Monday, May 31, 2010

Move It Mondays

Happy Memorial Day Monday to everyone!

What a special day today is. Not because it's a day off from work (though both my hubby and my son are working today). Not because it's the official opening day for many beaches along the East Coast. Not because people are breaking out their barbeques and getting ready for family get-togethers and cookouts.

All that is great, but the real reason today is special, is because we get to thank those brave men and women who put their lives at risk so that we can enjoy freedom. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends." - John 15:13. I want to take this moment to thank all our troops for their sacrifice and their efforts. They are not unnoticed. Thanks also to the families, especially the children, who do without their moms and dads, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, so that we can continue to live in a peaceful land. May God bless you all and give you an extra measure of strength.

So, what am I doing this lovely Monday (other than sleeping a wee bit longer than usual)? Well, I've got one load of laundry in the washer and one in the dryer. We had a breakfast of pancakes and bacon (mmm!!!) and I have some pork tenderloin in the crockpot. Our barbeque isn't working so no grilling today :-(. I know, it doesn't feel like Florida without a working grill, but we can't buy a new one yet and can't figure out what's wrong with the one we have. That's okay, food in the crockpot is healthy too. I was hoping my son R would be home today so we could find the large inflatable pool I'd bought a couple years ago. I'm pretty sure it's in the attic, but there's no way I'm going up there. Unfortunately, R is working today so we'll have to find other activities.

Speaking of which, I'm looking for fun and inexpensive stuff for us to do this summer. I've got the free movie schedule printed out. I'll be calling the neighborhood pool to see their hours and lessons for my son E - he likes the water but hasn't learned to swim because he doesn't like getting his face wet. That's gonna have to change this year. I also had some paperwork for free bowling for kids at a local bowling alley, so I'm gonna sign E up for that. It should not only give him something fun to do, but also earn him his sports pin for Cub Scouts.

Planning for the summer is a fun way to spend Monday! Hope everyone has a blessed Memorial Day and a great week.

Move It Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In The Lord's Path. God bless.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

It's Picture Time!

Just wanted to share some pics so you can see what's going on around the homestead. One very exciting new development: mangos!!! We've had our mango tree for a few years, but only had it give mangos the 2nd year which our dog knocked down trying to catch lizards. Hubby was considering chopping it down, figuring it was either dead or too weak to give any fruit. Then this year, we were pleasantly surprised to find a few mangos growing! Hubby thinks the palm trees around it gave too much shade and that's why the tree was fruitless. The palm trees are taller now and don't shade the mango tree much, so hopefully we can enjoy a few (very few!) mangos from our garden this year.

The two above were the first I spotted. I got so excited!

Another sweet, yummy, delicious specimen!

The fourth and biggest. There were actually about 6 mangos that my husband J found, but a couple fell off :(. Still, it's more than we got last year (a total of zero) so we're still very thankful for this blessing of fruit.

Ah yes, and remember the empty planter?

I added some soil and impatiens, and for less than $7.00 we now have a lovely focal point in the backyard. Still need to get the tiles scrubbed and cleaned, but we've had rain everyday for the past few days so cleanup would've been useless. Hopefully this coming week I can get that backyard to look even more inviting!

Have a safe and honoring Memorial Day weekend. Remember those who gave their lives for our freedom!

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 29, 2010...

I am *new* planter filled with impatiens, looking so pretty and springtime-like. Pics to follow soon!

I am hearing...a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle show. Remember them? My oldest son had enough of their action figures to open his own toy store.

I am feeling...healthier each day as I make the effort to eat right.

I am egg mcmuffin creation. It has become my favorite breakfast.

I am smelling...the sweet smells of home.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Friday Five

Here's my Friday Five for May 28, 2010...

1. What side dish do you like the most: potato salad, macaroni salad, baked beans, etc.
Do I only get to pick one?!? I love pasta salad and potato salad, baked beans are yummy, but if I'm grilling I like grilling veggies for a side dish. Some zucchini, yellow squash, peppers, onions, oh and pineapple on the grill is sooooo good!

2. Do you prefer food grilled on a charcoal or gas grill?
I prefer the taste of the food cooked on a charcoal grill, but love the ease of using a gas grill.

3. Do you want just one meat item, or a mixture: such as chicken, steaks, hot dogs, hamburgers, etc.
Again, picking just one seems unfair. I like hot dogs, hamburgers, italian sausages, and steaks. Bring on the red meat!

4. Do you want to eat outside or inside?
I want to eat outside, but lately there is a swarm of flies everywhere! Don't know if I'm generous enough to share my food with them :P.

5. Does it bother you to have citronella candles burning if you are eating or cooking outside?
Not at all. The mosquitos bother me way more.

Join the fun at The Friday Five. Have a blessed Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

"Jesus said, 'Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.'" - Matthew 19:14

I know boasting is not a desirable quality, but will the reader indulge this mother who can't help but brag on her youngest blessing?

Last night were the Awana awards. For those who don't know, Awana clubs are a children's ministry that emphasizes memorization of Bible verses and character development. They do all sorts of activities while being taught the Gospel and learning how to share with others. My son E loves Awana; not only does he have lots of friends but I'm amazed at how much he learns in a short period of time. The curriculum runs from August to May, and at the end the children are presented with all sorts of prizes and awards for their achievements. Last year my son received a medal for merit, and he wanted one this year SO BAD!! He almost thought he wasn't getting one, but his name was called next to last so he was happy.

One child is selected from each grade to receive the Clubber of the Year award. This award is given for overall performance: attendance, how well they've learned their lessons, sportsmanship, discipleship, etc. My son was honestly not expecting this award. He was thankful just to get his merit medal. So imagine his surprise and overwhelming joy when his name was called and he received his trophy! He was literally jumping up and down. Here he is with his awards and one of his leaders, who happens to share my son's name as well as his love for Jesus:

My heart almost burst out of my ribcage I was so thrilled. I thank God for giving me such a wonderful blessing in this little boy who loves the Lord, loves others, loves to serve and be helpful, and loves God's word. What a great privilege to be his mommy.

This month, Thankful Thursdays is hosted by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. Have a blessed rest of your week.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Vitamins

I weighed myself this morning, and I'm still at 137 pounds. No loss, no gain, no problem. I'm not disappointed, because I've been eating better than usual. Even when we've gone out I've made every effort to eat healthier than in the past, resulting in my sodium levels being much lower than before. I know exactly why my weight stayed the same. It's the vitamins.

I take Women's One a Day vitamins because I have low blood iron and eating right is just not enough. If I take just straight iron pills I get severe pains in my legs and kidneys, so my doctor told me to take a multi-vitamin instead. It has helped as far as iron levels go; however I find that too many vitamins affect my body in other negative ways - constipation and colic being the primary issue. Vitamins also make me gain weight, partly because my digestive systems isn't working at its best. However, I've found that if I take my vitamin every other day and continue to eat properly, I have better digestion and still get the health benefits I want.

Last week I went to see the eye doctor, and I mentioned that my eyes get tired easily, and they burn whenever I sit down to read for a while. If you enjoy reading as much as I do, you understand how frustrating this can be. He examined my eyes and found that I don't produce enough oil. We all know that our eyes have tears. What I didn't know was that there's a layer of oil underneath the tears that helps keep the eyes lubricated so the eyes don't dried up. If the eyes don't produce enough oil the water breaks up, leaving the eyes dry and burning. This was my problem, and the remedy was a simple one: omega-3 tablets. We have these at home, so I decided to start taking them twice a day (the doctor said 3 times a day but I wanted to see how my body reacted to them first). I also started taking my regular vitamins daily to see if that would help. Right away I noticed I was getting bloated, and rather than having more energy I was getting tired very quickly. I also knew I was gaining weight again. Sure enough, I weighed myself and was back to 140 lbs. This has been an issue with me for years: the sure way to put on pounds is to start taking vitamins. Why this is, I'm not quite sure. Maybe I retain more of my calories when my body absorbs this many vitamins, both from the pills and from food. The worst part is, I don't feel better when I'm taking them. I feel sluggish, like an old woman (which I'm not!). So I went back to taking the vitamins every other day, including the omega-3. And once again, my body began feeling better. My digestive system is back on track, I've got energy again, and my weight is back to where it should be.

Does this mean I'm against vitamins? No. It means everyone is different. What works for one person won't work for everyone. How many times haven't I heard, "*Such-and-such* diet is wonderful, I've lost XX pounds," while someone else on the same diet will say, "I didn't lose anything, instead I gained weight." Each body is created differently, everyone is special, and everyone needs to find what works best for their own bodies. Don't get upset if someone says, "I tried your methods and they didn't work." Pray and ask the Lord to show you how to properly take care of the body He's given you. You'll look and feel better if you follow His advise for you.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 25, 2010...

Outside my window...another bright sunny day with a warm breeze. It's summer in South Florida, no matter what the calendar says.

I am thinking...about my car, which is in the shop as of this morning. My car is 9 years old and has been very reliable. Hopefully these repairs will keep it that way.

I am thankful...for the extra money we received on our income tax refund. It will pay for the car repairs.

I am pick up my new glasses today! Hopefully. If my car gets fixed in time.

I am wearing...a burgundy blouse and jeans. And no shoes.

I am remembering...some of the stuff my mom used to pick up from the trash. Some of the stuff turned out to be useful. Other stuff, hmm, not so much.

I am currently...getting ready to do some cleaning in the front yard.

I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, still working on Having a Mary Spirit, and almost finished with volume II of Sherlock Holmes.

I am hear from the eye doctor that my glasses are ready for pick up.

On my life can change from one minute to the next.

From the learning rooms...E had 2 reports this week, one for music and one for language arts/reading. Both are done and turned in.

I am pondering these words..."Better is a little with the fear of the LORD, Than great treasure with trouble." - Proverbs 15:16.

From the kitchen today...baked chicken and stuffing.

Around the house...I didn't get to clean the bathroom yesterday - had to run to the bank and took longer than expected. Got alot of other stuff done though, so the day was still productive.

One of my favorite things...Weight Watchers cherry cheesecake yogurt. It tastes like the real thing!!

A few plans for the rest of the week...this is the last week for Awana. Awards will be given out tomorrow. So excited! Oh, and pick up those glasses!

Here's a picture thought I'm sharing...

Speaking of picking stuff out of the trash! This solid brick planter was on the side of a road near our house with a sign that said "Free". It was there a couple of days, and I guess no one picked it up because either there was no interest or it looked too heavy. I told my daughter yesterday that I could just see it on our back patio and she said, "Go for it Mom." I don't think she actually believed I would till I set out with my oldest son and brought it home. I can't wait to get it filled with flowers! A nice piece, and the best part was the price!!

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at The Simple Woman's Daybook. Have a blessed day.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Move It Mondays

Good Monday morning, everyone!

It's a bright, sunshiny day today, and I've had my version of egg mcmuffin this morning (lower in calories and fat but higher in flavor) so I'm ready to get my day started! We're learning about the 10 commandments in children's ministry, and yesterday I got to teach on commandment #7, do not commit adultery. Not an easy lesson to teach children ages 5 - 11. I had to teach about David and Bathsheba. Thankfully, the Lord gave me words to explain in simple terms what King David did wrong, and afterwards we watched VeggieTales explain it even easier. It was a great lesson time with the little ones.

But on to today! I'll be busy to the tune of laundry a good part of the day. I've also got a bathroom to clean, and there's some yardwork to do as well. Busy but productive. Hope everyone has a blessed Monday!

Move it Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In The Lord's Path. Have a blessed week.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 22, 2010...

I am seeing...the sun shining through the kitchen window.

I am hearing...the whirr of the ceiling fan, the coffee maker, and my oldest son watching a video on youtube.

I am feeling...enough energy to start getting things done around the house. First up: laundry.

I am own egg mcmuffin concoction. High fiber english muffin, scrambled egg, half a slice of cheddar and one piece of bacon. Better tasting than anything McD's has ever served up, and cheaper too.

I am smelling...bacon. There's a piece right next to me, tempting me, but I won't give in. Breakfast is done, and I've got things to do.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Friday Five

Here are my Friday Five questions and answers for May 21, 2010:

1. How does true love feel to you?
John 15:13 - "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends."

2. What makes you feel warm inside?
3 John 1:4 - "I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth."

3. Have you ever been in true love?
Yes, but not the way most people think of love. I believe love is not a feeling, it's a verb. Love "bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things." (1 Corinthians 13:7). I'm still in true love.

4. What's your deepest wish?
See question 2.

5. What's the one thing making your inside cringe with longing?
Revelation 22:20 - "He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming quickly.” Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!"

Happy Friday! God bless.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
- Proverbs 16:6

This past week I've met with and/or talked to a few of the people I used to work with. We've been out of work anywhere between 1-1/2 to 2 years (some were laid off as early as April 2008, others not till December of that year). I'm amazed at some of the stories they tell me.

One of my co-workers got a job at a local hospital, something she'd dreamed of for years because they have great benefits and a retirement plan. Yet she spoke to me with fear and concern; 15 people were laid off in the offices, she's already had a 3% pay cut, and they're discussing another 20% pay cut in the future. They've also cut her hours, so that she's making less money now than when she started working there. She told me if there's another pay cut she might have to start looking for another job, as she can't afford to live on less than she makes now. Problem is, there isn't much work out there and she knows it.

Another co-worker, a 62 year old woman who did the cleaning in the offices, recently began working at a factory from 5:00pm till midnight. She has no choice - unemployment benefits finished, and while she can retire now her social security benefits wouldn't be enough to pay her bills.

Still another co-worker has been working for a large corporation for a year, but as a temporary employee with no benefits. Her worry? They've just put in a new computer system that has cut the workload by over 50%. She doesn't think they'll be needing her much longer.

My heart breaks as I listen to these women, all in their 50's or 60's, struggling to find work so they can pay their bills. Even the ones that have spouses can't manage on just one salary because of their expenses. I realize how blessed our situation is, and I'm so thankful. I've been out of work now for 1 year 9 months, and not once in that time have we gone to bed hungry or had a bill not get paid. God has provided above and beyond our needs. He has given us so much, and has taught me so much about contentment and trusting in Him. Any other time in my life I would have been sick with worry over our financial situation, yet once I gave this area of our life to Him I've seen time and again His hand of protection and provision over us. I am so thankful for God's promise:

"But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about its own things. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble." - Matthew 6:33-34.

This month, Thankful Thursdays is hosted by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. God bless.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Exercise

I was very surprised this morning when I stood on the scale. I was expecting little weight loss this week. Maybe another .2 lbs. I weighed myself, got off, weighed myself again, and stared shocked at the number. 137. I lost a full 1.2 lbs! Wow! I didn't think I'd done that well. I certainly haven't been hungry. But I think I know what made the difference. I added a new element to my routine. Exercise.

Exercise. That dreaded word. At least to most Americans it is. We've become what I call an "instant" culture. We want our food served to us "in an instant". We want DVR's so we can watch our favorite shows "instantly". We crave all kinds of new technology which promises "instant" access to email, internet, Facebook, and every other communication invention. Our gratification must always be "instantaneous". The problem is, exercise doesn't work that way.

Exercise is work. It takes time and effort, which requires diligence and motivation. For most people, results don't show up till after a few weeks of consistent exercise, and for some people that may even mean months. This doesn't fit in with the "instant" mentality. We want to get on a treadmill for five minutes and look like Miss America or Mr. Universe. So we spend thousands of dollars on weights and machines with a desire to get in shape in as short an amount of time as possible. When this doesn't happen, discouragement sets in and the exercise equipment becomes a clothing rack.

Do we give up? Not yet. We proceed to spend more money on gym memberships, because we suppose the reason the products we purchased don't work is because we have no one around to motivate or encourage us. It's amazing how many people pay for a whole year of gym membership but don't go past the first couple of weeks. "My muscles are soooo sore!" they complain. "I'm too tired today, need to rest before I go back," will be the excuse of others. "The place is too crowded, there aren't enough machines, the aerobics classes are too (hard, fast, boring, noisy), I feel fat compared to all the athletic types that are exercising there," yada yada yada. Before long we're planted on the couch once more, convinced that none of that stuff works anyway.

I don't like to exercise. I admit it. Yet here's the funny thing: I used to be one of those who was at the gym everyday for 2 hours a day, doing cardio and weight training and looking like a million bucks. I know the results of being consistent and sticking with an exercise routine. I felt so energetic when I was in shape, and when I became pregnant with my youngest son I knew I'd be one of those women at the gym with my cute little belly doing my exercises so that both my baby and I would be healthier. Then I found out I had placenta previa. For those who don't know what this is, it's when the placenta plants itself over the cervix. Both the mother and baby are in danger of spontaneous contractions and labor, causing the placenta to detach from the uterus, which in turn results in severe bleeding. When my doctor realized I had placenta previa (it's usually detected early in pregnancy via ultrasound), I was advised no physical activity beyond walking, and even that was limited. I couldn't stand in one place for very long, and was only allowed to continue working because I was sitting at my desk the entire day. Thankfully, I was able to carry my son to 37 weeks gestation, and without any complications. But, as far as I was concerned, my exercising days were over.

I had all the excuses, too. I'd just gone through a difficult pregnancy, and a cesarean section. I now had a newborn to care for in addition to 2 older children. I had a full-time job and a home to care for. Add exercising to that schedule? Never! I was justified, and besides, isn't motherhood exercise enough?! Getting to my target weight wasn't hard, so long as I ate right. Yes, I'd gain weight, but I'd lose it once I put my mind to it. I saw no need to begin an exercise regiment, especially the one I'd been accustomed to.

But let's face it: I'm not getting any younger. As the years progress, the body metabolizes slower, the muscles become weaker, and if not cared for properly the body will deteriorate faster. What good is it to be thin if I have zero energy and my body looks as flabby as it feels? The truth is, our bodies need exercise. My body needs exercise. So I needed to make some changes.

I was glad that MyFitnessPal lists cleaning as an exercise. That made me feel like I wasn't just sitting around doing nothing all day; at least I was aware of the fact that housework burns calories, and I was happy to see I'm not the only one who appreciates that. But I also knew it wasn't enough, and I needed to add some more to my "workout". I began on the treadmill (yes, we have a treadmill. And a stationary bicycle. I just wasn't using them.). The problem with using the treadmill was that any excuse seemed good enough to get off. The garage was too hot. My sons/daughter/husband was calling me. I got winded already after just 10 minutes. It was too easy to stop exercising because I could just get off and walk away from it. I had to come up with something better.

The perfect alternative presented itself in the strangest way (which is how God operates, have you noticed?). A roller on the treadmill broke, and it would be a week before a replacement part could come in. I wouldn't be able to use the machine for awhile, but it was such a lovely day I thought, "Why not take a walk in the park?" We have a park across the street from our house. It's not a huge park; I can walk the perimeter of it in 15 - 20 minutes, depending how fast I'm walking. It's a soccer park, with 3 separate soccer fields, a children's play area, community center, and the walking trail among many trees. There are also 3 exercise stations that were put up as an Eagle Scout project. I decided I would try this idea out for size.

The first day I took my son and daughter, and we went around the park once. I was pretty tired at the end of that trek! It made me realize how out of shape I am. The next day I went by myself, and decided I'd go around the park twice. The first time was okay; I didn't get winded or anything. The weather was perfect, which definitely helped. Then as I was going around the second time, I started getting tired. Now, if I'd have been home on the treadmill, I'd have immediately jumped off and ended my exercising right then and there. In the park, however, I had no choice but to continue walking so I could get back home. I finished my two turns around the park and felt great. I noticed that I was tired for just a minute or two, then my strength came back and I was fine. I'd been quitting too soon when I was at home because I could. Now that I couldn't I was able to do more and go further.

I know that this may not seem like much. Walking for 30-40 minutes in the park is not going to get me looking like I did when I was 21 years old (no amount of exercising can do that!). But it's a start. And seeing the results is my incentive to keep on going. The road to health is a continuous road, but it can be a pleasant and rewarding one if we have the right attitude.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 18, 2010...

Outside my window...hazy sunshine, very warm weather. It's supposed to rain this afternoon. I hope so; a little rain will clean up the air.

I am thinking...about how blessed I am to have such great kids.

I am thankful...for a husband who works hard to support his family.

I am the eye doctor today. My glasses are just barely holding up, and I can't see with them to read anymore, so it's time for a new pair.

I am wearing...a navy blue blouse with a lavender paisley print, jeans and bronze sandals.

I am remembering...the meal we had at Ruby Tuesday's on Sunday. The food landed like a lead balloon in my stomach. I need to learn better eating out habits.

I am currently...sitting at the kitchen counter with my daughter's old laptop. Hubby had it cleaned up and added more memory, so it works alot better now.

I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, Having a Mary Spirit for personal study, and Sherlock Holmes Volume II because I love those types of mysteries.

I am waiting...for my son, who drags his feet in the mornings.

On my much these new glasses are gonna cost :-(

From the learning rooms...reviewing multiplication and division. I'm very pleased with how well E is doing with both. He had a hard time with his 7, 8, and 9 times tables, but he's got them pretty well memorized. He also does long division well.

I am pondering these words..."Bible faith is obeying God in spite of feelings, circumstances, or consequences." - from our Wednesday evening Bible class.

From the kitchen today...tilapia. It's a Tuesday standard. Doctor told my hubby he should eat more fish, and this happens to be his favorite.

Around the house...wash bedding today.

One of my favorite things...putting on my clothes without having to suck in all the air just so I can button the pants/skirt. My clothes are fitting again!

A few plans for the rest of the week...other than the eye doctor, just standard stuff. This is the last official week for Awana - next week is awards.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. God bless.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Move It Mondays

Move it Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In The Lord's Path.

It's a gorgeous Monday morning, and I've had a great breakfast. I found Thomas's English Muffins with 8 grams of fiber - that's just over half my daily requirement! Add to that a scrambled egg, half a slice of cheddar cheese and one slice of bacon (made in the microwave), and I have a filling breakfast loaded with fiber and only 279 calories. What a way to start a Monday!

Today I've got plenty of stuff planned. I've already got a rump roast in the crock pot, and I have scheduled:

3 loads of laundry
clean up kitchen
clean floors
vacuum area rugs
a walk in the park (if it doesn't rain)

Getting the week started on a positive note. Hope you have a blessed Monday too!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 15, 2010...

I am seeing...another gorgeous South Florida day. The sun is shining, the sky is blue, and the palm fronds are swaying in the breeze.

I am hearing...Saturday morning cartoons. Brings back memories of my siblings and I getting up early Saturday morning for just the same reason.

I am feeling...full now that I've had my delicious and nutritious breakfast.

I am tasting...a fried egg, cinnamon swirl raisin toast, and my morning coffee.

I am smelling...a clean house. I'd like to smell the outdoors, but after opening the window for awhile my son started sneezing. Spring is also allergy season, unfortunately. :-(

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, May 14, 2010

I'm Getting the Hang Of This!

Mid-morning today, our internet stopped working. My son called our service provider, and after half an hour of trying to figure out the problem, it turned out there was a service outage in our area (how tech support didn't know this is beyond me). This meant I couldn't log my food into MyFitnessPal, so I had to manually keep track of my calories, sodium intake, and everything else. I decided I was just going to go by what I've learned so far, and eat accordingly.

Well, the internet finally came back online at 7:00pm (tech support told us it would be up again by 3:00pm. Guess that estimate was off). I quickly entered everything I'd eaten, and found that:

1 - I only went over by 40 calories, which means I estimated my calories well.

2 - I went over my carbs by 52 grams, but was under my allowable fat intake by 21 grams.

3 - I went over my protein intake by 9 grams, so again a good estimate. Most of this protein came from chicken.

4 - I was UNDER on my sodium intake by 1,387 grams! That's huge!!

5 - I doubled my recommended fiber intake, which is actually great.

After 3 weeks recording and reviewing my nutrition numbers, I can see that I'm learning how to manage my foods and eat healthier by instinct. I'm so thankful! Hopefully in time this will become second nature. I still have much to learn, but I know I'm on the right track!

The Friday Five

Here are my 5 Friday questions and answers for this week:

1. What is your favorite book and why?
The Bible, because it is my life manual. It is the only perfect thing on this earth, and it teaches me to live a life pleasing to the Lord.

2. How many languages do you speak?
Two - I am fluent in English and Spanish.

3. How many family members do you have named Bill?, Jim? ETC?
No Bills or Jims in my family. William yes, but no one uses the nickname. Oh, and no one in my family is named ETC. ;-)

4. What's your all time favorite song?
That's a tough one. I like different songs at different times of my life, so I don't know that any is an "all time" favorite. I do love worship songs best.

5. What can't you imagine your life without?
Jesus, of course!

Wanna answer some fun trivia? Go to The Friday Five. God bless.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

"For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse." - Romans 1:20

I took a walk today in the park which is across the street from our house. It's not a very large park; I can walk at a regular pace around the entire perimeter in about 20 minutes. But there is so much to see and appreciate. It's a matter of not just looking, but observing.

The weather today is perfect - sunny, warm, breezy. The sky is a beautiful baby blue, and the clouds are puffy white cottonballs. The grass is a splendid green, with little white flowers popping up here and there. The different variety of palm trees, coconut, sabal, fan, all different shades and all swaying in the breeze. There are other trees too, flowering trees and bushes. I saw brilliant red, orange and purple flowers, sweet smelling and bright, and I thought, "God is an amazing decorator!" As I looked at all this beauty I knew it couldn't just have appeared out of nowhere. How can something so majestic and full of life come from a tiny seed? Is it just coincidence? No, it's creation. And today I'm thankful for God's creation, from the tiniest seed to the tallest tree, from the blade of grass to the bird of paradise, every single one of God's creations is special, unique, and beautiful. How dull our world would be if it were all in shades of grey! He created everything so that it would be exquisite, and so that our life here on earth would be enjoyable. Thank You Father!

This month, Thankful Thursdays is hosted by Laurie at Women Taking a Stand. God bless.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Fruits

This week I didn't have any weight loss (unless you want to call 0.2 lbs. a loss). This doesn't upset me in the least; I was weighing 144 lbs. when I decided enough was enough, and I'm now down to 138. I was 141 when I began measuring my nutritional intake, which is much more important to me. I'd much rather be a healthy 138 lbs than a skinny, unhealthy 125 lbs.

Today's topic is fruits. Let me start by saying I don't eat much fruit. Not because I don't like fruit. I think fruits are delicious, nutritious, and a much better alternative than any junk food snack on the market. Yep, I like fruits just fine. The problem is, fruits don't like me.

My first fruit allergy made its appearance when I was 5 years old. I woke up covered in hives and itchy all over. My mother thought it might be measles - not a good thing, since my brother and sister (twins) were just months old. So mom rushed me to the doctor, and found out it was an allergic reaction to something. But what? The only thing different I'd eaten was strawberry shortcake. Bingo! Turns out it's not uncommon to be allergic to strawberries. It's a real bummer too. Think of all the desserts that contain strawberries, yogurts, cereals, smoothies. Oh well, I accepted the fact and stopped eating strawberries.

As I got older I realized other things gave me unpleasant reactions as well. Eating oranges produced some excruciating migraine headaches. Even half a glass of orange juice would send me into a dark room for hours. The same was true of watermelon, mangoes, tangerines, passionfruit, tamarind, anything that was high in citric acid. I got scared of eating any citrus fruits because the pain, both in my head and in my stomach, was unbearable. Oh well, I accepted the fact and stopped eating citrus fruits.

Then one day I was eating a blueberry Nutrigrain bar. I'd eaten other berries before without any issues. Within a half hour my hands started to itch. I looked down and found both my hands red, filled with rash and swelling up. I hurriedly took a couple of Benadryl and wondered what was going on? I checked everything I'd eaten, thinking maybe I'd had strawberries without realizing it; what else was I to think? The swelling went down and my hands got back to normal. I had another Nutrigrain bar a couple days later, and the same thing happened. That's when it hit me: it was the blueberries. I found I couldn't have any berries after that, except cranberries, but even those began giving me terrible stomach pains and I gave them up. It was at that point I decided fruits and I just don't get along, and I just about stopped eating them altogether.

This, obviously, was a drastic measure, one I had to re-evaluate when I made the choice to begin eating healthier. Fruits, as my mom would say, are God's candy. They also provide lots of vitamins and are a necessary source of fiber, something most Americans don't get enough of. But what could I eat that wouldn't give me migraines or turn me into a red balloon? Thankfully, God loves variety, and He provides plenty to choose from.

I began by looking for bland fruits. By bland I mean just that - fruits that don't have strong flavor or high acid content. I immediately remembered one of the first fruits we give our babies: bananas. Not only are bananas a good source of potassium, but they've also been found to reduce the risk of colorectal and breast cancer. Best part, no allergic reaction. Yay bananas!

I also tried eating acidic fruits in smaller quantities. Pineapples, for instance, are one of my favorite fruits, but because it has a high content of malic acid I can only have a small amount. More than 1 cup of fresh pineapple is out of the question, but if I eat a small amount with food it doesn't affect me. The same is true of grapes. Though grapes are actually berries, I haven't had the same reaction to them as with other berries, and in small amounts I can tolerate them.

Hmm, three fruits. Not much of a selection. Problem is, so many fruits are acidic and that's what I want to stay away from. Yes, I could take pills to reduce the acid in my stomach, but popping pills is something I'd prefer to avoid. As I was shopping, I looked for other snack foods I could have that were healthy, and found another source of fruits: the dried variety. Raisins, prunes, all delicious, all nutritious, great sources of fiber and don't irritate my stomach like their undried counterparts.

Fear was driving me away from enjoying some tasty treats that are also good for me. The lesson I learned: Don't give up too quickly. There's always alternatives out there. And when there's so much choose from, finding the right fruit can be a fun and appetizing experience!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 11, 2010...

Outside my's not as humid as it has been these past few days, but it's still pretty toasty. Somehow we seem to have skipped spring here in South Florida and gone directly into summer.

I am thinking...about where we should go on vacation and what to do over the summer.

I am thankful God, my Savior, who loved me so much He died for me.

I am finish up my to do list from yesterday and clean up in my bedroom.

I am wearing...a navy blue tank top, jeans and gold toned sandals.

I am remembering...the poor little lizard that got in the house yesterday. I didn't mean to kill it. Honest.

I am currently...on chapter 11 of Having a Mary Spirit. I've been taking this book nice and slow, and I really loving it.

I am reading...Psalms for morning devotions, and still reading volume II of Sherlock Holmes.

I am waiting...on the Lord.

On my mind...summer fun.

From the learning rooms...just one more month of school. E is going on a field trip this week to see the movie "Oceans". He's really excited.

I am pondering these words..."The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." - Psalm 19:1.

From the kitchen today...tilapia, which my daughter will be preparing.

Around the bedroom needs some serious dusting.

One of my favorite things...the massage my youngest son gave me for Mother's day. He massaged my back, shoulders, arms, legs, hands and feet. So much sweet love!

A few plans for the rest of the daughter and I are going to start walking in the park for exercise. The weather is perfect for it.

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. God bless.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Move It Mondays

Move It Mondays is hosted by Kristilea over at In the Lord's Path.

I've got alot of movin' to do today. I've had my breakfast: a bowl of nice hot Cream of Wheat with vanilla soy milk. That'll keep my tummy happy as I tackle the following busy list for today:

2 loads of laundry, including towels
clean both bathrooms
sweep all floors
clean ceiling fans

Sounds like alot, but I think I can get it all done before the morning is over. Besides, food's already in the crock pot - jambalaya, which I didn't make last Friday.

Enjoy your Monday! Have a blessed week.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 8, 2010...

I am seeing...the mini-series Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors, and this mini-series is true to the story.

I am hearing...a conversation between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennett.

I am feeling...relaxed on my bed.

I am tasting...popcorn. What else would one taste during a movie?

I am smelling...popcorn, because the smell is a bit overpowering.

It just takes a moment to observe your surroundings. Won't you join me?

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Friday Five

I've got nothing going on for Fridays, so I looked up and found this meme. Guess I'll try it for awhile and see if I like it.

1) How often do you brush your teeth?
Once a day, in the mornings. I know, not enough. But I read once that too much brushing will
erode the enamel off teeth, making them more sensitive and prone to cavities. Just testing
the theory ;-)

2) What kind of toothpaste do you use?
Arm and Hammer Baking Soda toothpaste. It's gotten my teeth whiter.

3) How often do you floss?
Every morning.

4) How many cavities have you had?
Let's see, 4 on the bottom...that's it.

5) Do you/did you have braces? A retainer? Headgear? Rubber bands? An expander?
None of the above. But I did have my wisdom teeth extracted. Ouch.

Have a blessed, clean teeth Friday!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Thankful Thursdays

"If My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land."
- 2 Chronicles 7:14

Today is the National Day of Prayer. It's a day in which we stop and pray for our nation, our leaders, our military, our cities and towns, communities, neighborhoods, friends, family, home; anything and everything. I'm thankful for this special day, but I ask, is one day enough?

There are those who would see the National Day of Prayer eliminated. US District judge Barbara Crabb claims this is an unconstitutional call to religious action. It is said to violate the First Amendment (read about it here). Yet when we stop and look at the state of our nation, the state of our economy, terrorism, corruption, crime, shouldn't we be praying MORE?! Shouldn't we seek God's wisdom to correct these issues, since obviously men on their own haven't done a very good job?

I'm thankful for prayer. I'm thankful that here in America we can pray, publicly or privately. I'm thankful that we can own, read, and study our Bibles, and make petitions to the Lord and He will listen and answer (Philippians 4:6-7). I hope people won't be scared off by government officials who would have us believe we don't have a right to pray. My prayer today is that we DO pray; that we take advantage and start today, right now, to reach out to the Lord. I pray we will continue to seek Him and turn from evil. He's waiting for us. We just need to ask (Matthew 7:7).

Wanna join in? Click on over to Grace Alone. God bless.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Health-Wise Wednesdays

Topic: Water Consumption

I'm surprised (and happy) to announce I've lost another .8 lbs this week, bringing my total to 2.6 lbs. lost in 3 weeks. What really surprises me is that I'm losing weight despite the fact that I'm drinking more water than before.

I'm not a water drinker. I could go a whole day drinking maybe one or two glasses of water. It's not because I feared retaining water. I don't retain water, ever. Even during my pregnancies I never had an issue with water retention; I didn't swell up like some women, nor was I put on any diet for swelling. I don't drink water for the entire opposite reason: I run to the bathroom within 30 - 45 minutes after drinking a glass of water. When I worked it got annoying to get up every hour to go to the bathroom. I'm at home now, but if I have to run an errand or two I don't want to think about having to make restroom stops. Plus I just wasn't used to drinking so much water - the recommended amount is at least 8 cups per day. So I continued the way I'd always done. Morning coffee, check. Lemonade at lunchtime and dinner, check. If I got thirsty during the day I'd have water or lemonade, but I certainly wasn't drinking the amount recommended.

My Fitness Pal has me log in my water consumption. Ugh! was my first reaction, but my goal is to get healthy and I know I need to drink more water, so I made the effort. The first day I drank 6 glasses of water, and that was a struggle. The second day I made it to 7. By the third day I was craving water during the day. I couldn't believe it. Yes, I was making more bathroom trips than usual, but it wasn't as bad as I thought. I did notice one thing: there were times when I thought I was hungry, but I'd drink my water and feel fine. Then I read that we tend to confuse hunger and thirst, many times eating when in fact all we are is thirsty. I could see that in myself. How many times had I looked for a snack only to get thirstier than I was before. Drinking additional water stopped that unnecessary food craving and made me focus on eating healthier things, since I wasn't munching on salty foods like chips and crackers either.

I appreciate water now. I like the taste more, and I like that my thirst goes away without an aftertaste. I feel better because my body is getting cleansed, something it obviously needed. So I think now, I'll go get me a tall glass of ice cold, crystal clear water. Mmm, refreshing.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Simple Woman's Daybook

For Today, May 4, 2010...

Outside my's starting to feel more like summer than spring, though I expect spring showers to begin sometime this month. Meanwhile the days have been very hot, in the low to mid 80's.

I am thinking...about all the things I need to get done today.

I am husband got back safely and my daughter will be home today.

I am replenish my hubby's vitamins later on. He went to see a doctor who specializes in natural medicines. Thanks to the treatment he's been on, he's lost 18 pounds, sleeps better, hardly snores and has more energy.

I am wearing...a brown tank-top, brown and white shorts, and sandals. I'm doing lots of cleaning and laundry today, so comfort is the word.

I am remembering...the Mother's Day video our church made. Some of the children were asked about their moms. When asked if his mom is pretty, my son E said, "My mom is so pretty, I don't even have the words to describe it." Isn't that sweet? I'm indescribably pretty!

I am currently...amazed at how much better I feel just by making a few adjustments to my diet. Who knew?

I am reading...Job for morning devotions. I finished Volume 1 of Sherlock Holmes, and will be starting Volume 2.

I am waiting...for my daughter to get home.

On my sister, who is also trying to eat healthier.

From the learning rooms...E has a book report to turn in tomorrow. We'll finish working on it today.

I am pondering these words..."We spend more time thinking about what we want God to do than about what He's already done." - Pastor Bob, teaching about the Sabbath.

From the kitchen today...rice with ground beef. It's my kid's all-time favorite.

Around the house...I'll be doing about 3 loads of laundry, including bedding. Floors need mopping too.

One of my favorite the dress I got at Kohl's for $19.99. It's my mother's day outfit, a pretty teal summer dress. So pretty!

A few plans for the rest of the week...Mother's Day is on Sunday. Don't forget!

Wanna join in the fun? Visit Peggy at the Simple Woman's Daybook. God bless.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Move It Mondays

Move it Mondays is hosted by Kristilea at In the Lord's Path.

I've started moving it early today. I've had a hearty breakfast: one scrambled egg, one slice of toasted cinnamon swirl raisin bread (yum!) and my morning coffee. I've also cleaned the dining room table, dusted in the living room, put away a bunch of stuff in the family room, made my bed, and started a load of laundry. Why the energy boost? My hubby's been out of town and he comes home today! So I want the house to be clean and welcoming. One more thing: there's a london broil in the crock pot which should be ready by the time he gets home. Hopefully I've thought of everything. Time to get busy again!

God bless and have a wonderful week.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

So What's the Answer?

The story is told about a pastor who was into telling stories to the children. He'd bring all the children up, and they'd sit on the floor, and he'd tell them a story. One day he said, "Boys and girls, I want to tell you a story about someone who likes to live in the woods, but sometimes we can see him in our yards. Anybody have any idea who I am talking about?"

No takers. He said, "I want to tell you about a creature that lives in the woods and sometimes in our yards, has a big bushy tail, likes to eat nuts. Anybody have any idea what I'm talking about?"

No takers. He said, "I'm talking about a creature that lives in the woods, sometimes in our yards, big bushy tail, eats nuts, likes to climb trees, jumps from tree to tree--now, does anybody know what I'm talking about?"

One kid raised his hand to take him out of his misery. The pastor said, "Do you know what I'm thinking about?"

The kid said, "Yeah. I know the answer should be Jesus, but it sounds like a squirrel to me."

- From ChurchLaughs at

Observing My Senses

For Today, May 1, 2010...

I am seeing...the sun shining, though dark clouds are lurking. Weather report said no rain for today, but then again the weather report for yesterday was rain all day and we never got a drop. We'll have to see what happens.

I am hearing...birds chirping, and neighbors in their yards. It's hot and muggy, though. I don't think I'll join them outdoors.

I am feeling...exhausted! The Cub Scouts had a car wash this morning, and my son and I were there for 4 hours washing and drying cars. Lots of cars. That shower afterwards felt soooo good!

I am tasting...prunes. They're sweet, yummy, low in calories and high in vitamins.

I am smelling...the warm humid air coming in through the window. I think I'll close it now. Too much humidity today.

It just takes a moment to see what's going on around you. Won't you join me?