Archives for March 2014

The Scale – The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

the scaleAnybody else feel this way when they step on the scale? I have been a member of Weight Watchers for a little over 3 years now. Trust me, that scale has been a huge part of my life for a long time, actually way way longer than just 3 years. Some days it makes me happy, some days it makes me sad, some days it makes me angry, and some days, well frankly, some days I just pretend it isn’t there!! I use the scale for accountability. Apparently I need this electronic object to tell me how I’m doing or what I should change. It can evoke joy, hope and failure.

I have been thinking a lot about this lately. While the scale can be a useful tool, does it really say anything about who I am? Does it register when I’ve been a good wife, mother, grandmother, employee or friend? Does it tell me when I’ve been kind and helpful? Can it see into my heart and see a love for Jesus, my family, friends and my dogs??

You see, my friends. The scale is giving us a number, it says nothing about our character or who we really are, so why are we buying into it so much. I think we would much better serve ourselves if we focused on feeding our bodies the best quality and healthiest food we can. Because we want to care for ourselves, we want to give ourselves good food. And exercise…should it be torture? Or should it be a good brisk walk in the sunshine and fresh air, maybe with a friend or your dog. Or how about hiking, kayaking, swimming, playing sports, just having fun moving the bodies God gave us. Why must we make it all seem so hard. I think if we really start to value ourselves as wonderful human beings and practice good self care, maybe that number on the scale will just take care of itself. I for one don’t want it to have such an affect on me. I want to make changes because I like feeling better, healthier, stronger and more energetic. Don’t get me wrong, I also love the smaller clothes, the complements and the sense of accomplishment! I’ve made some great friends at Weight Watchers and I will never stop attending meetings. That’s just who I am. I need their feedback, their pep talks and the encouragement of friends. I like sharing their successes and them sharing mine. But the scales…I’m ready to stop letting them stress me out and start practicing what I preach….self care, being nice to ourselves and doing things we love. Now that will bring success!! Good luck on whatever path you take!

Peace,

Julie

Homemade Hand Sanitizer

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I usually try to wash my hands with plain old soap and water to get rid of icky germs and try to avoid illness, but it is not always possible.  In an effort to try to avoid harsh chemicals, I decided to give this recipe for homemade hand sanitizer a go!  I’m not sure what magazine I clipped it out of, but the article references Kate Snow, a green-living expert and author.  It contains 4 simple ingredients, the aloe vera and witch hazel I found at a discount store and the essential oils at I picked up at Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods Market.  It was a super easy project and took me less than 10 minutes to whip up a batch.

1/2 cup pure aloe vera gel

1 1/2 tsp witch hazel

15 drops tea tree oil

5 drops lavender essential oil

I mixed it up in a glass bowl and then used a small funnel to fill one three ounce container.  It took a little tapping on the counter but it went in pretty easily.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t  in love with the smell at first.  I think the tea tree oil has a strong scent, but the lavender balances it out.  However, I’m willing to put up with the smell in order to avoid harsh chemicals.  The smell of the oils did seem to dissipate after a few minutes.  When I tested it out, it felt a little sticky at first, but I kept rubbing for a few seconds and it evaporated on my hands.

How about you?  Do you have any natural recipes you love?   I’m always looking for more natural chemical-free ideas.  We would love to hear from you!

Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

 

Is it Worth It?

Recently I was meeting with someone and we started talking about personal struggles and goal setting. I really like the AA mantra of Living Live One Day at a Time. However, my twist on that is that we have to set goals and plan for the future and then take it one day at a time. It’s kind of like climbing a mountain; you look up every once in awhile but you need to focus on the steps in front of us. I think we all have something that we might struggle with or want to set a goal for  whether it be addictions (alcohol, drugs, food, shopping etc), health issues, getting exercise or whatever your challenge might be. Getting through those struggles and achieving the goal can be hard. I like to use the example of my excursion to the frozen lighthouse in January. It was a long walk over some pretty slippery icy conditions. I really had to focus on where I was going because of the unstable footing. Every once in awhile I would look towards the lighthouse just to keep my eye on my goal. As I got closer, things got a little more treacherous. Some people decided they had went far enough. I started asking some people that I knew had been to the end…”Is it worth it,” I asked. Overwhelmingly I heard YES! That gave me the push and encouragement to push on. And yes….as you can see from my pictures, it was worth it!! Now isn’t that how a lot of things work? We look to those who have already traveled the path we are on. It might be your pastor, a group leader, a fitness trainer, someone in a career you have dreamed of, do you think they believe it it worth it? Look to those who have walked the path before us and don’t miss out on any adventure. Yes, you might have to work for it, because that is how achieving goals works; we have to put a little effort in. So tell me, what is something you have wanted to do? Do you know anyone you can ask, is it worth it?

Julie Lighthouse 2 Julie at lighthouse

Peace,

Julie

Hope

For those of you living here in Michigan, I want to offer you hope and a reminder of why we choose to live here!  In my opinion, there is not a more beautiful place than summertime in Michigan.  So hold on, even though it is supposed to snow again tomorrow, summer WILL arrive!  Here are a few of my favorite Michigan destinations.

Sunset at my brother’s cottage.

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Mackinac Island

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Pictured Rocks

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Sunset on the pristine waters of Lake Superior

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My brother’s dog-pure happiness!

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~Blessings,

Jen

Just For The Fun of It!

Last night I took some time to do something just for the fun of it, and I had a blast!  It wasn’t easy, it involved  a little pre-planning for arranging kid swaps with the Mister, making dinner ahead and making sure things were all set at home, but I made it happen.  Jules is always saying how important it is to take some time for self-care (see this post) and I think she is right.  The happy feeling of the evening lasted well beyond the actual event.  So what did I do? Here is a little clue:

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My niece arranged for a group of us to attend a painting class at a place called Painting With a Twist.  We could bring our own snacks and beverages and the instructor gave us step by step directions on how to paint this picture.  It was a light, fun, creative atmosphere and it was great just to hang out and spend time with family and friends.  No painting experience was needed, all that was required was the ability to follow simple directions and willingness to let go of perfection and have some fun!  Here are Jules and I having some fun!

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The finished products.

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If you look closely, we even had some face painting fun!   So if you have been thinking about doing something just for fun, I encourage you to go ahead and do it!  Who knows, you might just discover a new passion or hobby!  What do you think of our “masterpieces”!

~Blessings,

Jen

 

Show Me the Shamrock!

ShamrockFeast ye old eyes on the Shamrock, the symbol we all associate with St. Patrick’s Day. Now, after looking at it and studying it….do you know the meaning behind the Shamrock? I did not until yesterday. I am not really sure how I got to be 56 years old and be part Irish and not know this information! I was watching Television yesterday morning when the local newscasters were interviewing a lady who was a founder of the “Corktown” Parade and festivities in Detroit, MI. Behind them you could see Michigan Avenue in Detroit’s Historic Corktown which was a sea of green where people young and old were decked out in their greatest Irish colored gear. It was announced that this annual Irish shebang welcomes tens of thousands of people each year!

During this interview the “Irish Lady” explained that the Shamrock was the symbol of the Holy Trinity. During the fifth century, St. Patrick adopted the shamrock as a religious symbol, noting that the three leaves represented the Holy Trinity of Christianity, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. As St. Patrick worked to spread Christian doctrine across Ireland, the shamrock became a symbol of his work. He was so loved that St. Patrick’s Day was named for him, although the religious connotations of the shamrock in the holiday celebration have mostly been forgotten. The “Irish Lady” being interviewed also said the stem represented God. So, I decided to look it up and sure enough, that is where the Shamrock symbol became the mascot of St. Patrick’s Day! Hopefully the next time you see the shamrock, or wear something with the shamrock on it, it will help you to remember St. Patrick and the message he was sending out to people.

So, now you know the meaning of the Shamrock….did anyone else out there know this???

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Julie