A Word of Advice about Canines and Cars

As you know, I love dogs.  They have been in my life for as long as I can remember.  I volunteer with the SPCA as both an adoption counselor (bringing dogs and their families together) and a behavior foster (rehabilitating dogs for their future homes).  I also have two dogs of my own, Teddy that we adopted recently and Jerzee, my canine bestie.

20170804_171654.jpg

Jerzee has seen me through so much.  My engagement, wedding, moving to Dallas, and she’s been by my side through every pregnancy loss.  When I used to work from home, one day a week we would go on errands.  Checking mail.  Picking up lunch.  And when I would arrive at the post office, I would leave her in the car for a quick in and out.

That’s right.  The dog lover would leave her dog in the car.

I didn’t realize the danger that this would be.  And the trips were usually under 5 minutes.  I never did it when it was triple digits outside.  And I usually parked in the shade.  But once I realized how dangerous this could be, I started doing these trips alone.  I never take my dog out with me unless I know I can take her into the store.

I have started to notice a lot of information being shared about this hot topic (pun definitely intended).  I recently saw this video about how hot it can get in your car.

If that doesn’t convince you, there is this great infographic from Global Tint UK Global Tint UK that really summarizes everything.  Even if you see a dog in a parked car and what to do.

Dangers of Leaving Your Dog In A Hot Car.png

I used to do this.  I know how fun it is to have your canine bestie riding shotgun as you run errands or take long commutes.  But the risk is not worth it to leave them in that car.  I know better now, so I do better now.  Please share with your friends, family and any other dog lovers you know!

Advertisements

TTC and Auntie Flo

That most frustrating part of the month, soon after the negative pregnancy tests, when you have to go out and buy pads and tampons, pain meds, and chocolate.  Lots of chocolate.

Personally, this month has been extra difficult since the anniversary of our second daughter’s passing is at the end of it.  I’ve had to double up on the self-care and taking one day at a time, and to be honest, I haven’t been as social as I usually am.  And when I am, I leave social settings completely drained.  My sweet husband has been very kind and patient.  Since this has been on my brain this past week, I thought I would share some of the things I do to take care of myself.

  1. Make the bed.  I like to keep the house clean, but when the depression hits, it’s hard for me to do all of the cleaning tasks each day.  So, I severely simplify the list.  Make the bed.  Do a load of laundry.  Empty the dishwasher.  I know that this too shall pass, and I will be back up and around cleaning the house again.  But for now, just make the bed, do something simple so that you feel like you have accomplished, and let the rest of it go.
  2. Take a bath.  Do something that is pampering.  Even if that just means a hot shower instead.  Take a moment in the day to slow down.  I, personally, prefer bubbles, but it could also be wearing a face mask or sipping on my favorite tea.  Or, if I’m feeling really crazy, do all three.
  3. Escape for a certain amount of time.  This could be watching a favorite movie (something you have seen before that won’t bring up bad memories).  It could be reading a favorite book.  Sitting outside in the sun.  Snuggling with a pet.  Meditating.  But do it for a set amount of time.  It’s really easy for me to lose myself binging on a tv show, and while that’s not completely bad, it’s not completely healthy.   That’s why I choose favorite movies over TV or YouTube, two places where I can easily lose myself.
  4. Yoga.  This is my favorite type of movement because it connects body, mind, and soul together.  But a simple walk around the neighborhood listening to a podcast or music could work as well.  Or dance in your living room.  But I find it very tempting to just spend the whole day on the couch or in bed.  One of my favorite yoga sequences is done by Yoga with Adriene for PMS specifically.

  1. Spend some time with God.  You know, when I think about when someone says they spend time with God, I think of this:

pexels-photo-370037

Quiet beach time, or sitting in the silence in my library, as the light filters in perfectly, as I commune with God.  But sometimes it’s more like this:

1c3964b68777cad23e32efb0826cfac8

And that’s okay.  I mean, have you read the Psalms?  God is present in the silence, but he’s also present in the scream.  And if I learned anything, it’s that one of most healing experiences on this journey has been a good, ugly cry out to God.

It is frustrating to have to go back to square one every month, but remembering to give myself a little space and grace definitely helps the process.  What are some ways that you practice self-care when going through a difficult time?

The Dark Tower: A Review

I haven’t read this book series by Stephen King, and truthfully, when I walked into the theater, I had forgotten the series was by Stephen King.  I probably would have skipped it if I had known (I won’t even watch the IT trailer.  That thing scarred my childhood).  But I’m glad I didn’t.

20170805_112820.jpg

We went to the first showing at our favorite theater.  They were serving brunch and it was delicious.  It was also cheaper, as most first showings of the day usually are.  And it wasn’t that crowded either.

But the movie, itself, was phenomenal.  Talking to Michael afterward, we both agreed that if the Marvel and DC blockbusters didn’t play this summer, this would have easily been our favorite of the season.

The story follows this boy who is being haunted by these dreams of a dark tower, and a series of scenes that involve a man in black and a gunslinger.  Everyone thinks that they are just a reaction to trauma and loss in his own life.  But when the dreams become a reality, he goes on an adventure to another world in order to save his own.

It is not a scary movie, despite being based on a series of a very popular horror/thriller author.  To me, it was a straightforward, good vs bad adventure.  The plot was simple.  There were some graphic-ish scenes of violence, but not gory at all.  I’m thinking of one character who dies and you can see the hole on the forehead.  But no blood or guts.  The bad guy mostly killed by telling the person to stop breathing or by setting them on fire.  But you don’t see them on fire.

Idris Alba and Matthew McConaughey were amazing.  McConaughey wasn’t playing the kind of role I’m used to seeing from him, but he did really well.  It made me want to know more about the man in black, where he came from and why he was so bent on destroying the tower.  But perhaps that’s the point.  To get people to read the book series.

This was our last movie of the summer season, and I feel like we ended on a high note. On our way home in the car, we listed our favorites. It came in after Spider-man: Homecoming and Wonder Woman as a strong number three.  Definitely, a recommendation in the theaters or for a night at home.

Going to Downtown McKinney

20170727_154317.jpg

I’ve talked about Downtown McKinney before in my blog.  It’s probably my favorite place in the DFW area.  I like the food here, the people.  It’s just a great place all around.  It’s also a great place to take pictures, and just down the road, they have a wonderful farmer’s market.

But recently, I headed to this area to check out their home decor.

I went to several of the shops, and if I’m honest, a lot of them were repetitive.  And a lot of them were like walking through an Etsy shop, but like the same one over and over again.  Halloween decor was starting to show up on the shelves, and this pillow was in at least two, maybe three of the stores – for the same 12 dollar price.12915

Of course, I love the pillow and the reference, just disappointed about the lack of variety in a lot of these stores.  But I did find some stores that stood out from the rest.

20170727_161613.jpg

The Antique Company Mall felt a lot like a mercantile or a flea market where the sellers own booths to sell their stuff.  A lot of it didn’t really seem antique, more trendy antique, if that makes sense.

20170727_162031.jpg

I didn’t have as much time as I wanted to really search through this particular store, but I’m hopeful that you might find one of a kind finds buried somewhere in this place.  There was a first edition or signed books section in the very back, though none of the books really stood out to me, personally.  It was still a cool place to peruse.

Another store I enjoyed walking through was My Favorite Room.  The name of the store, again, pulled me in, but I enjoyed this store more than most of the ones I had visited that day.

It was gorgeous, with grays and creams outfitting most of the decor.  There were linens in the back and these sewing mannequins everywhere in various states of decorative disrepair.  The only downside, like a lot of these stores, was that it was way too expensive.  I suppose one of the reasons that everything is priced high-end is because the rent for these spaces is expensive as well.  But I was afraid to touch anything in this store.

20170727_160943.jpg

This sign pulled me into the store because I love a lot of European decors, especially French or Italian influence, and this store did not disappoint. There were a lot of big pieces but none of it seemed like the other stores.  There were survey maps of England in the back.  And the store smelled amazing (they sell the candles that you smell).  The downside is that the amount of stock seems limited and high priced, but there were a lot of great finds.  The only picture I took was of the French pots in the window because I plan to go back for a few of them to put on my herb garden on my windowsill.

20170727_160937.jpg

 

And I plan to go back soon, anyway, because as I was walking through the stores, I came across Eclair Bistro that has a jazz club inside!  I’ve never been to one, so I’m hoping to convince Michael to take me soon.

20170727_162002.jpg

Despite the overpriced items and the repetitive products, I still thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Downtown Mckinney.  Every store I walked into, I was greeted by the people who work there.  They really seem to have a passion for their stores and the things that they sell.  I hope to visit other downtown areas in DFW in the near future, but this is still one of my happy places!

Summer Study: Philippians 2

If you didn’t read last week’s start to this particular study, you can find that here.

Philippians2.jpg

I am reminded, as I read these chapters just how much I love Philippians and how much it challenges me.  If I were to put a theme to chapter 2, it would be “It’s not about you.”

Paul starts by challenging the Philippians to unify in love, spirit, and purpose.  To put each other first.  To leave behind selfish ambition and vain conceit.  To be like Christ.

Because Christ was equal to God, but he didn’t come to the earth to teach us how to be equal to God.  Instead, he came to teach us humility and obedience.  To take on a servant’s role.  And it was through subservience that God exalted him in heaven.  Because you know God loves to turn societal definitions and expectations on their head.

And here’s my motto for the week:

philippians21415.jpg

 

It makes me want to sing that “Shine Bright Like a Diamond” song.  But as I was humming the tune, I realized how different God’s shine might be from the world.

Jesus, of course, attracted people to him.  His words, his actions, the miracles, the kindness, and forgiveness.  He definitely shined.  Even experienced a bit of a celeb status at times, but it wasn’t something he was chasing after.  He wasn’t trying to shine for the world to see him.  He was shining on the world to let them know that God saw them.  That God saw their pain and their hurt, and Jesus was sent to give them rest, to extend to them forgiveness and healing, to die so that they may be saved.

And here, Paul is saying the same thing.  Don’t do things out of selfish ambition or vain conceit.  Don’t seek the attention, the acceptance, the praise of men.  Seek to submit to the will of God.  God will see you shine, even if men remain blind.  Complaining comes with a sense of entitlement, but we see reality.  We are chosen by God, true, and we are precious in His sight.  But we have done nothing to deserve that status.  We are not actually entitled to any of it.  But it’s given to us anyway.

So whatever it is that God wants me to do to further his Kingdom, I will try to submit and obey and remember the example of Jesus.  To not complain but encourage.  To not argue but submit.  To do nothing in selfishness or vanity, but instead, seek out the overlooked and ignored and isolated, and share the love of God with them.

May we all shine this week.

Friday Ramble: Adult Guide to YouTube

I’m on the older side of the millennial generation, so I have friends who are avid subscribers to YouTube channels.  I also have friends who may watch a popular video from time to time or use YouTube to find a specific scene from television or movies, or they will look for a piece of music or a how-to video as needed.  But they never actually feel the need to subscribe to a channel.

And I’m here to state my case as to why they should start subscribing.

YouTube Subscribe Button

To be fair, there is this feeling that a lot of YouTube channels seem to target the younger generations – preteens to young adults.  And there are always young people starting their own channels and connecting with people their own age with similar life situations.  However, a lot of the older content creators, folks that have been on the platform for 10+ years, are in adulthood.  Some of them are married and have kids.  So, even though sometimes they do try to present information that would be relevant to the younger crowd, more and more of their content can also broach subjects of more adult-type situations.

While there are a lot of channels that are brand-based, that are there simply for consumable content, there are channels that still strive to build community.  And these are the communities that the younger generations want to be a part of.  I think it’s important to understand what these channels are saying because of the large impact and influence they have over young generations.

But where to start?  Admittingly, when you look on the Trending Videos on YouTube, it doesn’t really give much direction.  There are a lot of brand-focused videos that tend to monopolize these spots because of people who don’t subscribe, merely just watch random videos on YouTube.  If you want more community-driven channels, I can give you a few suggestions.

One of the more important communities to me is the academic/news information type communities, and I have two suggestions in this category.

Philip Defranco

Defranco presents a news show Monday through Thursday that I find pretty balanced.  And he strives to report the news in the most balanced way possible.  He dedicates researchers to the stories so that it will be accurate.  But he also wants community engagement.  He encourages people to share their opinion, and he shares his own as well, but he makes it clear when he is sharing facts versus opinions.  Then, on Fridays, he engages with the community through the comments they make on his videos from Monday through Thursday.  And this is just the beginning.  He is hiring and planning and building an entire news company dedicated to fair and balanced reporting.

Also, I would say this is not safe for young kids.  He does use profanity and his subject material is sometimes of an adult nature.  I do not agree with all of his opinions, but I feel like I don’t have to, to be a part of this community and to get a balanced news source.  Some of his videos have been used in classrooms, especially during the election or during some of the current event segments.  And all of the topics are not completely heavy.  He breaks up the news with a “Today in Awesome” segment in the middle that covers fun videos on YouTube as well as video game and movie trailers that have come out recently.

Vlogbrothers

I know that for a lot of my friends, Defranco may not be their cup of tea, so I give you the Vlogbrothers.  This channel is a must to understand what is going on in the YouTube community.  Hank and John Green are two brothers who make short videos to one another on Tuesdays and Fridays.  John Green might sound familiar because he wrote The Fault in Our Stars and Papertowns, both have become movies.  But John and Hank have done so much more.  John went to Africa with the Gates Foundation to report on the needs and progress of those areas.  He interviewed a teen at a Syrian Refugee Camp.

Hank is big on education.  He runs two other channels on YouTube that are education based and sometimes even incorporated into classrooms across the nation.  They are called Scishow and CrashCourse.  CrashCourse, I’m more familiar with, covers a lot of academic topics and is quite fascinating.  Sometimes the Vlogbrother videos are a little adult in nature (Hank recently did a video about condoms as an example for medical statistics and how we get them wrong), but they are informative and can keep you up to date on their projects.

They have two major projects that I can think of off the top of my head.  Vidcon (in June) is a conference for YouTubers similar to ComicCon (but smaller).  There are panels covering a myriad of topics and meet and greets.  Also, at the end of the year, they do a huge fundraiser for a nonprofit that is voted on by the community.  It’s a great way to engage with people all around.

Other Communities

I realized as I was thinking about this that there are so many other people I would recommend, but this blog is getting way too long and rambly.  But I would like to say that there are so many communities I think adults could really benefit from.  Like BookTube, an entire community where people talk about the books they read or want to read.  Or the ASMR community, which has a lot more to do with dealing with anxiety than it does in feeling all tingly.  I would suggest just putting an interest in the search bar and following the rabbit hole that it leads you to.  You really won’t regret it.

Just make sure that whatever channel you do fine actually still posts on a semi-consistent basis.  And don’t worry if you miss a few or several of their videos.  Usually, if they reference an earlier video, they will link it in the description below.  Happy hunting!

Do you have a favorite channel or community?  Do you want any particular recommendations for where to start in a particular community?