Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Six Steps To Getting Fit Like You Mean It

Before we dive right into the nitty gritty here, let me just say out loud that I am not the most fit person on the planet.  We do our best to make healthy choices and changes daily, and leave the rest in God's hands.  That said, here are six tips I've learned along the way that really have the potential to make a major impact in your entire fitness makeup if put into practice.

1.  Move.  Easy-peasy, right?  Simple as can be, really.  If you're not moving each day, start.  If you are, amp it up.  You can start basic with things like taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from the entrance door in a parking lot and taking your puppy for a quick tour of the neighborhood.  Ahem.  On foot.  From there, pick it up to a quick run, a 30-minute walk, perhaps some exercise DVD's or a local YMCA membership.   Sing the song while you are getting your exercise in, "I like to move it, move it.  I like to move it, move it." 

2.  Eat your greens.  All that stuff your mama told you about health and fruits and veggies was true.  Strive for multiple servings of vegetables and fruits at each and every meal.  And maybe even in between meals.  They will amp up your fiber intake and increase your energy by leaps and bounds.

3.  Become a heavy drinker.  Of water.  Skip all the sodas, sweet tea, lemonade and what have you; and go straight for the pure stuff.  Agua.  Water will help to combat food cravings by helping you to feel full.  In fact, oftentimes when you are hungry, you may actually be thirsty.  Try drinking a big glass of the ice cold good stuff first, wait five minutes, and see if you are still hungry.

4.  Go to sleep.  I love the saying, "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise."  And while I'm not so fixated upon financial status in this world, I do believe that sleep does contribute to a wealthy life in the form of relationships, work productivity and mental stability; among numerous other forms of wealth.  I've heard it said that every hour you sleep before midnight equals two hours of sleep ~ going to sleep early is that valuable. 

5.  Stop counting calories.  You heard it here first.  Drop the number tabulating and instead try to focus on what you're putting into your system.  The goal overall is to eat healthy and eat less.  Make sure what you're taking in at every meal is food, real food.  None of this over-processed chemical-laced business.  If you're taking in real food -- less meat and mostly plants -- you don't have to think about the numbers. 

6.  Laugh.  It's true.  Let go, release a bit of tension and let a chortle escape; perhaps even a chuckle.  Research shows that laughter burns calories and lifts your mood.  Sounds like a win-win to me!
My baby girl a couple years back making the silliest face EVER!  For your laughing enjoyment.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, February 25, 2013

She Goes

My beautiful friend, Kathy, travels to Ecuador in just a few brief days to meet her sponsored child.  Her bags are packed, travel documents and immunizations are all in order; and she is picking up last minute toys as gifts, such as marbles.

By all standards, she is more than ready.

And the most prepared part of her?  Her heart.

The depths of Kathy's heart for God are simply unfathomable.  Her husband, Brad, lost his battle to cancer a few years back while gaining the ultimate victory; now being eternally in the very presence of Jesus Christ.

 Brad and Kathy's love story is the stuff that Disney movies are made of.  They complemented each other perfectly.  He adored her sparkling quick wit and compassionate soul, and she likewise found joy in his infectious laugh and winning smile.  Brad loved music; and even more he loved to use his gift of music to lead people to the cross.  In his last days when he was drained of energy and weak, we would see him each Sunday morning using every ounce of strength that he had leading our church family in worship as our worship minister. 

He didn't have to come. 

He came of his own volition, simply because it swelled his heart beyond compare to share his love of our Savior with others in song.  

He wanted us to glimpse heaven as he did. 

I share this with you so that you may understand what left Kathy when Brad had to go.

But you know what she did?  She grieved, yes; and sometimes she grieves still.

But within this season of mourning she has also danced.  Kathy has never stop serving our Savior for a moment.  She continually serves at our local crisis pregnancy center, teaches an Adult Bible Fellowship class, is primary caretaker for her ailing mother, speaks at churches to inspire others in their journey; and now, travels to Ecuador to bring a smile in the name of Jesus.

No matter what she felt, no matter the depths of mourning which naturally run their course; she never stopped.  She doesn't sit and waste her finite minutes here.

She goes.

Visit Kathy's encouraging devotional blog at www.fixyourthoughtsonjesus.blogspot.com.  Subscribe to it to receive her updates as she posts.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Perhaps Today

I knew an old mountain preacher who used to sign every letter he penned by hand with the closing, "Perhaps Today."  He followed it up with a scripture reference from the book of Revelation, citing that we do not know the day nor the hour when our Lord Jesus will return for His bride; but nonetheless, He is coming.  

Perhaps Today.

This same preacher, heart and character worn and polished through the years as the mountains he walked and ministered in, filled a sheet of college-ruled notebook paper, front and back, with words of wisdom and love for Josh and I on our wedding day.  And of course it was signed, "Perhaps Today".  

How often do we think along these veins?  That perhaps today the Lord could appear, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. 

Would you live today a bit differently, or possibly altogether flipped right-side-up on its heels differently? 

What would that look like for you?  How would you put skin on that?

Would you love more and hold back less?  

Our family enjoyed watching "The Odd Life of Timothy Green" last night with a crackling fire and homemade oatmeal cranberry chocolate chip cookies.  As we took in the message and watched Timothy's life and purpose unfold, I couldn't help remembering back to this wise preacher's prophetic words.  Timothy knew his time was limited (and I'll leave it at that for those of you that haven't seen it).  Within that framework of finite minutes, he loved hard and well and opened his eyes to the moments around him.  Instead of seeking his own gain, he humbly sought to lift others up and love truly.

This morning as you awaken and prepare to meet together with the church body, remember, "Perhaps Today".

"In a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed."  ~ 1 Corinthians 15:52

Enjoy Today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Chicken Scratch

It was such a bright and sunshiney day today, we just had to get out.  So we did.  And our one-week-old chickies came with us.

To say that they were thrilled would be a terrible understatement.  They cheeped and chirped and hopped about happy as could be.  They even had the pleasure of experiencing their first scratch-about in the dirt.
The kids brought them worm after worm.  An eager chick would grasp it in her beak and run off screaming that she'd just won the grand prize.  A scuffling of chicks would ensue, and inevitably the worm would change beaks. 
The chicks enjoyed the sunshine and warm temps for about 20 minutes, and then we returned them to their brooder indoors. 
With the chicks tucked safely inside, I prepared this 3' x 5' in-ground raised bed for planting spinach this week.  I am trying double-digging this year; I've never done it before.  We'll see how it goes!

It's time now to start planning and planting!  Even just a few veggie plants can help your family food source become a bit more self-sustainable.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Maximizing the Moment

Tonight I worked in a quick Tabata class.  I had never experienced Tabata before tonight.  It was pure insanity for 30 minutes. 

Basically, it's the housewife's equivalent of boot camp.  Except it's only 30 minutes.  
I entered the fitness room and took stock of the situation.  All of the other participants were setting up their gear.  So I followed suit.  I positioned my work station and waited for class to start.  I tried not to look too long at the gear, as it struck the desire to chew my fingernails in nervous energy. 


Even the name is intense.  So what happened?  We did 20 seconds of high-focus exercise, then stopped for 10 seconds.  Then again:  same exercise for 20 seconds, stop for 10 seconds.  And again and again and again.  I'm not sure how long this went on.  But I felt every single second of it.

It was hard; it was laborious; and I grunted like a pig. Yep.  Not a pretty word picture there; but quite accurate.  Making ugly workout faces I could clearly see in the full-length wall mirror, I huffed and I puffed. 

But you know what?  These are our opportunities.  When you have set aside a time to work out, work yourself to the full; and then work yourself some more.  You have committed this specific time up to do something wonderful for your body and your health.  Maximize it.  Push hard; and then when you think you can't go any further, push even harder.  It all adds up over time, and you will see results.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Art Of Puttering

No, these are not the doors to Narnia.  But that was obvious.  Those would be found in the depths of an aged cedar-lined wardrobe in a spare room.  Which these clearly are not. 

On the contrary, these are my worn and painted kitchen cabinet doors.  I share them with you because this afternoon I partook in the age-old occupation of puttering.  What is puttering, exactly?  Glad you asked.

Puttering is a bit of this; a bit of that.  In fact, when I engage myself in puttering I feel altogether rather Hobbit-like; quite homey and comfortable. 

I puttered about this afternoon.  Though these white painted cupboards were once quite crisp and shiny, they now show their use.  I sprayed them all down with my plant-based cleanser and scrubbed with a sponge.  Shined them up right good.  (Yes, I've been reading a couple chapters of Amish fiction this afternoon as well.  Wunderbar gut, isn't?)  If you have ever read any Amish fiction, that will make perfect sense.

So what else did my specific sort of puttering involve?  A trio of baskets of warm fluffy laundry to be folded, some email responses, general chick care and upkeep and a piece or three of chocolate birthday cake.
Once those loose ends were all tied up, I wrote new verses on my chalkboards as well as tomorrow's dinner on the menu board.  This was followed with some candle lighting, children bathing and Lego kit creation admiring.
You see, puttering is the process of putting into place all of those odds and ends that have been hanging about just waiting to be set to right.  If what you are doing is not refreshing; you simply are not puttering.  Take it slow, put all of the hurry and fuss out of your mind and enjoy the process.  Now you're puttering.

Never puttered before?  Give it a whirl this week!  You'll be oh so glad you did.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Raising the Bar

We continued our weight room saga tonight with upper body weights.  I lay on the bench, ready to lift the solid bar when I felt a drop of rain fall upon my left cheek.  I looked up.  Rain?  In the weight room?

No.  It was my spotter.  Josh stood above me and his sweat from our cardio workout trickled down his cheeks and landed squarely on my face. 


He smiled.

"All right, I'm about to pour all of myself into lifting this bar; please, please stop sweating on me."

His smile continued.

"Babe.  Just lift the bar."

So lift I did.  For three sets of ten reps I hoisted that unwieldy rod of metal high above my head then back down to my chest.  I grunted and heaved and worked that bar.

"Come on, Wendy, come on!"

"Shhhh!"  I hissed.

Now, you must understand the history here.  We have an unwritten formal pact that Josh never says a word to me when I work out.  Crazy, I know.  But here's the thing.  If he talks, I dissolve into giggles.  When I laugh, my strength just melts away. 

We completed our workouts silently and successfully, enjoying that feeling of accomplishment that comes with a job well done. 

And just for fun, here's a pic of what we ate after working out the other day.  Perfect exercise recovery meal!
 Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Basement Level

Our smoothie fast ended a little less than a week ago.  So where did that leave us, you ask?  Maybe the real question is:  will we ever drink a smoothie again?

I had answered that question with a very resounding (and loud and slightly grouchy), "No" on about day 24 of our cleanse.  Truth be told, we have drank about four smoothies apiece of our own free wills since the cessation of our challenge.  I find myself craving greens and fresh fruits of all varieties throughout the days.  This was one of the outcomes we were reaching for when we only drank smoothies for 31 days.  Both Josh and I were hoping to reset our bodies' cravings for healthy fruits and vegetables.

We slimmed down drastically during the month of January through incorporating some light to moderate cardio with our smoothies.

Now we begin the task of rebuilding.  Our plan is to alternate days of cardio exercises with weight-lifting. 
Yeah, I really don't claim to be super muscular.  I'm starting pretty well at the basement level here.  But the beauty in being in the basement is that you can only go up from there, right?  So tone we will.

And you know what I'm really looking forward to?  All of my spring and summer gardening tasks; being able to do them quickly and easily without tiring.  I love that rush of energy that comes during exercise when you've been taking care of your body well.  
In honor of Caleb's 10th birthday this week, we introduced him to the weight room at the gym.  We had a great time working out together and teaching him the ins and outs of training with weights. 

Step back and take a look at your goals for 2013.  Are you keeping pace with them?  Is there anything that needs to be tweaked in order to reach your goal by the end of the year?  Keep at it; day after day, little by little, you will see change.  

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tasty Nibbles

This past Sunday two little apron-clad girls cavorted about my kitchen.  While the ladies worked on the party food, the girls were busy at work with their own creation.
Cake pops, minus the pop.  Really just cake balls since Tannah has already used up her Christmas stash of cake pop sticks.  Nonetheless, they were tasty.  And the best part?  Those girls owned it.

They found the recipe book, chose the flavor and went at it.  Flour flew through the air.  Sugar was sprinkled all about.  But their smiles just couldn't be beat.  Once these little babies were taken out of the cake pop maker, they chose their toppings.  A homemade glaze, powdered sugar, sprinkles; it was all there.

And they were beautiful.

When they finished they tidied the table and swept up the floor.

But you know the best part?  The mess, the process; it was all worth it.  To give your children the gift of learning to serve others and create; these make for a worthwhile venture. 

And every bite was delicious.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Chicken Mission Fruition

"I can meet up tomorrow morning if you would like."  The message in my inbox read.  Carrie, from Little Blessings Orps, informed me that our family's ten precious chicks had hatched and were ready for delivery.  We had pre-ordered eight Barnyard Mix chicks and two Frizzled Cochins Bantams.  Ultimately we will be keeping six here once they reach hen status and move outside.  We ordered the four extra in case any don't make it, or if any happen to turn out to be roosters.  Once they reach their full-grown state, we will pass along the extra chickens to good friends and keep a total of six hens in our backyard.

I do believe these are the cutest little things I have ever seen.  The kids and I met Carrie and picked up our new little fluffballs in a cardboard box, a soft layer of straw padding the bottom.  All snuggled one atop another on the way home, they made a veritable mountain of downy color. 
For our children, it was love at first sight.  Carrie peeled back the cardboard and was immediately greeted with a chorus of, "Awwww...".  And I joined in.

Right now they are all three in their beds reading, chicks sleeping peacefully on napkins on the children's bellies.
And this guy right here, he is completely over the moon excited.  He has read every book from cover to cover our local library has to offer on the subject.  He has told me which breeds lay the most eggs, how to know if a chicken has lice or not {ew!} and how to make a homemade chick waterer.  For his birthday this weekend?  He has requested Home Depot gift cards so he can purchase coop supplies.  Love that.

So as I sit here typing with my little golden chick nestled in the crook of my arm, eyes tightly closed in a peaceful slumber, I want to encourage you to not give up on your dreams.

Sure, these are chickens.  I get that.  Nothing eternal for sure.

But these are chickens.  Here in my house.  Being raised for a happy life in our suburban backyard.  After reading books five years ago on the raising of urban microflocks, seeds of a dream were planted in my heart for our own little flock.  I prayed, researched and asked questions.  When I heard there was a group getting things done at City Hall, I joined them.  And through all of their hard work and dedication, as well as the Lord's hand, my little chick now rests next to my arm.

If something is worth doing, don't give up!  Pray and pray some more, commit it to the Lord; and seize opportunities as they come.  Work very hard and trust the Lord for His outcome.
Enjoy today,



Cooking with Gina!

Ahhh...a beautiful end to a great day filled with gathering with the church body; then Super Bowl fellowship, food and great times. 

I can think of few things better here on earth than meeting together with the body of Christ, our family, to worship the Lord.  We did that this morning, as we do every Sunday morning.  There is something so inspiring about a room filled with God's presence alive and well in the people gathered there.  Hands raised heavenward, our hearts are equally extended toward God's throne of grace.

We come expectantly, waiting on the Lord to see what He has for us each new day. 

He is there with us, and He moves in each of our hearts, binding us collectively together as one unit.

We shared in some beautiful fellowship with Christian brothers and sisters as well this afternoon in our home.  It was a cozy gathering of friends for the Super Bowl.  Snacks abounded, and laughter was aplenty. 

My sweet friend Gina offered to show me how to make her famous Filipino soup and graciously allowed me to share her recipe with you!  You'll be sure to want to file this one away and cook it up at your earliest opportunity.  Amazing!

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.

Friday, February 1, 2013

A Kitchen Takeover

"Guys, is it almost ready?"  I queried.

"Shhhhhh!"  Isaac shushed me firmly, a smile playing on his lips. He motioned wildly, finger jabbing toward the bedroom where his daddy slept.

The scene was early this morning, but these three little munchkins had been plotting this surprise kitchen takeover for a full month.  Planning meetings took place in early January, Tannah at the helm.  Paper decorations had been snipped and colored, childish scrawl streaming across banners:  "Congratulations, Mom and Dad!"

The lavish menu consisted of so much richness of fare, I had to pare it down a bit.  The band of three proudly presented me with the fruit of their hard labor when meeting:

orange juice
cut up fruit
cake pops

We narrowed it down to pancakes and coffee.  The essentials, you know.

As I tucked them in last night, each whispered sleepily through half-open slits of tired eyes, "Don't forget to wake us up, please."

So wake them I did, and they brought their cooking skills to the table.  Josh walked in, fully surprised, and the delight was smattered across their faces like chocolate cake on the face of a birthday child.  
These moments, they are precious and slip all too easily through the crevices of our awareness if we let them.  

Instead, we sat at the table with hands joined and gave thanks to God, the giver of all good gifts.

Enjoy today,

P.S. You are welcome here! Thank you for stopping by for a visit. Feel free to join the conversation by leaving a comment and sharing your thoughts.