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!

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!

Our Surroundings Mirror Us

Our Surroundings Mirror Us

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The house was mirroring me!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I Love Mondays

I Love Mondays

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sorry Garfield–I love Mondays!

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

Enjoy your Monday! I will!

 

It’s a Good Friday

It’s a Good Friday

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It does not have to be hard or perfect.

To become a better me everyday, I just need to remember to forgive myself for my mistakes of yesterday, have gratitude for the new chance this day gives us to be different and to intend to do the best with that opportunity.

I am an imperfect person. Good Friday reminds me that I am already forgiven.

On this Good Friday, I leave you with this: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

Enjoy this day. Be better than yesterday and have fun.

Spread a Little Love

Spread a Little Love

Happy Valentine’s Day!  

Today on February 14 the United States celebrates Valentine’s day to honor the ONE we love!  Very romantic!

And many other nations do this as well! In Australia–more and more roses are brought in for this day each year!

In Mexico they commemorate not only love but friendship as well on February 14th.  

Canada is a close 2nd to the U.S. to the amount of gifts purchased in the pursuit of romantic love on this day.  

In India–they have a whole week of Valentine’s days with a different theme for each day–and this country also has remarkable protests against the holiday!

What this tells me is that Love is a very big deal! Not just commercially but really truly serious to those of us expecting some sign from the ones we love on this day. And no matter the country or the language–it seems that something should signify this day.

Cards, flowers, balloons, candy, stuffed animals, chocolates, romantic dinners, jewelry and sometimes even proposals–the stress is on!

And although it sounds cliche–and we do enjoy Valentine’s day in a low key type of way–I have found that I am loved each and every day!  I’ve decided that this year I am going to enumerate all the ways I have been loved by others throughout the year and to say Thank you!

And so…Love is….

…The little boy next door that asks to walk my dog.

…The cashier at the grocery store that always remembers my name.

…My husband that makes coffee in the morning, every morning.

…The co-workers that always say good morning.

…The utility workers that worked non-stop to restore power after

   the Hurricane.

…My daughters when I witness them be kind to others.

…The lady on the treadmill next to me that gave me a thumbs up.

…The students that have taught me what a patient person I can be.

…The parent that bakes cookies for the teachers to appreciate us.

…A cohort of strangers that encourage me to work towards my

   dreams.

…My mom and dad that call me just to say hello during the week.

…The neighbors that share their leftover spaghetti and Sunday paper.

…The old gentleman who let me have his parking spot.

…The friend who invites me to dinner at the moment I need her

   company.

…The waitress who waited on our party of 10, 8 months pregnant, with

   a smile.

Love is a very big deal in our world. And we share it, many times without knowing it.

To all these people, and so many others, on this Valentine’s day I want to give you my thanks for your love and to tell you I love you back!

Find love in every day!  Spread a little love and have some fun!

Comment below if you’d like to share a Valentine story! And have a Happy Valentine’s Day!

 

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

Steps to Letting Go of Old Limitations

The hardest part so far of trying to determine what lies ahead for us in this empty nest chapter of our lives has been the slowing down.

I am coming to realize that I am having a hard time slowing down because I am having a hard time letting go of old limitations I have placed on my life.

Based on our values and expectations of life we have worked hard and we have done things “right”–at least the right we thought were right at the time.  And for the most part we were right the majority of the time and we did well for ourselves and are in a good place. However, the world has changed and changed drastically–and if we don’t change with it–by letting go of old limitations–we are going to stagnate.

First let me explain what a good place is.  My husband and I are in a good place because we do and have certain things that we feel are not negotiable not to do or have.  

These are the things we do:

1) We acknowledge that God exists and is very important in our lives. We both have always believed in God, but now, more importantly, we understand that God is first in our lives.

2) We work hard.

3) We are grateful for everything that comes into our lives.

These are all the things we have:

1) We, thankfully, have our health.

2) We are intelligent and honor knowledge, education, and drive to learn more-not just book smarts–but experience knowledge.

3) we have a family that we love and respect and that loves and respects us back.

So what am I talking about when I say old limitations?

Up until the empty nest time, our lives included raising kids, buying a home, acquiring dogs, cars, and numerous traveling experiences. It included going to kids birthday parties, hosting parties, attending school functions, parent teacher conferences and all the other functions and places that kept us going from place to place.

It also included working hard and long hours, having successes and failures at work but being rewarded with reasonable salaries, retirement plans, insurance protection and the things that our society deems important.

Before we knew it the children were grown and graduations were attended. Smiles and tears were shed, cars were packed, schools were chosen, dorms and apartments moved into and then we drove away with more tears and a whole lot of quiet.

And for a little while–about 6 months–we were adjusting to the the Empty Nest. Part of my adjustment is allowing myself to express my creativity through this blog and discovering what we want to do as we plan for the rest of our lives.

But although we are consciously seeking to slow down and create this life, we have not stopped doing everything the way in which we have always done it. The old limitations that I am not letting go of or am reluctant to let go of are the fears, anxieties, worry and other habits that are holding us back from living the fullest life we are meant to have.

Without knowing it, in search of “the plan” for the rest of our lives we have come face to face with many vulnerabilities. We are getting close to figuring this out–or we think we are getting close–who knows? we could be years from figuring it out!

We will not get close to figuring it out though if we don’t let go of old limitations.

All of our limitations are psychological–and what is holding me back only means something to me. What is holding you back only means something to you. Since the world has changed so much and is changing rapidly still we have to find the way to let go of the fears, anxieties, bad habits or even good habits that are not serving you.

These are a few things I am going to try to begin letting go, and I encourage you to try these steps or to define your own:

  1. Stop living our present lives by the limitations we placed on ourselves in the past. I have to leave the past in the past.
  2. No matter what is happening let go of imagined fears and find something to be grateful for, after all life is good!
  3. Remember that we all have a purpose and we owe it to ourselves to find that purpose and live it to the fullest!

So in letting go of old limitations I plan to learn to relax, after all what is going to happen is going to happen anyway and there is no way to control the unknown. I am going to take more pictures of sunrises and sunsets and everything in between!  I am going to enjoy the scenery of life. And I am going to keep searching for my purpose and continue planning the plan.

Life is a journey–not a destination so I don’t have to worry about getting to any particular place at a particular time! It’s impossible to be late!

Are you holding yourself back from being the best you, you can be? Are there any limitations you have placed on yourself or your life that is taking away from fully experiencing everything life has to offer? Comment below and share with me one thing you would change in order to live a fuller life!

As always, remember we only have one life!  Have fun with it!