40 Days to Better Health

Daniel PlanWinter in the mid-west is brutal.  This winter in the mid-west was especially brutal.  As a fibromyalgia sufferer fighter, cold and I do not get along! Every winter I tend to cocoon myself in my house near my fireplace and hide from the cold.  I tend to get lazy in the winter.  Not about work and school but about myself.  I don’t cook much or I cook “easy”.  I eat less fresh fruits and veggies even though I love them.   Once spring finally arrives,  I often find that I have gained a few pounds and am feeling a bit sluggish.  So along with a group of girlfriends, I am embarking on a 40 day challenge to eat better, exercise more and feel healthier.  As a group we are going to be following The Daniel Plan by Pastor Rick Warren and Drs. Mark Hyman and Daniel Amen.  And since it can be found in a book, I thought I’d blog about it.

One thing I really like about The Daniel Plan is that it’s focus isn’t simply on food and exercise.  The Daniel Plain outlines five essentials to health:  Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends.  Speaking for myself, I know the  HOWS of a healthy lifestyle.  I know what to eat and what not to eat to lose weight and be healthy.  I know that I need to move more and   It’s the WHY that often escape me.  I mean sometimes that gooey cheesy nacho dip seems like a better, or at least more enjoyable, choice.   I love that this program encourages community to improve our health.    I love that it is grounded in faith.  Both these “ingredients” help to give me my WHY!

My challenge starts tomorrow with a 10 day detox followed by a 30 day eating plan.  I’m committing to exercising three days a week which include meeting my sister in law a couple times a week a the gym and Zumba once a week with my Daniel Plan group.  I will keep you posted on my progress as well as let you think about the book and the plan as I go along!

 

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Feature and Follow Friday – 4/25/14

FF_2013ButtonFeature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The idea of this blog hop is for bloggers to have an opportunity to make new friends and gain new followers.  I follow you and you follow me.  Fun!

 Have any pets?  Tell us or show us!

Of course we have pets!  We are big animal lovers in my house and huge advocates for pet rescues.  All of the animals in our house are rescues.

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Trixie is a 6 year old beagle that we rescued about 4 years ago.  She loves to be outside but hated this winter’s extreme cold.  She would be out 5 minutes and then want back in, only to want to see if it warmed up just 10 minutes later.  Trixie is always serious which makes her hysterical to watch.

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Percy is our 4 year old Shih tzu that was rescued out of a puppy mill 3 years ago.  We got him at about 10 months.  He was a lucky puppy to escape that life so young.  He is full of personality and gets himself into trouble.

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Logan is our 11 year old foster dog.  This little Maltese has been with us two years after spending 9 years of his life living in a puppy mill.  When he came to us he was so afraid of everyone that he wouldn’t leave from under our kitchen table.  This picture was taken just a week or so after he came to live with us.  He was so fascinated by the flowers I was planting he forgot to be afraid of me.  He got right in the pot to smell the flowers!  He has come a long way and is my constant companion.  I don’t know if he will ever be adopted but he has a home with us for as long as he needs it.

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We recently lost our two cats.  Ophelia is our black cat that I adopted 20 years ago.  She passed away a couple months ago.

oliver

Oliver passed away last year to stomach cancer.  He was 19.  I adopted him just a week after I adopted Ophelia.  She needed a playmate.  I miss having purrs in my house but the pups keep me busy.

We have also had numerous foster dogs though the house over the years and I loved each one and was so happy when we found their families.

Want to play along?  Here are the rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers

Be sure to let me know you are a new follower, so I can follow you too!  Also I would love to connect with you on twitter!

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Top Ten Books with Strong Families

toptentuesdayTop Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by the broke and the bookish.  This week’s topic is “Top Ten Characters Who X (you fill in the blank — examples: piss me off, are the popular kids, are bookish, would be my bff, that stole my heart, etc. etc.)”

This week’s post started out as a Top Ten but really I think is going to be more of a commentary.  Not only am I am mother, raising three teenage (or soon to be teenage) children, but I am also a counselor/parent educator turned family minister.  To say family is extremely important to me is an understatement.  Really it is a passion.  I want my life and my career about helping parents to create strong close families that love to work, play and just be together.  So I thought I would create a Top Ten Young Adult books that feature strong families.  Shouldn’t be too hard.  Right?  Let’s see.

  1. The Weasley’s from Harry Potter.   This family was the first to spring to mind. I love this loud, chaotic, magical family!    Molly and Arthur are parents I love.  Their family is one that stays together and sticks up for each other.  They are involved in their children’s lives even when they are away at school ( I just love Molly’s howlers!) They  make sacrifices for their family and the cause they believe in.  Not to mention welcome Harry into their family as one of their own.
  2. The Duchannes/Ravenwood family from Beautiful Creatures.  Ok, I realize Lena’s mother is dark and has abandoned her and yes, half of the family is also dark.  But who doesn’t have some of those relatives?  The light side of the family is as close and caring as it is large and I love Macon Ravenwood as the patriarch of the family.
  3. The Tucks from Tuck Everlasting. It has been a really long time since I’ve read this book, but my memory tells me this was a close family.
  4. The March Family from Little Women. I don’t need to explain this one!
  5. The Cullens from Twilight.  While this family may not be your conventional family (how do you parent a 100 year old ‘teen,’ even if you are a few hundred years older…) they are one that stick together through everything.  They can disagree but still be respectful of each other and their leader.

And that is where my list ends.  My list of characters with absent parents, both physically or emotionally, is near endless.

  1. Harry Potter
  2. Katniss Everdeen – Hunger Games
  3. Clary – Mortal Instruments
  4. Bella Swan – Twilight
  5. Ethan Waite – Beautiful Creatures
  6. Lena  – Delirium
  7. Grace – Shiver
  8. Zoey Redbird – House of Night Series
  9. The Baudelaire children – A Series of Unfortunate Events
  10.  Zara – Need

And the list can go on.  I understand how having an absent parent can provide the author with the freedom he or she needs to tell the story.  Can you imagine bringing home a vampire to your present, connected and observant parents?  I don’t think so.  And even the majority of the books I listed as having a strong family, they are not the family of the main character (who’s parent is usually absent).  And I’ve mentioned that I am in the middle of writing my own YA novel, and guess where dad is?  That’s right.  Absent.  (Although, it is absolutely necessary.  I swear!)    However, I love to read about strong families.  I feel it can add so much to the story.  What are some books you’ve read with strong families?

It’s Monday, What are you reading? 4/21/14

its mondayIt’s Monday, What are you reading, is a weekly meme hosted by Book Journey.

If you read my previous post, I have confessed to a recent reading/blogging slump.  I’ve literally fallen asleep with my book in hand each night after barely opening its pages.  (Or in this case, powering up my ereader.)  That said, here is what I am reading this week.

What I read last week & What I am reading this week, happen to be the same.

lost lake

 

And I’m listening to:

raven boysYes, I know these are what I was reading last time! About two weeks ago!   I am really hoping for a less hectic week and time to sit down and finish these two books as I am really enjoying both.

 

 

 

Finding Balance

I wear a lot of hats!  Too many hats maybe.  I’m a wife, a mother, a homeschooler, a Spanish teacher, a family ministry director, a parent educator and I’ve recently added book blogger to this long list.  It can be hard to juggle so many different things but I usually manage just fine.  (My husband may disagree with this statement.)  I manage, that is, until a major event or deadline sends me into a tailspin, demanding more and more of my time, than I had allotted.  This week it was Easter!

Part of my job in Family Ministries is running the Children’s ministry.  I love special holidays with the kids.  I get to detour off our regular curriculum and do something big, fun, and exciting.  However, big, fun, and exciting requires a lot of work.

Given where Easter falls on the calendar it is also the time of year I need to look at my children’s school work and well as the Spanish classes I teach and make sure everyone is set to finish strong.  We have less than a month left of school!  This means extra study time with each one of my three kids.  Making sure they are where they should be in each of their subjects, spending time looking forward to final exams and helping them prepare to study for those, identifying year end projects and pacing them out to finish on time, etc.  Similarly for my classes, I’m making sure we are on track with our syllabus to complete the curriculum, preparing a final exam and study guide, etc.

Each morning when I woke up this week, I thought about what I might blog about that day from the posts I have started weeks prior.  And every night I would go to bed thinking, “Tomorrow!”  while I pick up my current read and fall asleep before I made it to the end of the page.  But now Easter is over and I am getting back to it.  (While keeping my eye on finals week and the crazy VBS week that will be looming shortly after! )

So my question, to all you experienced bloggers with crazy schedules is this:  How do you find balance?  What do you do to keep your blog moving when there is no time for it in your life that week?

Feature and Follow – April 10, 2014

FF_2013ButtonFeature and Follow Friday is a weekly blog hop hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.  The idea of this blog hop is for bloggers to have an opportunity to make new friends and gain new followers.  I follow you and you follow me.  Fun!  

Tell us about a book you didn’t like and why we shouldn’t read it (as nicely and respectfully as possible.)

I love to read and it is a very rare day indeed that I can’t find something redeeming in a book.  While I decided the day I completed graduate school that I would never again finish a book I didn’t like, I finish almost everything I set out to read.  Its a great thing to be able to choose for myself what books I will read and what books I don’t.  As a matter of fact, there is only ONE book I can think of that I didn’t finish because I found nothing that I liked about it, and it was The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling.

casual vacancy

 

I feel like I have  to say that I did not go into this book expecting Harry Potter for grown ups.  But I did expect to find at least one character that I liked.  Just one would have kept me reading until the end.  However, I made it almost half way through and she was still introducing new characters and I still hadn’t found one I liked!  Not one!  For me, this is the death of a book.  If there isn’t at least one character I care about what is the point in finishing?  Really?

I would hate to say, “DON’T READ IT!”   But it certainly wasn’t my cup of tea.

Want to play along?  Here are the rules:

  1. (Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
  2. (Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
  3. Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
  4. Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
  5. If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
  6. Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
  7. If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers

Be sure to let me know you are a new follower, so I can follow you too!  Also I would love to connect with you on twitter!

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

Top Ten Tuesday – Most Unique Books

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.  This week’s topic is the Top Ten Most Unique Books.

I couldn’t quite make it to ten but here is what made my list:

the book thiefthe lovely bonesroomtime traveler's wifebonaventure arrowphantom tollbooththe graveyard book

 

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak.  I almost didn’t read this book given that the book is set in Nazi Germany with Death is the narrator, but I am so glad I did.

2.  The Lovely Bones by Alice Siebold.  Another book was such serious subject matter.  Suzy’s ghost telling her own story makes this book a unique read for me.

3.  Room by Emma Donoghue.  I’ve seemed to pick a number of books that aren’t the easiest subjects to read about.  I included this book in my list because the story is told by the child of a woman held in captivity.

4.  The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffengeger.  Watching this relationship take place out of the constraints of chronological time is certainly unique.

5.  The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski.  Sweet silent Bonaventure is just part of what makes this book unique.

6.  The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.  I just read this a couple years ago with my oldest son.  I loved the way the author played with words for this fun story.

7.  The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaimon.  While the story was inspired by The Jungle Book, Gaimon’s story of a little boy raised by the inhabitants of a graveyard is a unique take.  I completely enjoyed this book.