Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Who Am I?

     This is the question posed by the 1st prompt of my new writing group called The Blogging Lounge.     Our mission, if we so choose to accept it, is to interpret that question in any form we like.

     So, who am I?  I could answer that with a lot of flowery embellishments that make me sound like something I’m not, or I could be funny and make myself sound like a comedian, but neither is really me.    I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend, Christian and blogger who lives a simple, country life.

     For those of you who followed my blog in the past, this is old news; but, since this is a new blogging group, with new members, I decided to reintroduce myself.   

     Hello, my name is Karen Taylor, Kat for short.  I have been married to a dairy farmer and lived on the same small dairy farm for 41 years.  I am mother to one son and granny to 2 grandchildren.   I have 3 sisters, many nieces and nephews and my 92 year old father lives with my husband and me.   My mother has been deceased for 2½ years.    I am blessed to have a crazy group of girlfriends whom are like family to me.  

     My blog, My View Through Kat Eyes, is my personal journal that I share with anyone who wants to read it.  It is a reflection of my life and documents much of my life journey and experiences, both good and bad.    Anyone who has read my work in the past knows that family and friends, as well as my faith, are the most important treasures of my life.  They are often the subjects of my blog posts (sometimes, much to their chagrin).   

     I also have a second blog, that I hope to resurrect in the near future called Life is a Pain…Misery Optional!.  This blog is where I hope to connect with others, like myself, who suffer with chronic pain from various forms of arthritis and other painful conditions.

     So, who am I?   I enjoy life and all that it offers.  I am very excited to get back to blogging.   I am all the things listed above, and much more.   To really get to know me, you will have to visit my blog often. 

Until next time…

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Mom's Legacy of Love

      My mom was a famous cook.   Maybe not famous in the terms that you think of Paula Deen (whom mom loved!), or Wolfgang Puck; but, she was certainly well known in a particular area of southern Indiana, and a small county in Kentucky.

     Mom spent a major portion of her life cooking in restaurants.  Sometimes it was her own and sometimes she worked for other people.  Either way, she was known for her wonderful home cooking.  

     I can remember sitting down to home cooked family meals as a very young child thinking my mom was the best cook in the whole world.  Every Easter she would make us a chocolate cake in the shape of a lamb, covered with fluffy white frosting and coconut.  Those were special times.
Me & my big sister Jane with our lamb cake

     As I got older, we spent more and more time at the restaurant mom owned called the Mill Inn.  It was the local hangout for all the kids in the evenings and all the coffee drinkers in the mornings.  Everyone, no matter what age, loved mom and her cooking.  

     Mom passed her love of cooking down to her daughters in varying degrees, with all of us inheriting at least part of her skills.  Some of us just enjoy it more than others (there are 4 of us).  To our dismay, some things, no matter how hard we try, never seem to taste like Mother's.

     A couple years ago, my sisters and I decided to record our legacy of cooking for our children.  We decided to write a cookbook.  This book would record mom's best recipes, our recipes and a short family history.  We began and I spent several phone calls collecting information from mom and dad for our history pages.  I am so glad I did.

     Mom will never see the finished product.  She was killed unexpectedly in a car accident on July 7th, 2011.  Since the tragedy, we have struggled to finish the book that we had once been so excited about.  None the less, we are more determined than ever to finish what we started.   It will now be a labor of love, dedicated to the memory of the woman who taught us not only the love of cooking, but simply, how to love.   
     Mom was not only a great cook, she was a great mother and a true friend.  I miss her terribly.  I will always be thankful that she instilled in me not only a love of cooking, but also the importance of family.  That is a legacy that will live on as my sisters and I pass it down to our children.  Mom would be so proud.

Brenda #3, Me #2, Mom, Jane #1, and Tina #4

Until next time...that's my view.


Monday, April 1, 2013

On Hold For Now

Dear Friends and Readers,

      I am so thankful for the amazing people I have met since starting this blog.  I love and appreciate each of you more than you know.    Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way and I find it necessary to take a temporary break from blogging. 

     My 91 year old father hasn't been feeling well and has moved in permanently with my husband and me.  This has required many changes in our household and my routine.  Family always comes first and right now that is where my attention lies.  I will still keep up with many of you through facebook and will try to drop in on your blogs when I can.  

     Thanks for your support.  Please know that each of you have a special place in my heart. 

Until next time....that's my view.

Monday, February 11, 2013

My Eternal Crush - And My Husband Knows!

     This month's GenFab bloghop topic asks us to reveal our celebrity crush.  For anyone who knows me very well, mine is no surprise.  But for those who don't know me as well, it often comes as a shock.  I guess they just don't see me as the groupie type.

     When I was young, I had the usual celebrity crushes for the time period, Paul McCartney, Peter Noon, Robert Redford, and a long list of others.    Then, I grew up, got married and left my teenage celebrity crushes behind me.  That is, until 1984, when  amidst the onslaught of hair bands emerged this little band called Bon Jovi.    Even with his wild hair and tight clothes, there was something special about Jon Bon Jovi.  When their second album came out and I heard, Living on a Prayer, I knew he was the only celebrity worthy of my undying devotion.  
     Over the years, both he and his music have only gotten better.   Like a fine wine, he has aged deliciously, even better looking than he was back then.  And if you have ever watched, and listened to him cradle that microphone when he is singing a love song with that raspy, sexy voice....well, get the picture.

     Okay, so a little harmless fantasy never hurt anyone.  Actually, my husband knows all about my crush and for some reason doesn't feel the least bit threatened.  Go figure.    I guess there isn't much threat since I've never even gotten to see him live in concert and don't see much chance of meeting him in this lifetime.    Thank heavens for videos!

     Okay, I've admitted my celebrity crush; who's yours?

Until next time...that's my view

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Committment to Change

     If you read my last post you know this is my year of change.  I am very excited about making some changes in specific areas of my life.  I am happy to report that slowly, but surely, those changes have begun.  This will be a long journey and one that I am not going to bore you by constantly writing about.  What I will do is occasionally update you with my progress or failure.  I am faithfully committed to this journey and these occasional updates will be my way of holding myself accountable.  

     Since my first two declarations go together (weight loss and exercise), I will call this my getting healthy goal.  On Monday I started Weight Watchers Online and so far have found it very easy to follow.  I love the easy to use points tracker and find myself eating much healthier.  So far I have lost 3.3 lbs so I am very pleased with my progress in this short period of time.  As for the exercise, I am trying to gradually increase my activity.  I have also been trying (and the key word here is trying!) to exercise using my Wii Fit Plus.  If you can imagine a drunk trying to walk a tight rope, you might have a slim idea of what I look like trying to do these games that are supposed to increase my balance and strength.  This machine tells me I am totally unbalanced and have the physical agility of a 71 year old (Ugh!).  Looks like I have a lot of work to baby steps.  All I can say is this is the most hysterical scene imaginable that no one will ever see.  This is definitely "me" time and will not be shared with others!  After all, I have to keep some shred of dignity. 

     My third goal of more Bible study time and becoming more active in women's ministry has begun to be a reality, also.  I am making more quiet time for myself and reading my Bible on a daily basis.  My sister and I attended a Women's Day at a friend's church and brought back several ideas to our own women's group.  We are currently planning a Women's Luncheon at our church and have many more ideas for the future.

      Another way I am getting more involved with women's ministry is through iBloom.  Recently, I was asked to serve as an ambassador to iBloom and was thrilled for the opportunity.  iBloom is a fabulous online community headed by founder, Kelly Thorne Gore and made up of a team of dedicated Christian life coaches.   Their purpose is to empower women all over the world to live a life they love by strengthening their relationship with God while taking stock of their own lives and making small changes.  To help facilitate this, they have published a book titled "iChoose2 Love My Life".  This book is a year long journey with a prompt for each week that encourages you to assess your life and your goals.  This book is non-denominational and works for anyone who wants to improve their life.  It is a great book and I am well on my way to a new and happier attitude.  If you would like to check out iBloom for yourself, and I highly recommend you do, you can click on the iBloom Ambassador icon on the top right side of my blog, or, go to (not com)    I would love for all of you to experience your own journey to living a life you love, and to help one lucky reader do just that I am giving away a copy of the book, "iChoose2 Love My Life".    All you have to do is leave me a comment below on this post.  This is Thursday and I want the winner to get their book asap so I am going to just take entries through Sunday.  You have until midnight Sunday night to enter.  Monday morning I will put the names of everyone who commented in for the drawing and will draw one lucky winner.  

     Another blessing I have received from iBloom is getting to know an amazing group of women.  Besides the team, there are over 100 ambassadors from all over the world.  We connect through facebook parties and online conference calls.  We share both praises and concerns, giving us the opportunity to pray for each other or to offer advice or help.  It is a support group of unbelievable proportions.  I am so blessed.

     As for my last goal, I'm still not sure what path I am going to take to achieve it.  More than ever I feel the need to reach out to others who are not able to lead the lives they would like because of health problems.    I need to do a lot of soul searching and research before I can make a valid effort to move forward.

     That's my progress so far and I am feeling really positive about the outlook for 2013.  If you did read my previous post, I will update you to the fact that I finally got over the bronchitis and my nuclear stress test did not find any problem with my heart!  Yeah!  Praise God!  Don't forget to leave me a comment to win the iBloom book and start your own journey to a happier life.  Good luck to each of you!

Until next time...that's my view.

And, the winner is!



Friday, January 11, 2013

A Year of Change

     Starting a new year is a lot like going to a play you've never heard of; you have absolutely no idea what to expect.    Maybe it will be the greatest love story ever told.  Perhaps it will be filled with drama and suspense.  You hope it will be fun and exciting, without being a comedy of errors.  

     2013 is no exception.  The only difference in the beginning of this year is the difference in my attitude.  Even though I don't usually make new year resolutions, this year I am making what I prefer to call, a new year declaration.   Since starting to blog, I have read, with interest, other bloggers whom, after much thought and prayer, choose one word to define their goals for the coming year.  I thought about this for a long time.   On the surface, it sounds like an easy concept.  It's not.  Not if you take it seriously.  If you take this seriously, you are publicly declaring your commitment to face the unknown year with a predetermined course of action or attitude.  In other words, depending on the one word you have chosen, it could affect your reaction to situations both in your control and out of your control.  I can do this.

     So, like those before me, I gave it much thought and prayer, and decided that the only logical word for me for 2013 was change

     After several years of slacking off and ignoring some health issues in hopes they would go away, which they didn't, it is time for a change.  It is also time that I make some personal decisions and changes in other areas, as well.  I don't expect to make all these changes overnight, but instead plan to make small changes gradually until they eventually become a way of life.

     My first change is writing this post.  I am extremely private when it comes to personal topics such as weight loss, exercising, monitoring my sugar, etc..  I guess I am embarrassed because I am horrible when it comes to taking care of myself.  Maybe if I put it out there in the open it will become more of a priority.  That is my goal, anyway.  So, in the spirit of full disclosure, here is my list of changes to work on for this year.

1.  Lose weight -  This is excruciatingly hard for me.  For health reasons I am not allowed to do any impact exercises.  That makes losing weight nearly impossible.  I have to learn to eat healthier.

2.  Exercise more - Being so limited as to what exercises I can do, it is very easy to make excuses not to do any.  I have to find something that works for me.  And before you suggest water exercises which I know are a great option, it is a 20 mile drive one way to the nearest indoor pool.

3.  Commit more time to Bible study and women's ministries.  I need to strengthen my faith by spending more time reading and studying my Bible.  I also want to help establish more programs for our women's ministry at church.  One resource that is an amazing source of inspiration for this is my association with iBloom.  Serving as an ambassador for them has renewed my excitement in serving others.

4.  Find a way to help other women who live daily with chronic pain, whether it be writing a book, a column, a blog or public speaking.

     Okay, I have just let you in on my most vulnerable dreams and desires.  My prayer is that in doing so I will hold myself more accountable.

     On a final note, I will have to tell you that so far, 2013 has not started out so well.  I have had bronchitis since the day after Christmas and now I am facing another unknown health issue.  I am praying it will turn out to be nothing but won't know until after next week.  I am praying for a positive outcome, but if not, my changes may come a little slower than I had hoped.  Either way, they will come, slow and steady.  I can do this.

Until next time...that's my view.



Sunday, January 6, 2013

Blogger vs Wordpress; Choosing for Dummies



     I am not a techno-savvy geek who keeps up on all the latest gadgets, lingo and electronic breakthroughs.  I am a simple blogger who blogs for the fun of writing.  I love my computer and my cell phone, but easily get over-whelmed by all the latest social media outlets; what's in, what's out, what's hot, what's not; should I tweet, am I squared, maybe I'm a +; is my link in, or maybe I should just bolt!  UGH!!!  Who can keep up!

     That being said, I have read with great interest the recent debates and questions about Blogger versus Wordpress.   These, so called, discussions can get quite heated.  People seem to take one side or the other and are quick to diss the other, claiming true loyalty to their chosen platform.  Having only used Blogger and being very satisfied with it, I became very curious as to why the opinions on the two seem to stir so much controversy.  I set out on a mission to make my own not-so-scientific, but informed opinion and decide for myself if there really is a place for both in this rapidly growing world of bloggers.

     I found no shortage of blog post on this subject.  Afterall, we bloggers are a wordy bunch and ever at the ready to give our opinions.   Many posts were in-depth, filled with technical jargon that only  Bill Gates clones could have understood.  Some leaned more toward the intermediate, slightly geeky, professional, or semi-professional blogger.  Only a few were written in plain english for us homebodies who love to blog just because we can.  No matter what the technical level, the one common thread I found in all was the use of analogies.  What better way to explain or illustrate a point.

     Finally, my research has come to an end and I am ready to astound you with this common person's conclusion on the Blogger versus Wordpress controversy.  Are you ready for this?

Both Blogger and Wordpress have a useful and necessary place in the blogging arena!

     To demonstrate my point, I, too, have an analogy.  For any male readers out there, I apologize.  This analogy is geared more toward the female blogger.  What female doesn't understand a new purse?

     Just imagine you are Anne Hathaway's character in the movie The Devil Wears Prada.  You have two events to attend and you are trying to decide which of your 2 favorite purses is the correct one for each event.    The first purse is the brown leather slouch bag that your sister gave you for your birthday.  It is so comfortable and roomy and you especially love it because it didn't cost you a penny.  The second purse is the Gucci that you bought for your first work related cocktail party.  Both have a place and a purpose, both hold your essentials, so, how do you decide which is the proper one for each event?

     First event:  A work related, black tie social, attended by famous people and prospective clients.  Both purses match her dress color, but which purse will complete her high-society, designer persona necessary to keep her job, and her income?  Of course, only the Gucci fits in this situation.

     Second event:  Meeting her friends for dinner and laughs at the local bar, casual, informal, very layed-back.   Her purse is important to her but not really necessary to impress anyone else as far as making or breaking her career.  Of course only the comfortable brown bag for this situation.

     Okay, you may be asking yourself, what do purses have to do with blogging?  Here's the way I see it.  If you intend to make blogging into a career with a steady income, write for a news source or organization with specific content or syndication; or, even if you just want the extra freedom and security of self-hosting and can afford the cost, then, by all means, go for the Gucci of blogging platforms (Wordpress).  Just be sure you go with the paid self-hosting as opposed to the free Wordpress.    

     On the other hand, if you are a blogging for fun but it doesn't make me any money blogger like me, the comfortable ease of Blogger is perfect.  With the exception of a few sponsored post that I wrote for companies through an online blogger advertising website, my blog does not make me a dime.  I cannot afford to pay the fees and costs of a self-hosted site just to write for a hobby.  I did splurge on buying my domain name through blogger, but that is the extent of what I can reasonably pay to write for fun.   

      Blogging as a career is a thriving, exciting, growing and fast-paced path.  It is not for all of us.  Many bloggers in this confusing online world are like me and just want an outlet for our writing.  We want to make a few new friends who relate to the things that are important to us.   Because of health, or other personal reasons, we are no longer active in the business world and we are not looking to climb the career ladder.  We are still an important voice that deserves to be heard.  Like both Blogger and Wordpress, there is a useful and necessary place for all of us.

Until next time...that's my view.