Friday, July 25, 2014
It has been a looooooooooooooooooooooooongggggggggg week and the chaos is about ready to begin in earnest.
Yesterday my son and I left the house at 5:30 a.m. to head to his 3 doctor's appointments. He had EMG. EEG, CTScan, and surgeon appointment. Net result is that he needs to have injections before they will cover the surgery that both he and the surgeon agree will NEED sooner or later especially since he is in constant pain BUT that insurance seems to think are necessary to check off before they pay for the surgery.
At around 2:00 we got out of the hospital and went to linner - that magical combination of lunch and dinner - went to Golden Corral. Both Ed and I love veggies and GC normally has some of the best. They had a GREAT variety but every vegetable was overcooked, gray and soggy - YUCK. The 2 forms of squash, Brussels sprouts, 3 types of cabbage, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, peas, carrots, green beans, etc. ALL YUCKY. Couldn't eat any of them. So, when that plan failed, we hit the other stuff, some salad stuff but even that not the greatest. Got wonderful yummy pot roast, chicken breast, and then hit the desserts. Took about two bites total before I realized that even they weren't that great either. We won't discuss the ROLLS - YUMMMMMMMMM. Overall linner wasn't very satisfactory but we drank water and headed out toward home.
We stopped at about a million stores, bought groceries, picked up some necessities here and there and meandered toward home. I found a new swimsuit at a reasonable price and Ed found some socks, and a few other things. We refilled the gas tank at the station about an hour from home because the price was 15 cents less than at home. Went to the library and picked up a bunch of books by the wonderful mystery writer James Patterson. He is prolific and I have read a few in the past but this summer have read about a thousand of them that I hadn't read before.
Finally, at about 8:00 p,m. we arrived home. I had a phone call from my sil asking why I hadn't responded to the invitation to her daughter's shower. I pointed out that I hadn't received the invitation, or more accurately, I had received a brief invite that said, shower Lauren's house July 26 and then immeditately got another message saying CANCEL previous message. I assumed that I would hear more later especially since I don't even KNOW Lauren. Well, I somehow got left off the informational list and so never planned for it. So, I said of COURSE I would be there, and arranged things so I can be there. Now starts the chaos.
Tomorrow's baby shower starts a whole run of scheduled events. I have things now scheduled for July 26 & 30, August 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 18, 21, 23, 24, and 31st. Among those are multiple showers and b-day events for both kids and adult family and friends. Oh, yeah, and school start up events, church obligations, and school trainings, and . . . . . .on and on and on.
For some this might not sound overwhelming, but for someone whose entire life demands during the SUMMER months tend to be "GO TO POOL" and "GO TO CHURCH" this will be a really chaotic time. All involve traveling for at least 2-4 hours from home (costing gas money I can't afford as well as time that I have plenty of but that I have enjoyed spending in pool and in books. Oh well. . . .
I embrace the chaos and the excitement, and the challenge of making this time meaningful and FUN. . . so if I appear to disappear for a bit, don't worry about it, I will be making the most of MY chaotic and fascinating life.
Everyone be blessed, bless those around you as well as yourself with your love, kindness, and joy.
Saturday, July 19, 2014
Have a wonderful and truly blessed good morning. If it is raining and you wish the sun were shining, maybe you can find something wonderful about the rain. It is watering our crops, making the fresh fruits and vegetables of summer tasty and healthy. If it is blisteringly hot, and you wish it were cooler, maybe you can remember how bitter cold you felt last winter when it seemed the cold would never go away. How you view the day will affect how your day unfolds.
Make today spectacular, special, and sensational. Smile more, laugh more, be a little kinder, and hug more. Be willing to stop and smell the roses. Take time to really SEE, to LISTEN and not be distracted by other thoughts.
Do something special for your loved ones. Surprise them with an outing. Play some games. Watch an awesome movie. Fix a healthy but sumptuous dinner and set the table with candles, a tablecloth, and the "good" china. Make it clear that THEY are important and special in your world today.
Have a great day - there will never be another chance to make TODAY spectacular.
Friday, July 18, 2014
I wish I could fulfill the promise of such a formula but the bottom line is that for each of us the formula is personal, unique, and varies over time.
There are a few things that are common in most of these formulas but even the most common ones are NOT ABSOLUTES. The frequently spouted formula that "calories out MUST exceed calories in" is not a guarantee of either weight loss or a consistent amount of weight lost. The magic of the FITBIT and/or other exercise and calorie tools is not absolute - in fact there was a recent report that many times people who rely on such tools actually gain weight because the devices can't really calculate the REAL number of calories burned because metabolic rate, exertion, heart rate, and weight are not always accurate. It is also true that calorie counting is NOT always accurate. Measuring is NOT always accurate. Scales are not accurate. And the list of caveats goes on and on and on. So if all of that is true, how are we supposed to lose weight and/or get healthy?
The magic formula is that if we make more and more healthy choices, move more (not always "EXERCISE" but movement) , and find what works for YOU. Some people find that going vegan works for them, some Atkins, others low carb, some count carbs, still others avoid processed foods, while still others choose packaged foods and tv dinner type foods that are already portion controlled. All D I E Ts work and NO D I E Ts work. It depends on YOU and what works for you. When giving advice and telling others what worked for me, I always start with the "generic" rules I tend to follow - those rules almost seem too simple to be helpful even for ME.
1 - Ask if what I am eating and/or what I am doing to be active are "BETTER THAN THEY USED TO BE". I follow this and it is a useful tool regardless of where I am on my journey because the "USED TO BE" is always changing and getting better so I need to keep stepping up to meet this challenge. When I started I might have been doing ZERO exercise, after a few weeks, I would be doing10 minutes (clearly better than nothing), and then after another couple of weeks it would be 20 minutes (better than 10 minutes), etc. With food, I might have started eating enough to maintain my original weight, so I would choose different foods, smaller portions, or whatever, but as long as it was BETTER THAN BEFORE, it was SUCCESS. It was something to celebrate and it motivated me to continue to make increasingly healthier choices.
2 - Avoid processed foods - My simple motto for this is to ask myself, "Would God recognize this as food?" I look at how natural, how few additives, and how little has been done with the natural foods and place them on a sliding spectrum and while I CAN have foods anywhere on the spectrum, the closer to natural (a whole peach, a boiled potato, etc.) the more often I can have them and the greater the portion size I can have. The more processed and further from natural (peach jam, potato chips, etc.), the less often and the smaller the portion size I allow myself. This allows me to have anything I choose but I consciously CHOOSE to make my choices healthier and my portions slide with how healthy they are. This works better for me than counting calories per se.
3 - Serving size equals container - If I buy it, I will probably eat it and might even eat it all in one sitting, therefore, I choose to buy single serving or small containers effectively limiting how much I am likely to eat at a single sitting. While I probably won't eat a half gallon of ice cream in ONE sitting, I am likely to get only half as many servings as the container says and I might even eat it at more than one sitting in a single day. If, on the other hand, I buy a pint or a quart, I am likely to eat it less often and have smaller servings when I do. A large bag of chips can easily be eaten in one or two sittings, but a single serving pack is likely to be ALL that I eat of the chips if that is all that I have in the house.
4 - Movement doesn't have to be painful - choose something to do that I enjoy. Simply put when I start an EXERCISE program that I HATE, I will stick with it for a while, but when I go to the pool, I will move constantly for hour after hour and never get tired. I love the water and feel able to do anything. I get a great workout BUT better still, my workout is also my socialization, my relaxation, my stress relief, sleeping potion, and my leisurely pleasure. So, when you see that I worked out for hours - remember it is NOT ONLY exercise but SO MUCH MORE as well. Have fun. If you HATE pools, don't do that. Pick something YOU LOVE so much that you will look forward to doing it. I also NEVER count calories burned through exercise - for all the reasons I mentioned above - BUT I do allow myself a little more leeway in eating closer to the high end of my calorie range when I have a LOT of movement in my day.
5 - NEVER EVER EVER beat myself up over less than ideal choices - I am not now, nor will I ever be perfect, therefore the only reason for even looking back at those poor choices is to see if there is something I might do in the future to avoid making a poor choice. Sometimes there are simple things I can do - plan better, substitute something else, etc. and sometimes I JUST PLAIN WANTED whatever unhealthy choice I made - I figure that nothing I can do will change those occasional indulgences that I CHOOSE. Therefore I move on - changing what I can and accepting what I cannot or WILL NOT change. No point beating myself up for being human.
6 - Try different things when what has worked before isn't working since the simplest definition of insanity I have ever seen is that "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result."
7 - Be patient - weight loss is NOT a science or a simple math equation. When, how much, and where I lose weight on my body depends on so much more than calories in and calories out - how much sleep, how much stress, movement, muscle mass, etc. all contribute to it.
I am done rambling - have a truly blessed night's sleep. Close your eyes and allow the peace and serenity embrace you, allow the winds of hope gently caress you as you rock slowly and the angels kiss your eyelids as you drift into a peaceful slumber. Awaken in the morning and dive into your new day spreading out in front of you. Touch the lives of those you love, those you have never met before, and those who serve you. Know that you have the power to touch those lives, to change them for the better or for the worse - CHOOSE to make those lives BETTER and in doing so, you will make YOUR LIFE better also.
Thursday, July 17, 2014
This morning I woke up and my first thought was that the summer is more than halfway gone already. As a teacher, I work my contract hours and many more during the school year and then in the summer, I work harder on my health and well being - especially focusing on my mental health and well being. Well, seeing my summer slip away immediately brought a moment of anxiety to me. It almost drew me into the trap of rushing to comfort foods, anxiety and robbing myself of a potentially wonderful day filled with blessings. I changed how I was thinking and decided to look at it as realizing that I still have nearly half of my summer left and many things still to look forward to.
What are some of my pleasures and joys to still look forward to? I have baby showers, birthday parties, pool play and a final family gathering for Helen's interment at Arlington. I have time to read, recharge, and heal my body and my mind. I am not DONE with any of my HEALTHING or SELFING or JOYING - I am just beginning to decompress and am sure that I will make the most of my time as long as I don't allow that negativity to slip in and rob me of my time. I will not allow negativity to rob me of my blessings and steal even one moment of my precious time away from me. What I will do is focus more on the positive and upbeat messages and thoughts and savor the precious moments.
Can I find some blessings and joys in each day - good or bad, happy or sad, busy or restful? I think I can and I KNOW that I intend to. What are some of the small blessings and joys that might make the rest of my summer as wonderful as it can be?
I can enjoy the scenery around me - I have written of my drive between home and the pool in the past. Each day and each evening and each moment that scenery changes. The wildlife changes, the people change, the flowers, trees, and gardens change, and the "tame" life - for want of a better word change. The calves grow, the fawns grow, the kits, and the pups of various animals grow and become more like their parents. Life around us doesn't STOP or STAY STAGNANT, it grows, changes, and evolves into new patterns and new age old stages and the panorama is amazing. It is always beautiful - yes, even the bare winter branches without leaves or buds or flowers are beautiful and make sculptures against the sky. Even the sky is ever changing with clouds and stars and moon and sun, mist, rain, snow, hail, and heat waves that drop to the ground from out of the sky.
Even the sounds change throughout the day as well as from day to day. Life is always moving and rarely ever quiet IF I take the time to listen. Even the tiniest of insects voice their opinions and views. Different voices come out at different times and in different ways but there is always a symphony going on in my world. I would imagine that if you took time to listen you would also hear it in your world. Although I live in a very rural area, I have lived in towns and cities and in many other places and there is always some music and symphony of sounds wherever I have been. Is your music raucous or serene, vibrant or subdued? Mine changes and can be all of these things.
What I really wonder though is why I think that we can't do some of these LIFE-GIVING, HEALTH-GIVING, JOY-GIVING, and SELFING things when going about my workweek. Why can't I take the time to notice and to enjoy the moments even during a work week? Is there really any GOOD VALID reason why not? I love my job and I love my co-workers as well as my students so why do I allow myself to be overwhelmed instead of overjoyed? I tell others often to take time to smell the roses and I KNOW that is important, but all too often I get bogged down and overwhelmed and forget to take care of myself - to love myself and to treat myself as the special person I am. YES - EACH OF US IS SPECIAL AND DESERVING OF KINDNESS, GENTLE TREATMENT AND LOVE. In fact I saw a quote that suggested that the TRUE measure of our self esteem is not in the words we say about ourselves but in HOW WE TREAT OURSELVES. I realized that I often have the words, say the words, even try to BELIEVE the words but that my treatment of myself is not always a reflection of my words about myself and my self esteem is probably lacking a lot of love and kindness that I share with others all the time.
So . . . what am I going to do about this? I am going to make a more conscious effort to WALK THE WALK and not just talk the talk of taking care of myself. Maybe I will see more success IF I start to practice toward myself what I preach to others. I KNOW this is difficult when I tell others to do this, but I also KNOW that this is nearly impossible for me too. I am not so detached from reality that I think that this is easy, but it may be necessary to achieving total and complete joy in my life. In fairness to myself, I have come a long way in my journey and I no longer use words as whips to punish me for real or imagined faults and flaws, but I know I still have a long way to go and that maybe it is time to step things up a bit and not only put away the words that tear me down, but also time to start adding a little more action and a little more forgiveness of MYSELF into the mix. It is time to start treating myself as well as I treat others. I do go out of my way to be NICE to others, to give respect and kindness, to listen and actually hear others. So maybe now is the time to actually do the same for ME. The golden rule doesn't say to Love your neighbor MORE OR BETTER than yourself, but rather to love your neighbor AS yourself. Think about that. I have often thought that all too often our bad behavior toward others often reflects NOT FAILING TO FOLLOW THIS GOLDEN RULE, but rather, that we all too often treat others very much as we treat ourselves and that the way we treat US is the root of the problem. We don't treat US very well and we don't give US the love, respect, and kindness that ALL of us deserve and need to grow, heal, and become healthy.
Again another rambling post.
Have a truly blessed, wonderful, spectacular, and encouraging day. While you are blessing those around you with your fabulous and loving self, save some of the kindness, love and gentleness for YOU. Love begins with YOU.
Sunday, July 13, 2014
I am up early this morning and getting ready for church. I had the urge to put some words down on a blog. Sometimes when I wake early, I am inclined to want to ramble a bit, but more often, I am rushing around trying to get things accomplished before leaving. This is one of those less rushed mornings for me. My cat Gray-C was waiting by my bedroom door for me to open it and feed her. She is faithful and waits patiently (or when I sleep a little later, IMPATIENTLY) for the door to open and she follows me to the bathroom and sits rubbing around my legs and begins voicing her complaint that nobody has fed her in weeks, maybe even months, and then she weaves around my feet as they make their way into the kitchen to feed her. She gets her breakfast before I have even got my eyes fully opened. After nibbling a few bites, she rushes to get under the computer desk to sit on my feet until I have the audacity to get up and fix breakfast for myself. I love my cat and I guess she either loves me or the fact I feed her each morning. It makes me feel like things are right with my world.
As I awaken fully, I start to hear the birds outside waking up (often I am awake before the sun rises) and the birds that make noise around here wake with the rising sun. Other days I awake partly to the music the birds are making. I am not really good with identifying birds by their calls - with one exception. I recognize the whippoorwill's song, even with my totally non-musical, lousy hearing ears, I clearly here the call to whip poor Will. I wonder what Will has done to get his whipping, but I never doubt that there are those who are clamoring for his whipping. It kind of reminds me of the sound of the media or school children or supposed friends who clamor for others to be punished for some real or imagined wrong doing. Me, I feel sorry for poor Will. He might be guilty or he could have just been in the wrong place at the wrong time, or maybe he just ruffled the wrong feathers or stepped on the wrong toes. I am reminded that sometimes there is virtue in not being among those screaming for vengeance - I recall that God said vengeance was HIS not mine. I am not required to demand justice for each real or imaginary wrong that occurs, that is God's responsibility and that is okay with me. I LIKE it that way, I am not saying that when I witness wrongdoing - especially the kind that is harmful to others - that I am not responsible to report it or try to right that wrong, just that I am not the one designated to be judge, jury and executioner. I would be terrified of being WRONG and causing more harm than good. So many times people are crucified by a mob mentality - just as Jesus was. Lives are ruined and reputations shredded without full knowledge of the facts or even a trial. Often those committing such actions are the "pillars of the community" and those who most loudly proclaim their own righteousness. I think poor Will and those like him are entitled to a fair and unbiased trial before being whipped.
What strange and random thoughts this morning! See what happens when I sit down and start to type.
I am looking forward to church this morning. We are having 3 baptisms today. It will be an busy and exciting morning. My mind is restless today. Thoughts of gratitude and the many blessings that I have received are foremost in my mind. A friend at the pool gave me a "new to me" swim suit. It has a story as so many things in my life do. It is a LONG story but one that doubly blessed me. About 13-15 years ago I found a green swim suit on sale at the end of the season in Walmart for $5. I snatched it up figuring it would last a short time and at least I would get some wear out of it. Well, I got some wear out of it that year and for every year afterward up until last winter. YES, I am serious, this stupid green swimsuit never faded and fit me through THICK and thin for more than 12 years. The elastic finally gave out and I was sad. Some 6-7 years ago, one of the women at the pool came in wearing a blue version of the same suit. She had it for several years and I commented on how it was just like mine. It was a strange material and we even felt to see if it was really the same. Fast forward to this week. We don't have the same schedule and so only see each other occasionally and on Tuesday she came in to the pool wearing this same blue swim suit. She has lost a lot of weight and at almost 80 years old is also shrinking. The swim suit was hanging on her. She said, "If I thought this would fit you I would just give it to you." I quickly told her I would love to try it on because I thought it would fit. She promptly said she'd leave it in a bag at the front desk and I could have it. So, after finally having to say good-bye to my old reliable green swim suit, I have an old reliable blue replacement. In the time since I got my old suit, I have gone through many others some faded almost as soon as they hit the water, some were given to me, some cost a lot of money, some weren't so expensive, not one ever lasted even ONE whole year of the constant daily use that I give a swim suit, but old reliable GREEN suit did and amazingly, I now have a replacement that has good elastic, perfect color (actually I like the blue better than the green) and I am tickled by it. It was an even better price than the green one that was such a steal, because this was a gift. God certainly has a great sense of humor when sending His angels among us. On Thursday afternoon, the woman who gave it to me came in and asked me to model the suit, she was amazed at how nicely it fit and how happy I was with it. She told me she might have another one she got at the same time and that if she can find it, she will give that one to me as well.
Well, I have been rambling and free-thinking and just throwing out words and thoughts. Now it is YOUR turn. Sometimes the simplest words change lives. Sometimes the lives they change are improved and other times they are irrefutably damaged. Words hurt and not just in that silly commercial - words have power and can make or break many things and many people. Beware of getting trapped into a mob mentality that calls for the destruction or punishment of others - it could also happen to you.
Be blessed and have a splendid, spectacular, special, serene and STUPENDOUS Sunday all. Bless your loved ones with a special treat of your time, your love, and your full attention. Bless the strangers you encounter with a smile (they don't cost anything), a few kind words (they too are free), or just the benefit of the doubt. Let your light shine through you and bathe your small part of this world in the radiance of love and kindness.
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