The Lenten Challenge:40 bags in 40 days

This past Tuesday being Mardi Gras, a neighbor had asked me what I plan to give up for Lent.  I explained that I don’t usually give anything up, but I instead choose to give more during Lent.  Whether it be by volunteering more of my time, adopting a family to help, making meals or donating pantry items for Christ House.  I do indeed do more during Lent and plan to continue with that.

This year though, living with purpose and intent must be important to me becasue I keep dreaming about accomplishing goals, running through finish lines and being in the best shape of my life.  Do you know what it’s like waking up in the morning thinking you’ve just finished runing a half-marathon, are 30 pounds leaner and live in a harmonious well-organized home only to look around and be reminded that none of this has happened and you’re still fat, disorganized and not sure what your purpose in life is?  Well, even if you haven’t, that’s happened to me twice this week.  I can only interpret these dreams to be a sign from God that I should get off of my ass and live more purposefully.

Although it is Day No. 4 of Lent and I have not done anthing of the sort, I plan to challenge myself to 40 Bags in 40 Days.  I got my inspiration from my friend, Kristina, who tagged this blog on her Facebook:  White House Black Shutters.  Wow.  If you could see my basement (it causes me anxiety, panic and dizziness), you would agree that I am the perfect candidate to take on such a challenge.  It will benefit many, many people.  Obviously, my family will reap the benefit of the decluttering and de-chaosing, but others will as well, because there is a lot of good stuff and clothing down there that I will be giving away.  As usual, it is taking me a  few days just to sort through the brain clutter and plan my attack.  I printed the list linked on the blog but at this point, I know it will take me too long to figure out what to write, so I have to just jump in.  I’ll take pictures as I go, but not good ones because I can’t spend too much more time focusing on the production as I have already lost four days.  And, yes, I will still give time, food, quilt blocks and assistance to others along the way.



A Recipe Search, A Sidetrack and Snow

We finally have a real snow day in NoVA.  The kids are home from school, the husband is home as the DOD is closed for the day (I know, it sounds funny) and the fireplace is on–literally, because with just a flip of a switch–it is on.  Nope, no kindling, no lugging messy logs through the house and no wasted time spent trying to find matches nor trying to light a fire.

So, what to do after the dishwasher is empty and the laundry done?  I made myself a delicious cup of coffee and sat myself on the couch with my laptop to search for healthy recipes. Healthy, because I’m supposed to be working very hard to lose some weight.  Did you read about my neighborhood’s diet club yet?  Ugh, another weigh-in Wednesday tomorrow morning and I seriously doubt I’ve lost an ounce.  It would be a miracle if I did being that in the past week I’ve eaten no less than a pound of Valentine chocolate, six brownies, probably what is equivalent to one pound of pasta, 3 pounds of various meats and cheeses and had my share of soft drinks.  I’ve dreamt of exercising rather than actually doing it, and almost every moment I’ve worn something other than pajama bottoms heard myself cursing about how smothered, restricted and uncomfortable I feel while wearing such tight pants.  So, while searching for healthy recipes, I remember how much the kids and I love Phó (Vietnamese Noodle Soup).

It is so yummy delicious from  a nearby restaurant.  We found the place when we first moved here, when it was just okay, but about 12 years ago, a new owner scoffed up the place and since then we consider it to be the best Phó on earth.  Okay, so maybe in NoVA–because Lord knows, we have tried a few other places and Phó Bowl is the only one we find truly delicious.  In the winter, the restaurant is like an extension of our own dining room.  The owner has witnessed the kids grow up from mere toddlers to the teens they are now (actually, the first time we were there–with our wonderful neighbors at the time–Gigi was an infant in a car seat sitting on top of the table in front of me).  More importantly, many, many, many dinners were had here together with my dear friend Kathleen and her two girls.  Ironically, her husband and mine just don’t seem to have the same addiction to the soup as we do.  Kathleen and her family moved away from NoVA about 5 years ago (I’ve been lost ever since), but when we talk or see each other, we pick up exactly where we left off.  The other irony is that both of our husbands were simultaneously deployed (though hers was deployed much longer than mine was) or throughout the years, seemed to be away on TDY at the exactly the same time.  So, needless to say, we had to feed the kids dinner during those times, and we managed to hit Phó Bowl sometimes twice a week.  We had so much fun together, and of course the kids never failed to enjoy the company.

Which leads me to this:  While searching for a recipe to recreate this wonderful elixir, I realized that I do not have to because the restaurant is so darn close  to Post that it is nonsense to even try to cook it AND, I got sidetracked and accidentally found this Phó inspired tattoo which I think Kathleen and I both need.  Check out #16 here:   27 Tattoos To Show Your Dedication To Food.  Nah, neither of us would endure the kind of pain required to get such a thing emblazoned on our body, however, I think we’d wear it proudly on a t-shirt.  Oh, and I can’t forget the photo of my kids “playing” in the snow:Girls Playing In Snow