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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.

 

 

 

 

 

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What about August?

July quickly swam by, in the extreme heat of this month all planned for was likely a challenge to fulfill.  Now we have August quickly approaching us.  August represents a putting away and a start for me.

As we are still enjoying our summer attire, the stores are presenting us with Fall Fashions.  We look with great anticipation at those cool colors, and some are already opening their wallets for these purchases.  Hold On!  Pause….

It is almost August, and there is five months to enjoy before the new year.  August has 31 days, five Saturdays, and five Sundays.  What can this mean for you?

Not only is fall fashion a concern, most children start back to school, and it is a great month to get some extra fun in,  some extra life maintenance work done too.

To help the children focus on the new school year, we might consider our children’s changing needs.  Maybe their tastes have changed, maybe the décor of two years ago feels a little silly for them now.  Of course I am not a big advocate of spending money unnecessarily.   It is not necessary to buy new furniture unless you feel that there is.  A deep clean and a coat of paint may be enough, yet, teddy bear comforters may be old hat for the fourth grader.   There are a few things that can and possibly should be done on one of these August weekends.

Talk to the child about their room, how do they feel about their room.  Although children can be big dreamers about things they would like, if we can accommodate without great expense of time and money why not. Yet,  laying the criteria out there is essential, you do not want open ended negotiations with children.  By giving children authority, it sets unrealistic expectations for them of what and how the real world will respond to their wants and desires.  We want them to be happy and it is important to let them be part of the decision making process.  Also, it takes a work plan, it means this is not being done for them, it is being done with them.

With an limitless criteria, a child could end up with a black bedroom, flashing lights, and glowing electronic gadgets providing most of the light.  A black bedroom can put your child in a state of gloom and doom.  If the child is already in the state of gloom and doom feeding into this is not responsible parenting.  When my son had his windows covered with heavy black drapes, and his room black and dark, it was truly considered his cave.  It did not take long to see he was now in a deep depression.  Not easy to pull a teenager out of that.  It is important to remember whom owns the house and pays the bills and is the responsible party before law.  A parent still makes the rules or sets the guidelines for an offered activity.

I would say to one of my boys, which color do you like and if it were a light color, what would you choose?  Our preferences do not matter.  It is good to check out the psychology of color, like pale blue can put some in a blue sad mood.  There is what I call “institution blue” or green which in the 70’s and 80’s  was a common color used in some hospitals, prisons, schools, institutions, for the purpose of keeping people calm.  Of course if you have a manic child you may choose for them to put the color in their room, but by having silver accents and silver picture frames it can keep it optimistic.  A red throw pillow can keep it inspiring.  If painting a room is something you are considering, take said child to hardware store and have them pick out a strip that shows the color they like with a couple compatible colors on the strip so if you decide to buy a comforter and new curtains, using the strip as your guide may prove effective.

If your life is already overwhelmed and complicated, then I would not broach the subject with the children, I would just say, Saturday we are moving all the furniture to the middle of the room, and while your sheets and curtains are in the wash, we are going to wash your windows, woodwork, walls, and furniture.  Then, if possible we will rearrange your room, take out some pieces that are no longer age appropriate, and reassess what your needs are so we can keep our eyes open for some special deals out there.  This teaches children to take part in clean up efforts that the world is not going to do this for them.  A three year old can wash base boards. Cleaning together is a great opportunity to ask them how they feel about their new school year.  What are they looking forward to?  What are they worried about?  What are they excited about learning?  Is it Math and Science?  How about a trip to the Zoo?  Is it a teenager going to take a home ec and sewing class?  Do you have a machine you can pull out of the basement and let them practice on it?  Cleaning together is a great opportunity to find out what weighs their hearts down and what is going on in their young worlds.  Their lives are more serious than ours were.

August is a great time to find summer comforters on sale, a famous weekend with great sales is coming up.  There is no better décor than a clean one.  If the budget is already stressed because of school expenses, than the clean up and organization is a great start.  Never forget, a yard sale is a great way to clear out some household congestion, and attain a few dollars to help with some of these needs.  You can always mention to family members and friends what some needs are.  You would be surprised how family likes to pitch in and help for a true need.  They may have something you could use.  Once, friends of mine Rochelle and her Aunt, neither having children of their own, were very loving to my children.  They came over and took a look at the boys bedrooms.  I will never forget how they surprised my three young sons and I.  They purchased all this great top of the line character bedding, sheets, comforters, curtains, and new pillows.  Wow, this was such a boost to my boys and it was a boost for me too a single mom seeing my children be loved like that.  My friends were very thoughtful and generous.  When I looked at all we were throwing away I was so shocked at how drab and worn out it all was.  Life was so stressed and complicated, how did one of their needs go by me unnoticed.  I was so happy that they exercised such love and care.  The boys started the new school year beaming.

We still have five months to get in shape before the new year.  Why not start walking today?  Or doing bicep curls with four pound weights every other day with a few squats.  Any physical activity done regularly is beneficial.  I meet people all the time that are in shape, they do not dream about getting in shape.  They work out now, and it is part of their life.  I appreciate the good examples, keep it up!

Right now, I am not even going to expound on the Runners World magazine cover.  You look at it and you will see why I am very pleased.  I feel like going out and getting a copy.  I will be expounding on it this week.

Why shouldn’t you just run out and buy new fall clothes?  First, start going through the clothes you have.  Do they still fit you?  Are they the same fit as last year, tighter, looser, why would that matter?  If the clothes are tighter, start walking now so you can fit in them in eight weeks or so.  Then you can celebrate with a small addition to your wardrobe.  If your clothes are looser and you needed to lose those inches or pounds, then Good Job!  And only you know your budget.  As we do laundry we need to look at items as we fold them, how do they fit, what condition are they in, will they truly be suitable for next year?  Why mindlessly stick back in the drawers.  Repair, replace or just toss.  By setting a dept store bag in the laundry room it is easy to put a couple items in for local donations.

We also want to keep in mind our budget, there are always more expenses as the winter rolls in. Higher power bills and heating costs will be here quick.  We want to keep the room in our budget because as there is planned activities in the winter season, there is always the unexpected expenses.   Our heating system, if we did not get it serviced then if it should have a problem, do we have the money to get it fixed.  Our car, getting it serviced.  We may want to invest in those new tires we have been needing, Winter is hard on our cars.  Our home may need some winterizing.  Weather strips are not the only things to check, we may need new filters for our hv/ac system, we may need to caulk windows, etc.  Do a general checklist of household maintenance you want to achieve before the end of September.  Start looking for the wood for your fireplace, you may need it.

The budget is something to seriously consider, how did the last year affect you the beginning of this year?  Are there debts you are only now paying down?  Talk to family about the expectations, maybe the needs and wants are a little extreme when compared to the household financial demands.  Can some of these things be saved up for?  It is great to finish the year in better condition than when it started.

If we give in to every media manufactured need and want, then our children or mates can develop a materially generated greed that is unrealistic.  This can put stress on their relationships as they grow into adults.  Whom has the right to expect such things from another?  Love and happiness are free.  Time spent together is the most valuable of gifts.

August, August, how busy you are.  Thank you for the extra weekend that I can spend doing something productive with my loved ones.  August is not the end, it is still a byway which I can use to get a few things refreshed to make the next few months easier.  August, known for it’s heat and some consider it the end to a favored season.  I appreciate August as an opportunity to still enjoy summers heat, and enjoy times at local zoos and museums.