The Search For Happy

The Search For Happy

Througout this journey I have been searching for the meaning of Happy.  Not what happy is but what exactly I want to have in my life that makes me happy.

I have to say that all this introspection has been kind of a roller coaster ride.

As I mentioned in a post early on–Freaky Friday–being happy and finding the happy life for yourself is not an easy proposition.  First of all, because no one is an island and our decisions effect others.

Secondly because many times when we set out to find our happiness, to live our happiness and to express that happiness–many people will call us selfish.

There it is.  And while I thought everyone in my life was on board with my happiness like I am on board with theirs, I found I was wrong–oh so wrong!

Wow–eye opening!  And a little heart breaking.

Luckily, I have given myself the time to journal about it and to think about it and have spoken to my husband about what makes me happy and what doesn’t make me happy in my life.  Even luckier–he supports me in all my feelings, asks good questions to help me think some more and I know he always has my back.

One thing I always knew about myself is that I am happy when others are happy and when good things happen to them.  Whether they be family, life-long friends or acquaintances.

For example–recently an ex-coworker of mine posted on Facebook a beautiful picture of herself at her wedding with her new husband. She looked radiant and both looked happy!  I sent her a very heartfelt Congratulations! and she later responded with an equally happy Thank You!

She is not a good friend, but from the few interactions I had with her at a previous employer I knew her to be honest, hard working, cheerful, dedicated and kind. Why wouldn’t I be happy for a person being happy and in love?

Conversely–two lifelong friends really surprised me this year. One accused me of not keeping in touch often enough and that I “have changed”.  She was hurt I had not kept her up to date on my life–even though in my opinion, nothing noteworthy had really happened that I needed to check in with her about.

I spoke to her and caught her up and she was fine.  I also reminded her that the cell phones, text messages and emails of today work both ways.  She did not get it, but was happy to hear all the mundane details of my life, my craft projects and my blog–which she said she “really needs to make time to read someday.”  She cracks me up!

And so, that was a little over a month ago and you’ve guessed it she has not contacted me with an update on HER life.  Hmmmm.  Does that take away from my happy? No!  She’s probably busy!  I know that we will connect again somewhere down the line–it is the way of a steady friendship.

Another lifelong friend, however, is not a happy person and seems to be very bothered by people who are happy.  Not good–for her–because that is not going to take away from my happy either!  I can’t let it.  While none of us is an island, I fully believe it is not selfish to choose the people that will be in our lives.

Now that I am in the Empty Nest, Over 50 club I don’t have time to indulge folks that just want to bring others down, are envious, or that can just not be happy for other people.  I may still have to associate with them, I may still have conversations with people like this but I don’t let it bother me and I don’t give what they say, believe or do much importance.

In my search for happy I have found that I already am happy. I have had a wonderful life so far–even my bad times in life have not been as bad as others have had it.  I can always find the silver lining, I can always fight the good fight, stand for what I believe in and enjoy the happiness of others.

I encourage you to do the same.  Find your happy.  Journal about what you think might make you happy, eliminate (as much as you can) the things that don’t make you happy and keep fighting the good fight.

Reach for your dreams or redefine them so that you can reach them step by step–this is your life, and we are only given one.  The search for happy is important–indulge yourself!

If you’d like to see some of the other things that make me happy check out my Pinterest Page–Empty Nest Saavy!  Have a great week and have fun!

Autumn Changes

Autumn Changes

Tomorrow is the first day of autumn–my favorite season.   You will forgive me if I become a little wistful.

When I was a girl I lived in a climate in which you could really see and feel autumn all around you.

There would be a nip in the air–no longer the warmth of summer, the winds would pick up and the trees.  The beautiful trees would begin to turn.   The bright and deep green leaves would turn to yellow and orange and red.

In Texas–the autumns are a little different.   But you can definitely feel when there is a change in the air.

The heat that seems to come from the earth itself subsides, not entirely, but in short waves.  The rains come and the dusk and dawn stretch out and seem to get longer.

In autumn we think of the harvest–reaping what we sowed throughout the previous months, until all is gathered and collected.

Autumn is the quiet time in the seasons. It is when mother nature slows down and folds in on itself and prepares for the long rest of winter–so that in the spring  she is rejuvenated and ready for the force of summer.

Our autumn in life comes on very much like mother nature’s.  Cooler breezes,  some rains, the changing of colors.  And the rest and quiet to continue on.

I am just entering my autumn–not fully developed and changing slightly, but looking forward to the changes, the expectations and the whole new world that is opening before me.

Like my favorite season–I am enjoying each year more than my last and am continuing to look forward to all the transformations.

Embrace the cooler weather–the relaxing days–and enjoy the autumn like never before.

Adulting

Adulting

Adulting is a relatively new word that I found in the “Urban Dictionary.”  The definitions are hilarious:

(v) to carry out one or more of the duties and responsibilities expected of fully developed individuals (paying off credit card debt, settling beef without blasting social media, etc).  Exclusively used by those who adult less than 50% of the time.

or

(v) to do grown up things and hold responsibilities such as, a 9-5 job, a mortgage/rent, a car payment, or anything else that makes one think of grown ups. 

The Oxford Living Dictionaries has:

(mass noun) The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.

First, I am not sure what a “mass noun” is.  Is this the new English parts of speech–like the “new” math of years ago?

Second, are you kidding me?  When I stopped laughing I found that people are really using this word to mean that if they take care of their responsibilities they are actually doing their “adulting”.

When I decided I was going to follow my dream of writing, I did not decide I would do this instead of “adulting”.  I just thought I would continue being an adult and write and create this blog as a hobby–additional “adulting” I guess.

And then I found the t-shirts–now the madness is real:

  • Coffee–because Adulting is Hard
  • I’m Not Adulting Today
  • Watch Out World–I’m Adulting Today

and my favorite:

  • I  Have Been Drunk for 5 Days Straight because Adulting.

If you feel the need, the desire or the insanity to take up this new verb let me give you some advice:

  1. Understand that if you are over 18 you are an adult–that is a noun, not a verb–you don’t have to do, you just have to be.
  2. Drink as much coffee as you need but take care of your responsibilities.
  3. If you are 18 or over being an adult is not a choice–you cannot chose to ‘not adulting” today–see #1
  4. If when acting like the adult you are dangerous to the outside world then you are doing it wrong.
  5. If you have been drunk for 5 days in a row, adulting is the least of your worries–you are an alcoholic–get help!
  6. You cannot go back in time–you can either go forward or die–I suggest moving forward.

Writing has certainly added a beautiful dimension to my life of rediscovering words and encountering the new words that have entered our language. As with everything else–all is in good fun, until someone gets hurt. While this word is cute and funny I hope young people don’t really believe this is a thing.  I  hope we are all following our dreams as adults instead of the dream being to ‘be adulting’!

 

Revisiting the Journey

Revisiting the Journey

9 months ago…I started this blog–as a hobby.  There were several reasons for this: 1) I love to write and would someday like to be a writer. 2) I was a new empty nester and felt that this was a good time to start something new. 3) I was searching for answers.

Let me take these reasons one at a time.  I love to write and have been writing all my life–since I was a little girl. I wrote short stories and poems.  In College, I became an English major hoping to learn how to be the next great American author, only to be told by a professor I admired that my writing was too “predictable and my characters were transparent.”  Funny the things we remember.

She was wrong, of course, but to a young naive college student it was very disappointing to hear. Luckily I also fell in love with History and graduated with a double major!

My grandmother knew of this love of writing and told me to write, –write a book, write anything–even if no one reads it–write.  And I have, throughout my life–although nothing was ever completed, submitted or published.

As a new empty nester–I felt a little lost at suddenly having to step back and let my kids live their own lives after I had been pouring my life into them for the last 20 years.  I love being a mother–it is one of my great successes in life–and my girls, my greatest accomplishments.

Without them, I’ve had to redefine how I spend my time.  And so I have been searching for answers–about myself.  I mean, my greatest accomplishments have moved out and are successfully living their lives–just as I always hoped they would.  While parenting never really ends–it does change.

So I decided to write and be published–even if by myself. I am loving it, the creation of it, the research, the process.

Some of my blog posts are really good (if I do say so myself!) and some are not–just kind of  “meh”, but I am writing and discovering many things about myself.

I think back to the beginning of this journey and the steps I promised to take.  I have given myself permission to grieve the end of my daily mothering days and I have celebrated all the things I have done right and the independence of my two girls.

The last step I promised myself–creating a plan for the rest of my life–has not exactly materialized yet.  I have taken a few unexpected side roads in the last 9 months–all necessary and all good–in helping me discover which road I would like to continue towards.

Like my writing–half the fun is seeing where it will take you.

I hope you are enjoying my posts as much as I am enjoying writing them–and that you are discovering the journey you want for your life as well!

So Many Books, So Little Time

So Many Books, So Little Time

I love books. No, that’s an understatement. Books for me have been a lifelong addiction.

I read everything–histories, romance, detective, classics, biographies–and I cannot catch up on all the things I want to read.

I have lists of books I’ve read, and books I want to read.  It’s quite the dirty little secret.

While I have never (ever!) stood in line late at night or in the early wee hours for concert tickets to any band or singer, I confess that I have stood in line–at midnight–at the local Barnes & Noble to purchase the next installment in the Harry Potter series.

Sometimes I feel frustrated that I don’t have enough time to read all that I want to read and I get very invested in certain authors or series of books.

As the technology evolved and ebooks made their debut I was vehemently against them. I thought reading would not be as enjoyable as holding a book and turning the pages myself.

Then I received my first  Kindle as a gift. I learned how to connect it to Amazon books and my local library.  I downloaded the Kindle App on my phone and the obsession continued.

Having a whole library in my pocket gives me access to my books whenever I have downtime–in line at the grocery store, waiting for my oil change, or on my coffee break.

But here is an idea to get more reading time in, if you have the reading addiction like I do:

  1. Get a library card
  2. Download the Overdrive App on your mobile phone.  This will give you access to audiobooks for free.
  3. Electronically check out the books you would like to listen to–and you can listen to books during times that you must spend your time attending to something else.

I listen to my books in the car as I drive to work and back, to run errands, or on weekend trips to other cities.

I listen to my books while I cook and meal prep and do my laundry and while I am on exercise machines or walking in my neighborhood.

This is not the same as reading the written word and turning pages, swiping left or scrolling up, but it is fascinating to listen to books read to you as your brain conjures the pictures in your mind–and it allows you to get a few more books in….

So many books, so little time!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rain, Rain, Hurricane

Rain, Rain, Hurricane

This year’s hurricane season seems to be off to a roaring start.  Already there have been 3 tropical storms in the Atlantic 1 in the Pacific and 1 official hurricane to enter the Gulf of Mexico.

As I write this, a new hurricane is nearing the Eastern coast of the United States and there are two more gathering strength in the Atlantic Ocean and headed our way.

It is almost unreal to watch these climatic phenomenon on a radar because they seem so unreal–unless you happen to be in its path.

While we did get hit with a Hurricane last year (Harvey)–and we are watching carefully–for now all we have received is rain.  A lot of rain.

So while we watch and wait, I love the rain.  I love to hear the thunder and I love lightning in the sky.

I can watch the rain for hours and enjoy the quiet it brings to the house.

Rainy days are wonderful for curling up with a book.  They are good days to write, and sew and do crafting projects.  Rainy days are good days to spend time with family and with our doggies.

Watching the rain through the window is relaxing and a wonder of mother nature.  The trees seem to be smiling up to heaven as they drink the waters coming down.

And yet–I hope we are not in the path of another hurricane this year.  I worry and watch those areas that are in a hurricane’s path and the hope the people living in those areas will escape the dangers.

Hurricanes after all are major storm systems that bring not just the beautiful rain but high winds and destruction. Watching these storms is imperative and getting out of its way a smart precaution to take.

With those thoughts I spend the rainy days thankful that the climate is ever changing and without the need for man to interfere–only to enjoy.

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

5 Steps to Relieving Stress

Stress is the body’s way of reacting to and managing threats or strenuous demands on the body.  The more demands or threats we face from day to day the higher our stress levels.  These levels can get so high that it can affect our health–in a very bad way.

Headaches, fatigue, sleep disturbances, and changes in appetite are common side effects of stress.  Continued stress along with these common side effects can cause us to make poor decisions, have or cause accidents and generally spiral out of control until some develop anxiety problems, depressions and other illnesses that cannot be clearly diagnosed.

We must find ways to reduce and learn to cope with the stresses of everyday life.  This may look different to different people because we all handle stress differently.  Here are some sure fire ways to reduce stress in your life that have worked for me.

  1. Let Go.  Let go of toxic people in your life and toxic situations.  You know where you go and who you are around that make you feel stressed.  Limiting or eliminating these people, places or situations will help keep your stress level down.  You don’t have to feel guilty about it (adding more stress), just decide to wish them well and let it go.
  2. Understand that Everything Changes.  Nothing stays the same forever–we know this in our heads and in our hearts. The seasons change, the economy changes and we change as the life around us changes.  To help relieve some of the stress you are feeling just remember that “this too shall pass.”
  3. You Are In Control.  This is your life and you control it. If something is stressing you out on an ongoing basis–you can change it.  No one can dictate how you live your life. If the stress is coming from a financial situation or your work environment you can make the decision and take the steps to make the changes that work for you.
  4. Focus.  Understand and accept the things that are important to you and focus on those things.  Let the noise of all the other stuff going on in the world pass you by. When you keep your focus on the things that really matter–to you–everything else just extra. Keep your focus.
  5. Gratitude. When you have had a particularly stressful day, take a deep breath and think about all the things you are grateful for.  I bet, as you do this exercise, you will find that the things that were stressing you out are not on that list–so refer back to # 1 and #4.

It is so easy to get caught up in the negative energy of others–and that causes a great deal of unnecessary stress, but worse we continue to do the same things with the same people that are causing the major stressors in our lives and expect a different outcome. By using these 5 steps it has helped me cope with stress and learn to change the stressful circumstances.

I hope they work for you too!  Life is too beautiful to be stressed out about stuff that really doesn’t matter!  Happy Friday!

Tobacco–Rewriting History

Tobacco–Rewriting History

There is nothing worse in revisionist history than the current generation trying to rewrite the past to meet their social sensibilities.  Some of these things are so ridiculous that it makes me laugh but when I came across the following I was seriously worried about the direction our world is going.

You are not going to believe this one.  Apparently, there is at least one museum in London in which pictures of Winston Churchill have been digitally modified to remove his cigar.  Wait what?  His cigar?  And more importantly why would anyone care?

Winston Churchill is one of the great men in history that we can thank for helping remove the scourge that was Hitler and the Nazi party during World War II.  He was a strong statesman, an inclusive partner on the world stage, a promoter of capitalistic ideals and the freedoms of people–not just the British people–but all people.

He smoked a cigar. Everyday and all day long. It was his trademark, if you will.  And now someone who finds tobacco offensive is trying to remove it from Mr. Churchill’s persona.

It seems that some folks–who feel that smoking cigars are bad for your health–want to “promote” healthier living by changing the truth.

I don’t know who you are–but I have a message for you.  Tobacco is not offensive.  If you find a cigar offensive–then don’t buy them and don’t smoke them.  You can even go farther–don’t associate with people who like cigars.

But for the love of Pete–don’t change the historical pictures of great men because you find their socially acceptable habits offensive.

Here’s a short lesson–tobacco was brought to the new world from Great Britain.  In the wonderful soil of Virginia tobacco was a huge economic boon for the mercantilist economy of the mother country–Great Britain.

The colonists made a lot of money on tobacco–but Great Britain made even more.  Smoking cigars was popular then, especially among elites, and are still popular now–by people who enjoy them.

Both countries benefited from these economic gains–giving them the money to continue protecting the world against tyranny for over 200 years.  To me it is a symbol of success.

Winston Churchill obviously enjoyed it–and changing the fact that he smoked cigars–will not help “promote” anything in today’s world.

So please, stop trying to change history–if you want to do something positive–try working for the future by being truthful and standing up for freedom. I hope you put that in your pipe and well…..you know.

The Loss of Fear

The Loss of Fear

I feel, having reached the ripe age of 50, that I now have a certain amount of experience, knowledge and understanding about how the world works.  I can objectively judge a person’s character and I now have enough time behind me that I can remember how our society was and how far we have come.

One of the things that has evolved–to our detriment–has been the loss of fear.

I’m not talking about the fear of the boogeyman. I am talking about the fear from safety.

Let me explain.  As I was growing up–I had a lot of fears.  I did not see those fears as a bad thing.

I was afraid of strangers–so I never strayed far from my mother and father when in public.

I was afraid of getting sick–so I wore my gloves and my scarf in the cold, an umbrella in the rain.

I was afraid of big dogs–so when I walked home from school with my little sister, I made her cross the street with me so we could avoid the house on the corner with the big german shepherd.

As I got older I was afraid of different things.

I was afraid of failing–so I made sure to study and get the best grades I could–in high school and college.

I was afraid of drugs–so I stayed away from them and anyone that used them–even if it was just “one time”.

I was afraid of being attacked, mugged or abducted–so I made sure to never go out at night by myself.

These fears, to me, were healthy. They kept me safe. And I did not “miss out” on anything.

Kids today, I am finding, have lost their fear.  They are not afraid of vicious animals–they instigate them. They do not take care of their health–often walking through the rain in no hurry to get where they are going, or wearing the inappropriate clothes for the weather.

But worse–they are not afraid of strangers talking to them, calling them or connecting with them on the internet.

They are not afraid of drugs, drug users or drug dealers–seeing it as a right of passage.

They are not afraid of guns or violence often running to see what is happening when a serious situation takes place.

They are not afraid to walk around late at night in the dark by themselves.

This new generation has lost their fear–and with it they have lost their safety.

As a middle aged woman now, my new fear is these young people. Not for what may happen to them because of their lack of fear–but for what may happen to us due to their disregard of actions and decisions that keep us all safe in our community.

The loss of fear is hurting our youth and our society.  The world around us has not changed that much–it is how we choose to view the threats in our world that has changed.  I will chose the healthy fear–every time.

Reinventing The Library

Reinventing The Library

I am a reader and I love books.  I have been reading books for as long as I can remember and I have been a patron of my city library practically all my life, in every city I have ever lived in.

My earliest memory of going to the library to check out books is one of myself at about age 6, walking several blocks to the public library on Belmont Avenue. I remember choosing the books I would read and hugging them to my chest all the way home in anticipation of the stories I would enjoy.

When I had my own children, a trip to the library was an exciting outing–each of us with our own library cards–to choose the next adventure we were to read. Both my girls are readers too.

Over the last 45 years I have continued to borrow books from the library.  But as technology has changed my borrowing habits have changed as well. Now that I have an e reader on my phone and as a separate tablet–all I have to do is  download the app, borrow the book and enjoy it.  I never even have to leave the comfort of my home.

When I have gone to the library for an actual book these days, I have found that it is very empty and understaffed–with staff that is not as knowledgeable as they once were. Also, I found something disturbing.  A library patron, who seemed to be homeless, was bathing herself in the library restroom.

That in itself is a sad situation. For the lady and for others who witnessed it. I am not saying she was unwelcome to use the facilities at the library–but clearly she was not there to check out a book.

So I began thinking of how times have changed and how the original reason for the city or state to provide libraries has now changed as well.

The public library was established to provide all citizens the right to borrow books to read and have a place of sanctuary in which to read them, regardless of income, race, religion or creed as a public service.

Over time the public service expanded to include computers, job search and job training classes, children’s reading sessions and a myriad of other programs for the public good.

And–of course–it is all free to the public.  But–of course,– it isn’t free.  The public library is funded from a portion of homeowner’s property taxes–so it is not a free service at all. We are paying for it.

More and more people are not using the library to check out books and many buildings are lonely.  Each city, is different, but the libraries have changed none the less.

Librarians are not paid a very high wage and in fact, I found after a bit of research that most libraries now have very few full time positions–opting for part time positions in which they do not have to provide benefits for the librarians–who have to have a bachelor’s degree to even be considered for the job.

The hours of the library have also been cut. The library closest to me now is even closed on Sundays when it would actually be the most convenient for me to browse and pick books up.

The libraries in out country seem to be dying.

It is this avid reader’s opinion that perhaps we should reinvent the library.  We should consolidate multiple libraries that exist in the same area to save the money on the upkeep of the buildings and reinvest that money to provide more books in electronic format that can be managed by  less people but provide more availability to the actual patrons that read the books (electronic though they may be.)

Certain libraries can be maintained as the Main Library– in cities in which people can still visit and check out a physical book if they choose–still providing that service.

While it is sad that libraries are dying, what is important is that people–especially children–are still being encouraged to read.  The skill that is needed the most by an informed nation is the ability to read and comprehend–not the physical building in which to house the multitude of books that are being left on the shelf.

I still enjoy searching for authors and books that I might enjoy. I still am eager with anticipation at the start of a new book.  The love of reading has never left me even though the technology has changed. Reinventing the library can keep the flow of the written word alive for many generations to come.

What say you? Should we reinvent the libraries–for the public good–so that they will still provide a service and be of use? Or should we just let them fade away and lose the treasure of being able to have thousands of books (electronic books) at our fingertips?

Asking For Lemons

Asking For Lemons

Once in a while my husband and I will go out to lunch or dinner–we enjoy these meals mostly because we don’t have to cook them or clean up after them.

That is the purpose of restaurants, to have a meal that is stress free, to relax and enjoy or celebrate a special day.

With people’s busy schedules more and more people are eating out more often. Restaurants are full and busy and loud. And the job of being a server is getting harder and more demanding.

We have been very lucky to always have good servers. I don’t remember one that has not provided good courteous service–even when there is a problem at another table or food is backed up in the kitchen.

I was surprised, at lunch yesterday, when I asked for ice water with lemons and the server–who was a very nice young woman–apologized profusely because they were out of lemons.  She asked if limes would do, and of course, I said yes.  What difference is there anyway between limes and lemons?

The service was good and the food delicious.  But our servers’ nervousness at the restaurant being out of lemons has stayed with me. I believe the lady was truly worried that I would be upset at the absence of lemons.

And that means that she has experienced customers being upset over unimportant things and taking their anger out on her.

I think it is a measure of a person by how they treat the servers at restaurants.  Here are a few things to remember:

  • Being a waiter or waitress is a hard job–they are dedicated and must be outgoing and cheerful when they don’t feel like it and when the people they are serving do not deserve it.
  • They are at the mercy of the restaurant manager and the cooks in the kitchen and yet are loyal to the brand.
  • They are on their feet walking back and forth bringing us the food and cleaning up after us because we did not want to stay home and do that for ourselves.
  • They are paid very little and have to rely on the tips they receive from the restaurant patrons.
  • Lastly, they have to deal with guests that are demanding, rude, sometimes inebriated and that apparently have issues with limes instead of lemons.

It is a good reminder that we all share this earth together and we should remember to be kind and respect those that help provide us a service, a hot meal and a smile.

Your Circle

Your Circle

Your circle of friends should want to see you win.

Your circle of friends should not be joyful when you are struggling.

Your circle should be quietly supporting and not critical of your life decisions.

Your circle should not spend their time trying to change you to be more like them.

Your circle of friends should recognize that you are unique and that in reality they are better for knowing you.

Those that are part of your circle should be helping build you up and not constantly breaking you down.

Who is in your circle?

Your circle belongs to you. You don’t have to let everyone in–you don’t have to let ANYONE in–that does not fit in with your goals, your lifestyle, your values and your priorities.

Life is challenging enough without having to surround ourselves with people who are not going in the same direction.

Others will define you based on who you surround yourself with.

And it is never too late to create your circle, modify your circle or remove yourself from a circle that is not aligned to your true self.

For those that don’t belong in your circle, that use their energy to being you down, or that only want to use you, wish them well and let them go.

No hard feelings are necessary, they just don’t belong with you.

Create your circle with people that will encourage you to be your best as you encourage them to be their best–those are the people that belong in your circle.

Old School

Old School

The older I get the  more and more I realize that it is not just because of my age that makes me the person I am but my old school attitude.

This is also what is missing from young people today–they are NOT old school.

More and more or I should say less and less there is no one to teach the next generation how to BE old school.

What makes me old school? I think there are 10 traits that seal the deal on being truly old school–here they are:

  1. If you say you are going to do something, do it.
  2. Do everything with integrity.
  3. Always be early to where ever you need to be.
  4. Respect your elders.
  5. Say please, excuse me and thank you.
  6. If someone is paying you to do a job, don’t do your best do the best they are expecting of you.
  7. Adversity occurs to make us stronger, better, smarter.
  8. Honor your God and respect the God of others.
  9. Hard work always pays off.
  10. Always save some money for a rainy day.

So if you want to be old school or you want the next generation to be old school you have to teach them and lead by example.

I’m proud to be old school, and to be surrounded by old school people. Old school is what has been the fabric of our productive society–don’t let anyone take those ideas and values away from you!

Liberation Day

Liberation Day

Some of the most important things I have learned in life I learned from my parents.

I have been very fortunate to have parents that were always present, involved and encouraging .

They taught me to depend on them while I grew into my own independence.

Likewise, it was my goal, as a parent, to be present and guiding but to make sure my children could stand on their own two feet.

And like my parents, we did a good job because just like I became stubbornly independent in my 20s, so too have the girls become independent.

My dad calls it Liberation Day! It truly was liberating for all of us.

The girls now liberated were taking those first scary steps into adulthood and we, the parents, are also liberated to continue with our lives, goals and dreams outside of parenthood.

But it does not end there. My father in declaring Liberation Day shows his pride in the passing of the torch to the next generation.

So today I celebrate that we have made it to this point in time, with gratitude and high hopes for the future!

Happy Liberation Day!

Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You

There is no person on this earth that you need to get to know more than…yourself.

Especially as you get older and change. And you should be changing, all the time, as you age.

Every day we encounter new things, new ideas and people and new experiences.

This will change you–at least it should.

Your basic personality, of course, stays pretty similar day to day and year after year, but you are never the same person you were yesterday.

If you strive to be the same person or worse portray to the world that you are the same person year in and year out, then you are not growing.

Worse, you know yourself but you are unwilling to show the world who you really are because it may not be who others want you to be.

So you need to get to know yourself and you need to learn how to share who you are with others.

Now, that does not mean that you behave badly, are inconsiderate of others and just expect people to deal with you whether they like it or not.

But it does mean you need to associate with people that are similar to you and like minded.

For example, if you are a kind and generous person you will not want to be with people who are the opposite– always taking advantage of your generosity.

If you are an honest and moral person, people who are not are going to rub you the wrong way. Why aggravate yourself?

Let those people spend time with each other since they share the same values–or lack there of.

You are a reflection of those you spend the most time with…and if you know yourself you will be better able to choose people that will build you up and not try to tear you down.

Those people–I guarantee–know themselves and they do not like who they have become, so they spend their time trying to bring others down to their miserable existence.

As we grow and change and get older it is okay to let go of people in your life that do not serve to add to your happiness.

Wish them well and move on. Don’t worry about what they have to say about you and let it go.

Getting to know yourself means you are comfortable with who you are, in your own skin and that will help you be happier. After all, wherever you go, that’s where you’ll be.

Hamburger Hangover

Hamburger Hangover

My husband and I have been eating healthier and exercising for over a year now and we have been very pleased with the results.

We are healthier, sleep better, have energy and are fit.

We are not slaves to having to eat anything specific and we are not anti-gmo or only eat organic. But we do watch our portions and try to choose the best foods we can.

We hadn’t eaten in a fast food restaurant in a very long time.

So when we found ourselves at a function where only fast food was available we didn’t think twice about giving ourselves a treat!

I cannot describe how delicious my hamburger with cheese, all the way, with french fries was!

It smelled wonderfully and it tasted absolutely delicious.

We were hungry and we enjoyed it.

The next morning we both woke up rather sluggish.

I was very thirsty and nauseous and I had quite a headache.

My husband felt the same.

We had a hamburger hangover! It took all day, some aspirin and a great deal of water to get past it.

We were surprised and pleased. Our better living has really paid off and we are so healthy now that our indulgence reminded us of the reason why we don’t indulge.

Embrace the healthier lifestyle friends, it really is worth it!

Back to School Eve

Back to School Eve

Like Christmas Eve, the evening before an important day should be treated as a celebration.

So I proclaimed last evening Back to School Eve.

We celebrated by enjoying those around us, having a good meal and going to bed early in anticipation of the surprises that will come today.

Just like Christmas, today will be filled with gifts in the form of new students. Some will be presents we expected and are looking forward to.

Other gifts will be unexpected, like the home made sweater with Rudolf on it from Aunt Tilly.

But regardless, all the gifts are appreciated and welcome because they symbolize the beginning of beginnings.

So on the eve of new beginnings we should not feel tired and solemn because of the end of summer.

Remember that nothing lasts forever and all things come to an end–and that leads us always to a new start!

So remember to celebrate, dress up, share good food with good people and enjoy the presents! This time only comes once a year!

Merry Back to School Day!

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

The Lighthouse That Guides Us

As you know by now I love learning new things. Especially when those new things are about subjects that I enjoy like travel and history and America.

One thing I like to visit, especially in any coastal city, are lighthouses. Whenever possible we climb them to the top.

These are magnificent buildings that were built expressly to lead ships to harbor.

Fishermen and military ships alike could depend on lighthouses to light their way home through dark, fog and storms.

They were a beacon leading them to safety– and home.

But I wonder how many people know that one of the most important lighthouses in America was the Statue of Liberty?

In November of 1886, ordered by President Grover Cleveland, the Statue of Liberty was maintained and operated as a lighthouse in New York Harbor.

Not only has Lady Liberty served as a beacon for sailors during this time but forevermore the light–and the hope–in her torch, has welcomed so many immigrants to this wonderful nation.

She served as a lighthouse until 1902. And while that function may have ended–her light has never diminished.

Lady Liberty is our symbol of freedom and hope and the opportunity that leads us all to strive for a better life.

She is the lighthouse that leads us home.

From The New Colossus: “I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Speaking Victory

Speaking Victory

There is a Christian tenet of speaking victory over people or situations. I don’t mean speaking about victories–like celebrating goals or achievements that have been reached.

I’m talking about speaking–verbally and out load–positive outcomes, encouraging ideas and blessings to those around us as well as ourselves.

I had never really thought about it in this way–although I have known about this concept for most of my life.

And it is a concept that when put into practice works.

Think about this–when we are happy and we talk about it–usually other good things begin happening.

When we complain and dwell on problems, sickness or bad fortune–and those complaints come out of our mouths–things usually continue on a negative trajectory.

But more importantly when we speak victory over others it can many times change the life path for those individuals.

Here is how to do it. First you need to understand that life is fluid and ever changing.

Second, you need to believe that because life is ever changing we should be open to the fact that anyone is capable of anything.

And then thirdly, you share these beliefs with those you are speaking victory over.

For example, speak victory over your children by telling them, truthfully, that there is nothing that can stop them from accomplishing what they want in life.

Speak victory over your marriage by sharing with your significant other the things you appreciate about them. Thank them for their caring, hard work and understanding.

Tell friends positive attributes you like about them and how it has influenced your life. As you do this their victory will manifest in more positive attributes.

Speak victory over people who may be struggling and it just might give them a different outlook to their future.

And speak victory over yourself and you will soon see that all you need will find itself into your life just when you need it.

Use your words for good–Speak Victory.

Finding Balance

Finding Balance

It seems to be a popular idea these days for people to find a balance in their lives. Many people feel unbalanced–I guess.

But I don’t think many people seeking balance understand what exactly they are balancing. Honestly, neither did I–so I looked it up!

From my readings there are basically 5 categories we can divide our lives into:

1. Love and Relationships

2. Health

3. Work and Career

4. Financial

5. Spiritual

These 5 areas are each interdependent on the others so if one is out of whack, then very likely another area is probably out of whack as well….and so the search for balance is ongoing, and more of a juggling act.

If I look at our lives, mine and my husband’s, honestly, I’d have to say we are pretty balanced.

Here is how I break it down and some suggestions for finding your own balance.

Love and relationships. We have a great relationship with each other and with those around us. How? We are honest, respectful and loyal to those we allow in our lives.

Yes, I said “allow”. You see, you don’t have to allow people in your life that don’t treat you well–that is–with honesty, respect or loyalty. That doesn’t mean you have to agree with them all the time but you do have to respect them as individuals.

Health. Our health, both physical and mental, is, in my opinion, very good. We strive consistently to be better. We eat right, we exercise, we get enough sleep.

We don’t abuse alcohol, drugs, sugar or anything else that would harm us.

We feel good and we look good–at least we think so!

Take care of yourself–no one can do that for you!

Work and career. We work. We work a lot. And we enjoy it. Of course there are days that are difficult just like in every job, every industry and every career.

That does not mean we would ever stop working because it makes us feel good! We are contributing to the fabric of our family, our community and our nation.

Work. Work hard and work with enthusiasm–it always pays off.

Financial. This category is easy. We spend less than we earn, we save for things that are important to us. Period.

Spiritual. We believe that there is a higher power than us. We call him God. It is our belief. We feel that everything happens for a reason and are grateful for our relationships, our health, our work and the safety of those around us.

Find your spiritual side, meditate, give thanks. The positive energy will come back to you.

The balance is found between these quite easily if you think about it.

We work in organizations in which we respect people and the work we are doing.

We work to provide a better life for each other and the family.

We spend within our means.

We stay healthy so we can continue working and enjoying the benefits of our work–getting paid.

We are grateful to the higher power that gives us these opportunities.

If you are looking for balance I encourage you to look at each of these areas in your life and how they fit together for you.

The balance is attainable if you really want it. As long as you are true to yourself and take responsibility for your choices you can find the answer. The search is over–your balance is found.

24 Hours a Day

24 Hours a Day

Each one of us is blessed to have the same amount of time each day–24 hours.

Yet some of us get so much more done in the same amount of time than others. And I am noticing that people who can accomplish more in the same amount of time that we are all given are happier people.

It all comes down to organization, focus and work ethic.

Here are some tips to help you get the most out of your day.

1. Go to bed and wake up at roughly the same time each day.

Some people say this is boring. Ok then I am boring. I go to bed by 8:30pm, 9:00pm at the latest, everyday. I wake up at 5:00 am every “workday” and 6:00am on weekends.

As a teacher, even on my holidays off, I follow the same schedule. If my husband and I are traveling we do so also.

This helps our body have the sufficient energy levels each day for whatever is planned.

If we stay up late for a special occasion we still keep to the same schedule and in a few days our bodies have “caught up” the hours of rest needed to continue whatever our lifestyle dictates.

2. Be organized in everything you do.

Being organized is a tremendous time saver. If you know me or have been reading my blog for even a short time you will know I am a planner.

I plan everything from the chores of the day–and the days of the week certain chores get done– to our meals, our workdays, family activities and events.

For example, grocery shopping happens once a week, we follow a list and we don’t go back to the grocery store that week. If we forget something we just work around it until the next time.

If you are organized in everything, less time is wasted and more is accomplished.

3. Keep your focus.

It is great to have lots and lots of dreams of what you want to do with your life and how you want to spend your days–but without focus you will spend days and years going from one thing to the next and never accomplishing anything.

Keeping your focus on beginning and finishing your tasks–whether it is an obligation (like your career)–or something recreational like a hobby or project–is the only way things get done.

Think of all the things you began but have not finished yet…you have lost your focus for those things.

If you feel you have lost your focus because you don’t have enough time see tip # 2.

4. A strong work ethic will help you accomplish anything.

If you want to live a full life with days packed with accomplishments and successes a strong work ethic will get you there.

Whether it is washing dishes, or building a successful company, raising intelligent resourceful children, or being the best you can be at whatever it is you want to do, you have to have a stick-with-it-ness that only comes from a good work ethic.

Here’s the good news–if you don’t already have a work ethic you can get one–they are free!

4 easy steps to a happy and productive life…remember we are all given the same 24 hours a day–how are you choosing to take advantage of them?

The Complications of Life

The Complications of Life

We humans like to make things so complicated–our lives are complex convoluted messes–of our own making.

And if someone tries to simplify and enjoy their life, with less stress and less anxiety, those around us tend to freak out.

It is, at this stage of my life, amusing to watch as people tie themselves into knots trying to change everyone around them. When instead they should just take a step back, take a deep breath and be grateful for a quiet simple life.

This is part of my plan– to live happily and as uncomplicated as possible.

Some people may not understand this-in fact I encounter many who don’t–but it is really quite simple.

I am happy and I want to be around others who are happy.

I love unconditionally and like spending time with people who love me unconditionally.

Its very simple-if you are grumpy or mean I probably won’t be spending time with you.

I like to eat healthy and exercise, I am conscious about my health both physical and mental. I enjoy living in a clean house with clean habits.

If you want to live differently and that makes you happy I will not be judging you or trying to change you.

It does not matter to me how much money a person makes or how they spend it. I know how much I make and what I spend it on.

It is none of my business how you handle your finances or the financial problems you may have. Do what makes you happy and I will do the same.

I am keeping things simple.

And it is really easy to do. Just stop and evaluate what you really want, the things that need to happen in order to get it and then take the steps to get you there. Period. No excuses.

Don’t worry about what other people do or say…just walk away from all the complications and be happy.

The World of Crayola

The World of Crayola

Sometimes there is a smell of something in the air as you walk by that can instantly take you back 30 years!  It happens to me about once a year–when I go back to school shopping.

Now in my empty nest, my children no longer need school supplies–at least not the kind we purchased each year.  Notebook paper, rulers, Elmer’s glue are not on their list. College requires more sophisticated apparatus and techniques, of the electronic variety.

But I do go school supply shopping every year–for my classroom. My other kids.  And no matter what store I choose to go shopping in–when I get a whiff of brand new Crayola Crayons I am positive that I get a goofy smile on my face.

The smell of a new box of crayons takes me back to my first classrooms as a child. The excitement of a new year, the desire to impress and live up to my teacher’s expectations and knowing that most of the time, I did.

There were a few years–2nd and 4th grades–that perhaps were not my best, but using my crayons surely helped get me through the rough patches.

As I got older I made sure every year, whether I needed them or not–especially in high school–I would still put a new box in the cart.

And now–even though I don’t require them of my students in the secondary classroom–I buy a box for myself and put it in the top drawer of my desk–every year.

Somehow the box always disappears during the year sometime–it is quite the mystery since I never know where it goes.  I imagine however, that someone comes across it and also has a memory flash that brings them warm and fuzzy feelings.

Nonetheless, a new box is on the list, it gets purchased and goes back in the drawer–my own crayola talisman for good luck, good days and good lessons for the school year to come.

It is so important to tie positive experiences from our past to our present and future–and to hopefully pass down some of the wisdom that we acquire along the way–to those in our care.

If only life were always as simple as buying a new box of crayons each year–things would be so much clearer, happier and yes–more colorful.

Here’s to back to school shopping!  Enjoy every minute of it!  It only comes once a year!  And don’t forget the crayons!

 

Road Trip

Road Trip

I love taking road trips! There is nothing more relaxing to me than driving on U.S. highways.

Especially in a state like Texas you can drive for two days and still be in the state… but the areas are so varied that the drives are beautiful.

One of my favorite part of these drives are the cows. The ranches on both sides of the highway are home to these magnificent animals.

I love these cows and over the course of many years I have come to know them by name–hereford, santa gertrudis, angus, jersey and of course the beloved longhorn.

I love watching them go by as we speed along–at the speed limit, of course–and they go about their business grazing and ignoring the noisy vehicles.

Sometimes a whole family of cows is sitting and standing under a big oak tree–at their leisure living this southern life.

I have–more than once–pulled over to watch them and sometimes take pictures of them.

On rare occasions one will look right at me. And I have to admit that for a moment it stops my heart. It is a form of communication in that one look.

It’s as if the cow is trying to understand my species as much as I would like to understand hers.

There are times, when driving as the sun is going down, when you can see them line up and follow each other over a ridge.

In silent agreement they head home to where they will rest after a long day in the sun. It is truly amazing.

Some people have commented to me how badly they feel for the cows on these farms–that they are being raised just to be killed.

And I couldn’t disagree more. These beautiful animals are living out their purpose and they do so with grace and dignity.

So I will continue to enjoy these road trips every chance I get and to admire the beautiful cows along the way.

Of Weddings and Funerals

Of Weddings and Funerals

Nothing seems to mark the passage of time more than the weddings and funerals in our lives.

The weddings are always happy occasions when we have the chance to get together with family and friends to celebrate the beginning of a couple’s life together. At least for me.

It doesn’t matter what age the happy couple is or if this is their first or second (or third) marriage. It is a beginning, a fresh start with the expectation and promise that it holds. It is a celebration of life.

It is the clock of life that ticks off to these moments. We often think of our own lives at weddings–sometimes remembering our own weddings or those of others. The life lived before and after such events. The choices we have made and how that defines us–in reference to time passed and time yet to come.

As we get older, funerals also give us an opportunity to see friends and family although for a more somber occasion. This too is a celebration of life.

This is a time when again we hope for that new beginning with the promise of everlasting life in heaven.

But it is also a reminder of our mortality, of the fact that our time on earth is limited.

When a friend or family member passes away, regardless of their age, we think about the impact they had in our lives–sometimes big and sometimes small–but an impact nonetheless.

And we think of our lives at funerals, before that moment, and what it will be after that moment. It is a time to be grateful, to appreciate and to take advantage of the time we have left.

So always remember to celebrate life–those of others–and your own! These milestones, weddings and funerals, help us remember to slow down from our hurry up run around life and enjoy everything we can.

I hope your life is full of joy and rich memories!

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

Meal Prepping Lessons For Life

If you have been reading my blog for a while or if you know me personally you know that planning things (everything) is definitely my thing. So in an effort to eat healthier and maximize my grocery shopping I have begun meal prepping.

This has become a very popular trend in many households. And it is imperative for people and families that are trying to live a healthier lifestyle as a new way of life.

Beyond that there are many lessons to be learned from this process.

First you will have to plan for 5 meals a day for 7 or 14 days times the number of people you are responsible for feeding.

What does that teach us? How important our resources are…time, food, imagination, and the freezer.

In your life you are going to want to maximize your time, be grateful for all the things we have (like unlimited foods and freezer technology) and have fun-use your imagination!

Second you have to be able to think out of the box.

Meal prepping has to be varied. You can’t pick 4 meals and rotate them through your meal plan…you will get so tired of your routine that you will slip and quit this newly found and positive habit.

So learning tip, find at least 14 recipes that you can rework in quantity and nutritional value that you can use to add variety to your cooking and eating.

Don’t try to cook all 14 at a time! That’s just crazy–and exhausting–think out of the box, but don’t throw the box out!

Learning to be forward thinking, numbers oriented and how to use strategic skills are very good things to know in this ever changing world of ours.

Third we need flexibility in our lives–especially in our eating habits.

There was a time and place for cooking a big meal and the family ate together–at a table–every night. Children were expected to eat was was made or not eat at all.

While I don’t think we should be short order cooks, in this very busy life we have created prepping meals ahead of time means we can still eat together without having to eat the same things.

This small change teaches us we can meet the likes of all the eaters in our lives and still provide them healthy meals…save time and money…and avoid the fast food line!

This also teaches us that what is important is not the quantity of a food that is important but the quality of the nutrition we are providing those we love.

And fourth, especially in households with kids, we should involve all the family members in the process of meal prepping.

Each person can have an age appropriate chore to be done as part of the meal prepping process. Someone can do all the cutting and chopping, while another mixes and cooks and yet another can keep the area and tools clean.  Dishes won’t do themselves you know!

This teaches us the best lesson of all–with teamwork much more can get accomplished than just challenging the world alone!

The family who preps together–stays together!

Happy Monday! Leave a comment below and let me know if you are a meal prepper!  What is your favorite go to recipe?

Christmas in July

Christmas in July

I went into a craft mega store yesterday that I love because it is jam packed with crafts, ideas, decorations, themes, colors and smells.  I can spend hours in there.  In fact, I have.

I was especially excited on this visit when I started seeing 80% off signs on summer stuff.  So I was really in my shopping groove when I turned the corner and I saw it….

The reason for the big sale was the cleaning out of several aisles of goods in order to put out all the Christmas decorations, trees, wreaths, nativities and all the other Christmas decorations that make the season so great!

As you can tell, I love Christmas!

And I appreciate that the ideas are out in July.  Some people may be dismayed to see Christmas out before Halloween and Thanksgiving–but I think it’s brilliant.

The free enterprise system is telling us how wonderful our economy is this year! The optimism is amazing.  The idea that we are all doing so well that we can plan ahead to these upcoming holidays is heartening.

And I am all in!

When I got home–I sat down to make my Christmas list.  Not the gifts I want to receive–that list is a hard one–but the people I want to find the perfect gifts for.

I love looking for things for others that they may love and are not expecting.  Each year that is getting harder and harder to do. There is so much available so quickly to everyone that finding the perfect gift for the people that mean the most to us is quite the challenge.

That is probably why so many people dread the holidays!  They procrastinate and wait until the last minute to get inspired on what to get their friends and family and then run around crazy looking for the perfect gift.

Of course, as hokey as it sounds–there is also nothing like a home made gift.  At the very least it is original, customized to the person receiving the gift and can not be found on Amazon.

So my excitement aside–and the great craft mega store addiction–let’s remember how magical Christmas can be–even when the feelings come in July!

It’s a wonderful life!

How do you feel about Christmas?  Drop me a comment! And have fun!

 

Calories In and Calories Out

Calories In and Calories Out

The hardest part in trying to create a nutritional plan that works is keeping the proper count of calories. Why is this important?  Well because just like you cannot run a car without gasoline a body cannot run without calories. And running the body is what we are all about.

Although some diets and nutritional gurus may say that counting calories does not matter when trying to lose and maintain a healthy weight–they are relying on other processes of the body–like manipulating the way a person’s metabolism works to reach their weight losing goals.

The biggest problem is that these diets do work–at least for a while.  They work as long as you keep to the parameters of the diet strictly. The minute you change anything in these diets the weight comes back–with often a few extra pounds–that the body will save for the next time the body experiences these manipulations.

We forget that we are not meant to be on a the roller coaster of diets–we were made to follow a nutritional plan that provides the needed calories for the energy of living.

So scientifically, if you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight–you need to know what is going in and what is going out. And more complicated yet…you need to understand what calories you should be eating for optimum nutrition.

The way I see it there are two major challenges:  accurately counting the calories we are taking in and accurately counting the calories we are burning.  When we eat, we usually think we are eating less calories than we are actually eating–and we are usually not burning as many calories as we think we are burning.

Regardless of the challenges–it is important to note that becoming a healthier you is so important that the counting frustration should not stop us.  This is a learning process.

The best way to measure the amount of food in your servings is to use measuring cups and a food weight scale.  Most solid foods should be weighed while more liquid foods can be measured. Being consistent in weighing  and measuring your foods will help you in keeping an accurate count of the calories.

Once we get “used” to the meals that work best for us nutritionally we tend to stop measuring and weighing.  A chicken breast is a chicken breast right?  No. They come in all sizes and when we stop measuring–the calories creep in.

As with everything that is important in your life–I’m afraid to say–you are going to have to write it down. Keeping a food diary is the best way to know what calories are going into your body. (If you are not a fan of writing things down, I’m sure there is an app for that.)

On the counting calories out side–the same applies.  Every activity burns calories–but each person burns calories differently based on their weight.  The more you weigh the more calories you will burn during any given activity.

There are online calculators that will help you track the number of calories you are burning in any given activity or work out.  Keep in mind that to get an accurate count you have to be diligent about entering the accurate time an activity took place and also the level of intensity that you completed the activity.

Walking a mile slowly does not burn as many calories as walking a mile quickly while swinging your arms. And you can’t count walking for 60 minutes if you stopped and spoke to a neighbor for 10 minutes–you can only count 50 minutes.

Ultimately, though, the only way to maintain a healthy lifestyle is to know what comes in and what comes out. There is no scientific way around it. Creating this type of lifestyle when it comes to nourishing your body and keeping fit is much more sustainable.

Count your calories and your blessings! We live in the greatest time of nutritional knowledge–embrace it!

Have a great day today!  Leave me a comment or send me an email at emptynestsavvy@gmail.com…I’d love to hear from you!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

Time To Pray

Time To Pray

Do you ever find yourself wondering what is wrong with our world, with people, with traffic or with the simplest things that sometimes don’t seem very simple?

These are all good times to pray.

Prayers have helped me through some of the worst moments in my life. And prayers have given me a place to send my gratitude for the great moments in my life. Prayers have been there for all the moments in between.

When the world seems to be upside down, I pray, not for myself but for those in the turmoil.

When people seem to have lost their minds and are making bad decisions that affect others, I pray.

When people deliberately hurt others, through words or deeds, I pray.

It helps me to pray–for myself and for others. I ask for patience, I ask for wisdom and I ask for protection and I give thanks.

Too much these days it is not popular to admit that we believe in God and that we pray. People get offended if we say we will pray for them or that we will keep them in our prayers–but I pray for them anyway.

You see, I have been praying all my life. Some of my earliest memories are in church praying–and I always felt safe, at peace, and renewed.

But in an effort to be all inclusive and non divisive and politically correct, we have been getting away and turning our backs on God.

We have removed God from schools and from public buildings and universities. I hear they are even trying to remove God from our money–by erasing the words.

It’s a sad state of affairs–but a good time to pray.

A lady, who is an atheist, asked me recently, if I wouldn’t feel foolish when I die and realize there is no God.

My reply to her was this: “I won’t feel foolish–I won’t feel anything, I’ll be dead. But are you willing to live and take the chance that you might be wrong?”

She was not happy with my answer so of course, it was a good time to pray about it and I did.

Think about your life and see if things are not better for you and those around you–when you take time to pray.