Friday, August 8, 2014

A Chance to Live Another Day

One day in June, My Love and I were driving home after a wonderful birthday lunch. We were chatting and singing to the radio, enjoying the ride.  Have you ever been in a state of such bliss and happiness that the outside world seems a distant memory? Simply focused on the here and now, without distraction?  We were there.

And then we saw a car at a dead stop in the road just ahead.  What happened in seconds seemed to last for much longer. Everything began to roll in slow motion.  

My Love slammed on the brakes, realized that we were going to slam, at 65 miles per hour, into not just one car, but three or four cars. By the grace of God and quick reflexes he managed to swerve to the left onto a grassy median.  As we plowed through tall grass and weeds hearing plunks, dings and slapping, we passed the cars and swerved back onto the road to safety.  

Our hearts pounding with adrenaline, we were both quite shook up.  We just looked at each other and shook our heads knowing that we were for some reason given another chance at life.  I laughed, cried and then laughed again.  My emotions were scattered and I was desperately trying to hold it together.  I know full well that if we would have run into those cars we wouldn't be here right now.

We made it home in one piece and we both lived another day.  

I haven't told anyone about this incident.  I am still raw and bothered by it.  It is something I think about every day and probably will continue to think about for a long time.  

I have unanswered questions floating around in my mind about the reasons that we are still here to walk on this earth.  Why we were so fortunate to be spared and allowed to carry on and continue living our lives.  

My thought process has much changed since that day.  I feel as though I have been given another chance at managing and improving my life.  

My life could have been over on that sweet, sunny day.  And I wonder about those I would have left behind. 

Have you ever experienced a moment in your life when you thought it was over, but somehow you were spared?

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Give yourself head-to-toe Love

Self-Objectify - to see ones physical being only as something to look at and evaluate.

Women who self-objectify are more prone to depression, eating disorders, and sexual dysfunction.

Powerful words.  

But, what does this mean to the average woman?

It means that we do not accept our bodies based on ability, but rather on appearance.  That we judge ourselves, harshly, if we don't live up to unrealistic standards that we have set for ourselves.  Standards that are rubbed in our faces daily by the media.  

How should we handle it?

By realizing that our bodies are capable of so much more than just being looked at and judged.  Our hearts pump, our blood flows, we breathe and speak.  Our brain processes data continuously.  Our hands touch and feel.  Our belly guides us with its intuition.  Our legs and feet carry us where we want to go.  

We are so much more noble and inspiring than we can ever imagine.  Our bodies tell our stories.  Scars, stretch-marks, wrinkles, cellulite, fat and muscle.  Each imperfection is who we are and bears how we got there.  In imperfection lies perfection.  We are perfect in our differences.  

No matter how you feel about your body right at this moment, stop and take a full minute to understand what your body does for you on a daily basis.  Now, thank your body for all it has accomplished so far in your life and give yourself head-to-toe Love for now and for always.

What miracles has your body carried you through in your life?

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Valentine's Old School Blogging

This month Elaine and Tamara decided to Old School Blog with a Love/Valentine's Day theme.  Here are my answers to their always thought provoking questions.

How do you typically celebrate Valentine's Day?   In the past I'd always receive 1 dozen red roses, chocolates and a Hallmark card.  Since meeting My Love that has all changed.  Each year, it began with our first Valentine's Day, I receive a handmade card.  For me, there is no better gift.  Usually My Love will cook a delicious dinner for the 2 of us.

This year's card.
Do you like to get A) chocolates B) flowers C) a sweet card  or D) all of the above?  See above question.

Would you consider yourself a "cuddler"?  If not would you at least cuddle on Valentine's Day?  I am a cuddler to a certain degree.  Watching a show on tv cuddling is fine.  Just before I fall asleep in bed is fine.  But after a little bit I like to have my space back.

What is your favorite movie about love or with a love story?  50 First Dates.  The way Henry woos Lucy and gives her life back to her is charming.  

Do you believe in "love at first sight"?  Did it happen to you?  I believe in "like" at first sight.  And, yes, it has happened to me many times.

Do you believe love can conquer all things?  Absolutely.

What is one of the main things you love about your S.O.?  I am a true Type A person.  My Love is my Margaritaville.  He is my calm happy place.  

If you could have the perfect  Valentine Date what would you and your loved one do?  Head over to Sanibel Island.  Fishing for My Love.  Shelling for me.  Then dinner at the Bubble Room Restaurant.

A photo from our first Sanibel vacation.
Tell me about your first crush!  His name was Scott and we were in Kindergarten.  I saw him again as an adult and I was too timid to go up to him and say hello.  

Do you have any embarrassing or horror dating stories?  I wish I could say no, but unfortunately I have to say yes.  In my 20's as a favor for my then best friend I doubled with his best friend.  He did not drive, he was drunk the entire date, he passed out and drooled on himself and then wanted a kiss goodnight.  I couldn't get away fast enough.  Horror Story and thank goodness my only one.  

Favorite Flower?  Daisy

What's the first type of chocolate you hope for when you reach into a box of chocolates?  Coconut cups.  

Favorite Love song?  A little know song by Toby Keith called Rock You Baby.

What is the best break up song?  Don't Know What You Got (Til it's Gone) by Cinderella

Favorite celebrity couple?  Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward.  I know...but sorry I just don't see longevity in any present couples.  

Overall, are you pro- or anti- Valentine's Day?  I am anti-.  I don't think we should have a day where men are pushed to spend money on the woman they love because the media says so.  It's much to commercialized for me and I don't think it's necessary.  I believe we should show our love in non-monetary ways.  For instance, a hug.  It doesn't cost a cent, but the rewards are stupendous.

If someone did that "Say Anything" boombox thing outside your window, would you be into it or call the police?  Ahhh...In Your Eyes, and John Cusak.  At that age I would be into it.  Today, I'd call the police.  

First thing you notice about the objects of you affection?  Eyes...the eyes tell the whole story.  There is no hiding from the eyes.

What's the best thing you've ever gotten for Valentine's Day?  See first question.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Workout at Work ~ 12 Easy, No Sweat Moves

I just stumbled onto something I think is fantastic.  Exercise at your desk.  12 simple , yet effective moves to get you moving when you're usually sitting.

It may seem like the reps and sets are a bit much for your workplace, but they really only take a few minutes each.  I break them up into mini sets.  I figure something is better than nothing.  I have had a few eyebrow-raising stares and I just encourage them to join me.  

If you are unable to perform any of these moves at work how about doing them at home? Maybe while visiting your favorite blogs, or checking up on your friends on facebook, or even while writing your blog. 

No, these exercises won't take the place of a traditional cardio, strength and stretching plan. They will ease someone who hasn't consistently worked out into moving their body, burning a few calories and toning up.  Also what a nice addition for those who do work out regularly.  

Practice these moves at your own pace and you'll begin to feel your muscles responding. 

Good times!  Why not give it a whirl?

12 Simple Workplace Workouts
Ready to find a more active workday routine? We can help!
by Judith Sherman-Wolin, ACSM H/FS, NSCA-CPT

So you know being inactive isn't good for you. But what can you do about it at work? Below are 12 simple exercises you can easily fit into your workday routine. The only requirement is that you get up and do them. Regularly and consistently.

If you're afraid of funny looks, just remember that your co-workers are in the same boat, or more accurately "seat." You might encourage them to get up and join you!

1. Stand Ups — Sit Downs
These are good to start with since they're so simple. Try to do them fast enough to increase your heart rate.

While at your desk, do a set of stand up and sit-downs.
  • Stand up in front of your chair.
  • Feet about shoulder width apart.
  • Abdominals contract.
  • Lower yourself back down into your desk chair.
  • Stand up immediately and repeat.

Healthy Bonus: add some resistance! Grab a dictionary or other weighty object (maybe your company's annual report!) and hold it in your hands while you're doing them.

Reps: 10–20
Sets: 1–3
Frequency: three times a day.
Muscles: Quads (the front muscles of your legs); extensors (your gluteus muscles).

2. Desk–Ups
They're push-ups, against your desk! Don't do this exercise if your desk is on rollers or unstable.

  • Clear a space on your desk.
  • Place your hands firmly against the edge of your desk.
  • Lower your body down leading with chest. Don't drop your head.
  • Keep your spine and head aligned. Contract your abdominals the entire time.
  • Do 10 to 15 or as many as you can without losing your form.

Sets: 1–3
Frequency: three times a week.

3. Wall Sits
Get up out of your chair and go sit against the wall instead. Seriously! Sounds easy, but it's not!

  • Press your spine against a wall.
  • Now squat down to the same position you'd be in as if you were sitting in chair.
  • Stay flat against the wall.
  • Hold the squat — sit position for as long as you can — 30 seconds or more is ideal.
  • Increase the length of time you hold the sit as you gain strength. You are working the powerful muscles of your legs in this position — and your core too.

Rep: One Wall Sit 
Hold: from 30 seconds plus
Frequency: Once a day

4. Wall Push-ups
Okay, now that you've made friends with your wall, let's use it for another exercise.

  • Turn around and face the wall.
  • Place your hands a little wider than shoulder width apart. Fingers are pointing up toward the ceiling.
  • Contract your abdominals and slowly move toward the wall leading with your chest and then push back to beginning position.
  • Wall push-ups work your chest, arms and core. They're winners.

Reps: 10–20
Sets: 1–3
Frequency: Everyday

5. Leg Extensions
On a conference call? Here's something you can do while listening and/or talking. Leg extensions. They're simple and they stimulate blood flow to the lower part of your body.

  • Sit tall in your chair, don't lean against the back.
  • Slowly extend your right foot forward so your leg is parallel to the floor, then slowly bring it back down but don't let your foot touch the ground.
  • Lift it right back up again to the extended position.
  • Do 10-12 repetitions on the same leg, then switch legs.
  • You can also do these while standing, holding onto your desk — or to improve balance, hold your arms out in front of you.

Reps: 10–20
Sets: 1–3
Frequency: Everyday

6. Hamstring Curls
This exercise works the muscles in the back of your legs.

  • Hold on to your desk chair, facing the chair.
  • Extend one leg back till you feel a contraction in your glute muscle (your behind).
  • Bring (curl) the heel of your foot toward your behind.
  • Release it back down to starting position without allowing your foot to touch the floor.
  • Do 10-15 reps, and then switch legs.

Reps: 10–15
Sets: 1–3
Frequency: Every day

7. Calf Flexion and Extension
This exercise works the lower part of your leg, your calf and ankle.

  • Lift up one leg out in front of you.
  • Point and flex your foot as hard as possible.
  • Do 10-12 repetitions then switch legs.
  • You will feel a good, strong stretch in the back of your leg.
  • This exercise can be done while seated or you can do it standing — if you haven't had a lot of excuses to get out of your chair so far during the day, try standing up to do this.

Reps: 10–20
Sets: 1–3
Frequency: three times a day.

8. The 55/5 Ratio
Here's an easy one. After sitting in your chair for 55 minutes, get up and walk around for five minutes.

  • If you have a stairwell nearby, walk up and down it a few times.
  • If you tend to become intensely involved with your work — set a timer for yourself so you'll be alerted it's time to "get up and take a walk."
  • If you're the group leader type, grab some colleagues and bring them along! A nice non-coffee break for everyone.

9. Upper Body Stretch
This stretch is especially important if you have tension in your upper back.

  • Standing or seated, lift your arms over your head.
  • Grab your right wrist with your left hand then pull your torso to the left.
  • You will feel an excellent stretch in your ribs, your upper back and across the back part of your arm.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds and then switch to the other side.
  • Don't forget to sit up tall, abdominals contracted while you're doing this tension-relieving stretch!

Reps: 1–5
Frequency: every hour or two

10. Lower Body Stretch
This releases tension both in your lower back and behind your leg.

  • While seated in your desk chair, cross your left leg over your right
  • Bend forward, letting your hands drop to the ground.
  • Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds.
  • Switch legs.

Reps: 1–3
Frequency: two or three times a day.

11. Shoulder Rolls
Do you spend a lot of time hunched up in front of your computer? Then is exercise is a must to release tension in your neck.

  • Sit up straight in your chair.
  • Elevate your shoulders towards your ears.
  • Roll them back so you are squeezing your should blades together.
  • Do one set of 10 repetitions then reverse the action so your shoulders are moving toward the front.

Reps: 10
Frequency: three times a day.

12. Low Back and Hamstring Stretch
Get up off your chair — you can DO it!! This is one of the best stretches you can treat yourself too. Relieves tension as it increases your blood flow.

  • Stand with your feet hip-width apart.
  • Take a big inhale, raise your arms above your head.
  • As you exhale, slowly drop forward reaching for the ground with your fingertips.
  • Stay in the forward flexion position for about 15 seconds
  • Return to upright position slowly, your head should be the last thing to come up.

You will feel a great stretch in you lower back and the top part of the back of your legs (hamstrings.)

Hold: 15–30 seconds
Sets: 3–5
Frequency: two or three times a day.
And now you can get back to work!
Judith Sherman-Wolin, ACSM H/FI, NSCA-CPT, is a health fitness practitioner, educator, journalist and fitness activist. She is the exercise specialist at the UCLA Center for Human Nutrition and is a contributor to MSNBC Health and Fitness Magazine. Her book Smart Girls Do Dumbbells is available from Riverhead Books. Go to for more information. 

What do you think?  Are you willing to get up and Move?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Because I Want to Make 2014 Count, I...Will Learn to Live in the Moment

This quote inspires me to allow myself to live in the moment, which is something I have a difficult time with.  
Learning to Love the Life I Have is always been a challenge for me.  I continuously want more.  
My Gramie once told me I have champagne taste on a beer budget.  She wasn't far off the mark.  I've always dreamed of bigger and better for my loved ones and myself.  
But when is enough really Enough.  I'm not sure I know what Enough is anymore.  

Loving the Life I have now doesn't mean I have to settle for less only that I should be thankful for the gifts that surround me each day.  These gifts are simple yet poignant and reflect what I have in my Life right now!

  1. My Love, who loves and supports me in Every whim or fancy I have.  Yes, he may roll his eyes and humor me, but ultimately he lets me be me.  He is my Margaritaville in my mostly self-inflicted stressed out world.  
  2. My 2 Boys.  Billy, my first born, once told me that I am the strongest woman he knows.  Those words warmed my heart because he and I grew up together.  Read My Story and you'll understand.  Vance, my second born, has the most compassionate and loving soul that he shares with everyone.  They each bring immense love and pride to my life.
  3. My Parents, who know me better than I sometimes know myself.  They have been my anchor when I occasionally have veered off course.  Their ability to Be There is comforting and a given.
  4. My Siblings, 2 sisters and 1 brother.  Although we may not see nearly enough of each other, the bond that ties us together is strong and will never break.  As of 2014 we made a pact for all 4 of us to get together at least once each season.
  5. My Home.  I have lived in the same house for over 26 years.  This house holds many, many memories for me.  Good times, bad times and in-between times.  It is my haven and I know and feel it, as it knows and feels me.  Pulling into the driveway, I immediately have a sense of calm envelop me.
  6. My Life, that consists of many chapters.  Each one carving out the person that I am becoming.  I grow and develop each day.  Looking back I never thought I would be who I am right now.  And you know what?  I like me, in fact I Love Me.
  7. My Sadie May, who loves me unconditionally.  A birthday present from my son Vance who thought I should  have another dog after I had to put down my CeCe.  He was right and I love her more than I could imagine.
  8. My Stuff, and I have lots of it.  Accumulated over the years, old and new.  Ties to the past, present and future.
As you can see I have Much to Love in my Life and writing it here for you has made me a bit humble and a bit teary.  

I'd like to thank Evelyn Kalinosky at Inner Influence who blogged about 13 "thought-starters" or Intentions for women to consider.  

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Not Your Typical New Year Resolutions

For 2014 I decided to take a different approach to New Year's Resolutions.  Normally I would have LOSE WEIGHT at the top of the list.  Each year I disappoint myself as the scale rides the merry-go-round, chasing itself.

So instead of making a list of resolutions that will more than likely end up in disappointment I choose to make a list of things that will force me out of my comfort zone.  

1.  I am the most regimented person I know.  I never used to be like this, but over time I have become set-in-my-ways, and I don't like it.  In my youth I was very spontaneous and did many, wild and crazy things.  I'm sure you did too.  Considering I am middle-aged I realize there is a wonderful middle zone there somewhere.  I am determined to find it and make it mine.  

2.  Donating my excess "stuff" has always been easy for me.  The problem is I'm donating at the back door and then walking in the front door and buying someone else's excess "stuff. You have to understand that I LOVE "stuff".  Sifting through once loved items that have been discarded is sheer bliss for me.  My plan is that for every bag I donate I am allowed to purchase 1 item.

3 bags ready to go to Hospice Thrift Shop

3.  Over-analyzing my thoughts really holds hands with being more impulsive.  I have a tendency to roll something around in my mind until it dies of dizziness.  Acting on POSITIVE thoughts without stopping to consider the end result is my goal here.  

4.  Trying a new activity each month will broaden my horizons and take me away from the boring and usual.  For January, My Love and I will be visiting Kanapaha Botanical Gardens.  We will be attending a bamboo workshop to learn about bamboo and which collection will grow in our yard.   We then plan on purchasing cut-to-order bamboo to landscape our backyard.   

5.  Cooking is a chore that I enjoy.  Unfortunately once the boys flew the coop I stopped cooking every night.  In an attempt to eat more wholesome, healthful meals I have to begin preparing meals on most evenings.  I think this will be the easiest of the 5 resolutions for me to achieve.  
Let's get cooking!

I hope that by changing things up a bit, I will stay focused on positive growth of my person.

What are your resolutions for 2014?

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

What I learned on the last day of 2013

An interesting thing happened yesterday, New Year's Eve.  I worked til 3, shopped for the ingredients to make collard greens, hoppin' john and a from scratch pumpkin cake.  After stowing away the groceries I thought I'd jump on the computer to see what all my friends were planning for the upcoming New Year.  

Much to my dismay, I have no internet connection or cable tv.  Turning off the computer I attempt to re-set the modem.  Nope, still no internet.  My heart is anxiously beating now.  Calling Xfinity, a recorded message informs me that technicians are working on the problem and all should be up and running by 6:45.  I settle in with my book.  At 6:45 on the dot I head back to my computer, still no internet.  Calling Xfinity again I am now told there is no estimation as to when the problem will be fixed.  I enter my phone number so I can be notified once the issue is resolved.

Since My Love and I are staying home what should I do with my time?  Hmmm...My Love suggests a fire in the fire pit outside.  Sounds good to me.  While he's preparing the fire I am preparing my worries and cares list to burn.  Each New Year's Eve I write my worries and cares on a slip of paper and then burn them so I can begin each New Year without the burden of needless mind games. Tossing my list on the flames I feel the weight already lifting and the worries and cares fly away as ashes on the wind.  

With  no computer, cell phones or tv to distract us My Love and I have a nice chat at the fire pit.  As we sip our drinks we talk about the things we've accomplished in 2013. Writing my first blog post.  Celebrating 7 years together.  My Love reclaiming his wood flooring business.  All the laughs we shared, the tears we cried and the love we still  have for each other.  It was perfect.  As 2013 bowed out and 2014 entered our lives, we focused on how fortunate we are to have family, happiness and love in our world.  

At 10:13 this morning I received the call to let me know that our internet and cable tv had been restored.  Initially I was irritated with Xfinity, but now I realize the gift that they gave me; the opportunity to share a conversation without interruption.  And for that, Thank You!

Have you let the internet and tv take a large chunk out of your world?  How are you managing it?

Happy, Healthy, Prosperous New Year!!!