Sunday, March 26, 2017

Spring Desert Road Trip

We couldn’t have picked a better weekend to all meet together for my granddaughter’s birthday party.  The half-way point for our families is Yuma, Arizona, and we spent the weekend at the Marriott.  The weather hit a high of about 80 degrees; the sun felt hot with cool breezes, perfect! 

Our road trip shouted, “Spring” with the bright yellow desert wild flowers which graced the landscape with a background of Saguaro cactus.  

Amy turned three.  For her birthday theme, she chose “Peppa Pig and Friends.”  When we weren’t laughing or hugging, we were swimming, playing balloon games, opening presents, playing on swings and slides at the park and taking pictures of each other wearing her funny glasses. Her menu included pizza, salad, chocolate birthday cake and ice cream.

Of course, there’s always one in the crowd that has to work out in the hotel gym the morning after pizza and cake.  The rest of us took the birthday girl to the hotel lobby and ate blueberry muffins.  Later in the day, we ate breakfast at Cracker Barrel.   

Love my girls and the way they bring everyone together!

What did you do this weekend?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

A Cleanse, Family Style

When our kids were little, we were their teachers.  The tables have now turned and our adult kids are teaching us.  I am reaping the reward of a 30 day cleanse my youngest daughter researched and invited us to do with her.

Actually, she got the whole family involved and I learned that when we take on a challenge as a family, the team support propels us to success. This adventure involved meal planning and eating differently so it was either “co-operate or cook your own food”  in each of our homes.  All three of our men decided it was worth it to climb on board.

It All Started Before Christmas   
We chose not to bake at Christmastime and we down scaled our holiday meals with simple choices.  After all, come January first, we knew we would delve into our new regime for 30 days.  You can put up with anything for 30 days, right?  It’s not a lifetime. 

I’m still amazed at all that I’ve learned about myself during those 30 days of eating only whole foods in January.

*  My hair shined more and my skin cleared. 
*  My energy increased.
*  Sleep reached deeper levels.
* My teeth felt smooth like they do after a professional cleaning.  Flossing seemed unnecessary but I did it anyway.
*  I learned that we could celebrate birthdays without cake.
*  My thoughts came quickly and clearly.
*  I learned about sources of comfort other than snacking but missed popcorn tremendously!
*  I learned how to control my meal portions for my body size.

I lost five and one-half pounds.  But my goal aimed to eliminate inflammation.  I hoped for more success in my joints.  For me, the dramatic effect resulted in my teeth.  Last week, six weeks post-cleanse, my dental hygienist patted me on the back for improved maintenance.  My dentist noticed decreased inflammation after my deep cleaning.  I confessed to both of them that my success stems from the cleanse.  

Being a sugar and caffeine addict, I expected to fail.    But I didn’t.  I learned that fruit, dates and nuts are better choices for me.  Coffee is acceptable on the 30 day program, but not dairy.  No grains, no pasta, rice or bread for 30 days changed me.  I learned how to eat dinner foods for breakfast.  To my credit, I like vegetables, lots of them, with my protein.

After 30 days, the challenge switched to adding foods back into daily living again.  We’re all different and we learn what our bodies tolerate best.

Would I take on the whole 30 day plan again?  Absolutely!  My core being is worth it.

You know those cute capri’s that get shoved into the back of my closet every spring because they don’t fit but I can’t pitch them?  I wore them to lunch with my girlfriend yesterday.  She, in her mourning state and petite frame, does not need a cleanse program right now, but out of curiosity, she read the book: It Starts with Food.  Whereas she questioned some things about the Whole 30 Day Program, she learned things about herself.  She realized all the sugar content in the evening glass of wine she loves and decided to cut back because she likes it just a bit too much!

I like her open mind and teachable spirit.  Discussion opens doors to greater success.  We don’t always have to agree.  We never arrive; there’s always something to learn!  Personally, I’m glad I put the cleanse to the test. 

What are you learning about yourself these days?  Or maybe you’re just thinking:  “Sure am glad I’m not part of that family!”

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Anyone Want to Laugh?

My hands dripped with flour as I pressed shamrock-shaped cut outs into the sugar cookie dough on my kitchen island.  A preacher shared his message on Christian TV in the other room and the subject did not interest me.  He spoke about laughter.   The mess of baking kept me stationary.  Now I’m glad I stayed in that flour prison because I needed to hear what he had to say.

Several of his points alerted me to the tension most of us carry in our ordinary days.   For instance, the anti-depressant medication taken in our nation supersedes other countries by ninety percent.  That’s a lot of up tightness.

Another stat reminded me of the chronically sick who watch marathons of humorous movies and get healed.

The fact about laughter in marriage caught my attention big time.  Speaking for most of us, the preacher man stated:  “Remember how we married couples laughed together when we were dating?”

I yelled over to my husband in the den and asked him if we laugh enough.  He said he did but didn’t think I do.

I thought about my week.  I wish I lived closer to my sister whose health is declining.  Both of my granddaughters have Whooping Cough and now their parents caught it.  I like spring, but I get sinus headaches from the pressure when everything starts to bloom. 

True, I’m not laughing much this week!  How about you?  Do you think you laugh enough?  Can I get someone out there to laugh with me today?


I was walking down the street when I was accosted by a particularly dirty and shabby looking homeless woman who asked me for a couple of dollars for dinner. I took out my wallet, got out thirty dollars and asked "If I give you this money, will you go shopping instead of buying food?"

"No, I don't waste time shopping," the homeless woman said. "I need to spend all my time trying to stay alive."

"Will you spend this on a beauty salon instead of food?" I asked.
"Are you nuts!" replied the homeless woman. I haven't had my hair done in 20 years.

"Well, I am not going to give you the money. Instead, I'm going to take you out to dinner with my husband and me tonight."

The homeless woman was shocked. "Won't your husband be furious with you for doing that? I know that I'm dirty and I probably smell pretty disgusting."

I said, "That's okay. It is important for him to see what a woman looks like after she has given up shopping, and hair appointments.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mum's the Word

My eight year old granddaughter, Sookie, loves to write.  As a tot, she chose books over baby dolls and alphabet letters and flash cards over T.V. cartoons.

Sookie began writing stories in Kindergarten.  She illustrates, too, with her drawings.  She always includes herself in every picture.  I remember Christmas holidays when family members opened their neatly wrapped presents and unveiled a stapled-together story written by Sookie from the depths of her heart.  Misspelled words and heartfelt drawings always accompanied her distinguishable self portrait.

Sookie has it, the gift of writing, and reaches way beyond her years.  I can only hope discernment catches up.   It’s not easy to encourage a kid to write and then put the skids on how much to say.  Mostly, she does an outstanding job, but sometimes correction follows.

I remember the time she designed a sympathy card for the childless couple in our family who had to put down their beloved cat of 18 years.  Sookie wrote:  “I’m sorry you had to kill your cat, Auntie and Uncle.”

Our family loves Sookie and we know what she meant!

When a family friend, Betty, turned 95, Sookie made her a homemade card with flowers and a bright sun radiating with long rays.  And these words:  “You are a very old person.”

Betty, with her sparkling sense of humor, read that card over and over and chuckled and then commented:  “This card is one of a kind.”

Recently Sookie delved into fiction.  She whispered excitedly to her best friend on the playground about a story she created.  “Mr. Square-face sneaks into bedrooms of dark skinned children at night and eats them alive.”

The best friend had a meltdown that night.  You might have guessed it—she’s dark skinned.  Going to bed was not an option!

You know you’re in trouble when the BFF’s mom calls and says:  “I am not mad but we have to discuss Sookie’s stories.”

I’m like Sookie sometimes and I feel that God is speaking to me.  I saw a post on social media by a friend weary of all the political brouhaha.  She simply suggested that every post does not require a reply.  She’s right.  It is tempting for us who write to get carried away and throw in our two cents.  

“All things are lawful for me,
 but not all things are helpful;
 all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.”
1 Corinthians 10:23, NKJV

The First Amendment gives me the right to my opinion, but God’s Word reminds me that my objective, to edify others, calls me to pause and maybe even refrain.  And not comment?  Aww.

What’s a strong-willed thinker to do?  What responsibility must I claim?  I’m learning that freedom comes from choosing wisely.  I pray for wisdom these days!

Can you relate to this?  Or is this lesson one for me and Sookie to meander through alone?

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Chicken Soup for a Cold

At the beginning of the year, I froze containers of homemade chicken soup for rainy winter days.  I dipped into my stash last weekend when a head cold flattened me for several days.  What is it about hot chicken soup that comforts a cold…and a soul?

I have not had a cold or the flu for four years.  I forgot the cumbersome feeling that nasty bug brings.  Breathing becomes a chore.    There are never enough tissues in the house.  Essential oils diffuse the air like a chamber of Eucalyptus mist.  Cherry cough drops soothe the throat and herbal teas bring healing relief.  Low energy, chapped nose, sneezing and post nasal drip wipe out each day’s “to do” list.

My bedroom turned into a weekend retreat.  I read a lot.  My brother recently sent me Dr. David Jeremiah’s book, Is This The End?  

Blog post after blog post filled me with inspiration, encouragement and laughter.  I can only hope my opinionated comments made sense.  If not, let’s blame it on my stuffy head!

Outside, the weather looked like it suffered a cold, too.  A Pacific Coast storm drenched California and passed through our state creating drops of humidity, soaking rain and occasional cloud bursts all weekend long.  My darkened room and the ominous outdoors reflected the way I felt inside.

I pictured my white blood cells fighting infection healing and restoring my body as I quietly rested.

Now for the Spiritual…
I hear a similar call to rest in Scripture.

I don’t always like to trust God with weightier worries after I give them to Him in prayer.  Yet He reminds me not to get ahead of Him and to take my hands off the details.  His instruction is clear. Back off; rest because He’s got it.

But Moses told the people,
“Don’t be afraid.  Just stand still
And watch the Lord rescue you today.
The Egyptians you see today will never be seen again
The Lord himself will fight for you. 
Just stay calm.”

Exodus 14: 13-14

Have you made it through the season without getting sick? Are you good at resting?