Monday, Why I love Mondays.

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MONDAY, MY FAVORITE DAY!!!

Monday is a day many dread.  It seems to some all falls onto their head on a Monday.  Being overwhelmed, the day can be unproductive, stressful, depressing, and it does not have to be this way.

About ten years ago I met a refreshing person whose name is Annemarie.  A perky blond whom looked like Meg Ryan.  I invited her to do something with me for the upcoming Monday and she said no, any day but Monday.  I asked her why not Monday.  She told me that was her day for herself.  She used Monday to get rest, to clean, do the laundry, to do gardening and lay in the sun.  I was so impressed that I have reserved Monday ever since.

A DAY OFF: If you have a choice in the matter.  If you can afford to work four days instead of five, why not take Monday off from your employment.  Many take Friday off by choice viewing it as a vacation day.  Yet, Monday may be an even better day to take off instead of Friday because it may be more fulfilling.  Everyone else in household is back to work and school.  Do not view your day as a day to Care Less or be carefree.  By carefully considering how you will spend your time on this special day, your life can take a change for the better.

Monday at home could mean an extra hour of needed sleep, getting in a relaxing walk, a trip to the library or museum by yourself, meeting a friend for lunch, doing your bills, or yard work.  For balance in my life, getting chores done in the form of a quick clean makes a difference for the whole week.  I do not mean a slave day, more like a day of time blocks adhered to.  Having attention deficit, time blocks help me to focus without the temptation to multitask.  If I multitask then my mind is unaccountable and takes flight.  The day is gone.  This can still happen to me when I feel weak due to health problems. Yet, I strive to do as much as I can on Monday because for me it is a sanity keeper.

A time block for extra rest like sleeping in an extra hour, and an hour break in the middle of the day.  A block for phone calls, A block for laundry which during that time while washing and drying are going on I can clean the bathrooms and or phone calls.  A Block for quick clean which is 12 minutes per room.  (my quick clean is ten minutes to do a quick pick up, gather what does not belong in the room including trash and set at doorway, wipe surfaces quickly, then timer goes off and I quickly sweep or vacuum. Then on to next room and set timer for ten minutes).  (The Slob Sisters have a great book about this and The Fly Lady, for years I read and reread. They helped me so much.  It seems so hard for me to read anymore books yet I will never forget that their programs are fantastic).  Then I run and put doorway items away as fast as possible.  Time for a break when all done.  A block for yard work or errands.  The blocks can be minutes long or a couple of hours long.  Use the timer.  If the timer goes off before your done then one must determine if another day of a few minutes will make a difference or if a few minutes now will make a big difference.  This is not the day to get caught up in trying to get each room done as a perfectionist would.  Each week of this activity will make a few weeks worth of efforts a visible accomplishment.

I like Monday because if I get my Monday work done, the whole week is much smoother.

What I like to do on Mondays.  First, I sleep in as long as I need to, with chronic health problems a lack of sleep contributes to my flare-ups.  Secondly, I start the laundry  and make my phone calls.  I do a deeper clean up in the kitchen.  Monday happens to be my deeper clean kitchen day.  While wash is going I clean my bathrooms.   A quick pick-up and sweep-up through the house remedies the mess the weekends create. I wash towels every Monday, and if possible I may get a jump ahead by doing them on Sunday night.

Setting up my schedule for the week on Sunday night helps me to know what phone calls are vital for me to make.  Doing my phone calls by 11:00a.m. really takes the pressure off the rest of the day.  Over the week, I pay attention to whose anniversary, graduation, or achievement has come about that I can on Sunday nights or Monday write out these cards and send them.  My husband seems to enjoy running errands, and I like being home on Monday.  Emotionally, I really like being home on Monday because life seems so busy on the weekends, the downtime to get things done is precious.  I rarely accept an invitation to leave my house on a Monday.  Hanging my clothes out to dry is another thing I have done for decades and I like to do if the weather permits.  Cooking a good meal and doing a little meal prep to make the next couple dinners for the week easier is important.  Eating a little lighter during the day helps me to maintain my focus and lessen the burden on my internals.  A walk or isometric exercises refreshes me.

At 1:30 pm. on Monday is a PBS station sewing show called Sew it All.   I like to stop and enjoy this show and put my legs up.  It is only a half hour and because I enjoy sewing it is a treat to watch.  On Wednesday, Sew Easy comes on, I will tape it to watch later.  If sewing or painting or something else is your interest, give yourself  a 90 minutes time block to work on a project, and then that evening your free to get back to it if you can.

Filling my Monday with practical efficient activities sets up my week  for greater productivity and less stress.  Whether it is every Monday or only a once a month Monday, having this day to catch up on domestics, relaxing activities, yard work, gardening, and phone calls makes for a better start to the week.  It also is important to avoid time wasters on this day.  Unless the errands are vital for the week to go smooth try to keep most of the day to yourself at home.  Beware of Time Wasters such as gabbing on the phone, texting, internet cruising, or television watching.  This day is a day for yourself to reset and restore.  With an extra hour of rest, getting a home in order, car cleaned, laundry done, gardening, essential phone calls and bill paying your investing in a more peaceful life.  The week and month will go smoother.  The evening of Monday is a good time to be refreshed by going to bed early for an extra hour of rest before resuming regular activities on Tuesday.  Monday’s never get me … .

 

 

 

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When a size Large is too small…

Five Things I can Do to reach my weight loss goal.

Doesn’t life seem that way sometimes?.. Everything is off, nothing seems to work right, and nothing fits.  Efforts seem futile, like today I was putting the onions in the ground to grown when I was done, I looked at my nice small shallow rows with the onions planted, when suddenly J.J. my Sylvester cat decides to jump in, lay there, pull and chew on them.  I urged him to leave the patch and he dug a hole as if that would be the perfect spot to do his evacuation.  I turned the hose on sprinkle mode and he left out of the area quite quickly.

I love the clothes in the Robert Redford line of Sundance.  His catalog features such beautiful clothes and goods, superior quality, and the price to match.  Sadly, I just cannot afford these wonderful items.  I came across one linen blouse, just gorgeous, and a size large.  Last year I wore a medium.  For less than $20.00, I received this lovely blouse.  You can imagine my feeling’s when I discovered it is just a tight fit, is it the companies fault?

Last week, I was attempting to try on a dress when my husband was standing there looking at me.  I said to him, “I am going to try this on…” trying to give him a hint it is a good time for him to move on to other rooms and activities.  He stood there, still, and then he said, “From the looks of it, it might be a tight fit!”.  I told him to just get on the move.  I put the dress on, and I could not button it.  Sadly, the stinker was right.

It is no fault of any clothing company, it is, just what it is, OBESITY.  How did I get here, and why.  When I was young, I was too skinny and I could not gain a pound.  Now, I patrol all I put in my mouth and it is an accruing situation.

At 215 pounds, it seems to be a losing battle, as I steadily gain.  Now, off the antibiotics, I feel I can lose some.  A friend said, “How do you go about losing 90 LBS?”.  My response, “How else, a pound at a time”.  She is sweet and very encouraging about anything I want to do.  She respects my needs for projects and is always interested.  So, losing this 90 lbs is my newest project.

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Filet, Sweet Potatoes, an Asperagus

What is a project without a plan?….How soon can I realistically achieve my goal?  What can I do today that is simple or small that will help me be equipped to reach the goal?

  1. Faith:  Have Faith and conviction that the idea, goal or project is worthy to accomplish. 
  2. Acknowledge:  Acknowledge the Healthy habits and routines that are already practiced as beneficial.  Feel Good about what we already have right!
  3. Implement:  When the most beneficial plan of action is decided upon, get to it.
  4. Tenaciousness:  A friend of mine whom is slender is very tenacious about her diet.  She is sensitive as to how different foods affect her.  She does not let social gatherings affect her feelings about the importance of sticking with her eating plan.  I am a person swayed too easily by my emotions.  I forget my diet if a lovely dessert appears in my mind.  It is time to pull out my “Instead Of:” list. (I previously wrote about the power of Instead Of)  Instead of the banana split, I will work on a painting.  Or take a walk .  Being Tenacious with our goal is protecting our investment of heart, effort, etc.  Aggressively seeing it thru to the finish is what is required to have a successful outcome in the shortest time possible.
  5. Hum:  People whom hum often times do so because of a happy tune or a happy heart.  Feel good about all the baby steps we stick to.  If, we think about how far we have to go, we may give up.  If we feel good about following our small achievements.  We will be successful in achieving our goals.

What goal do you want to achieve?

  1.  We need to write the goal at the top of a nice piece of cardstock.
  2. Break down three categories titled of types of actions needed to accomplish goal.  For example:  Weight loss of 90 lbs.  The four categories for this are 1: Diet, 2: Exercise, 3:  Weekly Positive affirmations,  4:  Attitude check and Progress.
  3. As I look at the first category, I will write down just three things I want to do for my diet, whether it is Lower my carbs to 25 per meal, or have two cups of vegetables each day, or have 350 calories for breakfast as well as lunch, then 450 calories for dinner with just 100 calories for a snack.  Be specific.  Whereas, the Exercise category may be cardio for 35 minutes every other day, with biometrics on the other days.  The Category of  Weekly Positive Affirmations are statements that give a person courage, truthful statements that are considered several times a day, whether a reminder put on cell phone or written on a paper or something included in prayer.  A positive weight loss affirmation for me is:  I do not need to be heavy to be strong, I do not need this fat as a protection.  I am strong and safe anytime.  (with Jehovah’s help).  or another is:  I like caring for myself with the best food possible. Each person knows their own insecurities.  One of mine was, If I was heavy, I would not have to deal with unwanted attention.  Turned out, even while heavy, I still get bothered.  A lot of people have this problem, either they bother others or they are getting bothered.  I am learning to put my hand up in a strong manner when I do not like what is coming my way.  This is difficult for me, but it is becoming my manner.  And the last category is Attitude Check and Progress.  Write down the weight each week, what is my attitude that week gone by, and what good thing I can say to myself to keep motivated.  If I gained three pounds, checking my attitude like:  I have been in the dumps so I ate cookies and skipped my workout all week. Then my new Affirmations will be born out of that.  Example:  After a healthy early dinner and walk, I am going to the bookstore and checking in the bargain section for a craft book.  Or, I am going to arrange to meet a couple of friends to go on a walk with me on some local trails.  Affirmation: I am not waiting for good to happen in my life, I am inviting happy activities into my life each day.

It is time to practice FAITH in our daily life.  We must keep having Faith and Conviction in the beneficial outcome of our project.  We have to Acknowledge the good things we already do right,

in order to have a healthy mind frame.  Implementing our plan of action gives us the power and action through habits and routines. After we come up with our plan of action we must keep it visible in order to implement our new plan.   The Tenacity we exercise because we see how worthy our goal is, we must be Tenacious in sticking to our plan of action.  We can Hum because we know we are right now fulfilling our goal.

 

 

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Live now! Do not wait to LIVE your life.

Does time pass you by?  Life’s responsibilities keep us busy enough.  Yet, a sneaky thief may be invading your life.  It steals valuable time that could be used for more rewarding activities.

Consider these ten rewarding activities, then find out the thief you may be mindlessly aiding.

1. Productivity:  Productivity requires time set aside to reach goals. Using our time wisely gives us the reward of something tangible.

2. PERSONAL ORGANIZATION:  order of our enviroment, finances, and diet require good habits that are routine.  Instead of seeking fulfillment from shallow pursuits which take money an time.  Using our time wisely to get things done causes us to feel more accomplished.  When our enviroment is organized an less cluttered we are free to be creative. 

3.  Exercize:  making time for a daily walk or going for an exercize class a few times a week is very satisfying. This investment pays off in a few ways including the possibility of staving off weightgain, controlling our blood sugar levels, and having our clothes fit better.  A workout three times a week can help us maintain.  A workout 4-6 times a week can help us to lose weight with a sensible diet.  

4.  Food we take in:  Well planned meals can give us energy, save money, and improve our health. The other day I saw my thin friend eating a salad while she was sitting in her car waiting on someone.  I was impressed by her forethought. Another friend whom is losing weight packs a little cooler an takes it everywhere, when we meet at the donut shop she is snacking from her pack.  

5.  LIMITS:   People feel so threatened by LIMITS which are boundaries. Limits can be a protection.  Excess of anything can be costly.

6.  Social Activities:  Making time to do something with your mate or children is essential for healthy bonds.  Inviting aquaintences, extended family members, etc., to go to the zoo or museum can build lasting relationships.

7.  Take time for yourself to replenish:  Daily Bible reading and prayer have done much to empower a person to make healthier choices in their life.

8.  Plan Ahead:  By having a yearly, quarterly, bi-monthly, monthly, and weekly goal plan can help make life more rewarding.  Including areas just discussed in this article in your plan can change your life.

9. Living your Dream:  What have you dreamed of being or doing?  Whether it is learning carpentry skills, educating yourself about photography, learning to do great sauces and gravies from scratch. It is important to view these as relaxing activities so they will no longer be put off to imagined better circumstances that may never come.  I did not know I would be in a car accident that would make it so I could never play golf. I sent my children for Golf lessons, I should have been getting them too. You may be waiting to write that book or take the cooking class or joing the crochet-knitting group at the senior citizen group.  

10.  Sleep:  Try to get some sleep on a schedule.  Consider your natural circadian clock.  Are your activities circumventing your natural rhythm?

The thief revealed:  Time, how you spend it.  Do you imagine your relaxing is coming home to watch the television?  Playing games on your pad or cruising the net for a couple hours.  Messaging is the greatest interupter.  I saw a person having a nice run whom stopped to check a message.  If we are cleaning the garage or doing housework, writing, cooking, exercizing, crafting, doing personal bible reading, or enjoying social activities we are rewarded by protecting our focus.  More people complain of problems focusing which interpheres with accomplishment and satisfaction.  Electronics have their purpose, yet, without limits can bring our lives to ruin.  We overspend, we have no time to exercize, eating less mindfully, looking at our phones during a fine meal provoking jealousy, our domestics are harder to manage, and taking time to learn a craft or hobby becomes a distant thought.  Do not let an aid become a thief in your life.  See what adjustments may improve your life.

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June is running by ….July approaches …

June is running by, and half the year is now behind us.  What do we still have to do?  Is there anything we wanted to accomplish this year?

It is a good time to refer back to our Goal List for the year.  Three areas I like to consider

  1.  Health and Fitness Goals.
  2. Relationships
  3. Domestic

1.  Health and Fitness Goals:  Let us expound on the most typical goal for the year, Health and Fitness.  Each year we get older and even young people are experiencing health problems.  We will not even discuss the newfound issues with healthcare and insurance costs.  The high monthly costs of mandatory insurance is causing many to avoid visits to the doctor because of high copays and deductibles.  If there was not a good enough basis for a healthy diet and regular exercise, there is more motivation now.

We have one body, and our health we must seek to protect it.   Wise choices, no extremes are necessary.  Fruits and vegetables never go out of fashion and are readily available in most markets.  It only takes moments to use a regular blender to make a nutritious cool drink.  Would you like to know my recipe for a quick tasty fruit smoothie?

One I have been using for literally decades is, I will call it:

Fruit Frapp by Gina @  fatfitanfab.com

one serving recipe:              6 oz orange juice, (not from concentrate), or 6 oz of water. a banana, a peeled apple, and one cup of frozen berries.  Put in the blender, put on for 40 seconds to a minute an a half.    If you do not want to use a bannana, you can substitute a cup of fresh-cut papaya.

The banana or papaya give the drink a smoothness like a shake.  The frozen fruits may have raspberries in which do have seeds.  They remain like seeds. I just swallow them.  If a person has digestive issues like diverticulitis the seeds may bother them so you may choose just a strawberry/blueberry mix.

Be careful if you have diabetes or blood sugar problems.  Only you know if you can have citrus, some medications are a problem.  As I am not a doctor or nutritionist, I am only sharing a recipe which helps me to get my vitamin C, other vitamins, and natural fiber.

I like to make vegetable smoothies in the late afternoon before I start making dinner, that I can sip which can get the edge off hunger and be quite satisfying.  My cardiologist did recommend simply having a V8 each day.  I do not have a great tasting vegtable smoothie that is quick to make.  I do like spinach, a clove of garlic, a handful of fresh parsley, two carrots, and a celery stalk with the leaves.  I do use a pinch of salt because I naturally have low blood pressure.  Then I blend in my regular blender.

Responsible self-care involves regular exercise.  With all the responsibilities people have in their life it can be a real challenge to cull out the time to take a walk, or take a bike ride, or use an exercize machine.  Yet, it is relaxing, destressing, and exhilarating.  Not only can it help us to maintain our weight, it can help prevent us from gaining more weight if that is our objective.  If our objective is to lose weight, than exercising daily with a plan can help us reach our goals.  I had ankle surgery on my right ankle in the beginning of February.  It all seems so slow to heal.  Both ankles have each had two surgeries.  As much as I want to take off and go for a run, or go for a walk it is just not reasonable at this point.  I purchased a bike and I have been striving to go for a ride a few times a week.  The heat is unbearable for daily rides and I am unfit.  Should I call myself unfit?  Maybe that is harsh to label myself as unfit since I do regularly do daily stretching and isometric exercises in my home.  OK, I will accept the congrats! for maintaining my regular stretching and isometric exercize program for decades.  The exercizes I do help me to deal with chronic pain associated with lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis.  I have a lot of muscle spasms and nerve pain.  The exercize helps me to feel that I am taking responsibility for what I can control.  The exercize benefits me also because I like to have a scoop of ice cream, and I have diabetes, therefore, exercize keeps the sugar manageable.

Each health situation is different, but so many suffer.  If we take some time to consider our own situation, and start right away to manage our health before more serious problems develop.  Not only can we keep our healthcare costs down, we may feel better.

2.  Relationships:  Relationships affect our peace of mind.  The relationship we have with our creator, with ourself, with our loved ones and if we are employed than we have our social relationships.  Can we improve all these relationships?

The relationship a person has with their creator can affect how they also feel about themselves and how they live their life and the consequences etc.  I have no more to say on that subject.  It is worth considering privately.

The relationship we have with ourself is very complicated indeed.  So much of how we feel about our-self is deeply rooted from our conception, our upbringing, the family situation, the make up of the family dynamics.  Some come from secure family situations, that is very rare these days.  Some of us are very wounded from broken homes, lack of security, an absent parent, and some experience abuse.  All these factors shape us.  Yet, we do not have to be defined permanently by any of these situations.

Earning a healthy esteem is a very valid concept that I have lived by for decades.  We may remain sensitive or fragile.  Yet, I think of a flower that appears to be fragile, sure, someone may be cruel and pull some petals off.  If the flower is left alone, it can even go thru a thunderstorm with high winds and still remain beautiful.  Someone may pull our petals off, but we must remain rooted in what we know and what we can do.  We can bloom again and if necessary, we can be the seed that blows in the wind, and be rooted elsewhere.  The sun, the rain, will come again.  A positive attitude and hope are fortifying.

When I went thru some health dilemmas this last year, the effect had a stifling effect on me.  I felt incapable and unable.  I quit writing, painting, making bread, and sewing became a rarity.  Cleaning the bathroom mirror I wondered if it was done right.  No one was doing this to me, and I cannot blame anyone.  The doctor whom helps me with my life management skills regarding my attention deficit, he helped me to realize that something was rooted in my youth.  He said, “OK, you do not want to blame anyone, you do not want to blame it on something in your youth, mistreatment you endured.  Yet, you do acknowledge you were not in ideal circumstances to grow a healthy esteem, you did not feel safe, and your accomplishments were met with disfavor by those whom should have been proud of you.  If you can accept this, you can move on.  You can find a new way to respond to your accomplishments.”  Of course, I did not have a tape recorder and it may not be a perfect word for word account.  That was the basic jist of it.

To get thru all of this, I kept the habit of making my Master List for the month and the week.  I referred to them often.  A book from the Library on Productivity that I referred to in one of my previous published articles suggested that when I make my TO DO List that I leave room between each to put a couple of actions that are logically needed to accomplish the task.  This really helped me to get more done.  Feel Good Feeling!  My friend Mattie has an infectious cheer about her and giggle.  She is all about giving yourself a cheer when you complete something.  I am trying it, and it feels good.  My husband John likes to stand back and look at what he has done, you can see his pride well up even with the smallest of accomplishments.  I use to look at him in wonder when I would walk up and find him doing so, in fact, because I did not understand it, I thought it was downright silly and it made me a bit uncomfortable.  Over the years, I have slowly come to understand this gift.

Did you know that at the end of each day of creation, our Great Creator would say “It is Good!”.  We are made in his image.  So if we know we worked hard, and we did our best, I believe it is healthy to feel “it is good”!   My relationship with myself is greatly improved, and I am sewing again.  If we can possibly have a healthy esteem, we can then be healthy to be in a relationship with.  Our relationship with our mate, family, children, and work mates can be healthier if we are more positive to be around.  By having a healthier diet and exercise program, a healthy attitude, we can have healthier expectations of others too.  Nurture those relationships respectfully.  Each person is subject to the law, and each person is protected by the law.  If that is remembered, then abuse would be uncommon.

Last night I saw true love.  A couple with their toddler entered the diner  where we were enjoying a meal.  The man was lovingly affectionate and obviously proud of his lady and the child.  He was quite handsome.  She was quite obese and unkempt.  It likely had been a hard day for her.  Yet, this man loved this woman, and she knew it.  I was greatly touched.

3.  Domestic, no I am not talking about domestic beer.  It is where we live, what we drive, and where we spend our time, and how we manage it all.  Half the year is gone, there is some warm weather maintenance we can do on our home, car, and property.  Have you made your punch list?  I want to get into the car and do some deep cleaning, and it is not just because I turned a to-go container of spaghetti upside down in the back seat of the car yesterday.  I was already planning on a thorough detail clean of the interior of the car, now it just seems more immediate to do.  Thankfully, my caring husband got the spaghetti spill cleaned up, but I do feel I need to do that thorough cleaning in the next day or so.  Light colored car, little spots could be anywhere.  This time of year is a great time to clean the garage, and have a garage sale or donate your goods.  Fix your bicycles and use them.  Plan a trip to the zoo, or keep cool in a museum, visit family, or go away for a long weekend.

John got some weatherstripping done on all the doors last week.  Our lovely old yellow cat, PUFF, has already scratched up the new weatherstrip on the front door.  I am going to do a smelly hairspray on the lower door frames after I rub a little essential oils on the weatherstrip.  We still need to get some exterior painting done.  There is a list.  I am eager to get the windows clean.  As I am zeroing in on a room at a time with the deep cleaning,  the last thing I do in the room, the final touch is cleaning all the glass, which includes the windows.  Doesn’t it make everything look good.?

Attention to these three areas can give pretty quick improvement in many areas of our life. We can already feel better about this year and all we hoped to achieve.  We live in a very demanding and often insecure world.  Gently, yet, effectivly gaining more control over our health, relationships, and domestic situation can give us a sense of accomplishment resulting in a healthier esteem.  June may be gone by,…we still have a half year to fulfill our goals.

 

 

 

 

 

Challenge, Make life more rewarding An get a new ATTITUDE

Take a moment and look in the dictionary, like I looked in the Merriam-Webster, The word, Challenge.  I just never thought of all the definitions for this one word.

Challenge, such as, prove your point. Or, As in a dual, or other forms of defending yourself or a cause, or a decision.

I like the application they made in their dictionary on-line that helps make the point of my article.  I have my article lined up and I love to look up a word occasionally.  To use the dictionary reaffirms what I believe it to mean, or it rounds out the meaning of the word and all the uses and applications, thus making it so I can be completely confident.  Can you make use of the dictionary more often?

The application that the Merriam-Webster on-line dictionary said ” It’s a game that will challenge a child’s imagination.” , and the second was “The work doesn’t challenge him anymore, and he’s often bored.”

In life, there are times that a person goes through the motions of living almost habitually.  Almost with dread approaching the same routine, and stagnation has set in.  Where is the optimism and joy?  Motivation, what is motivation?  As a person commented on my blog, they feel they hesitate too much and too long before attending to something.  I will have to talk about that later, as I am often guilty of the same.  Missed opportunities is all I will say about that at the moment.

Motivation, look it up in the dictionary please!  When life is not stimulating and your caught up in the same old worries and pressures it is time for a challenge.

When we were children, remember when we would do the Library Summer Reading Program?  We had to read so many books during the summer and that was the challenge, not only did it keep us out of our parents hair, it was truly beneficial.  It kept us busy and hopefully out of trouble as our minds were lost in the plot of the story.  We worked at reading our books and we were proud of ourselves as we achieved and fulfilled the challenge.  Challenges can be healthful and enjoyable.

Think of things that you previously enjoyed and let go of because of the responsibilities in life.   Years just continue going by.  Is there something you have been interested in and just have not pursued?  Here is a brief list:  gardening, painting, reading, spiritual interests, exercise, dance, education, golfing, community events, operas, orchestras and live bands.  There is also crocheting, knitting, writing, woodwork, weightloss, personal organization, improving your finances, container gardening, visiting museums, bowling, spring cleaning, better posture, remodeling, cleaning the basement, attic or garage.  There are life changing challenges such as improving your image, updating your appearance, improving your marriage, enjoying your family life.  The list goes on and on, and maybe you can make yourself a list.

Have a wall calendar or a personal calendar just for your challenges and keeping track of yourself.

Steps to successful challenges.

1.  Time period for your challenge must be established.  Will it be a 14 day, 30 day, six week, eight week or a 90 day challenge?  What day or evening each week can you devote to achieving your challenge?  If it is a physical fitness goal, is there three to five days a week you can devote to this new routine?  Once the time period and days are established then what can you do to feel the rewards of working on your new challenge?

2.  Preparation, if you want to get in shape but you have been putting off getting the membership, get signed up.  If you want to paint, then set up a corner or room with all your supplies.  If you need supplies you can contact the local senior citizens center in your area and sometimes supplies are left there by ones that are no longer interested and they may give them to you, and they may let you join them for the classes to get you going with your artwork.  Put things in motion now.  Get out all your supplies, go buy what you need, and set a time aside for when you can work on it.  My friend Diana, she has special needs children she adopted, and on Tuesday, one day she is alone at home, she paints pictures, it is relaxing and satisfying for her.  I am proud of her for doing this, it is a sanity keeper.

If you cannot afford supplies, check craigslist, or post in the wanted section what you are looking for.  Please,’ hoarders’, do not bother, leave it for those truly interested in doing something with now.  Did I step on your toes, I am sorry, I do not want to add to your accumulation.  You can check the wanted section and if someone has a need and you have in your stash what will help them, then generosity is rewarding in itself to  share.

If gardening is your interest, dig up some pots and fill up with new gardeners soil and plant some seeds.  It takes a couple months to get some good size plants to put in your garden.  PBS has some great gardening shows, and the Gardening section at the library has a lot of books on gardening.  Whether it is flowers or vegetables, get them started.  I bought some bulbs a couple months ago at Walmart and I wanted a monochromatic garden.  A four foot by 12′ section of Johnson grass and weeds were an eyesore and we have planted and deweeded there for years.  If you know anything about Johnson grass, it grow deep, it is nearly impossible to get rid of.  My husband tilled deep and we believe we got most of it out.  Several days of raking and hoeing to be sure.  The bulbs come in a variety of heights  from some being 8″ up to others being 42″.  I wanted the rear 2′ x 12′ to be a light pink monochromatic but the front two to be pastels including the same hue of pink with all the other colors.

3.  Purchase a magazine or book of your interest.  Then make your challenge.

One obvious challenge was The Skirt a Day Sewing book by Nicole Smith.  A couple years ago when I was in the hospital for five days having surgery and facing more threatening surgery, my husband kindly went and bought this book for me.  I read it cover to cover and it kept my head out of my depressing and distressing circumstances.  Endorphin Therapy, I love it.  I have yet to do the 28 skirts and I have reread her book a couple times.  A delightful light read, very instructive.  In fact I contacted her on her webpage once and she replied and was so very helpful about a fitting problem I deal with when making skirts and pants.  When I get some of these other projects done, I look forward to doing this challenge.  I am a bit of a slow worker likely I would have to give myself six weeks to do this challenge.  Of course this is an example of a challenge.

The most recent challenge I was involved with was with my Friend Mattie, she is a great sewer and I love to sew.  We picked a pattern she had and being that we had a convention we were going to see each other at in a couple weeks we decided to make the outfit for the convention.  She did an amazing job on hers and she looked very elegant with her lovely brown skirt and Jacket.  I did not have the same pattern so I used a blouse pattern and modified it.  The Jacket had the front angled from the center at the bottom to your left upper chest with the buttons going up at the angle.  Having a lot of fitting issues and having to draft up my pattern, for instance, I have very small narrow shoulders, therefore, I had to take four inches, yes, four inches off the shoulders and make the armhole adjustment.  It was such an exciting project.  My biggest challenge was my sewing machines broke down.  My daughter-in-law Lindsea is so kindly letting me use her machine for a bit, I received it the other night.  Mattie and I attended this large convention we attend three times a year every year and she had on her new outfit with a cute little hat.  I had on my jacket and the color was spice, and the texture not quite tencel or suede.  And although I did not get to make the skirt in time,  the jacket matched a skirt I had very well.  We both received a lot of complements and the challenge was rewarding.  As sewing buddies, we have this two week challenge to just clean up our sewing rooms and finish a couple of projects and get them out of the way.  She gets to decide on our next challenge.  I cannot wait.

The cookbook challenge, take a cookbook you own and scan the chapters or sections.  Pick a section and work it for the month.  Such as one chapter a month.  Or, let this be Sauces Month.  Learn how to make alfredo, and gravies, etc.  Or do a crock pot recipe once a week.

I make notes in my books and magazines when I accomplish the project and I put the date on it too.

A magazine on woodworking, you can do the project.  Make notes, and show time spent on each step.  Make the notes in the magazine and take pictures.

Some want to make Bible reading their challenge or goal, yet it can be daunting.  Keep it inspiring especially if you have not been successful with daily reading in the past.  Would you want to break it down into Bible characters and read the chapters regarding them, Like the book of Ruth, or about Abraham, then do that and really think about what you are reading and how some of their qualities can enrich your life.  Or, Would you want to read the gospels?  I love to read the book of Psalm and the book of Proverbs.  It is not about how many chapters you read each day, it is just that you devote time each day to prayerfully do it.  I love the Imitate Their Faith series and book on jw.org .

Make a list of your interests, masterlist and a timeframe.  A lot of our cellphones have reminders, and to-do lists where we can enter information to help us stay on track with our goals and challenges.  Make use of them.

4.   Have a buddy or an interest group that you are involved with regarding your interest.  It will keep you going and encouraged.

Time is difficult to manage especially with the obligations people face.  Some people come home and fall on the couch and turn on the television or computer for some mindless activites that fein relaxation.  It is ok, but the reward is to trade up the time for more personal achievements.  Now you will no longer be stagnating and you will have something to look forward to.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Low Carb Dieting, is it for me?

Diets, there are pros and cons to any diet I have ever heard about.  When it comes to a diet, find one similar to your eating style.  That is the kind that is most successful, one that you can do.  Having a family, and all of them are slender, I have to think of this.  They do not have to diet or suffer because I have to diet.

About twelve years ago I lost 20 lbs very swiftly doing the Atkins diet.  The boost to my motivation was great.  Up to then I would lose two or three and gain one or two.  It was a long time battle, I felt like a car trying to go with no tires.  Then I did the Atkins.  After losing the 20 lbs, then I continued with eat anything I wanted but small portions and I lost another 15 in a few months.  Maintaining this until I was put on another medication that made me heavy again.  This is what I have to contend with, and it is worth trying to get back down.  It is so sad when people give up and give in.  It is very easy to give up and give in.  Especially if you have friends that say, “Your older now, just accept your situation and get rid of your smaller clothes”.  I listened once, and my clothes, all being Newport News and Spiegal at the time, I regret I listened.  Because I will always get smaller, get bigger, and get smaller.  My tastes do not change and my clothes are very nice.  I no longer can afford those kinds of clothes, but my clothes I buy online, new with great deals and I like them.

My husband John really healed my heart and boosted my motivation last night.  He told me about when I was thin in a particular dress, my vintage Bill Blass dress, it is a very fitted size 8.  I loved wearing the dress.  It surprised me that he remembered me wearing the dress.  He said he looks forward to me wearing it again.  Then he reminded me of our trip to Chicago in 2004 when we stayed at the Drake hotel and we went on a dinner/dance cruise boat for the evening.  He told me last night how beautiful I looked to him then.  He still thinks I am beautiful, he just would enjoy seeing me be thin again.  My husband is not one to reminense or to make comments about things.  I wish I had known then how he felt.  Knowing how he felt makes me smile and I feel it is worth all the effort to lose again.  I was 138 lbs then.  At the time, I was still trying to lose to get to my 125 lb goal.  The 125 lb is what a diabetic specialist suggested I weigh too.  At 23 I was only 107 lbs, and I did not like that, and try as I might, I couldn’t gain a pound.  How things change.

I maintained 165 for a few years eating what I wanted, it was still heavier than my little bones needed, but just maintaining was nice.  This last couple years, being on steroids and antibiotics for periods of time, recovering from surgery, bed rest with elevated foot for six months and more surgery, intravenous antibiotics, and topical steroids with more antibiotics.  I reached an all time high of 208 lbs.  How shocking when I look in the mirror, how uncomfortable physically.  When I couldn’t fit into my largest of clothes, and do not want to buy more, I decided to go back to my Atkins to kick start my loss.

A couple weeks ago I did the Atkins for about five days.  Dieting for a week altogether, I lost ten pounds.  What I like is that I can have two dove dark chocolate squares without ruining my ketosis.  Being in ketosis is very warming to me.  I strive to drink a lot of water while doing a low carb plan.  Washing my kidneys with plenty of water and just being well hydrated is good for the urinary tract.

This is day one of my Atkins.  Breakfast was great.  A small dish of Plain Greek yogurt with a teaspoon of cinnamon mixed in, then a vegetable omelet with a piece of salami chopped into it, with feta cheese on top, and a cup of coffee with cream.  It has been a couple hours and I am still feeling very satisfied.  I am thinking about getting some nuts to snack on.

I am just trying to make the load a little lighter, so I can feel better and fit into my clothes.  That is my dietary goal for this week.  Putting the jelly beans away.

I ate a doughnut and it was Fabulous.

Today, we stopped by a small doughnut shop.  What can a person expect when walking into a doughnut shop?  Temptation everywhere, right?!  No temptation, I already decided I would have ONE doughnut.  It was wonderful.

Saving up my sugars, I can have an occasional dessert.  How do I save up my sugars?  I have coffee with half & half, but no sugar.  I do not add sugar to anything and I do not do sugar substitutes.  When I make cookies, I make my own flour mix of unbleached all purpose flour, coconut flour, and barley flour. ( The barley flour I make myself by pouring a box of flour in the blender and pulverizing it until it looks like flour, it takes less than a minute.)  I use only 3/4 of the sugar in the recipe, and I add an extra egg.  This is not a recipe though, it is just how I can eat cookies that taste like cookies.   The substitutes cause me to feel I am doing all in my power to make healthy choices.  This way, when I really want something I can be sensible and enjoy it without guilt.

Let us continue talking about saving up my sugars.  When I make up some oatmeal, I use extra cinnamon straight with no sugar, and walnuts, and butter.  I drink tea without sugar.  The other day, I did have a dr. pepper when I was not feeling good, and it did help me feel better.  Usually, I do not have sugared beverages.  It all can add up to an increased waistline.  Perfection is not my thing, just reasonable in the circumstances I am in at the time.  At a wedding I will have a piece of cake.  One is enough.

Being a diabetic I strive to have good blood sugar levels and thus an A1C reading that reflects my hard work.  Exercise is critical whether it is taking a walk, or doing floor exercises, riding a stationary bike, or just raising the legs up while in a chair.  Safety first when doing exercises, everyone has their own unique situation.  I strive to start some form of exercise soon after having a dessert or higher carb meal.

I have an area set up in my home for exercise, I call it my Diabetic Control Center.  A ballet bar to keep me steady while I do some stretches or legwork my physical therapist instructed me in.  Light weights for my arms and shoulders.  Bands to help with stretching.  And a large mirror, which helps me to monitor correct posture and form.  It is a very cheerful area, there is no intimidation here.

Later, in the afternoon my youngest son, Brent, age 20 came in with a box containing a few doughnuts.  My husband reached in and got a doughnut to enjoy.  I already had my doughnut and therefore, I turned it down.  Being content, I just did not want any.  Was I tempted?  Yes, for a moment, then I remembered, if I eat a doughnut, I will have a doughnut around my middle.  No thank you.