Shifting Gears Used to Be Easier

So I guess one sign of old age is slowing down, right?  Or maybe that’s just me.  I have kinda always been “fast-paced” in general, but am noticing that more time is required of late to shift with the inevitable changes in life.  Shifting gears used to be easier for sure.  I feel like things have been shifting faster than I could handle for the past 6 weeks or so.  Here’s the latest…

Health Update:  I was on my Vitamin D regimen for several weeks, and honestly I really noticed a difference.  I definitely had more energy, my hair grew like crazy (?), and I slept so much better.  Having run out of the prescription and having followup blood work  done- I am waiting to hear what the results show.  I will definitely be working to improve my Vitamin D intake with or without another prescription!

THM Update:  I have been on-again off-again with Trim Healthy Mama. Visiting family in Louisiana, I was NOT going to miss out on the barbecue or fried catfish & hushpuppies, y’all!  I will tell you that I stayed on plan for some meals, and completely avoided it with others.  Returning home I have stayed on 50-75% of the time.  I am definitely noticing how much sugar affects me (headaches, crankiness, aches & pains, etc.), and am getting back to more meals & snacks on plan every day.  I got out of the habit of making my drinks every day, but am getting back to where my body is actually craving them again.

I have been able to fit into some smaller size clothing that had been on a shelf in my closet, so even with NOT being 100% gung ho, I am seeing success – and it has inspired me to really commit to going less off plan than I have been.  Truly, I love the flexibility that this particular plan offers, and am anxious to get back to my doctor’s office to see how much weight I have actually lost.  Smaller clothing is a huge success!  Trying some new recipes has been fun, too.

Family Updates:  School is in full swing.  Homework is NOT my favorite thing.  ’nuff said!  Just after school started, I visited my son & his wife (Mikhael & Kendra), and my still-new grandson at the beginning of September.  It was heavenly!  It was the first time in 30 years that I had my son to myself in a sense (LOTS of “feels” here), and I reveled in visiting with him, talking, playing, laughing, and enjoying time with his beautiful family.  I am so blessed and honored that they pursue a relationship with my and my family and we look forward to all of us getting together again in the spring!

Greg & his mom held down the fort while I was gone and I am so thankful they did.  The night before I came home, a tornado ripped through our county – within half a mile of our home – causing significant damage to several homes & properties (even shifting a home off it’s foundation – within walking distance of our house!!!)   For the most part, my family slept in an upstairs bedroom while it happened. We had significant tree damage, but really nothing compared to several others in the county. Power was restored just before we got home from the airport.   I am grateful for their safety and protection!

My mom came for a short visit and it was so nice to catch up with her.  We got to enjoy some yummy coffee and she (like my mother-in-law) does dishes which is like one of the BIGGEST blessings to me ever…  We visited the Harvest Festival and played cards with the kids and enjoyed a nice time.

Financial Updates:  Following several financial bloggers, my attitude about money has been changing for some time.  Through some really great employee benefits with my husband’s job, I have been able to participate in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace program, and that just really kinda helped me get some things settled.  We worked on setting some financial priorities and getting some plans made.

And then his car engine died on the way to work one day.  We didn’t have any money set aside yet for an emergency fund, but thankfully were able to get financing for a replacement vehicle.  We are now driving a 2005 Honda Odyssey EX and LOVING it!  I will share more about this in another post – but I am grateful for in-laws who are willing to drive me to work and help cart kids around til we got the van!

Needless to say, we are having to reset some financial stuff, but it is coming together again.  Talk about shifting gears!  Making a plan to prepare for this kind of situation is totally different from having the means to deal with it, am I right?  One day at a time, and we will get there!

Do you find as you get older you are better or worse at shifting gears with life’s changes???

THM A Refreshing Drink Recipe *Edited*

I shared in previous posts about starting the Trim Healthy Mama plan of eating. It is not just another low carb diet, but rather a balance between protein + fat and protein + carbohydrates. I wanted to share a quick update and Two drink recipes that are keeping me happy!

You can read my most recent update here.

THM GGMS & The Shrinker

So one of the ways I am really fighting cravings and staving off hunger is by making a couple of the popular drink recipes shared in the Trim Healthy Book and community.

Today I am sharing MY version of Good Girl MoonShine.  

I find the GGMS to be so refreshing in the afternoon with lots of ice. There are all kinds of varieties floating around (look them up on Pinterest) but I have found my “sweet spot” with this version:

My Good Girl Moonshine

THM Good Girl Moonshine

Yield: 1 quart (meant to be sipped thru a day)

Ingredients

  • 1-2 raspberry zinger tea bags
  • 1-2 hibiscus tea bags
  • 1-2 Tbsp Apple Cider vinegar (with the mother)
  • 1/2 - 1 tsp ground ginger
  • Pinch of Sweet Blend (THM product)
  • Water
  • Ice Cubes
  • a 1 Quart jar (with a sipper lid - I got mine at Target!)

Instructions

  1. Brew tea first. (I brew a large cup of tea first. I use the largest cup setting on my keurig, steep both teabags for 3-4 minutes, remove teabags and fill with cold filtered water.)
  2. After allowing tea to come to room temp (or colder), I get my quart jar and add my ACV, ginger, and Sweet Blend. I swirl it around to mix it. (Note: Start with the smaller amounts first and adjust to your taste).
  3. I pour my cooled tea into the quart jar and swirl again to mix.
  4. Add ice cubes (I like lots of ice), and fill to neck of the jar with cold water. As the ice melts, you can continue to sip the tea as you like.
  5. It IS better when it's nice and cold, so the more ice the better.
http://findinggraceandglory.com/thm-drinks-recipes/

I started with smaller quantities for this drink and have found that the hibiscus tea really rounds out the flavor and takes off the edge that the vinegar can add.  I have grown to like it tangier though – kinda like a berry lemonade in a way.

Obviously you can tweak this recipe using your favorite herbal tea base or blends.  I have used Red Zinger, Raspberry Zinger, Hibiscus tea bags, and some green tea as well.  I find that using 2 tea bags is enough, but some people might prefer 3 or 4.  It’s fun to play with either way, and I love the way I feel when I drink this.  The original drink recipe can be found HERE.

Although this tends to be a caffeine-free drink, I will say that I feel energized after drinking it, so I try not to have any after 7 pm, or I will be up past my bedtime.

 

IF YOU TRY THIS, BE SURE TO LET ME KNOW WHAT YOU THINK!

AMAZON AFFILIATE LINKS (if you purchase via these links, I will earn a small commission without any extra cost to you!):

Raspberry Zinger Tea

Apple Cider Vinegar (3 pack – Great price!)

Hibiscus tea bags 

 

Getting a Check Up

How long has it been since you have had a doctor visit?  I am not going to tell you how long it’s been for me, because it’s kinda shameful, but I can tell you that it was too long between visits.  Having younger kids – who require frequent visits for regular issues, let alone health issues – has kept me busy with medications and assessments and doctor visits.  I have definitely been putting my health last on the list of things for me to take care of and it is starting to catch up with me.

I have had chronic, ongoing, years-in-the-making problems with insomnia.  Both falling asleep and staying asleep.  I just chalked it up to being a mom with young kids.  But the truth is, I could wake up all on my own and be up from 3:30 a.m. – unable to fall back to sleep – until 11 p.m. that evening, and do it again for 3 or 4 more nights.  In fact, it was remarkable when I got a 6-7 hour night of uninterrupted sleep, and those have been few and far between over the years.

Anxiety and depression became “normal” for me to experience – and not just a tag-team version – but sometimes it was a double-team.  I have been able to find ways to alleviate some of the chronic stress that came with it, but truthfully, in the past 2 years, I have begun to experience bodywide aches and pains that were unresolved for days at a time.

Again – I chalked it up to aging and just kept trying to chug along.  I didn’t have time to be sick and kept telling myself we couldn’t afford another person in our family on medications every month.

You know – the typical “Mom” excuses one might put up because life is stressful.

But the pain increased and manifested itelf in ways that began to affect how I live every day.  What I can and cannot manage.  With the chronic pain came more problems with sleep, fatigue, brain fog and more.

But there are 3 kids and a husband who need me.  And I got to where I was not even functioning in survival mode.

So, I finally made – and kept – an appointment with a local nurse practitioner because of some of my symptoms.   She commended my ability to turn to writing / journaling / music meditation as avenues to deal with stress.  I appreciated that. =)  My weight – although still too heavy – was actually less than I anticipated, so I left the appointment feeling somewhat positive.  She ordered a blood panel work up including thyroid, cholesterol, metabolic panel, and a check on my Vitamin D levels.

And wouldn’t you know it?  Everything came back NORMAL – except my Vitamin D levels are pretty low.  She prescribed high potency Vitamin D, and I have been taking a daily multivitamin, a calcium-vitamin supplement, and finding ways to be out in the sunshine more to boost my D levels.

She also prescribed an anti-anxiety, anti-depression medication.  I was not surprised, and rather relieved.  I have tried multiple alternative options which have helped, but I think the boost – this temporary boost – will help my body get back on track and it has ALREADY impacted my sleep in positive ways.  I have made minor adjustments in the medicine because my first 2 doses – on a weekend – left me like a zombie.  I think I slept more than I was awake for 2 good days – and I think my body needed it desperately!

I have no intention of being on the medication forever -and my doctor even stated she wanted to see if it was beneficial and how things would be in only a few months.  So I am quite pleased with that!

I’ll go back and have another blood level check in a few weeks and already feel a bit more energetic in general.  A good night’s rest is an unbelievable luxury and I am enjoying my sleep so much for the past several days!

I wrote all this so I could say to you – if you haven’t had a doctor’s appointment for a check-up in awhile – I highly recommend you wait no longer.   Taking good care of your own health is like putting on your own oxygen mask first – we need to do it so we can be equipped for the things God has blessed us with, and the changes life throws at us!

 

The Summer Slide

[crickets]

Blogging three weeks ago about my new grandson was a real highlight so far this summer.  He is gorgeous and healthy and growing so fast!  Thankfully his tired parents are able to text and share updates with me in real time.  He & his family live a long day’s drive away from us and some days it is REALLY hard to be so far apart.  More days than I like to dwell on, really, but I am SO thankful for email, texting and Facetime so we can be in touch with family now the way we never dreamed of being in touch when I was still young.

I grew up far away from family.  With my dad being in the Air Force, we always lived quite a distance from any relatives – except for the rare blessing of having an uncle & his family who lived about 5-6 hours away from us in Alaska.  My mom had a cousin in Alaska, as well – but for the most part, I grew up far from grandparents, aunts, uncles, or cousins.

Being on the flip side of things now – wanting to see a son & his family – well, I’m not liking it so much…  But it is what it is, and we are making plans for me to go for a quick visit at the end of August.   I can’t even tell you how far away it feels…

In the meantime, we’ve hit the long hot days of the summer slide.  Y’all – since I was living as a preteen near Austin, Texas, I have NOT been able to tolerate a hot, humid summer.  Living anywhere without air conditioning has always been unfathomable.

I have to share this because it’s humorous in light of where I’m living now.  I have a cousin & her family who still live in Alaska. Her mom just posted a picture of her thermometer which registered 80 degrees in Anchorage -and she was NOT enjoying the sweltering heat!  It is unusual weather, so I chuckled as I read her post.  It’s been in the 80’s here with 80-90% humidity some days.  Blecccchhhh!

Didn’t grow up with sweltering heat – except in Texas – and I have never adjusted well to it.  Not when I lived in Southwest Missouri.  Not living in Ohio.  Humidity messes with my mind in ways I never imagined, and when it is hot and humid – I want. to. die.

I hate when it happens.  We retreat to our upstairs bedroom with our window a/c, and resort to playing tablets, watching Netflix, and sometimes even taking naps.  When there is shade and it doesn’t feel like walking through jello outside, we can sit out back and enjoy a breeze that might come along.  The heat & humidity drain me, and this wet summer has been a doozy!

My son & his family live in Louisiana.  I’ll be there at the end of August.  If it wasn’t for a grandbaby, I would not likely be visiting at the end of August!!!   If only I could melt off a few pounds in the process of sweating during my visit.  They have a/c, but I’m gonna melt like Olaf on a summer day…

One thing I have been doing while avoiding our swelter, is catching up on some reading.  I plan to share more about that soon, and some changes our family will be making with our eating.  Improving my health has been on my radar this year – doctor visit next week, planning to make some eating changes, and increasing activity.  It’s a slow road, but I’m gonna take every step in the right direction as a victory!

I not only have a husband, three kids to raise, and a son & daughter-in-law – I now have a grandson that I need to share lots of stories with, so I have lots of reasons to jump off the Summer Slide and try to take the stairs!

A Day in Your Courts

My verse for this blog is Psalm 84:11.  It reads: For the Lord God is a sun and shield.  The Lord gives grace and glory;  he does not withhold the good from those who live with integrity. (HCSB)

The Lord does give grace and glory.  Last night my son Mikhael became a father.  To a beautifully healthy baby boy with red hair and his mom’s nose.

I was in awe most of the day because I was kept in the loop by texts from Mikhael and Kendra and by messaging from his mom in a FB message group.  It was a lot of fun and I kept passing the info on to my kids and husband when I could.

As the time drew closer, and the decision to go with a c-section was made, Mikhael and I shared some 80’s lyrics to keep things light.  A little bit of “Final Countdown” and “Living on a Prayer” kept him smiling even though his nerves were acting up.  Hey – Bon Jovi was one of the only hair bands I even liked during the 80’s so it seemed appropriate to share at this time.

And, well, that’s how we roll.

I got a message “He is here” and then the pics & stats started rolling in. What a handsome little guy!  [Not sharing pics here to protect their privacy, but I can tell you that he is a fine looking little guy and I can certainly stare at pics of him all day long.]

As I was texting my mom all the news & info when he was born, we started talking about his name.  I won’t share his name here, but I will share that when I looked it up – it means “Doorkeeper”.

Last week, I started looking up Bible verses relating to doorkeepers and this is what popped up:

Psalm 84:10 – For a day in your courts is better than a thousand elsewhere.  I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than in the tents of wickedness. (ESV)

Do you see it?  Do you see the thread of connection rolling around right there?  I didn’t see it at first and when my mom told me I about fell out of my chair!  It’s the verse right before my blog verse.

Coincidental to some, but extremely and profoundly meaningful to my heart.  When God decides to weave something together, let me tell you, He does NOT do it haphazardly or without purpose.  He knows exactly what He is doing when he is weaving all the themes, all the trials, all the incredibly breathtaking moments, all the people together into the tapestry of life.

On the day Mikhael was born, a Sunday, Cyndi bought a newspaper so they could have a memento from the town where he was born on his birthday.  One of the front cover stories featured an illustration of Moses in his woven basket.

Moses.  Who was also adopted.  Whose adoptive mother included his birth mother in the first few years of his life.

I mean, really!  I can still see the illustration when I close my eyes and remember that day.

I don’t know all of you in person.  I don’t know where all of you live or who you come into contact with.  But I want you to know that there is a God.  And not only does He love a young woman who made some bad choices and then had to make some hard choices – but blessed her so abundantly she is actually left speechless…

which is rare in case you didn’t know…

There is a God who listens to a young girl’s silent prayer about the kind of people she wanted to raise her baby – and then met EVERY. SINGLE. REQUEST.  Even down to a mom with long hair (as if that makes a difference in what kind of parent she would be?)

He didn’t have to answer my prayers.  He still doesn’t.  I’m just one measly human being on this spinning planet, no more important than anyone else.

But He is good.  God is good.  Life is hard – so very hard sometimes.  But GOD.

God is so good – despite life, despite defiance from the ones he pursues, despite cancer, despite hell.  And that’s what you should know.

God loves YOU.  He breathed life into me, into my son, and into his son.  And at any moment He can take the breath from any one or all three of us.  But He is STILL good!

So while I celebrate the birth of my very first grandbaby, I will continue to celebrate the amazing goodness of my God.  And I hope you do too!