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!

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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!

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.

I’m a clock watcher…

clock

I just recently realized this about myself.  I’ve always been a clock watcher..I guess I never really gave it much thought until we started taking care of grandchildren, but I’m very regimented and a “scheduled” person and have always built my day around the clock.  How about you?  I’m not talking about normal stuff…like certain time to get up, certain time to go to work , certain to to go to bed….I mean REALLY EXTREME clock watching to the MAX!  I am constantly looking at the clock or my watch.

In fact, I recall one time many years ago when I innocently glanced at my watch as one of my co-workers was coming back from her break – she jumped all over me for trying to keep track of how long of a break she took!!  I really wasn’t checking her break time AT ALL!  I was just looking at my watch!  It’s almost a nervous habit!!  I have to work hard to not glance at my watch when I’m having a conversation with someone for fear they will be insulted or think I’m bored with the conversation.

While I was having this realization, I also realized that my husband IS NOT A clock watcher!!  He’s an early riser and often out of bed before I am.  I will ask him what time he got up.  He often does not know. How can you NOT KNOW?? Isn’t the first thing you do when you awake is to look at the clock?  Or I will ask him “do you remember what time you gave Jackson his bottle?”  Nope! Nada!  Not a clue!  I always look at the clock before I feed Jackson a bottle, so I know when he starts fussing if it’s feeding time again!  Don’t all mommy’s, daddy’s, grandmother’s, grandfather’s do that?

Or have you ever had a day, like I do sometimes when you look at your watch and you say to yourself, “OMG! It’s almost Noon and I’ve gotten absolutely nothing accomplished so far!!”  That’s a common message that plays in my head often!

Or…”wow, half the day is gone and I’ve got so much more to do before we leave for church tonight!”

I also am always “timing” myself with my fitness routine.  So many minutes on the treadmill, so many minutes with weights, so many minutes of walking outside.  Pace is important too, but I’ve got to do at least as many minutes as I did the previous day and maybe even step it up a bit.  I have an app I use to “time” my walks.

I look at the clock when I walk in the door, look at the clock when I walk out the door.  I watch the clock when we are traveling and calculate in my head what kind of time we are making on the trip!!

Am I clock obsessed?  Or is this normal?  Maybe I should ask Dr. Keith Ablow is this ‘NORMAL or NUTS”?  When I get up in the middle of the night to go potty – I can tell you what time it was – each time!!

If I doze off or take a short nap during the day, I can tell you what time it was and how long I slept for..because I look at the clock before I doze off and as soon as I wake up!!  If I go shopping I can tell you how long I shopped for and what time I left and what time I came back.  In fact, I can tell you what my limit is – in other words, how long I will last shopping before I will wear out.  (Unless we stop/take a break and eat lunch).  LOL

When we take a trip – I CAN’T tell you how far it is in miles, but I CAN TELL you how many hours it is away from us!!  We have a 5 hr. drive today.  I’m fixin to leave – I was just killing time while hubby got ready to go…(It takes him an hour and a half to get ready -me, on the other hand about 20 minutes!)

Sincerely,

Your lovingly obsessed clock watcher …

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 thought process I go through when I CREATE…

Seldom do my projects end up looking the way I thought they would when I began the process.  I have made very few quilts from a set pattern I purchased or found in a magazine.  I much rather create from my head.  I like to find a fabric that I like and go from there.  When I first began making quilts about 3 years ago…this was only my third & fourth quilt.  Very basic and simple patchwork, one tacked with buttons, and the other tacked with embroidery floss.  These were made for two of my son’s children – the grandson’s on the left and the granddaughter’s on the right.ImageI don’t really like to sew clothing, but I can sew a straight line!! Therefore, I love sewing quilts or home decor items, such as pillows etc; But, as I said, rarely do they end of the way I thought they would in the beginning.

I have discovered this about myself: I like to “design as I go”.  A prime example of that is this quilt I am currently working on:  I’m calling this my “Jumbo Pinwheel” toddler quilt.  It began with the royal blue, pastel animal print fabric.  I designed the entire quilt around it.  What is even funnier – my original plan was for it to be a Chevron (zig zag) pattern.  I didn’t like how it was looking, so I changed it to the pinwheel block.  After trimming this block is still 18 X 18.  You will notice there are 9 of these blocks with hot pink, yellow and turquoise solids.  When I laid the pinwheel blocks out, I realized that my quilt was going to be square.  I don’t like square.  I wanted it to be a rectangle.  So, in order to lengthen it, but not widen it I decided to add the stripe fabric on the top and bottom as a border.

ImageBut, after I laid it out, I didn’t like the stripe at the top and bottom with all the pinwheels in the middle.  It just didn’t look right!  So, I decided to break up my pinwheels and put a row of stripe in between instead.  See what I mean about the thought process I go through?  When I first began quilting I used to draw my pattern out on graph paper – the way I wanted my blocks laid out etc;  Nada! No more!  I just wing it, using my floor as a design wall! LOL  It’s more exciting that way!  It’s kinda like opening a present at Christmas.  You don’t really know what you will end up with, until you pull all the packing/tissue etc; out and see what’s in the bottom of the bag or box.

I am also a real big fan of putting a “frame” around my blocks.  The orange fabric is called “sashing”.  2 years ago I didn’t know what sashing was or how to add it to a quilt.  Now, many of my quilts have sashing.  I have tons of fabric, so I just kept experimenting with different colors until I came up with one I liked.  (This is a very inexpensive hobby for me, really).  I go to estate sales, garage sales, resale shops, goodwill etc;  Often my fabric has been purchased off a clearance table at Hancock’s or off an auction on E-bay.  Then once it was all laid out – I thought – hmmmmm those pinwheel blocks would look cute with a button in the middle….ImageWhat do you think?

ImageBut I quickly changed my mind about the buttons…thinking “if this is going to be a toddler quilt, then buttons would be a choking hazard”…Needless to say the buttons were axed.

So now that my top is done….I need to decide what fabric I will use for the back.  It will probably be a solid color. (Maybe I’ll use a soft fleece or flannel??)  I also need to decide if I want to make a “scrappy” binding for the edges or if I want it to be just one color. I also have to decide how I will quilt it, or if I will just “tie/tack” it with some yarn, embroidery floss or what?  If I quilt it should I “stitch in the ditch”, one of my favorite methods or “outline quilt” it?   ImageYou may wonder why I’ve asked these questions or even found it necessary to post such an odd blog.  Are you creative?  Do you want to be?  Believe it or not, I am very much a beginner quilter.  I am a quick study, but everything I’ve learned in the last 3 years has been learned online.  If you are inspired to tackle your first quilt, or maybe some other creative endeavor – I would encourage you to do so.  It has been a very fun hobby for me.  I have signed up and viewed a class on “free motion” quilting on http://www.craftsy.com/classes?_ct=wberqbdql-sbqiiui  but, I’m not there yet!  Much left to learn.  I need lots of practice!!  

So, now you know the thought process I go through when I sit down to begin a new quilt.  In closing I will share a couple of pics of some other ones I made in hopes it will inspire you to tackle some creative endeavor you’ve been putting off for far too long.

ImageThis was sold on E-bay but I have enough fabric to make another one at some point.

ImageBed size  9 patch I made for my older brother, Jim.

Image“Square in a square” tutorial I watched online motivated me to make this quilt for my daughter, Theresa.  So, guess what I will be doing all day this Saturday?  Sewing!  I have several projects started that I really need to get finished before I begin another one.  That would be my biggest quirk when it comes to quilting.  I like to work on several projects at one time.  (I’ve read that this is a common trait among quilters).  If it’s an unusually large quilt, I will get bored while working on it and will have to switch to something else for awhile.

In closing…I hope I’ve inspired someone to begin a new project or finish one they’ve started.  

My Daughters Inspire Me to be a Better Human Being!!

As I wind down from a great Mother’s Day weekend I am filled with awe and wonder over the two wonderful & beautiful daughters that I have!  I am so blessed to call them mine and filled with gratitude over the realization that they have grown into such awesome women! As a mother you often pray and hope that you will have a positive impact on your children and the adults that they become. But, rarely do we think about the reverse.  Rarely, do we think of how they as adults might impact us as parents or the effect they may have on our lives.  More specifically, and in commemoration of Mother’s Day – how our grown daughters may effect us as mothers!

ImageTheresa, Linda, Tanya – July 4th, 2011

I became a mother for the first time in Oct. 1969 when I gave both to my son.  That means I’ve celebrated 44 Mother’s Days!!  Wow, how time flies when you are having fun!  It hasn’t always been sunshine and roses by no stretch of the imagination – but if anyone would have told me how wonderful it would be to be the mother to two grown daughters – I would have gotten here quicker!!  

Theresa is mother to 5 children. Tanya is step-mother of one.  They have both suffered disappointment and heartache but have come through it gracefully.  

Theresa is a fun-loving, gregarious, outgoing personality.  She lives her life to the fullest among many setbacks.  She is a single mother that works very hard to provide for her family.  She’s creative & talented and loves her kids! She inspires me to be more tolerant & understanding of those around me.  No matter what race or religion you are, Theresa will be your friend.

Tanya is a more reserved but a very kind & generous personality.  She prefers a more “private & quiet” existence with her Police officer, husband, Rob.  She has great business & money sense and loves to bless others with the fruit of her labor! Because of Tanya’s influence I have found myself being friendlier with the girl at the check out counter.  Tanya inspires me to be more kind and generous with those around me and to avoid keeping score.  No matter how little or much she has, she is always planting seed in the lives of others.

This weekend it just became so much more apparent to me of how blessed I am to have these two beautiful women in my life!  It is so much fun raising little ones, but when they are grown and I see all that they have become – I can’t help but be thankful for the way God has moved in their lives and blessed me, as their mother!

ImageTanya, 34, Theresa, 36 – 2014

Friday evening, Tanya drove in from Wichita Falls, TX to spend some mother/daughter time together.  She’s a Type A, hardworking lady who rarely takes time off as a Realtor. She took me for a manicure/pedicure shortly after arriving and then we met her sister at the Theater for a movie.  Theresa had already blessed me with some really cute sandals, a wooden cross she had made and a Daytimer to keep track of all my projects!  ImageAren’t they cute?  They are very comfortable, too!

ImageThe picture doesn’t really do justice to this beautiful cross that Theresa made me.  Maybe I should have it on a blank wall rather than this busy wallpaper?  But, this is my prayer closet – a place I thought was appropriate for it.

Naturally, and as expected, neither of my daughters would let me spend any money this weekend! I am so blessed!! Tanya knew that after taking care of grandsons as much as I have and feeling the pain of a 20 lb. weight gain over the last 3 years that I was needing some “retail therapy”.  So, Saturday we had a “girl day” of shopping.  It still amazes me at how frustrating it used to be (when Tanya was a teen) when we went shopping. We never liked the same thing and she was (and still is) so tiny that the clothing she wanted and that was age appropriate was too large for her petite frame.  In order for clothes to fit, she had to shop in the children’s department or have adult clothing altered. She would get so frustrated and I would get so tired of even trying to help her find something!  We didn’t shop well together at all!  Nowadays, we love to shop together and both always find something pretty and new!  What amazes us most is how often we will spot something and call attention to it, only to find out the other was looking at the very same item!  Our taste is clothing is very similar now.  I guess my tastes have gotten “younger” and hers have gotten more mature?  Not sure, but we sure have fun helping each other put outfits together and trying on clothes together.  

We took a break while hubby met us for lunch at Cracker Barrel.  He doesn’t like Cracker Barrel much – but it was “all about me” yesterday (Tanya made me promise)…but I compromised by using an Olive Garden gift card Tanya gave me to take him to his favorite eating establishment today after church.  

I am a grateful person.  Gratitude comes naturally to me. But, today I am especially grateful! I received 6 text messages this morning from different girlfriends wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.  I also received a beautiful (very private) letter from my hubby that brought tears to my eyes.  While at church, my sister-in-law gave me a beautiful card that had a very personal, sincere loving message written inside.  It also made me cry.  Then, just a little while ago after getting home from Olive Garden my step-granddaughter, Lani wrote a text that said, “Happy Mother’s Day! Thanks to you, you brought a beautiful lady in this world that takes care of my dad and loves me like her own.  I am so happy you are my family! Have a beautiful day, Maw Maw! I love you.”  Wow, what more could a mom, grandma want?

I am truly inspired by all this kindness and love to be the best human being I can be and to pay it forward as often as I can.  A more recent quote I read that I truly try to embrace says, “A rejected opportunity to give is a lost opportunity to receive”.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends! Inspire someone as my daughters have done me. It costs nothing and the rewards are immeasurable.

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