In the last month of 2012, I didn’t even get around to sending Christmas cards. I like to write fun letters about the last year and send to family and friends. But this year was not the best of years to look back on. Too many loved ones’ lives were cut short, and it would bring me to tears thinking about it. So instead of writing about what has happened, I want to write about the year ahead.
I have many different goals and dreams for 2013.marylyn
Of course there are the typical resolutions of living healthier, and more organized….etc. But I also just want to better myself and my family. I realize not everything I hope for will happen, but it’s worth a shot.
My goal is to wake up each morning and realize that this can be a new begining. Move on from yesterday’s troubles, and make the best of what I have moving forward. Too many times I get wrapped up in the problems of the day, and don’t focus on the simple, wonderful things I experience each day. Even if it is just meeting a new person, going to lunch with a friend, or seeing my husband when he gets home. Those simple things that can put such a smile on my face. It’s those things I want to charish more often. I take too much for granted.
So get ready 2013 — I’m hoping to make the best of each day you give me.

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I love finding great deals and bargains. I really needed a warm coat heading into the winter months.  We all know coats can be mighty pricey, so I decided to stop in at ReFind in downtown Kearney.  They had coats all over the store!! 
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That is where I fell in love with this furry collared coat.  My husband likes to make fun of it, but I LOVE IT!!!  It was a little more than I wanted to pay.  I paid $75.  BUT…when I stuck my hand in the pocket, I pulled out the original tag.  It was originally priced at $375! coat 2
My number one shopping tip for today:  When shopping for coats in consignment stores.  Don’t underestimate how they look.  How it hangs in the store may not do it justice.  It doesn’t hurt to try it on! I saw one that was a mix of fur and leather. It was actually raccoon fur! I thought there is no way it would look good… but it did! I didn’t get that one because it was a little snug. ReFind is along Central Ave. in downtown Kearney. Let me know the great deals you find too!! </p

Sparkle, glamor, cookie-cutter speeches, fake smiles, plastic – that is what some perceive pageants to be like.  When I was asked to be a judge for the Miss Crane Festival, and Outstanding Teen competition, I was honored.  But I was also thinking to myself, “What am I getting into?”

This is the dress I wore for the evening judging. i was able to find a dress at ReFind for 12 bucks, and added a few pieces to it. (that will be in a future blog) 🙂

I’m more of a down-to-earth get my hands dirty-rather than get dolled-up type of person.   I’m not near as much of a tom-boy as I used to be, but I’ve never ever considered entering the pageant world.  Boy did my eyes open up to what opportunities pageants offer young women.

Right away, contestants stood in front of us judges as we fired off questions.  Each girl has a platform, or a cause that they want to bring awareness to.  It’s not easy for everyone to speak in front of people.  Each girl was able to overcome the intimidation, and find some inner-strength to talk about what they believe in.  (FYI I did answer my husband’s question–not one of them said “World Peace” for an answer) There are some amazing young women out there, who have such strong causes they want to get behind.   You could see the passion.  I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know each and every one of them.

The rest of the night, I was able to see how each girl handled themselves in different situations.   How they walked and handled an evening gown, see talent showcased on stage, and watch as they engage the audience.  Sure there was a lot of bling, glam, and smiles–but these ladies also revealed what was behind all that glitz during the competition.

This is an experience that opened my eyes.  It’s more than what you see on TV and in those reality shows.  It’s what each competitor makes of it and how they take in the experience.

The one with the crown at the end was not the only winner.   These young women were able to speak-up and get a voice when in this competition.  This was also a scholarship opportunity and now they have something they can add to their resume.   Each young lady was able to walk away saying, “I did it!”

I was able to walk away saying to myself, “This pageant thing isn’t all that I originally thought it was. ”  Being involved was an honor, and I will cherish this experience.

 

I’m back home spending time with family and preparing for my uncle’s funeral.  A man I recognized, but couldn’t quite remember his name, said to me,  “Your uncle was such a good guy… your parents are wonderful people too.  Your grandfather, he was a great man.”

There were a couple older gentlemen at the table that all nodded as he spoke.  I listen and smile as they proceed to tell stories from the past.  It really started to click as to just how lucky I am to have the family I do.

My uncle was a person that made sure you understood things would be alright, no matter what the situation.  I was sitting on a horse bareback one time.  She started shaking… (kind of like how dogs do when they get wet).  I was only about 4 years old, so I wasn’t able to hold on very well.

My feet couldn’t reach the stirrups in my first horse show. So, my uncle led Goldie out in the ring for me.

My tailbone smacked the hard Kansas ground.  More embarrassed than hurt, I started to cry.  He made sure to tell me it was OK, and I was able to get back up on the horse.

When tragedy happens, it’s memories that can sometimes help heal.  No matter how many years it’s been, or miles you’ve been apart… family shows up just when needed.  I have a great family on both my mother’s side, my dad’s side, and I married into a great family too.

My parents with my aunts and uncles from my dad’s side of the family. Uncle David is in the middle back.

Sometimes, it’s easy to just go through the everyday routine of life, and not really realize the power of family.  It’s easy to become complacent.  I realize this week, no matter what– the love of my family is tough to break.

I’m going to make an effort to keep in touch with my family.  I get too wrapped up in work, and my own goals.  Once a month, I’m going to sit down and reach out to them.  Whether it’s a letter, a phone call, a facebook post.

No matter who you consider family, it may not be a bad idea to reach out to them from time to time.  Because when it comes down to it, we may not be able to choose what family we are born into, but they can be a rock to lean on when you need it most.  The love we have for each other is binding.  I am blessed.  Love you all.

Today’s Friday Find is the jacket I’m wearing in this picture. It was originally $70 and I paid $17.

I shopped at a consignment store. Not only was it a great deal for a well made jacket, it still had the original tags on it.  Image I found this at Refind, where I’ve found many items in my wardrobe.  My number one rule when it comes to consignment shopping is to keep an open mind. Don’t be afraid to try something on.

Also, I’ve noticed that it’s good not to walk in looking for something specific.  Browse around, enjoy it, and the bargains will come.  I walked in this time thinking I would find a winter coat I would like, and I found this  instead!

“What if no one likes me?”–“What if I’m not good enough”—“What if I can’t finish?”… questions that run through my mind as I debated on running in my first 5K.  Those very questions held me back for a long time.  Then… a co-worker invited me to join her in the Race for the Cure.

BOOM!  The cannon fires… (it scared me–and we laughed for the first half mile)–and we were off!  I had a blast.

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Sometimes, I am my own worst enemy.  I can’t tell you how many times those questions up above held me back.  In high school… I always worried about what others thought of me.  In college, I avoided doing much in front of the camera because I worried about whether I would be good enough.

At some point–I had to realize that the people that love me, will love me even if I fail.  Now, if there is a challenge on the table, I will pick what I think is the most difficult–just to prove to myself that I can do it.  I pushed those questions and worries aside when I started training for martial arts.  I picked up the nun chucks because they seemed the most difficult to learn.  Now, I have a black belt and I wouldn’t take back that experience for the world.  Image

Whatever challenge you face, step back and think about what is stopping you.  There are probably a mountain of things… but just make sure it’s not you–yourself– holding you back.  Because you may hold more potential than you think.

Each week, I feature someone who fights against the odds.  There are some incredible people living among us.  That incredible person could be you–don’t underestimate what you can do.  If you have an idea of someone you think is an inspiration–someone who overcomes odds.  Let me know, and we can share their story.Image

Ready to Race

Cooking-Up Courage: Behind the News Desk.

Demolishing an old building and pulling old posts from the hard earth, I then climb out of the Bobcat machine.  My father in-law’s best friends says, “Is there anything you won’t try?”  I  smile, and my husband just shrugs and shakes his head with a big grin on his face.

Every day is a chance to grow, learn, and better yourself.  If it wasn’t for that, I wouldn’t be where I am today.  Looking back, I’ve usually been game to try many things.  (of course there are limits) But I’m willing to undertake an adventure.   Sometimes we are our own worst enemies, and limit our own potential.  Get away from negative thoughts, and wrap your mind around the positives in life.  It makes a difference, and I smile now more because of it.

Finding courage doesn’t have to be a huge adventure.  Just something you normally wouldn’t do.  Try it, and you may surprise yourself.   I recently cooked-up some of my own courage.  A chef on one of our shows on NTV said, “You have all this great Nebraska produce, you can’t mess it up.”   So I went to a farmers market in Kearney.  I came home, put all my finds on the table and decided I’m going to try making up recipes.

Breakfast Bars I created!

So far, he was right!  Nebraska grown veggies make a wonderful stir-fry.  I started liking the idea of knowing where the food we eat comes from.  So I decided to stock my pantry a little better and come up with a breakfast bar that I can make myself and know what’s in it. (the recipe and ingredients are below)

I like to step outside boundaries and see what I can really do.  This helps me progress.  The worse that can happen is failure, but it’s worth the try, and as long as you make it fun–it can be quite a journey.

Here are the ingredients:

  • Honey from the farmers market: the farmer told me the bees mainly fed on alfalfa.  –I thought that was neat to know, and I remember eating alfalfa flowers when we would pick up bales.  So, I knew it had to be good. 🙂
  • Old fashioned rolled oats.  The only ingredient listed on the box is whole gran oats.  Simple right?!
  • Whole Wheat Flour.  This one took some time.    I picked one that said whole white winter wheat…as the only ingredient.  It’s a little more pricey, but I figure it’s going in my body, I will cut back on buying shoes or something else I don’t need.
  • Stevia in the raw – sweetener from a leaf.  I wanted to cut back calories.  I have heard positives and negatives about this, but I decided to try it for myself.
  • Peanut Butter- this is the only ingredient that I just used JIFF.  I didn’t do any extra searching for this one.
  • 1 Egg white

Now, I didn’t really measure anything.  I just guessed until I mixed up a consistency that I liked for bars.  I’m pretty sure I used 2 cups of oats… but a good chunk of them ended up on the floor when I tried to stir them up too fast.  OOPS!
I spread them in a dish and threw them in the oven.  375 for about 15 minutes.
It’s a good idea to cut them into bars… then let them cool before dishing out.  That way they stay together better.

Taste Test:   My husband LOVES them!  My co-worker Roni Lewis liked them too!  Better yet, eat a little bit and it fills you up for a while.  The protein from the peanut butter is great for after a workout.  They are easy to grab and run out the door for work in the morning.

It’s a new favorite in our home!

Cookin-Up courage to make this was well worth it!  Maybe you can cook-up some courage.  Challenge yourself and enjoy what life offers.

Don’t forget–YOU can cook with us on the show!  Let me know if you are interested.  I think many recipes have a story behind them… come cook and share and enjoy hanging out with us at NTV studios!!!  Reply or email me and mbarnett@nebraska.tv  –I’d LOVE to hear from you!

Be sure to watch Good Morning Nebraska on Friday mornings for On the Menu recipes.  Also, Wednesday on NTV News at Noon Lynette cooks up some down home meals.

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One of my first years showing sheep at the county fair.

It feels like butterflies are dancing in my stomach.  I feel like my body is shaking uncontrollably.  Then, I take a deep breath, I think of what I’m about to say, trying not to forget a single word.  I have a rope in one hand, and a sheep in another.  It’s go time.  I stand in front of a crowd of people, a judge sitting to my left.  My mom gives me a nod and I begin my first demonstration on how to make a sheep halter.

I was 6 years old when I gave my first speech.  Public speaking can be very scary.  It was for me that day. But I needed to take that first step, and I’m so happy my parents encouraged me to take 4-H and give that presentation.

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Helping a Clover Kid with his presentation at the Buffalo County Fair.

Now, 25 years later… I was a part of 4-H again.  I helped Clover Kids give presentations on their projects at the Buffalo County Fair.  I was there to help these kids work through those nerves and talk in front of a crowd of people.  Every one of them walked up to me, saw the crowd and talked about their projects.  This is a HUGE first step to gaining confidence.  I was there to make sure the first time they get the courage to stand up and talk was a positive one.

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Showing sheep gave me confidence to stand in front of people and talk to a judge. That’s the same confidence it takes to talk on camera or give speeches.

This is 4-H at it’s finest…. a chance to  gain the courage to show a project and talk to a judge or in front of a crowd.  I was more into the livestock side of things, but no matter what project area you get involved in, that public appearance is an experience to last a lifetime.

Sometimes, the butterflies and shakes still sneak their way back in.  But I have found ways to not let them get the best of me.  Here are some of my tricks:

  1. *Deep breath.  Once I feel those butterflies… sometimes all it takes is a deep breath and I’m ready to go.
  2. *Find Your Happy Place.  If the deep breath isn’t enough.  Think of something that relaxes you.  Some studies show fish tanks in doctor offices help people relax.  So I visualize something that relaxes me.  Like a calm sunset overlooking a pasture.  One time, I carried a small charm my mom gave me. Find what motivates you and gives you strength, and make it work.
  3. *Be Creative.  Having props to back you up can help if you run into trouble.  Plus it engages an audience.  Share stories that are engaging, and stories you know.
  4. *Knowledge.  One time I was starting to get all caught up in how I wrote the speech, that I starting fumbling over the words.  I paused, and told myself, “Just tell them what you know and what you are passionate about.”  I relaxed, and it was one of the best speeches I ever gave.  As long as you know what you are talking about, and if you are passionate about it, that passion will help you move past the nerves and tell your story.
  5. *Outline- create “Speaking Points” -after I write a speech, I go over it several times.  Then I create an outline with cue-words that help me move from one point to another.  My knowledge of the topic should then take over once I see or think of that cue-word.
  6. *No Notes cards.  I used to use them, but I do better without them.  They may make you feel better… but once you memorize those cue-words and practice–you won’t need them.
  7. *Work Around Mistakes with Your Personality.  Mistakes happen, it’s how you handle them that matters.  You mess up a word, re-say it correctly, apologize then move on.  If you go blank, find something you remember and start there… you can always back track.  Whatever you do, don’t give up.  Take your mistake with a smile, and engage the crowd.

If you are passionate about something, maybe it’s something we can talk about on our show!  I’m always looking for topics to talk about and ways to share how to get through life’s challenges.  Let me know, and this can be your chance to let me help you get past your public speaking nerves on Good Morning Nebraska!