Surround Yourself with People Who Appreciate You

Surround Yourself with People Who Appreciate You

Finding myself this year has been quite a journey and an eye opening experience.

The last 7 months have been, thankfully, uneventful.

I have simply followed my heart.  These are things in my heart:  my faith, my family, my health.  And in my heart, is also my life exactly as it is:  my love of reading and writing and history and politics.  My interest in health and healthcare. My joy in teaching.  My desire for fairness, honesty, and loyalty.

It seems that if I was on a journey to find myself and a “new” life that I am pleasantly surprised to find that I was not lost–that my old life is my new life–as life continues to evolve all on its own.

What I have found surprising, at times, over the last few months is how others around me that do not hold my values have not fallen away from my life. In fact, while I have become healthier, happier, at peace and have enjoyed myself–others have expressed disdain, criticism and shock at my calm.

That is the most interesting thing about this journey–I have been able to easily find the fake friends around me.

Here is how to identify the 4 kinds of fake friends and the lessons to learn from them:

The Gossiper.  This is the friend that you cannot trust with a secret.  They will promptly find some willing ears to hear your secret, but will also embellish any story to meet her needs–and to increase her credibility over yours.

The lesson: This person values other people’s mistakes–Live your life without secrets–do what is right and you never have to worry about a gossiper’s story.

The One-Upper.  No matter what you tell this person, they have also experienced the same situation but in a better, worse, more frequent or more pronounced way.  They can never let you have anything they have not also experienced.

The lesson:  This person needs attention–to remove them from your life, simply ignore them.

The Bully.  Often a strong personality, the bully, treats you with kindness while being condescending and treating you as if you are not capable of making decisions on your own. They also have no regard for the things that are important to you.

The lesson: This person is insecure of their own worth.  You will never win over a friend that only sees her own vulnerabilities in your successes. Smile and continue on your way.

The Pretender.  This person in your circle pretends to be your ally but has no real loyalty to you.  They will look you in the face with a smile as they pretend to be your friend or to deny your friendship if they feel it would advance their favor with others.

The lesson:  This person does not understand loyalty–be kind but do not trust them with anything that is important to you.

Life is a wonderful journey.  Surround yourself with people that appreciate you for who you are, who respects you and loves you even with your failings. But that will never use you to cover their own.

Enjoy your journey!  Leave a comment below or send me an email with your thoughts at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com

 

Throwing in the Towel

Throwing in the Towel

While on this journey of mine to live a better and smarter life–I have found myself thinking and re-thinking some of my proclivities.

One of my things is towels. I know, I know, sounds absolutely kinky.  If not kinky, at least kooky.

I don’t know when it started, and while not a secret–when I started thinking about it there are very few people–who know of this weird obsessive compulsive little habit of mine.

My mother of course knows–she knows everything!  (I don’t know how she does that by the way–as a mother myself, I am still trying to acquire all her mother super powers!)

My daughters know…because well–while they are on their own now–they did live with me for a long, long time.

And of course, my husband knows–he thinks I’m crazy about my towel thing–but he has been very accepting of my need for clean towels.

You see–I use clean towels everytime I take a shower. And everytime I wash my face and hands. So the towels get used, once, and they go in the hamper.  Now if for some reason I have to use a towel twice, I don’t freak out or break out in a sweat–I just use them the 2nd time and then it goes in the hamper.

Needless to say I have two linen closets in the house and they are full of towels–I stopped counting them when I got to 50. There are plenty more…

(I was beginning to think that maybe I should stop using so many towels.)

Now, you must understand, I do a lot of thinking while I am cooking–so I was thinking about all this–in the kitchen, cooking, kitchen towel on my shoulder, one by the sink, another by the cutting board.

Usually I cook and wash and dry my hands and cook and wash and dry my hands in a little ritual…when I clean up the kitchen at the end of this little dance the kitchen towels go into the laundry room.

I couldn’t believe it when I realized that I have a kitchen towel addiction too!

So I resolved to really reevaluate this obsession…and then…out of nowhere, I started laughing out loud–in the kitchen, practically hysterically.  (My husband on the couch watching TV just ignored me–he is a prince about my obsessions!)

And I made my decision–I am throwing in the towel on throwing in the towels. Why should I stop my little crazy habit of clean towels?  I am not hurting anyone and no one (who’s in the know) cares if I do 2 loads of towels in the laundry each week…so why not?

Here is my point–you knew one was coming–everyone has a thing–harmless, no one really cares about your thing things. Why should we deny ourselves our little joys. Isn’t that what life is about anyway?

Enjoy your weekend–and clean towels!  Drop a comment below or send me an email if you’d like at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com

Pity Party

Pity Party

So many people lately have invited me into their misery.  Not only have I been invited but then asked why I am so happy all the time?  I am chastised for being the “lucky one” by having to listen to their “horrible situation”.

They are all in a midsts of their own Pity Party.

I do not mean, that when bad, sad or truly unfair things happen to us we shouldn’t feel bad. We should. We should mourn the losses, we should cry at sad circumstances, we should  get angry and we should get all the help needed to get through it.

And then, no matter how difficult the situation may seem we need to pull ourselves up from our bootstraps and move on.

Most people do–from truly horrible events–death of a loved one, disease, or the destruction of their home by a hurricane.

Those are not the pity parties I have been invited to.

The pity parties I’ve attended recently–not by choice, mind you, are miseries that are getting us nowhere.  I listen–because that is what I do–and it gives people attention.

Attention, apparently, that they really need because no matter how well a person listens to their woes and encourage them that all will be well, they continue to pity themselves and to share their sorrows  and indignations until everyone around them (who have been invited to the party) disappear!

No one wants to attend their pity party!  Especially when they are so upset because…

…their children are young and they are so tired because it is so much work,

…their children are big now and making choices of their own,

…they hate their job, their boss is unreasonable, and can you believe they got in trouble for being late…ONE time?

…they have a lot of debt and are broke,

…they are single and cannot find the love of their lives,

…they are married and the love of their lives is getting on their last nerve,

…they are young and no one understands their “struggle”,

…they are getting older and are feeling “unneeded”,

…they are going through “the menopause”

…they are indignant that their politician did not win.

And on and on and on. What is happening to us?  As a society, a community, we are falling apart!  We are creating all kinds of suffering that is not really real just so that someone else will pay attention to us…

So here is what I have to say–to those throwing these parties and those of us who ended up on the invitation list.

If you are throwing the pity party–STOP!

I mean really stop, and think for one moment how lucky we are to be living in this moment in time–with the kids, with a job, with politicians we can debate about and yes, even with “the menopause”!

Stop feeling sorry for yourself over situations that you got yourself into, have the power to get yourself out of and are truly “just life”–nothing bad has really happened to you!

Be thankful everyday for your wonderful miserable life. So many people in the country and the world–have it so much worse!

If you are the lucky devil getting invited to these pity parties–STOP attending!

Walk away, make a polite excuse and get out of that party as soon as you can.  It is best that you don’t attend at all–don’t get sucked into bringing the wine!

We are not helping the miserable soul get on with it by attending–pity doesn’t help anyone–the pity-er or the pity-ee.

So please, save your invitation–I’ll be uh…busy training my elephant that day…You have one life people, enjoy it!

Drop me a comment below–or feel free to email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

A Bucket List in 5 Steps

Writing a bucket list gives a sense of reality to the long term goals we have for ourselves. A bucket list is, thought, much larger than just a list of goals to reach. A bucket list should include not just goals you want to achieve, but dreams that you want to see become reality and experiences you would like to have before you can’t have them anymore.

A bucket list can help you gain focus on those things that are really important to you–outside of our day to day run around tasks.  We cannot get away from our daily responsibilities but we can certainly measure whether our daily activities are leading us to reach our ultimate desires.

I thought of this as I started contemplating what I would put on my bucket list.  As I have mentioned before I am not a very adventurous person so on my list I would not put such experiences that include extreme sports.  For me–my most prized desires–include time and space.

And as I was thinking of the items to put on my list, I was thinking about how to decide on which things to include and these are the steps that I took to help me make those choices.

  1. Think about things, experiences and dreams that you have had since childhood.  It is in childhood that our true dreams and desires begin, before the responsibilities of adulthood take precedence in our lives.
  2. Follow your heart when it comes to things you truly want for you, not for what others expect of you, or would want for you. What matters is what you want.
  3. List things that are within your grasp as well as loftier goals that may be seemingly harder to achieve.  Do not underestimate how many things you can actually achieve if you put your mind to it.
  4. Include everything that would make you happy regardless of how much money it may cost, time it may take to achieve, or resources you may need to acquire to reach them.
  5. Write these objective, dreams and experiences down on paper. Keep a copy of it where you can review it often.  Add to it if you like!  But keep your dreams and goals foremost on your mind to help you achieve them.

Once you make your bucket list–then the fun begins! Choose one of the goals on the list and start the plan on how you will reach that goal.  Make plans, find a way and seek out the goal.

One of the fun things of having a bucket list is crossing them off as you accomplish them.  And the joy you will receive from reaching them!

What kinds of things would you include on your bucket list?  Drop a comment below…and let me know!

Happy Monday!  Have fun!

The Sky is The Limit

The Sky is The Limit

Part of the fun of reaching the empty nest stage of our lives is that we can take advantage of new adventures. And our bucket lists are long!

I am not as adventurous as my husband but I encourage him in his ideas and hobbies. One of his dreams was to skydive–and just a few days ago, on the 4th of July–he did just that!

It was quite exhilarating–and I did not even get on the plane!

I was very nervous while my husband was very excited.  He boarded the plane and I said my prayers.

But I have to confess that once the plane took off down the runway, my excitement also began to grow.

Twenty minutes later, as I watched the sky, a tiny dot jumped from the plane and he began his free fall.  I was stunned and excited and terrified all at the same time while MY feet were set firmly on the ground

The parachute opened and my husband floated beautifully back to earth and made a very graceful landing in a red, white and blue parachute.  He–and I–were smiling from ear to ear, that he had completed a goal on his bucket list.

And even now–a few days later–the excitement of the adventure is still with us.  What is also with us is the knowledge that for the rest of our lives the sky is the limit to what we want to do and accomplish.

It is a very good feeling to know that the only thing that holds us back is ourselves.  Luckily we are learning to let our hair down and go where the winds (literally) takes us.

This experience reminds us that, especially in this country, if we work hard there is nothing that we cannot do.

In this country–we have been able to have our home, educate ourselves and our children, become professionals and secure a comfortable and hopefully adventurous future.

In this country there is nothing a person cannot do–although I find a great deal of people wasting their time arguing and trying to change what is right, what is written, what is established and what is true.

I believe they have not created their bucket list and instead of working towards their goals and dreams they are floating about looking for what that ideal is.

You see, I truly believe that each bucket list is as different as the person who creates it. And it is best if you surround yourself with people that will encourage you in your completion of it instead of just being one in a crowd of people who all think alike.

Be original!  Be bold! And be you! We are all in the perfect time and place! The sky is the limit!

Have a great weekend!  Next week–I think we will work on those bucket lists!

Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts! I’d love to hear them!

 

 

 

 

 

On this 4th of July

On this 4th of July

I am the first American born person in my family. That is a badge of honor I carry with me as part of my identity.

These days it is also a reminder, in the current political climate that I am a child of immigrants.

Why did my family chose to come to this country? For the same reason everyone comes–America is the best country in the world!

It does not matter what country my parents are from but it is important to note that the United States did not have to accept them and it did.

The United States took in my family because my family did it right.

They applied properly for asylum, my family worked hard and sacrificed to save the money needed for the fees and my family followed all the steps required of them to be accepted as citizens of this great country.

Even before their citizenship was granted they began to assimilate. They learned the language, they learned the laws, they filed and paid their taxes.

My family did not lose their culture or their traditions–we still follow them as part of the melting pot that is this great nation.

As a family we embraced the new culture of being American–which means to embrace other cultures together under one vision of freedom under the one flag that unites us all.

My family did not come here to recreate the old country. They came here to start a new chapter.

And each family member that chose to come here, accepted the rights gratefully and share in the responsibilities that make this country so strong.

We vote, we serve on juries without complaining, several members of my family have served in the armed forces defending our rights, including my dad.

Those first brave family members, my parents, that came here were not sure they would be granted citizenship but they went through the process in hopes that it would be so.

They did not come to this country expecting to be taken care of, and demanding rights they did not have as non citizens in order to coerce the government to accept them.

They also have never supported politicians that were offering the handout in exchange for their vote–they knew these were the people that can ruin a country.

In this heated climate over immigration today we should remember that if things are done right–by the people seeking citizenship–not the politicians, there would not be a debate raging.

On this 4th of July I am thankful for this country, its strength and its values! I am thankful that we can help others but that we are intelligent enough to help ourselves first.

On this 4th of July I acknowledge that without our strength, our stability and our moral compass, we would not be able to help the rest of the world.

On this 4th of July I want to share with you that we are looking at things the wrong way–immigration is not a problem–it is an opportunity!

God Bless America!!!

 

 

A Good Night’s Sleep

A Good Night’s Sleep

Never underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep.

As I’ve gotten older getting good rest has become harder, I’m not sure exactly why.

But getting a good night’s rest has many benefits.

The most obvious one, of course, is that you feel less tired the next day. Sleeping well helps you have the energy to tackle all the tasks you have for the next day.

Your mind is sharper. When I get good rest I can think more clearly and I don’t have such a hard time remembering small details or facts that I need to recall.

I eat less when I have a good night’s sleep also. This is probably due to the fact that when you are not sleep deprived your body’s calorie burning and calorie measuring machine is working at optimum levels.

Problems and decisions that seemed so large the evening before usually become much more manageable after a good night’s sleep. This is probably why people say to take some time and “sleep on it.”

So how you get a good night’s rest?

I first thought about when it was in my life I had the best sleep and I realized it was when I was a kid.

I started constructing the steps to getting a good night’s sleep like I did back then and it really helped me. Here is what I do:

1. I go to sleep at the same time every night. I know it may sound boring and unimaginative but the body does get used to being on a routine. It is the signal that tells the brain that the day has ended and that now it must rest.

2. I wash my face and brush my teeth. Creating a little cleansing ritual–whatever that may be–begins the process of self care that tells your body to begin relaxing.

3. I kiss someone goodnight.  I know it sounds silly to make this a step–but for me it really works! As a kid I always kissed my parents before I went to bed. Now as an adult I always kiss my husband goodnight.

If you don’t have a husband or wife–kiss the dog goodnight or get a pet rock, whatever works for you. But it is important to know that there is love in the world and in your life and that tomorrow is filled with promise. This will help you sleep.

4. Say your prayers.  Before I nod off I always thank God for the day that just passed, for the health of my family, our safety and any other things that happened that day.  I also ask for continued blessings, help, patience, ideas, strength, understanding, compassion etc. that I may need or want for the next day. Amen.

At this point, I have set myself up for a good night’s rest and most of the time it works wonders to help me relax and let go of the stresses and pressures of living and it helps remind me not to take things–and myself–so seriously.

However, if I do wake up–or still have trouble going to sleep–after these steps, I just start to count.  I used to count sheep–literally, I would imagine sheep jumping over a small fence and I would count them–but now I just count until I fall asleep. I have never gotten past 200.

Setting yourself up to have a good night’s rest will give you far better chances that you will have a good night’s sleep and you will be ready to tackle another day!

What keeps you up at night? Does having a good night’s sleep help you have a good day? Share your thoughts in the comments below! And have a good day!

Moving Forward

Moving Forward

I am guilty of over-planning.  I over plan almost everything…from projects I am working on to our weekly meals. Some may think it is because I like to have the control–but in reality it is because I like to figure out the puzzle of unexpected events or situations arising.

And as I like to be prepared for the unexpected I make tons of lists. Lists of books I’ve read, book to read, grocery lists, meal plans, budgets, instructions for projects and lists and lists of ideas.  I like to plan ahead and to be ready for the what ifs.

Some of my friends who know of my list making think I am amazing (I tend to agree with that)…but there are a few who think I am too organized and doubt that I can accomplish as much as I do.

I think it may be their envy speaking or their wish to be more organized themselves or to simply have a desire to want to accomplish more in their own lives.

I have to say that I do get a great deal of things done in my home, at work, and in my hobbies because I am organized and do make lists to keep on top of things.  After all these years I think my success in this is because I can work on different things each day and move my goals forward–whatever they may be.

This is how I do it:  I break my projects into small workable tasks and I keep moving through the tasks day after day–time permitting–until they are finished.  As other tasks come up I can weave them into my days without disrupting my responsibilities or my objectives.

I’ve been doing this for a very long time–I hate to think how long, as I remember being this way in high school and college–with my school tasks. (And that was well over 30 years ago!)

When I look back over this time, I am grateful and proud of all I have accomplished so far and am very excited of all the years ahead of me to plan, and to create, and to accomplish so much more.

So many people give up so early in life and stop trying to accomplish–whatever it is they dream of accomplishing. They live their lives going through the motions and staying in the same place–never advancing or learning or wanting to change and advance.

But for us over planners–we sometime do try to do too much each day–the long lists in my planner are certainly proof of that. And if we don’t check off all our “to-dos” we feel we are not enough.   I am here to tell you that we are enough. Sometimes tasks, however small, can lead you to something bigger.

People often over estimate what can be completed or accomplished in a small amount of time and under estimate what can be accomplished over the long term.

Keep moving forward.  You are enough!

To GMO or Not To GMO

To GMO or Not To GMO

These days with all the misinformation and biased information we hear, I have been very skeptical of all that I previously thought I knew to be true.  So in true fashion I have been doing a great deal of reading and questioning and deciding what is true for me.

In my quest to eat healthier I have been reading, watching documentaries and following the news about Genetically Modified  Organisms.  And I am still not sure which side is the right side…

But I do know this–all of the negative reputation that has been brought upon GMO companies, GMO farming practices and GMO foods seems to be a  little over the top.

I remember the saying that if something seems to be too good to be true then it probably is.  And the negative stories of GMOs seem too perfect an argument to boycott the use of them.

After all, if you think about it, foods, specifically the seeds of the foods we grow, have been genetically modified for hundreds–probably thousands of years.

Granted, a thousand years ago, when farmers were choosing the seeds of the strongest plants or cross pollinating plants they were doing so slowly.  Not by choice but because they lacked the knowledge and technology to do it any faster.

The science, over time, has improved the way we grow food, given us the ability  to grow more food using less resources and that has given countries the ability to feed their people and for our country the ability to feed people all around the world.

I ask myself why this is a bad thing?

On the other side of this are the “realities” that question and have concerns about the safety of our food.  That GMO foods are affecting our bodies negatively producing obesity, gastrointestinal problems, heart disease, and cancer to name a few.

So I have read a great deal and watch documentaries and informative videos (and will continue to read and watch) until I am satisfied with the information I am gathering.

I have yet to come across any scientific study that proves anything definitively about the GMOs.

Do I believe that people are now suffering from more lifestyle diseases like diabetes II, gluten sensitivities, heart attacks, and strokes?  Yes.  Do I believe that chickens and cows and other farm animals are grown under harsh and sometimes unsanitary conditions? Sure. Do I understand that the same pesticides that help our food grow strong and yield high amounts may cause us humans damage? Absolutely.

But what I don’t believe is that this whole industry is in existence to control the world’s food supply and ultimately cause the destruction of the world like it is depicted.

I am not a crusader–but I do question other crusaders: what are their motives?  Who are these people that ask, protest and try to convince the American people to boycott Monsanto and all the brands it owns plus the financial companies like Vanguard that have their financial holdings?

Are they really concerned with the well being of others or of advancing their own careers through the articles, books and movies they create?

Now–I am not saying that everyone should just eat whatever they think tastes good without checking labels, ingredients, and recommended serving sizes or that all GMOs are good and we should leave ourselves in the hands of these companies.

But what I am saying is that we are intelligent people and we should be careful what we believe.  We should look for the motives behind the movements that are currently raging in our society.

Could these people that are so vehemently against GMOs really be people that have been worked up by others that really want to destroy successful companies in an effort to disrupt the financial structures in our country?

Everything is interconnected.  There are bad people in the world–but I believe and have always believed that there are more good people than bad people in the world and that ultimately we are all striving for a better life. I do not believe that all the scientists trying to make better crops for our food supply are bad people.

So eat as healthy as you can eat.  Enjoy your life. And be careful about the information that is being fed to you!

Leave a comment, tell me what you think!  I appreciate everyone’s opinions!  If you like you can also email me at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com!  Have a great day!

Going Organic

Going Organic

Every Sunday I go to the grocery store to buy our groceries for the week. As we are trying to eat healthy and get back to basics-we buy a lot of fruits and vegetables, both raw and frozen.

It never fails to amaze me how much more the organic varieties are compared to the “regular” fruits and vegetables.

I used to ask myself if it was worth it and I answered myself that of course it was not!

We do not buy organic-I don’t think it’s worth it! And although I have been criticized for it–It is MY CHOICE.  Here are my reasons why:

 

How do I really know that the organically labeled produce was actually grown organically? I don’t! I’m taking the word of the company that created the labels.

And the definition of “organically grown” only means “USDA certified organic foods are grown and processed according to federal guidelines, addressing, among many factors, soil quality, animal raising practices, pest and weed control, and use of additives.” (USDA.com)

What? Exactly what does that mean? In my mind it means some families have their own farms and they grow their crops the best they know how without the help of modern science.

I’m good with that and I think it is a noble profession. Congratulations to those families and the love they have of their way of life. I celebrate them for it, because that is their choice.

But in our wonderful capitalist society we have competition and I also have a choice and for me the choice is to pay less for my produce so I can buy more of it.

 

In order to grow food organically–by federal guidelines–you must use more land, more water and “natural” pesticides such as copper sulfate. Copper sulfate is a natural product, so it falls under the “organic” guidelines–but this product when ingested in a certain amounts can cause vomiting and gastrointestinal problems.  No thanks.

Additionally, I also don’t buy organic because it takes more land to grow organic food. In a world that is continually growing (we are over 7.6 billion people now!)  and with so many people worried/arguing/protesting about world hunger it seems like a great waste of resources in a world where so many people go hungry.

Only in America are we so full of ourselves that we feel that we should strive to eat only organically grown foods so we can “be healthier”, so we can “protect and preserve the earth”, so we can “lead the world by an example” by going against the “big corporate world” that is trying to “control what we eat.”

Think about all the other people in the world that are not worried about eating healthy or being socially conscious as they eat–they just want to EAT.

 

But I think the biggest reason I don’t buy organic produce is because it’s a huge marketing scheme to make (primarily) Americans feel that the only way to eat healthier is to eat organically and I know that to be untrue.

Marketers are brilliant people–and they do their job well. They can make multitudes of people believe that regular fruits and vegetables are bad for you and that if you don’t have the money to shell out for organic–then well poor you, at least you can eat a regular apple–that’s better than nothing at all!

A person recently told me that they eat organic strawberries because they had less calories than regular strawberries. I was going to correct her–but she was enjoying those strawberries so much–why burst her bubble?  The marketers certainly did their job on her.

 

It comes down to this–we are so fortunate to have choices.  If you choose to buy organic and you can afford to do so, more power to you.  Do that if that is what you want to do. I am not stopping you or trying to convince you otherwise. And I do not have to believe what the marketers (or movie stars) say, if I don’t want to. So I decide to spend my dollars on good old regular produce. That is my choice.

What are your thoughts about organically grown foods?  Leave a comment below or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.  And enjoy your fruits today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Six Steps to Happiness

Six Steps to Happiness

One of the good things about being older now is that it gives you a great deal of perspective. Things that seemed so important a few years ago are not as important now.

In the end, what most of us want is to be happy. I say “most” because there are a certain group of people who do not value being happy–and they thrive on making everyone around them as unhappy as they are.

Here are my six steps to happiness–starting with the unhappy people around us.

  1. Stay away from unhappy people!  

There is nothing worse than hanging out or being around unhappy people.  You know who they are–everything is bad, they are bitter about anyone else’s success, calm, or good fortune and they do everything they can to bring you down into pity-land along with them.

Stay away from people like this–they will spread their negativity to you and make you feel down down down.  Not fun!

  1. Let go of the past!

We all make mistakes.  In fact, we are supposed to make mistakes. That is how we learn and grow.  We are also meant to encounter many types of people in this world–that do not have good intentions toward us–this too is so we learn and grow.

Whatever we may have done or has been done to us–we need to leave the past in the past. It will not make us happy to relive bad moments or to treat people in our present badly as if they are going to repeat some hurt from our past.  Get over it–and let it go.

  1. Get out of bed and DO something!

Sleeping late or laying about all day, even when we feel “tired” can bring us down.  Get up, fix the bed and get moving. Getting the blood moving in our bodies make us naturally feel happy–it is the endorphins!

Make a schedule for yourself in which you get up and go to sleep at about the same time everyday and in between do stuff that will help you reach your goals or bring you joy.

  1. Get organized!

Disorganization, clutter and chaos bring unhappiness.  Get your houses in order. Not only is physical clutter and messiness a downer–but so is being disorganized at work, in your relationships and in your financial life.

It is all in your power to fix–fix it!  When everything is in it’s place: stuff, people, goals and money–you will be calm and content and you will feel happy.

  1. Give to others!

It is better to give than to receive.  It is! It always makes us feel better because it serves a purpose for us.  When we give our things away it serves to help us get organized in things we no longer need but that can serve someone else.

When we help others in good deeds it reminds us that we are in a good place where we have the ability to help others and are not in need ourselves.  And it makes us happy.

  1.  Give to yourself!

By giving to yourself I don’t mean go on a massive shopping spree.  I mean give yourself what you need–and what you want–that you know will be in your best interests and make you happy.

Stay away from negative people and situations. Give of yourself but don’t let others take advantage of your goodness. Live in the present and in a space that is clean and nourishing to you.

Happiness is not something that is far away or unattainable. It is right there in front of you–in your power.  You just have to decide that happiness is what you want. Go for it!

What steps are you going to take TODAY to be happy? Comment below or feel free to send an email to emptynestsaavy@gmail.com.

Happy Friday!

 

The Happiest Place on Earth

The Happiest Place on Earth

I have to admit that as I binge on Netflix this summer I am drawn again and again to Walt Disney Movies.

When my girls were small we watched EVERY Disney Movie we could buy, borrow or see in theaters.  And that includes the Disney Pixar Movies.

These are movies I don’t get tired of and not just the old standards like Cinderella, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Lady and the Tramp, Mary Poppins and Dumbo but “newer” ones like Toy Story, The Incredibles and The Pirates of the Caribbean.

Recently, I’ve seen Moana, the live version of Beauty and the Beast and Coco.  

All of which transported me to their realities and made me feel part of the worlds created for the screen..

You would think that now that my girls are grown and on their own I would shy away from the cutesy, cartoony, sentimentality of the Disney movies.  

But no…I love them!  And why? Because they are fantastic! They have music, colors, and details and TRUTH. And they grab at my heart.

I can’t think of one movie that does not deal with all the beautiful values that I admire: integrity, family, love, good over evil, perseverance, faith, hard work, loyalty, compassion and respect to name a few.

Even when the villain is seeming to get his or her way–you just know that good will overcome in the end and all will be well.

Too sentimental for you?  I don’t think so,–you see Walt Disney really was ahead of his time.  He knew a fundamental reality–no matter who you are or where you are from–everyone longs for a happy ending no matter what.

Especially in this world we are living today–in our runaround hurry and in the negativity people are stuck in.

The movies remind us of his core beliefs–that we have all heard at one time or another–but may not have attributed to him.

Here are a few of my favorites:

“If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember that this whole thing was started by a mouse!”

All things were once a dream–everything!  Think about all the inventions of the past (and those yet to come!), the poems and books, the ability to fly in airplanes, the iphone–and all the ideas that have become realities. Someone had to dream it first. And then…

“All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them.”

We can’t just leave our dreams in our heads–we have to find the way to make it come true.  From the most basic of ideas of how to do a task better to maybe inventing something that will help millions of others. We all have a purpose–it is in our dreams–and we can make it come true if we work towards it.

“It’s kind of fun to do the impossible”

If you share your dreams with people, many will tell you it–whatever it may be–is impossible.  And they are so right! Everything is impossible UNTIL THE FIRST PERSON DOES IT! Ignore the naysayers–who cares what they think!  It is fun to get over barriers, to find a way around a mountain, to challenge yourself and make the impossible possible!

“That’s the real trouble with the world, too many people GROW UP.”

Truer words have never been spoken. If we can remember the wonder and the unlimited joy of being children many problems that adults face would not seem like problems at all.  

If adults did not pour their negative words, actions and experiences on their children, children can be left to their wonderment and acceptance of the world as a fascinating place.

Walt Disney, although no longer with us, created a world through his amusement parks and movies that others continue today in his honor and following the vision he had.

They bring countless of hours of joy, peace and amazement to all of us–whether we are young or not so young anymore.

Watching the movies, even if they only last an hour or two, takes us to the happiest place on Earth–our hearts. Thanks Walt!

Who are your favorite Disney characters? Comment below or send me an email at emptynestsaavy@gmail.com.  Enjoy the day!

Me Time

Me Time

One of my favorite parts of summer is that I can disconnect–from work, from certain responsibilities, and from the laundry–at least for a little while.

I took last week “off”.  I did not travel anywhere but I did take a vacation from everyday routines.

As some of you noticed (and commented) I took time away from my writing and from most of my house chores. I stopped organizing and planning to organize.  I just sat back and relaxed.

I spent some time in my backyard, admiring the plants and the breeze. I caught up on some global news.  I did some reading, a lot of relaxing, and I did a fair amount of Netflix binging.

I painted my fingernails and toenails. I gave myself a facial. And I learned a few new yoga moves.

Me time.  

Most important of all I let go of worrying about things that are out of my control anyway. And I came to this realization:

It was a very good week!

So now I am back, in my regular routine, and I am loving it–again!  The planning, organizing, thinking, writing, spending time with my family.

I am a simple person.  And I am happy being a simple person and enjoying simple pleasures like clean sheets, home cooked meals, organized drawers.

We fail ourselves sometimes by getting too wrapped up trying to be all the things others want us to be. Because we don’t want to let people down.

We forget that what is important in our lives are the people around us and the things that are important to us.

Having a little “me time” gives you a moment, a day, or a week to step back, take a breath and see things for what they really are. To understand your intentions about things and sometimes to understand the intentions of others in relation to you.

It is a very powerful tool–me time.

I recommend me time for everyone! Carve out a little time from our run around lifestyles and just give yourself the time to:

  1. Think about the things that you are grateful for
  2. Enjoy the people you love and that love you
  3. Clarify what is important to you
  4. Let go of things that are not important to you

Keeping life simple helps us live better, getting things done smarter, to reach goals faster. That’s my objective–what’s yours?

How would you use some me time?  Would you use it to get other chores done from the never ending list or would you look inside yourself to find what is important to you?
Leave me a comment below–or send me an email with your comments at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

Sailing

Sailing

The dog days of summer have barely begun but already here in Texas we have some hot hot days with a heat index of 106 to 108.

I live near the coast now and going out to the beach is a beautifully short 20 minute drive away.

Since I am usually off for the summers, small escapes to the beach to sit and watch the waves or take a short walk along the shore are a great way to revitalize my batteries, spend some alone time, and think.

The beach holds a great deal of magic for me as our big vacations every year as a child always involved a beach.

We had long lazy days swimming in the ocean and in the hotel pool, with the smell of coppertone sun lotion and music playing in the background.

And the undivided attention of our parents who would swim and play with us. It is these memories I cherish the most and that remind me that there is a time to work and a time to relax.

The best place to relax of course is the beach.

From these summer escapes I always remember a song that no matter where I am or what I am doing, if I hear it, automatically takes me back there.

 

Sailing by Christopher Cross, the lyrics go like this:

Well, it’s not far down to paradise,

at least it’s not for me

And if the wind is right you can sail away and find tranquility

Oh, the canvas can do miracles,

just you wait and see.

Believe me.

It’s not far to never-never land, no reason to pretend

And if the wind is right you can find the joy of innocence again

Oh, the canvas can do miracles, just you wait and see.

Believe me.

Sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be

Just a dream and the wind to carry me

And soon I will be free….sailing.

 

That song sounds like the ocean and feels like the breeze I remember from my childhood. It holds happiness, calm and promise.

This summer I hope to continue my trips to the beach, to visit the ocean and to find the calm-to find the joy of innocence-just as the song says…

Happy sailing!

Send a comment or drop me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

Reaching Resolutions

Reaching Resolutions

At the beginning of the year I made some New Year’s resolutions that were meant to be finally kept, after years of resolutions that did not last through the last frost.

I tried to keep it simple this time and these were my resolutions in January:

  1. Be the healthiest ME I can be
  2. Organize my life so I have more: space, time, money and happiness.

And so far, the beginning of June–6 months in–I’ve kept my resolutions.

Being the healthiest Me I can be has been easier than I thought it was.  Studying nutrition has helped me, but just being aware of the goal: being healthy and not giving into the temptations that others bring has been a huge game changer in this area.

I just did not allow myself to be swayed by people giving gifts of food, or feel obligated to eat at social events. I ate in small portions when tempted and learned to say “no, thank you.”

Over the last 6 months, I’ve been eating better and I have lost weight. I have been exercising more and am learning to do yoga, so have become more flexible and stronger.

I am not superwoman (yet) but my clothes are fitting better, and I am sleeping better–so day by day I am getting healthier.

 

Organizing my life so I have more space, time, money and happiness has also been going well.  Mostly because I have slowed down.

I am taking my time doing the things that need to get done and that I want to do.

Again, I decided it was not my obligation to meet everyone’s expectations of what I should do, when I should do it and who I should do it with.

I’ve turned down many social invitation and gave myself permission to say “no–thank you.”

And somehow I am more organized with my time, I am getting more of the important things done and I am saving money in the process because I am not running around buying things I don’t need to make my life easier–because you know, –I’ve made my life easier.

And while all this progress is wonderful and I am so proud of myself. This post is really not about my progress.  I want to talk about how reaching resolutions really makes others angry.

It is amazing to me how one person’s failure to reach their goals, in this case their New Year’s resolutions, makes other people–often the ones that are supposed to be the  closest to them–happy.

If you are asked and you actually share your resolutions–some people make it their mission to tell you all the ways in which you will fail.  They can enumerate all the challenges that stand in your way.

So reaching your resolutions (or your goals) requires a person to not worry about what other people’s opinions are.

I know it may seem obvious–although it took me 50 years to figure out–that it really doesn’t matter what other people think–even the people that are close to you.

Ultimately–when I am happy–the people closest to me are happy as well. Reaching my resolutions and continuing to grow with them has opened up a whole new way of thinking.

If you are wanting to reach your goals and continue to grow this is what I would suggest you do:

  1. Make sure your goals align with what will make YOU happy
  2. Take yourself out of situations that do not help you meet your goals
  3. Ignore negative people
  4. Take your time and keep moving forward.

I am learning what I think I have known all along…taking things slowly but in the right direction will help me reach the outcome I am looking for. Other people do not have my goals in mind when going about their lives. And we have a limited number of hours a day and days in our lives–we’d better make them count.

What obstacles are you struggling with to meet your goals? How do you allow others to sabotage your progress?  Write a comment below or send me an email at emptynestsavvy.com.

Reach for your goals today!

 

Healing What Ails You

Healing What Ails You

Admit it…all of us have something wrong with us that we are trying to change.  And this may not be a sickness–but it is something that bothers us and we think about it all the time.

For some of us we may think we are: too tall, too short, too thin, too hippy, no hips, big chest, little chest, thinning hair, hair in places you should not have hair…

But for others of us we have pain in our backs, our joints, our neck. We are tired all the time and irritable. We get headaches, our allergies flare up–and not in a pretty way. We feel like the flu is coming on or maybe a cold. We are just not sure but we know something is wrong–so we go to the doctor.

And the doctors run tests, they check us over and they give us the diagnosis:  there is nothing wrong with us. Perhaps we are just over tired, stressed out. Get some exercise they say and try to eat better and they send us on our way.

Sometimes we believe them and go home–relieved–that we don’t have anything–even though we feel like we have something.

Sometimes we don’t believe them because we feel so lousy. So we go for a second opinion, or we seek out a nutritionist, a health coach, a trainer to whip us up into shape again.

There is a whole industry around fixing what is making us feel sick–but we overlook the most basic healer of all–ourselves!

We are the ones that made ourselves–and sometimes our families–feel sick. And luckily, according to the doctor, we are not sick–with a real diagnosable illness yet.

But if we keep doing what we are doing we are certainly headed for the lifestyle diseases:  diabetes, heart conditions, allergies, obesity, IBS, etc.

Some of us have these things but not to a level that shows up on the tests yet–just to a level in which makes us feel miserable because we know exactly what we are doing to our bodies.

Why did we do this to ourselves?  Well because it is easy and because it becomes an addiction.

Look in your pantry–if it looked anything like mine a few years ago–it is probably filled with boxes and bags, cans, jars and bottles. An abundance of food for our in a hurry, have to run out the door, lives.

If we start reading the labels on this abundance we will begin to realize why we feel so bad. And when I say we are addicted, I am really not kidding.  

We are addicted to sugar, to caffeine, to salt and a host of other things–including an addiction to getting our meals on the table quickly so we don’t have to waste time.

And these addictions are bad, because not only are they hard to break, but day after day, they contribute to even higher and more instense desire for the stuff that makes us feel sick.

This is what I did to get on the road to recovery in 2 steps, this was not easy and I struggle still but I am really starting to see the benefits.

1) I cleaned out my pantry and my refrigerator.

This happened in waves.  First and easiest–I took out everything that was expired or had been opened and abandoned and had gone bad.

Second, and to my shame, I ate the foods that were still good until we were out of them. I just could not throw things out.

Third, I stopped buying the stuff that is not good for us.  I started with chips and cereals, cookies, processed, boxed and canned goods etc. You get the picture.  

This process took me about 18 months. Mostly because there would be days when the sugary, processed, crunchy, salty fake buttery goodness stuff would find its way back into my home.

2) I started buying and making good foods.

The hardest part and my continued struggle today is finding good ideas for good meals that are interesting and tasty and easy to make.  For example, eggs are good for us and I love eggs but I cannot have eggs in every meal.

Plus I still like easy, fast meals to prepare and eat on the go!

I am continuously learning about nutrition to incorporate the best balance for me and my family.  

I have discovered protein drinks and shakes (and after trying everything on the market I could find–found a brand that works well for me!)

Now I am reworking all my recipes, and watching my portion size.  I’m still in Step 2.

But already I feel (and see) the benefits of these changes. I feel better, I have lost weight, I have more energy–many of my aches and pains have gone away.

And I did this myself!  I am healing myself by learning and changing for the better.  It did not happen overnight, but it did happen–I did it and so can you!

What challenges do you have in making the dietary changes you need to change the symptoms that ail you?  Drop me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

We only have one life–Have fun!  

The Science Behind Health

The Science Behind Health

I am a strong advocate for eating healthy, for exercise to stay flexible and active and for creating a life that is enjoyable.

There are many ways to go about this especially if we take advantage of the technology and science that is available to us.

If you think about it our health over the last 100 years has improved immensely. It wasn’t that long ago that we came up with antibiotics, blood transfusion and organ transplants.

The world of medicine has grown quickly and we have reaped the benefits of it. People live longer fuller lives than ever before because of the science.

We know more about the structures and functions of the body, and how movements or every kind and help us or hurt us because of the science.

Sciences of all kinds have helped us have better everything from food production and cultivation to prosthetics to medications and procedures to help us live better and feel better.

But you would think that with all these advances we would be farther along the health spectrum than we actually are because along with all the progress always comes some setbacks, you know: people.

It seems to me that most people have embraced the advantages of the sciences to create the monster instead of embracing it to make us stronger, better and healthier. Sorry Dr. Frankenstein, your creation is not working out well.

Even worse, we are now stopping to take notice of the monster we have created and are blaming the science!  

We want to turn back the clock and go back to a “simpler and better time”–where we struggled to have enough food to feed a nation, where we had to walk everywhere, where life was “healthier”.

Well…we can’t go back. And I don’t think we should.

I like the fact that I can have a protein shake in the morning and that it already has all the vitamins and nutrients that my body needs for the next few hours to do its job. Thank you science!

I like that the meat at the market already comes cut, ground and sometimes even tenderized for me with no bacteria, and other problems like rot, thanks to the science.  I like that I can get eggs from a carton and not a coop in a backyard–again science.

I like that walking is a sport I can choose to do on an indoor track and that I can hop in my car to go buy the aforementioned meat and eggs.

I like that we are still learning the best ways to get out nutrients and medications needed to live a full active life.

Our health in this nation has fallen apart–not because of the science–but because of the choices we have made. Just because hot spicy lemon lime extra crunchy cheetos were invented does not mean we should eat them.

I mean the science proves that they are NOT GOOD FOR US…yet day after day we buy them off the shelves and indulge and feed them to our kids.

And while all the time I see people taking on the farmer, the scientists, the pharmaceutical companies and the government over our health I don’t see anyone upset at the people who are choosing to ruin their health by making horrible choices.

I also don’t see anyone complaining or attacking the people who invented the sugary soft, crunchy, spicy invented shaped stuff we eat.

For me, I choose the science.  I choose to learn all I can about the things that affect my life and to make the best choices I can about my health that I can.

I don’t pretend to be a scientist myself, thank goodness that is not my job. But I also don’t pretend to just go with whatever is available in the marketplace and then complain and lament when my health is not where I want it to be.

We cannot have it both ways–we cannot go back in time and pretend all our advances do not exist. We also cannot be healthy without the science.

What we can do is learn all we can, investigate what is best for us that we are willing to live with, ask questions and enjoy our lives. Use the science to our advantage…it is a very powerful thing!

How do you enjoy the benefits of the science behind our health in your life. Send me a comment or write me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

Cleaning Up and Cleaning Out

One of my favorite things about summer vacation from teaching is that I can catch up on many of my other passions:  organizing, reading, planning and writing.

Keeping my house is one of my greatest joys.  I get very excited about my “Spring Cleaning” and I often get carried away.

For example, I decided to take a break and write–as I am doing now about what I am taking a break from–cleaning out the closet.

I pride myself on all the decluttering I have already done and yet–how did this closet get away?  I have taken out so much from this closet that I am surprised how much actually fits in there!

I will be organizing and reorganizing some things this summer, I will be meal prepping and keeping my healthy meals schedule and reading and writing and planning for the next school year.

As much as I say I will not do all these things and just enjoy the time off and relax–I don’t think I physically can. I never have.

It confuses me when other people talk about not liking organizing their closets, their homes, their meals etc.  I wonder: “How do these people survive in the world?”

So I am cleaning up and cleaning out–yet again–not because my house, or my planner or my routines need it–but because I love to do it.

I love a clean kitchen, an always made bed, an organized pantry.  I enjoy my meal plan calendar and my recipes with my grocery lists all built in.

I love that there is no dust under my furniture–because I move the furniture to clean–and some of my friends think I have gone around the bend.

After a long day at work–during the school year for me, but all year for my husband–it is so nice to come home to a clean organized space.

I like knowing ahead of time what we will be eating and that I have all the ingredients available and that the laundry is done and put away where I can always find it.

There is one drawback to my little obsession.  I often bite off more than I can chew–like I have today–taking everything out of that closet.

Some of these things just need to be reorganized in the bins I have for them, but other things need to be addressed–like all the boxes of picture albums that I am in the process of scanning, to be cataloged, to be saved (electronically) forever.

That is a little project I began a few years ago that I will continue until it is done.  I am trying to capture all those memories before the pictures are irrevocably lost to fading and yellowing.

So, when my little break is over, I will clean up everything and reorganize my things back into the closet except for those boxes of pictures–which I will continue to scan and clean out.

It means something to me very important that this organizing bug is in me. It means that I revisit the items and routines in my life to make sure everything is in its place and that things are in good repair, for when they are needed.

It means that we don’t keep things and routines that are not serving us that can be serving someone else instead.

And ultimately it means that we count our blessings, everyday for all that is wonderful in our lives.

Do you have the summer cleaning bug? Why do you reorganize and how much do you enjoy it?  Comment below or send me an email with your thoughts @ emptynestsavvy@gmail.com.

Have a productive day!

My Morning Coffee

My Morning Coffee

I have been drinking coffee since my early teenage years.  Since I am now 50 that has been…well, a long time.

Depending on who you ask coffee can be good for you or coffee is very bad for you.  Like with anything else, I say that it depends.

If you drink 12 cups of coffee a day then I think it is safe to say that the coffee habit is probably bad for you.

But if you have one or two cups of coffee a day, my thought is that it’s probably okay.  

The older I get the more true the saying is that most things in moderation won’t hurt you.

There are benefits to coffee, most coming from the little jolt of caffeine that coffee offers. Caffeine helps stimulate metabolism, increase our wakefulness and give our brains a little shot of alertness.

The drawbacks of drinking coffee, even if you drink it in moderation, is not the coffee itself but all the things we add to the coffee: Sugar, creams, milk, non dairy creamer, and flavor shots to name a few all add calories, unnecessary fats and in some cases artificial flavors, colors and chemicals.

While my years of coffee drinking have not always been with the best cups of coffee–when you know better, you do better.

But for over 30 years I had a “cafe con leche” each morning.  This consisted of a full cup of whole milk, warmed on the stove or microwave, a heaping teaspoon of instant coffee and 2 teaspoons of sugar.

This, of course, was creamy and delicious and gave me quite a jolt in the morning followed by a sugar crash a few hours later. Not good–but I’ve made the change.

Here are my two recipes for a healthy cuppa:

Expressive Espresso

Brew a 8 oz  pot of espresso coffee (my favorite brand is Cafe Bustelo) and add 1 stevia packet to sweeten.  Makes 4 2oz servings–sometimes I refrigerate any extra servings for the next day–just warm in the microwave. I can only have 2oz at a time–espresso really packs a punch!

American Brew

I like a mild columbian roast made in a traditional coffee pot.  Stevia to sweeten to taste, usually 1 packet. I only drink one cup, so unless others want coffee also, I make the smallest amount possible.

If a regular roast is not available or I am in a hurry I just put a coffee cup of water in the microwave and heat about 1 and ½ minutes.  Once hot, I add one teaspoon of instant coffee and ½ stevia packet and I’m done.

Easy…and no added stuff that masks the taste or changes the number of calories.  

So I hope, like me, that you are enjoying a cup of coffee when the mood strikes you and that you don’t let others decide for you what is good or bad for YOU.  

While most of us are learning and trying to live a more healthy life that does not mean–that with the proper information–we can’t make decisions for ourselves.

Enjoy your cuppa and have a great week!

Reach out with a comment about My Morning Coffee or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions!

 

The First Day of Summer

The First Day of Summer

Today is the first day of summer–not the first day of official summer–but really the first day of my summer…

When I am not blogging and researching and trying to figure out nutrition I am also a teacher.

Of small human beings.  Well at least, younger human beings…most of my students by the end of the year are taller than me.

So today I celebrate the last 182 school days–and all the accomplishments my younger humans and I have made!

My kids have learned all kinds of US History, some have learned to say please and thank you, and others have embraced the idea that they can be anything they want to be if they are willing to work for it.

More importantly, my kids taught me all kinds of things as well. And for that I am grateful.

The year was excruciatingly long as school years can be and at the same time surprisingly short.

We taught and learned through an eclipse, a mega moon, Hurricane Harvey, a snowstorm this area has not seen in 10 years, and an early heat wave followed by the last frost of the season.

We call all that normal Texas weather–never predictable–just like each school year.

For today, I am setting aside lesson plans, nutrition plans, craft projects, decluttering ideas and meal prepping.

Because today is the first day of summer–for me and for my students.

I’m just going to enjoy today!  Let the summer begin!

 

The Skinny on Fats

The Skinny on Fats

The advertisers and marketers in our society have gone to great lengths to convince us that fats are bad for us to eat. Some of them are and some are not.

By scaring us into believing that all fats are bad–we buy into (and literally buy) all the fat free, light and trans fat stuff they advertise as healthy. First we need to understand what fats really are.  I thought I knew, but once again, I was wrong.

Like with everything else, there are the goods and the bads….

Bad fats are saturated fats that the body has a harder time breaking down. They are usually stored by the body (as fat) and can usually be found in processed foods. These fats can cause cholesterol levels to go up and can put us as a higher risk of cancer, inflammatory diseases and heart disease.

But guess what?  While saturated fats and polyunsaturated fats and trans fat are very very bad for us–most cholesterol problems come from the processed sugar in our diets! Again from all the processed foods we eat.

That does not mean that I am recommending you eat saturated fats and stay away from sugar–I am recommending you stay away from processed foods as much as possible, because it has both!

The good fats though are very important to our bodies and we need them for the proper functioning of our bodies.  The goods can be found in meats, eggs (yes the yolks), and believe it or not the fat on pork.

Bacon lovers you can rejoice! Just make sure to find the best options for the good fat products that are available to you, for example, grass fed meat over corn fed.

Other good fats include avocados, walnuts, salmon, and cooking with extra virgin olive oil are another good source of the good fats that help our bodies.

So to make this completely confusing–if you want to lose the fat in your body you actually need to eat a balanced diet with more fat (the good fats).

But here is the really skinny part of fats–in my humble opinion it seems to me that we as a society are making things much harder than it needs to be.  

We drive ourselves crazy trying to find the “best” foods to eat while at the same time wanting the convenience and variety we have now. And there lies the problem.  There is too much of too much!

If we get back to basics and really look to eat as naturally as we can we can still have a great variety of foods that we enjoy without throwing our health to to wind.

When I think about my favorite foods–my mind always goes back to the things I most enjoyed in my childhood:  steak, chicken, rice, ripe tomatoes, fruit, vegetables.

All those things have the protein, the good carbohydrates and the good fats that we need. My mother has always cooked with olive oil or butter–but not in excessive amounts. Our tomatoes were plain or had a little olive oil and vinegar on them.

Rarely was anything deep fried or dripping with thick gravies. We ate modestly and we ate well. I never remember being hungry or unhealthy.

It wasn’t until adulthood and all the convenience of processed foods that my health started to change…and before you know it we spend years chasing back the health we already had and took for granted.

And that is my skinny–I’m getting back to basics.

What are your favorite foods–that may have been considered “bad” that turns out are not so bad?

Comment below or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions!

 

The Extremes

The Extremes

If you have been following my blog you know that I am on a journey to make my life the best it can be…faster, smarter and better…and hopefully give you ideas for your life as well.

Along this journey I have been examining life have have learned a great deal about myself, others and life in general.

Part of what I am digging into is human nutrition–me being the main human I am examining. I mean really, how can we live our best life if we are sick and tired all the time?

I for one was sick and tired of being sick and tired–so I was ready for the changes I am making and up to now am happy and better for it.

With that said I want to talk about changes–and when they go wrong–and that usually happens when we mere people take things to an extreme.

Most–but of course not all–people make nutritional changes to their diets because they want to lose weight. We realize we cannot continue on the upward trend the scale is making.

So we go on a diet–and we lose weight–and then we go back to our merry lives and we gain it all back and more…so we go on another diet.

I know…I’ve done it this myself and so we conclude that those diets don’t work.  Are the diets to blame? Or the dieters?

In my opinion it is neither. Here is what I mean:  We start a nutritional program and we are committed to it and we lose weight.  Both the program and the person are successful UNTIL we encounter something that doesn’t fit in the program.

Like donuts brought in by a generous coworker, an invitation to a baby shower or a birthday party.  Or Thanksgiving and Christmas come around again–and the diet is broken.

The real reason this happens is because most diet programs and the people following them–yes, including me–take them to an extreme.

If the program calls for no sugar, we try to cut out every drop of sugar in our entire lives. A no carb diet? We kill ourselves making sure we have not one gram of carbohydrates. Low fat? We cut out anything with any kind of fat–even the good fat that our bodies need!

Then there are the fad programs that call for eliminating everything but one component in order to lose weight: The grapefruit diet: only grapefruit; the coffee diet: black coffee 3 times a day! The banana diet–well you get the picture.

These ideas are not sustainable and they are not healthy!

Some can be very dangerous because it changes the functions of the body and can cause major problems–especially if you are seriously cutting back on carbs or not getting enough vitamins and minerals needed for healthy functions.

However, I do believe that all diets or nutritional programs have good ideas that can be used to make lasting change.

And change is the hardest part of all of this.  Instead of going to extremes each one of us needs to find the nutritional program that works for us–stop making excuses and then just make the life changes we need to be healthy and happy.

No extremes, no excuses.  Make your life better–faster and smarter.

Send me your comments on how your nutritional plan is going (or not going!)  or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions! We are all here to share and help each other!

 

Carbs to the Rescue

Carbs to the Rescue

Ah Carbs!  The pleasure trigger of the taste buds and the bain of all the empty calories we consume.

Carbohydrates get a bad reputation as being the worst thing to enter our dietary lives–EVER!

But as with most things the majority of people are getting this wrong. This is mostly because they are not doing the research themselves because they are relying on all the sound bytes they hear…

And while I am just another sound byte–I have at least done my homework.

Carbohydrates are a necessary part of our nutritional plan. It is where we get our energy so we can, you know, do stuff.

If we were not getting energy from our food we would feel deflated and tired–all the time–and you would quite literally be unable to function.

If you are trying to lose weight many diets encourage you to cut out carbohydrates–completely.  

Many people grab onto that advice and cut out all carbs!  This does lead to weight loss but very often that weight loss is too much, too fast, can be very dangerous and is not sustainable.

Those diets fail–or I should say the people on those diets fail to reach their goals because they cannot follow the program long term as a lifestyle…I’ll discuss that next time.

Back to carbohydrates–we cannot survive without carbohydrates in our system everyday and this is why:

Carbs come in 3 main categories:

  1. Sugars or simple sugars like glucose, fructose etc. that are basically already broken down for us. These go into our system, give us a little zip of energy and then fizzle out quickly. Because they are simple it takes a lot of them to make us feel “full” or “satisfied” so we eat a lot of them.
  2. Starches are more complex sugars that need to be broken down by our digestive system to create the glucose our bodies need for energy.  So these carbohydrates take longer to break down and give us a slow burn of energy.
  3. Fiber.  Fiber is a carbohydrate that cannot be broken down by the body but is needed to aid digestion and to give us a happy gut and happy bathroom experiences. This, as you know, is super important!

When we eat too many carbs, the body can store some of them for future energy and turns them into fat. Not good.

In a nutshell–we need to eat carbohydrates that are complex and whole to provide us with that slow burn and with fiber. Processed foods that are high in carbohydrates and low in everything else are just empty calories that do not serve us!

The amount of carbohydrates that we need depends on the number of calories you need per day to reach your nutritional goals. I discuss that in a previous post called The Big Mac.

The best carbohydrates are found in vegetables, whole fruits, potatoes, legumes and whole grains. It is important though to remember to watch the serving sizes and the preparation of these foods so that we don’t change a good carbohydrate into a fattening dish.

We also don’t want to eat so much of a good thing that we turn it into a bad thing by overloading our bodies with too much sugar–even from whole foods–that is needed in a day.

For people who are currently battling obesity, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease a low carb diet can be life changing. And I think–especially given our current society–that this is important to mention.

And while a low carb diet may come to your rescue–we need to include the proper water intake, exercise and a host of other changes to our habits as a permanent life change for our rescue to be sustainable.

Remember that carbohydrates did not cause our obesity and a host of other health problems.  Our ancestors ate all kinds of carbs and were healthy–and thin!

Our ancestors, though, ate whole foods–not processed foods!  And there is a way to include whole foods and the science of convenience in processed foods to help us achieve both nutritional values and health objectives!!

While I am still digging for the answers–remember to take everything you know and understand to be true with a grain of salt. Do some discovering of yourself and what works best for your body–because no two bodies are alike!

Reach out with a comment or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions!

Protein Packed

Protein Packed

I am quickly learning that my curiosity about nutrition is very hard work which was not what I expected, but I have always enjoyed a challenge–and a challenge this certainly is.

Learning more about macro nutrients and how they impact the body has been an exciting ride–which I can’t seem to get off of–and today I am full of protein!

Protein is one of the important macro nutrients that we need to have for a healthy diet. Getting the right proteins and in the right amount is the trick.

Where do we get our protein, what are the best types of protein and how much is needed?

First–where do we get our protein?  I thought the easy answer was meat! Beef, chicken and pork are very good sources of protein, but they are not the only sources of high protein.

There is protein in dairy products like eggs, natural cheeses, yogurt, 2% milk, organic milks, and whey and casein protein powders (for protein shakes.)

Proteins can also be found in seafood like Halibut, Yellowfin Tuna, Salmon, Tilapia, Anchovies and Sardines–and in all kinds of beans: black beans, kidney beans, pinto beans and so on.

I was very surprised at the amount of proteins found in nuts and grains like almonds, walnuts, cashews, oats and brown rice. Who knew? Well, I think many people knew–but I didn’t or I wasn’t really paying attention.

How much protein does each person need?  If we remember that protein is needed to build and repair muscles, organs and our skin then it makes sense that we need a fair amount of that.

For a normally active person of normal weight 25-30% of your daily calories from protein would be a good amount. Once again, math will have to be involved in your plans.

That does not mean that I am advocating going out and having a couple of greasy hamburgers a day! While that may have a lot of protein–it also has a lot of other stuff that is not good for you!

Protein also has some magical powers if you are looking to lose weight. When you increase your protein the body’s metabolism increases–burning more calories faster–at the same time that you are feeling fuller and will then eat less of everything.  Magic.

On top of that, proteins help you build muscle mass, which will keep your metabolism at an optimal level to keep burning calories–even when you sleep!

The most exciting thing I have learned in recent days about proteins is that it helps create enzymes that not only repair muscles–especially after a workout–but it helps repair organ tissues.

There is a great deal of research that is showing that increasing your protein intake–as we get older especially–helps us lower blood pressure, and combat diabetes and since it helps maintain muscle–it keeps us stronger longer.

Can we over do it?  Of course, as with anything else–too much of a good thing is not always a good thing.  There is some evidence–although no real scientific proof yet–that if you have kidney disease, too much protein can be harmful.

But for a healthy person getting the right amount of protein each day can help you stay healthy, maintain a good weight, prevent muscle loss as we get older, and keep our metabolism working at optimal levels.

Most healthy women should have between 45 and 75 grams of protein a day and healthy men should have between 55 and 90 grams of protein a day.  The more active you are–the more protein you should have!

Living our best life is important to living a long healthy life–and being healthy and active is the key!

Think about how you can protein pack your days to a healthier you!

Leave a comment below or contact me on emptynestsavvy@gmail.com!

 

Our Surroundings Mirror Us

Our Surroundings Mirror Us

The world changes all the time and constantly, which is ironic, since most of us do not deal well with change.

Part of my journey–in writing this blog and learning more about nutrition and health and wanting to help others, and myself–is that I have gotten to communicate with a lot of people.

And while this week and beyond I am still going to pursue my goals and dreams and share them with you, I thought I would take a break from thinking about carbohydrates and proteins for one day to share something else.

I discovered something about people that I think I knew but had not truly thought about.  Our surroundings mirror us–sometimes in the worst way.

I’ve encountered several people that like me are trying to lose weight and live a more healthy life. People who are serious about nutrition and exercise. We are all on this journey to feel and look better and live a long healthy life.

I’ve also encountered people who are wanting the same things and looking for support but are unwilling–or terrified–to change.

I can completely relate to that.  It is scary to change, to let go of the past and move into the future and make changes. Especially when changes will affect those around us. And when we worry that those we love will not accept and love us back–as we make those changes.

I will share the perfect example–in my own life–and see if you can relate.  Before I began losing weight I felt bulky, swollen, and awkward. My house also had a lot of extra “stuff” in it. Papers and files and clothes and knick knacks.

The house was mirroring me!

My house was clean but full–if you’ve read some of my earlier posts you’ll know that one of my goals this year is to declutter and I’ve been making a great deal of progress!

More amazing still, the more I lightened my load at home, the lighter I became–quite literally.  And I am starting to see the connection for some.

So how do we shine up our mirrors so that what is reflected back is exactly what you want to see?

Decluttering the house–especially the kitchen–is a good place to start.  The more I learn about the good foods to eat–the more I fill my pantry with those and have replaced the processed foods we are no longer choosing to eat.

Another thing we should clean up are our thoughts and feelings–about ourselves. That mirror reflects not only us, but the us we are trying to hide.

Hurts and pain, sadness and anxieties are all part of the reflection–and sometimes we eat the wrong foods and don’t take care of ourselves to hide ourselves away–maybe to protect ourselves from our pasts or the fears of the future.

So for what it’s worth look at your surroundings and decide what you want to change.  Nothing stays the same–we can fight change or we can embrace it.

I think you’ll find–like I am learning about myself–that when you enjoy the changes in your life the mirror will reflect it.

Have a wonderful Monday! And comment below–let me know how letting go of things and the past can make your future strong!

 

Genuine Artificial Food

Genuine Artificial Food

As I was looking for the best carbohydrates I can find to provide complex sugars to give me energy I found a dark and confusing place that I am not sure I’ve completely recovered from–it is similar to Alice in Wonderland falling through the rabbit hole and finding a whole new upside down backwards world.

Like Alice, I became fascinated and then horrified about what I was learning and eventually finding my way back to the real world.

And since I am not very science minded–at least I don’t think so–I will try to explain my findings, or lack thereof.

So here it is.  Too many carbohydrates are bad because they break down into simple sugars too fast in our system creating a spike in sugar.

The body, in its infinite wisdom, produces a lot of insulin to bring the sugar levels back to normal, overcompensates with too much insulin and then we crash. We feel weak and tired.  

The body (mostly the liver) is working overtime to clean out the extra sugar and insulin.

Meanwhile, we begin to crave more sugar (or carbs) to make us feel better and most of us give in and have more carbs–putting us right back on the cycle of a spike and a crash.

At the same time, the body (on the inside) is experiencing stress from having to produce the insulin and fix itself and then clean itself out and that stress slows down and sometimes stops digestion–so the body stores all the extra stuff we did not use–as fat.

Like I said–a scary rabbit hole.  But our travels in the upside down world are not over, Alice–there’s more.

Most of the carbohydrates we consume are not only empty calories, as we have heard many nutrition gurus tell us, they are also made up of chemicals.

Chemicals our bodies cannot absorb or break down because the body cannot identify them as a carbohydrate or a protein or a vitamin. So these chemicals build up in the body–in our fat–and for many of us it creates disease or conditions and for others it just makes us feel blah.

Diabetes, IBS, heart disease, high blood pressure, gluten intolerance, foggy brain, undefined pain, allergies, unexplained inflammation, eczema, depression, chronic fatigue, cancer, autism and infertility to name a few are thought to be caused by chemicals in our food and our environment.

Now wait–I am not saying we should go out a boycott anything and everything because of chemicals. Chemicals have their place in the society we live in. And our bodies are wonderful machines that can filter out things or adapt to new environments.

Like I said–the rabbit hole can be fascinating and terrifying at the same time. A balance is what I am looking for.

Here is what I am doing to find that balance–I am reading all our food labels.  That in itself is a scary thing–but very eye opening! If a product has more than 5 ingredients I already know it could be trouble.

Here are a few things I try to minimize:

  1. Trans-Fat:  this is also called hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat. I’m not even sure what it is yet–but it is not real–it is chemically made.
  2. High Fructose Corn Syrup: a substitute for real sugar. Sugar is bad enough–the substitute, is worse. I feel the same about any artificial sweeteners.
  3. Artificial Colors, artificial sweeteners, artificial fillers: the name pretty much spells it out Alice!  It is genuine artificial–not real.
  4. Preservative: these are usually described on labels by their initials–MSG, BHT, BHA, TBHQ, etc–I can’t pronounce what they stand for but clearly a chemical compound.

So where is my balance?  I realize we cannot go crazy and completely eliminate all these things–we just don’t have to take it to an extreme.

We are eating more salads and fruits and vegetables and looking for the right amounts of macro nutrients our body needs.

What about labels for the fruits and vegetables and salads?  Well broccoli, whether organic or not, is real and doesn’t need a label–so I feel we are already better off than the bag of Hot Cheetos!

And at some point we need to get out of the rabbit hole or we will get stuck in the upside down backwards world!

Have I found the best Carbohydrates yet?  Not really–it’s a journey…and I will get back with you on that.  

In the meantime, I am going to read my labels and continue my search. I hope you’ll come along for the trip!

What have been your findings in your health journey with processed foods?  Comment below or send me your thoughts, comments and questions to emptynestsavvy@gmail.com

The Big Mac

The Big Mac

The more I learn about nutrition, the more interested and confused I become.  No wonder so many people try so many diets and either fail miserably or succeed for a short while and then fall of the wagon and fail.

Now don’t misunderstand…diets do work for the most part but they only work as long as you continue the diet–which long term for most people is very hard–because diets all eliminate something major that the body needs.

What I am learning is better is creating your own nutritional plan that works for you. Yes–I did say create…but you can also adopt a way of life that provides you all the nutrients you need without the deprivation of most diets out there.

When you do this and keep it up and include at least 30 minutes of exercise everyday you will lose weight, feel better and naturally be healthier.

In order to create (or adopt) the right nutritional plan for you, you have to understand the Macros–or as I call them “the Big Mac”.

As with most popular buzzwords of the day, I usually get them wrong and invent my own.

So the Big Mac, or Macros are really Macro-nutrients.  Those are the major categories of nutrients the body needs in big quantities to work. And work well.

Thankfully–for me–there are only three to remember: Proteins, Carbohydrates and Fats.

Here is a quick crash course on the Macros and how much your body needs in order to be healthy.

Proteins:  These are the building blocks of, well, everything. It is the main thing in all our tissues, organs, bones, enzymes, blood and hair. Everything is made of proteins and proteins also help repair them–like our muscles after a workout.

Proteins can be found in most meats and dairy products but also in legumes and grains. Getting enough proteins and the right type of proteins is essential.

Carbohydrates: Carbs give our bodies the needed energy we need to function. Carbs are also what makes us feel full so we don’t over eat the wrong kind of stuff.  Americans have a love-hate relationship with carbs.

Because all carbs are broken down into glucose by the body for energy–the wrong kind of carbs (simple sugars) will give you a great zing of energy followed by the slump.  The right kind of carbs can give our bodies the more leveled output of energy that lasts longer and doesn’t make us feel like we let the air out of the balloon.

Fats: Believe it or not fats are very necessary in our bodies.  They have a bad reputation for causing heart disease and obesity etc.  but are very necessary for the body to use with our hormones, nervous system, skin and hair health and even as insulation and cushion for the body and our organs.

As with Carbohydrates the wrong kind–or too much of a good thing–can be bad. We need insulation–but not too much insulation.

The big question is how much of each do we need to live healthy, lose unwanted weight, or build muscle.

The big answer of course is–it depends.

Each person’s needs and tolerance will be different–that is why most diets don’t work long term because each person needs to customize them to their own needs and body reactions.

Here is a general guideline to start with and adjust as your needs change.  Figure out how many calories you need to reach your goal. For example, if I want to lose weight–and I do–I want to stay at or under 1400 calories a day.

(The internet has many calculators you can use–as do most diet books–to figure out how many calories you need based on your gender, height, current weight and how much activity you have in your life.)

Once you know the calories you are aiming for–a simple method to allocate your calories is by getting 40% of your calories from Proteins, 40% from Carbohydrates and 20% from Fats.

Based on my number I would need 560 calories from Protein, 560 calories from Carbohydrates and 280 calories from Fat.  Add 64 oz of water a day and moderate exercise and viola! a new me!

Easy right? No…absolutely not easy. And that is my point today. Being healthy is hard work, but it can be done and it is so worth it! You have to take the time to do the numbers and then make the numbers work for you into a lifestyle choice that gets you to and keeps you where you want to be.

We want to live better, faster and smarter–and the Big Mac will get you there…but you have to put in the work!
Have a great day today! Reach out with a comment about your Big Mac or email me at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com with your thoughts and questions!

You Animals!

You Animals!

We are all animals! We may be the most social and intelligent animals on the planet—but animals nonetheless.

When thinking about our nutritional needs I reach back into my study of anthropology days.

So here is a quick lesson:

“modern” human beings have been on earth as far as we know for about 315 thousand years. Thank goodness those folks figured out how to survive so that all this time later we are here to write about them!

How did they survive? They kept it simple. Our theory is that the first peoples were nomadic which means they moved around all the time.

And by moved- I mean literally physically moved on foot with their possessions on their back. Kinda like backpacking through Europe without the cool travel guides.

Where did the move to? Well, wherever the food was. And by food I mean animals and wild plants that were in bloom. They ate whatever they could catch or harvest and they drank water from lakes, rivers, streams etc.

These people—our old ancestors—were healthy and fit. They exercised–through walking and hunting–and like animals they used their food for fuel in the body. The body instinctively knew how to use it efficiently and store some for times of scarcity—as fat in the body.

In this way we are just like animals.

Over time, many thousands of years, man found fire, taught themselves to farm, developed different lifestyles, settled, created cities, established centers of trade and commerce, learned to travel by different means and discovered spices.

Through these cultural and social changes–food changed from being not just a source of fuel and survival but a source of comfort, well being and status.

But the animal within us remains. The animal inside is still breaking down the food we give it to use for fuel and storing some of it for when the scarcity comes.

Unfortunately, 310,000 years later we don’t have to look for our food. We live in a beautifully abundant world. A beautifully intelligent world! A world full of convenience–full of processed and artificially colored, flavored,  and shaped foods–and the drive through windows from which to obtain it. And we are killing the animal which was never made to break down all the chemicals and mixtures we have invented to simulate food.

That does not mean I recommend eating tree bark. But it does mean we need to be more mindful of what we eat and how we eat and how we use that fuel.

If we did not see every meal as a celebration to overload ourselves on the abundance available to us but to honor the function that food has in our lives–as the fuel that gives us energy–we would be as a species, in a much better place.

I can just imagine what my cousins of 200,000 years ago would have looked like and felt like if sugar had been discovered that much sooner.  They would have never made it across the continents to create the different nations we are today!

Those ancestors were smarter–or at least more practical–in the foods they ate.

So how do we marry the two time periods of now and then to benefit the animal we are today?

In my humble opinion, these are the steps I am taking–which I started late in life–but which I hope will please the animal and improve my health.

  1. I am eating less–we intelligent humans have already figured out serving sizes of every food we have and the calories included in those servings.  Instead of eating the whole bag of potato chips or carton of ice cream–have just a serving. I know at first the servings will seem small but I am fueling my body not trying to give it all the food it will need into the next millennia.
  2. I am eating better–science is a beautiful thing and because of science we have the ability to feed ourselves without the scarcity or lack of food in our societies.  Each of us has a choice in the foods we use to fuel the body. I am choosing the best and most natural foods–that I enjoy–that will provide my body with the energy I need to perform, heal and survive in our current world.
  3. I am drinking more water–maintaining the proper hydration for the animal within helps the body regulate everything–cell growth, organ function, muscle repair and hunger control.  When all that is happening it is easier to eat less and eat better because I am not craving the empty calories that do not serve me.
  4. I am exercising more–survival no longer means walking miles and miles in search of food. Survival is more about being able to survive in a society that values the exchange of goods and services for money that is used in the exchange of more goods and services. Foods of all varieties–and prepared for us by thousands of different restaurants–being a major good and service we entertain ourselves with.

So in the end, perhaps it is not my particular DNA in my animal body that will advance the species for another 300,000 years–but my example on caring for the animal that will be helpful.

Do what is right for your body instead of what is easy. Embrace the animal within you!  

And have fun with it!

Let’s Get Moving

Let’s Get Moving

No matter what nutritional plan you are on–I don’t like the word diet–none of them will work unless you include two things: water and movement.

Notice I did not say exercise. Not everyone can participate or likes or even wants to have a specific exercise routine. But all of us do move.

At least we should be moving to stay healthy, flexible, and strong. And to burn the calories we take in everyday from our nutritional plan. If we are not burning calories–our body stores them as fat–in the event we need them in the future.

If we don’t need those calories in the future and we do not burn them–they stay with us–forever.

Here is some good news:  Our bodies at rest do burn calories!  So we can basically just BE and we are burning calories.

(This calculator on the internet can give you and idea of how many calories you burn at rest each day.)

Here is the bad news: Our bodies at rest do not burn enough on a daily basis based on our consumption rate to keep us at a healthy body weight.

Of course, the more you move, the more you burn!  

So I do encourage everyone to embrace an exercise plan. Regardless of your age you can find an activity that you can incorporate into your life as exercise.

Walking, for example, is a wonderful exercise. It gets you moving, the heart pumping and the oxygen flowing in your body. There are countless gadgets you can use to track how much you walk–from telephone apps to watches, bracelets and clip devices you can have on you!

They count your distance in steps, miles or kilometers and can tell you how many calories you have burned each day! Some of these devices will even monitor your heart rate and whether or not you have climbed a flight of stairs!  Amazing!

Your goal would be to walk a little bit more each day than you did the day before to get some real movement into your life.

And, we shouldn’t underestimate all the other movement we do in a day too! Housework, gardening, mowing the lawn, laundry–that all counts (and burns calories!) especially if we are bending, lifting, walking, and climbing to do them!

A word about calories–Calories are a way to measure energy. We are, as humans, made up of energy. Calories is just the scientific measure of the energy in and energy out that makes up our physical, working bodies.

Anyone or any plan that tells you calories don’t matter when trying to balance your healthy intake and outtake of nutritional needs is not being completely honest with you. It matters–because YOU matter!

And so, the more you move–the more your body will ask you to move. And the more you listen to your body the better your relationship with your body will be.

After all–the longest relationship you will have on this earth is your relationship to yourself…and it is a very important one! We should make our relationship to ourselves a meaningful one.

Exercise and movement are one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy–in body, soul and mind.

Find your movement–whatever that is. Get moving and find people that will move along with you! You will be pleasantly surprised how much better you will feel and how much your body will perform. And along the way you just might help others get moving too!

We only have one life folks!  Let’s get moving!

However you decide to move today–have fun!

 

Drink More Water

Drink More Water

Water is the basis of all life. Most experts will agree that our bodies are at least 60% water.  For those trying to live healthier and watch our weight–water consumption becomes a big deal.

Among other things water helps maintain balance in our body fluids and organs. It helps energize muscle and even the brain. Water serves to keep our body clean of toxins. And water can help us look pretty or handsome.

Yet many of us–myself included until I realized what I was doing to myself–don’t drink enough water!

In my search to discover what was the “right” amount of water to drink…I found many different opinions. Here are some of the most popular guidelines I found–

  1. Drink 64 oz of water a day. The old tried and true 8-8oz glasses of water per person.
  2. Each person should drink their body weight in ounces divided by 2.

Yeah, I thought the same thing–math!  Why does everything need math? Ok so I looked for an example so I could understand it. If a woman weighs 130 lbs, divided by two means she should drink 65 oz of water per day. If a man weighs 210 lbs, then he would need to drink 105 oz of water a day.  

Makes sense that a larger container (a bigger person) would need more water to maintain a healthy ratio in the body.

I then thought–is that even possible? I already drink a lot of water throughout the day–I am sure I am getting more than enough.  

I set off to experiment.  I counted the number of ounces of water I drink a day, and was surprised to find that I was only drinking 30 to 34 oz of water a day! By medical standards I was dehydrated!

This was serious! So I started measuring and counting my ounces each day and setting my goal at 64 oz,  and it took me 3 weeks to get used to drinking that much water!

Now it is coming as second nature.  And I got an added bonus! I love added bonuses!!!!

I lost 4 pounds! I wasn’t even trying–I was just concentrating on drinking water! Seems like just drinking the right amount of water was balancing out my system a little bit–most likely washing out the salt that makes us retain water that should be helping the body eliminate toxins!

I am so excited about this discovery!  And I want to share with you some tips on how to increase your water intake!

Tip#1  Drink one to two glasses of water when you get up in the morning! Your body has been resting for 6-8 hours and is thirsty.

Tip#2 Use a pitcher to measure and keep track of the water you are drinking for the day. When the pitcher is empty–you have reached your goal.

Tip#3 Drink water before each meal and sip water throughout the day, especially if you are doing anything physical like exercising, gardening, cleaning the house, etc.

Tip#4 Try a water tracker app on your phone! They are fun!

Tip#5 Add a slice of lemon or lime to the water for a citrusy flavor.

Now I know, like I know that you are going to have some reservations. So let me put your mind at ease.

Does coffee, juice, and soda pop count as water, after all they are liquid?  No they don’t–because they contain caffeine, sugar and other chemicals that dehydrate the body.

How about alcohol?  While a Margarita sounds absolutely delicious–it also dehydrates.

Can I drink too much water and hurt my body?  No. Most of us have a hard time drinking enough water throughout the day without having to worry about drowning by water bottle.

What if I am in the bathroom all day?  That does happen–for the first 2 or 3 days, after that the body seemed to just feel good in its new wet floaty environment.

So drink more water folks–it’s good for you, it makes you feel good, it makes you look good and you might find a few free bonuses along the way!

What have been your challenges in staying hydrated?  Comment below and have a great hydrated day!

 

To Diet or Not to Diet

To Diet or Not to Diet

As I have been studying and learning and experimenting with different “diet” options–I have come to a profound conclusion:  Diets don’t work.

I know, most of you knew this already.  That is not to say that all the diet books and experts and suggestions are wrong. Diets don’t work because people that try them–me–do not take our lifestyles into account.

Diets are part of our lifestyles–and our cultures.  As Americans we embrace food like–well hot dogs and apple pie! We celebrate the diverse cultures in this nation by going to Chinese on Tuesdays and Mexican on Thursdays.

In between we eat all the “stuff” we buy at the grocery store that is so convenient and instant and tastes so good because it is processed and full of chemicals that mimic salty, sugary, soft, crunchy, flavorful yummy stuff.

Never mind that most is artificial and full of preservatives so they can sit in the warehouse, then the store, then our pantries–until we are ready to eat them.

And yet, we want  to be healthy and fit. So we go on a diet, we join the gym and we rock it! We lose 10, 15, sometimes 20 pounds–look great–feel great, and then stop. We go back to eating all the things we “gave up” during the diet, we stop going to the gym.

Slowly but surely the pounds come back and sometime they bring additional friends–making us heavier and in worse shape than before.

What we forgot was our lifestyle–not the foods. Our diets are not something we can do for a while and then we can stop when we reach a specific goal. Diets were never meant to be “a temporary eating phenomenon”.

A diet, by definition, is the sum of the food consumed by an organism or group. A noun.  Dieting–the verb–is the deliberate selection of food to control body weight or nutrient intake. So we verb the heck out of ourselves!

The question becomes are we happy living like this? In a constant argument with ourselves about our food choices. Feeling bloated and swollen and uncomfortable in our own skin.

I was not. So I have been experimenting with all kinds of diets to see which one “fit”. Of course, they didn’t “fit”–not for long anyway.

If you are in your 40s or 50s, like me, or beyond you know this will not work–because we have been experimenting like this most of our lives.

What I failed to admit to myself (because I am pretty sure I have known this all along) is that is not the food–it’s the lifestyle. The lifestyle brings with it the food.

As part of the master plan I have been working on is a major change in lifestyle. I have decided that I will eat a scientifically researched and proven healthy diet of what my body needs to function and thrive, in the amounts that it needs and nothing more. The optimal word is NEEDS.

Some, I know, are with me on this journey–they have already accepted and embraced–what I am coming to know as truth. Others know this to be true–but are just not ready yet. Its ok…

Having this lifestyle means that I am going to respect my meal times, the portion sizes of my meals and the foods I will include in meals. And everything else is unnecessary.

My lifestyle has to change, so my foods will change, so I can live the healthy and fit life I want to live.

In the next few posts, I will take you through part of my journey and why this lifestyle sounds better and feels better each day!

Don’t forget to love yourself today! And have fun!

Going To The Dogs

Going To The Dogs

We are dog people.  Although we had a dog growing up–and I loved him–when I left for college, I left the dog behind with the folks. It seemed natural that it would be mom’s dog.

As I grew older–I always felt I was not a pet person, a pet is just so much work!  I enjoyed other people’s dogs, but was just not ready to commit.

After I had children, my kids wanted a pet so we started small.  The fish, of course, all died. The girls were crazy about their hermit crabs… until they died. The hamster we had for a while bit one of the girls–and it eventually died. We had a rabbit–that, you know, died.

So when they started asking for a puppy–I was NOT on board. Clearly we were not good with animals. But they pleaded and promised and finally we struck a deal.

I promised I would buy them a puppy, if they both got straight As in school that semester. They were both good students–and usually made good marks–but I could tell they were getting “bored” with school, so I felt pretty secure that everything would not be an A, maybe a high B.

God, of course, had other plans–not only did they both get straight As, they got very high As, excelling at everything!  And a promise is a promise.

I bought a puppy.  A white, female, toy poodle we named Cici. She was the runt of the litter, but was certified–and so darn cute. The girls adored Cici!  They carried her around and spoke to her and fed her and took her out to train her to do her business. And everything as they say was perfect–a happy ending.

Until the 4th day.  On the 4th day that Cici was part of our family my youngest came to me and was sad.  I–in my ignorant bliss–asked her why she was sad? She said she was sad because Cici was sad.

Alarm bells started going off in my head.  I went to the dog’s bed and there was Cici, completely lethargic, she could barely raise her head and did not want to eat or drink.

I called my mother to please come watch the girls while I ran off to the Veterinarian–praying the whole way that we were not about to lose another beloved pet.

The Veterinarian took charge right away, thank goodness, and gave Cici an IV and ran some blood tests. After about 3 hours, Cici was back to normal–playful and happy.  

The diagnosis: Cici was hypoglycemic and would need constant care until she was bigger, stronger and able to level out her blood sugars with food.  I had no idea what this meant–because at that moment, I was also handed the bill–$1200.00!

Her “constant care” turned out to be a feeding schedule that we had to maintain, making sure she ate every 2 hours and also had a teaspoon of Nutri-cal paste which came in tubes that were $15.00 a pop!

Mom had to help me on several nights when I just could not get up to do the 2 hour feedings–and the feedings during the day when I had to go to work! It was a nightmare…and then soon enough it passed…Cici not only survived but thrived for years with us.  Until she ran away or maybe someone took her—she was a very pretty dog!

Since that time we have had several dogs in our lives.  When the girls left the nest to go to college–they left the dogs behind with me.  It seemed only logical that now they were mom’s dogs.

Me–the reluctant dog owner–who was afraid to get too attached to these animals that I knew would one day break my heart. Yet here I am, the dog owner.

I have turned into the strangest version of myself talking to these dogs and having complete conversations with them. They are my friends. And they are fiercely loyal.  And while I like to play at being tough–I love them to pieces.

The youngest daughter–in college now–recently adopted a new puppy! The family’s newest addition! (pictured above)  I don’t know how they are faring in that small apartment but they both seem very happy with the other. 

We are dog people. It seems that this family has completely gone to the dogs!

50 Things I Love About Being 50

50 Things I Love About Being 50

I have only been 50 for a couple of months–but so far things are pretty good.  Here is a compilation of 50 things I love about being 50:

  1. I can now say I have known certain people for over 30 (or 40) years–because I have!
  2. I am no longer shy about meeting new people.
  3. I see things differently than I did 5 and 10 years ago–or even last year.
  4. It is acceptable to not know where your car keys are.
  5. People tell me I don’t look 50!
  6. I have the time to take better care of myself.
  7. I have found a new appreciation for sunrises.
  8. I don’t have to make excuses anymore about why I go to sleep by 8pm.
  9. I am old enough not to want to over do any work out session.
  10. I am young enough to still stretch myself and reach higher goals in my workouts.
  11. I cook less–because I am watching what I eat.
  12. I love this new world filled with technology.
  13. I love that I can call one of my kids to explain the technology to me.
  14. No one worries that I am driving too slow anymore.
  15. It is okay to be lost–even with GPS.
  16. No one cares that I don’t drink anymore.
  17. I enjoy talking to my dogs and am sure they understand what I am saying.
  18. No one expects me to wear high heels.
  19. Less makeup is more.
  20. With Netflix–I no longer need cable.
  21. The 40’s were so last year!
  22. I am closer to retirement.
  23. I don’t mind if I am late to places and events.
  24. The music from my youth is still the best music.
  25. My gray hairs grow in a streak across my head.
  26. But I am still young enough to want to color them!
  27. I can do something ridiculous and call it a “mid-life crisis”.
  28. At this age I know money doesn’t buy happiness.
  29. I no longer sweat the small stuff.
  30. I know God is always with me–and He has a sense of humor.
  31. I love that I can name all four of the Beatles.
  32. I realize time is limited and precious.
  33. The empty nest is not as scary and sad as I thought it would be.
  34. I’ve lived long enough to see the world change in amazing ways!
  35. I’m not afraid of the dark, lightning or the boogie man anymore.
  36. Happiness doesn’t seem so hard to reach.
  37. I feel strongly about my opinions.
  38. I know my opinions don’t matter to everyone.
  39. Things seem funnier to me now.
  40. I don’t care what others opinions of ME are.
  41. I get discounts at some restaurants!
  42. It is easier to forgive others.
  43. It is easier to forgive myself.
  44. I love that I don’t know everything.
  45. I love that I know more than I thought I did.
  46. I love that I still have years to learn more.
  47. There is no guilt in falling asleep in front of the TV.
  48. If the dishes don’t get washed tonight, they’ll get washed tomorrow.
  49. I enjoy eating well and exercising–even through others criticisms.
  50. Other people’s criticisms don’t matter anymore.

Turning 50 happened much quicker than I expected it to…but I am enjoying it and looking forward to the next 50!  

The biggest lesson I have learned in the first 5 decades of my life?

Those people that matter don’t mind if you are yourself, and the people who mind you are yourself, don’t matter!

Enjoy your years–we don’t know how many we will be given.  No matter what age you are embrace the life in your years!

Comment below and share your thoughts on getting older.

 

I Love Mondays

I Love Mondays

I love Mondays….I didn’t always love Mondays, this is a new love I have found.  I used to dread Mondays for hours on Sunday Nights and getting through the first 16 hours of every Monday was pure torture until I could go to sleep and wake up on Tuesday.

I used to love Tuesdays.  Why? Because it wasn’t MONDAY.

It makes absolutely no sense, but in a strange kind of way it does.  It was a mantra I had playing in my head. And I learned it as a child–from Garfield.

I used to read the comics in the Sunday paper whenever I could get my hands on them.  And they were great! Garfield, of course, was one of my favorites! I mean who doesn’t like Garfield?

The snarky orange cat always outsmarted his human Jon and he was sarcastic and goofy. What is not to love?

Garfield hated Mondays!  Many times he would think in his bubble thoughts: “I hate Mondays!”  Right there with you my friend! So I grew up with that mantra and I hated Mondays too.

Ridiculous right?  Imagine though, how many things we do the way we do because of an old mantra we are carrying around?  

What’s worse–imagine that the mantra sitting on your left shoulder is not even yours, but one you adopted from someone else–or in my case–a cartoon cat!?

So just to mess with my head–and the others in my life, I created a new mantra:  I love Mondays!

The first time I said it out loud to my husband one Monday morning over coffee–he just looked at me.  The dogs looked at me too–like I had lost my mind.

Even I didn’t believe myself–but that was part of the experiment. Each following Monday I made sure to tell at least one new person how much I loved Mondays.  

People’s reactions are hilarious. Most just get a dumbfounded look on their face and laugh or walk away like I have the chicken pox. Some people though, caught me by surprise and asked me: why?

I had not thought this far out in my experiment so I was not prepared…but very quickly came up with this:

“I love Mondays because it’s a new week and everything that did not get done last week is in the past–and just because we don’t finish something doesn’t mean the world is going to come to an end! The sun still rises and we get a new clean slate every Monday.”

Total garbage right? I am here to tell you that the people that got the explanation–bought it. And the more I said it–the better it sounded and the more I believed it myself.

Let me explain the outcome of this little experiment.  I no longer waste precious Sunday hours worrying about what Monday may bring.  I no longer grind my teeth through my Mondays waiting for Tuesdays to make things better.

In fact, I would say that Mondays are one of my most productive days because I plan my whole week and put the wheels in motion for what has to be done.

Also, it is true that the world will not come to an end if not everything on my “to do” list does not get completed. Sometimes those things did not even need to be on the list– because they just weren’t that important anyway.

Bonus–many of my friends are now loving their Mondays too!  It was the mantra.

Sorry Garfield–I love Mondays!

Could the way you look at something be clouding your judgement about it?  Is there a mantra that you are carrying around that you would be better off changing?  Share your thoughts with me in the comments below!

Enjoy your Monday! I will!

 

Surprises

Surprises

There are many surprises that come into our lives. Some are good surprises and some are bad.

I don’t like surprises myself because I like to know the who, what, where, when and why of everything so I can PLAN it.

Yet from time to time, I come across a surprise that impacts me greatly.

I’m not talking about the someone popping out of a cake surprise–I’m talking about the kind of surprise you receive when you find out your life has been impacted by someone else or that you impacted someone’s life by a single act of kindness and it just grabs at your heart.

I had a surprise like that just this week.

There is a person that I don’t know very well but who I love and who I have a very high respect for–that passed away this week.

As a matter of fact, I have never met this person face to face, but I have known about her most of my life and carried her with me as I carry many people I care for.

It is a hard thing to explain.

I am, among other things, the family historian. I keep the family tree, many of the family stories, some of the family secrets and as many pictures of family members–past and present–that I can get my hands on.

This has been a self appointed role–not one that anyone said I had to take on. And I do this for my own pleasure and curiosity.

I don’t do this to judge family members’ lives or the choices they have made–after all, who am I to cast the first stone?

In researching a branch of my mother’s family 4 months ago, I found my mother’s sister. My mom is 75 years old and her sister, 77.

Through the twists in life and other circumstances they had lost touch with each other, both migrating to this wonderful country from their native land at different times under a different set of events.

They had not spoken to each other in over 60 years when they were both barely young teenagers in another country and another time.

They were able to reconnect, and I believe, both were very happy to have found each other again. Many phone calls, emails, cards, pictures and gifts have been exchanged over the course of these months.

For me, I found a whole new set of people to call family and my dear aunt had a daughter exactly my age. She and I communicate frequently thanks to the miracle of technology.

I feel very close to my cousin and care for her deeply–we have become not just family but friends.

Through them both, mother and daughter, I have been able to collect a few more family stories and information to fill in the blanks that I had–they have indulged me in my hobby.

Unfortunately, my aunt had cancer.  In this short time that I came to know this woman, I grew to admire her strength, her resolve and her courage.  She made sure to be strong when speaking to my mother over the phone because she did not want to worry her “little” sister.

My aunt and I shared the exchange of one long letter–one in which I told her all about my life and her reply that provided acceptance, encouragement and love.  I was in the middle of sending her another letter that I will no longer be able to send.

But a beautiful surprise came to me in a letter from her, transcribed by her daughter–my cousin, my friend–because she was too weak to write herself.

It was information about a family business back in the old country and how the family was involved in it.  She had told me she wanted me to know the story and she had promised to send it to me for my collection of family lore. The letter was written and put in the mail to me on the day she left this earth.

Sometimes, we do something simple, say something to someone, offer a smile and it changes another life.

A selfless act–a beautiful gift–and a surprise. She grabbed my heart as all good surprises are wont to do. It has impacted me greatly as I am sure her whole life impacted others–regardless of time and space.

May the Lord keep her in the palm of his hand, until we meet again.

The Promise of Spring

The Promise of Spring

I am very lucky to live in an area of Texas they call the Coastal Bend.  I am driving distance from the beach and the neighborhood where I live in on the outskirts of the city surrounded by farmland.

Spring in the Coastal Bend is gorgeous. Sometimes cool foggy mornings burst into beautiful blue and orange sunrises and in the late afternoon golden sunsets turn into starry skies.

All around us is new growth that appears spontaneously, bluebonnets in parks, school campuses and along the highway make way for orange blossoms on the citrus trees. The dormant grass begins to green as the plants and oak trees burst from one day to the next in new leaves.

And the wonder of it all to me is that it seems to happen completely effortlessly.

The bluebonnets bloom right before the last cold snap and the oak trees begin to leaf three weeks before the first hot day. They don’t have a calendar, they don’t have a plan to follow–without any effort they appear to let us know that the promise of Spring is upon us.

As I watch all the changes around me I can feel the excitement and the newness of it all. I realized that spring is our opportunity each year to refresh, renew and grow.

That has been my thing this year–to make changes for the better, to learn and continue to grow, to look towards the future.  

The more I thought of it, I realized that like with this spring–my efforts, my changes and my growth as a person have been effortless.

Really, all the changes that have occurred in life were effortless–because life happens–whether we are ready for it or not.  The changes in our lives happen every single day, in subtle ways and in bursts of action.

Nothing stays the same or has a specific timetable. Like the spring–the plants come forth when the time is right.

I noticed another thing.  Everything in my life that I “forced” to be on my timetable, or to go by my “plan” usually went wrong. The lesson I am learning from Mother Nature is that nothing has to be forced.

Have you ever noticed that if you try to force something it just doesn’t come out the way you want it–or worse yet–it comes out exactly the way you wanted it–only to realize you really didn’t want it?

And so you go through a very cold winter in your life. Some winters can be mild and some winters can be very very harsh.  But in the end the Spring returns, it always does, in its own time, effortlessly.

Lessons come in strange ways. Sometimes in adversity, sometimes through mistakes, sometimes a lesson is learned through the promise of Spring.

Enjoy the season and enjoy your life–let it unfold and have fun with it!

Organizing Your Thoughts

Organizing Your Thoughts

On this great journey I am traveling–I have really enjoyed organizing my life.  I have felt that it has been a right of passage, in a way, that I have arrived at this moment in time.

The years of growing up, growing smarter, and growing children were extremely busy–full of things to do and places to be–years. And we made it, we have arrived!

Looking back on those years makes me smile and gives me a warm feeling.  Even during difficult times–as life is wont to send you–I remember the good parts and the lessons I’ve learned.

Bad times–and rain clouds, make the good time and the rainbows brighter.

So as I organize my house and my life, I also take time out to organize my thoughts.

I imagine that I am not the only person whose mind is going nonstop and who has running lists of ideas and to dos traveling through her (or his) brain all the time. A brain who when not taken care of properly will wake me up in the middle of the night with thoughts and thoughts and thoughts.

In organizing my thoughts I have been journaling.  Not a “dear diary” kind of journaling–but more of a stream of consciousness–in notes to myself.

I began journaling quite by accident.  I few years ago, I had a garage sale because our family was making a big move to another city–the one we are in now.  I met a lovely lady who went to garage sales and bought “stuff” and resold it in an antique resale consignment shop as a hobby. She bought a few things from us and then spent a few hours chatting with us.  

I have to admit it made an otherwise boring garage sale enjoyable. And of course I never expected to see her again.

She came back the next day and gave me a small gift bag. She said she enjoyed our conversation so much she wanted to give me a little something.

Inside the gift bag was a blank journal.  She inscribed it for me on the inside cover and it inspired me to write in it.  

In it and in my other journals I organize my thoughts–and by organizing them I mean I just let it flow.

Organizing doesn’t always mean alphabetizing, putting things in numerical order, organizing by size, color or category. Organizing can be putting things the way they make sense for you.  

It is a wonderful thing to be organized.  It has helped me manage my time, my goals, my house, my meals, my grocery shopping and many other things.  

I am enjoying “getting it all together”–but I know my thoughts will always be a free forming flow of some connected and some not connected ideas. Trying to organize them would be fruitless.

Journaling has allowed me to capture thoughts and lists and ideas that I come up with and somehow, miraculously they organize themselves. One leads to another and questions I have on any particular day finds its answer in a future writing.  It is a miraculous process.

If you feel you have multiple thoughts going through your mind that contradicts other thoughts, try writing them down and letting it all flow…I think you will find that our disorganized and confusing thoughts actually have a time, place and direction for us.

Follow where they take you, there is an organization to them. And while you are journaling remember to have fun with it!

 

Creating the Home You Want

Creating the Home You Want

I am learning that decluttering is an ongoing process.  Although I have decluttered my house A LOT…I still have a long way to go.

In the process of going through things and keeping what we really love, we are also creating spaces in which we are comfortable.  After all, our home is our haven. While we enjoy having friends and family over for visits our primary goal is not to have a showplace but a comfortable space where anyone that comes will feel at home.

Of course, getting everything to look and feel this way is a work in progress and a very large organizational goal.

Each room should be decluttered and should focus on the function of the room.  For example, we should not have dishes in the bedroom or a hair brush in the kitchen.  

Here are my tips to organizing your home:

Kitchen:  The kitchen should be light, airy and clean.  There should be a place for all the pots, pans, dishes, cups, utensils, and pantry items.  Clearing off the counters of unused appliances, jars and other miscellaneous items will help your kitchen seem cleaner and larger.   If all your kitchen accessories don’t have a specific home or a place, then you have too much stuff in your kitchen.

Your kitchen is the heart of the home.  This is where most people gather and where memories are made.  Give yourself the space to make them.

Your kitchen is also where we prepare food and eat our meals.  It should be a place that is clean, bright and comforting. When we eat in a relaxed atmosphere we digest better and we feel better!  

Living Areas:  Our family room is where we entertain ourselves and others.   It is not a formal space, but strives to be one of comfort. Comfortable chairs and tables within arms reach make it easy to sit back with a cold drink or a snack and give attention to the people there and not the things.   

The living room is where we live in our down time, where we can relax, laugh, watch T.V. and play games.  When you are organizing your living room or family room, think about the activities that take place there and make sure there is designated furniture or items that enhance that not that just fill up the space.

The Home Office:  Not all homes have a home office–some have an office space but either way this is the home command center.  And while this is where I “work” at home, it is possible to make it a comfortable and functional area. A desk is essential as is your computer and a printer/scanner if you need one.  

Organizing a home office is imperative because this is the space that can get out of control–at least for me–very fast!  This is where the paper lives or better said–where it lives for a short time until you decide what to do with it. (See my tips for organizing paper here.)

So for my purposes–and I highly recommend one–your office should also include a shredder.  It is one of my favorite machines in the house!

Our office is a reflection of what we do there–pay bills, write, be creative and read.  Other than your desk, you may want to have a small sofa or comfy chair, a bookshelf and a place to keep important papers–in an organized system of course!

Bathrooms:  I have found that one of the smallest spaces in our home can contain the most “stuff”–read junk!  Not junk that is just to be thrown away but that should be addressed.

When I decluttered the bathrooms, I found bottles and bottles and bottles of shampoo, creams, moisturizer, hair products, vitamins, etc.  What helped me tremendously was to stop buying more of these items and using all that I have to 1) stop adding to the madness and 2) create space.

To organize the bathroom–treat it like a bathroom in a nice hotel. Keep it spotless and free of bottles and bathroom items on the sink top.  Use the things you need to use and put them away immediately. Wipe everything down each day (takes me about 20 seconds) and it will always look ready for its functions.

I’ve left the best for last—

Bedrooms: Again, like in a nice hotel–think sleek, clean, and functional. Keep your area free of extra paper, clothes, and shoes.  Our bedrooms is where our body, mind and spirit come to relax and rest after a day of our hurried run around lives. It is our quiet place. Create a space that is organized and can fulfill a restful experience for yourself.  After all we are worth it.

Organizing your home is a huge task–but one that is satisfying and will ultimately reflect who you are, what you find important, and how you want to live your life.

Enjoy the journey and have fun with it!

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

Penny Wise Dollar Foolish

In organizing our computer files and our paper…I thought the next logical area of our lives was our money.  This may not be the post you think it will be though.

I won’t be giving you advice on budgeting or on how to save for retirement or that next big vacation.

Money is a touchy an highly emotionally charged topic.  There are thousands of articles and posts and ideas about how to make money, make extra money, invest money, manage money, spend money wisely and many other things you can do with money.

There are also a thousand ideas about the good money can do and the evil money can create.  

Like I said–money is a highly charged subject.  What I am talking about here is the respect of money–having control of your money so it does not control you.

I have been very fortunate to have a healthy respect for money, and to have been given direction by a very intelligent person. I am not greedy, I work hard, I save, and I pay all my bills on time.  I’ve made money mistakes and I have fixed them.

Not everyone has a relationship with their money like that. And so many people feel “disorganized” when it comes to their money. There is always more month at the end of the money because of the decisions we make.

If you really think about it money is just something we exchange for something else. Simple.

So here are my suggestions on organizing your money. Make an honest living and collect your money. Save some and spend some, but don’t spend more than you make.

Of the amount you spend, make sure you are generous with people who need it more than you do. The money you give away usually comes back to you doubled.

And my final piece of advice on organizing your money:

Don’t pretend you don’t understand money,or how you never have enough.  We make choices everyday that disorganized our financial lives.

Today, start fresh, make the choices that will lead to an organized financial life. Like organizing your computer files and the paper in your life, organizing your financial life takes work–but once you set up a system–you just have to maintain it.

Money comes and money goes. Enjoy it, save it and share it–every step of the way!

Follow me on Facebook and on my Pinterest page and have fun!  

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Paper, Paper, Everywhere

Now that I have a set schedule for keeping my electronic files and folders organized and backed up and safe–it is time to attack the next phase of organizing—paper.

At one time, paper was a wonderful invention! It allowed us mere humans to write down our thoughts, our histories, create our art and our personal stories among a myriad of other things.

Somewhere along the way, though, we had so much written down on paper and everything became so important to keep that we started–and for many of us–are still drowning in paper!

Now there is paper and then there is paper–and believe it or not we categorize our paper in the back of our heads: junk, reading materials, records, and memorabilia.

There are really only three ways to take care of our paper: we can get rid of it, scan it and keep the paper electronically (to be able to get rid of it), or keep it.

To get rid of papers that have any identifying information I suggest getting a shredder–it has become a very good friend to me–I call my shredder Rosie.

Here is how you can organize your paper.   

Junk. There is a great deal of paper in our lives right now that we can really just throw away. Grab a plastic bag and go to town.  All the junk paper in your office, bedroom, kitchen table, counters and any other flat surface in your home can go. Old receipts, advertisements, junk mail, take out menus, empty envelopes and the like fall into this category.

Reading Materials. Magazines and newspapers also that are piling up because you haven’t had a chance to read them in our busy runaround lives–should be walking out of your home right into the recycle bin. Books:  we have so many books in our lives. Keep the ones you love–and give away (or sell) the rest.

Just by taking care of those two categories of paper you will feel lighter.

Records and Memorabilia. Our records and our memorabilia are harder categories to take care of. Here is an easy solution–and this is what I did.  I will warn you that this is not a popular solution and some of your family members (or your dog) may look at you like you are crazy–but it worked for me.

I put all–and I do mean all–my records and memorabilia in a huge pile. It actually turned out to be 4 very large piles!  And then decide with each paper if you need to shred it, scan it (and then shred it), or keep it.

It is time consuming. It takes concentration. And it is one of the most satisfying chores I have ever completed. Now there is no paper, paper, everywhere!

Why?  Because it has to be done. Because you will feel lighter and cleaner. Because you will be making room for all the good things coming your way.

Living the life you want faster, smarter and better can be done with less paper. Have fun with it!

What are your challenges when it comes to all the paper in your life? How do you feel about getting rid of the paper in your home?

Comment below and let me know your thoughts!

 

Digitized Organization–One Bit at a Time

Digitized Organization–One Bit at a Time

In my last post I challenged myself (and you too, if you take the challenge) to organizing my whole life. Not for the sake of reorganizing everything but to evaluate my productively in the things that really matter to me.

When I posed the challenge and then started brainstorming I realized that I would not be able to get all my ideas, thoughts and yearnings in one post.

I will probably not be able to do this in less than 6 posts–but since being organized and productive is one of my passions I am willing to put in the work.

Picking the first thing to organize was not easy but became obvious–technology.  Everything we do today uses some form of technology–at least in my world–and so let’s begin.

Organizing your technology means taking (and keeping) control of it-not letting it control you.

My laptop, and by extension my phone, is my world–I use it for work, for home and for my hobbies.

It is how I communicate, shop, learn and am creative.  So my computer files and documents, not to mention all my digital pictures are on it–or more accurately it is where I access all these things.

In order to keep all these documents, I created a Google Drive account and transferred all my files there.  This is very easily done or any other cloud storage and sharing service will work for this purpose.

The main plus side of using a cloud storage service is that all your files are automatically backed up in the “cloud”.  If your device is compromised or is broken your files are safe.

However, for all your files to be safe you have to move them to the cloud.

These are the steps I take to do this are:

  1. Set aside a specific time and date to do this each week like an appointment.
  2. Include a set duration of time, for example 45 minutes.
  3. During that time–transfer all the files you want to keep from your devices to the cloud.
  4. Delete transferred documents from device (remember to empty your recycle bin)
  5. Once in the cloud, organize your documents into folders.
  6. When your allotted time runs out–stop.

Do this each week until all your electronic files are organized the way you want them. Over time you may be able to do complete this task in less time or need to complete this task less often.

Documents in your cloud can be kept or deleted as needed over time and you can reorganize them anytime, the important part is that your documents will not be lost.

As our world becomes more and more digitized, it is important to get organized and have a system for staying that way. This is the first way to organize your life and one that can have a big impact on your daily life.

Remember while you are organizing your files to take the time to enjoy the process–Have Fun with it!

 

Challenge Accepted!

Challenge Accepted!

For the last few days I have been thinking about how to organize my whole life, what parts of my life needed organizing and what benefits would come of it.

I’ve made great strides this year already–decluttering the house (someone should have told me it is kind of an ongoing thing!), living by my calendar and honoring  my time, getting my health and fitness in shape.

Until I realized how much more I have to do.

So I thought–what areas of my life would more–if any–organization benefit me?

Here is my brainstorm–and I do mean storm–list I came up with:

I would like to organize my days, my weeks and my months in respect to my chores, my tasks, my finances, my meals, my recipes…..I would like to once and for all organize my paper, my pictures, my thoughts, my plans. Included in that I would like to continue to organize my space–my house, my closets, my kitchen…and the thoughts went on and on!

Is it even possible to be this organized?  I started researching–which of course is a part of my life I am very organized in–and found that there are many resources to organize EVERYTHING from the home to your personal style.

How do you organize a ‘personal style’ ? Is that even a thing? Who knew?

After all of these mental gymnastics–I stopped. I closed my eyes, I did a few breathing exercises and listened in the quiet.

(I can always find answers in the quiet.)

Yes–I can organize all these things–not just for the sake of being organized but because being organized will help me focus on “The Plan” and find more time for what is important in my life.

CHALLENGE ACCEPTED!

Check in to future posts as I travel down this side road of organization to be more productive…I don’t want to reveal how I am going to do this just yet!

Until next time!  Have Fun!

 

Getting Re-Organized

Getting Re-Organized

Developing the life we want is HARD work!  The first 3 months of the year have passed so quickly!  And I thought I would have my whole life planned out by now!

Of course my illusions of grandeur have gotten the best of me yet again.  Thank goodness life is a long one!

I can say that the first three months of the year has been a productive one.  I am still on track with my New Year’s Resolutions and this is a good time to take stock and evaluate what is working and what is not working.

I am happy to say that a lot is working–in order to be better, though, we have to be honest about what is not working.  What is not working is I am trying to accomplish everything at once. And while I am not failing–in order to keep up the pace now is when I have to really get re-organized!

I am going to have to truly map out “The Plan”–as I’ve dubbed the rest of our lives…

I thought I was being easy on myself when I only gave myself two New Year’s Resolutions:

  1. Be the healthiest ME I can be
  2. Organize my life so I have more: space, time, money and happiness

These resolutions–have translated into some specific goals–that are going to take longer than I expected.  It is going to be a long road but I am looking forward to every step!

  1. Being the healthiest Me I can be has led me to:

Researching healthy lifestyles, fitness and lifestyle diseases and longevity studies.  That’s a lot of fancy words just to say that I joined the gym, am looking to learn to cook healthier meals, make sure I get enough sleep, lose weight and get strong.

In doing those things, I stumbled upon Health Coaching School of which I am enthusiastically a student and am not just improving my knowledge and health but helping those close to me as well.

2. Organizing my life so I have more: space, time, money and happiness has led me to:

Decluttering my house, my life, my schedule, my social media, my shopping habits…etc. It has led me down the road to making the right choices for me and my family regardless of what others may think and surprisingly–that has made me feel lighter and free-er and yes, dare I say very happy!

In my New Year’s post one of my pieces of advice was that no matter what your goals or resolution is the most important part of succeeding is to begin. Put one step in front of the other and keep moving forward.

In order to do all the things I want to do and keep up this happy momentum, I need to get re-organized to keep it going.

So here is my plan–maybe you can use these ideas to help you reach your goals also:

  1. Keep the big picture front and center.  
  2. Make daily, small, reachable goals.
  3. Accept setbacks.
  4. Look for other options when there are setbacks.
  5. And then take the next step.  

This is an exciting time being in the Empty Nest–our kids are expanding their world and we are expanding ours–we are enjoying the ride and moving forward!

How are your goals and resolutions coming along? Is it time to start over and get organized toward your big picture? Let me know what things have slowed you down or stopped your progress on something you really want to achieve.

No matter where you are in your goals–remember each day brings new opportunities–and have fun!

It’s a Good Friday

It’s a Good Friday

On this Good Friday, like each year, Christians observe the crucifixion of Jesus. For some it is a day of mourning and fasting before Easter and for others it can be a time of expressing gratitude for the sacrifice given on the cross.

As a Christian, I do observe this day and it brought to the forefront thoughts of becoming a better me every day.

How can we become a better person each day?  If your goal, like me, is to live a full meaningful life, becoming a better person each day should be a simple task.

I believe it starts with gratitude.  Being grateful for all you are and all you have each morning will start your day in a way that will bring to you more of that for which you are grateful.  

Sometimes, when we are going through a particularly difficult time we may find it hard to find things to be grateful for.

I remember a story about a soldier I heard recently.  An American soldier that had come back from the Middle East was being asked some questions about how medical professionals could help him if they were to provide him with a prosthetic arm. You see, he lost his left arm serving his country.

The young man was very optimistic and upbeat and thankful that the doctors were looking into a prosthetic arm that could have the range of motion that a real arm would have.

He was so thankful to the doctors that when they thanked him for his time in that session and for his service–he turned to them and said “I am just so grateful I didn’t lose my good arm”–you see he was a righty, so he could still use his right hand and arm.

As he backed his wheelchair away from the table the doctors were very moved by his gratitude and the fact that he had also lost both legs.

Gratitude then becomes a much larger proposition when we think about how lucky and blessed we truly are.

We do not have to strive to be as grateful as that soldier–but to be better each day, we should be grateful and acknowledge those things in our lives that are so wonderful.

Secondly, to strive to be a better person each day–we should live with a clear intention. An intention that will guide not only your day but how you want to live your life each and everyday.

An intention may be harder to come up with and fulfill on a daily basis–if we put too much pressure on ourselves to “intend” the right things.

Many times my intentions are very simple ones: I intend to do no harm today, I intend to turn the other cheek if I am offended, I intend to smile at someone who may need a smile today.

It does not have to be hard or perfect.

To become a better me everyday, I just need to remember to forgive myself for my mistakes of yesterday, have gratitude for the new chance this day gives us to be different and to intend to do the best with that opportunity.

I am an imperfect person. Good Friday reminds me that I am already forgiven.

On this Good Friday, I leave you with this: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Enjoy this day. Be better than yesterday and have fun.

Duh Mom!

Duh Mom!

Part of my ideas for navigating the empty nest years and beyond is to remain relevant and authentic. I don’t want to lose touch with my kids even though they have grown up and left the nest.

Most of our communication as you can imagine is by text—-although I am loving FaceTime and make sure I always have my lipstick on in case they “face” me.

Learning the new text lingo and all the new technology platforms is hard!  The fact that I know the term “technology platforms” is a big advancement for me!

So because I know that practice makes perfect–I thought if I really want to get good at this I need to use it.  And I used my two daughters as my guinea pigs—-I mean—-teachers. Here is how it went:

Daughter one:

Me: How are you doing?

Daughter: Good mom.

Me: LOL!

Daughter: What’s funny?

Me: What? I can’t say LOL by itself?

Daughter: No mom. LOL! Comes after something is funny. It is a response.

Me: OK. Well were good. How’s School?  OBTW–I got new curtains for the family room.

Daughter: School’s fine. It’s not Oh, by the way mom, it’s just BTW.  

Me: LOL!

Daughter: Better mom, but not really. Talk later.

 

Daughter two:

Me: How are you doing?

Daughter: Good mom, what’s up?

Me: Nothing is up. Just thought I’d text.

Text silence (is that a thing?)

Me: I heard a good joke the other day and I was LMFAO!

Daughter: You know that has a bad words in it right?

Me: NO! Which letter?

Daughter: The F and the A.

Me: Oh.  Not like LOL!?

Daughter: Nope.

Me: OK. So OT I got some new curtains for the family room—they look RG.

Daughter: What’s RG mom?

Me: Really Good!

Daughter: No, Mom, not a thing….BRB.

Me: Bad Really Bad?

Text Silence–10 min later

Daughter: Sorry mom I meant Be Right Back.

Me: Oh. You busy? We can TML…

Daughter: TML? Mom what are you doing?

Me: Text More Later? I’m making dinner.

Daughter: No, I mean what are you doing with all the letters…

Me: I just thought I would practice the text lingo, I guess I’m not very good at it yet.

Daughter: DUH.

Me: What does DUH stand for?

Daughter: Just Duh mom. Talk later.

 

And so with two utter fails under my belt—I sigh and continue to reinvent myself and navigate through this crazy new language in the texting world.

Communication is changing so fast and more words are being added to the dictionary every year than ever before and online you can even access an urban dictionary! (A city dictionary–I wonder what they use in the country? A rural dictionary?)

Just keeping up and keeping relevant is going to be a tough road. I’m doing well on the authentic part though—-I’m authentically confused and starting to feel my age!

Luckily, I don’t think I’ll lose touch with my kids because they are so good about correcting—-I mean teaching—-me the new ways to communicate when I get things wrong.

But I do think I have entered that time zone in which people of a certain age—-me—-have fallen into the generation gap and we are viewed as OMG—-old!

In order to feel better of course, I called my mom. I told her about my practicing the new text lingo with the girls and my failure.

“Mom” I said, “I think I’m starting to get old!”

There was silence for a moment and then she said:   “DUH!”

 

How are you coping with the changing language, texting, messaging and emailing skills needed in this 21st century world?

Drop me a comment and let me know!

The Changing Work Ethic in Cyberspace

The Changing Work Ethic in Cyberspace

As American life changes so does how we live that life.  The majority of our years are devoted to serving others and to work.

And work is changing very rapidly.  This is a very exciting time as we will be able to witness major changes in our working lives and the exchange of products and services for money, outside of the traditional brick and mortar businesses.

The internet has opened whole new worlds and ways of shopping, ordering groceries, even how we access books, magazines and newspapers.

It has also opened new opportunities for sole proprietors and small businesses to rise up out of people’s homes.

Some of the work ethics from yesterday are being left behind due to these changes. Being on time to work for example, means a whole new thing in the cyber workplace. You can literally sign in to your workplace and be “on time” and still be in your sweatpants.

So what does “having a good work ethic” mean in today’s changing world?  Some things, so far, have not changed–thankfully–and it proves to me that we live in a society that still works hard to provide a product or service that adds value to its customers.

Here is my take on the work ethic that will not get lost in cyberspace:

Integrity–the ideas of honesty and trust seems to be holding true even behind the computer screen.  For new businesses and business relationships to work consumers have to trust who they are doing business with.  When businesses promise the quality of the product, shipping times, and refund policies and follow through with them it creates customer loyalty and even better–good reviews for those businesses!

Responsibility and Quality–responsible businesses will not only make sure that the daily tasks are completed, but that they are completed in the best way possible–providing quality service for the customer but also for the employer, which many times is themselves.

For sole proprietors–this sense of responsibility is quite literally the “make it or break it” efforts taken to keep the business open and thriving. Providing quality work can mean the difference of having new and repeat customers come back to you or not.

Professionalism–being a professional and behaving as such means that you are working hard to serve others with integrity, responsibility and quality. It means that you are fair and courteous in your dealings. It is as simple as that.

It is not about wearing a power suit, impressing the right people in the organization or knowing the right buzzwords of the year that help impress those above you as well as your subordinates.

It’s completely about how much work you actually do for others, that you treat them with respect, that you set boundaries for your business but that you treat your customers and clients with fairness and with a spirit of service and dedication.

The new work ethic seems to be also making people who work in cyberspace happier because they are doing something that has meaning for them and that provides them with the satisfaction of doing a job well–without the politics or the fluff.

As you do business over the internet–whether it be shopping, receiving information for a fee, or receiving services–how has this changed your life?  What are the most important types of services for you as a customer to receive?

Enjoy this new world we live in–where goods and services are just a few clicks away–and have fun!

 

Serving Others

Serving Others

For all us humans, our lives are about serving others.  We don’t always like to think of it this way, but it is in fact what we are doing. Some people may react and think: “I was not put on this earth to serve others.” because we see it in terms of some menial task or job.

That’s not what I am talking about. What I am talking about is our purpose. Everyone’s purpose–in one way or another–is to serve others.

And it is exactly what we are supposed to do. It is how we serve that defines who we are, how we provide that service and what ultimately makes us happy.

Wait–What?

Yup, we are all on this earth to serve others to find our happiness–and for those of you who think I’ve lost it and there is no coming back from this one–let me explain.

Children serve their parents: as a source of love, joy and many times comic relief. After all–they did not ask to come here–we created them.

Parents–serve their children by providing love, security, safety, guidance and yes–loads of embarrassing moments!  (It is character building, kids–you’ll thank us one day!)

In school, students serve as being fountains to fill with knowledge in order to create an orderly society, a future workforce and the next generation of innovation.

Teachers in turn serve the community by educating those students and preparing them for life, the world outside and the many challenges that an education can help them overcome.

Politicians serve to keep our society civil, orderly and they are the referees of the “fair and square” in the world of law.

Doctors and nurses serve people who are sick or who want to prevent illness.

Husbands serve their wives by being a partner, a helpmate, a provider and by supporting the process of raising children and maintaining the home.

Wives also serve their husbands as partners, providers, the moral education of their children and the keepers of the home.

Churches serve the communities through religious teachings, being a moral compass to their members and providing spiritual guidance.

Our Military serve us by keeping us safe at home and abroad from bad actors that may want to physically harm us and our way of life.

Our Police Officers/Fire and EMS personnel serve us in keeping us safe and providing order and protection in our communities.

If you really think about it everyone and everything we do is in service for others. Yes–many of these examples are also called jobs and we get paid to serve. True. But most of these examples are underpaid, underappreciated and undervalued.

Yes–even the politicians. (Well maybe not the underpaid part)!

Regardless, this is the way it is supposed to be and how we keep an orderly world and smoothly running society.

When I sat down and really thought about this and its implications it became very clear to me why some people are happy and others are not so much.

If you don’t believe me, just look around and decide if many of society’s–and the world’s problems–would not be more easily corrected if everyone lived a life of service to someone else or to their community.

The ripple effects of this would be tremendous and it would help many people find a sense of their purpose.

When we have a purpose–a true desire to live the best life we can–it always includes some type of service. Follow your purpose–serve others and be happy!

How do you serve others in your life? How have others served you? What changes can you make in your life to bring you closer to your purpose?

How can I serve you?  Comment below and let me know what you would like me to write about!  And have fun today!

Slowing Down in the Fast Lane

Slowing Down in the Fast Lane

We do a fair amount of highway driving to visit family and the two birdies that have left the nest.  My husband does most of the driving but from time to time I take the wheel.

I have to say my husband is a much better driver than I am.  I often say that I do many things well–but driving is not one of them!

Most of the time my husband drives in the fast lane, not because he is driving fast–to my frustration he usually drives the speed limit–and eventually (a lot) he will come up to another driver that is also going the speed limit.  And there we sit for a mile or two neither of us going anywhere because neither will move over to the right lane and pass or be passed.

In the same situation I simply go around the individual on either right or left and keep going on my merry–albeit speedier–way.

Why am I always in a hurry to get to my destination when I enjoy the drive so much?  I have no idea.

I am learning to question these things that I do to myself that rob my joy.  I mean I really enjoy driving the highways–taking in the scenery, and relaxing in the rhythm of the car. It gives me much needed and much loved “think time”.

My best guess is that I do everything (driving included) fast so I can do more stuff. So I can accomplish more tasks each day and be the hero.

But the hero of what?  The hero of having all the dishes done, the laundry folded and the meals for the week planned?  All necessary things for sure but I don’t think they give you a cape for that! Hero of Zero!

So at this point in my life I am learning–many times the hard way–to slow down and do the things that are important.  To slow down and think of the most efficient way to do things. To slow down and let others do some of the stuff.

I am finding that slowing down has some very positive advantages:

You will actually do less work. Have you ever noticed that the more you do quickly and efficiently the more work you are given or expected to do? Employers do this to you and so do family and friends.

Until the moment or the day you stop–don’t worry they won’t be too disappointed–they’ll find someone else that is in a rush and will do it.

Once you have slowed down and taken care of your priorities–the remaining tasks just won’t seem so important. And because you are doing less work…

You will feel more rested. Doing things slower means you can do things with more attention.  Sometimes you will surprise yourself that you are actually enjoying the task at hand and you will be more clear minded about the things you actually want to work on.

This will make you feel energized and valued by the most important person in this whole equation–You!  You will be able to rest and not feel drained all the time! And when you are rested and doing things to your best potential…

You will be able to concentrate your talents.  What things do you enjoy that use your talents and your gifts. How can you use those talents to really serve others in a way that also makes you happy?

Finding these answers are very important to each of our lives, it will help us find the purpose we are here to fulfill and that on the flip side will help us feel fulfilled. That’s a win in my book! (Even without the cape!)

So as we are driving down the highway of our days–slow down, enjoy the “think time”. Take in the scenery–the destination will be there when you get there and it will be exactly where you were meant to go.

As we drive through our lives are you in the fast lane? Or have you learned, like I am learning to enjoy the slower lane? Do you feel that slowing down also means slowing down your progress?

Comment below and let me know how you feel about where you are right now in your life.  Whether you decide to slow it down or speed down the highway–always have fun!

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The Journey to Becoming a Health Coach

The Journey to Becoming a Health Coach

Sometimes we go looking for opportunities and sometime opportunities come looking for us. In this new empty nest chapter of my life I made a commitment to myself to keep growing and learning new things–like photography.

I love taking pictures, cataloging pictures and creating albums and other crafts with photography–but I never have felt that I am very good at it. So one of my goals is to get better at it–faster and smarter!

My motto of living my “post-raising children life” faster, better, smarter is not to DO more but to BE more–mostly for myself– and the benefits of that will hopefully go out to others.

So as you have read me explain before: Faster means learning from those who came before me.  Better means how can I do this differently that will serve me better.  And better for me means if it served me better–can it serve others? Smarter means finding the best way to do whatever you want to do.

On top of that I realize I am a “fixer”.  I like to “fix” things or help people if I can. I do not like injustices or wasted resources.  But I also realize that people are not perfect–I am not perfect–Thank God.

How boring life would be if we all knew it all, could take care of it all and basically did not need each other.

These ideas crashed into my other ideas of being the healthiest person I can be. And somewhere in the confusion and the research I was doing for myself I repeatedly came across health coaching as a thing.

I tried it. I found a health coach that would talk to me about my health goals, help me put the ideas in my head into a cohesive plan (she even provided an easy to follow plan) and she became my cheerleader! She also was there to hold me accountable.

It was worth every penny of her fee. Why? Because in our busy run around lives it’s nice to have someone think of all the logistics for you so you can actually do what you want to do–not think about what you want to do.

It was easy to schedule–all our meetings were on the phone for 50 minutes at a set time once a week–so it did not interfere with any other parts of my life or responsibilities.

And this led me to  an online school so I can learn and certify myself as a health coach so that in the future I can help others.  So–at 50–I’ve gone back to school!

This has become a journey in itself! And a scary, wonderful one at that. I am learning new information and new skills. I am meeting new people and have a fabulous cohort of fellow students to discuss new learning and stumbling blocks with. I am both nervous to reach out and help others and at the same time excited to do so.

This journey has become a very important part of my faster, better, smarter life because it encompasses all I have set out to do in my empty nest years: learn, be active, grow as a person and give back.

I know from working with my cohort that everyone is looking at this opportunity in a different way. What I feel we all have in common is that we want to help others reach their health and life goals in the most painless and efficient way they can. Faster, Better, Smarter.

We want to make a difference.  We don’t want to DO more for people, we want to BE more of a support in their journey to their more fulfilling life.

Like Dorothy down the yellow brick road–this journey is helping us find knowledge, heart and courage.  I think in the end, although this is all new to us, we will find that we all had it in us all along.

Our journeys are not easy for a reason–otherwise we would not learn–and develop–all the different parts of us that make us us.

So today I leave you with this:  I am a wife and mother. I am a daughter and sister. I am a teacher, I am a leader in my community. I am a health coach.

Comment below and tell me your thoughts.  Is there a journey that you are on that scares you and excites you at the same time? How are you managing all the hats you wear?

Like and share this post if it resonates with you and join me on Facebook and on my Pinterest page! And no matter what else you do today–Have fun!

 

 

 

Honor Yourself in Your Health

Honor Yourself in Your Health

When it comes to our health, or anything we decide to do, sometimes the hardest part is dealing with the people whose opinion means the most to us–and sometimes dealing with people whose opinion is not that important but still affects us.

Let me work backwards from least important to most important in relation to people’s opinions.  

There are strangers and acquaintances that we encounter in life that look at us–and make a snap judgement.

What is that judgement? It really depends on what lens of the world they are looking at you through. Honor yourself–regardless what they may be thinking.

Then there are our closer acquaintances and “friends.” These people know a little more about you–perhaps because you come in contact with them more often–but don’t really know you know you. They make judgments about us based on how we dress, act, speak, react etc.

We think about what they may think about us if we did something out of the norm of their belief systems about us–which let’s admit–is pretty narrow.

Honor yourself.

I know we think about these people because we care about ourselves and want to be perceived a certain way–whatever that may mean to you,  and that makes it important but we still should honor ourselves.

Then come our real friends–the people we care about and that care about us–at least we think they do. Their opinions rank a little higher on the “I wonder what they think of me” scale.

And the most important group is, of course, our closest and dearest family and friends whose opinion–for better or for worse–drive our decisions.

These two groups of people make it harder.

I am not going to say we should just forget everyone and do what we want, because the reality of life is that we DO THINK ABOUT IT and it DOES AFFECT US.

So how do we honor ourselves, our wants and desires?  This is not easy, especially when we want to make big life changes like a change in the way we eat and approach exercise.  

Many times what is holding us back from big transformative life loving change is that we are afraid to lose our relationships with others. And that is hugely important–but we have to honor ourselves first.

When you decide to change what you eat, or how often to exercise to feel better, to look better, to get over a disease or condition–it will affect everything in your life–especially your relationships.

Our relationships are going to change and sometimes it is going to hurt. People you thought were with you were only with you as long as you were like them.

People you thought would cheer you on just want to tear you down. People you thought were in your life out of love and acceptance will turn their back on you the minute you don’t conform with the pigeon hole they have placed you in.

Still you should honor yourself.

So, I am not going to say “What other people think does not matter” because that would not be the truth. It does matter or we would all be in different places in our lives by now.

What I will say is that you should do it anyway.

Better your health, reach for your goals and your desires for a physical and internally healthy self.  

The people that are meant to support you will be there and the others will fade away. It will hurt sometimes but in the end you will be healthier, surrounded by those that contribute to that health and you will be so much happier!

Honor yourself–you are worth it! And have fun every step of the way!