Category Archives for "Living Life"

Living Life is about being a parent, giving tips for home management, finance, humor, love, and everything the day throws your way.

Karla’s Korner: Reflections, Life Lessons and a Promise Kept

Karla’s Korner: Reflections


Reflections, Life Lessons and a Promise Kept…

He was a relatively small man, bald and not a tooth in his head. With his dark rimmed glasses, painters hat and carpenters pants he shuffled along in his own slow gimpish little way. As a young child I never realized that his drinking was as severe as it was; that came years later. There was always a lit cigarette in his hand or within reach, often times lighting one right after another in between the many cups of coffee he consumed every day. He could be found most days sitting at the kitchen table with a halo of smoke over his head stirring the sugar laden cup filled with liquid caffeine. He was rough, crude, opinionated, hard headed and in his own way a loving old soul who didn’t give a damn about political correctness. He was my grandfather.

Growing up on a farm required everyone to work. There were animals to feed, corn to shuck, poop to scoop, eggs to gather, gardens to weed, grass to mow and chores to be done every day. During that time I thought it was an unfair tough way to live and now 47 years later I am grateful for the lessons and life skills learned and for the 14 years I shared with the old fella I called Granddaddy. Going through those times I didn’t realize what an impact he would have on my life as an adult; the memories, the emotions, the addictive behaviors. I share these thoughts not to point out the negatives rather the lessons learned 32 years after his death. You see, quite often Granddaddy would stagger into whatever event we were having and nobody really noticed. It was just his way; it was part of who he was. He worked hard as a seasoned carpenter and needed to unwind I guess, so he was left alone; there was no intervention. He would not stand for it anyway; he was fine. To him life was hard work, home cooking, a coffee pot, pack of cigarettes and a bottle hidden somewhere out of sight. I remember when I had grown taller than him and could rub the top of his bald head. He would laugh and hug me tight and remind me he could still “whip my tail”; he never did.

Thumbing through old photographs recently I found just the few that I have of him and my grandmother I realize that there are none of us together. What a shame that that piece of life wasn’t documented more fully. There’s no turning back, no re-do’s only the memories tucked away in the corners of my mind and heart. It was Christmas 1982; he was happy, loud, full of life and sober. He promised me that day that he was going to “work on it” and that he “was going to try not to drink again”. Two days later after working with my uncle he hopped in his old truck, pushed in the clutched, had a heart attack and died; alone in the truck. Flash forward to life in the present day and I hold onto that Christmas promise and know deep within my own soul that he kept it. He didn’t drink again and he died sober; a promise kept.
Society today is more open to discuss, share and seek assistance in recovery from addiction than ever before. Resources are more available to families to assist loved ones in beating the odds and winning the battle with whatever addictions that have them in a death grip. For me, Granddaddy is a focal point, an example that addiction can affect anyone and everyone. Addiction is not gender specific nor does it afflict a particular race or socioeconomic class. Addiction (of any kind) is an equal opportunity affliction that can be battled and beat with hard work, focus and support. Granddaddy, I think beat his addiction. He won the ultimate fight and with those two days of sobriety he left this world a better man.

An old Cherokee Indian story tells of a grandfather sharing a story of the battle we fight within ourselves with his grandson. He explains to the boy that the battle is like two wolves that reside within each of us. One is Evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment Inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The other he says is Good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” Pondering for a while the grandson questions his grandfather asking “which one wins?” The wise old Cherokee replies simply “The one you feed”.

If you or someone you love is battling an addiction I encourage you to reach out and work together toward winning the battle. I believe that it’s necessary to be open, honest and vulnerable with one another. It is that vulnerability that will allow healing to begin and life to be lived fully. For me, I am grateful for the example my Granddaddy is to my own personal story. For him the battle raged until the end but it’s not necessary for those who follow in his footsteps to battle endlessly. And like the old Cherokee story the winner of the battle depends on which wolf you choose to feed.



I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Looking Beyond the Fog

Looking Beyond the Fog


Looking Beyond the Fog: Working Toward Meeting Our Life Goals

Her name was Florence Chadwick and at the age of 34 she wanted to become the first woman to swim from Catalina Island to Palos Verde on the California coast. It was July 4, 1952 the water was frigid and the fog hung on the water like a thick curtain shielding her from seeing anything around her. She was tired, cold and despite the encouragement from her trainer and mother who were in a boat next to her she asked to be pulled out of the water. Several hours later, still thawing her chilled tired body she told a reporter “Look, I’m not excusing myself, but if I could have seen land I might have made it.” You see, it wasn’t the fatigue or the cold water that caused her to quit; it was the fog. Chadwick gave up because she couldn’t see her goal; she lost faith even though she had already become the first woman to swim the English Channel both ways in record time.

Thinking about Chadwick and the fog that clouded her physical vision I am reminded how quick we are to give up on goals and plans we have for ourselves because we lose sight of the goal and the end result we long for. Chadwick shared that because she couldn’t see past the fog she lost faith; she gave up because she couldn’t see the shore. All too often we allow ourselves to give up on a goal because the work involved is hard and the results are slow to show.

Armed with my camera on a crisp fall afternoon I marveled at the precise way the leaves land in the tight cracks and crevices of the landscape around my yard. As the lens began to focus on what I thought was an acorn a slow moving snail came into focus. Intrigued I watched for nearly 15 minutes as the snail slowly made its way across the red lava rock scattered around wooden steps buried in the embankment of the back yard. Creeping along the rock facing one obstacle after another the snail never stopped; it just kept moving. As I watched the snail I was reminded by a quote I recently read by world champion race car driver Mario Andretti : “Circumstances may cause interruptions and delays, but never lose sight of your goal. Prepare yourself in every way you can by increasing your knowledge and adding to your experience, so that you can make the most of opportunity when it occurs.” For Chadwick the heavy fog affected her vision causing her to lose sight of the shore as well as her internal vision for the goal she had set. Losing focus of our goals will prohibit us from reaching our full potential.

In the past year I have become quite the “gym rat” spending at least an hour there every day. One particular dreary Sunday afternoon I forced myself to put on my running shoes and hit the treadmill. Tired, feeling a bit sorry for myself and less than enthusiastic I noticed a rather tall man enter the gym and approach the treadmill next to me. Giving him the customary hello smile I stared aimlessly out the window counting down the minutes I had left to endure on my stationary trek. Trying not to stare I noticed he was wearing a small backpack a jacket and a knit cap. What an odd thing to wear on the treadmill, or so I thought. Careful not to stare I watched as he pulled something out of the pack and placed it on his face; the backpack contained a small oxygen tank. He chose his speed, hit the start button and began his workout. How dare I complain within myself that I was tired and didn’t want to be there? How dare I feel sorry for myself for the circumstances of life at that moment? How dare I do anything but tackle that treadmill and be thankful that I could do it without the assistance of an oxygen tank. His name is Anthony and I don’t see him often but when I do I acknowledge him politely and admire his determination. I can only assume that Anthony’s goal is to keep his lungs as healthy as possible. I pray that he does. Writing this today I regret not telling Anthony just what an impact his determination and focus has made on my life; I will make it a point to tell him next time our paths cross.

What is it that clouds your vision and causes you to lose sight of your goals? I encourage you to look beyond the fog that has settled in your life path knowing that one day it will lift and the shoreline will be visible. Life is never easy; it’s not supposed to be. Lessons are to be learned on our journey and while some of those lessons are hard, I find that those carry the most meaning and give us the greatest reward. If our world was only full of sunshine and sparkles we wouldn’t really know the beauty that comes after a storm. There would be no reason for a rainbow in the sky if there were no rain. There would be no reason for flowers to burst through the dirt and welcome spring if we had no winter. There would be no victory to celebrate if we never knew defeat. Embrace the fog that lies in your way, keep moving forward and trust that it will lift and you will find yourself reaching the goals you have.



I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

October 21, 2014

How to Save Money on Beef #KnowYourBeef

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post courtesy of The Motherhood and Beef It’s What’s For Dinner, but all opinions expressed are 100% mine.

How to Save Money on Beef

know your beef

Have you noticed just how much grocery prices have risen? It seems like everything I buy for my family has gotten more expensive. I try to add a variety of different foods and vegetable to each meal, but beef has always been a family favorite. We love burgers, steak, meatballs, pot roast, pretty much anything made with beef is a favorite. So, how do you get more beef for dollars? Follow some of our ways on how to save money on beef and learn how to stock up on beef without blowing your grocery budget!

Tips on How to Save Money on Beef


1. Know your cuts. Middle meats are more tender: rib, loin, plate, flank. Other meats require marinating longer to tenderize: chuck, brisket and round. You can buy cheaper cuts of beef and make them tender by slow cooking.


I recommend you use the FREE Interactive Butcher Counter, available on website or on mobile phone. It’s a great tool to help you select the right cut at the meat case. It provides nutritional information, gives the recommended cooking method and even has links directly to recipes.

2. If you cook daily for your family, then why not buy in bulk from a warehouse store. Or you can buy family size packs of beef instead of smaller packages. When you get home, separate them into the serving sizes that works for your family.

3. Find a local farm and buy the meat from a cow. You can split this with family or neighbors if you don’t have enough freezer space for all the cuts of beef you will get.

4. Know how to cut beef to make the most out of your dollar. Watch these Tips for Beef Butchery. You can also invest in a meat grinder, buy a roast and make your own ground beef.

5. Use less beef per serving when making a meal. Serve a salad and lots of veggies and you won’t miss the extra beef.

6. When your local supermarket has a sale on beef, make sure to stock up. Buy as much as you can afford and fit in your freezer. This works well when you have a deep freezer for storage. Check out how to safely and quickly defrost ground beef.

7. If your local grocery store has a points program or gives Catalina coupons, use them to buy beef and save money.

8. Become BFF’s with your butcher! Be friendly, ask questions, be loyal to your butcher and it will pay off with special cuts, discounted prices and a heads up on the best sales!


Did you know that beef is a powerful protein and good source of 10 essential nutrients? It’s true! Beef gives our body more of the nutrients we need. Research even shows that including lean beef, even daily as part of a heart-healthy diet and lifestyle improved cholesterol levels.

Here are some Lean Beef Flash Facts (Based on a 3 oz. serving)

  • Nearly half of the daily value for protein
  • Less than 10 grams of fat
  • 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat
  • Less than 95 mg of cholesterol

And the best news is many of your favorite cuts are lean! Top Sirloin, Flank Steak, Strip Steak, Tenderloin, Brisket (Flat Half), 93% + lean Ground Beef.

So let you and your family enjoy BEEF.  Follow some of our tips for getting more beef for dollars and save money on your grocery bill! How do you get more beef for dollars?

Beef It’s What’s for Dinner has more great information so you #KnowYourBeef, they have recipes, cooking tips and more so make sure to visit them.

To get the latest updates on Beef It’s What’s for Dinner, follow them:

Follow @beef on Twitter and Pinterest
Like BeefItsWhatsForDinner on Facebook
Subscribe to BeefForDinner on YouTube

Try these delicious beef recipes:

Do you have other tips on How to Save Money on Beef? Share it with below.

Karla’s Korner – Fences: Opening Up and Reaching Out

Karla’s Korner


Fences: Opening Up and Reaching Out

I love country music, NASCAR and life in a small town. I grew up on a small poultry farm in rural Virginia. We had our own cow that my daddy milked by hand every day. We drank that milk without any processing other than straining it through a cheese cloth into a jar. We made ice cream, ate fresh eggs from the chickens on the farm, raised pigs, processed our own beef, pork and chicken. We made homemade apple butter, canned vegetables from our garden and often times wore homemade clothes. We washed those homemade clothes and hung them outside on a line to dry. We had chores and responsibilities every day and we did them without complaint (well not much complaint). I used to think that I couldn’t wait to get out of that small town, and at the age of 21, I got married and moved away. That was 25 years ago. Over the past 25 years my husband and I have moved around due to his job and most of the time we have lived in small communities.

Recently I pulled out a Jason Aldean CD that I had buried in the console of my car. One of my favorite songs is “Church Pew or Bar Stool” (I’ve actually written about this song before but felt compelled to re-visit my thoughts from back then.) Aldean sings about two kinds of salvation in the small town he is living in; the whiskey or the Bible; you have to choose. He sings in the chorus that “when you don’t seem to live on either side of the fence people act like you don’t make sense”. All too often in life we are judged by what we do, who we spend time with, where we live, what kind of car we drive, etc. I continue to question and wonder why any of that matters. What does it really matter what religion I am, what kind of music I listen to, what kind of car I drive or whether I spend my time at a NASCAR race in a museum, at a baseball game, at home or in church? No one particular thing makes us who we are. What makes a whole person is a lot of little things seemingly stitched together to make us unique.

I teach Christian preschool, but does that mean that I can’t listen to my country music? Does that mean that I can’t go to a NASCAR race, tailgate with my husband, family and friends and cheer on my favorite driver? Does it mean that I can’t frequent certain restaurants, or be friends with people with different backgrounds or beliefs? No; it means that we are all unique and separate from others. Sometimes when I get in my car to go to work or leave work for the day I crank up my radio and let the music fill up every inch of space in my brain. It’s just a part of me.

The song refers to a fence and what side we find ourselves on. Fences, I believe are built for two reasons; to keep something in or keep something out. Fences divide and separate people from one another. There are so many things in today’s world that divide or separate and instill in us the need to be set apart. What we need to keep in mind is that when fences are built we lose intimate, personal contact with those around us. We set ourselves apart, and by doing so, we may miss out on something or someone wonderful. As a little girl growing up in the country, we had fences for the animals, but not for ourselves. We never locked our cars, we left our bikes out on the front porch, we slept with the windows open and if we forgot to lock the house when we left, well that was o.k. too. We trusted and were trusted. If we needed something we borrowed it from a neighbor. We knew our neighbors and they knew us. Life was simple. While I don’t advocate leaving our cars and homes unlocked, I would suggest trying to tear down some of the fences we’ve built in our lives allowing us to open up, reach out, help, hold a hand, say a prayer or just sit and listen.

I encourage you to examine the fences you’ve built in your life. Are those fences keeping people out or in? Are your fences there to protect you from something or someone? Sometimes it’s necessary to build fences to maintain boundaries to keep us safe and protected but other times fences don’t allow us to interact with others on a deep personal intimate level. I wonder if we kept our fences up and added a gate for others to come into our life yard and share in fellowship that we would in fact have the best of both worlds; privacy and company. Are you able to tear down the fences in your life and if not ask yourself why? What is it that keeps you within the confines of the fence?


I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

Karla’s Korner: Celebrating the Choice of Love

Karla’s Korner: Celebrating the Choice of Love

choice of love

Celebrating the Choice of Love

Twenty-five years ago a young farm girl met a handsome fella from North Carolina in front of a little country church, exchanged a few vows and set out on a journey that would tell the story of their lives. This past weekend that former farm girl fancied up her hair, put on a new dress, pointy toed shoes and walked up the aisle again with that handsome fella from North Carolina wearing a suit, tie and great big smile to the arms of their waiting children. With tears in their eyes, butterflies in their stomachs and joy in their hearts they renewed the vows they had taken so long ago and promised to continue to do all of those things and more. “The last I love you is still as special as the first” he told her and as she held back the tears she told him that he still “makes her heart skip a beat”. With their pastor leading them and their guests in a ceremony filled with scripture, song, thought and purpose they were reminded that this journey could never have been made alone; they need their community of friends and family to journey with them. As their pastor shared his thoughts on this couple, their love for one another and those in attendance he reminded them that it was because “love chose us” that we are here. Each and every person in that room had made an impact on this couple and were there because of the love they have for one another. That couple is my husband David and I.

I share this to emphasize the importance of surrounding ourselves with people who will always be there for us, to nurture, advise, assist, encourage, stand up for, disagree with, apologize to and love us unconditionally. As I write this the music from our reception playlist is playing in my ears. Each song was chosen carefully by David and I trying to mesh my love of country with his adoration of 70’s and 80’s rock. This playlist alone is an example of the many compromises we’ve made over the years. With Billy Joel singing “Just the way you are” I find myself thinking that if we had stayed the same we wouldn’t have made it this far; life is all about change and transformation.

There is a poem written by an unknown author that talks about people entering our lives for a reason or a season. Reflecting on the people in that room with us it is apparent that our life road has at times been travelled by many people; some who continue to travel with us from the beginning and some who have hopped on or off along the way. Each person represents a piece of our life puzzle that makes a great picture telling a story that is uniquely ours.

When our lives are filled with those who are willing to invest time in us, we are able to perfect ourselves, expand our knowledge and experience life in a deeper more meaningful way. Sharing our lives with others makes our own life story richer; more meaningful. Standing in the middle of the ballroom filled with 100 or so people who chose to spend the evening with us I was aware of the variety of people there. The vastness of ages and stages was a reminder that we need that variety to have a fulfilling life. Sharing my thoughts with an older gentleman, he pointed out that he and his wife had been married 54 years and while it has not always been easy it was worth the work and worry. Taking in his words I realized that this is what the pastor was talking about; “Love chose us”. Love chose us to live in community with one another, to share our lives with one another and to be part of something bigger than ourselves. Yes, marriage is between two people who love one another, who are attracted to one another physically and emotionally but it’s more than that. I believe it’s about who we are as individuals, as a couple and who we are as parents. As a young parent I relied on advice and encouragement from more seasoned parents and now as a seasoned parent I am there for my young friends who find themselves trying to figure out who they are and how to become the best parents they can be. We balance one another out. We fill in the blanks, become backseat drivers in the rat race of life and somehow manage to create a story unique to ourselves.

As the last song played, the last hug given we piled our two children and our daughter’s girlfriend into the backseat of our car, took a deep breath and set out for home; the home we have created for our family and a place where we welcome those who choose to join us on our life journey. Choosing to love someone can be difficult for many reasons. We may not agree with their lifestyle, their faith choice, political views or the music they listen to but choosing to love them in spite of those things is a real and rare gift. While we do not agree with all of these things with everyone who shared in our celebration we choose to love and embrace each and every one of them because love is the most important. Love should be unconditional and when we love in an unconditional way our lives are richer, filled with deep meaning that will allow us to have a life filled with endless possibilities, and great relationships. In our life we choose to love just as love chose us.


Also check out:

Karla’s Korner: A Love Letter
Karla’s Korner: Learn to Love Yourself
Karla’s Korner: Love Quotes


I am proud to introduce a new column to Madame Deals! I think we all need a touch point a place we can go to be inspired. Karla is my children’s teacher, a good friend, and a person with a heart of gold. I hope that her words will inspire you to do more. We are only as good as the people we surround ourselves with. It is important to listen with your heart and proceed with your eyes open. Enjoy!

Read more Karla’s Korner , also please visit Karla’s Lifetime Moms page and read her articles.

Check out Karla’s 24 Day Advocare Challenge updates!

October 10, 2014

Tips for Buying Kids Clothes on a Budget

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Garanimals. The opinions and text are all mine.

Kids Clothes on a Budget

Kids grow up too fast, within just a couple of months you’ll end up with several clothes that they can no longer wear. I remember when my son was 3 months old, almost all his bodysuits doesn’t fit him anymore. Unfortunately not all of us have people to ask for hand-me-downs to use. Kids will keep on growing and if you don’t make a plan frequent buying of kids clothes can hurt your budget, so I want to share with you some tips that I learned on buying kids clothes on a budget.

10 Tips for Buying Kids Clothes on a Budget

1. Always buy items at least one size up so they will tend to last at least a year.

2. Buy gender neutral colors and style so that in case you have another child they can use the clothes.

3. When shopping, always check out the clearance items first. They usually sell off-season clothes for cheap. So the key is buy them on sale and save it for when it’s on season to use. Just make sure to pick a larger size.

4. Sometimes it’s hard to resist really cute clothes. I’ve fallen for that several times too. But if you’re on a budget make sure to ask yourself first if your child will be able to really wear it.

5. Find a way to repurpose the clothes your kids have outgrown. You can cut onesies and turn it to a top.

6. Swap with friends. You’ll be able to score great items from friends because a lot of kids outgrew clothes even before they’re worn out. Some people will also sell their kids second-hands for cheap.

7. Don’t fall for the designer trap. Don’t ever pay top price, the high price tag isn’t worth it. Wait for their items to go on sale and if it does make sure it’s of good value and kids will be able to wear it a LOT of times.

8. Make sure that the fabric of the clothes that you’ll buy is comfortable enough for kids skin. No matter how cheap it is, kids will not wear it if it’s not comfortable and you don’t want them to suffer skin irritation and chaffing.

9. Make sure to check out for coupons to use especially if you’re shopping online.

10. Find a kids clothing brand that offers affordable but comfortable clothes.

Garanimals is one of the best kids clothes brand that we can trust to when it comes to buying kids clothes on a budget. Garanimals clothing is carefully designed to provide babies and kids with affordable fashion and comfort while guaranteeing quality, value, and ease of shopping to parents. Garanimals is made for newborns as well as young children (up to 5T) and is sold exclusively at Walmart stores and at

Share with us your tips for buying kids clothes on a budget, leave a comment below.

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Garanimals. The opinions and text are all mine.

Watch this cool Garanimals video below:

1 48 49 50 51 52 163