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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.  Naw...one 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 now...my 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!!!

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