Family, Friends, Fun, Health, Living

Dwelling on Excellence

Good day, friends. My, it has been a while. Not only that, we are living in a very different world than the last time I wrote. Life certainly has changed for me, and I’m sure it has for you too.

It seemed like the decade was getting off to a great start when we got punched in the gut. First there were recommended precautions, then there were declarations made by the governor and local authorities. Many people started working from home before businesses were required to shut their doors. Finally, businesses were required to shut their doors regardless of the preparations they had made. Only “essential” businesses were allowed to stay open. That begs the question,

What is an “essential” business, anyway?

If I’m a business owner and I rely on the income from my business to buy groceries and pay the rent, then in my eyes, my business is essential. If I work for an employer and my income is essential for me to be able to put gas in my car and pay the electric bill, then that business is essential. If I rely on a business for life-sustaining goods such as food and water, then that business is essential. In my eyes, there are very few businesses that are not essential.

Does that mean that I have to frequent any of those businesses? Absolutely not. I can choose to take the precautions I believe necessary in order to avoid contact with others. In these days of DoorDash and instacart, you can stay holed up in your home for weeks on end if you really found it necessary.

That said, what have I been doing with myself?

At first, I was spending hours online trying to find the things we needed. I tried to order as many groceries as I could online so that all we had to do was pick them up. As you’ve probably heard, reserving a pick up time was easier said than done. I’d wait for my order to see what I did and didn’t get, and then go to another store to try to get the things we didn’t get. It’s been interesting.

Then there was the whole thing of ordering the non-grocery items that we needed. The disadvantage of ordering some things online is the fact that there are too many choices! Trying to find what you need at the best cost (with or without shipping) can suck time and life right out of you. So far, we’ve been able to make it work.

What is the one good thing that’s come out of this? I’ve been able to concentrate on my running. Not only has the weather been great, but I now have absolutely no conflicts! No 4-H meetings, no church meetings, not even a family get together!

I’m going to stop here before this post gets too lengthy. I will do a more in-depth update in a future post. I do hope that you find yourself healthy and doing well. I know these are trying times for all of us.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things.

Philippians 4:8

Family, Friends, Fun, Health, Homeschool, Living, Parenting

Happy New Decade!

Happy New Year! Can you believe it is here? The start of a new year . . . the start of a new decade! Have you thought about it? Where were you (physically, spiritually, emotionally) in 2010? How has your life changed?

Physically, I weighed more than 100 pounds than I do today. I truly did not realize how big I was. I could not walk from the front door of my house to the street/mailbox without huffing and puffing. My oldest graduated from high school in the summer and moved to Florida in the fall. My dad passed away in June. My husband had his third joint replacement surgery in less than a year. It was definitely a year of ups and downs. It felt like the downs outweighed the ups in 2010.

Sometime after that, I decided that it was time for me to pay attention to myself and what I needed instead of devoting all of my time and energy to others. My two older children were out of high school, married, and on their own. My youngest was not school age yet, so I had the time and energy to focus on what I needed.

I started by walking. I didn’t really focus on my diet. I tried to eat “healthier,” but my focus was getting exercise. After all, we hear all of the time that to lose weight you need to eat less and move more. Eventually I tried some group exercise classes at my local community center. The best thing I got from that was a personal trainer that convinced me that I could do anything I wanted.

A friend at church introduced me to juicing. This was a big influence in changing the way I ate. Not only did juicing itself help stop the cravings, it also acted as a stepping stone to adopting healthier food choices. I decided to cut out as much highly processed food as possible. This put an end to most junk food and foods containing flour and sugar. Adopting the Bright Line Eating lifestyle was just another step from where I already was.

Most people over estimate what can be achieved in a year and under estimate what can be done in a decade.

Neil Martin

Convinced that I could accomplish anything, I signed up for a Couch to 5K program. After watching me run my first 5K, my oldest daughter started running with me and came up with the crazy idea for us to run a 5K a month. This has kept me running all year long and has led to meeting new people and some wonderful friendships.

Now, as we go into a new year and a new decade, I’m thinking about not only how my life might be different in a year, but also how my life might be different in a decade. Ten years ago if you told me I’d be starting off 2020 with a run with my running buddies, I’d tell you that you were crazy–and so were they! Today, I can’t wait to get out there!

That said, I’m excited to see what the next year and the next decade have in store! In the next decade, my youngest will be an adult. I have grandchildren that will be teenagers. Perhaps there will be more grandchildren! Will I still be running? Will I still be writing this blog? I can’t imagine how technology will change between now and then. What are your expectations for the next decade?

‘For I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11
Family, Friends, Fun, Health, Living, Parenting

Problem Solved

It certainly has been an interesting Fall. It seemed like we started by going straight from Summer to Winter. We had measurable snow on October 30th! It is very unusual for us to have snow in them on the month of October.

As I mentioned in last week’s post, I was looking into fitness center memberships. The weather had caused us to cancel three of our running sessions already. It looked as if it was going to be a long, cold winter; and I didn’t have a Plan B when I was not able to go outside. Of course, weather is not always the reason for not going out.

I was having a difficult time jumping into the gym membership for one simple reason: it requires a year-long commitment. I really only need one during the winter months, so paying for something year-round was not what I needed and seemed like a waste of money. Our community center does have a 20-swipe pass that you can buy, and that is what I was leaning toward. Then came an unexpected surprise. I got a treadmill!

The thought hadn’t even crossed my mind until a “neighbor” on Nextdoor was offering one up. I was not able to get to it right away, so I thought for sure that it would be gone before I got there. However, to my surprise, I was able to snatch this one up.

I find this ironic since I gave my last treadmill away since I wasn’t using it. Once I started running and had a gym membership, I didn’t see the reason to keep it. Also, it was not made for running, so all I could do was walk on it.

This treadmill was made for running and even has pre-programmed workouts built into it. I decided to give the first workout a try yesterday. I was expecting it to be a “walk in the park” so to speak since it was the first one on the list. It was quite a bit more than I was expecting, but it was ok. It’s been a while since I’ve been on a treadmill, so it’s going to take some getting used to.

I really was torn on how to resolve this problem. I’m so excited that it has been taken care of. Not only that, Fabienne seems to be enjoying it as well.

In other news, I went to a planning meeting this last week for my 35th high school class reunion. I can’t believe it’s been that long! About 10 people attended the meeting. It was nice to see people that I hadn’t seen for quite a while. I did attend our last reunion, but it was hard to talk to everyone. Afterwards, I talked with The Boy Nextdoor and he mentioned that the “clicks” have finally gone away.

And, how are we planning to start our reunion day? With a 5K! I swear it was not my idea! The lady heading up the planning committee came to the meeting with that idea already in her head. Naturally, that’s something I’m interested in and want to help with, so I’ve jumped on that wagon. I’m designing t-shirts and finisher’s medals as we speak!

The LORD is good to those who wait for Him, To the person who seeks Him. Lamentations 3:25

Family, Fun, Health, Living

Traveling with Bright Line Eating

Last week was my first time to travel with Bright Line Eating. I’ll tell you right off that it was far from perfect. But, it was a good learning experience–otherwise known as research.

First, I did a lot of planning. We were staying at a resort where we would have a full-size kitchen and could prepare our own food. We’ve stayed there before, so I knew what to expect as far as where we would be staying.

I listed my meals and the quantity of each ingredient I would need on the left side of my paper. I then multiplied each ingredient by the number of days I would need that meal and wrote that on the right side of my paper. This way I knew how much I needed of each ingredient. I also did something similar for the rest of the family. I calculated their meals and how much I would need of each ingredient.

A couple of days before we left, I placed an order at a Wal Mart near where we would be staying to be picked up once we arrived. Placing and picking up the order was seamless. I was easily able to order everything I needed. When my order was ready, I was notified of only one substitution. They did not have the brand of taco seasoning I ordered, so it was switched to another brand. It wasn’t a big deal.

Samson was incredible.

The first three days went exactly as planned, so it was easy to stick to my eating plan. We got up and had breakfast. We didn’t have anywhere we had to be until 1:00, so there was swimming and fishing to do before eating lunch and then going to our events. Each of those days we had time to go back to our resort and have dinner. It was working and it was easy. I was a happy Camper so to speak.

The last two days of our trip did not go as I had envisioned. We had tickets to an amusement park. In the past we’ve stayed there until closing, which is usually around 6:00. It might mean eating dinner a little later than usual, but I could handle that. However, this weekend they were having some special events and stayed open until 9:00 pm both nights.

I had also purchased discounted meal tickets so that we could eat lunch there at their buffet. I thought with a buffet that I would be easily able to eat a BLE lunch. I was not able to do that. The only fruit offered on the buffet came in the form of cobblers and pies. All of the meat on the buffet was breaded and fried.

The last two days of our trip was a flop. We got back to our resort so late that we did not feel like eating a meal. We were also still full from eating a very late lunch at a buffet with very heavy food. I got up the next morning still feeling the effects.

The view on a morning walk.

Overall, it was a nice trip. The weather was perfect every day except for the last day we were there. Everything went well except for the last two days of our meals. The lesson learned here is that I’m going to have to find a way to take my meals with me. It was nice not to have to take food in and pull the wagon around, but it’s something I’m going to have to do in the future.

What are your BLE travel tips?

Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31
Family, Friends, Fun, Health, Living

Celebrating 300 Days of Bright Line Eating

Saturday marked 300 days of Bright Line Eating! It sure doesn’t seem like it’s been that long. It seems more like 30 days. I think that goes to show for the ease of the program. It’s not torturous, I’m almost never hungry, and it’s easy to follow.

The last 100 days have encompassed the summer, which is one of the times that I find most difficult to stay on track. There are always plenty of outings to go to that usually include snacks and treats. It hasn’t been perfect, but I’ve done well this summer.

Fabienne’s fall artwork.

I’ve found a simple lunch that is easy to pack and take along with me just about anywhere. Whether it’s a lunch or dinner outing, I take this with me just for simplicity. If I take it along for a dinner outing, then I swap my dinner and lunch. It’s been referred to by others as my “healthy food.” I have some friends that probably think that I eat the same thing every day for every meal. Nothing could be further from the truth.

So, how did I celebrate the 300 day milestone? First I went for a 4-mile run with a friend. The last leg of our run was in a neighborhood that was having a neighborhood garage sale, so we stopped and looked at a few garage sales. I couldn’t buy anything because I didn’t want to carry it two miles back to our start/end point. But, I did have a PR running up the hill next to the cemetery!

After that we visited the farmers’ market. I took my BLE breakfast muffins with me and ate them as we strolled around the market. There were not as many vendors as usual, but I was able to find the cutest gourd; a squash; and some tomatoes and cucumbers to go along with my onions I had at home. They made a nice salad which have been my lunch vegetable so far this week.

My cute, little gourd that I found at the farmers’ market. This is his “best” side.

I was fortunate enough to spend a quiet evening at home and to hit the hay a bit early. All in all, day number 300 went well. I look forward to the next 300 days of Bright Line Eating!

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28

Friends, Fun, Health, Living

I’m Still a Winner

I mentioned in an earlier post, that the Couch to 5K program that I looked forward to helping coach this summer was canceled due to a lack of participants. Our coach who leads the program offered to go ahead and meet with the rest of us that were going to help with the program during the summer.

After a discussion, we all decided we wanted to be better at what we already do. So, he helped us come up with a training schedule. Monday nights we did hills or speed on a rotating schedule. Wednesday nights was distance. Thursday nights was a slow run. Saturday mornings we met again.

We were fortunate enough to have great weather this summer. None of our runs were canceled due to the weather. We had a few where a storm was chasing us, but we always made it back before getting dumped on. We had lots of warm days, but only a few were extremely hot. Overall, it’s been a nice summer.

All of us signed up for the 5K that was to be the culmination of our efforts. After working all summer, this would be the big finale. It was a date to mark on the calendar with our goal or goals in mind.

Race day came and we were all ready and excited even though it was all familiar to us. We had been meeting on Saturday mornings, so getting up to go to a race on a Saturday morning did not seem out of the norm. Also, this was a race we were familiar with. It had been the finale for the Couch to 5K program the last few years, so we were all familiar with the route. For some, this race had been their first 5K.

Cool, crisp, fall weather would’ve been nice but that is not what we had. It was the coolest day of the week, and 65 degrees at race time but humid. It was a clear, sunny day so the race promised to be a warm one.

The gun went off and the runners leapt ahead. We gave it our best and our all. I checked my Garmin occasionally for my pace. What a surprise! I was always under what I expected and what I had hoped for.

The last part of the race is on a long straight away. I could see the finish line from a half a mile away. It seemed so far. It seemed like I would never get close–that I was never going to cross the finish line. Finally, I got close enough that I could see the clock. I looked at it and said, “What?” out loud. I had never seen numbers like that before! We all did well, and we knew it.

Later that afternoon, I was able to check Strava and see what it had to say about my run. I love Strava because it keeps track of everything for you and lets you know when your pace is improving. Strava gave me five achievements that morning–four PRs and one second best. Garmin clocked the race as 3.09 miles, so it did not count it as a 5K. If it had, it would had also recorded my fastest 5K that morning.

I am still the slowest and worst runner on the planet. I still have the biggest margin of improvement. However, that margin is just a little bit smaller now. It would not have happened without the work I did all summer. I also owe part of my success to the weight I’ve lost with Bright Line Eating and how it has made me feel better than ever. I didn’t receive a first place medal or even place in my age group, but I’m still a winner.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but [only] one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.

I Corinthians 9:24
Friends, Fun, Health, Living

Just Me, My Metronome, and My Staples

Can you believe it’s September already? I keep hearing people say that fall is just around the corner, and my mind instantly says, “Noooooooo!” But, I really do like fall. I love the cool, crisp weather and the colors of the leaves as they change. What I don’t like is the shorter days. Fall also means that winter is just around the corner! That’s one more thing I don’t like about fall. If we could have fall without having winter, I would truly be a happy Camper!

We have had a terrific summer. There have been a few hot days here and there, but we have not had any extended heat waves. We have not had any scheduled runs or races that have been canceled due to the weather. I’ve had a couple of runs in which the weather was chasing me and I was trying to beat the storm, but I still got my run in.

While loading our vehicle last week, someone slammed the back hatch down on my head. This resulted in my having to go to the emergency room and get eight staples put in my head. The ER doctor did not give me a lot of instruction as far as what activities I could or could not do, and at the time I did not think to ask about exercising. The discharge papers I received said as a general rule to take it easy for the next two days, so I did go ahead and do that and did some walking instead of running.

This summer I’ve been running with a couple of groups. One very small, with just a few friends, and another larger group that meets once a week. With all of these scheduled runs, I’ve mostly been running with a group all summer.

This past Saturday I found myself without a running partner, so I decided to run from home and run a route I hadn’t done for quite sometime. Looking back, I think it’s been nearly two years. After my ankle sprain, I think I may have gone up and over the flyover one time. It’s a hot route in the summer because there is no shade, so I usually avoid it unless it’s cool and/or cloudy outside. I had forgotten how hot it can be, so it was a much warmer run than I had expected.

Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy! (The last time I ran the flyover.)

Like I said, it has been a while since I’ve ran all alone in my neighborhood, so I had forgotten how nice it is to get out and enjoy the ‘hood. I had forgotten how encouraging people are along the way.

Less than a mile into my run, I met an older gentlemen that was walking. He said something along the lines of, “Way to go,” as I passed him. I went on and went up and over the flyover. It was like visiting an old friend. Somewhere along the flyover, I got a honk and a thumbs up hanging out of the driver’s window. I also met another runner on the flyover and we gave each other kudos.

On top of the world!

On my way back, I met the same gentleman again except this time he had a lady friend with him. They were holding hands and he said to me, “You’re still at it!” I said, “You’re doing better than me; you’ve picked up someone along the way!” The lady friend chuckled as we all continued on our way. (The fact that I’m the slowest runner on earth is what allows these interactions to take place–another advantage of being a back of the pack runner.)

The last mile of this run was rough. I was not as prepared for it as I should’ve been. I had some time off the week before, it was a lot hotter than I had expected, and I had a head injury. But, the encouragement of the people I met along the way kept me going and made the journey a lot more pleasant than it would’ve been otherwise.

Encourage the exhausted, and strengthen the feeble.

Isaiah 35:3
Education, Family, Friends, Fun, Living, Parenting

State Fair Bound

We had some very unexpected and exciting news earlier this week. Fabienne’s cake which she entered in the county fair through 4-H was selected to go to the State Fair. It was not marked on her entry card when we picked up her cake from the county fair, so it was a surprise to see her name and cake listed as a state fair entry.

We were also asked if she would write a one-page story about her project and include a photo with it in a binder. Evidently, there’s a gift certificate she could win. So, with just a few days notice, here we go! Oh, and the cake had to be repaired too! Yip, she made a unicorn cake with a gold horn and in bringing it home the tip of the horn got knocked off. The horn had been sprayed with gold, edible glitter, so we had to cover everything up except for the tip of the horn and spray it again. The horn isn’t as pointy or as long as it was, but it still looks pretty good.

Fabienne is also fighting an ear infection. So, this morning we got her paper written while she lay in bed with ear drops in her ear. I let her dictate to me what she wanted written, and I helped her by asking some questions and doing the typing. Here’s part of what she wrote:

This is my first year in cake decorating. I wanted to take cake decorating because I wanted to learn how to decorate cakes, and I like to eat cake.

I like unicorns, so I wanted to make a unicorn cake. I found a video on YouTube and I really liked the design, so I went with it. It was a unicorn cake by Rosanna Pansino.

To decorate the cake I first iced the cake with white royal icing. I used a tool to smooth the sides out, but I didn’t make it completely smooth so it would look like fur. Then I chose my icing colors which were purple, pink, blue, and yellow. I used rosettes to make a floral main.

I used fondant to make the horn and ears. I rolled out a long piece of fondant like a snake with one end thicker than the other. I then rolled it around a chopstick. I sprayed gold, edible glitter on the horn. I had to wait a few hours for it to dry before I could insert it into the cake.

For the ears, I cut teardrop shapes out of white fondant—two large and two small. The small ones I sprayed gold with edible glitter. I put the small teardrop on top of the large teardrop and put toothpicks in between the layers. I laid the ears in a bowl to let them dry to the shape I wanted.

I drew eyes using black icing to make my winking unicorn.

I am very pleased with how my cake turned out.

Family, Friends, Fun, Health, Living

Fourth of July Recap and Beyond

Good Wednesday afternoon! We are starting the day off with thunderstorms, so who knows what today is going to bring. Hopefully they will move on and we can go on with the day.

Here’s hoping you had a great Independence Day. We started the day off with a 4-mile race that benefited a local hospital. It’s a small race in a small town, but always lots of fun. It’s the third time I’ve ran this race, and it was my second best time, so I felt good that I was able to take four minutes off of last year’s time! The race starts off with two pretty steep hills. This was the first time I’ve been able to run up both of them!

This year we were blessed with cloudy skies for the race. Even though it starts at 7:30 in the morning, it’s still always a hot one. The last two years it was hot and humid with the sun shining and the heat was pretty intense. This year we just had hot and humid. It’s amazing what a difference it makes.

As always, we had a great time, and Fabienne got first place in her age group!

Later that evening we had a great time with friends celebrating the Fourth with hamburgers, hot dogs, and the fixin’s including homemade ice cream. The kids were also able to light a few fireworks and best of all, the Blue Angels flew right overhead! The precision these guys fly with is incredible. It looked like their wings were inches apart.

This week, we are getting ready for the county fair, so there are lots of projects going on at our house right now. Of course they all have a deadline, so things get a little intense sometimes. This weekend will be spent getting our things judged and helping with the fair. By Monday, we will be ready for some quiet time!

Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.

Matthew 11:28
Family, Friends, Fun, Government, Health, Living, Religion

Independence Day 2019

It’s hard to believe that it is July already. Summer just got here, but it seems like it is slipping away so quickly. Before we know it, summer will be gone, it will be fall, and we’ll be slipping into winter. After that comes the new year! Sigh.

Tomorrow is a big day here in the U.S. It is our Independence Day celebration. What are your plans for Independence Day? Growing up it meant a block party! There were five houses on our street. In the evening people would begin to gather. We had all kinds of homemade treats to sample. The most exciting treat was always the homemade ice cream. There was often a strawberry sauce to put over it if desired. There was always homemade hot fudge sauce. Once we had our fill of ice cream, cake, brownies, and fudge sauce it was time for the fireworks. Most of the time the weather cooperated. I can remember times that it was so cold that we were sitting out in the yard in our sleeping bags.

Times have certainly changed. We’re all much older now. Some have passed away, others have moved away. None of us have the metabolism or the stomach to eat pounds of sugar in one sitting.

Tomorrow I’ll start my day with a 4-mile race that goes to benefit a local hospital. This is the third time I’ve done this run. It’s a small race in a small town and lots of fun. Afterwards, I’ll have my BLE muffins for breakfast. They’re really good, but nothing compares to homemade ice cream and Mom’s hot fudge sauce! (Hot fudge sauce on a blueberry muffin? Now you’re talking!)

Later, we’ll get out our copy of the Declaration of Independence and give it a read. It’s a nice reminder once a year. I often do it in the car–it’s easy to hold everyone’s attention there.

Freedom is a valuable thing. We’ve had so much of it, that we often take it for granted. We have reaped a bountiful harvest yet are not cautiously storing up for the famine around the corner. We don’t even recognize when our freedom is slowly being taken away. Our founding fathers understood the value of freedom and what it was like to live without it. They and their families were willing to give up everything to guarantee that you and I would have the luxury of living in freedom. Let’s honor them, as we should, on this carefree day.

Physical freedom is a great thing. Let’s not forget where the most important freedom, spiritual freedom, comes from.

 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.  John 8:36

Lee’s Birdwatching Adventures has a nice Independence Day post. Hop on over there and check it out!

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