2018 – Three Words to Live By

Wow! What a year in mind, body and spirit in 2017.

As I look toward the end of this year, I would usually write the obligatory New Year’s resolutions. In 2018, my approach will be living by three words: frugality, grace and truth.

Frugality

“The lack of wastefulness” per Dictionary.com

I will turn 57 years old in 2018. It’s difficult for me to believe I will be that age. Per the World Life Expectancy Organization, the average life expectancy for a woman living in Michigan is 80.68. This average life expectancy ranks 33 in the United States with Hawaii in first place at 84.72 years of age, followed by Minnesota at 83.34 years of age. Minnesota???

Even if I move to Hawaii, I have approximately 27 summers (my favorite season) left in my life.

27 years. Think about that for a moment. How fast did the last 27 years fly by?

No time to waste

I am going to live in the present enjoying every second with people and puppies I love, but more importantly, WHO I want to be in my presence. People that share my sense of fun and frivolity, but who also share my values.

Even if I am having a shitty day, I will think of days in the summer sun and enjoy the warmth of the memories of being in my favorite places and spaces, and doing the things I love to do, and loving on my favorite people.

No time to spend

My husband, Vinny Sal and I have had a tough time financially since 2009 when I lost my job. I have been employed full-time for a year and half of being a self-employed contractor and through perseverance and hard-work, we are almost debt free.

I was impressed by the story of the 28-year old accountant who paid off $73,000 student loan debt in less than 4 years. ABC News Story – Logan Marston

“There wasn’t any kind of secret strategy or secret formula,” Marston said. “I was just living as humbly as possible–splitting rent with roommates, and doing everything I could to save money. I kept a very low cash reserve. I didn’t have any emergency cash. Whatever I saved, I paid the loans with it. No unnecessary spending whatsoever.”

Who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks? Logan Marston taught me to forgo the wants and take care of the needs. By the time we are retired, our goal is to completely be debt free with no mortgages or car payments.

Grace

God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it. God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10

As Thomas Merton was quoted as saying, “Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy.”

I will continue my personal initiative, “The Watering Can– Helping All of God’s Creatures Thrive.” This initiative is to serve others in need, to be a service resource, and to provide service development for those who want to become their own watering can in their community and beyond.

The Watering Can is a life of service built on the belief that each person and all of God’s creatures have intrinsic value deserving of love and a quality life without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, politics, gender, sexual orientation, breed or species.

Grace in action is about serving those who need my gifts. Kindness in action is living the commandment, “‘Love your neighbor as you love yourself.’’’ Matthew 22:39

Truth

“The state or character of living free” per Dictionary.com

2017 was a year of forced personal revelations and admissions about the state of my mind, body and spirit. I will continue to live my truth and not hide behind it anymore.

Mind

I have unloaded my conscious and soul. I am now true. The things I will continue to do in 2018 is write, blog, and journal. My mind won’t allow me to do anything else.

I started a poetry journal at the beginning of 2017. After reading through it, it speaks more clearly to me of what was happening that day, in my life, and in the world than my other journals. Poetry matters. If not for you, it does to me. I hope you have enjoyed some of the poetry I have posted here along the way. I will continue my poetry journal in 2018 because not only is good for my mind; it is precious to my soul.

Body

In 2017, I came to terms with my weight. I didn’t die from admitting that I am medically coined “obese.” I have Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis and on my way to Type II Diabetes. I have committed to change my lifestyle to the 9-inch plate. Vinny Sal and I have joined the local 24/7-hour gym. Together, supporting one another, we are changing our health, lifestyle so we can reach, and hopefully exceed our life expectancies. Did you notice I didn’t say the word diet? I refuse to diet ever again. I am committed to a lifestyle that gives me more than 27 summers!

Spirit

The one thing I am not proud of in 2017 is that I have not attended church on a weekly basis. I am in search of a faith community for both Vinny Sal and me.It’s my fault really.In 1018, I am embarking on an intense spiritual journey writing a spiritual memoir. As in my new physical lifestyle, I need God. I need to worship Him fully and faithfully. If you want to join me on my spiritual journey, please follow my blog, The Prayer Journals. I will be spending a great deal of time over there pursuing spiritual topics as I explore spiritual purpose.

Frugality – Grace – Truth

Sailboat Haiku 2018

Happy New Year!

The Blogging Owl

 

 

 

 

#Vegan2016 Fueling Balance

BODY MIND SPIRIT BALANCE

Last time I wrote on #Vegan2016, my focus has been on the positives since transitioning into the vegan lifestyle. Truly the most important positive aspect of this new lifestyle has been a change in my attitude toward food. After the initial weeks of literally cleaning the sludge out my system, I not only have a sense of being lighter (not weight-wise), but new found clarity in body, mind, and spirit.

Fueling the Body

I always thought my relationship with food was out of boredom and lack of focus. While I believe that is still true, I can no longer deny that I was seeking comfort too. Yet after almost five weeks into this new lifestyle, I rarely look at food longingly but as a necessity to fuel my body. I confess. On occasion I miss Mac ‘n cheese, as well as chicken, but I don’t yearn for them enough to give into temptation. Likewise, when I have been in situations with family or friends and strictly vegan choices were unavailable, I made the best food decisions possible and kept my portions to a minimum.

Fueling the Mind

Can the food we eat dull the mind?

“Early birds” feel most productive the first part of the day and their food choices become particularly important during lunch and throughout the afternoon. “Night Owls” feel most energetic later in the day and should pay attention to their breakfast choices as they can increase or decrease energy levels and influence cognitive functioning. For example, according to Michaud et al. (1991), if you are an evening person and you skip breakfast, your cognitive performance might be impaired. A large breakfast rich in protein, however, could improve your recall performance, but might impair your concentration (4). This illustrates the complexity of the relationships between food and mood and the need to find a healthy balance of food choices.” Posted by Sarah-Marie Hopf ’13 / In Fall 2010 / February 3, 2011 of The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science

http://dujs.dartmouth.edu/2011/02/you-are-what-you-eat-how-food-affects-your-mood/#.VrZEE_krK00

“If you wish to alter your current brain function or slow your brain’s aging you need to consume foods that target specific chemical processes. In truth, no one ever considers these distinctions when eating – we just eat what tastes good. Sadly, our brains powerfully reward us when we eat sugar, fat and salt; thus there is an oncoming epidemic of obesity-related illnesses. Food has both negative and positive effects and it all depends upon what you consume, how much you consume and for how long.” Gary I. Wenk, Ph.D. author of Your Brain on Food

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/your-brain-food/201010/how-does-food-affect-our-brain

Based on the above links from The Dartmouth Undergraduate Journal of Science and Psychology Today, the short answer is, “Yes.” I can only speak for myself, but I can stay focused longer on a task, and I have greater clarity of mind since subscribing to the no salt-no oil (fats) -no sugar mantra.  My circadian rhythm, “body clock” has become more regulated too!

Fueling the Spirit

The easiest step and the most difficult step is the first step. All my attempts in the past to fueling and balancing the body and mind, has been laziness (give up all my favorite foods??), procrastination (there is always tomorrow, right?), and a sense of defeat before trying (Hashimoto’s disease: don’t even bother sister).

As a Christian, I know God speaks to me in my circumstances.

Psalm 127:1-2
Unless the LORD builds the house,
the builders labor in vain.
Unless the LORD watches over the city,
the guards stand watch in vain.
In vain you rise early
and stay up late,
toiling for food to eat—
for he grants sleep to those he loves.

As a Christian, I know I can succeed with God’s help which means changing my focus of my body and mind to God. The clarity of changing the focus from the comfort of food to the comfort of Christ has brought a discerning spirit. The easy step was turning to God and the most difficult step is keep giving it all over to Him. For me, daily prayer and Bible study to pray out my anxieties, discuss my troubles with God helps me to keep giving everything over to Him.

“With God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

Fueling Balance

Fueling the balance in my life was taking the first step in coming to terms with my relationships – my relationship with food, my relationship with my thoughts, and my relationship with my heart, who is Jesus Christ.

I am looking forward to the next “steps” in my journey.

Until next time… Vegan You Can!

Transforming: Beauty in its time

Transformation

This spring my youngest son will be graduating from high school. In the fall, I will have both sons in college. I am facing an empty nest with my husband, Vinny Sal.

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

The second half of my life I vow will be transformed in spirit, mind, and body. As much as motherhood was, and is, the most fulfilling part of my life, I want to rid myself of that gnawing sense of living a mediocre life, an unexamined life. 2015 was a revelation of being busy and bored at the same time. I want to close that gap of who I am today and who God created me to be.

“Spiritual transformation doesn’t take place on Sunday when we get want we want. It takes place on Saturday while we’re waiting. It’s what is forged while we’re waiting, hoping, trusting even though we have yet to receive that for which we long for.” – Pete Wilson, author of Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?

This quote reminds me of football. Young men play countless games from childhood through college hoping to play in the NFL on Sunday. Yet few make it on the football field. While others receive what they long for in other ways as a coach, an assistant, a trainer, a sports analyst – whatever connects them to the game they love – football. I may never be a successful author, or an author at all but my Saturdays will be waiting, hoping, trusting that God is here in my current circumstances transforming me into who He wants me to be – a blogger? I no longer will allow my circumstances to distort my perspective and miss God and who He wants me to be.

I read many great books in 2015. One book, in particular, set me on a life-changing course in an unexpected way. On the back cover of the book, “Just Listen – Discover the Secret of Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone” by Mark Goulston, MD, it reads, “Is there someone in your life who just won’t listen, no matter what you say? … If only you could get that person into a calm and receptive state of mind, you’d probably be able to work out your differences…. Just Listen will get you there.” I read this book with the intention that it would help me to get through to other people. Instead, the book opened my mind to get through to me.

“The most successful people are those who don’t have any illusions about who they are.” Dr. Goulston quotes Bud Bray, author of “Is It Too Late to Run Away and Join the Circus?” In chapter 9, Dr. Goulston offers a challenge to the reader: ask friends or relatives how they perceive you. I carried out this experiment with my husband, two sons, close friends, my pastor, a long-time previous boss and other associates. I was astonished to the similarity of their responses. I am grateful to those who accepted this challenge to honestly share with me the top three descriptive words from the list given to them. The book, Just Listen, transforming my mind meant checking my dissonance of who I think I am at the door.

“Reach boldly for the miracle. God knows your gifts, your hindrances and the condition you’re in at every moment.” Bruce Wilkerson

#Vegan2016 – transforming the body not for vanity, but for fueling the spirit and mind to close that gap for who God created me to be. To be the best I can be in spite of any hindrances and conditions. In the words of one of the best coaches in football today, “Be better tomorrow than you are today,” Jim Harbaugh, Head Coach of my beloved University of Michigan Wolverines.

“The empty nest is not an empty life.” A Sparrow Sings

“He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” Ecclesiastes 3:11 NIV