Thursday, August 12, 2021

8 Weeks of DDPY

The pictures don't lie! I have been doing DDPY 4-5 times a week and eating clean for 10 weeks now. (These pics are a couple of weeks old)  I am down 19.6 pounds! I am wearing the same shirt in each picture, fyi. In 8 weeks, there are noticeable physical changes, but the unseen changes are also huge. I have less pain in my back and hips. My feet don't hurt as much after a very long day at work. I had a knot on the bottom of my left foot. It was extremely painful. After a mixture of massage therapy, rolling on a spiked therapy ball, and stretches in DDPY, the knot is gone. My pants and shirts are looser. I had to tighten my bra!  My posture is better. I sleep better. Best of all, after a 2-week trial with NO blood pressure medication and twice daily blood pressure checks, my doctor took my off my blood pressure medicine!!!!  I am still monitoring my blood pressure and if it gets high, then I have to go back on my medication. So far, so good, though. All those non-scale victories keep me motivated. 

The past two weeks have been tough mentally. I don't know if it's the weather (It's finally gotten HOT here which always gets me down) or what, but I've been slacking on my food and not as committed to working out. I also tweaked my back a little bit and have been taking it a bit easier on my workouts. I've learned I can't be as exuberant about the twisting lunges as I would like to be. I really feel it the next few days. I am also 3 weeks into completing my current level and I think I'm a bit apprehensive about moving on to a more difficult level. Even now in my program, the workouts are increasing in frequency and intensity. I can always edit and change the workouts, so it's not like I HAVE to do it, but I want to challenge myself. So it's time to re-group and re-focus and get back on track!

Stay tuned to see what happens!!


Tuesday, June 29, 2021

2020--The Year of the Pandemic and The Plague


2020 was definitely an interesting year. While everyone was hoarding toilet paper, paper towels, and wipes, I was driving to work every day. I was deemed an essential frontline worker because I work for a major online supplier. The best thing about working through the beginning of Covid was no traffic! Seriously, my commute was so easy both going to work and coming home. It was great! Many of the safety procedures my employer put into place are still in place today. My employer also offers free on-site Covid testing. Employees can get tested weekly if they want. It's been really nice. Even now with associates getting vaccinated, they continue to offer free testing. 

Also while the BIG pandemic was going on, we were dealing with a pretty severe plague at my house....bedbugs. Never in my life have I experienced bedbugs. I don't even know with 100% certainty how they got into my house, but my best guess is on one of the used books I ordered. That's the only thing I can think of. I initially went to the doctor because I thought I had an allergic reaction to a new medication, but no, it was bug bites. Let me tell you, it was miserable! 

Do you know what is 100% effective on bedbugs and safe for pets? 90% alcohol. Do you know what was almost impossible to find during the pandemic? Alcohol! We used diatomaceous earth (food grade) under our bed and we found some other stuff on Amazon that we sprinkled on our box springs before we encased it, but we finally found a horse ranch that sold the correct kind of alcohol in a 4-pack, gallon size, so the Handsome Husband and I took a little field trip to purchase it. It was actually a very nice drive. It's great to live so close to horse country! The alcohol was the most effective and quickest treatment. 

Additionally, we were washing our bed linens daily and vacuuming in the den and bedroom daily (the most affected areas). The husband also researched online and found out heat kills the little buggers. We started washing the linens weekly, but tossing in the dryer daily. Do you know how annoying it is to completely make your bed daily?? I'm not talking about pulling the sheets and blanket up, I'm talking wash your bed linens and put the whole bed back together type of making your bed. It's a royal pain, but it's what we had to do to keep the bugs at bay. We put encasements on our box springs and mattress. Hubby taped them with packing tape because the bugs cannot climb on slick surfaces. We had to put our shoes in plastic boxes for storage (I actually had bedbugs in my shoes!) and put all our clothes in plastic bags with zippers or in plastic totes. 

I am happy to report that the plague of bedbugs is over! We are bedbug free, but I still keep spray bottles of alcohol in key places just in case. 

On the health journey front, I lost another 2 pounds this past week, so I'm down 14 pounds from my starting weight.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

It's Been Awhile!



The past 18 months have been exceedingly difficult for me and my family. In November, 2019 my dad's health started to fail and he was in and out of the hospital several times with various issues and a skin infection on his shins due to water retention. We had to move him to a long term care facility because we could not adequately care for him on our own and home health wasn't working either. Eventually, Dad passed away on January 3, 2021. I still don't think I've processed it all. He was the best Daddy I could've ever had.He loved us well and he treasured all his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

In February of this year, we had to let our precious Hannah Grace go. One day, she just stopped eating. Not totally uncommon for her, but she didn't want to eat the next day either. Off to the vet where they did tests and x-rays. Her kidneys looked good, but the x-ray showed something in her abdomen. We ended up taking her to the emergency vet where they did a barium x-ray and ultrasound. She was diagnosed with intestinal lymphoma and had many growths on her spleen which were already producing fluid in her abdominal cavity. Mark and I made the very difficult, but most loving decision we could've made. Hannah was only about 6 months old when she came to live with us and we were fortunate to have her for almost 16 years. 

After the stress and chaos of 2020 (I worked during the pandemic and closures) along with these 2 losses, I realized that I needed to take better care of myself because I'm not getting any younger and I want to be able to go on mission trips and do volunteer work for God as I get older. That will be difficult to do if I don't lose weight and get my own health under control!  I talked to a friend of mine who's lost over 50 pounds, but the program she was on was going to cost me $385 a month for food. I'm not a big fan of pre-packaged and processed foods to begin with, not to mention that my budget cannot handle $385 a month. That's like our whole food budget for the month!

Sometime within the last year or so, I ran across DDP Yoga, which is not traditional yoga. It's a combination of yoga, fitness, dynamic resistance, and calisthenics. It was developed by former wrestling champion Diamond Dallas Page (DDP) and is for anyone at any stage of health. There's a series with stretches and exercises done in bed for people who have mobility issues all the way to those who are in excellent condition and want a challenge. Check out the website and read all the inspirational success stories. 

Four weeks ago, I downloaded the app and began my fitness journey. For the first week, I fiddled around with various levels of workouts and finally decided to start with the chair to standing series because while I am very mobile and am on my feet A LOT, my core strength isn't the best and I was very wobbly on many of the stretches and poses. I am so glad I backed down to this level because it's allowed me to gain confidence and some mobility. Yay!

So in the first 3 weeks, this is what I've accomplished:

--Down 10 pounds 

--Changed my diet and eliminated gluten and sweets

--Pain and swelling in my hands is gone

--Mobility and flexibility has increased

--Chronic back pain and hip pain has lessened

--More energy

--I feel better 

I do a Bed Flex workout in the morning before I go to work to wake up and work out tightness in my muscles and then 3 or 4 days a week, I do a regular workout video. My first goal is to lose 50 pounds, but ultimately I want to lose 150 pounds over the next couple of years. I'll be posting about my journey, so stay tuned!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

It's a Wrap!

Today was the final collection day for OCC boxes for my church. We collected 176 boxes!  I am so very excited! Last year, we collected 116 boxes, so this is a big jump for us. Next year, the goal is to collect even more boxes so that more children can come to know Jesus and put their faith in Him.

This was the first year to head up this ministry and to promote it year round. I think it really helped educate people on the ministry and kept it in people's minds. We also integrated OCC into one night of KidConnect, our vacation Bible school.  We collected hygiene items and we ended up with A LOT to share with people who needed hygiene items for their boxes and we were also able to send our excess to the processing center as filler items for boxes who need a bit of extra love.

I am already thinking ahead to next year and what I can do to facilitate more participation next year.  I know that this ministry isn't for everyone, but for those who really buy into it, I want it to be the best it can be. So for now, I pray and organize my thoughts and ideas. Oh!  And rest and enjoy the coming holidays.

Oh wait. I work for the largest online retailer in the world and this is our busiest time of the year. No rest until December 23rd for me.

This is the truck full of boxes we delivered to the drop off location today!  Hubby says we can fit another 20 boxes in, so next year I want it to be FULL!

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's Collection Week!

Now is the time to pack boxes and drop them off at your local church or at a drop-off location!  I have been preparing and shopping since this time last year and was so excited to do 10 boxes this year.  I packed for the older kids, the 10-14 year old boys and girls. For the past 2 years I've used the Follow Your Box option through the Operation Christmas Child website.  Two years ago, my boxes went to Ecuador. Last year they went to Mexico. I can't wait to see where my boxes go this year.

Sunday, April 09, 2017


This is my garden. It's not pretty, is it?  How did it get this way?  The short answer is neglect. I neglected to clean up the garden last fall before winter set in. I neglected to apply a thick layer of mulch to keep the weeds at bay, or at least reduce the number of weeds to sprout. I didn't get out in late winter/early spring to pull them out while they were young and tender and their tap roots weren't so deep in the ground. It would've been much easier if I had. I just didn't keep up with it.  It would've been so much easier. You'd think I would know that by now.  After all, this is not my first rodeo (or even my second).

The only real option at this point was to dig them out, making sure to get the tap root so they didn't come back with a vengeance. Some of these were single weeds, but most were clumps. One root, many stalks.  I had to dig deep to get the root. It was hard on my back, my legs, my hands.  It was dirty.  It was itchy, even though I had on gloves.  It was sweaty and I'm not a fan of sweat. It was hot work, hard labor.

Just like these weeds grew up in my garden plot because of neglect, sin grows in my heart and life because of neglect.  I don't read my Bible. I don't allow God's words of life to flow in and through my heart and mind. I'm not focusing on God, but on my problems. I'm not choosing to see the best in situations. I'm not getting the rest I need. I become self-focused. I become grumpy. I become unhappy and lose my joy. The things of this world crowd in and crowd God out of my life. 

Then, just like all the hard work I had to put into ridding my garden of these weeds, I have to work even harder to eliminate the weeds out of my heart. It's hard work. It's painful. It's dirty work. When those weeds are dug out, it's not always pretty.  Dirt flies. It's tiring. It's sweaty. I don't think I have the strength to finish. New habits have to be developed. I have to learn to say "NO" to the not great choices. (It means eating yogurt rather than a candy bar sometimes!) I have to let go of relationships with people and things. It means I have to limit what I watch, read, and the kind of music I listen to. It's a constant, never-ending process. 

The payoff, though. The payoff makes all the hard work worthwhile.  Weeds in the garden rob the soil and plants of vital nutrients and water that the plants need to produce fruit.  And so it is in our hearts as well.  Weeds rob us of life, joy, and peace. They suck it right out of us. With the weeds cleared out, peace, joy, and grace abound. It's a thing of beauty.

Because even deep in the thick of the weeds, there are good things growing. As I started clearing the weed patch, I discovered these flower seedlings. Now they can get the sun they need to grow and flourish as well as the nutrients they need to produce beautiful flowers in a few months.  

Friday, January 01, 2016

Don't Toss Your Christmas Cards!

Each card you received at Christmas or New Year's this year represents one person whose life you have impacted or with whom you have a relationship.  It may be a strained or distant relationship, but it's a relationship anyway.  Maybe it's family. Maybe you're a friend.  Maybe you're a teacher or a student.  Maybe you're a co-worker.  I even have received cards from my dentist and my massage therapist.  Whatever your relationship, you were important enough for them to take the time to send you a card.  Rather than tossing the cards out as you're putting away your Christmas decorations, keep them.  Keep them with your Bible and choose one a day or one a week or one a month and pray for the sender of that card.  Pray for their health, their financial situation, their life choices, their situations.  Maybe you don't know what to pray.  Pray that God would bless them and show His love to them that day.  If you feel like it, after you've prayed for them, you could call them, send them a little note or a text letting them know that they were on your mind and that you hope all is well with them.  You never know the effect your prayers might have on their lives.  You never know the effect your prayers for them will have on you either.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

"Come and See..."

John 1:35-50

“Come,” he replied, “and you will see.” John 1:39

"Come and see" was the invitation Jesus extended to John the Baptist and his followers that day.  It was also the invitation extended to Simon Peter, Philip, and Nathanael. Indeed, it is it the same invitation extended to us all.  Just like Jesus and Philip, we are to invite people to "come and see".  Come and see the glory of the Lord.  Come and see God's goodness.  Come and see God at work.  Come and see Truth.  Come and see life.  Come and see contentment in difficult circumstances.  Come and see God providing for needs through his people.  Come and see mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical healing.  Come and see joy.  Come and see peace.  Come and see love.  Come and see lives being changed.

Come and see...

...the Lamb of God
...the Son of God
...the King of Kings
...the Alpha and Omega

Sunday, June 14, 2015

What's Blooming

The rains of May have given way to the hot, humid temperatures of June.  Seems like we went from cool and cloudy to hot and sunny overnight with no time to prepare.  We also went from the feast of excessive rain to absolutely no rain.  It's not rained one single drop in my little corner of the world for the past 2 weeks.  My plants, garden, and flower beds could use some rain lovin right about now.  Nevertheless, my flowers are still going and blooming.  Guess they liked the 13" of rain we got in May!

Echinacea, Purple & White Coneflowers were so vibrant thanks to all the rain, cooler weather, and clouds.

This yellow yarrow came to me through a gardening friend.  I think about her every time I look at this plant.

This daylily was the prettiest its been in my garden.  Again, thanks to the rain, cooler temps, and cloudy days.

My all-time favorite daylily, San Antonio Firecracker, pays homage to my hometown.

Mexican Milkweed, a nectar & larval plant for the Monarch butterfly.  I just like the color of the blooms.

Many years ago, I intentionally planted one of these red salvias in my planter.  I've been getting volunteers every year.

This white Salvia greggii is evergreen and has a long bloom time.  It's a native Texas plant and does well in our hot, harsh growing conditions.

Lanceleaf Loosestrife grows on tall wispy stems.  The flowers are very tiny and dainty.  It's always a delight when it blooms.

I received some Roughleaf Sunflowers from a gardening friend last spring.  The plants didn't get very tall, but the did bloom. I sprinkled seeds around my garden and they germinated and have bloomed.  These are easily 4 feet tall, but I love the pretty flowers.

These pretty yellow daylilies were in a box of daylilies I picked up at Sam's about 10 years ago.  I knew nothing of growing daylilies, but that didn't matter to these guys.  They have been blooming along my garage driveway faithfully every spring.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Welcome to My Garden

Won't you please come and join me on a stroll through my garden? It's a bit wet due to all the recent rains we've received, so please be sure you're wearing your water shoes. :)

 We've got lots of tomatoes, garlic, tomatillos, cucumbers, cantaloupe, watermelon, peas, okra, and green beans planted.

The peas this year are easily 5-6 feet tall.  I love the dainty flowers.  It's fun to watch the pods swell with the tasty little peas inside.  This year, we're growing Alaska peas, an early variety.  In the fall, I'll plant Wando peas.

If you pick the blackberries, be careful.  They're very thorny, but oh, so tasty!  These are Kiowa blackberries and they do very well here in North Central Texas.

Hubby was going to yank out the grapes this year because they haven't been very productive in years past.  We have grapes coming out our ears this year and the vines are taking over the back portion of the yard.  Can you say, "You should've trellised them earlier??"

The green beans (pole beans) are filling in and the runners have reached the top of the cattle panel.  We should start seeing blooms soon with bean pods to follow.  These are Blue Lake Pole beans. 

Tomatoes...These are Super Sioux tomatoes.  First year in our garden and they have been very prolific.  I like how they grow in a cluster of 5-7 and aren't huge.  I foresee many salads in my future.
These are Marmande tomatoes.  They are a rare heirloom variety from Italy.  They produce a flattened small to medium sized tomato which is perfect for just one person, or two, if you want to share.
The garden wouldn't be complete without these little Large Red Cherry tomatoes.  They are the perfect size for munching and in salads.  They make a pretty cluster, too.

These cucumbers were grown from seeds I saved last year.  It was my first attempt at saving cucumber seeds, but it was so easy.  I'll do it again this year.  This variety is called "Muncher" and they are so sweet and pretty much burpless.  They make pretty good pickles, too.
I thinned out these Pike cantaloupe seedlings yesterday to allow circulation and better growth.  You can see they are kind of yellowing.  That's due to all the rain, clouds, and cooler than normal temps we've had the past month.  Cantaloupes (as well as watermelon and okra) like it warm and a bit on the dry side.

Thank you for joining me today.  I hope your shoes didn't get too wet.  Next time, we'll tour my flower beds and see what's blooming.  For now, here's a little sneak peek.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Homemade Coconut Lime Lip Balm

I've been struggling with dry, chapped lips more than normal lately.  Hypothyroidism causes dry, hair, lips, eyes.  You name it, it will be affected by thyroid problems  *Sigh* 

I have been using Aveda Lip Saver for many, many years, but it's gone up to $8.50 a tube, which is just about too rich for my pocketbook, so I started cruising the internet for a homemade lip balm that uses few ingredients, doesn't make a bizzillion tubes all at once, and is relatively inexpensive and easy to do.  Believe you me, I found TONS and many are pinned to my Pinterest page.  However, I found this recipe by Fresh Picked Beauty that made one single tube and was easy to make!  I had all the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a go. 

I loved it!! 

I loved it so much that I put it in my pocket and took it to work to make sure that it stood up to 10+ hours in my pocket without melting or becoming too soft.  It did great! 

Since I normally keep one tube of lip balm at work, one tube in my purse, and one tube at home, I decided to up the single tube recipe to make enough to cover those 3 bases plus extras to have on hand or to share with friends.  I decided to shoot for 10 tubes, so I simply multiplied the base recipe by 10.  This recipe makes about a dozen 0.15 oz. tubes.

Coconut Lime Lip Balm (Makes approximately 12 tubes)
2 T + 1.5 t coconut oil (2.5T coconut oil)
2.5 t grapeseed oil or sweet almond oil (Original recipe called for calendula infused grapeseed oil)
5 t beeswax pastilles (or shredded beeswax)
40 drops Lime essential oil
30 drops Lemon essential oil

Place coconut oil, grapeseed oil, and beeswax pastilles in a glass measuring cup.  Place measuring cup in 1" - 2" of water.  Bring water to a slow boil.  Stir to mix and stir occasionally until beeswax is melted.  Once oils and wax have melted, remove glass measuring cup from water bath.  Add essential oils and stir.  Pour into tubes and allow to cool for 15-20 minutes.  Place caps on top of tubes and then allow to cool completely. 

**You can use a small funnel or pipette to fill tubes.  I used these containers and they worked okay.  If I could find some smaller ones, I think they would work even better. 

You can use an egg carton to hold your tubes for filling.  Just turn the egg carton upside down and cut slits in the bottom and insert tubes.  It's not perfect, but it's cheaper than buying a tube holder and it works well.

If you don't have access to essential oils, I use oils from Spark Naturals and Mountain Rose Herbs, but you can easily find essential oils at most health food stores or on Amazon.  I also purchased my lip balm tubes from Mountain Rose Herbs.  Disclaimer: I am not affiliated with either business, just a satisfied customer.