Weight loss myths & other misc. mumbo jumbo

If you haven’t already read my previous post, you may want to make a trip there before reading this one: http://dancingthruyears.com/2015/01/02/a-combination-of-factors-aka-what-a-lack-of-monitoring-will-do/

Suffice it to say it’s been a good week! My first week back at embracing a healthy (not perfect) lifestyle has rewarded me with a 4.4 lb. weight loss! Yay, Me!! I’ve proven once again that taking care of grandsons, having a work from home job, eating out 2-3 times a week, having a hubby that won’t eat healthy (even though he needs to), having too many sedentary hobbies blah, blah, blah are all EXCUSES! When a person makes up their mind to eat healthy and become more fit – they can! Plain and simple! We want to make dieting so complicated! (I don’t even like using the word “diet” but it’s everywhere go nowadays, so I’ll use it.) That’s why you see so many diet plans out there! Some folks are so convinced that you should go “low carb”. Others think you should go “low fat”. Others say you need to banish all the white from your life, white bread, white rice, white potatoes etc;

As a former Weight Watchers leader I can tell you first hand that the majority of your success will not come from the weight loss plan you are on (I couldn’t really say that when I worked for them); but it will come from your determination to do the work!! How bad do you want it? Let’s just talk about this week: do you want to lose weight bad enough in this next 7 days to make better food choices and to go to the gym and work out each day? Take it one day at a time!! After you have one successful day under your belt (if you are choosing wisely), you will say to yourself, “hmmmm, that wasn’t so bad”. “I think I might be able to do that again tomorrow”. But you have to have a plan! You have to be prepared! Your frig and pantry has to be stocked with good healthy foods. If all you have in the house is cakes, cookies, pies and chips guess what you will eat?

But, I digress…remember the opinions expressed in this post are purely my own – take em or leave em, but I admit I do feel very strongly about them 🙂

Weight loss myth #1) You can gain weight from diet colas!! I laughed so hard when I first heard some one say “she’s gaining weight because she’s drinking too much diet coke” that I almost wet my pants! Diet coke does not have any calories! If you aren’t consuming calories you aren’t going to gain weight from it! She meant it in the LITERAL SENSE… Let me clarify: Yes, diet colas & the artificial sweeteners in them, can cause you to crave other sweet things, thus you eat those other sweet things and gain weight – that I will agree with. But it’s the other things, not the diet coke per say that is causing the weight gain! That’s why I decided in the new year, to cut back on diet coke and limit myself to one small glass per day. (I really think it helped, because I wasn’t craving refined sugar like I normally do.) Sugar free gum can create the same cravings.

Weight loss myth #2) You won’t lose weight if you are a late night snacker or eat after 7 pm, 8 pm or some other designated time. It has absolutely nothing to do with what time you eat! It has to do with how many calories you are consuming and how many you are burning each day. You’ve got to burn more calories than you consume in order to lose weight – it’s that simple! Thursday night (day seven of my first week) I was eating tortilla chips and Salsa at 9:30 pm. I was hungry for a little snack before bed (I went to bed at 10 pm). The scale still said I’d lost 4.4 at 6:30 am Friday morning. What’s up with that? Oh, and by the way, those were FULL FAT corn chips (not baked, or fat free)…for those of you who think everything needs to be fat free or low fat. (It’s good to watch your fat intake, but your body needs some fat for energy and other body functions).

Weight loss myth #3) Muscle weighs more than fat. Not true! While at the gym this morning I had this conversation with my friend, Maria. We were working out on the weights and she had been told and was worried about “bulking up”. Don’t take it from me, instead hear it from a trainer that works for Weight Watchers: “Muscle does not weigh more than fat, any more than lead weighs more than feathers. A pound is a pound is a pound. Where the misunderstanding often comes in is that muscle is much more dense than fat, so that, by volume, it seems to weigh more. That is, a pound of muscle occupies less space than a pound of fat. In addition, because a pound of muscle burns more fat than a pound of fat, even at rest, by increasing your lean muscle tissue mass, you’re helping your body burn more calories.

If you only have a small amount of weight to lose, then you may feel like the weight training is not helping you move down on the scale. In fact, the number may even go up, but you will look thinner. This is due to an increase in lean body mass (muscle, bone, blood volume) and a decrease in body fat. In other words, even if the scale doesn’t change much, you will probably see a difference in how your clothes fit.

On the other hand, if you have a lot of weight to lose, you will also experience an increase in lean body mass and loss of body fat. But the results on the scale will probably be more dramatic.” William R. Sukala M.S. C.S.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m preaching. That’s not my intention. But, that being said, the best job I ever had that I enjoyed the most was working for Weight Watchers! After losing 55 lbs on their program I was a believer! Don’t misunderstand me! I’m not promoting Weight Watchers in this blog although it is a good program, it’s not for everyone. And their “points system” can be highly misunderstood and misinterpreted! It’s not all about points! It’s about making healthy, wise choices.

Some of the healthy habits that I developed as a result of being a WW leader were to choose 1) whole wheat bread over white bread 2) brown rice over white rice 3) limit my intake of saturated fats 4) drinks 4-5 16 oz bottles of water per day 5) eat sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes 6) hold myself accountable by writing down everything I put in my mouth 7) limit my intake of red meat BLAH, BLAH, BLAH…

There are so many more that come to mind but of those listed when I “backslid” during the holidays the only thing I was still doing faithfully was drinking plenty of water! LOL

So, in closing I’d like to leave you with a healthy meat sauce recipe I made yesterday. I was in the mood for some pasta and garlic toast and so here’s what I made:

Meat Sauce:

Brown one pound of ground turkey or 93% lean ground beef in skillet. Add 1 cup of shredded carrots to meat. IMG_20150109_105006212

Dice about 1/2 an onion and add it to skillet as well, continuing to saute with meat. (I always season my meat, but that’s just personal preference). IMG_20150109_105350499

While pasta is cooking in a separate pot, I add 1 15 oz can of diced tomatoes and 1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce to the meat mixture in skillet. I season with some sweet basil, oregano, garlic powder etc; You can use, fresh or dried. Turn heat to low and & cover. Let the sauce simmer for about 30 minutes so all your flavors will blend together. The shredded carrots give you a serving of vegetables and sweetens your sauce without using sugar. IMG_20150109_111259916

I chose whole wheat Ziti for the pasta. Remember, portion control is crucial! Look up the portion size, calories or points you can have prior to serving yourself! I made a nice fresh lettuce salad to go with my pasta & meat sauce and chose fat free Ranch dressing for my salad. If pasta and meat sauce is a RED LIGHT food for you, it’s better not to fix it at all!! Red Light means you can’t exercise portion control!! And, yes – I made garlic toast with REAL white french bread and used 1 T. of Land o Lakes light butter. I season my garlic toast with garlic powder, garlic salt and a pinch of grated Parmesan cheese. I only made myself one slice therefore I wasn’t tempted to eat more. (Hubby had 5 slices made with REAL BUTTER!!)

I have a very healthy appetite and can put away a lot of food especially Italian food! So, I was quite proud of myself for having measured out my pasta and meat sauce and adding the salad and 1 slice of garlic toast. I felt empowered and satisfied! That is key! It’s not about deprivation or starvation and if you are hungry or feeling deprived you are doing something wrong.

I am entering a new week with new hope and determination and trying to stay focused on treating myself as a priority. That’s also why I have to make it to the gym first thing in the morning because the rest of the day I am sitting on the floor playing with this little one IMG_20150106_102504002

or in the evening sitting at the sewing machine working on cord covers, pillow shams and quilts…Baby Zoo animals PQ closeup

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Pinks PQ close up front

Make it a great week, friends!

A combination of factors AKA “what a lack of monitoring will do”..

It’s time to get REAL!! I stepped on the scale this morning and it has given me a NEW FOUND COMMITMENT!! Amazing what an inanimate object can do! I weighed in at 171.6!! OMG!! Just one short month ago I weighed 162!! You see, around Thanksgiving time, I made a conscious (that’s right, I said “CONSCIOUS”, how’s that for ownership?) decision to give up walking, and tracking my food! In other words – I threw my “health lifestyle” out the window! A month to 6 weeks ago I was already 15-20 lbs over my goal weight…but was losing it. Now, I’m back where I started!! Well, not really because back in 2006 I weighed my highest 199.8…but if I keep justifying my 170 by comparing it to that 199 number I WILL be back where I started in no time! My ideal weight is 145. I know it’s not all about the numbers…but is also about how you feel.

Well, I feel like crap! Started taking Zantac and eating TUMS again etc; The cold weather had set in and so I told my walking buddy that I would not be walking thru the holidays and would get back to the gym after the first of the year. I’ve honored that commitment by meeting her there this morning. It’s been a good day, thus far.

So what was it? Well, this 25 lbs from goal weight to where I am today has been a combination of factors:

1) I started eating more red meat (less chicken and fish)
2) I quit weighing and measuring my food
3) I quit exercising
4) I started eating more white food again (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes etc;)
5) I started slathering on the butter again!!
6) I quit writing anything down that I was eating!! (thus no accountability)
7) I quit stepping on the scale (thus no accountability)
8) I stopped focusing on fruits and vegetables and ate whatever was quick and handy!
9) Even though I didn’t do a lot of baking during the holidays I ate far too many sweets! (The more sugar I ate, the more I wanted it)!
10) I started buying larger and stretchier clothing to accommodate my expanding frame (namely my belly!)
11) I stopped reading anything that would convict me of my unhealthy ways!

Do I need to go on? There’s so much more I could say on this subject since I was once a very busy Weight Watcher’s leader! My goal with this blog is to hold myself accountable and to pay it forward. I know there are going to be many “Diet blogs” this month telling you which diet is the best one to go on. All baloney!!
It’s about you, not the diet you choose to embrace! It’s about getting our head in the game!! A healthy lifestyle isn’t something you “quit” for a month or two, like I did! I knew and know better. A healthy lifestyle is just that – a lifestyle!! So, it wasn’t just one thing that created this weight gain. It was a combination of factors AKA what a lack of monitoring will do!

We can only ignore it for so long and if we will listen our body will tell us when enough is enough. So, I’m back on the bandwagon again. Wish me luck. I know it’s not going to be easy but it will be worth it. I’m not going to waste any time beating myself up over my irresponsibility. I’m just going to do what I know I need to do and what I know works. Primarily it will be to put myself at the top of the list again and make myself a priority! How bout you?

An old wive’s tale….

My now deceased mother-in-law used to say that “whatever you do on New Year’s Day you will do all year long”. Well, I think about that every Jan. 1 and wonder if I’ve done what I want to be doing all year long. Hmmmmm…since moving to Texas I also have heard that it’s supposed to be good luck to eat Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s day. Blecckkk!! I don’t like black eyed peas and not being the superstitious type it’s gonna take more than the promise of good luck to get me to eat them! But, I digress…

So, let’s see what did I do today? Well, I made my bed. That’s a good habit to have all year long, I guess. I washed my face and brushed my teeth more than once so I guess that’s another good thing I can manage all year long. Hubby started a new novel today. He loves to read and I guess that’s not a bad thing either. Hmmmm…let’s see, BUT did I do anything of real significance or importance, that is the question…Well, I began my day with devotions; talking to the Lord aka praying, and reading some scriptures – I could definitely get better at that and make sure that it is not a neglected task this year!!

I had a very restless night and didn’t sleep well, therefore I slept in this morning not waking up until about 8:30 (having only fallen asleep at 4:30 am). Ugh! That is not something I want to continue in the New year! I didn’t eat “healthy” today, but plan to the rest of the year!! I didn’t exercise today, but plan to the rest of the year. So, I guess if the old wive’s tale is true I am going to have challenges in the “healthy lifestyle” area this year. That being said, I do have a plan to meet my girlfriend at the gym first thing in the morning and I do also plan to start tracking every BLT (bite, lick or taste) again!!

I did quite a bit of sewing today (cord covers, pillow shams and quilts). Since, I love to sew, that would be something that I would love to continue all year long. I also made a trip to the fabric store today to take advantage of their awesome New Year’s Day sale. Taking advantage of sale prices can’t be a bad thing, can it?

It rained all day today. Does that mean it’s going to rain all year long? Hope not. Hubby napped most of the afternoon. Oops!! Not so sure about that one! But, he does have a business appointment first thing Monday morning which means he will be writing some business and making some money! A good way to start the New year.

So, as I continued to ponder what Granny used to say about today, I took it to the next level. Did I say a kind word or kiss my hubby? Yep, many times! Did I show kindness to a stranger? Yep, at the fabric store! Did I speak kind things to myself? Not easy, but yep I did. How about friends and loved ones besides hubby? Did I tell or show them that I care in some way? Yes, (primarily via text) but that counts nowadays, doesn’t it?

Those are all things that I definitely want to continue all year long. I also want to add blogging to my year long “to do” list. I want to be more consistent with posting a blog at least once a week (I admire those that can blog every day) – not this girl, not gonna happen; but once a week, I think I can do that. So, as I end this first day of 2015 – I look forward to what lies ahead and appreciate the simple things in life.

Stay tuned and I will be posting in a few days the little “excursion” hubby and I just returned from. Happy New Year, friends!

A landmark month…

I don’t like admitting it, but I really don’t like the month of December. Oh, when my kids were young I really got into the whole Christmas thing…the shopping, the decorating, the baking etc; In fact, I’m sure that’s where my kids get their love of Christmas from. They’ve shared with me on more than one occasion their fond memories of Christmas celebrations past. They, all three, have carried on the tradition of decorating their homes inside and out, having tons of presents under the tree, the ornament collection, the belief in Santa Claus, the holiday baking with goodie trays given to their friends and family members etc;

But that being said, December has become a bit of a “blue month” for me. I’m not one to focus on the negative nor to wallow in self-pity but I admit I do struggle in December.

#1) 18 years ago today, I lost my dad. Yep, you got it right…my “dad” died on Christmas eve. He was my step-dad, but he was the only dad I’d known since I was five years old. You’d think I’d be over his loss, but I hadn’t spent any real quality time with him for several years prior to his passing due to events far to lengthy to explain in this post. Suffice it to say, the longer he’s gone the more the good memories come to the forefront and the easier it is to forget the bad. I miss those good times we had!

#2) Too many miles & tight finances separate me from two of my three grown children – and the holidays are always so much better when you can be with family. Needless to say, we will not be together for Christmas this year. The upside is that we did get to spend Thanksgiving together (Two of my three and two of my hubby’s four were here)…which made for a joyful entry into this “blue December”.

#3) 1 year ago on the 18th of December my grown son and I had a “falling out”. I know..life’s too short. I will spare you the details but just know I pray about the situation daily and am trusting that the Lord will work it out. This situation has added to my “blue mood” this year.

#4) As I hard as I try to be supportive to my hubby at this time of the year – he also lost his dad (whom I never met) 22 years ago in December. It is sometimes difficult to comfort someone you love who is suffering when you also are suffering grief and despair!! Of course, many of you already know that it was just last year (2013) that my mother-in-law and brother-in-law passed away. Fortunately, not in the month of December, but my husband has had an unusually difficult time this year more so than last year for some reason.

So, as I was praying and pondering all the sad moments and talking to my Savior, He reminded me of some good times I’d experienced in December. The one that stands out the most in my mind was 5 years ago December 16th.

#5) My oldest brother, Jim was released from prison after being incarcerated 32 years for a crime he didn’t commit!! Just three months earlier I had plead Jim’s case before the parole board in Michigan and it was with cautious optimism that we awaited their decision. Our baby brother, John and I took a trip to Michigan to pick Jim up and take him home to North Dakota to be with our mom. It was an awesome trip and the very first time we three siblings had EVER been together!! We took our time traveling by car from Michigan to North Dakota and shared many meals, laughs etc; It was fun to watch Jim’s reaction to the world around him as a free man. His niece (my daughter) had me give him his first cell phone so he could call her and say “hello” as a free man. Once we arrived at mom’s home it was a tearful reunion. Jim, John, and I walked and drove thru neighborhoods enjoying all the cheery Christmas light displays. We went shopping and got Jim outfitted with some clothes, groceries he preferred etc; The last few days leading up to Christmas after John had returned home to Florida, Jim and I spent getting him signed up for any services he qualified for and going to the Parole office.

The best part of the whole story is that Jim is truly a FREE MAN today. He has been home for 5 years now. He has his own place, his own transportation, a cute little mutt named Irish that is truly his baby and no longer has to report to a parole officer!! He is truly a FREE MAN and has made me very proud. I always believed (as he promised) that he would do things right “if” he ever got out and he has done so!

I’m choosing today to remember those good memories from 5 years ago rather than the sad ones of 18 years ago. Mom is 90 years old and still ticking. Jim and Irish are doing great. I have two daughters and many grandchildren that love me. I have a husband that would walk through fire to save me. And I have a church family and a Lord that think I’m pretty special too! What do I have to be blue about?

When I woke up this morning with a sad 19 yr. old memory on my mind…I said a prayer of gratitude, put oldies on the radio and sat down at my sewing machine. It was a very therapeutic time to say the least! Now, I’m looking forward to leaving on a little R & R trip with my hubby on Saturday. We will spend Sat. evening with 3 grandsons and family in the Austin area and then it’s off to Kerrville, Texas for a little sight seeing, antiquing, etc; We return to ring in the New Year with our church family.

Holiday blessings my blogging buddies! May you and yours have a glorious Christmas and New Year!

Back in my day…

I am a product of the 50’s and 60’s, being born in 1951 and graduating high school in 1969. Although we had sex, drugs and rock & roll back then too, life was much simpler. A step up in our technology would have been to get a COLOR TV!! TV’s were HUGE back then – no flat screens for sure! In fact most of us had what was referred to as a “Console TV” – it was typically once nice looking piece of furniture!! Console TV We had one very similar to this one when I was growing up.

I remember watching Ed Sullivan on that TV. I loved the Lennon Sisters…The-Lennon-Sisters-rocknroll-remembered-2553866-640-480 Third from the left, Janet was my favorite. I think she was the youngest of the four girls.

I also remember watching Mr. ED (1961-1966), My Favorite Martian (1963-1966), Father Knows Best (1954-1960), Leave it to Beaver (1957-1963) and so forth. All great, wholesome shows and shows you just don’t see any likeness of …anymore. We sat down to the supper table as a family every night without fail. I think it’s very sad that many families today don’t sit down to a table and share a meal much anymore (unless they are in a restaurant..and even then they are so busy looking down at their phones that they aren’t talking or connecting!)

My entire teen years were spent roller skating at the indoor roller rink in town every Friday and Saturday evening. I loved to roller skate and even competed in a few competitions and went on road trips with the roller skating club when I got a little older. The worst part of this activity was that it was also the local hangout for GI’s from the nearby Air Force base and I was an impressionable young lady at the time. Needless to say, it was subsequently where I met my first husband and then became pregnant with my first child at 18. You sure don’t see many indoor roller rinks anymore. There may be a few (there is one in this town where I live now), but the crowd is mostly made up of very young children and rarely do you see families skating together. Teens nowadays, for the most part, find roller skating boring. You will also see them donning roller blades, rather than the roller skates of my day..roller skates

I used all sorts of contraptions on my hair to make it curly …all sizes and shapes of curlers, orange juice cans (for a more relaxed look) and “ratting”, “teasing” or “backcombing” your hair was an absolute must, if you wanted “big hair”!! I curled my hair wet, and didn’t have anyway to dry it but by just letting it dry naturally…so it was not uncommon to go out during the day with curlers in my hair and a chiffon scarf tied around my head to conceal the curlers somewhat!girl w curlers

You rarely saw women back in my day with short hair. Long hair and dresses were quite common. Ribbons in the hair weren’t cheesy! I had a wide assortment. I believe it wasn’t until my senior year in 1968-1969 that they changed the dress code at my high school. Up until then, girls had to wear dresses or skirts (no pants or jeans). Can you believe it? We always wore hose with our dresses…no bare legs like you see now. In fact, if you wait long enough all the styles of the day do come back and repeat themselves. You know how you see all those crazy nylons, tights etc; nowadays? Well, here’s a pic of the “window pane” hose that I owned and wore often. They were one of my favorites…window pane hose

Democrat, Harry Truman was president when I was born. I really loved Elvis Presley in the 50’s and early 60’s, but he was quickly replaced by Jan & Dean and The Beach Boys. Jan and Dean

Beach-Boys-1 Can you believe it? Look at those well groomed, clean cut, young, good looking men? They don’t look anything like our music stars of today!! Or do they? Maybe so…maybe my narrow mindedness is showing. Life just seemed so much more wholesome back then. Maybe I’m just getting old and melancholy.

Oh, and speaking of Ed Sullivan (earlier in this post…just in case you won’t paying attention)…he introduced the Beatles to us in 1963 and teenage girls were going crazy all over the US! I liked them…but wouldn’t say I was “crazy” for them. I thought Paul McCartney was the best looking one and therefore my favorite. I thought Ringo was UGLY with a capital “U”!!Beatles

The Beach Party films of the mid 60’s were my favorite!! They featured Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon and I think there were six of them. Every time a new one came out…I couldn’t wait to see it. I know, CORNY!!..maybe it was because I lived in the “frozen North” that I enjoyed these beach party films so much. There may not have been much novelty to them, had I lived in Florida or California…but for North Dakota living, beach party movies were NIRVANA!!

Last but not least was WOODSTOCK! The year of my high school graduation was also the year of Woodstock! The Hippie movement…and “free love” was in full swing! woodstock_csg022 I was already married and pregnant with my first child…so my priorities shifted (temporarily)…but it was pretty cool that 3 months prior to Woodstock my home state had their own version of Woodstock…called “Zip to Zap”…located in the very small community of Zap, North Dakota!

So, at the close of 1969…after the birth of my son…I proceeded to “sow some of the oats” I missed out on sowing with my graduating class. My first apartment had beads in the doorway, inflatable furniture and a poster of a pregnant girl scout on the wall! Helen Gurley Brown and Cosmopolitan magazine were my “MO”!! As a single mom in the early 70’s I couldn’t wait to get my hands on that first male centerfold of Burt Reynolds!! I’d come a long way baby!!

I close by saying…I’m not that young innocent of the 50’s and early 60’s (I kinda wish I was). But, I’m also not the wild, young poncho & moccasin wearing hippie of the late 60’s and early 70’s either. (I’m glad I’m not). This was just a trip down memory lane. Today, I’m thankful for redemption and the blood bought life. I live for a higher calling and the greater good. But, everything I’ve done and experienced has made me who I am today….and for that I am TRULY THANKFUL.

My first born turns 45!!

Well, I was going to write this post one week ago today when my son actually turned 45, but I was out of town tending to my grand kitty and so my draft of my his 45th birthday remained in limbo. Sort of like our relationship lately…but I digress.

Wow! Where has the time gone? My ONLY son turned 45 Oct. 12th!! I was 18 when I gave birth to Troy in 1969. Here he is playing ball in 1975…Little ball player

I was wondering who else might have been born in 1969…so I did a little research: hmmmm

Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Lopez, Donnie Wahlberg, Jack Black

Jennifer Aniston, Tyler Perry, Marilyn Manson, Chaz Bono

Catherine Zeta Jones, Renee’ Zellweger, JUST TO NAME A FEW…

Troy’s dad and I were married but were not together. My mom was by my side the day Troy was born for 13 hrs. of hard labor and subsequent C-section. I was a child having a child!! I was scared to death and miserable!! Even though the “shotgun wedding” was well intentioned, the marriage was doomed before it began! I discovered I was pregnant in Jan of my senior year. I married in Feb. Due to major morning sickness I was forced to drop out right before graduation. I never considered adoption or abortion and my son was born the following Oct. Maybe my son would have had a better life I I had considered adoption? I don’t know. I just know that I loved him from the moment of conception and couldn’t consider any other way. My mom agreed to help me and be a support.

So, six days after Troy was born we went home to my parent’s house. That was not what I had envisioned. Going home to my parental home with a new born son when all my friends were going to football games etc; was not part of my life plan! Hmmmmm…

My mom had given birth to my little sister just two years earlier, so Troy’s #1 playmate those first few years was his Aunt Tammy…Christmas pals

I loved my boy, but he had to compete for the affection of his grandparents, since they had a little girl that was born late in their lives. It was so unfair, but a fact of his little life.

Troy’s dad went to Viet Nam and eventually served me with divorce papers so he could remarry. I worked, I dated and sometimes dated men that weren’t good father figures for Troy. But then, when Troy was 5 years old things turned around for us when I met up with an old school friend (the brother of one of my closet girlfriends)and we married. We were now a trio. Troy’s step-dad and I agreed that he should adopt Troy so that when he began first grade he wouldn’t have to be questioned about the change in his last name. Troy’s step-dad and I met and got re-acquainted when we met in a bar after a night of drinking. That should have been my first red flag. But, as we often do when we are young and stupid we ignore all the warning signs.

We were together 10 years. Troy was a teenager by the time his step-dad and I split up and the damage had already been done. The bright side in those ten years was that Troy had two little sisters that were born!! 1977 - 26 yrs. old (2)

Theresa was born in 1977 when Troy was 7 1/2 yrs old. Tanya came next when he was fixing to turn 10 in 1979. He loved his little sisters and was a great babysitter! I heard much later in life when they were all grown that he used to put on rock concerts in the living room with his buddies when we were out and he was in charge! LOL His little sisters were told to sit on the sofa and not move while he and his buddies entertained them. I’m surprised that we never got a call from neighbors.

Anyway, there’s much more history and much more I could say, but suffice it to say I miss my boy! You see, Troy hasn’t spoken to me in almost a year now. I sent him a beautiful birthday card that spoke from my heart in secret hopes that it might open a door. Maybe it will – it hasn’t so far. He knows how to reach me. In fact, maybe he’ll read this post. He knows about my blog. In fact, the last time he got mad at me…it was because of this blog. The time previous to that it was because of Facebook.

Maybe you understand a little bit more why I don’t really like all this Social Media crap. Your thoughts?

Come and sit with me a while…

Come and sit with me a while….

I loved this and my fellow blogger, Diane inspired me to answer some of the questions she posed:

Here is my reply:

I envision us, Diane sitting in those Adirondack chairs sipping a cup of tea on a chilly morning covered up with two of my favorite lap size quilts, as we chat and become better acquainted. I find happiness in the world around me as well as the calm from within. I am a people lover, so people make me smile…especially people of like mind and faith. But, then there are those moments when I desire to be alone and allow my mind to wander or my creative juices to flow without any noise or interruption. I crave silence often!!

When I am low I call on a loving Savior who’s quick to comfort me and remind me that I’m chosen. You might find me on my knees in my little prayer closet or you mind find me reading His word. Once in awhile when I am down in the dumps I recognize the need to talk to someone “with skin on”…and will call on a best friend, someone I can trust (a person who will not mock, a person who will not gossip, a person who feels my pain and understands what I am going through.)

I recently told my husband on our 16th wedding anniversary that he was the one (besides the Lord) that gave me a feeling of safety, that helped me to know that no matter what – he was on my side and would always go to bat for me!!

I cherish the good childhood memories and can now laugh at most of the bad ones. I find myself embracing the title “Victor” rather than “Survivor” over my past and my dysfunctional family. They have helped me to become who I am today – and for that I am grateful.

I can tell you about a time when I performed the Heimlich maneuver on a young daughter when she was choking on a plastic Easter Egg – and how scared I was at the time, but how relieved I was when it worked!!

I would share my hurt & frustration with you of the many times I’ve witnessed someone being shunned or mistreated for whatever reason. I would share personal experiences of my own mistreatment and share with you how much I could relate to what they were going through. It truly is illogical!!

I would talk with you about the constant war I’m in regarding trying to eat right and exercise. I would share my embarrassment with you – knowing what to do, but not always doing it! I would tell you that cake is my cocaine LOL!! and that I just can’t have it in the house or I will eat it!! There would be times when I would be very quiet about my battle, and not say anything – but you would know as would so many of my other loved ones.

Diane, I’m not so sure I strike a very good balance between giving and taking – I’m much more a giver than a taker. I rarely ask for what I need – and you would know me to have a very “self-deprecating” personality…one that beats herself up way too much!! My friends would confirm that for you.

I work hard to stay on a schedule (same bedtime, same wake time each day) so that my body gets into a rhythm and I’m able to sleep. Sometimes it works, other times not – but I would share the good news of recently being prescribed Compounded hormones that have helped my insomnia tremendously. I love to have fun and you will often find me planning or organizing some type of get together or fellowship for that sole purpose!

At my age, I’m not planning a whole lot into the future. I take each day as it comes. That’s not to say I’m not a planner – just the opposite! List maker, organizer, lover of routine – that’s me! But, I’ve mellowed in my later years – thus I’m much more flexible than I was when I was younger.

In the seasons of life I find my faith grows stronger. He’s walked with me through many storms, but I’ve always discovered that there is sunshine on the other side of the mountain. I try to hold on and stay close to the ONE who can calm the wind and keep my chin up, because He sticks closer than a brother!!

That I had a brother who was in prison for 32 years – is no longer a secret! It was life changing for he and I when I began to share his story. That I had another brother that was adopted by my aunt and raised as my cousin, another once closely held secret that became an awesome love story between a brother and a sister who found each other later in life! My “secrets” are plentiful – many have suggested I write a book. And yes, there are some misdeeds I’m not proud of and some younger years that I lived void of a Savior. If only, I could have yielded to Him sooner!! So many mistakes could have been avoided!

But, no regrets – only joy that comes on that chilly morning, when you sit and chat with a friend over a cup of tea! 🙂

I’m thankful to be a “young”, active 63!!

No, it’s not my birthday.  My birthday was back in January.  But, I am 63.  And, I am a “young” 63.  I have always thought of myself as being very young at heart.  My friends are usually younger than me.  Most of my close friends are quite a bit younger then me!  My mindset is not that of someone who is 63!  As a matter of fact, in my mind I think I’m about 43.

I have known people that are my age or a little bit younger than I am, that act like they have one foot in the grave!!  I don’t understand that!  When I think about all that I do in a day, and the things that I think about doing – it makes me realize just how “young” I really am.  I’m not ready to give up – or throw in the towel on life, just because I am officially a Senior Citizen!  Nope, not this girl!  I’m also very thankful for an “attitude of gratitude”.  Although I may have my “downer days”…they are rare.  In most cases I am the girl that the glass is half full, not half empty – if you know what I mean.

From taking care of two little grandsons (currently)…

Jackson, 7 months old

Jackson, 7 months old

My buddy!

Kash, 3 yrs. old

to sewing like a madwoman – especially lately!  The popularity of my little pillow quilts that I make for babies has grown tremendously (especially on eBay), not so much on Etsy.  So this past week (prior to leaving town on Thursday) that is what I was busy with…

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

Classic Winnie the Pooh paired with solid pink

 

Owl Print paired with sage green

Owl Print paired with sage green (I made two of these for a set of twins, but the other one is paired with solid yellow)

 

U of Florida "Gator" quilt

U of Florida “Gator” quilt   (This was a special order)

 

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

Barn Toss Pillow Quilt

 

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

Animal Toss Pillow Quilt for Baby!

 

I’m working on two with Nursery Rhyme flannel currently and love the “girly girl” ones I’ve come up with…

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Purple & Cream Eyelet

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

Hot Pink, White Eyelet, & Black & white zebra print

But, still my best sellers are the ones with embroidered butterflies….

For girl

For girl

For boy

For boy

or gender neutral

or gender neutral

When I’m not sewing…I’m still walking 3.5 miles on Mon. Wed. and Fri. mornings with friends and going to the gym to do some treadmill and strength training on Tues. and Thurs. morning. Hubby is supportive enough to tend to the grandsons for an hour so I can make myself a priority.

I treat taking care of grandsons like a “real job”…by focusing entirely on them when they are here.  I rarely read e-mail, talk on phone, text, sew or anything while they are here.  We go for walks, play in back yard, go to the park/playground…

Jackson's first swinging adventure!

Jackson’s first swinging adventure!

Sometimes, when it’s too hot to play outside in the Texas heat, we take a trip to the dollar store to see if we can find any cheap toys, or great treats!  It was so funny one day last week…Paw Paw stayed home with a napping Jackson while Kash and I went to the $$ store.  On the way, Kash informed me that he wanted some gummy worms.  I said, “okay, we will look and see if we can find some when we get there.”  Well, we looked high and low, walking up and down the candy isle, but couldn’t find any.  Kash said, “That’s okay, Maw Maw…I’ll go ask”..and off he marched, walking confidently up to the checkout counter where a checker was standing.  He boldly asked her, “Got any worms?”  We both laughed so hard at his confident almost cocky attitude – and it got him some worms, too!

It was the one year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death this past week also.  Hubby and I were her primary caregivers for 2+ years and so we were both in a little bit of a “funk”.  Last Sunday I made a spur of the moment decision to try and arrange a “surprise” trip for hubby to the Austin area (Round Rock, to be exact) to watch his oldest grandson play football. Our daughter-in-law had been texting and sending pictures and I knew it would lift hubby’s spirits if I could arrange for us to go.  So, I texted his baby son, Josh (Jackson’s daddy) to see if he could make other arrangements for childcare on Thursday and Friday so we could make a quick overnight trip to watch a football game.  (It’s approx. a 5 hour drive and we would benefit by not only getting to see his oldest son & wife, but the famous football player, Dillon and his two younger brothers, James & Chris.  Well, I managed to pull it off!

Father, Son & Grandson

Father, Son & Grandson

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, Chris at the game

Grandson, James at the game

Grandson, James at the game

OMG! How the boys have grown since we last saw them!! We were blown away and a bit saddened by how much they had changed!  We just don’t make it to that area enough to see them!  We are so tied down with taking care of first, Granny for 2+ years, and now two other grandsons!!  But, I have to say that whenever we do go, we always feel so welcome and so loved!  These three grandsons are so sweet and so loving.  Mommy and Daddy are doing an awesome job of raising three awesome young men!

At the game

At the game, Dillon is # 57

So, that kinda capped off our week!  We left Thursday morning and returned home Friday afternoon.  I still had some sewing to finish up for the week, so I got right back to it when we got back.  Then, this morning one of our “new” sisters that has joined our church expressed an interest in some “girl time”.  So, while hubby stayed home and finished the laundry, my friend, Teressa and I went garage saling and out for a Chinese lunch.  When I returned home at 1:00 hubby wanted to go to Sam’s for a free health screening.  Yep!! Shocked me that hubby suggested it – since he’s not the walking picture of health!  LOL  But, we went and had our “numbers” checked.

Everything checked out pretty good.  So, as I end this post..once again I say, “I’m thankful to be a young 63″…in mind, body and spirit.  I’m ready to take on the next 30 years, God willing.

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Sometimes, we just don’t want to listen!!

As many of you already know, I am a big proponent of healthy eating and living.  That doesn’t mean that I always DO what I support and believe in!  LOL  But, I TRY.  I don’t try to force “my way” on others…knowing that I can only change one person (that being ME)…that others have to find their own way and don’t need to hear me harping on them.  (My hubby would be the first that comes to mind).

Many of you also know that I was once a Weight Watchers leader!  I lead large and small meetings alike throughout E. Texas for five years and LOVED my job!!  One of the things I used to say to my members at my meetings was “Your body talks to you if you will listen”…

See the IF in that sentence?  IF you will listen.  Unfortunately, many of us (including myself sometimes), JUST DON’T WANT TO LISTEN!!!

I often compare our bodies to an automobile.  Our bodies require care and maintenance just like our cars do.  Our cars run more efficiently when we take better care of them.  If you’ve been driving a clunker your entire life, you may not even be aware of how bad it is, until you start driving a newer car.  But once you trade in that clunker for something nicer …OMG!! You realize what you’ve been missing!! Our bodies work much the same!!  When you are unhealthy and overweight, you get used to being unhealthy and overweight…feeling crappy is your “normal”.  But, once you start trying to change your ways and eat differently and exercise regularly (if you stick with it for more than a day or two), you will begin to notice how much more efficiently your body works and how much better you feel.

That’s where the listening comes into play!  Got gas?  That’s your body talking to you!  Got a headache?  Uh huh – that’s your body speaking up!  Indigestion?  Uh oh – you might have eaten something you shouldn’t have!  How about stiff achy joints?  Either you worked out too much, or you slacked off and stiffened up in the process!!

Now, I’m not trying to say there aren’t medical reasons for some of your maladies or that you may have a true medical condition that might need to be addressed.  But, many times our body will speak very loudly and clearly and all we have to do is change up what we are doing to feel better.  We don’t want it to be that simple because then we have no excuse to not do something about it!!  We often want the doctor to say we have a thyroid problem or that our metabolism is out of whack!  It’s easier and takes less work to just pop a pill.

When I first joined Weight Watchers back in 2006 I was 40 lbs. heavier than I am now. I had acid reflux, GERD, high blood pressure…was menopausal and miserable.  All my symptoms went away as I began to live and eat a healthier way.  When I would have a bad day or week (and “fall off the wagon”), my body would speak to me loud and clear!  I would hear, “Linda, I know you love onion rings, but you shouldn’t have eaten them.”  or when I would weigh – the scale would speak to me!! It would say things like, “Linda, I know you love cake & cookies, but you knew when you ate them this week that my number was going to be higher!”  Or, after skipping two of my walks and one trip to the gym my body would ache all over when I would try to get back to it.  It was screaming “See, how I stiffen up when you neglect me?”  Just like our cars – our bodies need some loving attention.  And when they don’t get it they resist moving!!

So, I guess what got me off on this tangent this week, was the fact that as a Lifetime member of WW, I lost 55 lbs.  You’ll recall tho that in the previous paragraph I said I was 40 lbs. heavier in 2006.  That’s because I still have 15 lbs to lose to get to my lifetime goal weight again!  I quit doing what my body needed me to do.  So, I’ve been back at it for about 2 months now and have good and bad days.  But, I’m listening.  It was worse – I’m down 8 lbs since I began.  Key for me is to LISTEN!  But, not just listen – learn from it!  Just knowing that greasy french fries are bad for you, may not be enough!  Go ahead, eat them!  If you’ve been eating healthy and avoiding them, eat them one time – all of them.  I guarantee, your body will speak to you loud and clear!!  I was up all night one night with indigestion after eating an order of greasy french fries!! I learned from it!! I won’t eat them again!!

All that being said – my weigh in this week wasn’t great!  I gained 1 lb.  So, it’s back to tracking consistently, exercising consistently, being accountable for what I’m doing and planning my eating better.  To jump start my new week I made a revised version of WW 0 Point soup. This makes a large soup kettle full for all week.  I call it:

PIG OUT SOUP

2 cups sliced carrots

1 cup diced onions

8 sm. cloves of garlic

3 quarts of chicken broth

8 cups chopped cabbage

4 cups fresh spinach

1 8 oz. can of tomato sauce

1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes

2 t. dried basil

1 t. dried oregano

1 t. salt

DIRECTIONS:

Spray a large soup kettle with non-stick cooking spray.  Heat. Saute’ the carrot, onion and garlic over low heat until softened, about 5 min.  Add broth, cabbage, spinach, tomato sauce, tomatoes, seasonings and bring to boil.  Reduce heat, simmer covered until carrots & cabbage is tender.

There are no WW points in all these fresh vegetables.  Just remember, if you add meat, potatoes, corn, peas etc; it is no longer a PIG OUT soup!  Now, you have to count and track every BLT (bite, lick or taste), but if you eat it like this – you can pig out and lose weight!!

Ah, the joy of victory!

 

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The cycle continues…

I had a brief chat with a 30 something yr old young man not too long ago and he said, “When I marry it will be for life.  I will only marry once.”

Having lived a few more years than he had…and having experienced a whole lot more than he had – I was blown away by his naivety!  This young man “presented” himself as a bible believing Christian (that’s a topic for another post)…

Naturally, having experienced the heartache of divorce more than once I was also quite offended by his comment.  Politely, I replied “well, do you think it was ever my intention to marry more than once?”  “Don’t you think that everyone who marries only intends to do it once?”  “Do  you really think that anyone goes into a marriage thinking it will end in divorce?”  OMG!  

No, ladies and gentlemen – I never intended for any of my children to come from a broken home – even if I did!  And yet, 2 of my 3 children have experienced more than one divorce just like I have! As hard as I try to live right, do right and be a Godly example they still have to live their life and make their own choices, right or wrong.  I hate that!  I want them to learn from my mistakes, not to make their own.  But, I truly don’t believe we learn much from watching others make mistakes and bad choices.

I learned my lessons much later in life.  It wasn’t until I was in my 40’s that I began to see that I was the “common denominator” in a lot of my choices and that I was the one that needed to change – not them.  That’s also when my prayers changed.  Instead of praying “God make him the kind of husband I want him to be” it was “God, show me how to be the kind of wife you need me to be.”  I know it seems simplistic and my prayers often involved more words than seen here, but you get my drift.

So, why do I post on this topic, you ask?  Well, because I am witnessing the cycle continue.  My grandchildren now come from broken homes!!  My grandson, Kash is just one example.  He will be 3 in Sept.  He goes to Daddy’s for one week, then he’s at mommy’s for one week.  He’s at daddy’s the entire month of July – not to see his mommy, his four other siblings or his Maw Maw. I miss him.  But, more importantly, I’m sad for him.

No one really thinks twice about being from a broken home anymore.  Do they even use that terminology anymore?  It’s more the norm nowadays.  So many couples just live together now without the marital contract and bring children into that world as well.  If Hollywood says it’s okay then I guess it’s okay, right?  NADA!    I’m so sad about the direction our world is going.  

I know some will call me old fashioned.  Some will say what I desire is unrealistic.  Some will even say that I’m living in the dark ages.  I just hate that the cycle continues.

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