A Mother’s Care

Happy Summer! I am officially on summer break this week so hopefully you will see a lot more action on this blog!  Jules and I still continue to battle some health issues, her recent being pneumonia and I am four weeks post-surgery for my foot injury.  We thank you for your patience at the sparse posts but we hope to be back with lots of fun and inspiring ideas to share with you!  Just a teaser-Jules has been working on some pretty inspiring fairy gardens so stay tuned for pictures and directions for an enchanting project!

I’m happy to say the surgery for my foot injury is behind me (for more details on the injury click here).  Hopefully I will be done with the walking boot in a couple of weeks and can move on to physical therapy and be as good as new.  I’m trying to see beyond the temporary inconvenience of this injury and look ahead to days of health and healing but it has been hard to be patient.

I have learned many things through this challenge, one of the biggest being how  important encouraging words and acts of care are to someone under the weather.  I think I knew this on some level but until I actually experienced it first hand, I don’t think I really “got” how important and meaningful it is.  The encouraging e-mails, messages, visits and prayers I received before and after my surgery really helped brighten my day, made me smile and brought me so much comfort.

I realize now how much this means and I want to be better about doing this for others.  It only takes a second to send a message or make a phone call and it can really help to offer hope and cheer to someone who is feeling down.

Were you wondering when I was going to get to the point of the title?  Due to circumstances of the Mister’s work, he couldn’t be with me during my surgery.  My brother and Mom were able to be with me and then my Mom stayed to care for me afterward.  We have mentioned before about my Mom’s health issues, so I think she was feeling pretty good that she was on the caring end of things this time.  I was so thankful for Mom being here and the time we spent together.  There is just nothing like a Mother’s care and I was so comforted by her presence and help following my surgery.  She knew what I needed before I even had to ask.  We spent the days of recouperation talking, watching Hallmark movies and just hanging out.  I thank God daily for my Mom and the time we are able to spend together, as I get older, I realize deeply what a blessing this is. Here she is with Little One.  Thanks Mom for all of your help!

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I apologize for this post being a bit rambly!  I hope these words might inspire you to reach out to someone you know who is going through a health issue.  Even if you can’t be a caregiver like my Mom was to me,  taking the time to send a message, card or pick up the phone to say hi will surely brighten their day.

~Blessings,

Jen

5 Simple Exercises

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As I was going through some things in my exercise room the other day, I came across a paper with these exercises written on it.  I can’t remember exactly what I copied it from, but I decided to give it a try because it looked quick and easy.

Do 20 reps 6 times each:

  • squats
  • sit-ups
  • push-ups
  • couch dips (tricep)
  • planks (20 seconds)

It wasn’t quite as “easy” as I thought, especially the tricep dips!  I made it through 3 out of 6 sets and it took me about 12 minutes.  You can modify these exercises to meet your current fitness level, such as doing traditional push-ups or on your knees, adjusting how low you go for squats or dips or varying the sit-up position .  Also, I think this would be a great set of exercises for travel since there is no need for any special equipment.  To compensate for my poor memory skills, I moved 6 little rocks  from one pile to another to count down my 6 sets. (or 3 sets! :))

What do you think?  Why not download some tunes from this list of Christian work-out songs, crank up the music and give it a try!   Do you have any quick and easy exercise routines you enjoy?  As always, we would love to hear any feedback in the comments section!

Wishing you a happy, healthy weekend!

~Blessings,

Jen

Fitness App

 

I stumbled upon this fitness app and wanted to share it with you.  It is called POPSUGAR Active.  You can search for this name in the App Store on your phone or Ipad, or you can check it out on by following this link.  This app has choices for strength training, running, yoga or cardio workouts.

The workout choices include videos or exercise guides to choose from.  I like the videos, which give you 10 minute or 40 minute options.  Each area of fitness has a variety of choices from total body workouts or specific body part focus such as arms, abs or legs. One of the main instructors, Anna Renderer, is upbeat and motivating and the videos are easy to follow.  I love the 10 minute videos because they are easy to fit into my busy day.

Below is one of the videos for abs:

 

Wishing you a happy, healthy, blessed day!

~Blessings,

Jen

8 Reasons to be Grateful

Gratitude

I would like to share with you all the reason for our absence the last few days. In addition to Thanksgiving exhaustion, our mom was rushed by ambulance to the hospital Sunday night with some heart problems. It has been a very tiring few days for all of us. She is having a procedure tomorrow that hopefully will help things. In the meantime I came across this online and though it would be good to share. Something I feel is important and especially so right now, is feeling grateful. We all need to remember to do this more frequently. Something that isn’t on the list that I am also incredibly thankful for is my faith and a loving God that has helped support us through these trying times. What would be on your gratitude list?

 

Peace and love,

Julie

 

Even in the toughest economic or political times, there are numerous reasons to be grateful. The old saying tells us to count our blessings, but sometimes that can be difficult to do. It doesn’t have to be Thanksgiving for you to feel grateful and express that gratitude. Every now and then, it doesn’t hurt to take stock of just how good you have it. Here are eight reasons to be grateful.

Life

You woke up this morning, breathing and with a heartbeat. You get to enjoy today and hopefully wake up again tomorrow. You get to see your family and friends, and enjoy food and life’s luxuries. It can sometimes be easy to forget to be grateful for the most basic thing: life itself.

Health

”At least you have your health.” Heard that before? According to Valerie Reiss, holistic living editor for Beliefnet, you should be grateful for your health because it is the foundation of who you are. According to Reiss, you don’t necessarily need to be physically and mentally well to feel healthy, but when you do feel healthy, it’s one of life’s greatest blessings.

Employment

People often complain about their job, calling it the daily grind or worse. But having a job is something for which you can really be grateful. A job probably gets you out of the house every day and adds variety into your daily life so that you are not just sitting at home on the couch. Even more, a job helps you pay your bills and means you’re not standing in the unemployment line or wondering how you’re going to eat each week.

So even if you don’t have the most exciting job in the world, remember to feel some gratitude for it every once in a while, because your life would be a lot different without it.

Family

Some people love ‘em, some don’t: families. If you’re one of those whose family loves and supports you, consider yourself lucky and be grateful. Feel thankful and express that gratefulness if you are lucky enough to have family who is more like friends: They’re people you can confide in and who will be there for you through thick and thin. Many people don’t have that kind of family, so be grateful. And remember to tell them how lucky you are.

Friends

You can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. If you’ve chosen good ones, remember to be grateful for them and express your love and appreciation.

According to Reiss, friends are the families we make. Friends help you remember who you really are and who you can become. They remind you what you want and need, as well as what you deserve. True friends are there through your best and darkest times. Appreciate that connection. Express your gratitude every chance you get.

The outdoors

How lucky are we to have parks and trees and rivers and trails and animals and mountains and hills and oceans? The outdoors is such a blessing, and one for which we should always be grateful. According to Reiss, the natural outdoors helps you feel connected to every aspect of this earth — the ground, the sky and everything and every creature in between.

Free time

You may feel like you never have enough, but you should be grateful for what free time you do have. Free time lets you be you. You get to do your favorite things, no matter what those are. Free time allows you to sleep more, enjoy the outdoors, relax at home, garden, fish— whatever you enjoy most. Be grateful that you get the opportunity to do the things you love.

Modern technology

Though it’s the one material thing on this list, it is important to feel gratefulness for today’s modern gadgets. Think about how much they contribute to your daily life. For some, they help them do their jobs every day. Some people use them solely as a form of entertainment. For some, they provide a beat to keep you motivated during your run or gym workout. Feel even more gratefulness for the modern techno-gadgets that keep people alive, like pacemakers. Today’s gadgets do so much to keep our lives going that we often overlook them. Instead, the next time you’re typing away on that computer, remember to appreciate it and be grateful.

Be Inspired To Listen

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” Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own;  you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.”  

                                                                                                           1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

I have been dealing with a back injury since February of this year.  At the time of the injury, I thought I could just work through it and it would go away, but it didn’t.  Ten months later I am finally starting to feel better.  This journey to healing has been a frustrating one, but I have learned a lot about listening to my body.  I have had to learn to be patient with myself and give my body time to heal.

Up until this injury, I was pretty active and ran five days a week.  After the injury, I kept running for four months despite the pain.  I kept thinking it would get better and I could just run through the pain.  The old adage of “no pain, no gain” was not working for me. I finally decided to seek some help, trying a few different options, until I eventually ended up with a prescription for physical therapy. One of the first directions my physical therapist gave me was to stop running.  This was a tough one to follow,  I had never had an injury that kept me from doing the things I wanted to do.  For me, running is not only a great form of exercise but it is also helps me to stay mentally fit!

Over the course of my treatment, my physical therapist taught me exercises that would help strengthen my back and improve my pain level.  I had a few setbacks during the course of treatment, when I would try to run and then realize my body wasn’t ready for that type of exercise yet. (I can be a slow learner sometimes!)  Over the weeks, I learned to really stop and listen to my body.  If I was in pain, I would try to listen to my body and  if  it was telling me I needed a  more gentle exercise or even rest, then that was what I needed to do!  It was a very hard lesson for me, to slow down and listen, but it was definitely one I needed to learn!

I started thinking about how listening to our body is something that often gets lost in this busy, fast-paced world.  I know I am guilty of rushing through my day, not always getting enough sleep or nourishing my body with healthy food.  When I really stopped to think about it, why wouldn’t I listen and care for myself?  Why would I take for granted this most precious gift of life from God?  I started thinking about how intricately God designed us, all that goes on inside our bodies each day from our beating hearts to the gift of sight and sound and all of the other many systems within that allow us to live each day.  This motivates me to want to take better care of myself.  In doing so, I can honor God and live my best life, a life of service to the One who created me.

I am human and I know I won’t always listen like I should, but I am going to try.  If I am tired, I will get some rest, if I am in pain, I will slow down and care for myself .  When I am feeling stressed, I will take a deep breath and try to manage it better.  If I feel like jumping for joy, I think I will do that too!  These are just a few of the things I can do to listen and take care of myself.  In a month where we focus on thankfulness, I can’t help but reflect on and be so very  thankful for this beautiful gift of life God has given me!

~Blessings,

Jen

A Journey Back To Health – One Woman’s Amazing Weight Loss Story

I would like to introduce you to an amazing woman who is on an awesome journey towards weight loss. Meet Kelli a 40 year old woman who has lost 134.3 pounds to be exact!! I have known Kelli since she was a little girl. (Ok…now that is making me feel old!!!) I know that this is something she has struggled with for a long time. Her story is very motivating as her health had to take a big dip before she found the motivation. (Isn’t it that way for most of us!!??) But find it she did and sometimes it makes me tired just reading of all of the exercise and working out she is doing. So sit back, relax and read Kelli’s story. I hope it inspires you as much as it did me!! If  you would like to continue to follow Kelli’s progress, check our her motivational weight loss page at www.facebook.com/weightlossmyway

Peace,

Jules

What made you start your weight loss journey?

Weight loss has been a lifelong battle for me. Even though I played all sports in school, I was always a lot bigger than the other girls in my class. As time went on, I graduated from college and started working in high stress environment working long hours, rarely getting a lunch and either not eating all day or living on fast food with little to no exercise. That was a recipe for disaster. Ultimately I tipped the scales at 368 pounds. Even at 5’11 (5’10 with spine degeneration), that’s a lot of weight for anyone to carry. When I thought things couldn’t get worse, my Dermatologist prescribed Accutane to me for acne which wasn’t that bad. I basically broke out the week before and after my period, but this had gone on for like 15 years and I was tired of not getting results. What a mistake that was! Within a few short months I ended up on medical disability at the age of 36! Then I was hospitalized four times in four years (side effects from Accutane). At one point I was so sick that I was seeing 20 different medical professionals and sleeping 18 hours a day with medical co-pay bills exceeding $10,000 a year! I literally could not get out of bed. My body just wouldn’t move. Prior to that, regardless of 90 hour work weeks in a high stress leadership capacity, I was always an outgoing, high energy person who motivated others. My last position was Regional Director for EDS Credit Union in Michigan. After a year and a half in bed, one of my friends turned me onto her holistic practitioner, Sandy Waters, RN in Waterford who practiced Nutritional Response Testing (NRT/Muscle Testing). At that point I would have tried anything. It took 6 months of taking Organic Whole Food Supplements for me to be able to get out of bed. As soon as I was strong enough, I went right to a local fitness and training center and signed up for six months of personal training sessions. I was definitely on a quest to get my life back! I lost close to 100 pounds on my own in 10 months time, but then I fell into a terrible funk after my last hospitalization that I just couldn’t pull myself out of. My doctor prescribed Paxil for anxiety and depression. I could have eaten a house. I gained 60 pounds in two months! I was so mad, frustrated and just felt defeated. All that hard work down the drain! It was then that I decided to have weight loss surgery. Which is what I did on December 20, 2012. Knowing what I know now I wish I would have never had the surgery. I could have lost the weight on my own as hard as I’ve been training. Otherwise the surgery was a breeze. My Reiki Master/Teacher prepared my body before the surgery, sent me energy during the surgery and afterwards. I never once got sick and I was eating solid foods in 5 days, but that was part of the problem. Nothing changed. I can eat all the same foods, eat the same amount, sugar doesn’t make me sick, nothing. I had to change for me and I worked out hard. I lost this weight, the surgery wasn’t much help. Plus I recently found out that I don’t methylate (this means process toxins out of her body…I had to ask too!) and I’m Leptin Resistant, so I’m on supplements to correct that. And I started drinking Bragg’s Apple Cider Vinegar with Mother each day and the weights just been falling off me. There’s so much more, but I could be here all day listing the things that I did, things I tried, holistic healing, etc, but most of it you can read on my FB page.

How did you lose the weight?

A lot of hard work, self motivation, consistent dedication and determination! 🙂 I made a bold move and announced my weight loss journey and my six month goal on facebook. My plan was to lose 50 pounds by year end which I did. I checked in every time I worked out and posted my weekly weight loss numbers. I was training up to 14 hours in a week between two gyms and physical therapy and that was with two bad knees and a bad back. So all of my exercises had to be modified which made weight loss a lot slower for me. After losing 25 pounds I started posting weekly progression photos which was pretty powerful. What I found is that I was motivating others and in return their compliments and encouragement was motivating me right back.

I initially started working out with a personal trainer at VIP Fitness & Training in July 2011. I trained with Jackie 2-3 times a week and then joined Great Lakes Athletic Club for water aerobic classes and swimming to get my cardio in. Some weeks I was training up to 14 hours and that was after 5 knee surgeries and tipping the scales at 368. I desperately needed exercise that was easy on my joints. My goal was to lose 50 pounds by year end which is exactly what I did. In January 2012, I switched trainers and started weight lifting with Earl Hook. He has a program called “Pure Power.” It’s no joke! I was training 3-4 hours, 3x’s a week. The first day of training I could barely walk, sit or lift my fork at dinner and that’s no exaggeration. And that was AFTER working out 6 full months with a personal trainer PLUS cardio 5-7 days a week! That guy was hardcore, but he also got results. Shortly after starting Earls program, one of the guys that I graduated with, Tom Bos who is part owner of World Gym in Waterford sent me a message. He said, if you’re really serious about losing the weight, I’ll give you a FREE membership to my club and personally train you until you hit your goal. Talk about a GIFT from God…WOW! I’ve been training with Tom since March 2012.

Diet wise I slowly made lifestyle changes that I could live with; high protein, low carbs, low sugar. I took several nutrition classes and the holistic practitioners that I worked with were always educating me on nutrition and holistic practices. It was a true learning experience that I’m very grateful for. I also discovered www.myfitnesspal.com which was a great tool for tracking my food (calories, protein, carbs, fats, etc). If you haven’t tried it, you should. It’s an eye opening experience. in the last six months I discovered the Paleo Diet (Caveman Diet). If you haven’t heard of it…Please Google it. It’s the healthiest eating lifestyle out there. It’s literally curing autoimmune diseases. You lose weight, lean out, get stronger, have more energy and your health improves dramatically. There’s no question that organic whole food heals…It’s proven.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Initially I was self motivated to save my life and get my health back on track. I wanted to take the stress off my joints, my knees and back were killing me. Plus diabetes and heart disease run on both sides of my family and those are definitely limbs of the family tree that I want to avoid.  I was inspired by all of the motivational saying and affirmations that I saw on facebook. They always gave me a positive energy boost. Plus as I started to lose weight others noticed and they always complimented me and encouraged my weight loss journey in person and on facebook. Recently I found myself being inspired by all of the other women at the gym who are there with me every day of the week. It takes a special person to have that level of dedication and commitment. Other things that motivated me were contests online like www.DietBet.com, www.ChallengeLoop.com, www.shapeupchallenge.com and many, many more just like it. I also began training for the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Walk for Breast Cancer…60 miles in 3 Days. So I followed a grueling 6 day training schedule for that. Thankfully the finish line is in sight…I’ll be walking in Atlanta October 18-20. In July I signed up to walk The Biggest Loser Run/Walk series 15k (9.32 miles) in Chicago. That was my first official race which of course I walked because I literally can’t run. It’s just way too hard on my joints. Since then I walked The Michigan Mile & The Crim 10Miler in August, plus the Detroit Woman’s Half Marathon (13.1 miles) in September. At the end of October I’m walking the Halloween Hustle 10K (6.21 miles) at Stoney Creek Metro Park if anyone wants to join me. 🙂

What is the hardest part?

The hardest part is to make it a lifestyle and keep going day after day after day. Especially the last 6 months training 7 days a week, most days twice a day. It’s a lot of work and patience. I got through by treating training like a job. I scheduled my work outs on my calendar and showed up to train like my pay check depended on it. Plus I had a lot of motivation to keep going. Someone was training me for FREE! #1 and that’s a huge gift that I couldn’t pass up. #2 I wouldn’t want to disappoint my trainer after all the time and effort that he put in. #3 This journey is for me! 🙂 #4 I’ve got a lot of people following my journey so I feel a sense of obligation to keep going for them. The old adage of, “One day at a time” is really how you do it.

What is the best part?

The best part is the relief that my joints are getting and how much my health has improved overall. Getting my energy levels back. Healing my gut and eliminating food allergies. After recent testing, I have a heart rate of 50 which they said is an athlete’s heart. I look and feel so much better. It’s so nice to go to a sporting event, concert or theater performance and fit in the seat. To be able to ride the rides at Cedar Point again. To fly in an airplane with leg and hip room and not have to use a seat belt extension. To fit comfortably in my car and other cars. To be able to ride my mountain bike again. To fit into size 14 clothing again! I’m still an 18 on the bottom, but I can’t wait to shop at a regular clothing store! I’m looking forward to hitting my goal and buying new clothes! 🙂 Having the option to go zip lining, ride in a helicopter or anything else that has a weight requirement. Comparing my before and after photos to see how far I’ve come. Receiving compliments everywhere I go on how great I look. And most of all…It makes me so HAPPY to know that I played a part in motivating and inspiring others on their journey.

Kelli photo 1BEFORE

Kelli's progressProgress Pictures!!

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