Happy New Year! We are eight days into 2014 and I keep re-checking my Weather Bug Application hoping for rain, instead we suffer with gorgeous days (mid 70’s) and it feels more like springtime stepping into summertime than winter. Indeed, “it never rains in California“…
Have you thought about your goals or set priorities for 2014? Did you create a list? How did you do for 2013?
I have my 2014 goals typed out and posted right at my desk. We opened our 2013 memory box on New Year’s Eve and thoroughly loved all the memories and thankful scraps of paper notes. This is such a wonderful activity to do!
Take a box with a lid or an empty jar, decorate it any way you wish, place it in a frequented place in your home along with a pad of paper and a pen…then all year long make a note (include the date) of a happy moment, a blessing, celebration, a joy, an answered prayer, special occasion, etc., fold your papers and fill your memory box/jar. Then, on New Year’s Eve (or even New Year’s morning) read each one and be amazed! My husband and I love looking back on our year this way.
Anyway, I came across a fabulous blog site today. I loved “10 Tips for an Amazing 2014” and encourage you to take some time to savor and taste each part of this recipe. I cannot pick my favorite ingredient, I loved them all, but one that especially spoke to me I will give you a sneak peek:
5 cups of Focus: find what you’re passionate about. Live it. Breathe it. Own it. Focus on it. Do it. Be all about it. Not sure what you’re passionate about? Make it your goal to focus on finding that out this year.
Go check it out, I promise you will not be disappointed. Thank you, Lauren, for this fantastic recipe!
Have you ever swallowed glass? On purpose or accidentally? I can’t image. But, then again I can.
How about being stabbed repeatedly by a knife, in the abdomen? I can’t image. But, then again I can.
This is how I must describe my bout with recently diagnosed diverticulitis. There is just no closer resemblance to the pain when diverticulosis becomes an infection.
I never knew I had either of these conditions until last month. I am pretty darn healthy and eat a vegetarian/pescatarian diet 99% of the time. I occasionally will have chicken and turkey, but definitely get plenty of fiber, which is of high importance each day (and seems to be lacking in diets of those with this diagnosis) for someone with diverticulosis. I still don’t know how I got this. More tests are forthcoming. (Including the dreaded colonoscopy, I have coined as the “butt scope”).
My doctor initially thought I had appendicitis and sent me to the emergency room, where I had a CT scan which discovered this lovely infection and condition. I had a fever, as well. I am so thankful I followed up, usually I grin and bear it, but I knew something serious was wrong, as this was not your normal tummy ache.
What is diverticulitis and diverticulosis?
I think I will refrain from going into all the disgusting, gross details here and point you here where you can read up about it if you wish: Diverticular disease.
Something I have discovered that has tremendously changed my symptoms and digestion is the Food Combining Diet. I bought a little book and did plenty of research after hearing from a friend that it totally cured her symptoms and flare-ups from diverticular disease.
I added a simple little reminder chart here that I keep on my refrigerator as a reminder:
Basically, eat fruit alone. I have my fruit in the morning, before breakfast and after my morning cup of coffee. Also, do not mix lean proteins with carbs. Period. I have lean protein (such as fish, chicken) with veggies and a salad for dinner. You can mix carbs with veggies- those are the fun meals! (Think pasta, bread and salad).
I have omitted tomatoes (high acid & seeds), hot things like peppers and jalapeños (which I love) and small seeds like sesame.
I am feeling good and losing some weight as well. When we let our bodies digest foods in the best and easiest way possible, our bodies will thank us.
Getting older comes with many surprises concerning our health.
I am certainly missing my hot foods, but definitely never want to feel the pain of a diverticulitis recurrence. I hope this was helpful to you. I’ll let you all know how I survived my upcoming “butt scope.” I’m more concerned with what I might blab during sedation (my doctor is a handsome devil!). Wish me luck!
I am SO GLAD today is Friday! How about you?
A few months back (quite a few, actually!) I was pleasured to connect with Cole Mill’s writing expertise. Although I went MIA for a bit, his blog certainly did not.
So, please take a moment and enjoy his work, “Tips For Controlling Your Weight As You Age.” It is full of great reminders and tips…especially for
the elderly people my age!
Thanks Cole. I did not forget you!
It seems to me, at least this morning, that worry equates to “what if’s.” I have been fortunate in my life in that I have never lost someone intimately close to me before. Everyone I love is living, including my 94 year-old grandmother.
Things are changing, because I am getting older. So is everyone else.
My step father was recently placed on hospice. The inevitable is coming, and it could be any time. I will be flying to Oregon in two weeks to spend time with my mother and my step father, also helping out any way I possibly can during these four days.
I have been filled with worry for my mother. All the what if’s. Like, what if my step father passes while I am there? What if my mother completely falls apart? I am very concerned about her living alone so far away in their little house in the country. You know, all the important what if’s. Of course, they are all important, right?
But…God. I was reminded this morning by His heart nudging mine that He is God regardless of what is going on. He is faithful. He provides. He does not change. He is good and He knows the future. He is God and He changes not. My job (our job) is to remind ourselves, nourish our own souls by these truths (His truths) and to rest in His care, His promises.
I am leaving my “what if’s” in His hands this morning. This is a continual, daily process. A choice I must make. He changes not. He has never failed me before (nor anyone else I know) and He never will. We can go through our lives worrying and fretting, praying and picking up the burdens again, but regardless, God is God and He is faithful. Our jobs are to remind ourselves, “work out our salvation,” feed our spirits with His truths and trust that He has everything under control that concerns us and those we love.
I live in a relatively small coastal town. It is not unusual to bump into people you know where ever you may be. It is also very easy to recognize the homeless: new panhandlers and regulars. Over the years I have learned how to recognize the differences between true homelessness and its desperation, as well as those sign holders who make their living for their addiction or even the
liars, cheats, lazy scammers.
completely pisses me off infuriates me when I see how many scammers and addicts have taken over our parking lot exit ways and streets. I used to feel so sorry for them all until my encounter with the deaf-mute man at Jack in the Box many, many years ago. I will get to that in a minute. But, what really irritates me is our city police who do nothing about this growing epidemic. We have an ordinance against such panhandling, yet these lowlifes people are everywhere…so are the cops, who choose to ignore.
Let me share some photos that pull at my heart strings (possibly yours as well):
Those who do not hold a sign, but rather bring their pets (my heart turns to mush over animals) and a bucket/container. I always imagine their story.
^How about the ones WITH a sign, bundled up in blankets WITH their pet(s)? This always makes me sad…for the dog.
Now, we move forward into the audacity of some. Some
idiots people will actually give money to these types because they think their nerve is funny or others even applaud their honest acknowledgement that the money they receive will be for booze or drugs. These type of sign holders truly anger me, and I feel disgust over the many who support their lifestyle.
^Ever seen one of these? I have seen a few in our town. It greatly bothers me when I see such sign holders because our children can see them, the children who are at the age of reading well for themselves. Not cool.
Moving on, I appreciate the people who hold signs like this:
or even this:
…yet, I will NOT give them a penny. They are willing to trade a service for food. Really? Sometimes I have given them a
Happy meal. Or offer them a job. Most of them have turned down any job offered because “they can make more money holding a sign for a few hours.” Seriously? THAT infuriates me. And we cater to this epidemic.
How about this one:
These type of sign holders like to make you feel guilty or recount a scriptural truth concerning blessings. Many
religious people who love God will give to these types. Panhandlers truly have learned the art in how to manipulate us all in some way or another.
Anyway, on to the Jack in the Box deaf-mute man, who I was pleasured to meet many years ago when I drove through Jack in the Box with my kids for milkshakes. He greeted me at the order window holding a sign made out of cardboard which read:
“PLEASE HELP. CAR BROKE DOWN ON WAY TO AIRPORT. HELP MY FAMILY HAVE A HOTEL FOR TONIGHT. I CANNOT SPEAK OR HEAR.”
As I was reading the sign he held in front of him, he was using hand gestures and facial expressions to pull my heart strings. I gave him all the cash in my wallet (I think it was about $16) and used my debit card to pay for our milkshakes. I also bought the deaf-mute man milkshakes for his entire family (family of six). My kids and I felt so good and were just glowing during the drive home, feeling like we had helped this family.
Well…it was about two weeks later my kids wanted another milkshake and as we entered that same Jack in the Box driveway I saw the deaf-mute man once again. Except this time, he did not see me. He was hanging out with a group of sign-holders under a tree towards the back of the parking lot with their camper. He was quite vocal. He could also hear quite well. He was even listening to tunes with ear buds, rocking out. I spied on him for a few moments and my kids were dumbfounded
as pissed as I was. He was laughing and seemed to be having a great time conversing with the others. I saw red! I did all the math and felt so dumb. I had been completely fooled by a “scammer.”
Since then, I have a somewhat guarded heart and attitude towards sign holders. I have seen documentaries about their addictions. I have learned all about their “ways.” There are so many resources in our county (as well as all over the United States) for the homeless including shelters, food pantries and meals provided through various churches and centers, our public schools serve lunches during the summer to ANYONE, the ACE program provides medical care, and we have donation sites everywhere. Truly, if you are homeless in my town you CAN find a bed, clothing, food, shelter and opportunities for rehabilitation and jobs. We have a few transitional housing centers to help families get back on their feet. There is even a “river community” of people who are provided services for their needs- they live in our local river bottoms. Usually when we give money to a sign holder or panhandler, we are only enabling them and feeding a bad habit/addiction.
But…what about our heart strings? My own has come to recognize the truly needy, the ones who do not hold signs, the ones who strive everyday to find hope. We can be that hope sometimes. Not in an enabling way, but rather much like a guardian angel whose paths cross with such at a particular moment in time. I have crossed paths with one particular man over the years and just the other night. He has a shopping cart filled with what little belongings he owns, covered with a blue tarp. He slumps terribly. He is very dirty and always sunburned. He never holds a sign, he never asks for anything. He just walks. Sometimes he rests. He travels miles in one day. I wonder where his destinations are? His clothing and shoes reflect he cares about his appearance even if he cannot locate a shower. His hair is trimmed neatly. A few years ago I passed to him a Von’s gift card I had received worth $25. His eyes danced. They even sparkled. I KNEW hope came to him that day. I saw him again the other night when I was getting gas. Once again I felt that urgency and pull in my heart to give him what cash I had in my wallet. I found a $10 dollar bill. It was as if he recognized me when I handed it to him and said, “God bless you.” His eyes danced and sparkled again. He was so thankful. I KNEW he was so thankful.
Only we can decipher between true homelessness desperation, addiction, enabling or the scammers. Follow your heart, but try not to let it be manipulated. Let go of guilt, because there are resources available. I know I am thankful every single day for what I have. I take nothing for granted, honestly.
So, when your heart strings are pulled, let the song play. Otherwise, grab a milkshake once in awhile for you and your own family.
My husband and I have been on a recent researching frenzy. The topic? GMO’s -AKA genetically modified organisms. Of course we began this journey after watching, “Food, Inc.” We are very healthy eaters as it is, but since watching that movie a few years ago we strive all the more for organics and grain-fed lean proteins (chicken, turkey, no beef or pork). We are probably 98.5% Pescatarian (wild not farm-raised fish, vegetables).
So, what does this have to do with cat barf? A lot, actually. I am not talking about the occasional hair ball either, rather vomit. Large amounts of vomit full of food, disgustingly yellowish in color and sometimes projectile in nature.
I now will refer you to the movie, “Genetic Roulette.” Trust me, you want to watch this. I am going to present some evidence here with regards to my cats and allow you to do your own homework. I really hope this inspires you to make changes in your life and in the life of your pets. You will be amazed, trust me.
Back to the cats. We have five. Yes, five- and they are all indoor. For a long while I had them on a seemingly healthy diet based on advertisements and hype. Gosh, we had them on a variety of foods. We kept trying to find a food that would eliminate the piles of puke around our house and reduce weight gain. (I won’t name all the brands here…) Purina One Smart Blend sounds like a healthy and wholesome food, right? The chicken and rice formula is what our cats ate. Here is some of the promises they state:
Real chicken is the #1 ingredient, blended with other high-quality protein sources, to help support strong muscles, including a healthy heart.
Omega-6 helps give your cat a radiant coat and healthy skin.
Enriched with vitamins and minerals for strong bones and joints.
Highly digestible so more nutrition goes to work inside your cat.
Crunchy kibble helps reduce plaque build-up and whiten teeth.
But…all these promises do not contain a “non-GMO” disclosure on their bag. So, anyway…they ate a lot of Purina One Smart Blend. Our oldest cat, Bageera, was becoming more and more obese, so I switched them all to the “lighter” version. He became even more obese and all five of them vomited daily, multiple times a day. (All the same texture and yellowish-bile color.) They all also began to develop skin issues, dander knots and my oldest cat developed a large fatty mass under his left front leg/chest area. I finally had enough of cleaning up cat vomit and running our carpet cleaner to remove the ugly yellow stains from our carpet.
Now, let me say that although Purina One Smart Blend (as well as other countless brands of pet foods) use chicken as their “main” ingredient, is this chicken grain-fed or corn-fed? Is the chicken (or beef or fish) byproducts? This literally means pieces, leftovers of the worst parts of the animal or fish. As well, is the rice or corn or soy ingredients organic or are they actually from GMO products? There IS a huge difference here. Let me show you.
Once I switched my pets to organic and non-GMO pet food, guess what happened? (It is truly quite amazing and a miracle!) They ALL stopped barfing. It has been one year now, and all five of them completely, totally, utterly stopped hurling. Once in a great while they will cough up a hair ball. Cats do that, it’s normal. Vomiting up yellowish-bile piles containing food repeatedly throughout the day is not. Additionally, their coats shine. No more mats in their fur. They have all lost the weight they had gained on the GMO food. The best part of all is that our oldest cat is now totally buff! He runs around the house like a kitten and plays with twist ties from bread loaves. Did I mention that he is almost 13 years old? His fatty growth has now also almost completely resolved.
In saying all this, please read labels. Look for the non-GMO label, organic ingredients and know your vendors. Most corn and soy, as well as other fillers, are GMO grown. Educate yourselves and be interested in your pet’s health in addition to your own. There are organic foods available for your pets. The extra cost is worth avoiding the vet costs, and your pets will forever thank you. I know mine do. Daily. As well, I really love having carpets that are free of yellow barf stains and saving trees from all the paper towels I used for cleaning up the vomit mess.
With love on a Saturday,
First of all, I must apologize. It has been forever since I have written. I promise, I will be getting back to it. Life has been very, very busy for me lately-I am writing plenty for work and school, and this blog has not taken priority. I have missed being here. Plus, I realized many months ago I no longer wish to save the world. Nope. Not a job for me nor one I want. That is a job only God can handle. Of course, I still love Shakeology and drink it every day (I encourage everyone to use it too!), but I’m done preaching about it. Everyone is free to make their own healthy choices for their lives, however I am still going to share all about mine with you here.
Anyway, I’m back. Yesterday I realized that wine goes with everything. Really, it does. I am kind of wine grieving this week. If you love wine like I
consume it all the time do, then you KNOW it goes PERFECTLY with EVERY single meal, a good book or movie, fireplaces, homework, holidays, family & friend gatherings, chocolate and cheese, every possible food combination, etc. It is beautiful in a glass, smells and swirls divinely, and tastes better than anything grapes. I was also realizing (once again) how much wine has become an idol in my life. I am not an alcoholic, but I believe I have been a wine-o-holic for the past several years. I can stop. At any time. I do stop. But I sure miss it when I do. It’s just that once I pour one glass, I continue pouring. That is my problem. Remember my previous blog about my love for wine? You can read it here to catch up: http://wp.me/p35YUS-wT
Well, per doctor’s order I am off wine for the next two months. Sucks to be me, right? Especially when wine goes with everything in my life. After these two months are up, may be I will continue going without? I can’t say right now. However, I do know that if I go back, it will only be occasionally, because my little body is not happy right now.
I am feeling good, day three without wine. I have more energy, am sleeping sound and have lost 2.5 pounds. Just in three days, 2.5 pounds! That speaks volumes and I feel safe to share about that here. I am choosing to listen to my doctor and to stay consistent for my tummy’s sake and health. But, trust me, I am missing
crying about wine right now. I have prayed that every place in my life that wine has filled would be replaced by the touch and presence of God.
Do you struggle with something such as this? I’m interested…
Have a lovely weekend,
Over the past couple weeks I have had “writers block.” Part of the reason for this is because I do so much writing and editing for work and also school. Currently my class is British literature, the era long before our 21st century hype regarding nutrition, fitness and healthy lifestyles, and lately my writing has been geared towards middle English rather than modern English.
Anyway, recently I have been thinking about my coach.
This is not her, but truly she is my Jedi Master, I am her apprentice.
I want to dedicate this blog especially to her this morning. Laura, thank you! You have inspired me to do what I never could have done alone, and was literally failing to accomplish traveling solo.
I do not believe my path crossed accidentally with Laura’s. I was at a place in my life where I felt one last glimmer of hope and one last strength to reach out. I honestly cannot even remember how I found Laura, but I am thankful every day for that moment. I knew I needed some type of additional support and accountability to change my lifestyle, and she was that link.
Do you have a fitness/nutrition/life coach? Just that extra hand to hold or shadow to follow can make all the difference, trust me.
The most important thing I believe I have learned from Laura is that I am not alone in my struggles or my desires to leave an unhealthy lifestyle. I have also had to let go of some of my stubbornness and independence. She has shown me the importance of “rinse and repeat.” Consistency is the pot of gold.
Have you been involved in an accountability/challenge group? The strength of others, similar mindsets and inspiration found in such a group has changed my life. We are all so very human and there truly is strength in numbers. Out of these groups I have learned correct ways to eat and count calories (not approximate!), how to make exercise and fitness part of my everyday life (not a chore!), the importance of water, I have been introduced to Shakeology (the healthiest meal of my day and responsible for the disappearance of most ALL of my RA/fibromyalgia pain), and I have lost almost 20 pounds the healthy way!
So, I want to say thank you again, Laura. You have been such a blessing in my life. You are the product of the product, and because of your realness, gentleness and also firm reminders, you have so inspired me and been one of the most important reasons for my success today. I love you, dear Jedi Master!
Will you consider being an apprentice? Think about “rinse and repeat.” Also, choose to make a healthy step today if you have been full of doubt or hopelessness. Join a Challenge Group. Give Shakeology a try. I stand behind the Beach Body fitness programs because my life has been changed as a result of being the product of the product. Now I am here in hopes of inspiring and serving you, just like Laura has done for me.
May the Force be with you.
This morning I have been thinking about how it is impossible to receive something with a clenched fist. The image that keeps coming to mind is that from “The Monkey and The Juggler.” The monkey was unable to receive one or retrieve all the peanuts he held after reaching his hand into a jar because he refused to unclench his fist. He wouldn’t open his hand to let go of one peanut, therefore his hand remained stuck. Ever feel like that? May be you aren’t even aware this is where you are at. I’m reminded this morning to share with you: open your hand. Whatever has been holding you back from the healthy lifestyle and goals you are not meeting, unclench your fist. In order to receive something new we must open our hands and let something go.
For example, a few years ago I decided I wanted to complete my schooling to obtain my degree. In order to do this, I had to give some things up to allow for more time for homework and studying. Yes, it was a stretch. Sometimes a painful one. However, I had to choose to unclench my fist, open my hand to let some things go in order to receive more time.
Do you struggle with eating the right foods? Is temptation too great? Unclench your fist and pick differently. There is such a variety to choose from, beautiful and delicious healthy, clean foods. Does eating clean get boring? Try some new recipes. There are hundreds of creative recipes free for the choosing on the Internet, free cookbooks can be downloaded for your Kindle or Nook, and recipe books are a dime to a dozen at thrift stores or garage sales. Load up half your dinner plate with vegetables and fruits. The more healthy foods you give your body, the more your body will crave those foods. Consider trying Shakeology®, which eliminates unhealthy cravings and increases your cravings for healthy foods.
Is exercise nearly impossible because you smoke? Do you want to quit smoking, and continually fail? Don’t stop trying, try again! Unclench your fist and replace your cigarettes with patches, the electronic cigarette or even medication. Talk to your doctor. Join a support group. Start walking. Drink a lot of water. Rebuild your lungs one day at a time. You can do this! How do I know? Because I HAVE DONE IT! I smoked for years and never thought I could live my life without cigarettes being part of it. I unclenched my fist and let cigarettes go and replaced them with health. I am free, and free to exercise with the full capacity of my lungs. Nothing is impossible with faith and persistent efforts.
Don’t have time for exercise? This can be coined with our kids saying they don’t have time to get their homework done. No more excuses! Set your alarm 30 minutes early, break up your exercise in increments, do whatever it takes and manipulate your schedule to allow for this “me” time for your overall health and well-being. As much as exercise may feel or seem like a chore, IT IS NOT! Exercise and movement are as important as eating, sleeping and praying.
Most of us know exactly what we are holding in our clenched fist, and it is usually more than one thing. Take some time to quietly reflect on what you are holding on to that is preventing you from opening your hand to receive something else, something better, which is blessed good health.
I thought I would share the story with you also. Think about these things, will you?
The Monkey and The Juggler
In a mango orchard outside a village there lived a mischievous monkey. The whole day, he would jump from one tree to another. Thus the monkey kept on eating the ripe mangoes. The orchard-keeper tried to trap the monkey. But every time the monkey escaped the trap.
One day, the monkey wandered out to the nearby town. “The town people are so busy. There is so much crowd here,” the monkey thought. Soon the monkey was sneaking into houses and running away with eatables. By evening, he had made life difficult for the town people. “The town is more fun than the orchard. I will live here,” he thought.
Days went by and the monkey was looked upon by the town people with terror. “Here he comes again,” they screamed when they saw the monkey.
One day, a juggler came to the town. The people of the town approached him. “We want you to help us get rid of that mischievous monkey,” they said to the juggler. The juggler said in return, “Do not worry. Get me some jars with narrow necks,”
When the jars of the size were brought to him, he put peanuts into the jars and placed them out on a field.
The monkey became curious when he saw the jars. When he went and peeped inside the jars, he saw peanuts. “Yummy! Let me quickly grab the peanuts and run,” he thought. He put his hand inside the jar and grabbed a big handful.
But he could not pull out his clenched fist, as the neck of the jar was so narrow. If the monkey dropped some peanuts back into the jar, he could have pulled his hand out. But he was greedy. So he did not drop some peanuts into the jar.
The town people trapped the monkey with his hand inside the jar. They got hold of the rope and tied him in a post. Then the monkey was sold to a zoo. That was the end of the greedy monkey.