Wednesday, April 26, 2017

EATING BETTER, FEELING BETTER....


For many years now, I confessed to enjoy exercise much more than eating right.  In fact, my main reason for exercise was so I could eat the way I wanted, which meant dessert.  Dessert every day, multiple times a day!  They were always around and I was always making them - especially for hungry teens.

I've not been very aware of my body and how it feels when I eat certain things and am always amazed at people who talk about it.  But I have to say since April 4, I am paying attention and feeling better!

I had noticed the past few years that I could take off a few pounds, but after a few months it would always return.  I knew eating right was the piece of the puzzle I lacked.  My pants were getting tight again and I was increasingly uncomfortable in my nice fitted clothes.

So I jumped at a free offer from a friend who has really shown self-discipline through the years in her lifestyle.  She was starting a Facebook group and offering encouragement and a 7 Day Cleanse Eating Plan.  She also sells supplements to go along with it, and although I did not do that part of it due to medication I'm already on, I have loved the eating plan!  I have learned to be creative with vegetables and tried several new recipes.  I even made a nutty cookie type thing that curbs my cookie cravings!

I followed the 7 Day Cleanse Plan religiously, and lost 4 pounds!  Since then I have lost 4 more on the maintenance plan (which is basically the same with more food choices added).  I've have splurged occasionally - have had a few bites of real desserts three times in three weeks.  The Hubs and I also pigged out on Mexican food one Saturday after working extremely hard on an outside project for my MIL.  We needed that boost!  We just don't need that kind of boost every other day.  Everything in moderation; just hope I can keep the mindset!

So today was a special day - I'm thrilled and happy to be back in the 120's!  Better than numbers on the scale, I feel good when I go to bed.  No more full stomach! I'm not sure if it's the increase in vegetables or the reduction in sugar and flour and junk foods.  Probably a little of both.

Thankful to Rita and her plan and encouragement!
"You can do anything for 7 days!"


Monday, April 17, 2017

SMALL TOWN ENJOYMENT...

This past weekend we joined my husband's family (most of them) for a weekend in the small town.  We had decided with our kids that Easter would be next weekend.  I love it when we go down there, you never know what you'll get to do!

 We worked outside on my MIL's shed and I heard the train approaching.  Trains don't come by very often, so I was excited to see this one up close and personal!  I love this picture with the grain elevator and the old barns in the background.

 Even got a wave from the conductor!

We went out to a house and land that my SIL is going to own soon and looked around.  She showed us the owl babies that are nesting in their front yard.  They were so cute and white and fluffy!  Momma owl was hooting at us from a nearby tree.  

Sunday after church we went to my BIL's house for an Easter dinner.  His wife made us feel welcome with her cutely decorated tables!  I used to do this, especially when the kids were younger.  Even though I am personally trying to go more minimal with decorating, I loved it looking so festive.  Note to self:  to make guests feel special, set a festive table!



Tuesday, April 11, 2017

THINGS I LEARNED (ABOUT MYSELF) ON THE 7 DAY RESET...





A friend of mine was promoting healthy living on Facebook and I joined her group.  She promotes good health with an eating plan and exercise, along with supplements.  She was encouraging everyone to do an April Reset, starting with a 7 Day Cleansing Diet.  I told her I would be interested in the recommended cleanse diet but nothing else.  I haven't done anything like this before!  So I'm really kind of shocked, but I've lost 4.5 pounds in 7 days!  Yes, you read that right.  4.5 pounds in 7 days!  Crazy! 


 Things I learned:

Lemon water is the worst way to start your morning, if you ask me!

I never bought a cucumber before this - but they are great with hummus!

Ezekiel bread saved me.

Rice cakes taste less like styrofoam with a tablespoon of nut butter on top.

Guacamole every day is pretty awesome!

Getting carbs for dinner ONLY IF YOU EXERCISED THAT DAY is a pretty good motivator to exercise!

Plain Greek yogurt is tolerable with 1/2 cup berries added to it.

I would rather eat almonds than fruit for my snack!

Eggs are my favorite protein choice.

Cottage cheese is pretty awesome when it's the only cheese you get.

Strangely enough, I didn't miss sugar or flour the past week!





Monday, April 3, 2017

CHARMED, I'M SURE...

Our recent Women's Ministry event, RefresHER, was all caught up in the tea party craze!  It was a fun evening complete with tea, scones, and hats (we also had sandwiches from a deli).  We had a delightful speaker, originally from Ireland, so we all enjoyed her accent and her wide experiences, including as a young woman getting to serve tea to the Queen of England!  But she reminded us that we should likewise be in awe that we get to serve the King of Creation every day.  Great evening!


Me and Mom






 Our hostesses for the evening!







Monday, March 27, 2017

READS FOR THE PAST YEAR...

I didn't realize it had been so long since I posted about my reads.  I had a lot going on last year!  Here's a few books I've read that you might be interested in - the last two were my favorites of this bunch:



A Year by the Sea:  Thoughts of an Unfinished Woman by Joan Anderson

Memoir of a woman who persevered through separation from her husband and recreated her life.  I think I would enjoy a year by the sea - just not out of this kind of life change!


The Winter People by Jennifer McMahon

A mystery that gave me the creeps!  Maybe this is why I don't read many mysteries!  Missing people, mysterious creatures, and the young woman who tries to stop history from repeating itself.



The Awakened Introvert by Arnie Kozak

Kind of interesting although I did not read the entire book - helps you understand yourself better if you consider yourself an introvert.


The Butterfly Hours by Patty Dann

This little book is by a teacher of memoir writing.  As she helped her students and shares writing prompts, she begins to weave her own story of her husband's illness and death.  I picked this up to see if I might learn something new about writing, and I'm not sure I did but I enjoyed the memories she shared.


Head Case by Cole Cohen

This book reads as if you were in the mind of Cole Cohen, a women with a learning disability like no one else - a hole in her brain the size of a lemon.  She navigates life extremely well, and certainly helps me be more understanding with those not like myself.  This wasn't my favorite read.

The Light of the World by Elizabeth Alexander

This one's an award winner and I can understand why.  I loved it.  After the sudden death of her husband, Elizabeth tells their love story.  It's one of the first books I've ever read that helps me understand what this kind of loss might really feel like.  A unique read that I couldn't put down! Had a couple of recipes in it, too!  Loved the spaghetti!


Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon

Fictional story of a teenager, who's allergic to the world.  She has SCID - maybe you remember the movie way back when about the boy in the bubble?  Thoroughly enjoyed it, and the surprise ending!


Sunday, March 19, 2017

RECIPE FOR ONION LOVERS...

A book I read recently had a couple of recipes in it.  This is from  The Light of the World, by Elizabeth Alexander.  I really enjoyed the book and this sounded so different I knew I had to try it.

The Hubs and I hadn't eaten pasta in ages, and we loved this!  Put sautéed onions on anything and we like it.  I call it Elizabeth's spaghetti, since she did not have a special name for it.  But if you like sautéed onions, you will enjoy this.

Elizabeth's Spaghetti

3 T. Olive oil
2-3 oz. Pancetta, diced
4 Onions, any kind or a mixture of different varieties, sliced thin
salt and pepper
3 T. fresh Parsley, diced
1/3 c. grated Parmesan cheese
1 # Spaghetti - I think I used a 12 oz. pkg and it was fine
2 T. salt for spaghetti water

In a large skillet, cook diced pancetta in olive oil on low-medium. As it starts to brown, add in sliced onions.  Turn several times in skillet so that all the onions will get coated with oil.  Salt and pepper, then cover and cook on low for 40 minutes.  While onions are cooking, fill a large pot with water and salt and bring to a boil.  Cook spaghetti al dente, then drain.  Add onions in with the spaghetti, along with the parsley and Parmesan.  Stir thoroughly to coat the noodles.

Serves 6-8 We loved this!  We had roasted asparagus and salad with it.  The Hubs would have liked some garlic toast with it, but maybe next time.  :)

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

FROM THE BATTLEFIELD...

I would like to share a link with you today...whatever might be going on in your life, my friend Tom can speak to you.  He is doing an incredible job sharing his faith through his nasopharyngeal cancer treatment.  It's inoperable, but they are doing a treatment carefully, trying to not to damage eyes, ears, nose, esophagus, brain, etc.

Tom is the husband of my childhood friend, Stephanie.  We both live in the same town we grew up in, but rarely bump into each other.  One thing I love about all this is knowing how she grew up and seeing her (and his) strong faith now.  We had a God ordained meeting at the grocery store the other day, and although she had a smile pasted on her face while shopping with her mother who has dementia, I quickly realized how she was hurting.  With an engaged daughter, moving her mother into their home for her care recently, and a mention of MD Anderson hospital, this family needs your prayers!

If you are a believer, THIS will lift you up!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

NEVER SAY NEVER...

 Even though I've grown to love this guy, I didn't think I'd ever be a dog-sitter!  Sometimes my daughter takes business trips and it coincides with my husband's business trips and guess who is the only one around?  Me.



Monday, March 6, 2017

HEART FULL OF APPRECIATION...



Being a part of the church is the most wonderful blessing!  God knew what He was doing when he encouraged us to not give up the habit of meeting together and to spur one another on to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24,25)!  This past week found me struggling physically with back pain (too much yard work) but grateful for Christians with passion to help others in various ways.  It was kind of crazy that all these activities were in one week but I'm glad I got to participate!  You never know what you will learn or what God will do with these opportunities.

Sunday was a Ministry Fair at our congregation and although our Women's Ministry has many good women involved in different ways, we thought about needs we might have and ways we could still use women to make our program have even more vitality.  I had no idea what to expect.  It was amazing as 73 names were written down to help in  various ways we thought might be helpful:  to help launch a service aspect which has been in the back of my mind for a while, to have greeters at events, be a neighborhood watcher for new families that move in, etc.  I'm just so, so thankful for the ministers and staff at our church who set aside some Bible class time for the most possible participation.  They organized it well.

Wednesday found me at a seminar for Inclusion of children with Special Needs at our congregation.  The presenter, Barb Newman, from Michigan, was excellent and really touched my heart as she spoke about the church as a body and what a blessing it can be for everyone who embraces the disabled.  The helpers get to use their special gift that in turn blesses them, the child, and the child's family.  I began to think about how this could enhance our women's ministry.  At the table, I sat between two of our ministers and several times Barb asked us to take a minute to discuss certain aspects of her presentation.  I enjoyed hearing the wheels turning inside our preacher's head.  I'm so very thankful for our ministers and the educators who put this together!

The last Wednesday night class of the winter quarter was equally wonderful.  My friend Rhonda has an amazing gift to share the Bible with people she meets.  I have learned so much from her!  It's crazy the amount of energy she has.  I think it's God-given!  We had a class for women she wanted to call Friend to Friend (getting away from the Evangelism word) and over and over she stressed to us,  "Everyone is in two camps:  either you are in need of a Savior or you are saved and need encouragement." Most of the nights she brought a friend, Delisa, with her and they demonstrated how they studied together.  Another thing she stressed each week was to see everyone you come in contact with  - your checker at the store, your hairdresser, the manager of your favorite store - as people you might potentially study with.  Her catch phrase is, "I love to study the Bible with people, would you like to study the Bible with me?"  And she camps out at her local coffee shop and pancake house to do these studies.  She is an inspiration and I am thankful for her.  Some people may have this gift naturally, and some of us have to work on it.  But she has made it more do-able somehow by showing us step-by-step how this works for her.

Late Wednesday night found me having a meeting with young women in their 20's who have volunteered to host our June RefresHER (ladies program).  I was tickled at the response and their willingness to take on a big event like this to bless the ladies of our congregation.

Thursday morning Bible study was our last big luncheon of the year.  Usually I enjoy seeing all the decorations of the different tables and take pictures, but this year I forgot my camera and realized my zeal for decorating is waning as it just represents clutter to me.  (What?  I know, weird!)  Also, our leader had emphasized taking the funds we might usually use to make pretty tables and bring items to donate to a charity as our "decorations."  Our table was full of shampoo and deodorant that will go to Breaking Chains ministry in Honduras. My heart is thankful and was touched to see tables of items that will help people!

I am full of appreciation and praying for continued good works from our ministers, our volunteers, Barb, Rhonda, Delisa, Bible study leaders, and also our elders who oversee in such a good way!









Monday, February 27, 2017

BIKING CORONADO ISLAND...



Got to tag along with The Hubs on a business trip to San Diego last week!  We stayed on Coronado Island this time - I'd been here before so I skipped the Hotel Del and just got to know the town.  It really feels like an adventure when you are biking or riding the bus solo! They are very bicycle friendly and I biked under the bridge, alongside the golf course and million dollar homes, past marinas, military men training, and on the Bayshore Bikeway to the Silver Strand State Beach.   I had a few hours to myself each day and it was nice to have no real itinerary!





















Monday, February 20, 2017

A SUBJECT CLOSE TO MY HEART...






Son #1 has been busy this past year!  A documentary (his first) he's been working on is getting ready to be revealed this weekend.  When he showed us the trailer recently, it really excited me because last winter I was part of a women's Wednesday night class called "Getting Creative with God," where we learned about and explored different forms of creativity and how it relates to our personal walk with God. We got away from the normal lecture type class and did a lot of fun hands-on activities! 

This project is similar in exploring our creativity and our relationship with The Creator,  and I'm thrilled the singer/songwriter asked him to go with her on this journey!   Check out the trailer:  https://youtu.be/aNGf1GlfsXg




Tuesday, February 14, 2017

LOVING THIS WARM WINTER...

An unseasonably warm winter - just the way I like it!  We biked Saturday and it was in the 60's in the morning.  By afternoon it had climbed into the 80's!  After biking on January 4 (I think that was the warm day in January) and then this past weekend, we decided we should go for a goal:  Take a bike ride in every month of the year!  Hopefully we'll get to do it!  We'll document on Instagram.
 This is on 4th street in OKC - close to Bricktown - it's our favorite downhill on the way back!
 One of the many sights along our way from Katy Trail to Bricktown.
 The best thing about our bike rides is it's usually followed by something tasty - these are the crepes at One Cafe in Edmond.  They aren't very colorful but they are filled with goodies!



Wednesday, February 8, 2017

PURSUING HIS PRESENCE...

This year I don't have ONE WORD.  I have three:  Pursue His Presence.  I was listening online to a speaker and she mentioned this in her talk.  I grabbed hold of those three little words and knew that was a beautiful way to express what I want to focus on in my spiritual life.

Forget the dictionary, I know what PURSUE means.  To go after, to seek without stopping, to keep trying...and not get discouraged when things interrupt me and make me feel like I've failed.

I wrote it on my kitchen sign the other day for all the world to see.  At least, all the people in my little world!  Then decided to go for it and show the world.  Maybe it will encourage someone else to have a word, a phrase, or something that will encourage them to focus on bigger than themselves.

                                              


Monday, January 30, 2017

UPCYCLE A CANVAS PAINTING...


I have to admit that our bedroom is probably the last place I think about, as far as decor.  But after we got a new bathroom floor, I promptly moved on to our adjoining bedroom to declutter and do a little sprucing up!  Feng shui says your bedroom should be a place of calm (without a bunch of junk in it).  I believe that in theory!  But never really practiced it.  It became a dumping ground for old decor.  I am going for a simpler look and life, so I removed a chair, some throw pillows laying around and lots of knick-knacks.  Then there was this really large, faded picture on the mantle.  I decided to see what I could do to update it.

 I decided to make it into a burlap sign.  I popped the canvas out of the frame and stapled a piece of burlap onto it.  Then I found a saying I liked.  I had to read a few things on Pinterest since it had been so long since I painted letters on burlap, but I ended up printing the letters off from a large font on the computer, then just placing them underneath the burlap where I could see them slightly.  Then just tried to paint with a steady hand.  It's not perfect, but it's something fresh for our bedroom!




Tuesday, January 24, 2017

AN EVENING OF ENCOURAGEMENT...



Several years ago I read Jen Hatmaker's book, 7, when some of my family did an experiment using principles from the book.  Jen is very thought provoking and funny.  A night out that I thought might just be a night of laughter was filled with really rich sharing and encouragement from her:

For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline. 2 Timothy 1:7 (NASB)
Or
For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. (NKJV)

It's funny how we can get caught up in words.  When Jen first started talking about this scripture, I was thinking in my head "He has not given us the spirit of timidity." I guess that's the version I grew up with!  But she never used the word timidity.  She used the word FEAR as in other versions.  

Sometimes I get hung up on vocabulary.  Can't get past it.  My brain starts thinking about what that one word really means, etc., and then I miss the whole point of the passage.  I think I was hung up on TIMIDITY.   Do you ever do that?

But Jen really pounded down the point of not letting FEAR cripple us.  We should not live in fear.  Whatever our ailment, whatever is wrong in our relationships, our job, our finances, our country, our life, we don't have to live in fear!  She shared some things that happened in her family in a short time span - teenager troubles, her own health problem, her brother and mother with issues and she admitted she was angry.  Here she was - she works for God! Everything precious to her that she had protected seemed to be getting attacked.  She was not exempt from problems. She was fearful.  Then she remembered, God is good.  She confided in her friends.  She was thankful.  I love it that she also shared this - remembering.  How did she remember?  She was filling her mind with good things, scripture, praise to God in the good times. (Col. 3:2) She did not give in to FEAR but tried to rely on God's power, love, and discipline.  She is now able to share this story to others and remind us not to FEAR.

  We do not have to live in fear!  WE LIVE.

Thankful to share this evening with my daughter and my new daughter!  Thankful my alma mater provides encouragement in this way.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

DECLUTTERING IS MY MIDDLE NAME...

This is the year it is going to happen!  No big projects that I know of happening in my life or ministry and so I am declaring that nothing will stop me this year!  I've already gotten a good start in the laundry room and upstairs linen closet so you get to see my handiwork!  I've made two trips so far to donate.  Win-win!  Every time we get bad weather it's good for me because it makes me stay home for extended periods of time to get these jobs done.

One way I am staying motivated is to watch a youtube video on decluttering (there are many) right before I get to work.  Do you have any tricks to get psyched up for chores you need to do?



 All cleaned up

Before and After