Life is a Highway, I Wanna Ride it all Night Long

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Movin On Down My Highway

As I reflect on the past 12 months, I truly have so much to be grateful for...
A year filled with growth for our family and business.  When the economy and jobs have failed in such a serious way, God has blessed us richly with a peace this year that I haven't felt in forever it seems.  It's that "I know that I know" that all will work out kind of peace, and for our good.  One that has a natural joy attached to it.  Oh challenges for us have of course been involved but in all things we overcame and what's still challenging seems like a mountain that we can climb.  Really what a great year we've had even with the challenges.  What changed for me this year?

Quiet Time
I seriously made a commitment this year to do my daily quiet time, and maybe that is what brought on the level of peace I feel through my time just listening to that voice, for me it's God, for you it is whatever takes you to that serene place of peace and joy, hopefully on the same highway as mine, I wouldn't know.

Turning Over a New Leaf
I definitely experienced a new me transform as I walked down the highway of 2011.  It really began in the last quarter of 2010 when changes in relationships along my way just began and I was feeling odd.  I found this new book by John Bevere "The Bait of Satan" and it really did help me to see the other side of life in a way that helped me rise above what initially was painful offense.  Anyone who knows me well, knows my bend for analyzing every situation to death and I did, but this book helped me to view offenses as opportunities and to get to a point where you can describe the entire feeling in 5 words.  That's important because it stops that never ending cycle of rehashing painful times until you build walls of defense...sooner or later your walls grow so tall, long and wide that noone can break through them and you live alone with yourself in what you think is protection.  That's no way for anyone to live and this book helped me overcome the appetite for building walls and instead see things with a wide angled lens.  This opened up a whole new purpose for any relationship in my life and though offenses still come, I go back to the concept in his writings and remember to come up with the 5 words that best describe how  I am allowing myself to feel in this pain.  I can choose to talk to the person about it, OR in my case just coming up with the words, actually helped me to heal without having to go any further.  It was such a wonderful cure.  If you haven't read this book, I recommend it!

Fitting Into My Skin
Yes 'Fitting Into My Skin' is also something that has changed for me this year.  We all get older in age right?  Some of us stop midlife to have a 'crisis' while others try to just psyche ourselves out through various methods of having the mind meet the body in grace...makes me chuckle as I feel my way down this is a comical one to experience and watch as others 'tip toe' through the same 'tulips' I do.  I believe there is a freedom we get when we finally accept the chapter of life we're in and just 'fit into our skin' at that point.  My freedom is to enjoy watching others have their own kind of fun where they're at in life and not feel that I have failed if I don't feel like being a part of it.  No, instead I love this new chapter of my life.  It's like putting on a fresh new pair of glasses with 20/20 vision, acting my age, not too old and not so young, and still feeling like I'm living life to it's fullest.  Oh I know, 58 isn't old, but when you consider it's only 22 years away from 80 and how fast 20 years flies?  It gives you a whole new perspective on how far down the highway one is in life at 58. Nonetheless, I happen to love this age and all the freedom that goes along with it!

Letting Go
Absolutely the key and my faith framing 'letting go' has got to be mentioned here.  I have to be true to me, to God, to my husband, family and friends, BUT if I don't let go of past issues, worry, control, and all those things that can make you crazy, guess what?  I will go crazy!  I work daily at letting go of anything that is on my mind and letting God handle it.  A friend of mine once taught me to write your cares and worries on a small piece of paper, roll it up and put it in a bookcase.  Now it's God's to handle, don't go back to it.  I loved that but never could put it to practice.  Virtual has a whole new meaning for me this year as I virtually note any of my cares, and roll it up placing it in my virtual file for God to handle.  It seems to be working.  Am I tempted to revisit it, sure am, but I let go of that temptation each time.

New Hobby
I have a new hobby, I people watch...NO not stare, but rather I just now enjoy watching everyone walk down their highway of life and learn for themselves what works best for them.  Oh, I still will give my opinion if they are open to it, but I leave it there and I don't force my way on anyone anymore.  (now my husband might disagree with this, but I am still working on this when it comes to my own marriage :)  I'm not perfect at this by any means but I am keenly aware of the benefits this hobby has for living a longer life without worry so I work to achieve more and more of this skill in my hobby daily.

AND So...
I truly have so much to be grateful for...I have reconnected with so many family and friends through social networks and even had the honor of participating in planning and attending my 40th highschool reunion (Go Rough Riders!).  Our business is thriving through a jungle of economic downturn and turmoil, my marriage is getting more and more amazing every year, my kids are growing daily and really transforming into beautiful people.  And btw...when I say 'my kids' I include our daughterinlaw and soninlaw. AND...we just finished a fantastic vacation (1st for us in almost 5 years), met knew friends and hope to do a repeat with our kids in 2012!  Oh and even our animals, and we have a zoo here, are doing well.  (I must say...I will forever miss our Buff, for those that don't know, we had a beautiful baby golden that turned 'alpha' in our pack of 3 and we had to give her up to a great family.  I do miss you Buff!)  So now that I have gotten my eyes all watery after sharing how great our year has been, giving Buff away was the sad point of the year for me personally...think I better leave it here :)  

Happy New Year everyone!   Blessings to all of YOU in 2012!!!  
(Jeremiah 29:11 is a promise we have)
AND, in the words of our daughter..."Bring it on!" 

It's Just Me Val, Ciao!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Turning Offenses Into Opportunities

Do you get offended by friends easily.  Do you let the offenses mount up until you start to build a wall between you and the friend?  You're not alone and there's a better way to deal with this.
I am the type of person that can't squash an offense.  I have to talk it out, usually by myself in a form of chair therapy, or driving in the car (my eyes watching for cars driving up so they don't think I'm crazy talking to myself, handsfree phones help justify the lip motion)  OR I have to use a confidant, usually my husband to bounce my feelings off of.  And then I bounce it off of God.  Everytime I have done this, I have a heavy burden lifted off of me as I work through my own feelings and make sense of the offense.  And if it is multiple offenses from the same person?  Well then it just takes me abit longer to work through my own person and step outside to get a better glimpse of the situation.  

Recently I found this book by John Bevere "The Bait Of Satan" which deals with the issue of offenses in life.  

Bevere says (in a nutshell) Our lives are meant to be a vessel for the Lord to reach others.  We must get past the offense to leave that opportunity for the Lord to do His work through us.  

Bevere goes on to suggest that it's normal to become offended but important to get past it, even if you have to take a 30 day break from the relationship, and then come back, you must address it so it doesn't take root in that relationship and hurt it.  

The enemy uses offenses to take root in our lives and build walls between others, friend, relative, or whomever. (don't you find this to be true?  I do.  I have built several walls of protection in my life and all they do is block out one relationship after another)   

Bevere goes on to suggest that we need to get past all the offenses and narrow the issue down to 5 words that best describe what we're feeling, then go to the person and share from our heart without rehashing each incident.  

I had a friend once that changed their life around and they became very confident in themselves...good I guess.  Their delivery also changed and it really was becoming more and more offensive.  Before too long I had a long list that I rattled off to my husband that had occurred over a period of months and he looked at me and said "Wow, you're right, I hadn't thought about it in chronological order like that and when you put it all together, now I'm mad!"  I had managed to succinctly share the experiences that we had both been having in such a way that I soured him too.  "What Is Wrong With That Picture?"  

Well it was all true but I had been squashing the offenses for so long trying to get past it all that now I had a full chapter of a book with them in order and tainted that person's intent and delivery, even in another's impressions of them.  Wrong, Wrong, Wrong!!!  

This is not a productive way of handling offense.  I really took time to think through what was going on and I prayed of course and with the help of Bevere's suggestions, I narrowed it down to 5 words and erased each incident.  The 5 words?  "You made us feel disposable" 

Finding those 5 words was so freeing.  I was now able to see things from a different perspective.  I was able to let go of each incident and see things from their perspective.  Truth was they were in a new chapter of life and were swirling with excitement and fun and didn't even realize they were being offensive at all.  Have I ever personally addressed it, no but I have a good relationship with them once again and I am in a position to be there for them which is the goal.

There are ways we were taught in the past to handle these situations for instance in Henry Clouds book called Boundaries, we're taught to set boundaries and not allow them to be broken.  While this is a good idea for morals and values, I believe we have taken the Boundaries idea too far and have instead built walls.  The enemy uses those walls to harden our hearts.  Not Good!

Try this in your own life and let me know if it worked.  Think on what all the offense really is making you feel, narrow it down to five words, and if you have to, go to the person and explain it to them.  Sometimes that step is necessary to get back in relationship, so if that's true for you DO IT and don't wait.

People are human and make mistakes, almost always what's really behind it has nothing to do with us, but rather it is due to what turn their life has taken.

Mindfully keeping a thankful heart for everyone in my life, and using Bevere's suggestion to handle hiccups, I now am able to lift these situations up and ask for guidance on getting my 5 words down so I can tear down walls, and get out of the construction business for good!  It's Just Me, Val  Ciao!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thankful Heart for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving means a turkey, stuffing, pumpkin pie, and more made in love.
So many things to be thankful for and a few are of course our freedom and those that have fought to maintain that freedom.  Yes, thanks from our hearts goes to those wonderful service men and women.  Without them we would not have this wonderful land we live in, the United States of America.

Thanksgiving means time with family.  I've always dreamed of a family moment around the table saying one thing we're thankful for but in our family we miss much of that comfort level among many.  Thus there is a silent thank you across all hearts during grace.

Speaking of Grace?

Thanksgiving brings to mind what I personally am thankful for and I would have none of it without one very important mention.  My relationship with my Lord.

Such a bumpy childhood, But God
Such a challenge to make the grade in school, But God
Such a low self esteem in much of my adolescence, But God
Such an adjustment with transient homelife, But God
Such a void in furthering education for a career, But God
Such a miracle in the birth of my daughter Lyndsi Elizabeth, Yeah God!
Such a challenge in supplying our needs with my daughter as a single parent, But God
Such an answer to prayer in finding our first homechurch, Yeah God
Such a connection of friends in our first homechurch, Yeah God
Such an opportunity to do what I loved most, sing, Yeah God
Such an opportunity to reach young girls in our homechurch, Yeah God
Loss of job, But God,
Such a miracle I meet my husband Bob and now 3 children: Daughterinlaw and Soninlaw, Yeah God!
Loss of job, But God,
New job, Yeah God
Loss of job, BUT GOD!
Our own company, Integrity!  Whoduthunk?  Yeah GOD!

My life is full of God Moments,  how could I not be grateful? Thanksgiving Day is a day to be thankful for family, friends, health, and jobs...

It's Just Me Val, Ciao!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

My Road Is Straight Ahead - So Why Did I Dream This?

This journey I'm on is all about a road to healthy living, with specific focus on lifestyle changes that promote healthy living and enjoyment in life.

I have a history of family life dysfunctionality just like 99% of anyone living on earth experiences.  Nothing remarkable but enough to affect your view of life in a remarkable way.  Several issues crossed my path while growing up; abandonment, divorce, poverty, single parenting, and loss, as well as allowing an oppressive spirit of low self esteem to take over until I recovered.

I found my sweet spot in recovery by digging into my faith and focusing on understanding 'me' and what made 'me' happy.  It was simple, I wanted the best things in life that 'can't' be bought.  Those things like a close and well connected family with a strong value for relationship.  Creativity is also something I have fun with and tap into.  Writing and blogging are my new hobbies that help me to express myself and work through the deepest darkest feelings so I always stay in a healthy frame of mind.

I've done counseling for years and am a big believer in the benefits of such an experience.  Now by myself I do self analysis (looking at the man in the mirror and being honest), couch therapy and journal to stay mindfully healthy.

One experience that dealt it's hand on my life growing up was abandonment.  I worked through the bad affects of that by using all of the above methods and thought I had it licked. I don't need to detail this but suffice it to say, it involved a 4 day period of time, my mom, me, and good neighbors.  In brief the event went something like this: Divorced single parent, feeling limited by responsibilities, escapes for short period of time to experience a level of singleness with no responsibility leaving a 12 year old behind to fence for themselves.  Today this scenario would be cause to call in child welfare, but in the 60's this was not something that was protected to the extent it is today.  Abandonment and fear were left in the aftermath.

So, I worked through it all.  I have for years been free of any of that event and the experiences affecting me to any extent that couldn't be managed.  Following all of that my mom died, 26 years ago.

Why then did I just last night dream of her missing in action and me as an adult in panic mode, and in my dream having an actual sense of what the outcome would be, like I was this adult, looking into a child's world and knowing what was going through that child's head.  Why in the world would I dream this 44 years later?  Maybe some form of closure?  Who knows.

Just 'wowed' by this dream and had to get it out here for comment. I know it's crazy, right?  Feel free to give your opinion.

It's just me, Val. Ciao'

Saturday, August 20, 2011

People Pleasers and Hurt People, Hurt People

I am a known people pleaser, always wanting everyone to get along and enjoy each other together.  While that maybe a tall order to some, an exercise in futility to others, and idealistic and unrealistic, even over expectatious to a large group, I remain who I am and believe it can be accomplished if we will first put on a sensitive and appreciative spirit towards others.  

The challenge as it goes with people pleasers is that they are steady, supportive and encouraging UNTIL, we get hurt by the another person.  We then lash out in pain, and it seems to others that our reaction is a contradiction to who we are and is therefore often misunderstood.  

You see in a people pleaser's world we see things as temporal - tomorrow isn't just another day, we aren't promised tomorrow, so resolve and harmony is very important today, this hour, this minute, this second, because you may not get another chance.  In a people pleasers mind we don't want others to hurt and while that isn't always possible, then we will settle for resolve and quick resolve. "Why?" you ask.  Because you see a people pleaser knows what it is like to lose someone prior to making things right again.  That pain is so unrelenting for them, they live it out daily and therefore don't want anyone else to experience the same pain ever. 

When a people pleaser is hurt by someone, they will work to overlook or go to immediately resolve it.  If it keeps happening they will finally do one of two things "lash out, OR retreat"  I know it seems like a contradiction.  After all, other's DO have a right to feel their emotions, however they don't have a right to act out on those emotions in a way that hurts others.

I found this piece (See below) by a counselor named John Alston.  His article really hit home with me, and I wanted to share it for others that maybe also dealing with hurt.  Please take away from it what you need and give the credit to Mr. Alston.

It's just me, Val.  Ciao!

Hurt People, Hurt People
By John Alston
Dec 13, 2005, 10:36Hurt people, hurt people." In other words, people who hurt others with their actions and words are people who are hurting inside themselves! When someone lashes out at another person, they are expressing their hurt in a destructive and irresponsible manner. Feelings of hurt and pain are normal parts of everyday life. Therefore, it is important to find solutions to our problems that are constructive and responsible in order to enjoy the pleasures that life has to offer, as well.

Feelings never tell us what to do. They only tell us that something requires our attention. So negative feelings can play a positive role in our lives. We must put ourselves in control of the painful emotions rather than be controlled by them. The first step in taking control is to ask the question, "What is causing these feelings?"

Sometimes the cause of the feelings is from recent events-job loss or health decline. Other times, the cause is a manifestation of negative emotion from long ago-unresolved issues of adolescence. Take the time to ask the question, think, and seek answers. This is important whether you are the one who is angry or the one who is on the receiving end of an angry person's wrath.

If you are angry and find yourself hurting others, here are some things that should help you deal with your feelings in a more constructive way:

1. Be mindful that you are entitled to the full range of feelings that life has to offer, one of which is pain. Make up your mind that you are not entitled to hurt others with those feelings. It is normal to feel pain. It is unacceptable to inflict it.

2. Take note of what makes you want to act ugly, sullen, and resentful. Is there a pattern? Do your assumptions about people and life need adjustments so that you're not so upset by (often unrelated or minor) irritants?

3. Remain current with your feelings and needs. Don't put off taking care of yourself. Feel pain, acknowledge it, and search for solutions. Reactions that are solution-oriented help you find good ways to deal with hurt.

4. Change you attitude about hurt. This allows you to avoid hurt in the first place. By this, I don't mean you should avoid things that make you feel bad. Adopt a personal policy not to let negative emotion control you. When you decide to take control, pain can't fester into an uncontrollable monster.

5. Don't choose the pain. I hate to say this, but some people hurt, because they choose to hurt. They decide that something is worth suffering over and believe that they need to "dwell here now." That's not to say that you should no longer discriminate between right and wrong. However, be more discriminating about that on which you're willing to expend mental energy.

6. Approach people and situations with patience and understanding. This causes you to slow down and act less impulsively. Imagine that a child spills milk at the table and an adult goes bonkers. The adult hasn't stopped to think about the fact that when children are growing up, the latter are clumsy at different developmental stages by nature, and that the spilt milk was not intentional or the result of laziness.

7. Look for non-destructive ways to express your anger. Being current, as previously mentioned, is one way. Others include, but are not limited to, taking slow deep breaths, biting your tongue, holding in your stomach, counting to ten, meditating, contemplating and praying. All of us do better when we control our impulses when expressing anger.

If you're someone who finds yourself in a hurt person's line of fire, you need some tools to manage their feelings as well as your own. Some options include:

1. Let them vent. Listen to their frustrations before you speak or act. Never interrupt, because until you hear their story, you know nothing. Find out as much as you can about the source of their pain and you'll know why they're angry.

2. Assess your level of responsibility in causing their pain. If you are directly involved, take responsibility and make things right. However, often you will find that you are not the target or cause of the pain. If you were just in the right place at the right time, don't take it personally.

3. Adopt an attitude of forgiveness. Try to understand that when people are hurt, they don't always think clearly and they say things that they don't really mean. It's easy to be consumed with reciprocal anger, so avoid the urge by forgiving them.

4. Be mindful of how you respond to them. The goal is to make things better, not worse. Sometimes they just want someone to acknowledge their pain. You can do so by saying something like, "I don't know just what to do to help you right now, but I want you to know how sorry I am about this."

5. Take control of your own feelings. Don't give up your power to them by allowing their words to control the way you respond. Their pain, even when directed at you, does not define you.

Hurt people can only hurt others if allowed to do so. With adults, know that you can judge the size of a person by the size of the things that they allow to make them angry. Yes, we've all had initial feelings of hurt as the result of others' actions and words. But, when we take a moment to really look at the situation, all of us have the power to draw the line and refuse to accept another's hurt.

Remember that people say and do boneheaded things from time to time without thinking. People forget, lose their tempers, underachieve by our standards, break promises, cheat, lie and do other things that disappoint us. Make allowances for people's differences. Human beings make errors. Values amongst us are varied. If you keep your standards very high, you are subject to be more sensitive around people with low standards. If you have low standards, you will feel offended and slighted by those who have high standards. That said, the bottom line is this: when someone is hurting someone else, they are acting from a place of pain and hurt. Diminish the hurt to make room for enrichment. Instead of hurt people hurting people, you then have enriched people enriching people.

* * *

John Alston, CSP, CPAE is an internationally known Performance Strategist whose programs have lifted the spirits of millions of people worldwide. He works with people who want to improve their lives, and with organizations who encourage personal achievement and character development. Even off the platform, John's insights captivate audiences through four books he's authored: Life is a Gift, Don't Trash It; Talking with Teens in Turbulent Times; Goodness Must Be Taught; and his latest, Stuff Happens (Then You Fix It!). For more information about John Alston, visit his website at

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CONTACT INFO: John is available for speaking engagements and interviews. He can be reached by calling his Program Director, Dana Prieto at (888) 525-6679.
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Saturday, July 30, 2011

America: Who Paved Our Way

To our Leaders:

Who paved our way to the life we are blessed to have in the U.S. today?  Of course one would have to say our forefathers and all the historical accounts of sacrifice and toil, including honorable men who fought for our freedom from our servicemen/women, to other committed and dedicated leaders such as MLK and many many others who should also be noted.  Historically noted and in fact they are!

But this blog is focused on a group of American Citizens who are not historically noted and that we should all be so beholden too.  These wonderful men and women will not go down in history for their sacrifice and toil, and deserve mention, protection and care.  These men and women are our Seniors.

Our Seniors have fought in wars, come through depression, paved the way for women to rise to the top and men to become entrepreneurs, and countless freedoms and rights are attributed to our Seniors both gone and still living.  They toiled from scratch to build legacies for their families, all of which gained a foundation of faith, endurance and fiscally responsible actions that give many of us an inheritance that may never be repeated in the future.  Many came over to this wonderful country from all over the world and entered through wonderful Ellis Island representing entry into the land of the free, a hope for prosperity.  They forged the way, they gave up their lives in toil to see to it that we all can live with more than the clothes on our back.  They saved and saved and payed their taxes and Social security to make a better life for all of us.

Through all of this political gaming back and forth, I am so so determined to be a voice for these hard working and honorable people who were here before all of us and we wouldn't be who we are as a country without them.

Let us remember them going forward. Why is there so little respect and regard for this very very foundational base of the U.S. population.

Game playing or serious concerns how dare we threaten their health and financial stability.  None of which any of us would have without them.  Washington, (all parties)  ENOUGH.

How dare we threaten their Savings, their Social Security payments, their Medicare benefits as a result of  poor fiscal responsibilities carried out by leadership for this nation that is for the most part their youth.  Leadership that reaps the rewards and benefits of these Seniors sacrifice.  Shame on us!

This is not a statement for any one party, it is only to bring honor to our people that walked before each of us, and a caution to stop the insanity and realize that we owe everything we have and are today to these Seniors.

Stop using these marvelous and giving people as pawns in this web of insanity created by lack of planning and accountability.

It's just me, Val  Ciao!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Get Fat...Get Dumped?

Recently a survey (Great Male Survey @ was taken of young men in dating relationships: If your girlfriend grew fat would you dump her? 

48% of 75,000 men surveyed, of an age group of 18-34 yrs old answered simply:  

Watching an HLN interview I heard a guest named 'Steve' say that women are viewed physically naturally by men, and they are sexually attracted to them based on their physical presence.  Here are some points he made:

1. They are apparently 'lazy' or giving into 'laziness' if they have gained 60 pounds
2. Their self esteem is off kilter if they have gained 60 pounds
3. Their attitude about themselves and others is bad when they are overweight
4. Their sexual drive and desire is diminished as they have gained this weight

Believe it or not, I think I agree with 'Steve's' view!  YIKES!

As a woman who has been up and down with her weight I do believe it surrounds  issues that he points out.  I don't view it as bias on his part (the counter female reporters were coming down on him for saying this and called him bias; only settling for a Victoria Secrets model types)  

I don't think he meant it that way.

I do believe we owe it to ourselves and our spouses to remain attractive, not just sexually but mentally.  Our partner needs to feel secure that we are 'ok' 'happy' 'steady' and more. It's important to have a good attitude, self esteem and healthy physical presence.

This doesn't mean I think it devalues anyone that is overweight but deep down inside (physical issues aside such as thyroid problems) behind the weight gain exists issue/s that have yet to be resolved in the overweight person.

I do believe that how you eat and how you take care of yourself directly ties to your self esteem and attitude, and affects, of course, how you ultimately view yourself.  If you don't feel good about yourself you will use anything from unattractive control and power moves to manipulation, to oppression and suffocating tendencies on your partner due to a false lack of value you have for yourself.

Truth be told, most women, want to look good for their spouses and there is absolute correlation between mental attitude of yourself as to the reasons behind a large weight gain of say 50+ pounds.

My question: 
Are these men shallow or is there validity to the high response of this survey?

By the way, should you be curious,  there is a Great Women's Survey out there too!

It's Just me, Val  Ciao!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Val's Bucket List

  1.  Size 10 -12
  2. Vacation in Italy
  3. Pool in backyard
  4. Retire
  5. Gain a B.A. in (English and Writing oriented)
  6. Write a Book
  7. Get Published
  8. Sell a business
  9. Own a lakehouse
  10. Family trip to an island
  11. Take a Cruise
  12. Cross Country Vacation
  13. See the Leaves change in New England States
  14. Master the Roll Off Your Back Technique
  15. Gain 1000+ blog followers
  16. Learn Latin Dancing
  17. Patent an Invention
  18. Leave a Legacy
  19. Read Gone With The Wind
  20. Make a Fortune and Spend it on My Family

    Thursday, July 21, 2011

    Integrity!!! Nancy Grace and Casey Anthony


    Is Casey Anthony a murderer? 
    I am not God, I don't honestly know but 'I do' know that the jury, according to our process, declared her innocent.  And it's over!  Never can be revisited, Double Jeopardy is what makes that factual!

    Freedom of Speech and Nancy Grace
    Our Constitution seems to be the justification and constant reminder of Grace's right to this platform of hers and use of it for a soapbox.  It's one thing to promote freedom of speech (including opinions) and quite another to make a parrallel between our constitutional right to freedom of speech and Grace's rendering her opinion in such a way that it is absolute.  Last I knew Nancy was as human as you and I.

    The Public Is Screaming!
    Do Not Buy Anything that Promotes $'s for Anthony!!!  "We will protest any firm that promotes her book, movie, interview"

    Really?  Yet you defend Grace's rights?  Grace who is exploiting this story and the lives of the Anthony's with drama, blood and guts, and milking it for all the network can make with it, AND they are making Big Bucks!!!  Her tears turn on, on queue.  She sucks you in to her game with her drama and damnation.  She cuts off and extinguishes any guest that stands up for what is right, in order to keep her audience tuned in by driving more of her opinion, the truth according to Nancy, and she milks exploiting innocent parties for all she can get to drive up her ratings.

    P-L-E-A-S-E Get a Grip!
    People,  Stop the Insanity! Don't be fooled! You're making Nancy Grace and the HLN cable network very rich by allowing yourselves to be sucked into this repetitious exploiting of this family and story.  Enough is enough, it's over!  I see Grace's continued belaboring and milking of this story as fuel for the Crazies looking for the kill, and all of you who are hooked on the drama and madness are feeding it!  Yes, there are real crazies out their that have a mob-linching mentality and would love to get their hands on those responsible for the verdict, from the jury, to the attorneys to Anthony herself.  How can you contribute to all of this by continually watching when you know in all honesty that it is feeding the crazed people out there?  Think!!!  You fueling the crazies, your driving her ratings up, in turn making HLN and Grace richer and richer.  AND I don't hear anyone complaining about Grace making Millions off of exploiting innocent lives, those lives; The Anthony's, The Mason's, The Baez's etc...

    I challenge each of you to get past the addiction, and stop the insanity now...recognize how this insults your intelligence no matter what you believe while the same people insulting your intelligence are making big $'s for you being sucked into it.

    What an sad state of our lives to realize we have nothing better than to be overdosed and addicted on Casey Anthony, Nancy Grace and HLN?

    Integrity and Respect for Lives? Priceless!!!

    It's Just Me, Val  Ciao!

    Saturday, April 30, 2011

    THE SOCIAL NETWORK: A 'Click'ish Life and The Great Escape

    It's force can suck you right in.  It's master virtual mind is like a magnet with a gravitational pull that is addictive and before you know it you are  living out your life in 'clicks'. 

    Similar to fishing; creating a profile is like bait on a hook that just hangs there waiting to hook up with friends from the past and present.  In the meantime the lure of games, pages, groups, links of all kind grab hold and soon you find you are swimming with the fish in a bowl the whole world is peering into.  You now are feeling drawn  to create a daily status, post comments, RSVP to events, it's neverending.  One day you get a revelation; "hey I have a life outside of this, what am I doing?"  

    Yes the virtual world of social networks can lure you into the addiction.  The very sad part is that for some, this is their world.  Imagine those that find comfort and security behind a screen with fingers popping buttons, click! and wait, click! and wait, click! and wait.  God forbid a friend should 'unfriend' you, it fills your mind with all sorts of horrors; "what did I say or do to cause that?" and so on.

    We are naturally a social creature and we need stimulation, we need touch and feel too!  One on one, and group interaction in person.  The Social Network has grown due to our interaction attraction.  One smart kid figured us out in one night!  Wow, imagine that, alittle code, algorythyms, and an audience and you can make Billions off of our needs to attract and interact.  

    Watch out for the symptoms of a 'Click'ish life...when you start clicking more than talking and listening you know you have the bug, it's a bug that will go through and through your inner most being and grab hold to your brain cells.  Before you know it you are sucked into the lie and black hole of virtual reality!  Your healthy sensory need for human touch and feel begins to die off and you settle for touching and feeling the 'keys' on your keyboard,, no human touch can match the 'click', and your voice is silenced by the 'clicks' output on a screen, a 'Click'ish Life is all yours without asking for it....The Social Network has you by it's hook and it isn't a good sport either, it doesn't let you off the hook easy, you have to opt for the Great Escape :)

    It's Just me Val,  Ciao!

    Friday, April 29, 2011

    The Royal Wedding- A Breath of Fresh Air on a Day fit for a King and Queen

    Our lives are clouded up with internal and external garbage only to be invaded by the gynormous stress of the state of things around us, economy, jobs, gas prices, food prices,  weather changes and the like.  It all just becomes a bit much and can make me want to crawl in a hole and stay there, or as a friend said recently, hop in my car and just keep driving hoping to avoid it all.  

    Just when life really hangs it's heaviness on you, POOF we have a Royal Wedding and if only for a moment in time, we float away on the "Fairytale" ride of a lifetime.  We are so engaged in the moment that all stress and worry outside of that seems to ease, if only for the moment.  A commoner and a Prince...truly a 'good' Cinderella story. The pomp and circumstance, the regal royal ambiance, the beautiful and breathtaking stunningness of the bride...her handsome Prince in full royal highest honor uniform...a site that certainly does take your breath away, and YES, just for a couple of hours...the stresses of reality are out of mind!

    I appreciated that break.  Every little girl dreams and believes in the "Fairytale"

    Can you imagine if we had "Royal Wedding" moments more often, embraced them by taking advantage of that "Calgon Take Me Away" break...can you imagine  the positive affect that would have on our life?  How healthy would that be?

    We must find a way to enjoy "Royal Wedding" moments more often, it doesn't have to be a real wedding.

    Healthy minds are those that look at the bright side of whatever life hands them, and remember you can always find someone who has it worse.  Find a way to rise above the worries of life and remember that happiness in life is healthiness and a CHOICE.  

    I plan on looking for the Royal Wedding moments in life and letting the rest of life's stresses work themselves out whenever possible, they always do, with or without my involvement of worrying.

    Congrats to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and thank you for giving me a moment out of reality!
    It's just me, Val  Ciao!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2011


    I'm in a Poetry kind of mood this week.  Life is a Dance! 
    It's all about how we move on the floor that counts
    Starting with what we take with us to make the steps just alittle easier to learn and execute. It is with that in mind that I wrote:  Life Is A Dance


    Life is a dance, so many moves to learn and master
    Sometimes I want to move slower when life's force just seems to move faster

    I finally learn a move, and without any notice life changes it's course
    Finessing through it's ups and downs,  as it rears it's challenging force

    My dreams and faith are what I count on, 
    without them I would be a mere spec pummeled to the ground in defeat
    No hope for a future and life's frustration would yield the spec found under someone else's feet

    So I learn to dance moving sometimes awkwardly, sometimes smooth
    With a faith that when someone steps on my toe, it's protected by more than my shoe

    The dance can be difficult or easy all depends on where I'm at and what I'm called to do
    I use the move of Love to always see me through

    To other's my dance may seem to not have a rhythm or even any point
    To me my dance is moving closer daily to reach my goals and dreams and not just to move around the joint

    So if you'd like to join in, this stunning dance of life, 
    the first step you must learn is to minimize the strife
    The Tango, HipHop, and Boogaloo will all come into play
    But the very best step to learn is the Waltz on any given day

    The Waltz is easy to pick up, with benefits galore
    It's all about the Hopes and Dreams you take with you on the floor
    Remember to dance slowly, a slight bend each move at the knees
    The first step is your faith and the rest will come with ease

    May all your Hopes and Dreams be realized in your Dance of Life!

    It's Just Me, Val  Ciao!

    Monday, April 18, 2011


    THIS morning during my normal workout I watched a segment of Joyce Meyers.  Many people are skeptical of her program but I find it grounded in the word of God and that happens to be the test that I live by to determine what is worth giving my time to.  Nonetheless today her segment was on "Letting Go Of GUILT"  Now this is the area that I believe plagues anyone that is looking to move into a new chapter of life the most.  We all have it and we all carry the baggage of REGRET.

    WE have to finally get that we can't change the past but can only make the future right.  It's then that the burden of baggage can truly be lifted from your shoulders and a new life awaits you.  Life is a Highway and there are many curves, narrow paths and crossroads.  I have found my navigator in life to keep me on course and in line with the best possible road to take at all times.  While I'm not preaching here and don't intend too, I will mention as you already know if you keep up with my blog, my  navigator is Jesus Christ.  So this morning in her segment, the story she read had great meaning to me and was just what I needed to move through my day.  I want to share it here so that no matter who your 'navigator' in life is, you might benefit from this too.  It all starts with making a choice!  Choose to forgive yourself and heal.

    Written by: Larry Harp

    I had not really planned on taking a trip this time of year,and yet I found myself packing rather hurriedly.This trip was going to be unpleasant and I knew in advance that no real good would come out of it.
    I'm talking about my annual ''GUILT TRIP''.

    I got tickets to fly there on WISH I HAD airlines.It was an extremely short flight.I got my baggage,which I could not check.I chose to carry it myself all the way.It was weighted down with a thousand memories of what might have been.No one greeted me as I entered the terminal to the REGRET CITY INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT.I say international because people from all over the world come to this dismal town.

    As I checked into the LAST RESORT HOTEL,I noticed that they would be hosting the years most important event, THE ANNUAL PITY PARTY.I wasn't going to miss that great social occasion.Many of the towns leading citizens would be there.

    First there would be the DONE FAMILY,you know,SHOULD HAVE,COULD HAVE and WOULD HAVE.Then came the I HAD family.You probably know ol' WISH and HIS CLAN.
    Of course,the opportunities would be PRESENT,MISSED and LOST.The biggest family would be the YESTERDAY'S.There are far too many of them to count,but each one would have a very sad story to share.

    Then SHATTERED DREAMS would surely make an appearance.
    And IT'S THEIR FAULT would regale us with stories(excuses) about how things had failed in his life,and each story would be loudly applauded by DON'T BLAME ME and I COULDN'T HELP IT.

    Well,to make a long story short,I went to this depressing party knowing that there would be no real benefit in doing so. AND,as usual,I became very depressed.But as I thought about all of the stories of failures brought back from the past,it occured to me that ALL of this trip and subsequent ''pity party'' COULD be cancelled by ME!!

    I started to truly realize that I did not have to be there.I didn't have to be depressed.One thing kept going through my mind,I CAN'T CHANGE YESTERDAY,BUT I DO HAVE THE POWER TO MAKE TODAY A WONDERFUL DAY.

    I can be happy,joyous,fulfilled,encouraged,as well as encouraging.
    Knowing this,I left THE CITY OF REGRET immediately and left no forwarding address.Am I SORRY for the mistakes I'VE MADE IN THE PAST?YES!  But there is no physical way to undo them.

    So,if you're planning on taking a trip back to THE CITY OF REGRET,please cancel all your reservations now.  Instead,take a trip to a place called,STARTING AGAIN.I liked it so much that I have now taken permanent residence there.My neighbors, the I FORGIVE MYSELF'S and the NEW STARTS are so very helpful.

    By the way,you don't have to carry around heavy baggage,because the load is lifted from your shoulder upon arrival.GOD bless you in finding this great town.If you can find it--it's in your own heart--please look me up.I live on I CAN DO IT street. 

    I'm Leaving the City of Regret, How about you?
    Have a great day!

    It's Just Me, Val  Ciao! 

    Saturday, April 9, 2011

    The Journey to a Great Life with Grace and Contentment...Past 50

    There is Life after Empty Nesting
    I never realized the void that follows empty nesting of our kids. In our case, we even filled our home with furry treasures that needed our love and still this void existed.  Trying to fill it is just that, a filler, and not a healthy solution.  Looking at life as different Chapters of our complete Journey, is definitely a healthy solution, at least for me.  

    This blog post is my journaling a revelation in that journey that is making me a better person, and allowing me to step into my next chapter of life with grace and contentment.  

    As I approached this chapter there is more 'letting go' that needed to take place before finding the "Condos and Boats." (Private Benjamin was just a favorite movie of mine)

    In my last Chapter of this great life of mine, I went from Single Parenting a beautiful young lady, to marrying for the first time in life and blending a family of two great stepsons with my daughter, now our daughter.  
    I worked hard at treating the boys as if I gave birth to them, and that is good for them and a serious goal of mine.  You see I grew up in a blended family as well and saw my mom incapable of loving her blended family equally.  Instead she spoiled us (my brother and I) to death and simultaneously treated her blended in children with a less than loving attitude.  She just was unable to give that love to my step brothers and sisters, who by the way I also consider my brothers and sisters. I found this the stepping stone for me to make a difference in my family so that the experience was not repeated.  I sometimes am blamed for being over the top on a fair and equitable field but I would much rather be blamed for that than to pass on that part of her legacy to my kids.

    First Things First: Unpack Your Baggage
    It's true that baggage carried through life from life's experience causes and nurtures dysfunction.  It is one of the biggest hurdles to overcome, but when we do overcome this, we can find contentment in ourselves and the result is living life with contentment and grace.  We have to learn to let go, trust and finally unpack and put away our baggage for good, otherwise we are settling for a victim mentality which will hold us back from moving onto the next chapter of life.

    Deciding to take responsibility for me and accepting that I can't change others is a great first step to unpacking.  

    1. Look inside ourselves and decide to heal the wound by forgiving ourselves in the process of facing our demons.  Yes we need to forgive ourselves...why?  Because the baggage we've been carrying and our responses to others in life may have been and likely have affected those relationships.  

    For instance:  I once judged a friend of mine way back in the 80's on a moral issue.  I not only judged her but I let her know and exhaustively vented on the issue.  I became her moral compass and lost a precious friendship over that.  We are not anyone's moral compass and that was wrong.  So first I made sure to send a letter of apology with no motives other than to say I'm sorry for what I did, and next I forgave myself.  I truly healed and felt healed after doing this.

    Don't be afraid to face your demons, it is so freeing and allows you to work towards 'loving who you are by just being YOU!'

    2. Focus on YOU, not selfishly to the point of not being there for others, but rather give yourself attention, engage and concentrate both physically and mentally on the things that mean the most to you and you will find an incredible sense of fulfillment and happiness.  I just saw a post on my FB friends page that said:  "The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time." ~ Bertrand Russell  (Thanks Paul!)

    3. Journal journal is so revealing and healing.  I experience so much growth from this.

    4. Read...I just read a great book, it was a Christian book but that doesn't matter, what does matter is that it taught me to focus on the greater good and not allow my time and energy to get spent on things that pass out of our lives as quickly as they came into our lives.

    5. If you're an empty nesting parent, let your kids know you love them, you would give your life for them, and then LET GO...give them the space they need to establish their lives now independent of you, and nurture their own family as life's course takes them.  Enjoy them but don't suffocate them with your love.  AND don't puff yourself up and think that they need your advice always to get through life...

    MOM, DAD: Guess what? ,REVELATION:They'll survive and do well without us involved!  
    I had this big fear that if I backed off it would look as if I wasn't interested anymore and didn't care, or want to be part of their life,  but that would have been the furthest thing from the truth.  Our kids have to learn that for themselves too

    6. Learn to Love who YOU Are!!!  You are an awesome creation with so much to offer...problem is you've been offering it to everyone else and leaving yourself out...start sharing today and contentment and grace will be yours and your legacy passed onto your kids and their kids!  It's never too late!

    Just sayin...

    It's Only Me, Val  Ciao!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Stress Triggers causing Emotional Eating: A Humorous Look at Men's Habits

    Triggers: Key Robber of Successfully Breaking a Habit

    Today I am dealing with simple and stupid daily stress triggers around the house and have to ask some questions

    Is it me, or did God create men short a 'clean up' gene?
    Woman LOVE a clean,  picked up house.
    Why don't men get that?

    Let's take the bathroom:    

    Toilet: Maybe they are playing water guns but their aim is awful and then they never look back to clean it up!

    Organizing hygiene products: Their hygiene is pretty good, but the products they use are all over the place.  Woman put a container for organizing and make it easily accessible, but they don't seem to realize that 
    Take it out, Put it back!

    For that matter no matter what organizer we give our men, they have to, just have to leave what they took out of it, on the counter.  Is it a game they play with us?  

    Toothpaste tubes:  How do they get the paste out after it has dried and crusted around the hole leaving only a pinhole for excreting the paste onto the brush.  They do it though, amazing!

    Toothbrush: Don't they feel the need to rinse the handle off, I mean sooner or later the crusted paste will fall off with use, Geesh!

    Toilet paper:  Is it too much to ask them to replace the empty roll on the roller, and not just put the new roll on top of the empty used one?

    Bathing/Shower:  A FACT:10 out of 10 wet towels will stay wet if not laid out flat for drying?  I know that is a stunning stat, but it's true hun!  Scrunching your towel up after bathing does nothing but keeps it damp and musty!!!


    Socks: Can we not have one central place to drop dirty socks?
    Oh and PLEASE unravel them so they wash clean?  Not My Job, Man! Thank YOU!

    Clothes: We have a laundry basket, please!


    Glasses/Dishes: Ok, I mean how many water glasses does a man need?  And if the sink is empty?  It's likely the cup or dish should go into the dishwasher.

    Countertops:  When making a midnight snack, look behind you?  YES, crumbs fall, clean them up!  And they wonder how we know they ate?

    Hanging up Coats:  Coat Closets are put near the door for a reason.  The kitchen chair is 30 feet away from the door in our home.  Do they work the 30 foot walk to hang their coats on the kitchen chair instead, in as part of their daily workout?  Don't they know we actually like the wood on the chairs to show, I know they don't realize that.

    Opening Mail: Opened envelopes and garbage cans?  Need I say more?

    Just one of the many triggers of stress woman deal with daily. 

    It's Just Me Val, Ciao!

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011



    If you're anything like me, each new year you say "I'm going to do this or that"  
    I realized that one of my big hiccups in saying this is that I don't ready my mind for longterm goals.  Oh I don't mean, I know I will have my last cigarette on December 31st, and I am ready to quit cold turkey January 1st.  No, that isn't what I mean, though I've been there, done that.  I mean to go to the core and start to build the habit and change there.  For me as most know it would be my spirit.  I have failed over the years and realized that the problem has been where my spirit is leaning and gleening it's strength from.  So this year is different for me.  

    My journey is leading me down the path that will tap into where my source of strength comes from, in my case it is my relationship with the Lord, for you it might be something else.  I am rebuilding my habits to embrace that relationship and depend on Him for the strength to work daily at changing me.  My goals this year are simple:  To be a better me.  And yes, I have a weight goal with an end date for reaching it that is part of this.  So for the next 6 months the highway my life path is taking will be "under construction". The speed limit is slow in order to do and be the best I can be and to manage my expectations along the way.

    I'm excited to begin the journey and blog as I go.  I hope you'll join me.

    It's just me Val,  Ciao!