Better Options

November 29, 2017 at 8:11 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

I have heard a lot of conversations about clean food lately. Everyone seems confused about what the term really means. I think I have an idea as to what people are talking about. I hope.

The term clean food suggests healthier options to diets and life style choices. They say taking a walk after a meal helps in digestion, healthy for your heart, helps with cholesterol, and helps clear the mind. More neighborhoods are considered family friendly ( there is a good term). A safe friendly neighborhood as opposed to what? One with high crime,we would willingly take our children for a walk around. Not a wise person. Clean food is based on the same principle. Officials have gotten together to cut down on the amount of sodium we get in our daily diets. Coke products have lowered the sugar content in drinks, packaged lunch meats are cutting sodium levels in half.

TV commercials are getting on board as well. Popular food chains are adding healthier option to kids meals. Instead of fat deep-fried foods,kids can have apples and milk to replace fries. I noticed in the last couple years restaurants and fast food chains are adding the calories to menu items. Consumers can make better choices in what they order. Some dollar menu items have always include salads with low fay dressings. A friend and I went into a popular sandwich place the other day. I was delighted to see the menus have added more fresh fruit and vegetables to the menu. A dinner now comes with a baked potato, red skin potato, rice, or mashed potato with gravy as an option. Some folks such as I cannot tolerate high sodium. Others have allergies to nuts, eggs, dairy,wheat and so forth.

There has been a 31 a day clean eating poster around for a while now. It includes eating more fruits and vegetables for healthy living.  When building a salad,go crazy on the amount of clean options being offered. Salad bars have come along way in the last few years. You no longer have to go to an up scaled neighboring restaurant to get a good salad bar. I also notice menus are carrying low carb,and under 500 calorie choices. One of the best planned out fast food chain ideas came in the form of a play land area for the kids. Someone was brilliant. Instead of going home after your meal, the kids can meet new kids and improve on social skills and burn off some energy and calories as well. We really have made strides in the right direction to getting our great country healthier.  But of course, it does all boil down to personal preference. There is nothing wrong to choose the super sized meal. I hope everyone knows I mean this. I just wanted to help shed some light on confusion I have read in blog posts and in general conversations.

I recently read a post from someone who I thought made a good assessment on all of this. Like so many, this new idea about clean eating was a bit concerning to her. I loved a comment she had made about clean food as opposed to dirty food. Brilliant! She made a good point about high fat, deep-fried, mashed potato and heavy gravy are the dirty foods. She may have come up with a coined phrase. I just think folks are really looking at life style changes with so many hereditary diseases, high blood pressure, stroke and heart disease. it just makes sense to take good care of ourselves.

I went out to eat with a friend the other day. While pouring over the menu, we were commenting on the new winter menu items. free range chickens, grass-fed beef, lighter fare breakfast items,veggie burgers were just a few of the updated menu items being offered. I do not get a chance to go out very often, so it was nice catch up with a dear friend and have better choices added to our changing our minds three times to finally order lunch.  I like the idea steps are being taken to get America fit once again. The question becomes,do you embrace the changes or do you simply look the other way. the choice is really yours.

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Happy Thanksgiving everyone

November 22, 2017 at 8:13 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age) (, , , )

I set out later to my last-minute shopping than expected. The store was not so bad, as I thought the stored would have been more crowded, and crazy.  Wow, tomorrow is Thanksgiving already. Where has this year gone? Sitting here writing this post, I am reflecting on this year; For many families, this holiday season is tough. Lost loved ones, military families peace for the conflicts they face everyday.  God’s continued grace and comfort for your lives. Friends and family who could not come this year.

While sitting here, I am thinking so many blessings I have. Like you, there are too many to count. I have good health, my mom, a good job that I love, my church family who hosts a dinner Sunday before Thanksgiving. we come together and fellowship, and eat, because we have found over the years many  people have no one. This way, the community can come together and have a good meal and  fun-filled evening.

I wanted to share three things I am thankful for; I am thankful for the love and support of my family and friends. I could not have over come my circumstances without you. I appreciate the golden nuggets of your perspective. I make a pot of coffee, sit before the Lord and ponder what was said to me. Others often see what we do not. I keep and open mind, and sift through the conversations.  Everyone grieves differently. I will miss my husband and son at the table tomorrow, but my mom and I will have a nice dinner followed by stories of her childhood. If I could tell the youth anything, it would be enjoyed the stories because when this person is gone, so is the legacy.

I am thankful my community: So many donate, participate, and serve to help the unfortunate ones. Toms Turkey Drive helps to feed 11,000 families a complete turkey dinner. Coats for kids are another way the community comes together to help those in need.  To have a new warm coat for winter is something so many of us take for granted. Union Gospel Mission, food banks, warming shelters so people can have a warm bed, and a meal, local soup kitchens that help feed those who are lonely and feel abandoned. ( I remember one year, my local church was hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. members of the congregation,went around town and picked up those found walking down the street and took them for a warm meal with great conversations). I am proud to live in a caring community not just once a year,but everyday of the year.

I am thankful for good health.  I have learned how to keep my stress under control. I had to learn how to daily deal with stress in life, my grief , concerns for the care of my aging mother, and taking good care of myself. One of my secrets is having a cup of coffee with Jesus. I started to have coffee when my husband became terminally ill. I felt a peace enter me,and I could be the wife and mother I needed to be. The same grace and peace is over me now. I choose to walk in thanksgiving instead of bitterness. I have lived a good life and  I think the one thing I am most thankful for is the I was given the privilege to be a wife and mother, even if for a little while.When my husband and I married, we thought we would grow old together, start a family,buy our first house. We envisioned a life as grandparents one day, traveling when we retired. My life was forever changed one day, but God had plans for my life. I think I am most thankful because I am still needed here now. Someone has to keep writing my moms memories, such great stories of her living next door to a movie studio, and watching Roy Rogers film his TV Show. I never get tired of hearing about my Uncle Bert.

May you be surrounded this holiday season my those you hold near and dear to your hearts. Thank you for all your loving support and reading my stories. I hope they touch your heart and you can walk away with a nugget to chew on . The turkey thinks he is pretty smart. happy thanksgiving to all my friends and family.

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Tiny Big Bubble

November 17, 2017 at 8:59 pm (Creative Non- Fiction, grief, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Single Parent) (, , , )

 

 

This is one of my treasured pictures I have of my husband and son Levi. This was taken on Easter,when my son was three years old. My husband had asked me if we could put on the Karate gee we had jut bought him for Easter(my husband taught Karate). After Levi opened his gifts, he asked his daddy to blow him a tiny,big bubble. Jerry laughed and the picture made history in my family.

It seems so long ago that this photo was taken.  Jerry had complications with his diabetes and passed away six months later. Words cannot describe the lost feeling I felt as I realized  I was now mom, dad and sole provider to my family of two.  I had a thought one morning while drinking my morning coffee. I could become bitter and angry, about loosing my husband or I can be thankful and live a life reflecting it. I chose to live with a thankful heart.

What seemed like a comet zooming past you pace, Levi had grown into a fine young man. He never liked school,so instead of dropping out of high school, he earned his GED, and our neighbor hired him to help him lay carpeting. I was proud of the young man Levi was becoming. One day Levi told me his boss had an extra carpet in his garage. After buying it, Levi installed the carpet for me. One it was a treat to have new carpet, but the extra bonus is to have your son do the work.  Levi moved out at age 19, to help his grandma after his grandpa suddenly passed away. I turned his old bedroom into my dressing room. I love to get dressed in the morning and put on my pajamas at night.

My awesome son Levi died in 2007 in a tragic car accident. He was only 20. Again, I decided to live my life with a thankful heart. They say when life hands you lemons, make lemonade. Some folks pour tons of salt into the lemonade because they feel so broken. I can understand the anguish they feel. Others, pour in too much sugar,maybe to compensate for the feeling of loss. I had to realize that the deaths of both my husband and son did not mean the death of me as well.  Instead of becoming angry and bitter, I chose to trust God.  He has walked me through some of the darkest days of my life and brought back into His light.

I wish everyone the Happiest Thanksgiving. May you be surrounded by those near and dear to your heart. Hug your kids extra tight tonight,let them know how much you love them, how much they mean to you and tell them how proud you are of them. Tell them to reach for the stars, live their dreams, and that you will be there to help them see their full potential. No one is promised tomorrow, so make the best out of each new day you are given and take time to smell the flowers. I am so thankful to you my friends, family and readers who read my posts, leave a comment, and for your love and support.

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The Right Words

November 11, 2017 at 10:09 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, Uncategorized) (, , , )

I often read blog posts from different walks of life. It is fun to read about a young couple struggles with parenting(I have been there). I love to read about a couple who have just retired traveling, a friend who has just got back from her Hawaii vacation (lucky ducks).  I enjoy  reading about a country cottage set in Ireland and the beautiful photos of the flowers and vegetable gardens. I love seeing the countryside, the winding roads, the sheep dotting the landscape. I follow a food critic and her thoughts about up scaled restaurants food and service.

I ran across one post that was interesting to me. She told about blogging and not always knowing what to write about. She was telling of her experience of a writer block and how to deal with it. She raises chickens; sometimes, she just has to go gather the eggs, feed and water them, then walk back from the barn to her office and then she can write. I agree. I do not always know what to post. It is easy to just not post that day,but then we are not challenged are we. I do not have a million ideas dancing in my head waiting for me to pick one.

I like to get together with a dear friend over dessert and a movie before work.  I feel like a queen when I go to her home. She always has a special dessert or even cheeses and crackers to snack on while watching one of our favorite movies. Last night, it was Benny and Joon. We laughed so hard, and as an added bonus, one of our dearest friends played in the movie. I had forgotten he had a small part. I go for an afternoon walk by the lake. With no boats with water skiers, the water is as smooth as glass; I walk in an up scaled neighborhood  and get ideas about landscaping my home. It is nice to see how the other half-lives, although I do not have to clean a large house.

Sometimes, I need to clear the sawdust out of my head, or let the stresses of the day go, to take a moment for me to gather my thoughts again and then I can come and post a story. We are over committed, caring for our aging parents, long work days, it is a discipline to set and post twice or three times a week. It is nice to know your story is being read and maybe a comment or two.

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Cancer- Zero

November 5, 2017 at 8:49 pm (blogging, Creative Non- Fiction, Memoir, Middle age, positive thinking, Uncategorized) (, , , )

 

Four years ago, we received the news mom had breast cancer;  She was set up with a treatment plan of a partial mastectomy, radiation therapy, good nutrition, and most important, family support. After two months, she finished her treatments. Today, she is doing well. I was impressed with the level of care, patience, empathy, and professional ethics my mom was given during her difficult time in her life. Mom was scared, so it helped I could take her to her appointments. I had to step outside of my emotions and  take into consideration, just knowing  a loved one was in the waiting area can make the a big difference in healing.

Sometimes it takes a health scare to prioritize our lives. We can be so busy, we never stop to see the beautiful blue sky or look at the neighbor and her working in her beautiful flower beds. We have become over committed, ( need three of me) to accomplish everything in a day. I always tell my friends to manage your stress, take time out of the day for yourself,even if it just a quick dip in the pool, make a nice sandwich for yourself and sit on the front porch and listen to the birds chirping, if you like gardening,pull a few weeds, or pick a bouquet of roses for the dinner table tonight. Take the kids on a nature walk or a bike ride to the park. I learned what I thought was important wasn’t so important anymore.

Another success story I would love to boast about is when I worked at an Assistant Living facility a few years ago. The complex was divided into four homes ranging from assisted living,memory care, dementia care, and altimeters care.each home was decorated in a different theme. Timber House (decorated like a log cabin),was independent living, Tudor House,(Tudor style), memory care, Cottage House( decorated like a cottage)for dementia care, and last the house was the craftsman(decorated like a craftsman house) was for our altimeters residence. I was in dietary, so I watched and interacted with lovely ladies and gentlemen. The men dressed for meals, the ladies wore a pretty dress, because in their minds, they were going out to a restaurant. Every morning, I would take lunch and dinner orders. It was fun listening to the conversations.

I became fast friends with one of my co-workers. She was a pretty, funny, helpful care giver. One day she told me she had cancer. I didn’t know what to say to her, I felt horrible for her. She told me she starting treatment and planned to keep working. you would never know evenings, she was nauseous, low energy, because she was such a good care provider to the residence. I enjoyed evening meals talking to her. I left the job before she finished up her treatments. I knew she lived in my home town, so I would see her in the grocery store. One day while on Face Book, I saw Amber-1, Cancer-0. I was so happy, I cried. The story does not end here, no sirree. One day, I ran into my friend and noticed she had gained weight-well, she was pregnant with her son. I told her then “first you beat cancer, then you meet and marry a great guy,now you are pregnant.” Her was is beautiful, healthy,a rough and tumble little man. Well, I ran into her again last year and she is the proud mamma of a beautiful daughter! Double blessed I told her.

Life can change in an instant. Live everyday as it were your last,take the time to smell the flowers and even pick a few along the way. Tomorrow may not come. My life was forever changed with the deaths of both my husband and my son. Life is so fragile, so precious, so meaningful. Everyday is a gift,it depends on what you choose to do with it.

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