DAY 27: REFLECTIONS

It’s been 27 days since I started this transformation of A New Life in 28 Days. As I look back on the reflections of this month, much has changed but much has stayed the same only difference is that I’ve changed, and I can see it. This month was about looking at what I wanted out of life, redefining my focus, putting together an action plan, and motivating myself to do the actions, while learning as much as I could about a different way of life.

When we look into the reflection of a pond or other body of water we see what’s around us. As I look back on this month I also see what’s around me (what I did, what I didn’t do, what I said, what I didn’t say). The reflections don’t lie, if the reflections changed then so did I.

Swan Reflection

My reflections

  • Physically: I lost 12 pounds with no extreme diet and fitness plan. I paid attention to my body and listened to what it had to say. My health is much better thanks to this amazing product
  • Emotionally: I have not had a depressing day since I started my transformation. When you take yourself out of the picture and just help others you are also helped in the process. Next time you feel depressed go out and volunteer, it helps to stop thinking about your problems and gives you a chance to help others. 
  • Spiritually: I’ve had the strength to write a blog post each week about my beliefs every Saturday, which is my Sabbath. Some of these writings are things I’ve written years ago, but some are ongoing. It’s been a blessing to use the skills and talents that God has given me to help others. 
  • Financially: I’ve realized that going back to simpler times of making menus and grocery lists still helps our budget even though it is just me and the hubby I shop for. I’ve also been able to take advantage of having a business mentor that has guided me around and through some serious business mistakes that I almost made. If you’re starting a business, a business mentor is one of the most important assets for you and your business. 

This month I took a few steps out of my comfort zone and I found something out about myself.

I like it here!

What have you learned this month?

 

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DAY 25: EXERCISE LOVE

At the beginning of this month I never thought I would love to exercise as much as I do now. I’m not talking about spending hours at the gym, I still don’t like gyms. But I love to exercise. In the morning while watching documentaries either on PBS or a DVD I do Pilates, Callanetics, or just some stretching. But this month has shown both my husband and I that walking together is really helping our health and our relationship.

I read a book this month The Wisdom of Tuscany by Ferenc Mate. This was the book that I chose to read aloud to my husband while we drove long distances and while we sat on the couch after our walks. One thing that we really learned was that we can incorporate the simplistic lifestyle of the Tuscany region into our own lives. And we did. The Tuscan’s walk every where that is 3.5 miles or less. I wonder if that’s why my ancestors were healthier than my family is today.

walking

So my husband and I instituted this new rule for ourselves. If our destination is 3 miles or less we walk. This means that we need to take the time to coordinate our walking map and make sure we take the appropriate supplies like a backpack and other shopping bags. Last week when I walked to the store I just had the bagger make sure that the weight was level in the pack so I could walk home (the grocery store is 1.5 miles both ways). Yesterday we walked 4.5 miles going to the farm store (so I could look at the baby chicks), then to the electronics store (to look at new phones), and the grocery store I do my bulk shopping in. It’s interesting at how you rethink your needs when you have to carry home the purchases.

These walks have become our time to be together but it’s also our time to dream together. We walk down to the harbor which is 3 miles one way, stop for a cup of coffee, run into friends, and then walk back. These walks are also helping us get back in hiking shape. We are often asked, “What if rains?” We live on Puget Sound, it’s gonna rain. So we get wet. It’s only water.

Not only are we helping our health and relationship we are also helping our gas budget.

Here are some other ways to turn a love-hate relationship with exercise into exercise love.

  • Go dancing: if you don’t know how, take some classes!
  • No money for classes, follow the Walk Dance Guru
  • Get outside and play: get a jump rope and sing rope jumping songs like when you were a kid, play catch with your kids.
  • Go build some snow furniture. Remembering the fun you had in the snow when you were a kid, go out and build a snow man, snow furniture, or other snow animals. If you’re so inclined, shovel out half your yard and fill it with water and let it freeze. Instant ice skating rink! (My dad used to do this for us kids every winter!)
  • Go for a bike ride for fun: I love bicycle riding but not the way most people do. I love it because I love to watch my streamers blow in the wind. Yes, I said streamers! I have purple Gary Fisher bike with purple, pink, and yellow streamers which I made my husband put on each handle. For me bike riding is all about fun. I can’t wait to get my white basket put on the bike this summer.

Exercise love is about putting the fun back into our exercise programs. Take it from me, as someone who has many hang-ups when it comes to exercising, if I see it as fun I’ll want to do it more. Exercise and health go hand-in-hand! You can’t have good health if you don’t exercise!

 

DAY 22: PUZZLED

Have you ever put together a puzzle then looked at it and just took it apart to do again sometime in the future? Our lives are similar to those puzzles but they are never finished. If our lives were finished what would be the point to waking up each morning?

Puzzled Laura

When you take a puzzle out of the box, do you just start putting the pieces together? “No!” You work through a process that makes puzzle building easier. You turn over all the pieces so the design side is up. Then you separate the edge pieces from the rest because if you have the border done it’s easier to to work on the inside.

Our lives are like these pieces. When making a puzzle we try the different pieces to make sure we get the right one. In our lives it would look like this. The border is our family. If we have a solid family life then we can fill the inside easier. But some of us don’t have that solid border or there is a rift in the family. These are times when we need to try every mean possible to bridge that gap with our church family or our friends. When we have people supporting us it’s easier to work on the rest of our lives.

Some puzzles we can finish in a couple of hours. The bigger the puzzle the longer it takes. Our life is that bigger puzzle. Some pieces fit right away some don’t and need to get changed frequently. This comes to every part of our life. Health, education, faith, humor, fitness, wellness, feelings, and careers are just some of the pieces we try to fit together to complete our lives. We taste different foods before eating an entire meal of it. We research health remedies before taking them. Our days are filled with piecing tour lives together that makes sense to us.

My wish for you today: May your days reveal the beautiful pieces of your life!

DAY 20: LOOKING BEYOND THE NORM

Every day we are faced with either the same problems, fears, conflicts, or just plain lack of motivation. Every day we have the choice to either continue what we are doing or looking beyond the norm for the miracles that are around the corner. How open to miracles have we become through this transformation of a new life in 28 days?

Open to Miracles

For myself the answer is easy. I’d rather be open to the possibilities and miracles then stuck in a rut with my head in the sand. It’s day 20, I have 8 more days left and this journey has been a real eye opener for me. I’ve learned that miracles in life don’t just happen; we need to be open, ready and looking for the miracles. Miracles don’t just fall in our laps.

I’ve spent my life stuck in that rut, during the last 20 days I’ve lifted my head from the sand, looked around, and made contact with my real self. I’ve explored why I keep going through the same trials and not getting anywhere. I’ve come to the realization that while I’m afraid of failing, I’m also afraid of succeeding. Accepting this fact about myself was eye-opening. It’s propelled me into a new way of living. I’m more at peace with myself, my surroundings, and the people in my life.

Day 20 also has me convicted to living a simpler life. I’m walking to more places than before, if my destination is within three miles from my home, I’m walking there.  Meatless Monday has become meatless Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday too. Creativity is a part of my life. Each day I am engaging in something that involves my innate creativity. In doing so, I’ve realized that I snack less and move more.

Day 20 is also important since during this time I’ve lost 10 pounds without trying to and while eating the foods I like. It’s important to note that while we change our focus from always thinking about food to thinking about living we eat when we’re hungry and choose foods that help our bodies.

Looking beyond the norm is the only way to stay one step ahead of the game of life but it is also the only way to stay a step ahead in the best health of your life. 

DAY 16: JOURNEY OF MY HEART

A bit longer than my normal posts, but one that I think you’ll enjoy.

Journey of My Heart

Journey of My Heart

There are many pathways in life. The ones we choose to take and those we do not. There are paths that are well worn, with trampled grass and those without even a single footprint. Which path to take and which to abandon, we ask ourselves this every day with every decision we make. My heart feels the need to make this journey to find the real treasures of life

One such journey has taken me down the Acquisition Avenue. I thought that whoever had the most at the end of this life won a prize. I shopped with wild abandon. There is no prize worth acquiring things you “might someday use,” or clothes you bought in a size you want to wear, but don’t. I bought pictures that were never hung and art that sat in a closet. I was getting such a “good deal” I thought. I spent money I did not have. Acquisition Avenue was not where my treasure was kept, and all the things I acquired that were not needed I gave away.

My GPS unit took me to a bridge that I had not seen before, so I followed the voice and made my way to the Balanced Beam Bridge. This bridge was like no other, there was no traffic waiting to cross it. The beams were shiny and sparkling. Everything looked brand new. I wondered as I slowed down to take in this awesome structure, “What did this bridge connect to?”  “Where did it lead to?”  “Why hadn’t I seen this bridge before?” “Why is it void of traffic?” Then I saw the two red flashing stop signs on both sides of the bridge. I slowed down to a complete stop, and read the small words under the flashing lights, they read, “To get across bridge, middle of the road driving is recommended.” How did this pertain to my life? Is it like this when I go too far to the right I become fanatical about issues? Could it be when I swerve too far to the left I lose my equilibrium? Life is like this Balance Beam Bridge. I need to live in balance, in every situation. I now understand how to get to the other side of the bridge and cannot wait till I can see all the splendor the other side has to offer.

The next road is windy and dark; I have veered around its bends many times before. Depression Drive seems to call my name when trouble rears its ugly head.  It abounds in despair. The bones of faith, hope and love are scattered along its shoulders. This is such a discouraging place. It’s a selfish place. Caring for others on Depression Drive is not allowed because you would feel better when you aren’t  thinking the worst about yourself. I have deleted Depression Drive off the map of my heart journey, since having faith, hope and love leads you out of the darkness.

This brings us to the Faith Freeway. It is paved with prayers. Stepping out on this part of my journey is all about my faith. I ask myself, “Is this faith in myself, or someone or something else?” Some days I ask, “How much faith do I need?” I have to admit that there are those days that I need more faith, in myself, maybe, but most of all in my awesome Creator. Along of the Faith Freeway there are potholes of life that creates a slow down. These are the times I get down, and spend more time on my knees. The only way to make the pavement smooth again is to have that most important conversation of my day, in prayer.

On the left is an off ramp called Liars Lane. How many lies can a person tell? Most people including myself say they don’t lie. Does telling myself something that isn’t true count? Where does the lying stop? Liars Lane is an off ramp that leads to Chaos Circle, Depression Drive, and to anxiety and stress. The phrase “Fake it till you make it.” Should that be part of my repertoire on this heart journey to find my treasure? Is faking something the same as lying? The line has to be drawn and the words that I talk to myself need to be uplifting as they are when I talk to a friend. I need to speak the words of truth to myself. “I am beautiful.” “I can do anything I set my mind to.”  “I am a person of worth.” “My life means something.” “I am good for many things.” “I am a good person.”

The orange caution signs along this path tell me that there is construction up ahead. I must slow down and take a detour now. Come with me as I get on the Moodiness Mile. Some days that this mile goes on for hundreds, sometimes thousands more miles than it should. Do I change my mood when I change my shoes? Do I go from being in my favorite pair of tennis shoes and being outgoing and fun loving; to wearing my stilettos which make me be witchy and mean? Is there a way to get rid of all this moodiness? How often have I made people around me uncomfortable because of my mood? I have fought with this Moodiness Mile for quite some time now, and frankly I am tired of it. It has not brought me any closer to my treasure nor has it made my journey any easier. Not to mention all the people I truly need to apologize to for making them so uncomfortable.

“Oh good, this detour is over. But look what is coming next!”  This ongoing journey gets to take a break and breathe a little; I am in the Patience Parking Lot. Sometimes my vehicle needs to be parked and I need to get out and walk. My GPS tells me that the Patience Parking Lot runs parallel with the Faith Freeway. I must have faith in order to have patience. Patience gives me reasons to stop and smell the fragrant flowers growing along the paths that I did not see before because I was in such a hurry to get to my destination. I now have time to enjoy and take in the beauty of the spectacular sunrise that greets me every morning. I find myself living in the Patience Parking Lot more now than ever before. I am not alone here as many of my friends are here to keep me company. The Patience Parking Lot will never be empty.  Patience is one part of my life that I have not mastered yet, I know I will park here again as there will be times on this journey of mine where I will need to have more patience.

I decided to get out and walk a bit. I made a wrong turn onto the Stressed Out Sidewalk. It is seemed like a popular place to be as there were so many people on it.  I thought this was a party. I was wrong. Now I am getting stressed out with each step I take, and these people seem to be walking in circles instead of actually getting anywhere. There are people here that look somewhat familiar to me, but I am really not sure. The anxiety has caused their bodies to hunch over, they are nervously twitching. They seem to look right through me, yet their eyes never make contact with mine. I don’t like this sidewalk. I have been related to these people, and I have been these people, more times than I care to speak about.  Hastily I got back into my vehicle, drove one block to my destination.

My destination is right here in front me. I found my treasure. Its name is Relationship Road. It has been here all along.  It is the relationships in my life that are my true treasures. My most important one is the relationship I choose to have with God. I never miss to call on him every morning, noon and night. I cherish the time I get to spend with God and His Word. This relationship makes all the others possible. Relationship Road is paved with the memories of my bonds to my parents, my siblings, my husband, my sons, my family and my friends. Travel down this road under the posted speed limit: of one moment at a time.

Throughout my journey my heart has learned how acquiring things is not the same as having a treasure. Living in balance is the only way to get through life. Helping others gets us out of being depressed. Faith and patience work hand-in-hand, you can’t have one without the other.  Being moody and stressed out makes the journey so much harder.  The true treasures of life are the people whose hearts we touch.

DAY 15: WAIT! WAIT!

Everyday I take a walk with my husband either before of after dinner, we’ve been averaging about 4 miles a night. We stop at the many crosswalks to get to our walking trail. One such crosswalk is new; it is not a simple push button instead it’s sensored where you just put your finger on the small indentation on the box. A loud booming voice tells you to “WAIT! WAIT!”  I know it’s for the seeing impaired. But this new type of walk signal is only at one crosswalk on a busy street that has three major intersections.

Don't walk

I love hearing those words every time it isn’t safe to cross. When the light changes and it’s our turn to cross this same voice tells us “48th Street Cross Sign is On!”

Walk Signal

Sometimes I’d love to get these warnings and approvals in other areas of life some for fun and some for real.

Wouldn’t it be great to hear your credit card say, “Ouch those new shoes just cost you four hours of pay!”

Maybe your car can ask you when you’re speeding, “Do you have an extra $300 to pay for a speeding ticket?”

Don’t you think it would be great if our refrigerators could tell us, “Who drank all the milk? “Who put the empty ice cream container back in the freezer?” Mine would be constantly telling me “It was Joe!”

We keep journals of what we eat – maybe the journals should be attached to the scale that tells you “Uh-Oh no more chocolate for you!” “Great job, all your hard work is paying off!”

How about if our car told us after we parked it, “Congratulations, you didn’t tailgate, or try to run someone off the road, or speed; you can drive me again tomorrow!”

Wouldn’t it be nice to hear a “Thank-you” after you’ve added more ink to the printer.

How many other areas in life would you like to hear

WAIT! WAIT!

WALK SIGN IS ON!”? 

 

DAY 14: THE JOYS OF CHANGE

It’s the halfway point in this challenge A New Life In 28 Days. Just like any time when change is happening there is are moments of self-reflection and moments of speeding through the change markers. But the things that stand out most in this challenge are the joys of change that make us eager to keep going.

For me those joys include a simplified diet and life where I haven’t thought about food all the time but instead have been given the time to read and reflect on life and my place in it. Another joy occurred when I turned off the television and spent time reading to my husband,  playing a game, or even going for walks with him after dinner. These are simple joys that show me what’s important.

SimpleThis half way point has also brought to another place on my scale, I’ve lost weight without stressing about it. Since my food is simple, and my exercising is simple I’ve been able to drop 6 pounds. It’s like a type of freedom when I listen to my body instead of telling my body what to do. By listening I’ve learned that some mornings a cup of tea is all I need and other mornings I need a breakfast of oatmeal with nuts. I’ve learned to know that feeling when enough is enough. I exercise the same way when my body wants strenuous exercise I do it, when it needs a break I give it one with no guilty feelings.

There are 14 days left of this challenge and I’ve learned so much already about myself and this process of change. There isn’t a time limit on health so I shouldn’t put a time limit on getting myself healthy and fit. My body’s standards of fit and healthy aren’t the same as the national standards. Where did those standards come from anyway? Not where you think. I’ve not been trying to get healthy to reach an outlandish standard set by a committee. The committee I am concerned with is my body of one. Neither should you.

We are all different and we all need different things at different times. But one thing is the same we all have the same amount of cells and those cells communicate better when it has the right tools to that.