Healthy Holiday Tip #25

Use the down time (if you can find it) to evaluate your past efforts and compose some goals for the future.  This year, I'm going to be using this list  I found to help me identify new areas to explore and develop. Because fitness and weight loss demand so much attention, I believe this process will help me avoid becoming "one-dimensional" in my living.

Happy New Year to all who walk the path to health, fitness, balance and simplicity with me in 2010.

Healthy Holiday Tip #24

If you can find some water, SWIM!  I've already gotten in about 3 hours of swimming!  Keeping up with these active grandsons who are always ready to jump in and paddle around has kept me moving.  And it's been fun, too.  Incidentally, taking a picture of eight grandchildren - all in motion at the same time -  has been quite an adventure!

Holiday Health Tip #23

I've not taken the time to really develop this one as I have wished, but the phrase just keeps going around and around in my mind..."Do the right thing!"  Dr. Laura (you love her or you hate her) says it frequently--closes an hour of programming by saying, "Now, go do the right thing."

The Bible uses another word - "righteous" - to describe the kind of living most of us aspire to.  We really WANT to do the right thing most of the time.  But we all fall short of that goal.  The Bible says that, too!  "There is no one righteous, not even one! ...  all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." (Doesn't really take an ancient Book to tell me that!)  The glory of God is His righteousness!  He is ALWAYS right!  He is perfect in every way.

God needs no reminders to "do the right thing."  I DO.  God needs no help to "do the right thing."  I DO.  That's why God sent Jesus (whose birth we celebrate today).  That's why Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit!  To help us "do the right thing".

Today and every day, I want to do the right thing when it comes to caring for my body.  I want to, I can, and I will exercise righteously and eat righteously.  Personally, I'm glad for Dr. Laura's reminders.  But more importantly, I'm thankful for Jesus! 

Healthy Holiday Tip #22

NEVER GIVE UP is my tip for today.  And I need it!

No matter how many home-made caramels you ate.  No matter that you ate 12 dark chocolate truffles from the bag. In the car. Before you got home from the gift exchange.  No matter that the day went by and you didn't get your 30 minute walk in. No matter that the scale shows you gained 2 pounds for the first time in six months of consistent loss or maintenance. No matter WHAT.  Never give up.  Begin where you left off and keep going strong!

Healthy Holiday Tip #21

Not from "O" and not original...but very helpful!  Before a potentially tempting event food-wise, have a snack with fiber, protein and a little fat to be sure your hunger is under control.  This one is easily done - having the snack, that is. 

The trick is not to make exceptions or excuses after arriving at the event!  I guess we'll see how serious we really are about managing our weight throughout the holiday season by the way we manage ourselves when surrounded by all the attractive and tempting foods.

Healthy Holiday Tip #20

OK.  This one will take some thought.  "Never just quit something....always substitute."  The rationale is that BAD habits fill needs, so it is necessary to replace them with GOOD habits that address that need.  Their ("O" Magazine's) for instance was you shouldn't  substitute push-ups for pancakes unless you REALLY love push-ups.

I think I get it.  Do you?  No need to worry about ME substituting push-ups for pancakes, by the way.

Healthy Holiday Tip #19

Back to the hints I found in "O"...
The gist of this one is, "Don't buy (or eat) food with ingredients your grandmother--or if you're younger than me, your GREAT-grandmother--wouldn't recognize as food."  The example in the article was "Splenda with Fiber".  Along the same line, "Avoid products with more than 5 ingredients."  Following these tips will help us concentrate on foods in their most natural state AND avoid chemicals and non-food additives.

Healthy Holiday Tip #18

OK.  This one DIDN'T come from "O" Magazine.  But I don't think I've  listed it yet....and it should be an easy one to implement during the holidays.

Wear red!  That's right.  Apparently it revs you up!  One study showed that athletes who wore red were more likely to win!  So, to "win" during the Christmas holiday and beyond, try wearing red.

Now that opens a whole subject that would best be addressed on my wardrobe blog.  I remember years ago when I was tested and discovered to be a winter person (based on skin tone, etc.).  I was given swatches of various colors to carry when shopping so that I could select clothing that would complement my "season".  I believe "my" red was to have a blue undertone......  Whatever!

No label on this post.  I couldn't think what category to put it in. By the way, did anyone else go to one of those parties or read books and articles to tell you what seasonal category you fell into?  (I somehow remember being draped with a large white collar and sitting under a bright light.....)

Healthy Holiday Tip #17

While reading an article in the most recent O Magazine, I jotted down 5 additional "tips" for healthy living.  While they're not directly related to the Christmas holiday, if we follow them, you and I WILL be healthier!  Here's the first one I'll share:  a seven-word mantra:

Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.
What are some of your favorite "plants" to eat?
(Mine are brussel spouts, sour kraut, Romaine lettuce, and asparagus, among others.)

Healthy Holiday Tip #16

"Better hop into bed before I Overheat."  Those were the last words of the Middle-Aged Schoolteacher on Holiday.

My eyes were still blurry from the tears of laughter, so I MISread them as..."before I OverEAT."  I immediately saw a Healthy Holiday Tip here!  Hop into bed before you overEAT!  Couldn't be simpler.

Healthy Holiday Tip #15

She went grocery shopping while hungry!  "The cardinal sin", she called it.  In an honest post written with her usual insight, Cindy at Lose the Excuses, Lose the Weight gave me my 15th Healthy Holiday Tip. Thanks, Cindy.

It happens to all of us!  During the holidays, additional temptations lurk in the grocery aisles.  Beautifully packaged candies, baked goods, and even samples of appetizers call out from the shelves and tables.  My grocery store includes a Starbucks from which the scent of holiday coffee flavors waft enticingly throughout the entire shopping experience!

It helps to know it's going to happen and to take appropriate steps to resist the urge to indulge--even "just this once."  Some ideas to get you through....
  • Shop with a list.
  • Shop with a satisfied tummy.
  • Have a piece of hard candy or gum if the temptation gets REALLY strong.
Do you have other ways to get through grocery shopping without succumbing to the munchies?

Healthy Holiday Tip #13

You may or may not agree with this one, but I am finding that it is important to step on the scale every morning between Thanksgiving and New Years Day.  While experts may advise otherwise (especially during the rest of the year), for me it is essential for several reasons. 
  • 1)  It keeps me mindful of my resolution to maintain my weight.  I worked too hard to get here!  I don't want to give up what I have gained as a result my exercise and healthy eating the past few months.
  • 2)  With extra-busy and/or irregular schedules, it is easy to lose track of time.  For me, it doesn't take many days to gain a pound, then two, then three....  
  • 3)  Weighing in each morning helps me make a sensible plan for eating that day. 
  • 4)  An extra pound registered is good motivation to increase exercise time during the day.  An extra walk or longer workout matches any weight gained with profitable activity.
  • 5)  The reward of seeing the scale register "no weight gained" is GREAT incentive to continue making healthy choices.
For me, WEIGHING is the WAY to enter the New Year with no regrets in the healthy habits category.

Healthy Holiday Tip #12

I didn't go "whole hog" on Christmas decorating this year.  But I DID get out all the red candles I have!  I grouped them on our coffee table and in another spot in the room.  Now while some enjoy candles for purely decorative purposes -- for their colors or shapes, others burn them to create an ambiance in a room. Softly flickering candlelight can be soothing and help us relax. This is why I enjoy candle light!  Candles help me transition into the specialness of the evening-- rather like changing into casual clothes when you come home from work. This routine allows your mind to shift into relaxation.

Appropriate relaxation is healthy.  And remember the observation in Health Tip #11:  "Less stress means less thoughtless eating."

Holiday Health Tip #11

Laugh!  Laugh a lot!  Because everyone's sense of humor is different, I hesitate to specify which blogs make ME laugh...but most of you know those that appeal to YOUR sense of humor.  I'm reading a new Garrison Keillor book that makes me laugh.  I know there are movies or TV shows that trigger laughter, too.  Laughter is a great stress reliever.  And stress relieved means less thoughtless eating!  So laugh heartily today.  Out loud!

Healthy Holiday Tip #10

Get a good night's sleep!  Holiday preparations and celebrations can often disrupt regular sleep patterns. Try to get to sleep at the same time every night and avoid heavy foods and alcoholic beverages before bedtime. Take a nap if you feel the need during the day to help recharge your energy.  Don't brag about your late night hours as though they were a badge of love, usefulness, success, or cleverness!  Instead, organize your life and make sure that adequate sleep is high on your priority list.  Everything else will go (or seem) smoother!

Healthy Holiday Tip #9

Standing in line?  Lift one foot a half-inch off the ground. The extra stress on your opposite foot, ankle, calf and thigh, plus your buttocks, will help firm and tone muscles. Switch feet every few minutes.

Holiday Health Tip #8

Occasionally I trim fat and calories from a recipe by substituting applesauce in oil-based baked goods, like quick breads, muffins and some cakes.  There is only a slight change in taste and texture (typically sweeter and softer).

I'm told that  applesauce is not a great substitute for butter, and will lead to disaster in cookies and any other treat with a crispy snap--unless you like cake-y, mushy cookies.

Most sources recommend a 1:1 swap:  if the recipe calls for 1 cup of oil, substitute with 1 cup of applesauce. However, I say, "start easy!"  For a recipe that uses one cup of oil, use ½ cup of oil with ½ cup applesauce. If the finished product makes you happy, slightly increase the ratio of applesauce (2/3 applesauce: 1/3 oil; ¾ applesauce: ¼ oil) the next time to see how it affects the cake or muffin recipe. You may be able to do without oil completely, or you might find that as little as 1 or 2 tbsp. of oil added to the applesauce is ideal.

Holiday Health Tip #7

Resist the inclination to wear loose-fitting clothes.  Elastic waist bands may be comfortable, but they give a false sense of what is actually happening to your waist-line!

This is what I'm wearing today.  I chose to use a shadowy picture to try to cover up the grimace on my face!

Healthy Holiday Tip #6

Borrow a child or get one of your own.  Try to do what THEY do for 30 minutes.  If you can manage 60 minutes, that would be even BETTER.  (These are two of my grandchildren.  Here they are using old-folks' canes as their shepherding tools. In the absence of suitable sheep, they settled for a "sheep-dog.")

Healthy Holiday Tip #5

This one's for ME!)  After a day of heavy celebrating (read "sugar" in my case) get back to healthy eating.  Give away tempting left overs.  Package individual pieces of pie attractively and share with a neighbor or friend, who is probably package HER individual pieces of pie attractively and sharing with a neighbor or friend.

Be sure to exercise today.  Thirty minutes minimum.  Outdoors, preferably.  Look back at yesterday with satisfaction and leave any and all regrets behind.  Today is a new day.

Apart from him (God), who can eat or who can have enjoyment?  (Ecclesiastes 2:25)

Healthy Holiday Tip #4

Happy Thanksgiving!
You're on your own today!  If you really are serious about maintaining health, I know that you will be thoughtful and thankful as you make your food choices today. 

Me?  I'm actually going to be roasting our turkey for tomorrow.  That's when the BIG gathering will be here at our house.  The carving mess will be over and we'll have plenty of counter room for the other preparations tomorrow morning.  We'll be serving lots of salads and fruit today around here today, drinking plenty of water, and taking some walks.  We'll dust and run the vacuum tonight before bedtime.

Healthy Holiday Tip #3

If the weather prevents walking outdoors combine a shopping trip with your exercise. Indoor malls are great places to walk and many have walking clubs.  Get there early before the crowds get too heavy. If you are planning on shopping in a particular store, park near and entrance on the opposite end of the mall - even if time is short you will still get some exercise.

I actually did this yesterday - at WalMart - while we waited to meet our daughter and grandchildren.  I have done it before, too.  Just walked the perimeter several times.  I like doing this!

Healthy Holiday Tip #2

Even if you think you can't dance - get up and shake to the music; if you have arthritis in your knee, dance while sitting.  The more you move your body, the more calories you'll burn!  Movement will also clear excess sugar and "bad" cholesterol from your blood (I'm told).  It will help you to relax and this will lower your blood pressure.

(I'm going to put the laptop down right now, get up and shake to some music!  For 30 minutes!)

Healthy Holiday Tip #1

Through New Year's Day, I am going to post a health tip that sounds workable or has been helpful to me. I hope it will help someone else, too. In fact, if you've successfully maneuvered through the holidays yourself or have heard a helpful tip, why not pass it on? I'd be happy to feature it over the course of the next few weeks! Let's help each other!
Here's the first one:
When you dish up your food, make sure that half your plate (or more) is full of vegetables, peas, beans or grains. Eat this first. Don’t pile your plate high with meat and starch – you’ll overwhelm your liver and the excess calories will be turned into fat (weight gain)!

I'm Like an Autumn Rose....

In the late autumn of my life, I want to be like this rose that (along with a few others) persists in  blooming in late November.  Some of the foliage has given up, but not this flower!

To be sure, some of my "foliage" has given up!  Youthful energy, skin tone, natural hair color, and memory are a few things that have gone...but NONE of those keep me from blooming beautifully.

The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the Lord, they will flourish in the courts of our God.  They will still bear fruit in old age, they will stay fresh and green, proclaiming, "the Lord is upright; he is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him."  (Psalm 92:12-15).

Physically, I will "bloom" using the strength God gives me to exercise - walking as energetically as I can; using the rebounder as often as I can.  I will remind myself that I eat to live and not live to eat!  I will limit the quantity of healthy food I eat.  These are such basic, simple things for an autumn rose such as I.

Spiritually and mentally, I will flourish also.  I will read, listen, and learn.  I will attempt new things. I will seek out the company of like-minded Christians.  I will steadily increase my communication with the Heavenly Father (prayer). I will read and meditate on God's Word.   By His grace and planted firmly in Him, I will proclaim:  "He IS my Rock!  I am his Autumn Rose."

Fill 'er Up!

"Why Don't You.. Think Of Your Body As A Car and Fuel it Accordingly?"...begins this great post.  "We all know that good nutrition is vital, but in a sea of non-fat, low-fat and full-fat foods, it can be difficult to know which is the best possible decision to make when it comes to healthy eating choices. So instead of deliberating over countless food labels..."

You need to go there and read the rest of it for yourself.  So, click here and read up!

Walking for Exercise and Pleasure

We began our 30 minute walk on this beautiful afternoon at THE CROWS CORNER - a delightful shop full of crafts and antiques in Edgerton, OH.  While walking in the interesting neighborhoods of this small town, I found these hydrangeas cut and lying on the curb.  I brought them home and will figure out a way to work them into my Christmas decorations.

Walking for exercise and pleasure is a wonderful combination!


"Short term gain equals long term pain.  Short term pain equals long term gain.”

How true is this?!  The whipped cream on top of the latte, the "just this time" failure to exercise, the slack we give ourselves when we excuse our lack of action due to feelings or other circumstances, toleration of a day or two to pass without prayer or reading of God's Word, short-cuts to reach a goal....

For the moment these all seem OK.  Pleasurable even.  We feel we gain time or emotional or physical satisfaction by these choices.  We who are Christians even pass off these choices as an exercise in Christian freedom.

Then comes the inevitable reality - long term pain.  In our pain, we turn to our faith and the strong arms of God expecting  quick relief from it - much like Tylenol for a headache.

What's wrong with this picture?

More About Excuses....

"It is better to offer no excuse than a bad one." (George Washington)

Making Lemonade

When life hands you lemons......and all that jazz!

Our Saturday morning was planned, or so we thought.  I exercised by riding my bicycle to arrive right on time (8:00 a.m.) for the opening of the United Methodist Church Bazaar.  It was a beautiful, windless morning and it felt good to ride.  There were not as many vendors as in the past; fewer handmade items, etc.  So I rode home with fewer ideas than in past years.

While there, however, I heard that a supermarket was selling turkeys for $.40/pound!  I called my sister to make sure she had room in her freezer (I only have the one in my refrigerator, and it is full).  Then I called my husband to pick me up on his way to the same supermarket to get his oil changed in his car.  He had called yesterday and they said they opened at 9:00.  We were there by 8:50 only to find out that they had actually opened at 7:00 and there was now a 2 hour wait.  The turkeys were gone, too.

We drove to the closest oil change facility, paid an extra $10 (ouch!), and I walked to the supermarket competitor nearby to check out their turkey prices.  Too high. But I kept walking up and down aisles until my husband called to say the oil change was complete.

My lemonade?  I've had my 30 minute walk!

Simple Breakfasts, Anyone?

For me this morning it was half a banana (my husband slices the other half on his Shredded Wheat cereal).  I sliced mine in half longways and spread each half with a little bit of peanut butter.  That, and a couple of mugs of 1/2 decaf & 1/2 regular dark roast coffee was MY breakfast.  What was yours?

I found Jennifer Causey's blog this week.  I think you'd enjoy seeing her simple but grandly varied breakfasts!  The picture is one example.  Check it out at Simply Breakfast - the art of breakfast.  Notice the various mugs/coffee cups from post to post. I tend to use the same one every day.  It "fits" me quite nicely.


After my first 30 minute indoor walk of November, I went to my closet.  I recently came across the blog of a very creative woman.  I am quite conservative in my dress - but there is something in me that aspires to the verve and excitement that Della expresses through her wardrobe every day.

She is SO funny - has a great talent in expressing her views in very humorous ways.  I digress.

This necklace is a Della-esque venture for me.  I need SOMETHING to keep me perkin' this month!  (If you want to see the rest of the outfit, just click on the picture.)

Make NOVEMBER Count!

Except for June, last month (October) was the worst I've done in the sense of how many days I walked for 30 minutes.  It is a good thing that I record my efforts.  By looking at the facts in my sidebar, I see that I need to make November count
"Give it your serious and concentrated effort and make no excuses!" (from my October 19th post)
I will make no excuses....I will self-correct with the grace and power that God provides.   For all who read, for all who strive to establish and maintain healthy habits, I say, "Courage!"  And in the words of our Lord to Joshua,

"This Book of the Law (for us, the Bible in its entirety), shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to al that is written in it.  For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will  have good success.  Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go."  (Joshua 1:8-9).

Resisting Swine Flu

According to Prevention on the web, one of the indications that your immunity system needs a boost is: You've got a lot of weight to lose.
"You know excess weight is unhealthy for your heart, brain and other organs. But it's also bad for your immune system", the site says and continues:

"In fact, those who become most seriously ill with swine flu tend to share the same characteristic: a body mass index over 40, meaning they are morbidly obese. Excess weight can cause hormonal imbalances and inflammation that impairs the immune system's ability to fight infection."

Getting it Straight and Keeping it Straight

I first saw this quote by Jerry Bridges at Leah's blog: 

"Our first problem (with holiness) is that our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own 'victory' over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success-oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God."

Now, I know that weight loss and dieting is not always equivalent to holiness.  But I also know that my personal failure to exercise self-discipline in the areas of healthy habits is a result of failing to appropriate God's grace and power by an deliberate act of faith.  And whatever is not of faith IS sin....And sin IS "offensive to God", as Bridges states.

As I continue the journey of a healthy lifestyle, I want to keep my eyes on the fact that failure in this area is not so much about me - my failure or success - but is about the heart of God - His glory, His holiness, His power, and His love for me, His child!

Make No Excuses!

I didn't bask long in the glow of achieving my weight loss goal.  Instead, I got back to my walking routine (after several days "off" during vacation), prepared our dinner of two Cornish hens (in my crockpot), and used the left overs along with some black beans and a can of diced tomatoes to create chicken/black bean chili for our healthy dinner tomorrow.  

I glowed long enough to facebook about my success--sincerely seeking to give the Lord Jesus the credit.  (I've tried too many times unsuccessfully to think that it was "MY" success.)  When someone congratulated me and inquired about my advice for weight loss, I responded this way:

"Thanks, friends! A few of you have seen me yo-yo through the years. This IS my most visible area of weakness (I think!) I have no credible advice, except give it your serious and concentrated effort and make no excuses...."

The more I think about it, the more I want to underscore AND remember this myself.  "Give it your serious and concentrated effort and make no excuses!"  This will be my mantra in my new phase of maintenance of habits, healthy weight, and holy awe at the amazing grace of God!

The Great Salmon Pay Off

I selected salmon for most of my dinners while on vacation.  I also enjoyed at least one baked fish entree.  I enjoy sampling the various ways restaurants prepare and serve salmon. I still haven't baked or grilled any salmon at home. 

This morning when I weighed, I was thrilled to have reached and surpassed my weight loss goal.

For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but LATER it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it. Hebrews 12:11. 

My future focus will be continuing the habits of healthy eating and exercise that have helped make my efforts successful.  Ultimately, I recognize and praise the under-girding grace of God.  Apart from Him I HAVE done and CAN do nothing of eternal value.  My health, habits and happiness are dependent on Him from whom ALL blessings flow. 

Cherish Your Health

Cherish your health. 
If it is good, preserve it. 
If it is unstable, improve it. 
If it is beyond what you can do, get appropriate help.

If you want to see other suggestions of how to stay young and live well, go to Donna's blog (click on Donna's).  They're ALL good and very do-able.

Exercise with Winnie the Pooh

OK.  I don't know where the video went....but it was cute while it lasted...

Cold Weather Exercise

I found one for $5 at "my" thrift store.

After reading of all these benefits, I plan to begin today!

It increases the capacity for breathing.
It circulates more oxygen to the tissues.
It helps combat depression.
It helps normalize blood pressure.
It helps prevent cardiovascular disease.
It increases the activity of the red bone marrow in the production of red blood cells.
It aids lymphatic circulation, as well as blood flow in the veins of the circulatory system.
It lowers elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
It stimulates the metabolism, thereby reducing the likelihood of obesity.
It tones up the glandular system, especially the thyroid to increase its output.
It improves coordination throughout the body.
It promotes increased muscle fiber tone.
It offers relief from neck and back pains, headaches, and other pain caused by lack of exercise.
It enhances digestion and elimination processes.
It allows for easier relaxation and sleep.
It results in a better mental performance, with sharper learning processes.
It relieves fatigue and menstrual discomfort for women.
It minimizes the number of colds, allergies, digestive disturbances, and abdominal problems.
It tends to slow down aging.


You aren't the only one to be distracted from the presence of God:  I understand completely.  Our minds are so flighty.  But remember that our God-given will governs all of our strength.  It must recall the mind to God.  Otherwise, our spirit may wander, dragging us down to the things of this earth.
Brother Lawrence, "Eighth Letter" in The Practice of the Presence of God

Although a humble cook, Brother Lawrence learned the greatest secret of living in the Kingdom of God here on earth: communing with the Lord throughout our daily tasks. He mastered the art of living in the presence of God throughout the day. As he exclaimed, "I am doing now what I will do for all eternity. I am blessing God, praising Him, adoring him, and loving Him with all my heart."

Humor Helps!

Bonnie Hunt said, "My mother
always said if she was one inch taller she'd be perfectly round."  
Isn't that funny?  
A sense of humor is
SUCH a gift.

If You Are What You Eat....

...then I'm a Baby Ruth.
It wasn't a very good evening!

No "Ho-Hum" in Hummus

While away at our son's home Monday and Tuesday,  I managed to maintain my pursuit of health and good eating habits.  Our "mission" was to help with some landscaping projects.  In spite of some rainy weather, I was able to wield a clippers and shape several shrubs while the men filled in some low spots with top soil in preparation for planting some grass.

We took our grandson out to lunch at Mika's, a great coffee shop in their hometown.  He and I both selected the hummus plate which included cucumbers, tomatoes and pita.  The others chose the chicken chili and turkey wraps or sandwiches.  The hummus was delicious!  While I didn't come away with the specific measurements, I did learn they made their hummus with chick peas, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and cumin.

I can't wait to blend my own tomorrow!  Hummus is a healthy and filling protein alternative.

Hurray for the Crock Pot!

"I found out the Chicken Ceasar Salad I got at Chili's had 900 calories, 71 grams of fat and 1740 mg. of sodium. So muich for trying to make a healthy choice. And the Crispy Orange Chicken Bowl I got at Applebee's last time has 1,709 calories, 69 grams of fat, 209 grams of carbohydrate, and 1781 mg. of sodium. What an eye-opener."  (Cindy)

After reading this, I was happy that I'd used my crock pot that morning!  I follow few recipes when I use the crock pot.  Sometimes I start with the meat -- in this case, a couple of pieces of frozen chicken breast.  I cut some garden tomatoes into large hunks; then went to the refrigerator to see what else would work--celery, carrots, some chopped onion--ANYthing healthy works. Light on the meat; heavy on the vegetables!

Often I add about a cup of liquid - yesterday I used chicken bouillon.  A look at the clock told me to set my pot for 6 hours (that would be medium).  Just before lunch, I prepared a small portion of whole wheat pasta per the directions on the box.  I added the cooked pasta to the crock pot and cooked for another 15-20 minutes.

This will be my practice as we go into fall and winter.  The aroma and enjoyment of the delicious, nourishing meal bring me much pleasure.

Beware those Half-Centimeter Rocks!

I’m very proud of my nephew, a Captain in the U.S. Air Force.  He is a doctor assigned as Team Chief in the Intermediate Care Ward at Joint Base Balad, Iraq. In recent communication he described an evening tour of the flight line on the base. He was invited to the runway by one of the F-16 pilots in one of the two F-16 squadrons left in Iraq. My nephew wrote:

We meet him outside the hospital after dark at 8pm. We in the macho minivan and he in the heavy-duty pick-up truck.  We follow him toward the runway.  There is a secure perimeter around the runway, of course, with a gate guard.  We have to ditch the pick-up truck and he vouches for all of us with a wink to the young female guard and takes the wheel of the minivan.  Just inside the check-point he stops and goes around the vehicle inspecting each tire.  You're to make sure you're not bringing any pebbles or nails onto the flight line, he explains. A half-centimeter rock can deflate the tire of a speeding fighter jet.  With that it's back into the van and we drive slowly along one of the side runways to the end where the F-16's are kept.”

I read the rest of the interesting letter and then returned to the words: "A half-centimeter rock can deflate the tire of a speeding fighter jet."  That's less than 1/4 "!  One fourth inch of debris can sideline a powerful F-16 fighter jet!

In weight-loss and the establishment of healthy habits, it is equally important to “stop and go around the vehicle inspecting each tire.” Tiny habits and small lapses CAN deflate one’s motivation and progress! So don’t become careless. Stay vigilant and diligent. Keep your eye out for those “half-centimeter rocks” that can deflate the tire of a speeding fighter jet!

I think we can also see the seriousness of allowing sin - however "small" it may seem to us - to hinder our spiritual progress and deflate the joy of fellowship with our Heavenly Father. But that's another post....

Delicious AND Nutritious!

I cut up 3 sweet potatoes (with skins on) and added 1 cup of chicken broth along with some slices of turkey sausage. I cooked them in the crock pot for 6 hours - and we had a delicious meal. I didn't realize how nutritious it was until I read the following:

According to nutritionists at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), the single most important dietary change for most people is replacing fatty foods with foods rich in complex carbohydrates, such as sweet potatoes.

CSPI ranked the sweet potato number one in nutrition of all vegetables. With a score of 184, the sweet potato outscored the next highest vegetable by more than 100 points. Points were given for content of dietary fiber, naturally occurring sugars and complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium. Points were deducted for fat content (especially saturated fat), sodium, cholesterol, added refined sugars and caffeine. The higher the score, the more nutritious the food.

The numbers for the nutritional sweet potato speak for themselves: almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A,  42%of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!

Walking - Again

I got out of vacation mode and walked this morning. It was cool, but the air was heavy with humidity. The horses gathered under this tree just outside the cemetery. The sight was calming and peaceful. It was good and right to walk this morning. I was lazy about not walking yesterday and it didn't feel good. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing whether you want to or not!

Boring but Blessed!

I was feeling pretty depressed while looking at all the deliciously prepared and attractively served food eaten by some of my blogger friends this past week. I thought to myself, "I'm ONE person who for MANY reasons won't be posting what WE are eating.

You see, by comparison, we're sort of boring here. However, we did go out to one of our favorite restaurants today. It was mid-afternoon and we were the only ones there. So I asked the chef if he'd fix salmon off the dinner menu for me. He agreed, and it was delicious. My husband had one of the specials - seafood lasagna. Equally impressive!

We both came home with 1/2 of our portion leftover. We'll enjoy it tomorrow with some fresh sweet corn and tomatoes and some of cantaloupe from Donna's garden.

Now that I think about it, that's not so shabby after all!

Thank you for the food we eat.
Thank you for the world so sweet.
Thank you for the birds that sing.
Thank you, God, for everything.

Making Hay While the Sun Shines

It is not uncommon to see Amish women assisting in the fields at hay-making time around our community. This is a much older picture, but reminds me of the sight that surrounds me seasonally.

The expression “make hay while the sun shines” isn’t meant to be just a suggestion: it’s a stone-cold, iron-clad order! Hay is best cut when it’s dry and when there is no rain in the forecast.

Putting off exercise when the circumstances are optimum is an example of NOT making hay while the sun shines! Waiting for tomorrow to begin a commitment to healthy eating isn't either.

Today the sun was shining. I didn't make hay, but I walked -- and walked vigorously! I don't look forward to winter. It represents the "rain" in my hay-making forecast. But for now, I will make hay!

Tomorrow will take care of itself.

Change Them Yourself....

I've Been Dizzy

Since Friday morning, I've been dizzy. Literally. I have no other symptoms. Just dizziness. It makes walking for exercise unwise! So I didn't walk yesterday. However, I ate wisely. I'm tempted to be discouraged, but today is a new day. I will do what I can to pursue health.

Meanwhile, picture this cartoon (which I don't want to copy due to copyright law): A woman stands at the window in the doctor's office with husband in tow. The wife says to the receptionist: "He's complaining of chest pain, shortness of breath, cramps and dizziness. Do you sell earplugs?"

Fortunately, I'm only dizzy!

How I Fared

l. 2 30-minute walks per day - preferably morning and evening
2. Healthy eating featuring fresh veggies & fruits
3. Read Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle
4. Assist as I can with the painting project
5. Enjoy time with my husband away from daily "stuff"
6. Extended times of Bible reading and prayer each day
7. Write down specific goals for this autumn

Goals for our Three Day Retreat

l. 2 30-minute walks per day - preferably morning and evening
2. Healthy eating featuring fresh veggies & fruits
3. Read Two-Part Invention: The Story of a Marriage by Madeleine L'Engle
4. Assist as I can with the painting project
5. Enjoy time with my husband away from daily "stuff"
6. Extended times of Bible reading and prayer each day
7. Write down specific goals for this autumn

Thorn in the Flesh or Junk in the Trunk?

Lest anyone think I'm perfect...
Three packages of chocolate candy sat for weeks on the lower shelf in our refrigerator.
I amazed myself with my will-power!
Then yesterday, all of it went out the window - candy AND will-power, too!
This is what remains.
This morning as I laid it out on the table for photography purposes,
I faced my weaknesses and embraced the mercy and grace of God to help me overcome
my appetites and lusts that work against health and happiness.
And lo, the pieces that were left held no attraction for me--only the beauty of God's mercy and grace.

So to keep me from being too elated by the surpassing greatness of the revelations, a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me...For when I am weak, then I am strong. (II Corinthians 12:7-10)

Hallelujah! Goal Met!

I "released" that last stubborn pound somewhere in the lake yesterday! Maybe it was all the exercise using feet and legs to dig the stones out of the muck, raise them to the water's surface, and carry them into shore! I'll use them as a border around the flowerbed from which I removed the bottles for the bottle tree.

"Thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him" (II Corinthians 2:14).

Swimming - Great Exercise!

I'm ONE of the four in the water. The 94 degree temperature made this a perfect place to be!