May Day

A friend once told me that the perfect time for a new beginning is when the first of a month falls on a Monday.  Start the diet, give up the habit, resolve to do better in some aspect of your life…it’s a  new week and new month so there is no excuse to not go for it.

I have a habit or two that need to go, and a habit or two I need to resume.  So today is the day.  But no pressure, right?

The weekend was nice.  I took my fourth unit exam and finished the final paper for my Business Ethics class; I will complete the final exam this week and move on to my next course:  Organizational Theory.  I also finished this crocheted blanket shrug (mine has no fringe).

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Yesterday I washed bed linens as I always do on Sundays, but I also washed our down alternative comforter and dried it on a clothesline out back.  The natural fragrance that saturates fabrics dried this way is intoxicating.  I slept like a baby last night.

Out back, the fuchsia will soon bring forth its blooms and the hummingbirds will become frequent visitors; this plant is right outside our back patio door so we have the perfect viewing spot.

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This crazy flower is already blooming; Jessica gave me a packet of seeds during an Oregon trip last year and I randomly threw them into this wine barrel.  The California rains came and a whole lot of weeds grew up in the barrel.  Tom (with his green thumb) spotted these two among the weeds and cleaned everything up so this is all that remains. These are some kind of day lily and I’m not sure that these are the Oregon flowers but no matter…a happy surprise anyway.

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Today’s lesson in Entrusted focused in on 2 Timothy 3:6-9; the passage that illuminated like a neon sign for me were verses 6 and 7:

“For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.”

Oh snap.  Oh crap.  The “among them” are the people who, in the last days, are lovers of self and money; proud, arrogant, abusive people; ungrateful, unholy, and heartless people; those with no self-control; brutal people; conceited people; lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God; and those “having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power”…among those kinds of people are those who prey on the weak (not necessarily just women).

But I think our own lack of self-control, our own desire for pleasure, our own arrogance and pride lead us astray more often than an actual person.  I know that’s true for me.  While there was a time in my life that I was easily captured and led astray by the influence of others, these days I’m more apt to quietly look like I’m doing just fine but secretly relying on unhealthy ways to cope.

May is bringing forth a rough month of upheaval and the beginning of change in a significant area of my life, and I need to be strong.  I’m preparing for it by strengthening my healthy habits and starving the unhealthy ones.  Good food, exercise, and restful sleep are in order.

Join me in making May the beginning of healthy changes?

Have a blessed week.

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Steps, Points, and Oprah

One of my guilty pleasures is the weekly issue of People magazine.  I think this is a throwback to my mom, who loved movie magazines and (according to family legend) taught herself to read English by looking at them.  Further proof:  my younger sister is named Sandra Susan, after Sandra Dee and Susan Hayworth, and my youngest brother is named Jerry, after Jerry Lewis.  I (first born) was named for my Icelandic grandmother. But I digress.

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This week’s People features Oprah talking about her weight; what else is new.  Now, I am not an Oprah-follower and I wouldn’t even consider myself a fan, but her weight struggles resonate with me because they have been my struggles too.  As I read about Oprah becoming one of Weight Watchers largest shareholders I couldn’t help but remember how, on a much smaller scale, I often put my money where my mouth was in order to be motivated to stick with a plan to lose weight.

Right now, I’m in a pretty good place with my weight.  I could probably stand to lose 20 more pounds but I’m quite content right where I’m at.  Oprah is there too, according to the People article.  She’s found the program she can stick with for the rest of her life in Weight Watchers and I must confess, reading her story motivated me to examine my own plan to maintain a healthy weight.

So I decided today to start tracking points.  And steps.  I have the Weight Watchers app on my phone and my FitBit all synced up and I’m going to hold myself accountable.  I entered a goal weight that’s just 15 pounds less than my current weight and laughed to myself at the absurdity of that, considering my history.  My plan is simply to choose high quality foods over junk and to make sure I exercise.

I got up early this morning to finish up making a batch of Chinese Steamed Bao Buns for a friend as a thank you for her help as my test proctor for school.  I made a batch for us too and planned to roast a little piece of pork today to fill those yummy buns.  I also planned to make a big batch of Canton-style Pancit, something our son who is visiting for the weekend loves.  When I started calculating the points for these two dishes I realized that steamed buns might be better enjoyed tomorrow.  I also learned today that my favorite Chai Tea Latte k-cup is 3.5 points per serving.  Uh, no.  This girl will be going back to English Breakfast Tea with stevia in the raw and a splash of 2% milk, thank you very much. I’d much rather save those points for a small glass of wine with dinner.  It’s the little things you learn!

Today I also met my sister-in-law for lunch at Sissy’s.  It was wonderful to catch up with her as it had been way too long.  I chose a small garden salad with a scoop of their amazing tuna salad on top and iced tea; mindful eating, and it was satisfying and healthy.  Feeling pretty good about my choices today.

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So that’s Saturday.  I’m getting ready to jump in the shower, put on my fleecy pajamas and pour myself 5 ounces of 14 Hands Hot to Trot.  Hope your Saturday night is as exciting as mine!

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