Second 5K in the Bag; You Can Do it Too!

I finished my second 5K today.  The weather was not the best, but it could’ve been a lot worse.  It was cloudy and had been raining, but the rain stopped right before we started running.  The course was a very nice trail in a park, and with the torrential downpours and flooding we’ve been getting, there was lots of water and mud across the trail.

It was cool, but very humid which made it hard to breathe.  If anyone can slip and fall, it’s me, so I walked across the mud.  Still, my time was better than my last and first 5K!

If anyone had told me a year ago that I’d be running 5Ks, I would’ve laughed in their face.  A year ago I could run 60 seconds on a treadmill.  That’s probably equal to 20 or 30 seconds on the street.

I have a lot of people to thank:  my personal trainer who convinced me that I could do anything I put my mind to, a dear friend who has given me truckloads of encouragement and has been my constant cheerleader, and my family that has put up with my making health and fitness a priority.

No matter what anyone tells you, it’s never too late.  I did not start out running a 5K.  I started out running for one minute.  It was 15 weeks of grueling, hard work. There were times I wanted to give up, but I didn’t thanks to all the support and encouragement I had. I got there literally one step at a time. You can do it too!

305 lbs. Juicing Plan B

It didn’t take long to learn that we had no clue what we were doing. Our first shot at making juice was a disaster as far as flavor. It made us realize that what came out of the juicer was not necessarily going to taste like what went into the juicer. It also made us realize that we couldn’t just throw anything into it and expect it to be palatable.

After the orange juice disaster, we found some recipes and tried some juices. We found a recipe for green juice and made it. It was ok, but nothing that we were crazy about.

It was clear that this was going to be a long adventure of trial and error.  This was not what I was hoping for.  I was ready to jump in feet first and get started with this now!  I did not want a delay no matter how short it might be.

My daughter and I did some experimenting with juicing while she visited.  I later consulted with Tamara on what were some of her favorite recipes.  I planned to start my first round of juicing after she left.  

I was anxious to find the real me that I had been hiding all these years.  Looking back, I now see that God brought people into my life when I needed them.  He knew when I was ready for a change and brought people and circumstances into my life at a time that I was ready to listen and willing to make changes.

305 lbs. The Juicer Arrives

It was finally here! The tool that was going to change my life! I was excited to have this huge box sitting in my living room. However, it was an extremely busy day. My daughter was arriving from out of state that day for a visit. I wanted to open the box so badly and take a peak but didn’t feel like I had the time to do so. What would people think? What would my daughter think? Was she going to tell everyone that her mother had lost her marbles?

My daughter finally arrived. She walked right into the living room with this big box sitting in the middle. She said, “What’s that?” I said, “A juicer.” She said, “I’ve been thinking about getting one of those. Let’s open it up.”

It was Dumber and Dumbest from that moment on. We got the juicer out of the box and figured out how to put it together and turn it on. We didn’t have anything in the house at the time that we could put through it, so it just sat there. We didn’t have a clue what to do with it.

The next day my daughter decided she wanted to try making some orange juice, so we stopped at a stand on the side of the road and bought some fresh fruits and vegetables. We bought a bag of oranges to make orange juice. It was going to be fresh; it was going to be delicious. It was going to be the best orange juice we ever tasted—golden nectar from Heaven. We just knew it!

We took the oranges home and then debated on how to juice them. Should we peel them? What about the seeds? I had watched videos where Joe Cross didn’t peel his lemons or limes, so we sent the oranges through the juicer peeling and all.

There it was, our little pitcher of golden, sunshiny goodness. We couldn’t wait to take a taste of the best orange juice on the planet. We poured a glass of juice for each one of us. We took a drink. It tasted like . . . battery acid!

We definitely were not off to a good start. All I could think of was the money I spent on these yummy oranges that were now going into the trash. It was now time for Plan B—if only we had one!

305 lbs. The Moment that Changed my Life

I was leaving the building after church one Sunday morning, walked around a corner, and came face to face with someone I hadn’t seen for a few weeks.  We’ll call her Tamara.  Tamara is a little older and wiser than me.  She is one of the women in our church that I feel thinks like me–one of the women I’ve gleaned from.  Tamara looked great and I told her so.  She told me that she had lost 50 pounds through juicing and recommended that I watch a movie called Fat, Sick, and Nearly Dead.

I was intrigued.  Juicing was not something I was completely unfamiliar with.  Neither was fasting.  I had known people throughout the years that juiced and did juice fasts or juice and soup for periods of time.  But, they did this for health reasons.  This was the first time I had heard of using juicing as a method to lose weight.

Could this work?  Could this work for me?   I needed to lose a lot of weight, and the thought of losing it quickly was exciting to me.

Naturally, I went home and immediately forgot the name of the movie.

The next week I asked Tamara again for the name of the movie.  I made a note of it this time.  I went home and started Googling.  I could not find a place to watch the movie without paying for it.  I finally got my hands on the DVD.  I’m not sure where it came from.  Either Tamara loaned it to me or it came from the library.

I sat down very late one evening and watched the movie.  It was definitely inspiring.  I was pumped and ready to give juicing a try.  Joe Cross’ story was inspiring and amazing.  I believe he lost somewhere around 90 pounds in 90 days.  Could I do that?  Would juicing work for me like it worked for Joe?  Even more inspiring was Phil’s story–a truck driver that parked his truck and went and stayed at a resort to concentrate on juicing and regaining his health.  My husband had a truck-driver friend that reminded me of Phil, so without saying anything about Phil, I recommended that he watch the movie.

I didn’t know anything about juicers or juicing, but I knew I wanted to get started.  I let my fingers do the walking on my keyboard and started looking for the same juicer Joe Cross used in the movie.  My fingers did lots of walking, as it was sold out almost everywhere I looked.

I finally found a place that had the juicer in stock.  It would take it a week or so for me to get it and I had to pay a little more than other advertised prices, but I wanted to get it in my hands before the excitement wore off.

I know all of these events sound very insignificant.  But, this is where it all started.  This is that one snowflake that created a snowball that started the avalanche that changed my life.  If Tamara had not taken the steps to lose 50 pounds herself, I would probably weigh even more than 305 pounds today.  Juicing has changed my life and saved my life, and I have Tamara to thank for introducing me to the world of juicing.

305 lbs. Why it was so easy to stay there.

In all my fatness, I never had any health problems. I never had that moment where I went to the doctor and he/she gave me the bad news that if I didn’t change my lifestyle I was going to drop dead one day.

In 2003 I was diagnosed with a blood disorder (MTHFR). At that time it was a fairly new find in the medical field. Google was able to find two search results for it–both being medical journals that I could not get full access to. I was not exhibiting any side effects from the disorder. The first thing my doctor said to me was, “you must be eating pretty well since your homocysteine levels are normal.”

I did think I was eating pretty well. To help make ends meet, we quit buying any convenience food and I was making everything from scratch. We were definitely eating a lot better than we had been, but we could still do a lot better.

Amazingly enough, I never had diabetes. I never had high blood pressure or high cholesteral. Every time I had a physical, the only problem was my “height/weight ratio.” If only I could grow 12 inches!

I did not remain at 305 lbs for long. It took me years to get there. The heavier I got, the harder it got to move. I racked it up to “getting old.” After all, that’s how I felt. The older I got, the heavier I got, the less I moved. It was all a vicious cycle that I was in without even knowing it. I thought that what I was experiencing was a normal part of the aging process.  I thought I was living the life I was destined to live.

305 lbs. How did I get here?

I was always the “husky” kid.  I was overweight, but not obese.  I was always the kid that needed to lose 10 or 20 lbs.

As a kid, my weight fluctuated.  I would gain several pounds during the winter and take it off during the summer.  Living in the Midwest, that was easy to do.  We had cold, snowy winters and hot, sunny summers.  We didn’t have air conditioning until I was in high school, so summers were spent outside running, playing, and riding bicycles.

When I became an adult I continued to put on a little weight every winter, but it didn’t come off during the summer months.  I was no longer spending my summers outside.  I was spending all year sitting at a desk.

Five pounds a year for 30 years and there you have it–305 pounds total.  I did try to lose weight a few times.  I tried a few fad diets, but could never stick to them for very long.  The most success I had was with a high protein/low carb diet.  I quickly lost 40 pounds. I also quickly got tired of eating nothing but meat, eggs, and cheese.  After losing 40 pounds, I planned to take a break and then lose 40 more pounds.  I could never make myself go back to the diet, and I eventually gained back 80 pounds.

I had a few miscarriages in my late 30s and then a baby at the age of 40.  I continued to pack on the pounds.  I eventually had two high schoolers involved in sports and a toddler that I could not keep up with.

I finally gave up.  I never believed that my weight was something I could control.  I decided that I was “fat and sassy” and that there was nothing I could do about it–at least about the fat part. I never really was a junk food junkie, but I had my vices (chocolate, ice cream, and Coca Cola).  I had spent the last 20 years taking care of others instead of myself, and it showed.


Back to Homeschool

All across America, whether you have school age children or not, this time of year is often thought of as “back to school.” We had the recent sales tax holiday where many school supplies were tax free for a weekend. We’ve all been inundated with “back to school” ads from various retailers, and most of us are once again seeing the yellow school buses in and around our neighborhoods.

Most homeschools also experience a “back to school” transition this time of year. Even those that homeschool year round often take a shortened summer break or go with a lighter schedule during the summer. Sometimes the transition back to spending more time every day doing school work can be difficult for the whole family. Here are some things you can do to help make that transition smooth and peaceful.

Start your school year in the middle of the week. By starting your school year off later in the week (let’s say Wednesday), you will only have three days of school before the weekend is here and you have a break again. You can make it an even lighter transition, by starting your school year the Wednesday before Labor Day, taking the weekend and Labor Day off, and then you will only have four days of school your second week of school. Even if you don’t start the week before Labor Day, you can still take the next Monday off.

Regardless of when you start cracking the books open again, you most likely will find that there are some supplies that you forgot to purchase. The fast approaching three-day weekend will give you a chance to go out and purchase those supplies that you find you need.

Make your first day of school a day of fun. Instead of cracking the books open right away, take some time to play some educational games. If you use binders or notebooks, let your children make covers for them. Take pictures and record some vital statistics such as your children’s height and weight. Have your children fill out an annual survey asking about all their favorite things. Do very little bookwork on this day. Let your children review and get excited about the materials you plan to use this coming year.

Also remember that you do not have to start all subjects on day one. Another way to transition into the school year is to start with a few subjects and then add a subject or two each week. This method can help the whole family transition back into a regular routine.

Regardless of how your school operates, remember that it’s your school and it is up to you to customize it to fit your family. If something isn’t working (and you will have something that doesn’t), change it or get rid of it. There is nothing that says that you must educate your children Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Education can happen any time of the day and any day of the week, so take advantage of it and do what best fits your children and your family.

AP makes one million minutes of historical footage available on YouTube

An incredible, FREE resource for homeschoolers!

LONDON — The Associated Press and British Movietone, one of the world’s most comprehensive newsreel archives, are together bringing more than 1 million minutes of digitized film footage to YouTube. Showcasing the moments, people and events that shape the world, it will be the largest upload of historical news content on the video-sharing platform to date.

The two channels will act as a view-on-demand visual encyclopedia, offering a unique perspective on the most significant moments of modern history. Available for all to explore, the channels will also be powerful educational tools and a source of inspiration for history enthusiasts and documentary filmmakers.

The YouTube channels will include more than 550,000 video stories dating from 1895 to the present day. For example, viewers can see video from the San Francisco earthquake in 1906, exclusive footage of the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941, Marilyn Monroe captured on film in London in the 1950s and Twiggy modeling the fashions of the 1960s.

via AP makes one million minutes of historical footage available on YouTube.

Why Does Common Core Require Teaching Islam? ⋆ The Constitution

If this won’t convince you to homeschool, I don’t know what will.

However, Common Core really originated from the Connect All Schools program, which is part of the “One World Education” initiative orchestrated by Qatar Foundation International (QFI). The director of QFI’s Research Center for Islamic Legislation and Ethics is Tariq Ramadan, grandson of Hassan al-Banna who was the founder of The Muslim Brotherhood.

via Why Does Common Core Require Teaching Islam? ⋆ The Constitution.