certain...but THE reason, nonetheless. As you all may recall I started this blog as a means to an end. Well, that end has long come and gone (thankfully) but in the process I have taken on a number of responsibilities, projects, self-improvement activities, etc. I think it is safe to say I have COMPLETELY overbooked myself. However, all of the activities I have become involved in bring me an inordinate amount of joy. As a result, I can hardly complain about my "busy-ness"; rather celebrate the work I have been called to do and the people I have been called to meet. I often feel as if these projects really aren't "my" plans; instead I honestly feel they are "His" plans for me and I am but the vessel! And in that case...I am happy to do what is kindly asked of me without hesitation.
As I have mentioned one of the projects I have become involved in is The Friend's Of The Children's Bereavement Center of South Texas Board. This year I am the Co-Chair of the Silent Auction. Our solicitation letters went out on Monday, October 5, 2009. The immediate response has been overwhelmingly positive. I am moved by the generosity of the people of this community; especially during tough economic times. Through this assignment I am reminded of the goodness of people, the kindness in their hearts and the sad (but very real) fact that no one escapes grief. Hearts and wallets open when the mission of this organization is explained. Everyone has a story of grief. Loss takes so many forms; grief takes so many forms. How blessed this community is to have a center where families can go to make sense of their grief. And through the benevolence of the business men and women of this community the center is able to provide these services for free and for as long as someone feels they need the assistance. Hope and healing are amazing! I am please to be a tiny part of helping someone find their peace and understanding. If you feel called to make a donation to this wonderful organization please visit The Children's Bereavement Center of South Texas website by clicking HERE to learn about all the ways you can help! There is a week left in The Brown Challenge....become a "Friend of the Center" for 50 dollars (which sponsors a child for one session of group therapy) and Jenifer Brown will match the donation UP to 500 dollars! (And lest we forget this organization was founded by a Southwestern University graduate! Pretty amazing people come out of that school! Wink, wink!)
So, Facebook! I know....I was entirely opposed to Facebook! I didn't want to be found. Period. Now I can't stop "wanting to be found!" What joy it brings me to reconnect with friends from years gone by. Of particular importance are the relationships I have been able to re-cultivate with my friends for McAllen Memorial High School...Home of the Mighty Mustangs!

Last weekend I had the pleasure of a mini-reunion/girls weekend in Houston with Ramsey Kay, Gena Lee and Kelley Renee! What a blast from the past. I was overwhelmed with joy as I spent the weekend with these AMAZING women. I am so proud of each of these ladies and how far they have come. You are all very obviously women of quality, women of grace, women of fierce independence and mothering nurturance. What a gift that I was in your presence for the weekend and that you are all back in my life. I look forward to spending more time with you all and including Lisa and Eleanor into the fold! (Major Hint Hint.)

Ramsey and I watched the TX vs OU game at Lucky's Bar with the Houston Texas Exes. I have to admit...I have never seen Ramsey jump up and down in excitement over anything. But she surely does for her Horns. Unfortunately, there wasn't much jumping because it was quite an ugly game...but the Horns eeked out a win nonetheless.

We spent most of the weekend on Ramsey's front porch. This is her wonderful home! I am so proud of you Rams....
This was a very dog oriented weekend! Below is a photo of Gena's dog, Henri.
And this is Ramsey's dog Chico Jankowski. (Yes, a mexican-polish dog! Love it!) Chico and Henri chased each other all weekend. Reports indicate they were both exhausted by Sunday evening.
Kelley joined us on Saturday evening. It was her birthday...she turned 21! It was lovely to see her. Kelley and I lived about a block away from one another in McAllen. I can not count the number of times I walked to her house and endured abuse from her 7 year old brother, Kevin! Kelley is now married and has three adorable children. Mott, you haven't changed a bit...thank goodness! You are the very definition of the word, "sass-a-frass" and I adore that about you! I am so pleased we spent time together. Let's not allow 13 years to pass again...promise? Good, I promise, too!
Gena, Ramsey, Kelley and I at dinner on Saturday evening. This photo mimics...almost exactly...the seating chart of our Senior AP English class with Mrs. Laverne Johnson. We laughed and laughed recalling the ENORMOUS project she gave us that year. We worked in pairs and we were to write Cliff's Notes on a book that didn't already have Cliff's Notes; but was sure to be a classic at some point in the future. Kelley and I wrote Cliff's Notes on Sula by Toni Morrison. I can't believe it was all printed on a dot matrix printer! That ages us, doesn't it?
As I drove away on Sunday morning (a gorgeous Sunday by the way) I had tears in my eyes. On the one hand I was crying because I didn't want to leave; on the other I was crying because it was such a joyful weekend. Again, I can not express to you ladies enough how proud I am of each of you. No longer are we the little girls in Mrs. Johnson's English class; rather we are women, living our respective lives with grace and dignity. What a gift it is for me to have been witness to such unbelievable growth! This MUST be a quarterly (if not more often) reunion.

In the true spirit of a Road Trip...I left Houston and headed to Austin for Ella's Peter Pan Birthday Party. So....I am not going to make any bones about this...I GOT LOST! I have never had occasion to drive from Houston to Austin and I do not have a GPS thingee-system in my car...so don't ask me why I didn't just turn on "the system", okay. I now know all about Brenham, Sommerville, Rockdale, etc. Once I saw the sign for Taylor I knew exactly where I was. (I was just south of Georgetown and I am most familiar with the backroads in and around Southwestern University.) I was about an hour late to the party...but I made it.
Ciara and Ryan made a "bouncy house" available for the kiddos. However, it must be said, Ciara talked about bouncing all week. How fun is this picture? There was so much movement of course it was going to turn out fuzzy....but you can still feel the excitement, can't you?
Ella, or rather Tinkerbell, and I in the bouncy house.
Ciara and I.....
Ella enjoying her cupcakes. Captain Hook arrived just in time to deliver the cupcakes. Odd....he very much resembled her daddy, Ryan. Coincidence? Hmph?
Last night Dad and I participated in The Lukemia and Lymphoma Society's Light the Night Walk in loving memory of our dear friend Gina Collazo. She valiantly and graciously fought lymphoma for a very long time. Her battle ended during the summer of 2008. Gina is greatly missed; but her sweet memory lives on in her husband, family and friends.
Happy Sunday, friends. I have a lot to do today and I best get started! I vow to be a much better blogger!

PS...Freddy Fender inspiration thanks to my old friend, Carlos Gutierrez. He celebrated Freddy at a Conjunto Festival yesterday and shared on Facebook. I was inspired to include Freddy on the playlist today. Thanks, B.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Before and After

A quick tip before I head to sleep. I had a "before" photo that I kept referring back to during my program. It was an awful, bloated photo of myself on a cruise about a year ago. It pained me to look at it. It wasn't but a week after that photo was taken that I marched straight into the Weight Watchers center and signed up. THAT photo was my inspiration! I could not believe I had let myself get to that point. I kept that picture in the forefront of my mind during my weight loss journey. I longed for an "after" photo and was determined to reach a time in my life where I wouldn't cringe at the sight of a camera. I am happy to say that I am no longer afraid of cameras...as is evidenced by the blog and Facebook. How wonderful to create memories and feel good about the way you look in those photos!

Maybe your "before" photo is a photo from long ago....a time when you felt better about the way you looked. Whatever the case may be...find a photo...of you...not Megan Fox...and keep it tucked into your points tracker for inspiration.

Someday...I might get brave and post the "before" photo. Yikes! Not sure I am ready for that yet! We'll see....

Goodnight, friends! Will have plenty to blog after this weekend. Visiting Ramsey, Kelley and Gena in Houston! Love it!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Water, Water, Water

Today was my first weigh in as a "Lifetime Member." I weighed the same as last month...down to the ounce! A great testament to the "maintenance" portion of the program. Actually....it was the same weight...down to the ounce as my last few weigh ins!

My tip for the day is simple. Drink loads and loads of water. It seems to me the WW has gotten away from recommending 8 glasses of water a day. I have always found drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day is beneficial in many ways. First of all...it keeps you feeling full! Second...skin glows. Third...it does help with the proverbial "water weight." I could go on and on. You know....my mom has always said water is the answer to every ailment. Really! Growing up...if I had a headache...it was because I wasn't drinking enough water. If I had a blemish, it was due to "not enough water." I have grown into espousing her philosophy! If anything is wrong I grab the biggest bottle of water and hope for the best.

Goodnight friends.....

Sunday, October 4, 2009


Happy Sunday, friends!

My crazy, insane week is over! Not only did I survive, I was also reminded of the many blessings bestowed upon me in the form of family and friends. You all know who you are and I am ever so grateful that you are all in my life. Some of you are new friends....many of you have been with me for a long time. You each enrich me and constantly remind me of "purpose" and God's grace. I am an insanely blessed woman.

Today's post is kind of a mixed bag. There isn't much in the way of logic. However I hope you enjoy the photos and musings....
The following photos are from the 5th Annual Sul Ross Middle School Health and Resource fair sponsored by Texas State Representative Joaquin Castro and co-sponsored by District 7 Councilman Justin Rodriguez and Texas State Senator Leticia Van de Putte. Irene Alvarez is to be commended on gathering over 80 vendors to provide the community and Northside ISD employees with various health and wellness resources...AND free flu vaccines! I just came along for the ride and ended up as the "historian" for Joaquin's office since I was the only one with a camera!
District 7 Councilman, Justin Rodriguez, TX State Representative, Joaquin Castro and I. What a lucky lady!
TX State Senator Leticia Van de Putte and I. One and 1/2 wise Latina's in this photo. I am still amassing my wisdom! I bet she's got loads of wisdom on me. But I am workin' on it!
My dear, dear, dear friend Larry Lira and I at the Health Fair. We are two of the "longest standing" at Sul Ross. I have known Larry for over 10 years!
Today I had the pleasure of meeting Ciara, Ryan and Ella in Fredricksburg, TX for Oktoberfest. Ciara's step-mother, Linda's, parents (does that make sense) are members of a Polka band. They play Oktoberfest every year. Let's say this was my MUCH LESS "hip" version of ACL! But it was my kind of festival, nonetheless. I had a GREAT time with the Bearden's. Below are some photos of the band, Ciara, Ryan, Ella and I. I am way to sleepy to give each of these a caption. I will say I played with the color and quality of some of these photos. I hope you all enjoy.....
I will say that lots of "firsts" took place today. I ate sauerkraut for the first time. Not bad, not bad at all! Healthy and tasty. Apologies to mom for the years I gave her a hard time for eating it. Ella had her first funnel cake. She seemed unimpressed. The more she ate the more she liked it. But on the whole I expected MUCH MORE excitement over THE "fair food" delicacy. She also had her face painted for the first time. What a beautiful little butterfly...and what a gorgeous, infectious smile!
Yesterday mom, dad and I visited On Main Off Main and we had a wonderful time. It happened to be the 26th birthday of the San Antonio legend! Oscar was a wonderful host and he made us feel completely at home! This store boasts an eclectic collection of just about everything! The chocolates are OUT OF THIS WORLD and the gift selection is amazing. They have an extensive collection of unique books in their store, as well. I spent quite a bit of time looking through the books and I came across this book last. I HAD to have it......
I have flipped through it briefly. It is a history of the Airstream with tons and tons and tons of photos! There are some old advertisements in it. There are floor plans, as well. I think I have "the one" picked out! I am really trying to place less emphasis on "things"...I really am. I want to focus on the important things in life. I realize amassing "things" will not bring me happiness. (I know many of you are laughing at me right now. You guys know I just love "stuff" and "collections." But I really am trying to prioritize.) BUT.....I NEED an Airstream at some point in this lifetime. I want to take this American icon to visit American landscapes. I think that would be a beautiful thing.

Goodnight. I hope you all have a wonderful week!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Autumn Leaves Drift By My Window (Almost)

Today is October 1st....enough said!
Saturday was girls day in Boerne with Rupa and Nisha. We had lunch at The Peach Tree Cafe and then shopped 'til we dropped! Enjoy the photos.....
Goodnight, friends. Time for bible study and then a good night's rest. Still have miles to go.....