Posted in Blog, Education, Self

The Acceptance Game

According to Merriam-Webster, acceptance is defined as:
the act of accepting something or someone
the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable
an agreeing either expressly or by conduct to the act or offer of another so that a contract is concluded and the parties become legally bound
the quality or state of being accepted or acceptable
the act of accepting : the fact of being accepted : approval

a : the act of accepting a time draft or bill of exchange for payment when due according to the specified terms
b : an accepted draft or bill of exchange

I won’t throw anyone under the bus by using names here, but recently I’ve had a few conversations with some of my friends and family members and in each and every conversation, I find the same line of thinking from all of them.  They have no acceptance and love for themselves.  They can’t/don’t or won’t see their value.  They have disregarded their importance to others and they are extremely self-deprecating.  It’s disheartening.  These are people that I love, that I value and I can see their importance – their importance to me and to their children, their parents, their spouses, their friends, their extended families!  Truthfully, I don’t like it that they speak so unkindly of themselves.  Is it simply the people that I associate with?  My guess is we all know people like this and most probably, more than one or two.

People have learned to be too accepting of things they shouldn’t necessarily be accepting of and at the same time, they have learned to be unaccepting of themselves, how is that possible?  Why is that possible?

Why have people accepted shoddy foreign built products or companies that manhandle & threaten their customers, but they can’t accept themselves?  Why are we tolerant of homelessness, hunger or mental health issues not being dealt with, but we aren’t tolerant of our own faults?  Why do we accept abuse from those we love, both mental & physical, why do we allow and forgive adultery, why do we allow those we love to suffer from alcoholism & drug abuse?  But we can’t find the tolerance, love and acceptance for ourselves?  Why do we accept the judicial system or the politicians, to do what they are supposed to, when over and over and over again they’ve proven not to do their jobs? Why do we accept that, but we won’t forgive ourselves when we make the same mistakes over and over again?  Why have individuals stopped thinking for and about themselves and caring for themselves so very little?  The rest of the world has told us, “You must be accepting of US, even things & people you may not agree with.  Everything we do outside of the “norm”, you must accept.”  The funny thing is, we do!  And we’re losing ourselves – sacrificing ourselves, what’s important to us, and our principles, in doing so.

For some strange reason, we no longer focus on loving ourselves – we focus on loving the differences in others, we no longer strive to accept what we as individuals want, but what society wants as a whole (which may not even be beneficial to us).  The outside forces us to find all the things we may not agree with and accept them, instead of finding things that we individually find important and focusing on the love and acceptance for…dare I say, “God’s children”.

I am in no way talking about self-absorption, vanity or being a selfish ass, I’m simply talking about realizing your own value, your own worth, evaluating who you are important to and loving yourself enough to take care of yourself and stand up for what you believe in.  I’m not saying if you’re a drug abuser yourself or if you’re in an adulterous relationship that you love and accept those traits about yourself, but what I am saying is, to make YOUR life complete, you must love, value and accept yourself.  Strive to be a better person if you’re not the person you want to be, find your value.  It’s so much more important that anyone makes it out to be.  Love yourself and the rest will come.  Treat yourself properly and others will to.  Don’t put up with the bullshit, the intolerance and the abuse.  Value yourself, love yourself.  Stop being so accepting to those that don’t accept you, stop accepting what you don’t want in your life, stop allowing your principles to be stolen from you.  This goes for family, friends, acquaintances, classmates, people you do business with, if you are not treated and loved properly, valued and accepted by the people in your life, start demanding those things from them and if you still don’t receive it, say goodbye.

Today, calibrate your own moral compass.  Determine why you don’t accept yourself for who you are, change those things you don’t accept.  Take an inventory of the people in your life, who accepts and loves you as you are, who helps you obtain your goals to be the person you want to be?  Who supports your principles?  Love those people, in turn, love yourself, don’t let them down.

Don’t accept less of yourself or those around you – demand more, don’t give less of yourself or allow those around you to give less –  demand more, give more, don’t strive for less from yourself or those around you – strive for more.  Don’t devalue and degrade yourself!  You are your most important asset, without you, there would be nothing.  Don’t lessen yourself to those who may think that you are “the bomb”, it’s offensive to them and it’s unacceptable.

Consider what you do, what you will and what you can accept, consider what you don’t, what you won’t or what you can’t accept and speak up for both.  Don’t succumb, be strong, find your value, demand acceptance from yourself.  I promise you, you are worth it.

Posted in Food

Grilled Flank Steak with Corn & Bacon Salad

I picked up Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 Cookbook at the grocery store the other day.  I was flipping through it and it just so happened I had purchased a flank steak recently!  Perfect timing to find this recipe!  I fired up the grill and off I went!

Grilled Flank Steak with Corn & Bacon Salad

2 lbs. flank steak
Kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
4 T. olive oil
1/2 lb. thick cut bacon, diced
4 ears of sweet corn, kernels cut from the cobs (about 3 cups)
Pinch of red pepper flakes
2 T. sherry vinegar
2 cups loosely packed arugula
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium high heat.  Season the steak on both sides with salt and black pepper.  Drizzle with 3 T. of olive oil, put on the grill and cover.  Cover and cook until nicely charred and the meat releases from the grill, about 3 minutes.  Flip and cook until medium-rare about 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, put a large skillet over medium high heat.  Add the remaining 1 T. olive oil and bacon, cook until almost crisp, about 2 minutes.  Don’t drain the fat.  Add the corn and cook for 2 minutes.  Add the red pepper flakes and 1/2 cup water and deglaze the pan, scraping with a wooden spoon to get up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan.  Stir in vinegar.  Taste and adjust seasoning, adding salt & pepper as needed.

Remove steak and slice against grain.  Top with corn and bacon, arugula and onion and serve.

(I cooked the flank steak perfectly on the grill, it was so tender and juicy.  I didn’t use olive oil, I only used 1 T. light butter when I cooked the bacon, simply to cut the fat content.  I didn’t have any sherry vinegar so I used red wine vinegar instead, I thought it was tasty, and I didn’t add the arugula.  The only thing I would do differently is I would drain the fat from the bacon, it just created too much fat for me.)

Definitely a keeper!  Thanks Michael!

Find Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 here!

Posted in Blog, Entertainment, Self

Self-Help Book Recommendation

52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life by Andrea Owen

I really, really enjoyed this book – I read it in two sittings.  I loved the frank talk and so much of the book I could relate to!  A lot of it sounds sooo familiar!

I’ve been on a “me” kick the past year and a half and this book was another guide to help myself become a better me.  I recommend it to anyone that’s working on some self discovery or self healing.

Here are a few “kick ass” ways she’s listed:

4.  Uncover Your Personal Values

14.  Shut Up and Listen

24.  Ditch the Drama Addiction

41.  Never, Ever, Ever Apologize for Who You Are

All great advice!

Happy Reading!

Posted in Home, Photography

The Wren Is In


I can not even begin to tell you how excited I am!! Today’s been one of those days that I have just wanted to curl up and sleep – and did, on the couch with my head in BH’s lap.  I woke up at 3:30 a.m. and of course, picked up my cell phone and then couldn’t go back to sleep.

The entire day so far has been spent eating, watching T.V. and being lazy. We did somehow manage to drive to Home Depot to pick out some paint and countertop samples, which for me is always exciting when the prospect of making our home nicer comes along!

A few minutes ago, I was standing in our mud room trying to match the paint to the counter sample I liked, I opened the blinds to the back door.

Finally, after 5 years of thinking I’d never be fortunate enough to have another voyeuristic relationship with a wren like I did in Maryland – there she was. Right there in that half dead tree that I just mentioned cutting down and replacing, in that birdhouse that’s been hanging there vacant. I couldn’t be more excited. I can’t wait until we have babies!

Wrens are, without question, some of the most awesome little birds.  They are unmistakable in the way they move, sound and parent.  They are so much fun to watch.  If you are lucky enough to have one around, take some time to study them.  They really are some of nature’s best!  Here are a couple photos I took.  She was so excited working on her soon to be nest.  She flew up on top of the house and started singing.  I’m guessing I’ll be hanging on to this half dead tree a while longer.


Posted in Food

Saturday Snacking

King’s Hawaiian Ham & Swiss Slider

24 Slices of deli honey ham (I used Cure 81 sliced ham)
6 Slices of swiss cheese, cut into fourths (I used Sargento reduced fat thin)
1/3 cup Mayonnaise (I used Hellman’s light)
1 tablespoon Poppy seeds
1 1/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 cup Butter melted (I used Land O’Lakes light)
1 tablespoon Onion Powder
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
2 packages (12 count) King’s Hawaiian Original Sweet Dinner Rolls

Cut rolls in half and spread mayo onto 1 side of the rolls. Place a slice or two of ham and slice of swiss cheese in roll. Replace the top of the rolls and bunch them closely together into a baking dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together poppy seeds, dijon mustard, melted butter, onion powder and worcestershire sauce.

Pour sauce over the rolls, just covering the tops. Cover with foil and let sit for 10 minutes.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese is melted. Uncover and cook for additional 2 minutes until tops are slightly browned and crisp. Serve warm.

These were really good!!

Posted in Blog, News

Mom of the Year? Uhhh, no.


I saw this post on Facebook today and although I had a bit of a different take, the general sentiment was the same.  It’s nice to see that I’m not the only one.

I must say, I have to agree with Paula Bolyard when she writes: “…I realize that families are under siege in cities like Baltimore and there are few things harder than being a single mother raising a teenage boy in the inner city. Good parenting doesn’t come naturally and parents who didn’t have good role models growing up have few tools at their disposal. I suspect Toya Graham is doing the best she can in a really tough situation and she was probably terrified to see her son out in the street, knowing all too well what might happen to him. Her reaction is perfectly understandable. I’m not passing judgment on her — I haven’t walked in her shoes and I don’t know anything about her life save for a minute-long YouTube video. I’m just saying we shouldn’t be celebrating a parent losing her cool with her kid and the incident most certainly shouldn’t be propped up as the model of great parenting.”  

Yes, exactly.  I am certainly not passing judgement here either, I can only imagine what my feelings would be if I were in Ms. Graham’s situation.  I think she should be commended for caring and taking steps to fix one situation, but for her handling it and the public’s reaction to it, uh, not so much.  

One thing that no one seems to be considering is the original reason we now even know Ms. Graham, respect for the human race perhaps?  It’s fine and even commended, for a mother to slap her child in front of millions of people, but anger erupts at even the thought of a young man supposedly abused by the hands of others?  Does anyone see the correlation?

You know the metaphor about broken windows?  If you have an abandoned building and one window is broken by a throw of a rock, and no one fixes it, more than likely there will be more rocks thrown and more broken windows, because if you don’t care why should they?  Same with children.  You must take care and fix the window as to promote care and concern, not more destruction.