Monday, January 31, 2011

Discipline Planning

The week ahead is all going to be about discipline. I’ve decided. I have a plan… I tools... now it's time to focus, push, and dedicate myself to doing what I say I'm going to do.

This past week, I struggled. Oh, I have my excuses… some good, most lame. I am happy to report that I succeeded in eating a salad a day. They were simple, mostly boring, yet still salad. I did not get in my walk every day… nor did I take a picture of a walk or a salad. But this week will be different.

I did some soul searching on Saturday, and realized that there's a possibility I'm trying to self-sabotage… just a little... I've promised myself that I'm not going to let myself do that anymore. Well… at least I’ll give it a shot.

From now on, I will be doing what I say I will - or have a darn good excuse why I didn't...and I'm talking sick kids, family emergency, etc. No "I didn't feel like it" or "I didn't have time" excuses allowed anymore!

I sat down with my planner this morning, and really thought about my plans. Before I started randomly putting things down that I wanted to do, I needed to consider if the times I selected would work for me, if there was a possibility I was overloading myself too much, and what I could do to help make my plans a little easier.

After a lot of writing and erasing and more writing and even more erasing - I finally came up with my plans. Thank goodness for pencils!! Oddly enough, my goals for this week are pretty close to what they've been the past couple of months... but the planning on how to make them work - that's what's changed a little:

Mini goals for this week:

• Family breakfast – Monday- Saturday 5:30am

• Walk – Monday-Saturday 7:10 am

• Take a picture on a walk this week - DONE

• Yoga Tuesday/Thursday 8am

• Plan my meals - DONE

• One salad per day

• Take a picture of one salad this week

• Drink at least 60ozs of water each day

• Go to bed at 9:30pm EVERY week night

OK, so everyone PLEASE keep your fingers, toes, and any other body part crossed that I reach can check off every single goal next week.

Salad – Day 14 – simple lettuce and dressing

Practice of Simplicity - Day 12 made my life more simple and planned a menu

Sunday, January 30, 2011


I have a couple sisters and a brother who love to run. I’ve never understood why. I know they run for the exercise, but I believe they run to condition themselves and because they enjoy the burn. I have never run a ¼ mile race, let alone a marathon, but I have a dream of entering a triathlon some day. I don’t need to win. I’d just like to cross the finish line still standing.

As a teen I watched my sister run in races. Race day would be the culmination of months of training and discipline. She would begin a good race in the middle of the pack of runners. She looked strong and confident with each stride. Eventually she would “hit the wall”. Her face would twist with the great effort she was using to continue in the race. At the finish line my sister would be exhausted, but elated that she had made it and sometimes, even surpassed her goals.

My journey toward health is like a marathon. Like a marathon, it requires a good strong start (I’ve done that a couple times), and consistent effort all the way to the finish line (I’m working on that… again).

Great racers set specific goals. I have looked ahead and decided what I hope to accomplish. I have fixed in my mind where I want to be in 6 months, a year, and five years from now. I have written my goals down and I review them regularly – sometimes multiple times a day. Every time I walk past my computer I record my progress. I think about my goals all day. I’ve made my most important goals – not about the pounds – but about my reliance on the Lord and my relationship with Him. This has been a key element in keeping me on target and moving in a positive direction.

After I visualized myself at the end of my journey, I identified how I needed to prepare. Today I am determined to pay the price in effort, study, exercise, and prayer. This course will not be easy. But I know I can succeed! Success results when preparation meets opportunity. When I leave the house I have veggies in a baggy. I carry a large water bottle everywhere. I am able to resist the cravings for a soda.

I’m seeing the need to seek help. I cannot depend on my own strength. My kids help; my husband has joined the journey; I found SP and have met a few people through the site that read my blog and email me to keep me moving in the right direction; I’m relaying more each day on the tender mercies of the Lord and recognizing His hand in my success. Up to this point in my life I’ve relied on my own skill, knowledge and ability in my numerous quests for health. This often led to pride. Not a good thing!

In the opening section of the Doctrine and Covenants, the Lord described the wicked condition of many in the world, and I quote: “They seek not the Lord to establish his righteousness, but every man walketh in his own way, and after the image of his own god.” (D&C 1:16.). When I boasted in my own strength and “walked in [my] own way” I never achieved lasting health. In fact, I complicated the process of discovering excellent health! I was too focused on what I looked like and not what I felt like.

Large races have aid stations along the course that provide water, food, encouragement, and assistance. My aid station is found in my daily scripture study. There I find Living Water, the Bread of Life, perfect encouragement and the assistance of the Holy Ghost and the angels.

Over the past week I have felt a little like I had “hit the wall”. I was tired of making good choices. It would be so easy to give into temptation. I was tired of making time to exercise. It’s not like anyone is really paying attention. I also learned that my husband turned off my hypnotist track! I was NOT “feeling it”! No one would ever know I didn’t exercise this week (besides, it was TOM)… “Who will know if I throw it all in for the week?” I will! God will! The Lord will never abandon me on my righteous quest! I must not abandon myself!

The reason to stay on course is so obvious. I’m seeking health, peace and happiness. The Prophet Joseph Smith taught:

“Happiness is the object and design of our existence; and will be the end thereof, if we pursue the path that leads to it; and this path is virtue, uprightness, faithfulness, holiness, and keeping all the commandments of God. …

“In obedience there is joy and peace … and as God has designed our happiness … , he never has—He never will … give a commandment to His people that is not calculated in its nature to promote that happiness which He has designed.” (History of the Church, 5:134–35.)

We read in the Book of Mormon: “Men are, that they might have joy.” (2 Ne. 2:25.)

I must hold on! I must be true! I must find joy in the journey!

An obvious parallel between my desire for health and well being and a marathon is the necessity to run diligently and endure to the end. Among his final words to his people, Nephi told them: “And now, … after ye have gotten into this strait and narrow path, I would ask if all is done? Behold, I say unto you, Nay; … Ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ … and endure to the end.” (2 Ne. 31:19–20.)

From the dictionary: Endurance (also called sufferance) is the ability for humans to exert themselves through aerobic or anaerobic exercise for relatively long periods of time. The definition of 'long' varies according to the type of exertion - minutes for high intensity anaerobic exercise, hours or days for low intensity. Training for endurance can have a negative impact on the ability to exert strength unless an individual also undertakes resistance training to counteract this effect.

Endurance is not a strong point in my character. I need assistance to press forward. I can endure! Every step I take, every bead of sweat, every weight I lift all increase the endurance I seek and need to achieve my goals. However, it’s more than my ability to walk; it’s more than the strength of my muscles. L. Tom Perry taught, “Enduring to the end requires faithfulness to the end, as in the case of Paul, who told Timothy, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith” (2 Timothy 4:7).”

I will fight the good fight. I will finish my course! I will strengthen and keep my faith in the Savior, Jesus Christ!

Elder Perry continues, “Enduring to the end is definitely not a do-it-yourself project. First, it requires the Savior’s redemptive power… enduring to the end requires the Holy Ghost, who will both guide and sanctify us. (L. Tom Perry, “The Gospel of Jesus Christ,” Ensign, May 2008, 44–46).

I think of this promise of the Lord: “But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa. 40:31.) I have that promise.

I have my own “race” I’ve embarked on. There are days, hours and minutes that I “hit the wall” and wish to through the towel in. In those moments a SP buddy sends a note of encouragement; someone posts a comment on my blog; a brother calls to say he’s proud of me; my husband says I’m beautiful when I’m sweaty. It’s as if they are all whispering, , “Stay with me. You’ll feel good at some point. You can get through. I’ll help you through.” I am gaining “Endurance”!

As for my salad and Practice of a Simple Life goals… I have not given up.

Salad – Day 11 – very simple, just lettuce and tomatoes

Practice of Simplicity – Day 9 – simple pleasures of listening to Pres. Uchdorf.

Salad – Day 12 – Salad for lunch and salad for dinner

Practice of Simplicity – Day 10 Simple Seminary activity was a hit

Salad – Day 13 simple salad for dinner.

Practice of Simplicity – Day11 Simple day of church worship and service

Hopefull I can get a camera soon and start my picture enteries.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Stud Fashion Muffin

Back in the day women were desperate to have that “hour glass” figure. They would cinch themselves into uncomfortable tight corsets thought by many to be a vessel of sin. In a desperate attempt to achieve the ideal, some women had their lower ribs surgically removed.

Wow. We haven’t progressed much, have we?

"Corset diseases" such as fainting, hemorrhoids, coughing, and palpitations plagued many fashionable women. Corsets could displace internal organs and cause pulmonary disease, and occasionally led to miscarriages. They were eventually replaced in the 1930s by less constricting, but still reshaping, girdles. Now, in our modern, progressive fashionable advances, we have replaced the corset with skinny jeans.

I hate skinny jeans. I spent some time at the high school this afternoon and was overwhelmed by the number of girls with misshapen legs and hips due to this “tool” of fashion. Whatever Hollywood twit made these things fashionable again should be on my hit list for obvious reasons, but now…it turns out that skinny jeans are bad for your health. Apparently, they cut off a person’s circulation.

That explains it, doesn’t it?

Seriously, why do so many like the way skinny jeans look? Hello? Not to mention there really is no debate about their comfort level. The looser the better if you ask me. What better reason would there be to ditch these fashion statements than a health reason: Doctors say increasing numbers of women are coming to them with meralgia paresthetica.


I’m not making this up. I found a few stories on the inter-net dating back to 2009. Seriously people, why are these jeans still on the market?

Do you ever feel a numb, pins-and-needles tingling feeling along your thigh? Do you get a weird burning or itching sensation down your upper leg? This condition is caused by constant pressure cutting off the lateral femoral cutaneous nerve.

According to a story on MSNBC on 5/22/2009 entitled “Skinny jeans give thigh nerve a painful pinch”, one skinny jean wearer, went to her doctor because it felt like she was "floating" and she couldn't feel her legs. Another woman in a story found on CBS admitted her jean pain was so bad that her doctor now has her taking anti-seizure medicine to control her symptoms.

Come on ladies! Loosen up!

Luckily, the damage is usually not permanent. The key is, you remove the pressure, and the nerve regenerates.

I knew it. I’m clairvoyant. Really. THAT’S why I never wear ‘em. Seriously. Has nothing to do with Le Top de la Muffin.

We need to start a complain to make yoga pants and Birkenstocks a competitive fashion statement.

Who’s with me?

As for today… I finished my fast with a salad for lunch with baby greens, yellow peppers, tomatoes, carrots, cabbage, kale, and a coleslaw dressing. I had a couple fish sticks off my daughter’s plate too. For dinner I had more salad. I fed the pizza for dinner.

I didn’t get exercise in today. BUT I did get a massage. Considering my week… it was much better!

Salad - Day 11 - 2 simple salads today...  BOOORAY!

Practice of Simplicity - Day 8 - simple pleasure.... 60 minutes of hot rocks.  What could be better?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I Fell Into a Vat of Chocolate... Warning! This post is not fit for male viewers or the faint of heart

It is an unfortunate (and disgusting, I might add after I cleaned up after a puppy mess with the bathroom trash) fact of life, all women suffer from ‘the monthly curse’. Some may refer to a woman’s period as “auntie flo is coming to town” or even less articulately, as being “TOM”. Whatever you want to call it, it is never a pleasant experience as it is at best uncomfortable and mildly embarrassing, at worse a woman’s period is debilitating agony that stops life for 5 days of a month. But boy! that time of the month is a BIG challenge!

I can’t stop my chocolate craving! Why is that? I really don’t like chocolate. It’s bitter. So why the craving? If you ask a menstruating woman whether she’d rather have chocolate or world peace, I reckon chocolate would win, hands down.

Fortunately, the cravings are only for a day or two and the way I deal with it is by giving in. I know. I’m weak. Already today I’ve consumed 2 – count them 2 Chocolate bars! Never mind that they were dark chocolate, dairy and soy free. They still had sugar. Those calories still add up. It’s not like my body is going to give me a “by” because I have a “visitor.”

I looked it up online (in case I was the odd one out) but it appears to be quite a normal thing.

What exactly about chocolate is it so wonderful?

One of the reasons that women crave chocolate is tied to hormones. Did you hear that? It’s not my fault. I’m hormonal. When estrogen levels drop (such as during PMS or perimenopause/menopause), so does the brain serotonin level that helps us feel calm.

AHHHHH!!!! That explains the irresistible urge to grump at people and why I feel like a bear awakened from hibernation far too early in the spring. (Better watch out. I might just be on the rampage).

Think about it, when a woman is menstruating, she is losing the ‘best’ blood in her body, the most nutrient rich stuff which is why women are more likely to be anemic than men. Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal but it is also the 11th most abundant element according to mass in the human body (the first being the metal calcium) so we need it! Chocolate contains a high level of magnesium and it has been shown that magnesium can help alleviate menstrual cramps. The body is an amazing thing, if you are in tune with it, it will always tell you what it wants.

In addition to its creamy, decadent taste, chocolate also contains phenylethylamine, a chemical that some people describe as giving them the feeling of being in love…often referred to as optimal brain happiness. Another chemical, theobromine, provides a caffeine like effect to the body.

Additionally, we now know that dark chocolate is also a source of the antioxidants called polyphenols. The term antioxidant is one you see frequently in the world of “health food” but what does it mean to you and me?

Maybe it’s like taking a brand new car to the beach and leaving it there for a month or so unprotected. I’m pretty sure it would oxidize or rust. However, a good wax job could help to prevent that oxidation or rust So antioxidants are like a good hot wax.

It’s no wonder chocolate is the NUMBER ONE most craved food! Even my husband isn’t exempt…. But I don’t think he can say he’s hormonal. He’ll need to come up with his own excuse.

If you’re craving chocolate when you’re on a period, don’t feel guilty about having a small amount to satisfy the craving. If you are still crawling up the walls desperate for it, try drinking low calorie hot chocolates like Cadbury’s highlights which are only 40 calories a mug. Ultimately you need to have self control, so try light exercise like yoga or pilates to forget about period pains if you are trying to be ‘good’.

Maybe I’ll go find some magnesium rather than chow-ing down on my third chocolate bar. 

I was successful in getting in a yummy salad today before I started a fast. I am fasting for my friend who is having surgery tomorrow and is worried. I am fasting in prayer for her peace of mind.

I kept my day simple. TOM help with that. I don’t feel like doing anything.

Salad – Day 10 spring greens, yellow peppers, honey mustard dressing.

Practice of Simplicity – Day 7 – mostly lazy today… dare TOM.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Managed Chaos

My life isn't going as planned today. In some ways its going better than I could have dreamed and in some ways I'm too worried about how to get it back on track to enjoy where I am.

There are times I wonder why I even bother planning and making goals. I “planned” on getting a walk in, but one thing after another kept getting in my way. I bet my real problem is that I “allow” distractions. The fact remains, without a goal, I'd be lost.

Goals have become the endpoint in my Mapquest, the search in my Google, the North Star of my travels through chaos.

I’ve decided to make my goals smaller, reachable goals. I’ve determined to work in the "decade" scale… 10 pound increments. I’m thinking that 100 pounds or more IS TOO BIG OF A NUMBER! WHO WANTS TO LOSE 100 POUNDS OR MORE?!!! Not me! But 10? Sure! I could do that! That sounds reasonable! I am in!

So I’m going focus on the 10.

I can't just set a goal and not have a plan on how to get there. It would be like going to Disneyland from western Oregon without a GPS or map or any navigation whatsoever. Not impossible, but it would take FOREVER and by the end you'd be exhausted and probably just wanna go home.

So I map out what I'll do for exercise, what I'll do for changing my eating habits and above all, how to be consistent, then work toward the goal.

It’s just that sometimes, things don’t always go as planned.

However, instead of calling it failure and walking away, I am learning about my pitfalls and moved on. For instance, I can't give up chocolate (a total mystery to me because I’ve learned that I really don’t like chocolate…. It just calls to me and haunts me). Not now. Not ever. NEVER. So I built that into my plan. Dark chocolate only… and a couple chocolate chips a day is doable.

The point is, it's not enough to make a big goal. I have to make a million little ones along the way.

So here is my challenge to you: Write down your goals. Think about them, blog about them, and map out how you will get there.

Map it out, plan it out and put that one foot in front of the other to reach it!

At any rate, today I did 25 minutes of yoga…. But my walk didn’t happen, unless you count walking to and from the church for an activity bringing me to a grand total of 15 minutes of walking. This morning I had cream of rice cereal with a handful of pumpkin seed trail mix. I was surprised that I was hungry within a couple of hours. When I have a veggie omelet I’m able to make it to lunch without feeling the need to snack. My salad was wimpy. All I had was cabbage because I haven’t had to go shopping. I added an apple and called it coleslaw. I got a few more veggies in by eating left over stir-fry (the kids had picked out the meat and had left the veggies). For dinner I made Spanish rice and used my home canned salsa for flavor, corn, olives, and black beans. I’m still looking for ways to add veggies and to replace starchy foods with nutrient rich foods.

Thankfully, tomorrow looks to be less chaotic.

Salad – Day 9 coleslaw… not the best salad… but hey! I ate one!

Practice of Simplicity – Day 6 … not my best efforts… simply survival.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Time Management Issues

Helllllllo! How are you guys doing today? I am feeling pretty darn good for a Monday! How was your weekend? I hope you had a good one.

As most of you know and as I discovered, I’m bad at taking time for myself. This is definitely a “work in progress.” Here is the problem. Although I have a weight reduction goal in mind I would say my ultimate goal would be time management.

Take today for example: I got up and taught seminary. I came home intending to walk on the treadmill, but my son was sleeping in the easy chair, stretched out across MY machine. Then I got distracted by e-mail, Facebook, cleaning my room and changing the bed sheets that I didn’t start my walk after I yelled at him for the 5th time to get up and get ready for school. I intended on getting on the tread mill before I picked up the kids from choir, but starting the laundry and picking up the puppy mess distracted me. I intended on jumping on that walk after returning home, but more chores and getting the home school weekly plan ready distracted me… followed by a voice student. Before I knew it, it was time for lunch. I intended on walking after lunch, but my daughter and her fiancĂ© distracted me with apartment hunting… then there was a dish load and more laundry before my afternoon lessons began.

See. I’ve got a problem with time management.

Finally, in desperation, I walked to my musical theater class. I only got in a mile…. But it’s better than nothing! Walking along I was hit with a bit of inspiration… I think it hit me because I saw the most amazing “art” work on the college campus… a giant push pin, a giant paper clip in a tree, a giant ball point pen across the side walk, and other giant office supplies strewn across the campus. It was quite the site. I wish I had a camera with me.

I see all these blogs that take pictures of the food they eat. I think you all would be bored to tears if I did that, but I decided I will make a goal to make one cool salad a week and to post a picture and a recipe.

I also decided that I needed to do something to motivate me to hit the street, so to speak. So I decided to borrow my daughter’s camera and to take it for a walk once a week too. Then, I’ll post a picture of the walk once a week too.

This is what I think I will get out of this as a goal:

- A way to keep a salad a day more interesting as I try to top my last great adventure in tasting.

- I’ll get to taste new and unusual fruits and veggies

- I’ll get one long stroll a week to be alone with my thoughts and to count my blessings

- I’ll burn more calories as I look for interesting places to walk

- I’ll be on my way to a healthier ME

Expect to see a salad and a destination sometime in the near future. I’m not a great photographer, but I will have fun coming up with new subjects. I might even learn a new skill.

So today I walked a mile… I ate well… I got some chore done… I taught school to my kids… I’d say I had a great day!

Salad – Day 8 only got a small salad in today… but at least I got it in.

Practice of Simplicity – Day 5 Worked at making one of my busiest day manageable.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Law of Attraction-- Drama or Butterflies


Who needs it anyway?

Apparently we all love it… Well, maybe not all of us, but check out how many love to read about it in the gossip magazines, which we all know is never true. Look how popular those reality shows are, like The Bachelor or Survivor or Biggest Loser, okay maybe not ALL of us, but definitely the majority of us, or there wouldn’t be so many to choose from.

Of course when drama happening in our own lives we despise it!

... or do we? Have you ever thought that maybe we create the drama that encircles our lives like fast moving electron and protons?

I recognize that I can't control others, but I can ALWAYS control how I react to others.

Nobody's exempt from dealing with life's difficulties. We all have drama at some point in our lives. Right now I have 3 teens (2 hormonal daughters and 1 pubescent boy) and an engaged girl living in my home. Need I say more? With family members, friends, spouses, children? It's inevitable and it SUCKS, excuse my word choice, but it just does. As frustrating as it can be, we have to remember that it's all part of God’s plan. We're here to be tested. Which means, God wants us to learn how to deal with these things in a positive manner.

Sometimes I feel surrounded by drama when there is really no drama in my life at all.

I am a self proclaimed drama magnet.

A drama magnet tends to be there when people need a problem solved. Often we are confused with an actual drama queen who is someone who tends to look for or make up drama. But the drama magnet is more likely to be sitting back and listening, not creating. A drama queen is usually trying to find out what everyone is talking about where as a drama magnet will usually have everyone come to them. There are days I have a line… it forms to the left.

In an effort to simplify my life I have come up with the following plan:

(kids! Are you listening?)

1. Set limits - Setting limits will help me weed out the unnecessary drama that occurs in normal everyday life and the excess drama that may occur with a drama queen who seeks out me, a drama magnet. (Do you like that one Jo?).

2. I can’t fix it Letting people vent is one thing, but constantly correcting their lives is another. I will listen, but I won’t necessarily DO anything about it. Sorry guys. It’s part of the “Practicing Simplicity” plan.

3. Give myself time for me. Unplug my phone or going for a walk or heading to the coast for the day (Shar should like that one) and spend some time with me. It just might make the necessary drama manageable. It can be as simple as taking the time to make my salad or walking on the treadmill or, better yet, using the bathroom without someone pounding on the door or barging in! Maybe when the kids (and others) see that they will start to see that I need that, they will slow down the amount of stress they add to managed chaos I lovingly refer to as my life. (If they don’t then they need to be cut loose.) I need time to recharge the ol’ battery. Sometimes people are draining me of my own energy. (Thank heavens I have a massage on the calendar this week with Julie!). And once again we are back at limits. Refer to #1.

I truly believe that “If you want your garden to be attractive to butterflies, the best way is not to chase after them with a net, but to grow beautiful flowers inside. Naturally, butterflies will come themselves.”

I am determined to attract butterflies… a self declared butterfly magnet!

The answers to a happy life are inside everyone, and I believe each one of us instinctively knows what we want and need to do.

"It has been said that something as small as the flutter of a butterfly's wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world." -- The Chaos theory

I have been reflecting a lot these thought for a few days. My conclusion? I have the power and the capability to make a difference in my life and change for the better. I believe we all can be “butterfly magnets” and not “drama magnets.” But in order to go down that path, we all need to learn to love and accept self before we start helping others to transform.

“Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today? Today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present”

Sometimes the things that I'm worried most about are so insignificant when I step back and look at the big picture. It's easy to fall into a pity me party, but the best way to deal with those kinds of situations is to focus on solutions. Solutions meaning what YOU can do to fix it. Easier said than done, but it's something I'm working on.

Cheers to less drama and more meaningful time spent with the people that matter most.

Have a drama free day and enjoy the butterflies dance….

Oh…. And today I simplified my eating by having simply fruit for breakfast. For lunch I had a small simple salad of lettuce and dressing and a piece of tapioca bread with almond butter. I splurged and ate a few potato chips for a snack. I’ll have to work those off. For dinner, my hubby is making the most delicious ginger chicken soup as we speak… and a huge salad with red leaf lettuce, kale, tomato, jicama, cucumber, and cabbage to help out my goals. I just may convert him yet. 

I enjoyed church today. I learned that I need to simplify my time spent wasted on electronic devises. I decided that means I won’t check my e-mail every hour… or facebook… or my favorite blogs. Once a day should be enough. I also learned that I need to be more willing to sacrifice for that which is best. I will be pondering that this week. That sacrifice definitely needs to include more scripture and prayer time. I also learned from my daughter that sharing the gospel isn’t easy but it’s worth it. Today she brought a friend to church. I hope he enjoyed himself and feels like it was time well spent. He’s a great guy and I’d hate to see there be tension between them because of religious differences. The thing is… she recognizes that sharing truth is the important part, even in the face of fear. I admire that.

Salad – Day 7 small and simple… but maybe next week I’ll try something with a little pa-zazz.

Practice of Simplicity – Day 4 A simple day of worship and study…

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Adventures in Raising the Roof - Practicing Simplicity Day 3

I find that I'm the kind of person who is a bit nostalgic for certain aspects of the olden days.

I like the fact that people cooked more meals at home (so much more healthy), baked things from scratch (I miss homemade baked bread), made quilts out of their clothing remnants, grew their own vegetables (one reason I have a garden), raised chickens (good grief. .. I’ve got chickens in the backyard)...

(Either I’m “old” or I’m living the life of a “modern pioneer”. I do all those things. LOL).

I especially like the idea of a "bee." When individuals or families had a big task to undertake (like clearing their fields, building a barn, harvesting, etc.), they would ask their neighbors and friends to come over for a big work party. Everyone would pitch in and work and socialize alongside each other. Afterward, they would often throw big feasts to thank their neighbors and friends for their help.

Today I spent the day working on the set for Much Ado About Nothing at Central High School. I designed the set and need to begin the light focus soon. There was many tasks that needed to be completed today. I love that I can get back into the creative side of me that I’ve neglected for so long.

Preparations for the show resemble an old-fashioned quilting bee or community barn raising. Everyone remotely connected to the show pitches in and helps out with whatever needs to be done… construction, paint, set dressing, props…

Today my hubby and 13 year old joined me on set, as well as a handful of cast, the director of the show and producer. Today’s task? RAISE the ROOF. It became a “family” adventure in an old fashion “barn raising”.

The thought of “family” includes the community when it come to theater, especially educational theater. On the set we have brought together people from all walks of life that may not have come together otherwise. It’s friend helping friend; neighbor helping neighbor. The ideal American traits of friendliness and generosity were exemplified in a barn-raising. Barn-raising wasn’t something that one family alone completed, with the neighbors standing around watching; the whole community took part, helped, and celebrated. Working on the show reminds me a barn raising.

Today I am grateful we approached building the set with this kind of communal and interconnected mentality: a coming together to pull off something really big. All we need now is a celebration of our collective good work.

The end result is a truly impressive looking set. I have to admit…. It doesn’t look much like a HS production.

I didn’t get to write anything about my day yesterday. I went to the HS in the morning to set up sound for Senator Wyden’s Town Hall visit. Then I got out of town. I went to the beach. I went to visit my friend who is gracious enough to plan all the wedding party stuff. I have to say that I believe the wedding will be fabulous! In a small way, it’s like producing a production too! So much drama in my life. LOL!

I did get a walk to the beach yesterday for exercise. I’ve decided to count climbing ladders and walking up stairs today as exercise. Mind you… I don’t like ladders. However, today, I climbed a ladder 18 feet off the stage floor to touch up paint and to rig the “raising of the roof.” Let me tell you… THAT is dedication. I don’t get on a ladder for anything.

Yesterday I eat a SIMPLE salad for dinner. Today, the director thoughtfully got me a salad for lunch and a new salad dressing for me to enjoy. I loved it! A Honey Mustard Vinaigrette. Highly recommended.

Salad – Day 5
Practice of Simplicity – Day 2 Simple drive to the beach and a visit with friends.

Salad – Day 6
Practice of Simplicity – Day 3 A simple day doing what I love… creating a stage master piece.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Practice of Simplicity - Day 1

Today is my beautiful daughter’s birthday. She is 13. I now only have one offspring that is not a teen… 3 teens… and one engaged. Talk about complicated!

I’ve been giving simplifying my life some major thought lately. I decided to start a new program for myself, “The Practice of Simplicity.” I’m going to give a shot for the next month. I specifically chose the word practice because of its broad meaning.

prac•tice –noun

1. habitual or customary performance; operation: office practice.

2. habit; custom: It is not the practice here for men to wear long hair.

3. repeated performance or systematic exercise for the purpose of acquiring skill or proficiency: Practice makes perfect.

4. condition arrived at by experience or exercise: She refused to play the piano, because she was out of practice.

5. the action or process of performing or doing something: to put a scheme into practice; the shameful practices of a blackmailer.

6. the exercise or pursuit of a profession or occupation, esp. law or medicine: She plans to set up practice in her hometown.

7. the business of a professional person: The doctor wanted his daughter to take over his practice when he retired.

Living simply will require practice. No one goes to bed one night in complete chaos and disorder and wakes up the next morning “Master” of an organized and clutter-free wonderland… but wouldn’t that be nice? This transformation doesn’t happen overnight. Achieving simplicity will take practice. Maintaining simplicity will most definitely take practice.

Have you seen the schedule I’ve created? LOL! I am going to have to WORK at this!

Simplicity isn’t really THE goal. Simplicity is a means to an end; the ultimate destination being a remarkable life focused on what matters most – God and family.

The trick will be to avoid practicing simplicity for simplicity’s sake. That would just complicate things. I need to practice simplicity to clear the distractions that get in the way of the peace I truly desire.

Up to now I have spent a lot of time practicing other, less helpful skill sets — lack of focus, stress, worry, poor time management, operating on auto-pilot, clutter, less sleep than needful and complicated eating habits immediately come to my mind. I have become an expert on these traits. Go ahead. Ask me anything.

Time to simplify.

Today’s Practice of Simplicity:

5:30 – Leave a SIMPLE note and a “treat” for my hubby. Yesterday was stressful for him because it was his annual review. It was ok, but I thought it would be a great way to remind him that I’m grateful for the SIMPLE fact that he works hard to provide for us.

5:40 - Enjoy a SIPMLE breakfast of GF French Toast my hubby whipped up. Today I used my homemade strawberry jam. Yesterday I realized that we were “recycling” the syrup bottle and the syrup had milk in it. No wonder my palms have burning and itching in the morning. Darn those allergies!

6:00 - Teach Seminary… actually, I observed a class. The teacher did a great job. I was reminded of a few SIMPLE things I could do to improve my own style as well as, hopefully, helping the teacher consider one thing to help her class. I really had to stretch to find one suggestion because she is that good.

7:00 - Rotate laundry and help Lilli hang up her clothes. It was so much more SIMPLE to “help” her rather than to “tell” her and then to be frustrated that she never completes her task. She is 7 after all.

8:20 - Start blog thoughts early instead of cramming at night so that I stay up too late. This should make evenings far less complicated and stressful. There will be no need to be grumpy at the kids for “bothering” me while I try hard to create the next brilliant thought to publish.

9-noon – scoured the house top to bottom. I decided that it would be SIMPLER to do some of the chores myself, rather than waiting for the kids to get with the program. I did a fair share “tossing” too. I even threw out a nasty area rug. My life will be much SIMPLER without a nasty “potty” place for the new poopy, I mean puppy. LOL. It’s amazing how much nicer the house smells too. I also turned down 2 invitations to complicate my life (are you proud of me Jo and Shar?). Today is going to be about keeping it SIMPLE. I WILL not add to my schedule today.

1:00 – make a salad and enjoy it’s crunchy goodness. Today I used kale (I’m really developing a love for this unsung mystery green), romaine lettuce, baby zucchini, cucumber, the hottest purple onion EVER, baby carrots, cabbage, a tomato, and a handful of pumpkin seed trail mix. I also used a little Thousand Island Dressing. It’s amazing how long it takes to eat veggies! It took me 20 minutes to chop all the veggies and to clean up after myself. (I even did the dishes assigned to one of the kids AND scrubbed the sink – scary I know.) The drive through takes minutes to decide, order, pay, and be ready to snarf lunch. There was a time when I could inhale (seriously) a burger and large fry in minutes. This salad took me 50 minutes to crunch through.

2:00 – Expected to see a friend and to babysit a baby. However, he didn’t show so I spent a couple hours studying for next week’s seminary lessons and prepping for the Missionary Game that is for tomorrow. Read a great article on Agency. Keeping it SIMPLE. Action-consequence. I choose. I can follow with exactness. SIMPLE… yet not so simple.

4:00 – Completed a SIMPLE 2 mile walk on me treadmill in 40 minutes. There is no exercise as SIMPLE as walking. While I was sweating to Pandora (my son’s No Doubt station) some truly wonderful SIMPLE young men taught me that it is true, “by small and SIMPLE things great things come to pass.” They are cheerful, persistent, believing, and patient. Their small efforts to befriend and counsel my son have all the appearances of making a difference… at least today. God bless them! I am grateful for anyone who can reach my son. He has been such a source of stress and contention. Plus, my daughter’s friend came to “hang out.” I love seeing her develop her friendship with this kid. He is good for her. Ah! The SIMPLE pleasures of life.

6:00 – attended a Music Booster Club meeting. Thankfully, it was a SIMPLE meeting and we were done in an hour. I’ve sat through a few meetings that went on for hours! This one was merciful and we got most of the business done. I also got in an impromptu wedding planning meeting with the groom’s mom. Unfortunately, the birthday dinner for my daughter never finished cooking. Glad she likes SIMPLE $5 pizza and chicken wings. I stopped on the way home and everyone was happy.

8:25 – finish up my first “Practice of Simplicity” blog. It’s been a great SIMPLE day. I got my salad for the day into the mix. I enjoyed the SIMPLE beverage of water most of the day. (I did splurge for the birthday and enjoyed a little root beer). Now, I’m heading to bed.

Salad – Day 4

Practice of Simplicity – Day 1

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Keeping it Simple

I’ve been struggling of late to simplify my life — a rather difficult task I might add. There is simply too much of everything, too many distractions, and I need peace. The problem of simplification is a common struggle among my friends and family.

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.“ ~ Confucius

Nothing could be more true. I am confident that I am the main distraction I must battle complications in my life.

Good thing my friend Jo is moving “home” to be my “bouncer”. LOL.

Today I read the conference talk by Pres. Dieter F. Uchtdorf entitled Of Things That Matter Most. It reminded me how simple life used to be.

With modern conveniences and downright addiction to constant forward progress the idea of living a “simple life” has nearly become nothing but a novelty … or so it would seem.

Living a simple life is simply living.

Simple living is filled with smiles and laughs, not complicated and jam-packed schedules. Eating simple means less processed foods. Drinking simple means more water with lemon and less soda. Cleaning simple means making my own products from vinegar, baking soda, and borax. Living simple means cutting out the fat (needless commitments and doing what a social group insists on) and making time to enjoy basic pleasures (reading, gardening, cooking, swimming, walking, chatting … etc.). What simple living is not: a sacrifice – in fact, it is a revived indulgence – indulgence in what is truly good.

The word simple is, by nature, simple – just 6 letters. Almost anyone can spell “simple”. Just ask the word “simple” how to live simply: stick to the basics, splurging now and then with a few vowels.

Today was a day to take a machete to things in my life that don’t make me feel alive. Simple, no?

They say Leonardo da Vinci said “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

I love this quote with all my heart.

I am determined to bring simplicity into my crazy, noisy life.

Things I did today to “simplify” matters:

Began the day with 30 minutes of yoga

Home schooled my kids

Spent some quiet time in my scriptures and in prayer

Had a delicious salad for lunch

Rode my bike to the library with my youngest

Made my own laundry soap

Started a Goodwill pile

Made a simple meal for dinner from my once-a-month cooking stock

Visited my chiropractor to do something just for me

New goal to explore tomorrow:

Salad for a year…. A salad every day of the year… and I’m off to a great start since I’ve replaced a meal with a salad each day this week.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stone Soup

What’s for dinner? That is one of the hardest questions to answer. Stone Age women had no choice but to make do with whatever food their men brought back to the cave after a hard day's hunting. Me? I have to sort through recipes, diets, allergies and picky kids. It just might have been easier to drag things around by the hair, hunt with clubs and skin game with my fingernails.

Wilma and Betty were robust and could live long lives if the odds against accident, infection and malnutrition were beaten. (not to mention Methuselah and Noah who reportedly lived to the ripe old age of a few 100 years). Inheriting a slow metabolism was a blessing… a genetic gift. Think about it. A slow metabolism is the reason why all kinds of animals, like bears, survive. It would make since that a slow metabolism led to the survival of the human race through a couple thousand years when counting calories was more difficult or more easy, depending on how you look at it. (difficult because you had to work harder to eat… and easier because there were fewer calories to count).

History is littered with the forgotten bodies of countless Twiggy’s who had fast metabolism while those of us with a slow metabolism have been given a bum wrap. In today’s smorgasbord of numberless morsels, and while consuming a diet of high-calorie, low nutrient foods it’s tough for my slow metabolism to keep up.

I have inherited a slow metabolism from Mother Eve. I need to learn how to take advantage of my gift. I no longer need to fight it, but embrace it. My genes may be from the Stone Age, but I’m trying to maintain a healthy 21st century easy life where I no longer need to hunt or gather for the family meals. All this abundance is killing me. I reckon that my body is still programmed to burn food like a Neanderthal. This means that consuming all these modern meals has just been piling on the pounds.

The small human digestive tract is unique among primates. We have only one stomach and a relatively short large intestine. We are more suited to digesting and extracting nutrients from vegetables, fruit, soaked nuts or grains, and some meat.

This is particularly interesting to me since I am allergic to wheat and milk. If I can’t digest those items, maybe there are other items I can’t digest and just don’t know it... Notice that plants come first in this pyramid.

I recognize that I need to center on foods that are nutrient dense.

My shopping this week took a different focus. I first hit the produce section. Fresh vegetables and fruits nestled in the shopping cart next to nuts and dried fruit (without sugar added) made the cart look full. Fruit and vegetable consumption has been shown in numerous studies to offer strong protection against various cancers. Fruits have been discovered to have unique qualities in preventing aging due to being rich in antioxidants, vitamins, mineral, and fiber. Filling up on fruits and vegetables, “in its season”, is vital to my health and well being.

The rules for eating are simple. Eat nothing that can’t be found in nature. Eat only when I am hungry, even if it was every two hours. And eat only enough to satisfy my hunger. No gorging.

Sure wish I could find a Mother Eve Cookbook.

Ever since Eve plucked the apple from the tree, the cavewoman rubbed sticks together to roast the bear, grandma strung a string bean, the Irish boiled the potato, or the Koreans pickled a cabbage, we’ve all had to put effort into having a healthy diet. Modern, successful hipster that I am, I cannot escape this reality just because I can order Chinese takeout or $5 Buck pizza.

I need to invest in a few things to help with my quest to be a salad master. Rabbit food, here I come!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Toys Not Tools

I applaud anyone who has consistent exercise motivation. I find that motivation ebbs and flows, sometimes I'm raring to go, sometimes I have to give myself a push and more frequently, I'm like a mountain, totally unmovable.

I decided I would try a “new” tool. I got a hypnosis cd and every night I listen to it. I know. It sounds crazy. I even went into it thinking I it would never work, but I was despite for some motivation.

I have to admit… it’s working. I may not be getting physical everyday, but I am doing so much better than I used to do. I don’t find myself dreading or even finding excuses to avoid it. I’d just find myself lacing up my shoes and jumping on the treadmill.

When I was a child, I must have ran around all day, playing with my siblings (I remember the mud pies and chasing water skippers the best), climbed rock piles that masqueraded as castles, swam in the Deschutes at Tumbalo State Park, danced around like an idiot until I passed out. Back then, I called it play and it was fun. Now I call it exercise . . . and I loathe it. Indeed, every time I think about working out, my entire body forms the word, “Ugh!” What changed?

See why I need the motivation?

Perhaps I am not capable of using the words “fun” and “workout” in the same sentence. Exercise translates to drudgery and my mission is simply to get it over with as quickly as humanly possible.

Maybe it’s the boredom. Somewhere in my journey from kid to grownup, I went from mind-engaging, ever-changing, attention demanding activities to mind-numbing, repetitive movement. From kick-the-can to the treadmill. From jazz to the stepper. From play to exercise. Why?


As life became fuller and schedules get tighter, I find I turn to the seemingly easiest, most efficient option to satisfy any fitness demands.

Maybe I need a better tool.

Last week my husband and I were discussing the sets I was designing and the need for a tool. I’m just not very good at drawing floor plan and elevations free hand. He suggested that I buy a computer program to help me. One problem. They are stinking expensive! I couldn’t do that.

He said, “Think of it as a toy, not a tool.” That explains his spending. LOL. All those “tools” are not “tools” at all. They are “toys”!

However, there is a truth in making “tools” into “toys.”

Like it or not, most of us are not elite athletes looking to jump higher, sprint faster or pummel more defenders.

I just want to look and feel great, be healthy and have the ability to live life to its fullest.

However, I’m beginning to think that the more fun I can have along the way, the better. I need to see my treadmill as a “toy” not a “tool.”

"The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place." -- Mark Twain

Sit with children as they play and you will hear a joyful sound: the sound of laughter. Children can be counted on to make fun even out of unpleasant work. Time to make it fun.

Time gets some more “toys.”

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

This is nothing to sneeze at.

Today I was reading one of my favorite blogs, Does This Blog Make Me Look Fat, and read one of the funniest weight-loss discoveries I’ve seen in quite some time. That cold I’ve had sometime during the fall or winter since the dawn of time could have contributed to my current dilema… that of un-wanted fat cells.

I had to Google this new finding. There is no way someone reported that. But they did. I found the story in CBS, MSN, and the BBC! LOL! I even found stories that go back as far as 2007.

Personally, I would be excited to find that there was a “scientific” excuse for my weight struggles other than over-eating and under-exercising…. Woot woot! Even the devilish side of me dreamed of accidently coughing and “spreading” the virus to some skinny, stuck-up people I’m tired of watching prance around in perfect runway fashion. You know who I’m talking about… the ones that can eat anything they want and never gain a pound and who seem to look down on me and judge me as if I’m not trying to improve my situation. But I wouldn’t want to wish my struggles on my worst enemy.

Here is the “skinny” on the story that broke last fall. In a story by Linda Carroll, a contributer, on September 20, 2010, it was reported that, “A common virus may be one of the causes of the troubling obesity epidemic in American children, a new study shows. University of California, San Diego researchers found that obese children were far more likely to have antibodies to a specific strain of adenovirus than normal weight children, according to the report published early online in Pediatrics. Children who showed signs of infection with adenovirus 36 (AD36), a common cause of some colds and eye infections, were an average of 50 pounds heavier than those who had no antibodies to the virus. ”

Children? What about us adults? We’ve had a cold at least once a year for… well, I won’t say for how long since it will age me. I bet I’ve had that “fat cold” and somehow my friends and family missed out. I bet you will tell me that they work out and eat like mice. Well I know the truth.

If you ask me, THAT IS NOT FAIR! I really don’t need to complicate things by “adding” anything to my hips and butt from a cold! Thank you very much! Do you really expect me sanitize the freezer door before I reach for my Lean Cuisine meal? Perhaps I’m expected to wear a haz-mat suit when I go out in public?

In fact, researchers have shown that the virus may cause changes in the body that lead to weight gain. Some studies have shown that the virus can enter fat cell precursors, rewiring them to spew out more fat cells, while others have shown that the virus can modify fat cells themselves so that they store more fat.

This could explain so much. I’ve caught the common “fat cold”. This sounds so funny. The thing is we are all searching for some “reason” for our struggle with fat. We want to be able to point a finger at something and say, “See. It’s not my fault.” May be we are all waiting to hear some doctor say, “Keep eating those cheeseburgers and all that junk food. We have found the cause to the problem… a virus.” Before you know it there will be a vaccination for obesity.

Sure they would have chosen something medicine can’t do anything about. There is no cure for the common cold. It could really be true… NOT! Seriously!

Besides, there is no cure for the common cold. The scientists may have found one more thing to line up for causes to the ailments that plague mankind… and once again there is no cure.

For now, all we can do it wash our hands; eat right; and exercise. And maybe, next time I get a cold I’ll visit the mall… maybe I’ll invest in Lysol and Purell stock. LOL. Maybe I’ll create “Quarantine Centers”. I could be rich!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Living on the Edge... Is there Really Life Without a Microwave?

Is There Life Without a Microwave?

Well of course the answer to that question is yes. My grandmother lived without one, my mother didn't have one until I was in high school, I think, and there are millions of people around the world living today without a microwave. I could feed my family without a microwave. The real question is, do I want to?

In this day and age, living without a microwave sounds at the least, very backwards, almost third-world-like, and at the most, totally crazy. With busy schedules, how does one live without one? They're so very convenient for reheating food, cooking frozen meals, defrosting dinner at the last minute, and lots more. Why would anyone want to live without one?

Around Christmas my microwave fried. We've decided with all the craziness and of course expense of Christmas to hold off buying a new one until after the holidays… now it will have to wait until after the big wedding. Apparently Something Bad happened to it. Not sure what exactly, but it involved some sparking out of the thing as I attempted to nuke some frozen broccoli for the children to eat for dinner. And then some plain old the-lights-are-on-but-nothing-is-heating thereafter. So we unplugged the thing from the wall and pronounced it officially dead.  Even the microwave we borrowed started smoking.

I always thought that we didn't really use the microwave that much, except for reheating water for oatmeal in the morning and microwaving frozen veggies. I was wrong. First off, with kids in the house, the reasonably wholesome and healthy frozen foods from the grocery store are something of a godsend, but it's pretty tough to prepare many of them sans microwave.

The other difficult situation is with popcorn. Apparently most supermarkets believe that people only prepare microwave popcorn anymore. Personally, I would love to figure out how to make it the old fashioned way in a pot on the stove. Alas I only have microwave popcorn kicking around. I forgot that our microwave is pushing up daisies. Oops. Maybe I can rip open the bag and dump the contents into the pan and made it that way. Hmmm…

Now, I boil hot water in a ratty old tea kettle, and listen for the whistle. Don’t worry. I don’t stand around in crazy anticipation waiting for some buzzer to go off. I've got the time to take care of a little thing while I'm waiting for the whistle. I get the mail, I unload the top rack of the dishwasher, I water some plants. We're not talking a big time differential here - the mug has water for tea within three minutes with a kettle. Yet that three minutes seems like an eternity compared to the few seconds a microwave made me wait.

Defrosting means thinking ahead or revising the dinner menu if I forget. That's okay. I've found that over time, I'm not forgetting anymore - it's like I've settled into something here.

I am forced to admit I'm addicted to the convenience of the microwave. Are there rehabs for that? A microwave is not a NEED. It is a high priority want in this house. One I apparently am not prepared to go without.

I have to admit it… I like living in the modern age. I found this online once. I think it sums it all up: You know you're living in the 20th century when...

1. You accidentally enter your password on the microwave.

2. You haven't played solitaire with real cards in years.

3. You have a list of 15 phone numbers to reach your family of 7.

4. You e-mail the person who works at the desk next to you... not to mention the kids in the next room and the husband sitting behind you.

5. Your reason for not staying in touch with friends and family is that they don't have e-mail addresses.

6. You make phone calls from home, you accidentally dial "9" to get an outside line.

7. You've sat at the same desk for four years and worked for three different companies.

8. You pull up in your own driveway and use your cell phone to see if anyone is home.

9. Leaving the house without your cell phone, which you didn't have the first 20 or 30 (or 60) years of your life, is now a cause for panic and you turn around to go and get it.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Impressions of Water

I’ve been contemplating gaining more motivation to drink more water. Here is a little of the information that is now compelling me to hydrate!

I’ve learned that I need far more water than the suggested 8 glasses a day. The average adult losses about 2 ½ to 3 liters of fluid a day through sweating, breathing, bathroom use, moving, even sleeping, and the body becomes dehydrated if it isn’t replaced.

I’ve even wondered if you don’t get enough water, do you hang on to fat or worse, get fatter? Some scientists believe that even mild dehydration slow metabolism be as much as 3 percent. Besides, I believe that in general, we are so poorly attuned to our bodies’ thirst signals that we often interpret them as hunger pangs. Of course, that leads to more eating. Finally, I’ve learned that if we don’t get enough water, our bodies actually retain water, feeling bloated and uncomfortable.

The most important information motivating me to drink up is that our bodies use water to neutralize acids, to dilute excess acid, and to literally wash them and all other toxins away through bathroom use and sweat. Without enough water the body becomes too acidic and goes into preservation mode – fat storing mode! A drop of just 2 percent in body water content is enough to make this happen. Just think, it’s not unusual to lose 2 percent of your body water during an average hour of exercise.

A lack of water can lead to daytime fatigue. Without enough water you don’t have enough energy. That 2 percent drop can result in a measurable decrease in physical performance. The acid that builds up in your tissues when you don’t get enough water acts like a meat tenderizer. Could that be what is making me even more flabby? And weak? Then, I found that some studies show that a 3 percent drop in water causes a 10 percent drop in muscle strength and an 8 percent drop in speed, as well as lower muscle endurance. More amazing was the study suggestion that further lose of water resulted with symptoms of dizzieness, concentration, drowsiness, ompatience, and headaches. Dehyration can also cause muddles thinking, short-term memory problems, trouble with basic math or expressing yourself verbally, and difficulty focusing. I’ve even experience cold hands, anxiety, irritability, depression, sugar cravings, and cramps. Most of my symptoms decreased as I experimented with drinking more good water.

Water seems pretty important when you think about these facts: you can go 30 about 30 days without eating but you can’t live 72 hours without water.

Fortunately, drinking more water is a relatively easy problem to solve. Drink it!

Water helps process just about every biological, mechanical, and chemical action that takes place in the body. After all, water cushions and protects vital organs, transport nutrients to cells, and dispels wastes. Lungs need water to humidify air. The digestive system uses several gallons of water daily to process food. The brain needs water to perform chemical reactions. Water keeps the skin soft and supple, increases oxygen in the blood, and maintains normal electrical properties of the cells.

These all seem to me to be the perfect reason to drink water – and tons of it! It is my goal to consumer ½ of my body weight in ounces of water a day. That comes to nearly 25 cups of water a day. I’ve been practicing this hydrating habit since the middle of September and have proven to my self that water is the drink of choice.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

I Want it ALL... Now! And I WANT you to READ this NOW!

I want it all and I want it now, or even yesterday, if that were possible. Who doesn’t love some of that instant gratification? In today’s world I feel patience is becoming harder and harder to obtain because we are accustomed to having everything done at our fingertips . Growing up I cannot recall the millions of times I heard this from my parents, leaders, and teachers. They constantly drilled in my head that you must be “patient” and “good things come to those who wait.”

Whether my goal is better health, serious weight reduction, managing eating, starting a consistent exercise routine, or plain old disease prevention, all of these goals require moving away from old habits. The toughest thing about changing old habits is that I lose the instant gratification the old habits provide.

Stupid chocolate chips whispering to me from the freezer…

The problem is I am impatient! I want it all and I want it all NOW. I want the chocolate And I want the smaller waist line. I want fresh yummy warm bread from the oven AND non-aching joints that come from avoiding my allergy trigger foods. ARG! I want to eat what I want and sit on my butt AND be fabulously thin. (Something I have NEVER been yet mourn as though I have lost some great treasure.)

In Church today I learned that the problem is that I “don’t idle well.” The speaker used the infallible wisdom of Dilbert. Who can argue with that?

But it’s true. I can’t really think of many people who can sit quietly with themselves and “be still.”

I need to learn how to be happy at “idle”… patient with affliction… patient with what is happening around me as I just “keep swimming.”

I need some patience with the process… adding this virtue to ever-expanding list of physical, mental, and spiritual benefits: It is a tremendous teacher of patience.

I'd taken this benefit of being patient – of “being still” for granted until this afternoon, when I read an article titled Impatient Nation: I Can't Wait For You To Read This. The article spotlights our collective (and growing) need to have things right now, examines it’s how and whys, and ponders the implications.

I encourage you to read the entire article — even especially if you "don't have time" — but here's the takeaway, in a nutshell:

Bad news: "impatience can make people tense, fat and broke."

Good news: "impatience is a behavior, not a personality characteristic," meaning you can change it.

To do list for tomorrow: develop patience… NOW! LOL.

The best news for me, of course, is that as a Christian and as a parent, I am in the process of being trained to be patient. Constantly. (Patience has its roots in the Latin word meaning "to suffer" — a concept familiar to all parents… dieters… employees… employers… children waiting for a snow day.)

Think about it. Whether you're a newbie (like me friends suffering from lack of sleep with young ones), or empty nesters (like my friends suffering from lack of sleep due to worry over their grown children), or the seasoned parent of impatient teen (me… suffering from lack of sleep due to insomniac teens and their impatient attitudes) life can be, literally, an exercise in delayed gratification. Nothing teaches patience like parenting does.

Well… maybe this journey to better health is a CLOSE second.

The problem that so many of us run into when we are trying to make a change is that we neglect to really reflect on what purpose that old habit served and make sure it’s addressed in our plan for change. Let’s say snacking on chocolate chips helps me reduce boredom. If I just take away the chips and hope that my desire for a long life will motivate me to avoid the melting morsels of delight, I shouldn’t be surprised when instant gratification wins out and I end up eating them again… in handfuls.

My plan for avoiding the beckoning chips needs to provide instant gratification, i.e. quick boredom relief, not a promise of rewards some time far, far into the future. I need a plan.

I need something now!

I guess I could wait. After all, as Oscar the Grouch once said, "There'll be more trash tomorrow." I can be patient… for now.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Queen Bee Busy

I didn't mean to go missing the past few days. The truth is, I've been busy, busy, busy... As a bee... A queen bee. ....... Today I vow to set an alarm on my alarm and be sure to update at daily! I really need to start writing before 10:30 pm. LOL.

So here I am, home on a Saturday night with my computer – and a glass of water – at my fingertips. Why am I not out socializing and carousing and painting the town red? Because I’m dead tired, that’s why. Besides, I did a little of that earlier in the evening by attending a baby shower… and sitting in the hot tub with my husband and 7 year old.

I’m mostly tired because of my crazy busy bee schedule… a schedule that I have no one to blame but myself. One thing I like about being busy with all this work is that I have no time to brood over what I’m not accomplishing with my goals… which I am very apt to. An idle mind is a devil’s workshop, so they say. This and the previous month have been an especially busy period with Christmas, a couple plays, concerts, students, and kids activities and working on goals.

Yesterday I was busy teaching my kids school, cleaning house, and watching my friend’s little guy until about 1 in the afternoon. Then I headed to the HS for a training on the new sound shell that just got delivered. I followed that with helping kids get ready for an upcoming concert. I had enough time to get out of my sweats and get a quick shower before a date with my hubby. We went to a nice restaurant and a movie. It was nice just to bee hanging out together. It’s bee-n too long!

This morning I got up a little later that I expected… it was nice to sleep in. Then I headed to the HS to work on the set all day. Good thing I only do this a couple of times a year because my house falls down around me because without mom around to crack the whip, nothing gets done. I was grateful that my hubby came down the HS to help too. I looks great. I bet the set is done next Sat… with a little painting and some touch ups to worry about in the weeks to come. When I got home I got a quick dinner before I headed to a baby shower. I don’t normally “do” parties… but hey! I got keep people on their toes.

Weight Loss… hmmmm I’ve leveled off around 300 and have stuck at that. I am feeling ok… tired. But what do you want? It’ 11:30 pm. My shins hurt a bit but that is it, my ankle pain is mostly gone.

So now I’m going to hang up my Queen Bee stripes and get my beauty sleep. It takes a lot of sleep to run THIS kingdom. Off to get my ZZZZZZ’s to add to my BUZZ so tomorrow I can fly like a butterfly and sting like a BEE…. LOL. Night all!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Ode to Being a Bear

… too lazy to blog... ok.. still feeling a bit under the weather… to much stuff going on in life... and I just couldn’t dream up something to write about. I haven’t been able to eat much today because my tummy is still not happy, and I haven’t had much energy for exercise. On top of that, I now have a solid headache. The weather is chilly and I am SO COLD! As this frigid weather lingers, I remembered something received in e-mail a couple of years ago. Sure wish I knew who wrote this little gem. They deserve a Pulitzer!

Every time I read this I smile.

Gonna be a bear

In this life I am a woman. In my next life, I'd like to come back as a bear.

When you're a bear, you get to hibernate. You do nothing but sleep for six months. I could deal with that.

Before you hibernate, you're supposed to eat yourself stupid. I could deal with that too.

When you're a girl bear you birth your children (who are the size of walnuts) while you're sleeping and wake to partially grown cute cuddly cubs. I could definitely deal with that.

If you're mama bear everyone knows you mean business. You swat anyone who bothers your cubs.

If your cubs get out of line, you swat them too. I could deal with that.

If you're a bear, your mate expects you to wake up growling. He expects that you will have hairy legs and excess body fat.

Yup! Gonna be a bear.

LOL. That always makes me smile. Come to think of it… I just may be a bear.

My name is Mama Bear. I'm married to Papa Bear. We have 5 growing cubs (1 now grown and moving off to her own den) and we live in a cozy 4 bedroom 2 bath cave. :D Today, Baby Bear was driving me crazy with her lack of focus.

“If the person you are talking to doesn't appear to be listening, be patient. It may simply be that he has a small piece of fluff in his ear.”

-- Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Feeling like I do right now, I could hibernate for six months… except my body would ache after laying there for that long.

“It is more fun to talk with someone who doesn't use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like "What about lunch?"

Winnie the Pooh Pooh's Little Instruction Book

I often catch myself eating stupid. Not today. I can’t eat much without feeling very uncomfortable. With all my food allergies I find myself eating more fish, nuts, and berries. Thankfully, I haven’t had the pleasure (tongue in cheek) of tasting bugs and grubs. EWWW!

I could have used my kids being born the size of walnuts. I developed PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension) with each one of my kids. I got so sick at the end of pregnancy it’s a miracle that I had 5 kids!

I’m a ferocious defender of family and friends. I don’t think I’ve swatted anyone recently… but I’ve thought about it. I’d sure like to kick these health issues to the curb!

And shaving what’s that? LOL! I don’t grow hair. I have very little on my arms and legs and rarely “have” to shave. I do, however, wake up with bed head and the GROWL!


“A bear, however hard he tries, grows tubby without exercise.”

-- Pooh's Little Instruction Book, inspired by A. A. Milne

Body fat? I have that in spades. However, I’m planning huge sale on it soon. Everything must go!

… definitely a bear sometimes....

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Rumbly Tumbly

I tried all afternoon to make a menu. Problem. I’m not feeling too well. My tummy aches… almost like I’m hungry but I’m not. Everything is all rumbly and tumbley. I really don’t understand why I’m feeling like this. I haven’t had any of my trigger foods. No wheat, even while my home wafted the wonderful smell of homemade bread. No milk, even though I have been dyeing to warm up with a nice cup of hot chocolate. And no soy… to my knowledge. However, I know it’s real easy to sneak soy into all sorts of foods. I’m not convinced it’s something I ate though. My daughter suffered from some kind of tummy ailment over the weekend. Maybe she shared. The bum!

At least I walked 1 ½ miles this morning before I started feeling uncomfortable.

I can’t say I feel to successful in any of my other goals for the week. There is always tomorrow. I think I’ll hit the sack early.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Death By Affluence

I am a BIG fan of mysteries. As a kid I rode my bike down to the library and checked out 70 of the 82 Agatha Christie books and read them by the time I was 15. As an adult, I learned to love TV shows like Castle, NCIS, and even Hawaii 5-0.

Today, I thought, “Huh. What we have here is the mysterious case of “Death by Affluence”.

In the past, only the very affluent had enough money to buy excess food and get fat. Food= wealth. Food meant you have arrived. Over time, the body developed fatty deposits to store fat for long periods of fasting… that period of time where there wouldn’t be enough food to go around, like winter. Those who did not have fat stores stood the risk of dying from malnutrition and only those that got fat during the good times survived the lean times.

I often joke that I carry my “two year supply” with me at all times.

As early as the 13th century, cookbooks discussed the pleasures of food. An abundance of food was considered a sign of affluence and pleasure… Hello. Have you taken a good look at fine art. Those women were voluptuous and it was admired! Now a days, the same women would be considered unhealthy. Go figure.

It appears that our ancestors disliked what they consider “cheaper food” including fruits, veggies, and herbs of the season, preferring rare and foreign things. They preferred the “easy” way out and soon opted for “convenience” foods at the family dinner table. It was a sign of affluence to have strawberries in January and grapes in April. It’s normal to us “Jepson-set” that live in the modern world. Our enchantment with exotic, rare and out-of-season ingredients is simply a by-product of our ability to obtain, transport and preserve food.

Today, there is an abundance of cheap and fattening food and it is no longer a sign of affluence to be overweight. For those of us that are overweight, we are trapped. In fact, in the US today what with agricultural subsidies it is often cheaper processed food that contains the most sugar and fat, resulting in many poor people being particularly overweight.

High incomes and a taste for fast food and sugary drinks pushed many into the obesity club. Low levels of exercise, along with a taste for fast foods laden with carbohydrates, salt, fat and processed sugar is cause for increasing concern about the nation’s health. We are the fast food nation, and our kids love fast foods. We love convenience food. It is still a sign of affluence ...

I need to learn to socialize without making food the centerpiece. Christmas is the perfect of example of socializing with food. How many plates of “goodies” did you get or share? Instead of making food the centerpiece of my relationships I need to find new activities to share. Maybe walking. Maybe a craft. I’ll have to think on that.

Case solved. Our money is killing us with food. Oh to be back in simpler days where we grew what we ate; when we were hunters and gathers. That way, the process of gaining food would be the process of burning the calories.

Fist Out of Water

OK…. This post is really for yesterday, Jan. 3, 2011. I was really in the middle of formulating the perfect post when my day took me for a few unexpected turns; i.e. my car wouldn’t start, the doctor and I played phone tag all day and I still haven’t gotten an answer as to how to proceed with Hannah’s treatment for a possible compression fracture in her neck, and people cancelled or added appointments to my day. Needless to say, I never made it to the final typing of my thoughts for the day.

I’ve been working real hard to fit exercise into my day. Yesterday I tried a “Dance Party” video off Netflix. I can do it. After all, I’m raising amazing dancers. They had to get it from somewhere.

It started with Latin Dance.

March. March. March. Step out. Step out. Step out. This is pretty easy. I can do this.

Uhh…. Now I’m suppose to shake my hips? Add arms? You’ve got to be kidding me!

This DANCE is supposed to be sexy, beautiful and smooth. After all, the word ‘salsa' means sauce, and associates with spiciness in Latin food, thus meaning ‘spicy' or ‘hot' dancing. The people on the screen were beautiful, flowing, sharp, smooth, and elegant.

You’ve heard the term “fish out of water?” It means, “Someone in a situation they are unsuited to.”

Yup, that was me. Unsuited for this type of exercise. Yup, I flail around like a fish out of water… gasping for air; flopping around to some rhythm that didn’t resemble the timing of the music. Now, I KNOW I’m not the only girl out there who is somewhat less than enthused about someday dancing in front of a room of family and friends only to been seen as a fool. This is why I only subjected the dog to my performance in the privacy of my own home. Even the kids were banished.

Oh well… I got some exercise. I even sweat. The music was fun. Besides, all that really matters is that burned a few calories.

I guess I will try it again today… and I’ll have fun because I will dance like no one is watching.