The power of the mind

Wow!  I can’t believe it’s been 5 months since I wrote anything.  There have been a few times where I’ve thought about things to write and the synchronicity of the past week has pushed me into action!

Since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, I could never understand why my father wasn’t diabetic as well.  His diet is filled with fat laden processed crap and has been for a long time.  He is overweight as well.  This injustice, in my thinking, used to infuriate me because I couldn’t figure out why he didn’t have high blood pressure, high cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.  Last week, my husband, one of our daughters and I stayed with him for two nights while attending an orientation at my daughters soon to be college.  During one of the evenings he says to me “Did your mom tell you about my blood work?”.  She hadn’t so he proceeded to say to me that his doctor had talked him into having a physical since he hadn’t had one in about 10 years.  I’m thinking “Oh, finally, his diet is going to catch up to him”.  WRONG!!!!!  My father’s blood work was PERFECT!!!  No high cholesterol, no high blood pressure, no diabetes!!!!  In fact the only thing that was “off” on his blood work was he was vitamin B12 deficient!!!!!  I was, needless to say, completely dumbfounded and shocked (and initially really pissed!).  How could this be???  For the past almost 7 years I have lived and believed in our vegan diet.  How can this man, who eats CRAP have better blood work than me???

So, we start talking about it and to be perfectly honest I think he was a little shocked as well.  He chalks it up to two things:  Good genes (he was adopted so we aren’t sure exactly how good his genes are although his sister (biological) is in her 80’s and doesn’t have any health concerns that I’m aware of and we know that one of his biological uncles lived well into his 90’s) and VISUALIZATION!!!!!  My father, for I don’t know how long, has practiced visualization.  He visualizes an army of little scuba divers going through his arteries and veins scraping any plaque off and carrying it out of his system.  He visualizes these little armies throughout his body keeping him healthy.

About 10 years ago, or maybe longer, there was a movie that came out called “The Secret”.  The bottom line message of this movie was that thoughts become things and that if we could learn to control our thoughts our external, and in my father’s case internal, world would change for the better.  My sister recently invited my mother and I to a workshop based on this “thoughts become things” concept.  We are required to watch a 9 hour online video course prior to going to the workshop in June.  The gentleman who is presenting this workshop has documented scientific proof of “miracles” happening to lots of people just because they were able to control and change their thought patterns!

The synchronicity of my father’s blood work “miracle” and our discussion of his visualization practice along with the invitation from my sister to attend this workshop within 24 hours of each other, said to me that the Universe was trying to tell me something and get my attention.  So, I decided to start putting my father’s visualization practice to work.

For the past 3 years I have been in chronic pain that has, for the past year, been getting increasingly worse.  I have been to various doctors that don’t have any answers for me and haven’t provided much assistance except to put me on prescription pain medication (which I won’t take).  When I got home from my dad’s last week, I decided every night to visualize an army of little people inside my body putting the muscles, tendons and ligaments in my legs (where a majority of the pain is) through an old fashioned taffy puller!  It’s the kind of machine that they used to (I don’t know if they still do) use to make taffy and it would pull and stretch the taffy.   A week later and I am almost back to where I was when I first started noticing the pain!!!!!!

So, for the next few months I will be working on a few different things.  I’m working on a NLP (neuro-linguistic programming) practitioner online course that my sister has designed; the online course, book and the in person workshop that my sister invited me to and the continued use of my visualizations.  By the end of the summer I should be well on my way to creating the reality and future I want for myself!  Stay tuned for the adventure as I will be blogging about my discoveries and miracles!

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Grateful

It goes without saying that I am abundantly grateful for the obvious things; family, friends, health, etc. Almost every night before I go to sleep I start making a list of things that I am thankful for and before I know it I have drifted off to sleep.  It’s a great practice to get into to remind yourself of all the wonderful things in your life.  What I wanted to write about today was the little things that I am grateful for as well:

  1.  3 of Baillie’s best friends from high school – the sheer joy that came over Baillie yesterday when she got to see Skylar, Matthew and Hollywood (Mathew) almost brought me to tears.  She loves these 3 friends more than I think any of them will ever know.  I also love each of them as if they were my own child and am grateful for their presence in our lives.
  2. My vision – the thrill of being able to watch Abbey ride a horse is something I am abundantly grateful for.  When there are people who are at the stable, who haven’t seen her ride before, more often than not they will stop and make some statement to us about how well she looks on the horse and how well she rides.  It reminds me of a friend I had in high school who was a figure skater.  I only got to see him skate once but watching him you just knew that’s where he belonged.  I get that same feeling watching Abbey ride.  It makes my heart sing every time.
  3. The stillness and quiet of early morning.
  4. Baillie’s tenacity –  I am sometimes ungrateful for this trait when it’s being directed at me but overall I am grateful that I instilled this in her.  She knows what she wants and nothing is going to stand in her way.
  5. Abbey’s compassion – the way this girl talks about the special needs kids that she works with on an every other day basis…you can just tell by her enthusiasm and passion that this was what she was meant to do in life.  She also hasn’t met an animal that she didn’t love and want to bring home!
  6. The support of my family in helping me to pursue my photography business.  It seriously means the world to me.
  7. My college photography professor who made me promise I would never give up my photography because I had such a natural eye for composition.
  8. My sister Lindley’s suggestion that we try changing our diet 6+ years ago before Jay had brain surgery.  Jay didn’t have to have brain surgery and it has made us all healthier people.  I can’t imagine where Jay and I, especially, would be had we not made this change.
  9. Great authors – we have recently cancelled our cable subscription and are going without “normal” TV (we still have our Netflix subscription) and that has caused me to start reading again!  It’s wonderful how an author can draw a picture for you with words.  I am also grateful that I read to my children when they were little.  Abbey is finding out, from her classmates, that this didn’t happen with a lot of her friends.  If you have children or grandchildren – READ TO THEM!!!!  They will remember it and it will allow them to love reading as well.
  10. Crisp autumn days where the sun is shining
  11. The crunch of fall leaves under your feet
  12. The crunch of snow under your feet (although I haven’t been able to experience this in quite a while!)
  13. The colors in the sky at sunset
  14. Swings – I loved them as a child and still love them.  I also passed this love to my children.
  15. The crackle, pop and glow of a wood fire

I could go on and on!  Take some time today, and every day, to be grateful for the little things in your life.  Be grateful for the big things too but don’t forget the little things that sometimes make up those big things!  I wish everyone a safe and grateful Thanksgiving!

Ideal life

I have had two pretty interesting revelations in the past 48 hours that I thought I would share.  The reason I’m sharing is that I watched this video this morning about “Owning your journey” and how if you share your journey you never know who might want/need that piece of your journey that you shared.  I thought that made sense because how would we learn anything if people didn’t share their journeys.

A while back, I don’t remember why I did this or when, I wrote about what my “ideal” life would look like.  I would be waking up when my body was done resting, I would be working for myself and my “work” wouldn’t be work but a career in which I was doing what I loved.  I would be able to set my own schedule and not be tied to someone else’s time clock.  There were other things and I remember this list of things being at the top.  It just dawned on me this morning…  I’m living this part of my ideal life!  WHAT???  WHEN DID THAT HAPPEN???   I have been seriously, at sometimes scarily, depressed recently.  This revelation has caused me to re-evaluate where my thought patterns lie.  Granted, I’m still waking up to an alarm but because I want to spend time with my daughter in the morning and help get her ready for her day not because I have to get to a job by 9am.  Between 8:30am and 3:30pm, on most days, I’m free to do what I want and when I want to do it.  I should be swinging from the chandeliers!!!  The one thing that hasn’t manifested itself, YET, is the income to sustain myself and my family.  And I have to be honest with myself – why should it have?  I haven’t, until recently, been putting any work into my business to generate any income.  DUH!!!!  The magic money bus isn’t going to pull up in front of my house and drop my billions of dollars off no matter how much I wish and pray that it would!  So, starting RIGHT NOW I am going to be abundantly grateful for the opportunity to pursue my dream.  I am going to be grateful that I get this time for myself to work on my career.  The income will come.

The other thing that I was contemplating was why I was having such a hard time sticking to any sort of spiritual practice routine.  I used to love routines.  I was a planner and a list person.  I had schedules.  Why is it so hard to stick to this practice that I know deep down will only benefit me both mentally, physically and emotionally?  Then I got my answer.  I’m afraid.  We’ve become a society of immediacy.  I can text or call my sister, who lives on the other side of the planet, and she will answer me, almost, immediately.  I can get money from a machine immediately.  I think I was expecting the Universe/God/my higher self (insert whatever word works for you) to work immediately and because it wasn’t I got scared.  I was/am afraid that everything that I had been taught in the past 3 years, or so,  was bullsh*t.  I was/am afraid that no one is really listening and the reason I was afraid was/am because I wasn’t receiving answers immediately.  It doesn’t work that way.  At least I don’t think it works that way (I’m actually really hoping it doesn’t work that way because if it does that means I’ve been being ignored!).   Now that I have come to this revelation I can move past the fear and know that sometimes you don’t get an immediate result/answer.  Sometimes you have to have faith and be patient.

If anyone is having any of the same issues that I’ve mentioned above, or just want to get your mind to do what you want it to do, and want to do something about it  – FOR FREE – I would highly recommend signing up for the NLP Mindfest put on by Learning Strategies.  My sister is one of the presenters!   You can sign up here (it’s my sisters link):  http://www.allinthemind.asia/nlp-mindfest-is-coming

I’ll end with another recipe.  Seriously so simple but yummy!

Roasted Chickpeas from PlantPure Nation Cookbook page 83

Two 15 oz cans chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained

1t garlic powder

2t chili powder

1/2t sea salt

2T lime juice

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.  Place the chickpeas in a gallon-size resealable plastic bag and add the seasonings.  Shake well until completely coated (those of you who are around my age or older “It’s Shake and Bake and I helped (has to be said with a southern accent!)).  Spread the seasoned chickpeas evenly on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45-55 minutes stirring every 15-20 minutes so they cook evenly.  Cook until golden brown.  Serve warm or cold for an anytime snack.

Much healthier than chips!  You can use different seasonings too to mix things up a bit.  We’ve done a salt and vinegar one that was really good!

I leave you with the quote that is hanging right inside one of my daughters bedroom doors:

DON’T FORGET TO BE AWESOME!!!!

 

Letting go

I was writing in my journal this morning about some things that are happening in my life right now and I decided that I hadn’t blogged in quite a while.  I’m still working through, what feel like, some pretty major changes in my life right now.  I’ve also started a 40 day “transformation” program based on A Course in Miracles.  A few things right off the bat that I’ve noticed about myself (and may ring true with you as well).  I get myself into a state where I feel like I need to “fix” (change, correct, whatever word you want to use) everything at once.  That doesn’t work for me!  I end up trying to change too many things at one time and, because I am not consistent with any of them, I give up and don’t do any of them.  For example, this summer I was going to start doing the following:  alternate day yoga, alternate day qigong, daily meditation, SOS (sugar,oil, salt) free eating, decluttering my house, blogging, start to get my youngest daughter ready for college next year, morning pages (3 pages of journaling every morning – from The Artist’s Way), reading 3 different books that all had exercises associated with them, etc.  How much of that did I get done or stay committed to?  ZERO!  I was trying to do all that at the same time and because I wasn’t staying consistent with any one thing, I didn’t do any of it.  I have learned I need to take baby steps.  So, for the next, now, 30 days I have committed to just doing the 40 day program.  Granted, there are some thing associated with this program that are included in that list, meditation and journaling.

My journaling, this morning, led me to a revelation about myself and my depression.  I feel like I’m on a trapeze bar, swinging through the air and someone has just told me to LET GO!  Let go???  Are you kidding me???  I have an enormous amount of fear that I’m going to go plunging to the earth and crash instead of either #1 – someone/something catching me (and by the way, yes, I know that that someone could, and probably will be, me!) or #2 – there being a safety net that will catch me before I crash.  My youngest daughter said something a while back that was intriguing to me “I don’t have a fear of heights, I have a fear of falling”.  All my life I’ve told people, and myself, that I’m afraid of heights.  Maybe it isn’t that I’m actually afraid of the height at all but the fear of falling.  There are a number of situations in my life right now where I feel like I need to LET GO.  Actually, quite a lot of them.  I started thinking about this because of a situation I’m in right now that is requiring me to let go or risk, what I’m perceiving as, unpleasant consequences.  Thankfully, the 40 day program is helping me let go.  Let go of the fear.  As I’ve told my daughters, ad nauseum, over the past few years “There are only two states of being, love and fear.  They can’t reside in the same space.  So, if you’re living in fear change your state to living in gratitude”.  I think I’ve been feeling overwhelmed because I feel like I’m being asked to let go of lots of things at the same time and, as we learned above, I don’t do well with trying to do too many things at once!  And yet, there are some scenarios where I don’t have an option but to let go.  Well, you always have an option.  I’m choosing to let go because it will be the healthiest thing to do for everyone involved.  Over the next year I’m going to be doing a lot of letting go.  As I sit here and write this, I have become aware that I don’t need to do it all at once either.  I can take baby steps.

Speaking of baby steps… one of the baby steps that I committed to when I got home from True North was to do intermittent fasting.  While I haven’t been 100% compliant, I feel like I’m at a good 75% and even at 75% I can attest to the benefits of this type of eating.  I’ve learned that it is extremely hard to travel and stick to an SOS free way of eating and I’ve done a lot of traveling this summer.  I also hadn’t been exercising pretty much at all.  Two medical issues contributed to that lack of exercise.  So, when I went to the doctor, recently,  I was THRILLED that I had only gained 5 pounds since I got back from True North.  Seriously… THRILLED!!!!  I figured I had gained at least 10 or more because of what I’d been eating and the lack of exercise.  I am attributing this lack of weight gain to my intermittent fasting.  Recap on what intermittent fasting is:  I eat during 8 hours of the day and fast for 16.  So, I eat during, say, the hours of 9a-5p and then I fast from 5p till 9am the next morning.  This will sometimes vary depending on what time we end up eating dinner. Now that most of the traveling has subsided (one more trip to Michigan for my cousin Jennifer’s wedding!) I am now able to eat primarily at home making dishes that are SOS free.

My recipe share of the day: I was going to share a SOS free granola recipe but I’ve actually thought about packaging it and selling it because YES it was that good!!!

Reuben Casserole from The PlantPure Nation Cookbook (yields 4-6 servings) – we double the recipe so we have leftovers the next day

This is one of my family’s favorite dishes.  Not completely SOS free:

One 20oz package frozen hash browns (no added oil or salt)

6 oz mushrooms, sliced

1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced

3 T nutritional yeast flakes (can buy at Whole Foods, Sprouts, Trader Joe’s, etc or online)

1/2 t garlic powder

1/2 t onion powder

3 cups fresh spinach

1 cup Russian Dressing (recipe below)

One 14oz can/jar sauerkraut, drained

One 6oz package tempeh strips (our Kroger is now carrying tempeh so I’m sure you can find them at most major grocery stores) – it calls for a specific brand “Lightlife Organic Smoky Tempeh Strips”.  I don’t know if I could find those so I just used whatever the store had that was close

3/4 cup Daiya Cheddar Style shreds (optional) – this is not oil free

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Line a 9X9 inch casserole dish with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Thaw the hash browns
  3. In a skillet over medium-high heat, saute the mushrooms and bell pepper in a small amount of water until tender.  Add the nutritional yeast, garlic powder and onion powder, stirring to combine.  Add the spinach and cook until it wilts.
  4. Press half of the hash browns into the bottom of the pan
  5. Mix the Russian dressing with the sauerkraut and spread on top of the potatoes
  6. Spread the sauteed spinach, mushrooms and peppers over the sauerkraut
  7. Cut the tempeh strips into small 1 inch pieces and sprinkle over the vegetables
  8. Top with the cheese, if using, and cover with the remaining hash browns
  9. Bake, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are browned around the edges

ENJOY!

Update since I forgot the recipe for the Russian Dressing!

1/4 cup Tofu Cashew Mayonnaise (recipe below… I promise this time!) – or you could use a commercially prepared vegan mayo

4 t low sodium ketchup (no high-fructose corn syrup)

2 t chopped sweet or dill pickle or pickle relish

1 t dijon mustard

Mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl until well combined.

Tofu Cashew Mayo

1/4 cup raw cashews, soaked in water to cover for 2-3 hours, then drained (unless you have a high speed blender like a Blendtec or Vitamix)

7oz extra-firm tofu

1/2 t sea salt

1/2 t tahini (sesame paste)

4 t lemon juice

1 1/2 t white vinegar

1T Dijon mustard

2T apple cider vinegar

2 1/2 t agave nectar (or honey if you don’t have agave)

2T water

1/4t xantham gum (if you don’t have this don’t worry about it.  The mayo will just be a thinner consistency.  I’ve never used it)

Place all the ingredients in a blender and blend till smooth and shiny.

 

Here’s to letting go of the trapeze bar and landing safely!

 

Getting out of my funk

For the past few weeks I’ve been in a funk.  Let’s be honest, and vulnerable here, I was depressed.  I was having a hard time getting out of bed in the morning.  I have recently come to realize that there are a few reasons for that but one major one.  I feel like I’ve lost my purpose(s).  I had a job for 9 years that 3 months ago I lost.  I haven’t been unemployed since before 1997!  I have two daughters – one who is about to be 19 and one who just turned 17.  They are becoming adults.  And while I think that I still have a ton of wisdom to bestow on them, sometimes they don’t want to listen to that wisdom, or at least when you want to share it!  So, I’m having to adjust to not being “needed” as much by my daughters.  So, where does that leave me???  In a funk!  I don’t feel like I have a purpose.  Well, let me rephrase that “I DIDN”T feel like I had a purpose”.  Starting today, I find my purpose!  I know it’s out there somewhere!  🙂

My first step is to start taking better care of myself.  I feel like I’ve let myself, and the 3 people who supported me going, down by not doing a better job of that since I got back from True North.  There is a woman I follow on Facebook called “Mrs Plant”.  She lives in Texas and is about my age and is basically doing the same thing I am at least as far as our eating goes.  She shared this past weekend that she wasn’t where she wanted to be physically and that she had fallen back into some bad habits (hmmmm….that sounds familiar…).  I shared with her something that I had received at True North.  It’s called Conscious Eating and it’s a card you’re supposed to pull out when you want to eat when you’re really not hungry: 1. What sensations am I experiencing? 2. What emotions am I experiencing? 3. What might these be communicating to me? 4. What values are important to me? 5. What do I WANT to be experiencing? 6. How might I nourish my TRUE hunger? 7. Do I choose to eat? She said sometimes the answer to the last question is going to be “YES” but that if you’re honest and thorough with the answers to the questions above it most of the time it will be no.  This week I am choosing to make better choices about what I’m eating and pull out that card when I want to eat when I’m not hungry.  I am also choosing to move!  Notice that I didn’t say exercise.  I have a strong dislike of the word exercise and it brings up negative emotions in me.  So, I am choosing the word “MOVE”.  “Move” to me equals: Dancing, walking, riding my bike, interval training, yoga, etc.  Anything that, as David at True North said, gets my belly button off of it’s current plane!  He suggested that we focus on things that made our belly button move from it’s current plane.  So, lifting weights, on a machine at the gym, does not cause your belly button to move from it’s plane (well, at least most of them).  However, doing push ups on the floor or even against a wall moves your belly button from it’s plane.

My second step is to find a purpose!  HAVE A GOAL, VISION, PLAN…whatever you want to call it, I need to get one!  There are a few steps I’m taking in this direction.  First will be to start clearing my environment.  My sister (thank you again) reminded me of something that we have read in books and know to be true.  The condition of your physical environment will cause things to happen or not to happen.  (Being vulnerable again here…) The physical condition of my environment is HORRIBLE!!!!  There is clutter EVERYWHERE!!!!  How can I expect new things to enter my life when there’s old stuff cluttering it up???  By the way, if you ever want help with that aspect of your life there is a wonderful woman called the Abundance Whisperer (http://www.theabundancewhisperer.com/) who is wonderful at helping you clear out the “clutter” (both physically and mentally) from your home.  The reason I haven’t hired her is #1 I don’t have a job! and #2 – I would be seriously horrified for her to see the state of my environment (although that IS her job!).  Anyway… I will be working that on my own and making my physical environment something that reflects who I am and what I want in my life.  The other part of this is to get clear in what I want.  Where do I want to live???  What do I want to do????  How do I want my days to look???  Who is going to be in my “circle”??? Vision board to the rescue!!!  If you’ve ever read anything about the successful people in the world, more often than not, they have a vision board or something like it.  It’s a big picture vision of what you want in your life.  So, for example, on my vision board I will have “xeriscaping” because I don’t want to have to water or mow my landscape when I move to a “permanent” residence.  I will take a picture of my vision board and share it after I get it done!

I think that’s a grand start to getting myself out of my depressive state!  Time to laugh, dance and be joyous!  Have an outstanding week!

Setback

I returned a week ago from a trip to Kentucky.  The first week that I was in Kentucky I gained 5 pounds.  Yes, 5 pounds in one week.  There were a number of reasons for this and I own each of them.  First, I did not commit to my alternate day fasting program.  Had I done this it may have saved me from the second reason.  Second, we were eating out a lot.  I did an ok job of selecting options that were on the healthy side (a salad and a bowl of fruit at IHOP while everyone else was eating pancakes and hashbrowns).  It’s really hard, however, to stay completely away from the added oils and salt when you’re eating out unless you only want to eat salads and/or dry baked potatoes and that gets old really quick. Thankfully, the second week, I was in Kentucky, my sister joined me in my alternate day fasting program and was wonderful in cooking no added salt/no added oil meals while I was at my engraving class (more on that below).  I lost 2 of the 5 pounds I had gained during that week.  Conclusion:  I have to eat out as little as humanly possible and stick to my alternate fasting program.  My husband is now working the “graveyard” shift which is causing us to not be on the same “plan”.  I have determined that the 8/16 fasting program works better for me.  The program we were doing before, “normal” eating one day and less than 500 calories the next, wasn’t working well for me.  I would get really hungry towards the end of the day and would end up making bad choices for dinner because I was so hungry.  The 8/16 is working better.  I eat for 8 hours out of a day and fast for 16.  So, for example, yesterday I ate till 7pm so today I will start eating again at 11am. Most of my fasting time is done while I’m sleeping!

We will be traveling a lot this summer (we leave in 5 days for New Mexico!).  Thankfully the next place we will be, Santa Fe, has quite a lot of vegan/vegetarian/veg-friendly restaurants.  I was hoping they would have a farmers market open while we were there so I just looked and theirs is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays.   Saturday it is!  I love farmer’s markets!  The best one that I’ve been to, so far, is the one in Boulder, CO.  I seriously thought I had died and went to heaven when I saw that one!  The other thing that I need to get better at is asking for what I want from the chefs/cooks at restaurants.  I need to get over not wanting to be a bother to them.  This is my health we’re talking about!  I have started to carry my no salt seasonings in my purse (I found little glass vials at The Container Store) and will also start carrying balsamic vinegar for my salads.   I felt a little uncomfortable pulling them out at first, in restaurants, but again…this is my health we’re talking about!  I’m am perfectly fine now with pulling them out!

I was going to say that my experience with the master engraver was a setback and yet, in reality, it wasn’t a setback it was a time for me to reflect.  My commute from my dad’s house in Kentucky to the engravers was 2 hours, each way.  So, I would leave my dads at 7am and arrive at the engravers at 9am.  Engraving is some mentally intense work!!!  At 5pm I would drive back to my dad’s where my sister graciously had dinner waiting for me.  I would spend 30-45 minutes on my “homework” for my engraving and then head to bed.  I did that for 2 days.  On the 3rd day, I woke up feeling like crap.  I had been coughing most of the night and just felt horrible.  I got my lunch together and headed out the door.  I made about a 30 minute drive and realized that I was putting myself, and other people, in danger by driving for 2 hours with how I was feeling.  So, I turned around, went back to bed and slept for 3 more hours!  I continued to not feel well so I never made it back to finish my engraving class.  My sister graciously offered to drive back to Texas with me so I wouldn’t have to make the 11-12 hour drive by myself in my ill health.  Very grateful for that generosity.  Because I’m a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, I knew there was a reason that I didn’t finish the class.  My sister and I talked about it and I don’t think I’m cut out for scroll work in engraving.  My heart just wasn’t in it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think engraving is really cool and I think I could be really good at it.  Just not that type of engraving.  The gentleman I was working with does, at least from what I could see, one type of engraving – scrolls.  I think he does lettering too but for the most part it’s scrolls.  This works for him.  He’s very passionate about it and is REALLY good at it.  So, I have a few weeks before I have to decide whether or not to finish up the 3 other days with him or spend the money on equipment and see what calls to me from an engraving aspect (I’m leaning towards the last one).

What I’ve learned from the past few weeks is that I may, and probably will, have setbacks, or perceived setbacks, and that what I do after them is what’s important.  Do I throw my hands up in the air and quit because I gained 5 pounds or because I couldn’t finish my engraving class?  NO!!!  I take a step back and look at what I am committed to, what I can change and what I can do differently moving forward.  I read a great article yesterday about “Live like you’ve won the lottery”.  The bottom line of the article was to write down the top 5 things that you would do if you won the lottery.  Get to the bottom of why you would do each of those things and then DO IT!!!!  You may not be able to do it in the grandiose style that you would if you actually did win the lottery but you can do something.  One woman and her husband said they would move to Santa Cruz, CA if they won the lottery.  So, that’s what they did even though they didn’t win the lottery.  Yes, the house was smaller and they didn’t have all the “things” that they may have acquired had they actually won the lottery but they were living where they wanted to live.  She and her husband are thrilled about their decision. So, that’s what my challenge for myself is going to be this week (as the Mega Millions Lottery approaches 1/2 billion!).  What are the top 5 things that I would do if I won the lottery???  What would you do???

For all the ladies…

I don’t think I have a lot of men reading this blog except for maybe my husband.  Some updates before I dive in:  I still am off my diabetes medication!!!  I have dropped 1-2 clothes sizes (depending on the manufacturer) and I have lost a band size and a cup size in my bra!

Which leads into my thought for the day…  when was the last time you had a bra fitting???  Your wedding day?  Never?  I would highly suggest going into a store, lots of them offer them now, and have someone correctly measure you for a bra.  Try on one that actually FITS you and see what a remarkable difference is made.  I wasn’t going to buy any new bra’s, after I got back from True North, because I figured that I would just have to buy another size in another few months anyway.  Boy, am I glad I didn’t wait!!!  A well fitting bra makes you feel and look better!  I swear I looked about 10 pounds lighter.  When I got home from purchasing my new bras, I had one of my daughters look at me with my old one on.  Then I went into the bedroom and put the new one on and came back out.  She almost fell off her chair!!!  She couldn’t believe the difference in how I looked just by changing a single undergarment!  As I was purchasing my bra’s, I was reminded of a scene in “Eat, Pray, Love” (I have had to buy extra copies of this movie because I’ve worn them out!).  Liz is looking at a piece of beautiful lingerie and her friend says to her “That’s beautiful, you should get it” and Liz says, in Italian “per chi?” (for who?) and her friend says “For you Liz, just for you”.  Sometimes we need to buy something beautiful and luxurious just for ourselves.  No one else needs to know about it, or see it, sometimes it’s enough to wear it just for you!

What one thing can you do, or buy, for yourself today, or this week, that’s just for you?

Update on the overnight oats recipe I posted a while back:  We found organic quick-cooking steel cut oats at Costco!!!  My husband and I are seriously loving our overnight oats in the morning on our non-“fasting” days.  The steel cut oats definitely give it more of a chewy texture.  I think tomorrow night when I make them I’ll do a 1/2 cup regular rolled oats and 1/2 of the steel cut just to give it a little more balance.  These overnight oats are great for summer when you don’t want to cook oatmeal, or anything else for that matter, and still want a substantial breakfast.  They are a refreshing way to start out your morning!  This morning I mixed in hemp hearts, frozen wild blueberries, frozen cranberries and a tablespoon of vegan chocolate chips!  I had to let it sit for a while to let the berries thaw.

Update on our modified intermittent fasting:  for those of you who don’t know or didn’t remember, my husband and I are doing what’s called a modified intermittent fasting program.  We eat our normal whole-foods plant based diet (good grief I dislike that word because of the negative connotation it has with me) on one day, like today, and the next day we eat 500 calories or less (mostly vegetables).  No, we’re not counting calories.  Most vegetables, on average, have 100 calories per pound.  We would have to eat 5 pounds of vegetables to reach 500 calories!  I don’t think I could physically eat 5 pounds of vegetables!  Fruit it just a little more at 200 calories per pound, on average (granted some are higher and we stay away from those on our “fasting” days).  My husband’s blood pressure has significantly reduced and he is almost at his goal weight!!!  He has also gone down a size in his pants.  Once I get to a weight/size/whatever, I feel comfortable with I will probably stop doing the intermittent fasting and go to a once a month 2-3 water fast as a maintenance measure.  I will, as I have been for the past 2 months, be listening to my body on what’s best and adjust as necessary.

Have an OUTSTANDING day!!!