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I'm on my fifth week of this life major change for health and fitness.   God is being so good to me.  Whereas I have been barely able to function physically in daily life for years, due to illness and injury, He has given me grace in this effort.  It's really exciting seeing His hand in this.  It's shocking the things I'm being able to do!  With His help!

The main goal is of course weight loss, but many other benefits will come from that.  So, is it coming off?  Truth be told, I would have hoped for a much more impressive number than 8 lbs. in my fifth week of this radical diet change and 2 hours of hard exercise 5 days a week and walks the other 2 days.  But, it is having dramatic results.  I can wear clothes I haven't been able to wear for years...and they are BAGGY!  That is my encouragement when the scale is hateful.  After all, we all know muscle weighs more than fat, and the goal of this plan is to build muscle because that's where fast is burned.  So I shouldn't be surprised at the scale.  People are noticing and commenting and that helps too.

It's also amazing how He put wonderful people in my life in the gym.  From day one He brought several wonderful Christian men into my life there who have instructed me, encouraged me, and kept me safe.  It has made such a difference.  It wasn't easy to be an overweight white woman almost 60 years old walking into an all black gym that is normally all male, young and super ripped.  But I have been welcomed by several and I praise God for these kind men.  And they challenge me too.  I am doing things that I can't believe is possible and would never have tried on my own.  And to think my original idea was the senior center once I turned 60 (last Tuesday)!  The energy here is almost palatable!  I thank God every day for how he's helping me and these kind men.

Another blessing is for my protein drinks after workouts.  I  had bought a Ninja blender for us and each of our children a couple of years ago.  No one has complained, but ours never worked.  We even got a replacement and it wouldn't close right (required for the power to work) and burned up on my 11th use.  HUNDREDS of dollars wasted.

The good news is that we got the Bullet from our Sam's Club and it's an absolute dream!  Every day after workouts I use the large container.  I fill it half way with Baby Spinach, then some frozen assorted fruit, half a banana, 2 scoups of Met-rx protein powder and some water.  It takes about 3 seconds and it's perfect and lunch is served.  You can't even taste the spinach.  And clean up is a breeze!

Our Sam's Club is such a blessing too.  Not only the Bullet, but all the fresh fruits and veges I eat (6 meals a day).  We've found it's a LOT more expensive to eat healthy, but Sam's Club really helps.  Over time I hope that we will save money in other areas of life by eating this way.  To be honest, I really miss baked potatoes and bread - specifically those amazing fresh baked baguettes at Sam's that are $2.98 for 2.  Mmmmm.  But it's manageable.  Once I meet my goal, you are allowed a day a week to eat as you want.  But for now it's nothing processed or prepared, no salt, no sugar, no nuts or grains, all lean protein, fiber, fresh fruits and veges.  And I'm still doing my TBS of Chia Seeds daily.

If any of you are eating like this, you may notice "things" have "stopped", if you follow.  With help from my girls, we have found out that a high protein diet will do that to you, even with the crazy high amount of fiber this plan has me on.  My youngest, who's about to be married (beaming Mother), told me about a helpful answer and it's available at Walmart.  Sixteen packets for $5.  "Smooth Move organic tea".  Nuf said.

I hope this has been helpful and encouraging!  Thanks for stopping by and come back soon!

Please support this blog by shopping my PayPal store. God bless you! Digifree CraftCrave CraftCrave

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60th Birthday Extravaganza & MyFittnessPal ap  

Don't faint!  Yes, I'm actually posting!  After years of daily posts, I've been silent for a while now.  My husband wouldn't believe it, but I ran out of things to say and other things required my time.  I do so appreciate how many people are still dropping by every day.  You are so amazing!  FYI, there are still tons of freebies if you scroll back.

The reason I am posting today is to share something wonderful.  Well, now that I start, actually there's a lot of good to share and I guess I could share a bit more than I intended, just to lay the groundwork.  Yeah!  Happy things!

So, it all started at the beginning of the year.  My daughters conference called me and wanted to talk about this year's birthday being a big one for me.  I hadn't thought about it, but indeed it is.  God will have blessed me with 60 wonderful years this Tuesday, the 5th.  I can't believe it.  I truly can't believe it!  He is ever present, always loving and guiding me through this crazy life.  Through the ups He has been my joy and through the grindingly painful times He has been my everything, carrying me through and making sure it all works out for my good.  He has provided for me and forgiven my countless sins.  There is no possible way to express my gratitude for all He is and does in my life and the lives of my loved ones.

The girls wanted to know what had I always wanted to do and never got to or where had I always wanted to go and hadn't gotten to.  That stumped me.  I actually had to take a couple of days to come up with anything - I'm pretty satisfied!  Then I remembered a tiny article I saw on TV when they were growing up.  It talked of a place where all manner of parrots were free (uncaged that is, not free to take home!), and it was in a state near to us.  A couple of times I have looked for it on the internet, but not knowing it's name or exact location, to say nothing of my title as worst Googler ever, I never found it.  Don't you know that within minutes of mentioning it to the girls, they'd found it on line!  To my surprise, it was in the Smokys!  Parrot Mountain!

They left it up to me when we would have what they wanted to be my "birthday extravaganza".  August is too hot for me, so I chose the end of April when all the flowers would be blooming at Parrot Mountain.  They planned this year's time off work just for me!  They rented the most luxurious place I've ever been, an opulent cabin in the Smokys, and we spent an entire week! 

We planned our meals and brought everything with us.  This turned out to be a much better idea than just to enjoy cooking together - the drive up and down from it was so terrifying that I never once made it all the way with my eyes open!  Kudos to the girls who had no trouble with it and did all the driving!  But it was a very long drive and doing it regularly for meals would have ruined the trip. 

We had a view of 50 miles of mountains and valleys from three different decks, each giving it's own breathtaking view.  What a marvelous time!  We also had new black bear paw prints on the car every day!  It was thrilling, but I do praise God for protecting us.  Cades Cove was wonderful too. 

It was the first time we had been to the Smokys together since the time we had brought them when they were small.  It was so strange walking around Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg with them...I would look at them and see the precious little girls they were in that spot when we were there before, and also see the amazing women they grew up to be, all at the same time.  It was tremendously odd and richly blessing.

Parrot Mountain not only held a wide variety of parrots, most of which were indeed uncaged, but they had my dream bird!  I had always wanted a Moluccan Cockatoo and had never even seen one in person, much less touched or held one.  It had not crossed my mind that they might have one.  I was over the moon at the thought of actually seeing and getting to touch all those parrots.  They not only had a Moluccan Cockatoo, but he was perfect!  I was in absolute heaven holding him for three hours!  Once I found him, I missed all the other birds for not being able to part with him.  It was beyond anything I could have imagined and will always be a tremendously sparkling memory.  The entire trip was the same.  What daughters I have!  God has been so good to me!  And just for the record, this was an incredible sacrifice on their parts.  Nuf said. more THEY'RE AWESOME!!!

So, as if all that wasn't enough, my camera died while there.  They had been trying to get me to buy an iPhone for years, but I wasn't going to because of the expense.  The morning after my camera died, we were on our way somewhere when they suddenly turned into an AT&T store.  They took me in and bought me the newest phone!  They wouldn't take no for an answer and said that's why they didn't let me know they were going to do this.  So now, I have an iPhone, and it has a camera in it, so I don't need a new camera! 

All right!  Now we're up to why I began this post!  There was just so much wonderful that I ended up sharing more.  So, they showed me enough to get started with the phone before we had to part.  My daughter who lives near enough to visit continues to help me.  And here's the truly exciting part!!!!

I have been working hard on an entirely new way of eating for weight loss and an extreme exercise regime.  The eating plan is radically different and involves a lot of math keeping track of nutrients (not calories, nutrients).  I have been really struggling and feeling overwhelmed with that part, the keeping track so I can meet goals of how much each day. 

It must have been God that prompted me to look for an ap for the phone the other day.  The girls put some aps on originally (that I don't use :) - a little overwhelmed), but I hadn't done one myself.  Well, I found an ap I wanted to try and failed installing it.   She came and helped me get it installed and learn to use it and that's why I'm posting!  MyFitnessPal is astonishing!  And it's FREE! 

This ap is so easy to use!  It allows you to record everything that goes in your mouth and all your exercise, then does all the math for you!  At the end of each day you can view your overall stats and see if you got enough of each nutrient and a lot more data!  To make it even crazy better, you can just scan bar codes on your food and POOF the info is right there in the phone!  Just say how much you ate!  Then, she showed me how to enter recipes!   The ap figure the nutritional values!  The foods you frequently eat stay visible to make recording in your diary fast and easy.  The exercise part is so detailed that you can really specify exactly, down to how many reps, how much weight or minutes, etc.  You can set goals for yourself and it gives you feedback and predictions at the end of the day, like, "if you do every day like today, you'll weigh this in 5 weeks".  I could go on, but you get the idea.  IT'S FANTASTIC and has taken a mountain of stress (and failure to actually do the math) off me!  And though it's not a big number yet, I have already lost 6 lbs. in 3 wks. and so many inches I wish I'd measured before I started (but it was too depressing and I didn't).

Another thing that might bless you, is my "gym".  I don't have funds to join a gym.  I started thinking, once I turn 60 I could join the senior center and they have a weight room.  But it's across town and I'd have to wait for my birthday to start.  I also pictured the environment.  No very energizing.  As I was searching for contact info to ask them questions about how to go about using the facility, I saw something else.  There are Community Centers here.  I have "known" that, but never wondered what they were about.  I phoned and found out they had a weight room with the elliptical machine I need and it's FREE! 

It's near my house and it's not a good area.  I know God is my Protector and Provider, but it took a bit of courage to go.  Ok, a lot of courage, for many reasons.  But I have to say God has blessed me again.  They majority of people I'm meeting there are different, at least while in the weight room.  Most keep to themselves.  Some are friendly.  None have bothered me. 

There is a real atmosphere of energy there.  Every one is there to improve our health and our bodies and that's what we do.  I started taking my phone and the ear buds that came with it and I listen to praise and worship music and pray for the people there as I exercise.  Another blessing from my girls!  (The phone, with music in it and ear phones).  I am finding the atmosphere encouraging and so much better than the senior center would be.  There are several people there that I am very happy to see every day and I am grateful to God for helping me with this attempt to loose weight and feel better. 

After just four days (50 min. each) on the elliptical machine the pain in my hip and flexibility improved so much that I was able to sit cross legged on the sofa again!  I haven't been able to for years!  I know it will be a long journey, but so far God has motivated me, provided all I need to do it FREE, protected me from injury or harm and sprinkled my path with nice people.  I took 65 lbs. off when I was 41 and am happy to once again be on this journey and believe it will go well.

There's one more very happy thing happening in my life just baby girl is getting married!  God has sent a fine young man who loves her dearly and treats her like a princess.  I am so happy for them both and my heart is just about to explode with joy and praise to my God!  It is good to be able to share such wonderful times after so many at the other end of the spectrum.  I pray abundant blessings on you and your loved ones too!!!  Hugs and it was so nice seeing you again!!!

Please support this blog by shopping my PayPal store. God bless you! Digifree CraftCrave CraftCrave

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Flower Petal Snow - The Second "Southern Snow"!  

I have posted before to share the wonder of "Southern Snow"... the cotton harvest, but this is the second "Southern Snow"... flower petals in the spring.  So lovely!

Last night there was high wind all night and pretty strong through the day too.  We woke to millions of beautiful white Bradford Pear blossoms showering the yard like snow in a dream!  Individual petals falling like snow all day long.  Wow!  Spectacular!  They were even all over the cars in the front yard - over our two story house!

Hope you enjoyed it as much as I did!  Have a great day!

Please support this blog by shopping my PayPal store. God bless you! Digifree CraftCrave CraftCrave

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Best Dish Rack For Modern Sinks  

This weekend I received a sales flyer from Bed, Bath and Beyond.  It's a great store.  They showed something that I've never seen before, a dish rack to fit modern sinks.  It's $16.99.   This is their image.

I was excited there was something made to fit modern sinks available now, but instantly saw that it isn't nearly as useful as mine.  When we did The Accidental Remodel last year, I was still using a plastic dish rack from Walmart that I paid about $6 for 17 years ago and is it's still like new!  It sits securely on top of the granite and fully fills every inch of the large side of my sinks, leaving a perfect section open to securely stand all my cookie sheets, cutting boards, cooling racks, spatter guards, you name it.  I wash in the small side, which is still enormous, as it uses less water to fill.  In fact, I rinse in it too and still almost never have a full bowl when I'm done with the dishes.

They advertise, "This durable, expandable drainer can be used in the sink, over the sink or on your counter.  Holds up to eight plates and includes a utensil holder."

First, I'd like to point out that the only "expandable" part is the handles that are already wasting drying space and expanding them doesn't gain you a molecule of drying space.

Second, mine can be used over the sink and on the counter too.

Next, let's look at the utensil holder.  Mine is more than twice as large and holds tons more than theirs.  Additionally, their utensil holder takes space away from the main body of the rack and mine is added on to the outside.  This means that not only does it let you use all the space in the main body of the rack for dishes, but it provides a third long side of support to sit it securely on top your counter.  That's very important when you fill a rack with heavy dishes.

Note - when we got the counter and sink and I discovered the old rack fit peeeerrrrrfectly, I was a bit concerned about the weight of the dishes warping it as it is plastic and doesn't touch the bottom of the sink for support.  Well, almost a year later I can tell you there has been no change at all.  I have, however, made a policy of never leaving heavy things in it long, just to be responsible.  Before the remodel, I often air dried the dishes.  Now, if there are just a few, I just set them on the chrome drain rack we got with the sink.  If there are more, I use this plastic rack and towel dry them when I'm done washing, then just tuck it under the sink so all we see is those gorgeous shiny new sinks and counter.  A serendipity blessing has been that there is rarely more than a couple dishes on the counter and the room looks splendid!  No more air drying on the counters.  Sometimes I air dry on the chrome rack inside the sink where they don't show, but mostly I use the plastic rack and it even matches my woodwork!  And no, we do not have a dish washer.

Now lets compare the amount of dishes that fit in theirs and in mine.  They advertise 8 plates.  Wow.  Really?  Mine has 14 slots and a large area in the center that you can just continue standing plates in.  I have almost never had more dishes than I can pile up in that rack this year.  It holds a ton!

Lastly I'd like to address the one side of the rack that doesn't sit firmly on the counter.  It took me about one heartbeat to realize it was a dream come true!  It is absolutely perfect to securely stand all all my cookie sheets, cutting boards, cooling racks, spatter guards, you name it.  It is fantastic!  No more problems with them not fitting in a rack or sliding off a stack of dishes drying on a towel on the counter.  Wonderful!!!! 

Just for the record, I'm not being compensated by anyone to say these things.  I just think we all need to stick together and help each other when we can.  Just being neighborly!  Have a great day and come back to see me!

Please support this blog by shopping my PayPal store. God bless you! Digifree CraftCrave CraftCrave

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Real Life Color Sliders To The Rescue!  

Have you ever seen something that was just perfect except the color?  So frustrating.  Working in PhotoShop, I'm constantly frustrated in those situations because I am so used to my magical sliders altering any color to exactly what I want.  Not so in real life.

I have been watching for a subway art that was just right for quite a while.  I found two I liked at Barnes and Noble at Christmas, but they were uber expensive and not a possibility.  I had thought I'd make my own but...

A while back I was at Hobby Lobby when I saw a gorgeous subway art plaque on an end cap.  It had a sign saying 50% off their wedding department.  Being long married myself, I wouldn't normally look there.  Had it not been on an end cap I would have missed it.

It was a lovely rendition of the chapter on love, 1 Corinthians 13.  Just the kind of thing every home could use a reminder of, aside from the fact it was beautifully done.  Only...the print wasn't white.  It was a sickly yellowy ick.  Trajic!

At only $14.99 on sale, sturdy MDF, good size and just lovely, I couldn't make one cheaper.  I couldn't pass it up.  I did the "phone shopping" thing with my daughters to see if they wanted one too.  You know, took a picture, texted it to them at work and they answer if they want it or not.  I love doing that, don't you?  It's as fun as the "wish giving" we do...where we send each other pictures of what we "wish" we could give each other, but can't afford.  It's so much fun!  These things add another level of intimacy with loved ones, even when they live across country, and face it, who wouldn't love more intimacy with someone they love?

My plaque has been propped up on a wall for weeks now.  I look at it, love the message and design, but HATE the dingy print.  It's especially bad as I painted the woodwork in my house a soft white last year.  There is nowhere that print doesn't just look horrid.  I've pondered returning it, but it's great and such a good price.  I keep longing for my PS sliders!!!!

Yesterday I finally owned up to the fact that no amount of wishing would produce PS color sliders to fix the situation.  I used a 50% off coupon and bought a Sharpie oil paint marker and started painstakingly painting over the print.  Yes, for real!  LOL and when I finish mine, I plan to do my daughter's too.  She has white woodwork too (yes, I copied her shade!) so it looks horrid in her house too, but she loves the plaque.

In the picture I have completed the top line and the fat one in the middle.  Looking good!  It's a much greater difference than shows in the picture just FYI.  What do you think?

The lesson here seems to be that if life doesn't have PS color sliders, make your own!

Have a great day and thanks for dropping by!

Please support this blog by shopping my PayPal store. God bless you! Digifree CraftCrave CraftCrave

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