Defining Willingness

If you were to take measure of your life in this moment, how would you rate your overall sense of well being? On a scale of ten, I’d easily give myself a two. That’s to say there are more things wrong with me than there are right. I’ve shut down, I disengaged, and I’m struggling with getting back to humanity.

All the self-help, self-care, self-love books and apps out there talk about taking a moment to define with you are willing or unwilling to do. I think that’s a good place as any to start.

I’m no longer willing to mask my unhappiness. Period.

I’m willing to put in the effort to swim one mile by going to the gym to swim at least 3 times a week.

I’m not willing to allow other people’s feelings to usurp my own.

I’m willing to volunteer. I’m reaching out to two organizations to volunteer my time on a regular basis.

I’m not willing to allow fear of failure or fear of success to dictate my writing.

I’m willing to write every day, even if its no more than a paragraph.

I’m not willing to damage my body by eating foods I cannot have.

I’m willing to forgive myself when I do.

I’m unwilling to live in ignorance of faith or spirituality

I’m willing to go to church to learn.

I’m not willing to allow the well meaning enablers in my life to disrupt what I’m trying to achieve.

I’m willing to find routines that allow me the best chance of living healthier.

I’m unwilling to go another day without building a circle of friends.

I’m willing to engage and participate in their worlds.

I wrote out this list because I have to fix what is hindering myself in this life.

On this path, I accept that I may walk alone. That other people’s goals aren’t aligned with my own. I cannot spend every week planning on getting better, planning to do more, creating diagrams and charts that will lock me in analysis paralysis.

I’m willing to rejoin humanity and I’m unwilling to allow anyone to stand in my way.

With peace and love,

Kristy

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Discover Kinston

Today I walked around all the shops that I’ve been driving past since moving to Kinston. The first place we stopped was Leah’s Treasures on North St. If you haven’t been to this shop, it’s highly recommended that you stop in and explore. Local artists and craftsman have created wonderful pieces of jewelry to look at, as well as other little trinkets and treasures you won’t be able to find at your local Walmart.

Then we explored an Art Gallery about a block away. While I’m not usually a fan of art, as I rarely understand it, I found myself drawn to a painting. I can’t remember if it was called Mother Nature or if it just reminded me of it, but it was thought provoking.

The next jaunt on our little excursion was to Serenite Modern Apothecary, which is where I spend time at during the week. They were having specials, including BOGO sales. If you know me at all, you know that I live for BOGOs.

We stopped and had lunch at Hawk’s Cafe and General Store. The four of us took an exceptionally long time deciding what we wanted for lunch, but the patient woman that waited on us didn’t seem to mind. Two of us had burgers, and they both raved about them. My daughter had a pulled pork sandwich, and then I had a grits bowl, which wasn’t on their menu, but they made better than I do, and I’ve been making it for over twenty-five years.

I wasn’t born in North Carolina, but I fell in love with grits when I was a child. But I have to mix my food, because I’m weird. So, my favorite breakfast is a warm bowl of creamy, buttery, cheesy grits, with bacon and sausage crumped up and mixed in. I normally order side items and then mix it myself once it’s brought to the table.

Imagine my surprise when they brought me an already mixed bowl, and it even had mushrooms in it. While weird, really gave it something extra that made me fall in love with the little cafe. I will be there again, very soon.

After lunch we went to the CSS Neuse Civil War Museum. I’d been hesitant to go there, because in the south, Civil War museums have been know to glorify slavery, and usually portray women in a light that the modern day gal will find insulting. However, I have to say, it’s factually driven, and not emotionally driven. There is a confederate flag on the wall, but for historical purposes, and not glorifying the reasons for succession.

I had an article due, so I had to go home and write it. I just tried sweet potato butter from Leah’s Treasures, and while I didn’t love it, it wasn’t awful. I’d of liked it more if it was more paste like, and less liquid like I think. That’s all for now, I’ll upload pictures later.

Xoxo

Kristy

Finding God – Volume 1

I struggle with the world absolute. I find that nothing on this planet is absolute. The sun will always rise, until it doesn’t. Eventually our Sun will burn out as all stars do, and it will no longer rise. We will have air to breathe, until we do something stupid as a species and no longer have our protective barrier that separates us from the damaging sunlight. Time has a way of changing everything; from thoughts to perspective.

If you would have asked me at 9 years old, if I believed in God, I’d of probably told you that I didn’t know. I wasn’t raised in church, and I had a pretty unorthodox childhood. God just wasn’t someone I knew too much about. Occasionally we went to church for free food, but it was never something we went to regularly. My parents decided that we would discover religion on our own.

Boy did I. I discovered that organized religion was the reason every war was fought, and entire groups of people used it to subjugate another group of people. Over and over, in every area of the globe, people were fighting in the name of their God.

It took me becoming a grandparent to understand religion. I watch my daughter parent her two children, and I see how what is taught, is absorbed differently than the intent with which it was given. To put plainly, I see my daughter taking the life lessons I’ve taught her and putting her own unique spin on things. While I don’t often agree with how things happen in the moment, I must acknowledge that they are effective.

I’m currently reading a book that has alluded to a process in which the books of the Bible were arranged, and how they were compiled. This one tidbit of information changed how I looked at the Bible.

Prior to reading this book, I’d always just kind of assumed that men wrote this book to have something to point to when they need a new reason to make someone a slave, or blow something up. It’s a very sexist point of view, but it’s mine, so there it is. Women use the book to attempt to make some sense of the oppressed place they hold throughout the world.

What I truly, truly couldn’t understand about religion is how humans who can trace their ancestry back to slavery could follow a religion forced upon them hundreds of years ago when they didn’t have a choice but to follow it.

That has always stuck with me. What would cause a large group of people to follow a religion shared by those who oppressed them.

It’s easy to seek God when you’re life has fallen apart. When you are hopeless, and at the end of your rope, it’s easy. It’s hard when you’re flying high. Then I went to church.

It wasn’t life altering, or even faith-affirming, but I understood it. When the pastor spoke, I ‘got’ what he was saying. It made sense. It didn’t feel like hypocritical nonsense just listening to it.

So then I wanted to learn why this pastor spoke so differently than the others, but gave the same message. I wanted to find the peace in myself that the people who go to that church seem to experience. Life is hard, but its easier knowing that this isn’t all there is.

My name is Kristy Denice Bock, and I believe in God. I believe Jesus Christ walked this earth, was crucified, and arose after three days. I still struggle with religion.

I’m trying to read both the Bible, and books about the Bible so I understand what I’m reading. Last night I read Matthews Chapters 1-10. At first I couldn’t get past all the platitudes Jesus used when he spoke. Then I looked at it again from the perspective of an editor, and accepted that he probably said tons of other things, but they were inconsequential and were left out for the sake of time. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it settled my mind.

So here I am, on a spiritual journey, to find out if I can join a church, while still really feeling animosity toward religion because of the deaths attributed to its followers, and force myself to give 10% of my paycheck up each week. I don’t know how I feel about tithing. Baby steps today. We’ll work that all out another day.

Xoxo

Kristy

Discover Kinston – Volume 1 – The recap

We had our first adventure!

So we got together and came up with a game plan on what we’d do for our first adventure. We had it all mapped out.

Except for one thing… What happens when you get men, women, and children together? Time ran away from us.

To start, let me first talk about the Ellis Health and Science Planetarium. What a cool little place. I can tell you that it is an under utilized resource in this community. Picture this if you will… twelve children, most elementary age, sitting quietly and staring at the ceiling learning about the stars. This is what happened! For over thirty minutes, the children were actively engaged and had intelligent follow up questions.

As a mother of four, and a former pre-school caregiver, I can assure you, that doesn’t happen in most settings. While it did bother me that the children were discouraged from asking questions, they themselves didn’t seem to mind. It’s easy to get offended for someone else, but if they’re not offended, I will zip my lip and mind my business.

After we played and explored, we finally decided it was time for lunch. Google needs to get its mess together because Mad Hatter closed at 3pm on Sundays, and we were not able to go there. This made me sad because it’s Alice in Wonderland themed. Also, Hunter really wanted a Reuben. So instead we went to Sugar Hill Pizza, directly across the street.

The set-up is more of a dine and dish than a sit down restaurant, though they have tables. There were 7 of us, and we had 2 menus. We were all pretty relaxed so it wasn’t a problem, just felt it was noteworthy.

Any perceived lack I saw was remedied when they made two grilled cheese sandwiches, an item not even on their menu, for a nine year old autistic young man who really wanted grilled cheese! Their food is wonderful. Everyone seemed to really enjoy it, and we had a wide variety of items. We will most definitely go here again.

After that we wrapped up because the Planetarium wore us out! Also, I didn’t steal the tortoise, even though I really wanted it!!!!

Our Volume 1 was a success and I’m actively planning our day 2 event!

Xoxo

Kristy

Discover Kinston – Volume 1 – The Morning!

I have this love hate relationship with Sunday mornings. On one hand, it’s the weekend and I should be happily in bed until at least noon. Of course, that might have happened twenty years ago, but sadly, not anymore. Now my eyes pop open and my brain says coffee. Once the thought of coffee has infiltrated my brain, sleep is out.

What I drink barely even resembles coffee. I’m so extra. Every morning I drink a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of ghee, a tablespoon of coconut oil, and unsweetened almond milk/coconut milk creamer blended until it has foam. I found the recipe on Pinterest, they called it bulletproof coffee, so that’s what I call it. Though, to be honest, sometimes I don’t have all those ingredients, so its coffee – butter – sugar free creamer.

This is a church morning. It takes a lot for me to build up to going to church. I feel like such a hypocrite for just walking into the doors. It’s not God I doubt, or even question, but religion. I blame religion and its followers for every major act of atrocity this globe has ever seen. Wars, famine, chaos… in the name of religion. But that’s not what this blog is about.

So moving on, I have had my coffee and breakfast, and I’m searching for my bible. Which of course, is at the shop where I take it to read. Well, good thing there are bible phone apps! I’ll spend the next hour trying to figure out what I want to wear, vs what I think I look best in. The two are rarely the same items. Then I’ll debate for about 25 minutes on whether or not I have time to fix my hair. I never give myself enough time to fix my hair, and it never stays fixed anyway, so I’ll probably just leave it alone.

By the time church is over, my daughter should be at my house in preparation for our adventure. I’m excited to be doing this for a few reasons, but primarily it’s selfish. I want to lead a life where I’m not living in mental seclusion. I want more from life than I have right now, and I’m not longer willing to sit idly by and wait for it.

Hunter is going, so there will be plenty of pictures for todays festivities. She’s the only reason I ever have pictures. It just doesn’t occur to me to take them, most of the time. I’m already thinking of a plan for our next Discover Kinston adventure. It will be so much easier when the weather is warmer. I’m excited about the water park, and just the nature parks that are all around Kinston.

This is my new life. I’m choosing where I want it to go, and I how I want to live it. I’m choosing to find God, discover the city I now live in, and be the person I’ve always wanted to be. Thank you for taking these journeys with me.

Xoxo

Kristy

Discover Kinston – Updates

Today as I watch from a storefront window on North Street, I find myself people gazing as the afternoon has slowed down.

“Kinston is rough.” This is one of the more polite phrases that were used when I discussed moving to Kinston with friends and family. As I watch people in green preparing for St. Patrick’s Day festivities, I’m genuinely curious what they mean by rough.

“Kinston is dangerous.” Tell that to the 50 or so people I’ve watched mosey from shop to shop as they partake in the abundance of small businesses that make up Kinston’s shopping district. They didn’t appear to be at all threatened by the big bad city.

“Kinston has gangs.” Please tell me a city in the US that doesn’t have gangs. You know what gangs have in them? People. You know who shops in Kinston? People. For such a dangerous place, I can’t tell you how many wonderful people I’ve met in the month I’ve been here. The diversity is beautiful. I don’t just mean ethnicity or race, I mean diversity of life.

Outside my window is a vegetable garden that is photographed by different people every day. There are blue lights that sparkle when the sun goes down laminates the path of people walking from the Brewery to the Boiler room. It’s pretty awesome to see. As they walk from dawn till dusk, I cannot imagine fear plays any factor at all in their decision to spend their money where they want to.

And they want to spend it in Kinston.

This week alone I’ve met folks from Raleigh, South Carolina, California, Rhode Island, and one of the M states. I honestly can’t remember which one. Anyway, they all came to Kinston because they heard about a great restaurant or store.

Yet, I’m from a town 45 minutes away, and was frequently warned about the catastrophic nature of where I moved to.

I live beside a park that has a ball field, a playground for kids, and a community center. Oh, and a pool. I drive past another community park/pool place on my 6 minute drive to the apothecary. It’s very hard to not see a community park in any direction you go in Kinston.

Let me tell you my favorite part. So I’m cheap. Like SUPER cheap. I’d rather buy something used than new, I’d rather shop thrift stores than Walmart. I love marked down sales. I’m a glutton for off brand items.

Kinston is like my dream town. There is a Roses, a Dollar Tree, a Family Dollar, and a Piggly Wiggly in the same shopping plaza. There’s also a Dollar General at the end of that street. It’s the Kinston Plaza. You can’t hear them, but in my head, every time I say Kinston Plaza, a chorus of angels sing. I never have to go to Walmart again. (The angels are singing again.)

I’m so excited for our first Discover Kinston adventure. It’s tomorrow. I thought it would just be me and Hunter, but it’s turning into a social event. I made friends ya’ll. (I’d say all on my own, but Gail knew them both first, so Im pretty sure she helped me make friends lol)

So – come to Kinston. Discover it with me. You absolutely won’t regret it. PS. Parking is free in everywhere I’ve seen so far. What city can boast free parking?

Haters will hate, but meanwhile, I’m going to enjoy Kinston.

Xoxo

Kristy

Discover Kinston – The Plan

Yesterday I’d posted about moving to Kinston, and the reaction from my friends. Today I’d like to come up with a game plan to further explore this community. So I have this map of downtown Kinston with the shopping, dining, and attractions highlighted. As Sundays and Mondays are my down days, i’m going to plan a few adventures. I hope you’ll join me on them, but if not, I’m happy to go by myself. I’ll be creating Facebook events for anyone who would like to attend.

So let’s plan our first week, shall we? This will be a plan for March 17th and 18th. Well, I jumped over to Facebook Events, and was unable to locate anything for those days. So much for the easy way! My goal is to come up with 3-4 events, and spend less than $50. As I can spend that on food alone, this is going to be tricky!

science museumFirst up – Ellis Planetarium, Health & Science Museum. From their website: The 5000-square-foot Health & Science Museum features hands-on health and science exhibits and programs. Exhibits include a giant Operation game, a miniature replica of UNC Lenoir Hospital that children can crawl into and play, an underground tunnel that portrays itself as a human blood vessel, a replica of the mouth, stomach, and intestines where you can crawl. While I can’t imagine I’ll be crawling through anything, it sounds fun. Admission is Free, and they’re open on Sunday March 17th between 1pm and 5pm. There is a planetary show at either 2pm or 4pm, which is $1.50 per person. So total cost for 3 people: $4.50.

An alternative option is Exchange Nature Center. Because… Fishing (I don’t have a license though, so boo.). As I am fairly certain my daughter and son will be with me, I’m pretty excited about this. It’s also closed on Monday, apparently everything in Kinston is closed on Mondays.

madhatterI’m thinking lunch should be something fun. The Mad Hatter, on W. North Street is a perfect choice because my daughter Hunter and I are both Alice in Wonderland fans. Also – they have Reubens and French Dip sandwiches. How can you possibly go wrong with that? Also – they’re open on Sunday, so as long as we’re done by 3:30pm, its lunch baby! At about $10 per person for lunch with a drink, this puts me at about $30. (Sheesh, even grown, my kids are expensive.)

Then, after we’ve filled our stomachs, and our minds are brimming with new knowledge, I thought we’d shoot over to Barnet Park and try our hand (or wrist, I guess) at Disc Golf. So, I’ll admit, I tried Disc Golf before, but that was 50 lbs ago, and I’m rather curious if i’m still an absolute train wreck at it. This is also a free activity. (YAY! Still at $34.50)

sisters-bottle-trimI’m pretty excited. Then I thought we’d wind the evening, and our tired bodies down with a mellow activity. Honestly, I plan to drop my not quite 21-year old children at home, and I’ll swing on over to Mother Earth Brewery, if its before 7pm for a beer. I’ll have about $12 bucks left of my goal to spend, and I can’t imagine a better way to end the day.

So there you have it, my first “Explore Kinston” Day. Now to get on Facebook and arrange it officially. I only know two people in Kinston, so i’ll be sure to invite both of them.

Love the community you live in, because only the residents can make it great.

xoxo

Kristy

 

Discovering Kinston

North Street, Kinston NC
My Daily View – North Street, Kinston NC

So life happened and I managed to single handedly implode every avenue of my life in a series of events so mind boggling, that I’m still left wondering what the hell I was thinking. If you know me at all, you know that I very rarely seek out advise. I prefer to live my life by the seat of my pants and pray everything will work out. The praying thing is new, but I’m trying to find spirituality in this crazy life of mine.

Imagine my surprise when the majority of the people I spoke to about where I was moving had visceral reactions. Before I got the full word, Kinston, out of my mouth, an immediate, and non-requested opinion was shared about the downfalls of this fair city.

Let me see if I can remember some. High crime. First of all, I’m from McKeesport. This is usually just a catch-all phrase for poverty. I am poor, therefore while I prefer to live in a low crime area, I can’t afford those, so moving on. Then there was my personal favorite: You can be everyone’s token white friend. Believe it or not, there is a nice diversity to Kinston. I will have you know that I only have like three friends, and none of them live in Kinston, so I’m not a token anything. Though I would be! If you need one, let me know.

The people who have such preconceived notions about a city they’ve probably never been do or perhaps did nothing more than drive though, are missing the point of this city on the verge of rebirth.

Here are some of the great things I’ve discovered about Kinston.

1.) I can’t get lost. – Seriously ya’ll. Every street meets up with these two other streets, and if I can find them, I can find work and home.

2.) The absolute best grocery stores. They might not have fancy stores like Harris Teeter or Krogers, but there is a Piggly Wiggly on every corner, and the one on McLewean street has the best meat section of almost any grocery store.

3.) Though I’m not a member yet, there is a Kinston Community Center with an honest to goodness water park. Seriously. It’s like $65 a month for a family but come-on, how cool is that?

4.) There’s a baseball team called the Woodland Ducks. I’m totally going to a baseball game as soon as I get a little extra $$ together.

5.) The food. So Hunter and I stopped at Sabor Modern Latin Cuisine on North Street, and then I tried a burger from The Boiler Room. Kinston is bad ass when it comes to food. Seriously, it’s better than both Jacksonville and Greenville.

6.) There is a park on every corner. Some of these parks have public pools, but all of them are available to the residents of Kinston. I’ve never seen so many parks that are in such good repair that are actually used by people who live near them.

7.) People mind their own damn business. I have lived here for two weeks, and I’ve met two people. I’m an introvert, this is a beautiful thing. I’m not unfriendly, I just struggle making friends because people. (Yes, people.)

8.) Beer. There’s this absolutely amazing place called Mother Earth Brewery. The beer is good. Like for real good, not Sam Adams good. (If you like Sam Adams, bitch somewhere else, this is my blog)

9.) I work at a Modern Apothecary called Serenity. I get to try the most interesting products. I’m in love with Flower Water. It’s like Febreeze, but with a scent people actually want their clothes or sheets to smell like. Oh, we have CBD products too, which are cool.

Serenity Modern Apothecary, North Street Kinston NC
Serenity Modern Apothecary, Kinston NC

10.) Library!! Museum!! History!! Science!! Art!! This is such a cool place with random pockets of culture in weird old buildings that you simply don’t expect to see weird cool stuff.

I’ve decided that as part of my personal growth, I’ll be exploring Kinston over the next couple of months. I’m going to share my journey with you. Some come see me at Serenity Modern Apothecary, I’m here most days Tue-Sat. Let’s explore Kinston together.

Xoxo

Kristy

Life Transitions

Every day of my life, I plan my life according to four life leeches otherwise known as my children. I did everything in my power to make sure they grew up healthy, stable, and happy.

Then they had the audacity to grow up. They turned into quasy adult humans who feel empowered to make their own decisions and move out.

What the hell is the point to investing time, effort, and thousands upon thousands of dollars on a child if they just turn around and do their own thing? Whoever came up with this plan did not think it through.

My sons are 16 and 17. I just got their knuckles to stop dragging on the floor. Now some other human will benefit from my hard work? Pass. No one but me taught them to chew with their mouths closed.

Don’t even get me started on my daughter’s going up. They make whole life choices without me. Forever choices! They are basically tall toddlers. This should be illegal. I simply do not agree with this #Adulting thing they are doing.

The control freak in me is threatening to burst out the graphs and flow charts to show them the errors of their ways. It is manifesting into a physical need. I must fix their lives!!!

The therapist called it kind of like onset Empty Nest Syndrome. Which is a fancy way of saying, I do not know how to be a human first, mother second. I don’t even know myself.

I guess it’s time to learn. First revelation I learned? I’m really good at public speaking. I don’t get scared or fear the reaction of others. I can rock a room of strangers.

Weird huh? I can’t even walk into a grand opening of a store because I will break out in hives and pass out. But I can tell someone in a economic development planning session that their way of thinking was counter productive defeatism. Who knew I was so quick witted. It takes me 4 hours to decide which restaurant I want to eat at.

Personal growth at it’s finest. lol

Xoxo

Kristy

Pounds of Shame

bmifunnyOn 4/28/2017 I made the conscious decision to make a change in my life. I weighed 283 lbs and struggled with the most basic of activities. I didn’t wear sneakers because I couldn’t bend down to tie them. I didn’t wear tShirts because the sleeve would be too tight around the fat of my arms. I never wore shorts because my thighs ate them.

What’s amazing about this is that I don’t have a self esteem problem. I can strut around naked and have no qualms what so ever, walking around in a bathing suit on a crowded beach. The two did not correlate in my mind. If my fat rolls bothered someone else, it spoke more to their character than mine.

It’s been almost six weeks since I joined WW and I will state that its effective. I’ll even say that 85% of the time I follow it. Especially at work. Weekends are hit or miss because I’m usually out and about with my boyfriend or my children. This usually means that we’ll go out to eat, and most of their favorite restaurants are buffet. An expression I learned in WW was to make sure that it was ‘worthy of my love.’

Pretty sure everything at #1 China is worthy of my love. I’m just saying.

Last night I ventured into the weight room of the gym. I stared at myself in the mirror as I worked on my upper body. I can see the muscle in my arms, and hanging below them was about six inches of hanging skin and fat. It was the first time I’ve ever looked at myself in the mirror and felt something other than comfort. I wanted to cringe, or to hide from it, but really how do you hide from your own body?

I know I’m losing weight because the scale would never dream of lying in a positive manner. (I even checked the scale at the gym, just so both weren’t making up a lighter, fabricated number.) It’s weird because at the end of the day, I’m the one who will make or break this decision.

I bet it’s easier to put on 14 lbs than lose it. Would take less time too.

And for all the memes out there talking about salad is $7 and a burger is $1. Stop buying premade. I made 5 salads out of 1 bundle of spinach, 1 container of strawberries, 1 container of goat cheese, and 1 bottle of raspberry vinaigrette. Total cost: $5, or $1 a salad.

For breakfast I have a protein shake. It’s 1 c. coffee, 3/4 c. Unsweetened Vanilla Almond Milk, 1 med. banana, 1 scoop chocolate protein, and 1 c. ice. (Since i need sweet in my life, I add 2 splenda. )

Snacks throughout the day include celery and hummus, tangerines, unsweetened apple sauce, and Tuna Creations (Packets of tuna with flavors like lemon pepper, and ranch).

Dinner I’m still working on a balance. If I go to the gym that day, I’m pretty sure I can eat half a cow afterwards. Yesterday I stopped at Checkers and had a burger and a diet coke. The burger was 22 points.

That’s over half my day’s points.

For a burger.

But it was totally worth my love.

xoxo

Kristy