Category Archives: Wellness and Working

How Do You Fight the Blues?

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Happy Wednesday. Happy hump day. How are you surviving the long winter?

I specifically asked for a HappyLight (http://www.verilux.com/light-therapy-lamps/winter-blues/?gclid=CIKKqpiH68MCFYY_aQodboIAsQ) this past Christmas, and I got one. I know myself, and I know that sunless winters get very long for me. Last year’s winter resulted in my overwhelming need to fight the drear with a new kitchen paint color. I  NEEDED light. My kitchen is now bright orange. I have not yet initiated my new light, but I think this may very well be the week.

What do you do to beat the winter blues, defeat the doldrums, and fight the funk? A good game of alliteration is fun, but the pleasure is short-lived.

Lots of folks find solace in their pets. I am not a pet-in-the-house kind of person, but my family has found a way to make that work. Our little Chiweenie (http://www.all-about-chihuahuas.com/chihuahua-dachshund-mix.html), which we purchased from a lady in the Aldi parking lot was the only furry one in the bunch. He had fleas, but was the cutest of the group and has been lots of fun. He is in his home within our home. He stays in his kennel unless on our lap or outside for play, and he is happy to hang out in there if he is in a room with us.

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It should be noted that this precious nugget sings every morning on our commute to school. He enjoys Bruno Mars, Michael Buble, and Jeremy Camp.

Now, for any in the area… There will be a super cool dog show on Saturday, May 23rd. Our time is not yet determined, but we will have drawings, doggielisious prizes, freebies, and more. Plan on bringing your four-legged friend out to help support Spring Branch Helping Hands 4-H Club’s Relay for Life team. I’ll share more details soon.

That was a word from our sponsor. Okay, advertisement over.

So, there are therapeutic lights and our pets. What about a good exercise session? That’s a good way to keep one’s mood in check. I have not done much physical activity lately, but I do know that’s a good way to combat the blahs. What is your favorite exercise routine? I had a love affair with Zumba for a while, but that fizzled a few seasons ago.

How about a bit of retail therapy? That’s not always a viable solution, but it works pretty well at a dollar store or at second-hand shops.  You know that may be a good future post… A list of all of the “thrift” (aka “trift” stores as my German mother-in-law calls them) in the area might be a fun little research project. To be honest, I am not much good at shopping consignment or second-hand stores. I am not snooty, but I just don’t have the eye to find the treasure among the trash.

Going back a moment to German language, here’s a link some might find interesting, especially if you have German ancestry or like the sound of languages. We laugh about it often at my home: http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=video+of+how+the+german+language+sounds.&FORM=VIRE1#view=detail&mid=84243FECAF224F190DFA84243FECAF224F190DFA

I, like our little Chiweenie, am a mix, but my husband is 100% Kraut.

A fun craft, a day spent scrapbooking, a lunch date, an escapist book, and even a winding, chain-of-consciousness mind ramble can add a bit of fun to cold, caught-inside days.

It’s your time to share now. What is your secret for surviving winter?

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

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The Beauty of Balance

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She’s found a cube, a rectangle, an orb, and a cylinder, but we are still hunting down a pyramid for her art project. Last night my daughter was gathering a variety of shapes for an art assignment. The class is studying art concepts, including balance. Shout-out to the teacher for this particular project, which goes deeper than most in assessing understanding.

blog balance

If you know me personally or have read past posts in which I talk about technology, you know that I am a “reluctant reader” when it comes to the world of technology. I don’t easily embrace the multitude of gadgetry and social media options available and seemingly required of us today.

I am not an inflexible, unintelligent, unenlightened, or old-fashioned person. What I am is someone who struggles with balance. My natural all-or-nothing, extremist personality makes “dabbling” in anything a challenge. While I don’t officially claim a diagnosis, the OCD tendencies are there.

When I read blogs on writing or blogs of friend-writers I have, I may spend my entire available hours doing that rather than writing myself. And, I’ve spent several hours on FB one week and completely steered clear the next.

I see that with our children. I have one very social child who has a hard time with a device in her hand. She wants to use every application she can to “connect” with friends. She is currently phoneless.

My son, on the other hand, has ADD. So doing homework with a buzzing, lighting-up, time- and attention-sucking phone in his presence is a disaster; however, I doubt it works well for any of our kids.

Yet who among us can deny the benefits of technology in our lives? Quick access to information in a classroom, directions when lost in a large city, the ability to instantaneously reach loved ones and help in an emergency, as well as a multitude of other advantages I’ve yet to discover. But, our challenge with anything good in our lives is to learn to achieve and maintain BALANCE.

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The conductor of the train from Durango to Silverton knows all about balance. It’s critical that he keep his train on course and stable. For visitors to Colorado, this is an awesome time. We were in Pagosa Springs, but took a day trip to Durango.

http://www.durangotrain.com/

http://www.durangosilvertonrailroad.com/

 

 

My challenges, and perhaps yours, have to do with BALANCE. Balance is a beautiful thing, in art and in life. Finding that happy     place, that sweet spot where work meets play, solitude matches socialization, mental output connects with physical exertion – well, that’s got an awful lot to do with finding contentment. And, it is a struggle for me and for most of us. We need to find it for ourselves and teach it to our children.

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Frank Lloyd Wright knew the beauty of balance with regard to nature and architecture, though perhaps not so much in life. His Falling Water home is amazing, perched splendidly over the water with water actually running through the home. It’s definitely worth a stop if you visit Pennsylvania.

 http://www.fallingwater.org/

 

I’ve learned that, as an introvert, I become more creative when I disconnect from people in person and in the virtual world for a time. I need quiet to allow my mind to wander and re-energize. I know that yoga is good stuff and too much sugar is not. My to-do list will overwhelm me if it is too long and allow me to be lazy if there’s nothing on it. I know prayer and time with my church family help me stay on track. Knowing those things, though, does not always equate to balance. I must still put these things into practice daily, or at least regularly.

What have you learned about balance? How do you achieve it? Share your thoughts with us.

And…

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

Fitness is More Than Looking Good

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For any of us who have ever struggled with depression or anxiety, fellow writer and blogger Alecia Simersky candidly shares  her experience with perhaps one of the more powerful “drugs” we have at our disposal. After hearing from her here, visit Alecia at her home site (http://www.aleciasimersky.com) or at God-sized Dreams, where she is a regular blogger  (http://godsizeddreams.com/).


For me fitness had always been about looking good in my shorts or jeans. My momma-got-back booty had to stay in shape or it would enter a room 5 seconds after I did :).

I lived for the compliments of, “You’re so skinny!” or “Oh my gosh, what do you do?”

I treasured the number on the scale when it told me a number I was pleased with along with the number size on my jeans.

Fitness was all about looking good, period.

And then I starting experiencing depression and panic attacks and I knew exercise was more important than ever.

But when you are feeling low, the last thing you want to do is get your sweat on. More like put the sweat pants (or yoga pants) on and sleep.

After one of my visits to the doctor she said “I know you don’t feel like it, you’re tired, but you need to walk or do something. Don’t concentrate on the scale or your weight; focus on feeling better.”

I took her advice to heart.

I’ve now been doing a workout program for 6 weeks. And you wanna know my motivation? How it makes me feel when I’m done…amazing! It’s the only reason I keep doing it.  I have to literally force myself every day to work out and make no excuses. It’s on the calendar like any other appointment.

It feels good to pay attention to how I feel rather than the scale. I’m no longer distracted and discouraged by the numbers.

When you concentrate on losing weight for vanity sake, you will hit a wall. I’ve heard it a thousand times from workout specialists, but didn’t believe it. Why on earth would anyone want to work out other than looking good and getting attention?!

Now looking good and wearing cute clothes is an added bonus. My real motivation is to have a healthy body, mind, and spirit.

God wants us to live life fully and abundantly and that means, spiritually, physically, mentally, and sexually. (John 10:10)

Full Life. Alecia Simersky

I want my kids to see a mom that even though she has been struggling she still shows up each day to do everything in her power to do what she needs to do to  feel better.

I’m still struggling with the anxiety and depression but it is getting better, and exercise has been one of the main reasons.

I’m learning more and more what being “healthy” really means. What kinds of foods are best for my body and which ones to stay away from. I’m also teaching my family as I go.

While I don’t wish panic attacks and depression on anyone, the silver lining that I’m finding in it, is that I never would have taken these steps to focus on my health from this perspective if I hadn’t had them.

The feeling I have after I exercise is what keeps me coming back for more. Now when someone mentions working out being more powerful than an antidepressant I know what they mean! Because I know first-hand they are right.

What healthy steps can you take today? Do you find it hard to exercise when you aren’t feeling your best?

Today, if you are feeling depressed or lousy about your weight, self-image, marriage, kids, etc. Try taking a walk for just 15 minutes. Don’t focus on how many calories you are burning or how you look in your tight exercise pants and how uncomfortable that sports bra is. Go outside and focus on the sun, the green grass, the trees and birds and pretty flowers. Thank God for all the little ways in which you are blessed.

I know the very last thing you want to do when your depressed is get up, get dressed, and work out. Even the thought of doing all that moving around exhausted me and called for a nap.

But I think when you get to a certain low; you know that you know, something has to change. And if exercise will help, you do it!

When you come back your mind will feel refreshed and you will be excited to do it again tomorrow. And if not, do it anyways!

It’s worth it, I promise!


Alecia's Photo

Alecia Simersky is a Southerner by birth (and grace) and a gypsy by marriage (she’s moved 7 times in the last 13 years). She writes to encourage Christians to live differently because of the grace we’ve been shown through Jesus. She has a heart to encourage others to get off the rocky shore of self-doubt and sail into the life Christ has waiting for them. She is quiet by nature, introverted, quirky and fiercely loyal (she becomes Mama Bear when someone messes with her people). She will share her heart, story, struggles and her pain; just don’t ask her to share her chocolate! 

You can connect with her at her blog There’s Something Different , Twitter, or Facebook.

Too Much of a Good Thing

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Some folks have the concept and practice of moderation mastered. My mother does. Me, not so much. I tend to bounce between extremes in some areas of my life, and I have to guard against my natural all-or-nothing mentality. If my house is freshly cleaned, I am militant about keeping it so. If it has gotten messy, I may go the other way and just let it go for a while. Crazy, I know.

After a recent grocery shopping trip, I was eager to try a new product I’d come across. I hadn’t yet eaten breakfast, and the jar of maple almond nut butter was calling my name. I broke it open and found to my delight that it was yummy. It was slightly sweet with that gritty texture that reminds me of a peanut butter cup. I had a couple of spoonfuls, checked out the calorie content and serving size, and returned it to the frig.

After putting more groceries away, I considered the nutritional value of nuts. They’re full of protein and good fat. I had another bite or two.

It was about noon, and, since this could be considered both breakfast and lunch, I went for another mouthful. By this time I was feeling full. The nut butter had filled my belly, but now seemed slow to move beyond my throat.

I soon realized that, for the first time in my life, I was having an allergic reaction to nuts (almonds, specifically) or something in the nut butter. My throat seemed tight, and swallowing was difficult. I was able to breathe, but I prepared myself for the possibility that I may have to seek medical treatment. I waited, and it seemed to slowly get better. My throat opened a bit more and I swallowed easier, but my girlfriends noticed a distinct different in my voice that evening. (My husband did not!)

I haven’t investigated the problem with my doctor yet, but I’m avoiding nuts to be safe. I don’t know if this was a fluke or something I will deal with for the rest of my life. Perhaps, I would have had the same result if I had eaten only a bite. Or, maybe, I just overdid it on the nut butter.

Sometimes, we overdo on things in our lives. It’s easy to do. They may be fun, but unhealthy habits we have developed. Or, they may be positive things that become unhealthy when consumed or taken to excess. Those good-gone-bad things in life may be less sinister, and they may go unnoticed. But, they need our attention sometimes, too.

If we exercise and take care of our bodies, that’s a good thing. If we do that to the exclusion of other activities or out of vanity or pride, it is no longer positive. If we seek to serve our community, family, friends and church we please God. But, if in the process we grow resentful or frustrated, we have defeated our purpose.blog - Dena's Giveaway - May 14, 14

Moderation. It’s such an unassuming, unglamorous word, but it’s a good thing.

Now, to encourage the difficult practice of moderation, today’s drawing give-a-way is a 13-piece cookie bouquet by Dena Capps, of Cappy’s Cookies in Troy, MO. The specific design will be a surprise, but this is an example of her delicious and adorable work. If today’s winner is outside the delivery area, I will be mailing a $25 gift certificate to The Cheesecake Factory to him or her.

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

 

Convicted

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While introducing our new quarter during Bible class a few weeks ago, our teacher asked us if we considered ourselves to be regular Bible readers. While I was fully aware of hands going up all around me, blog - convictedmine did not go up. Our leader went on to define “regular” as reading every other day or so, if not every day. Though there have been times when I have read my Bible on a daily basis, this was not the case a few weeks ago. I was not reading daily, nor was I in my Bible a few times each week. In a funk, I had totally gotten off track with my personal study.

In a work or professional setting, I am consistent, reliable and prompt. In my parenting, I try diligently to maintain consistency in disciple, routines and expectations. However, when it comes to those habits that impact me on a more personal level, I lack that same day-in, day-out commitment.

I fail to exercise regularly. I may go for months on end exercising several times a week, but completely lose my momentum after a time. And, even though I know it is important to eat healthy, I get lazy or bored, and entirely stop paying attention to what goes in my mouth.

The same can be said for my study time with God. When I am regularly spending time in His word, I feel better. My general mood and outlook are better. I feel more motivated and at peace. More importantly, He is happier when I regularly take time to be with Him. However, even knowing all that, I still get off track from time-to-time. Perhaps, you do as well.

I was embarrassed and convicted on that Sunday morning in Bible class, and I have since gotten myself back in His word. But, why is it that those routines such as exercise, eating right, and Bible study get left behind when we aren’t paying attention? Is it because perhaps no one else is paying attention? Is it because we aren’t held accountable as often and obviously for these behaviors (or lack thereof)?

We are compelled by our employers to do a good job. And, most of us take pride in doing our best in a workplace setting. Our children require us to maintain consistency. If we don’t, all sorts of problems will manifest in our homes. But, we deceive ourselves if we think there are no consequences for neglecting the things which keep our physical bodies and our souls healthy.

So, I need to add to my prayers a special request for consistency. I need to ask God to help me be diligent and disciplined, regular and reliable in the areas of my life that are private, just as I am in those areas that are seen.

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

 

 

Top Ten Lists of Laughs and Cries

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We’re all abundantly aware of the seemingly never-ending cold and snowy weather that’s plagued much of the United States this winter season. Of course, we all know it will eventually end, and warm days will come. But in the meantime, the dreary days often dampen spirits. Most folks are craving warmth and sun for a variety of reasons, physical and mental.

So, here’s a quick prescription for bringing a smile to your face and greater gratitude to your heart, when you may be feeling less that perky and motivated.

As I’ve grown older, I have come to really savor big laughs in life. I find that they aren’t always easy to come by. Now, I am not talking about joy or contentment or chuckles. I am referring to the BIG laughs that happen spontaneously in life – the kind that linger in our minds for years to come and really mark events in our lives.

How many of those do we have in life? Five, twenty, fifty? Well, I guess that depends on perspective, but I can easily identify the top ten laughs in my life. And, those laughs are real treasures.

Picture a family vacation to the beach. We’d packed up and were headed back to the condo. I was schlepping a variety of totes and gear, following several feet behind my sister. I have a “trick knee,” and it went out on me. When this happened, I clumsily fell, and the 35-mm camera I held snuggly in my hand went sailinblog- laughs and criesg into the back of my sister’s head. She hit the deck, so to speak. She wailed and grabbed the back of her skull, convinced there was a sniper invading the beach. It may sound a bit demented, but it was full-out hysterical.

If we are to be honest, the best laughs often come in times of slight injury and bodily functions. Once when my sister, my mom and I were Christmas shopping, my mother found a quilting store going out of business at the outlet mall. After considerable time, she purchased a bounty of bedding, which we drug out in huge garbage bags. As we struggled to schlep (seems I’m always carrying stuff) these monstrous bags, we became self-conscious amidst all the shoppers. We started giggling, and, then, well we had to go potty. Bad! It was awful. Burdened with bags and bent over laughing, we desperately tried to regain composure. You know what I mean!

These laughs provide great memories for us, and it’s worthwhile to take time to recall them. And, let’s not forget the biggest cries in life. They are the sobs that come with the disappointment of unrealized dreams, the shame of addiction, the defeat of divorce, the frustration of infertility, or the utter despair of losing a loved one. They come upon us in times of acute pain and randomly out of nowhere, evoked by a hymn or a comment or a memory.

In the quiet of winter days, let’s linger a moment on the joys and sorrows of life. The laughs and the cries that have shaken our bodies and exhausted our energies – those are good things.

What situation or event makes your Top Ten List of Laughs (or Cries)?

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

Remodeling

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My house is a major mess at the moment! We are having our dated and well-worn kitchen vinyl flooring replaced, and the project is scheduled to start within the hour. The work is to be completed by Friday, and while I am excited, I am calling upon my limited resources of “zen” right now.Under Construction- Blog Use

Picture this if you will:

  • three important appliances now sit in my garage
  • wall hangings and décor lean against the walls of the office
  • craft supplies from a 4-H meeting and a Valentine’s Day party clutter the counter
  • the dining table, chairs and benches consume the foyer
  • what visible floor surface exists outside the kitchen is spotted with evidence of melting snow

Things are in disarray, and they will be until the flooring, painting, and delivery of the new frig are finished. So, what am I to do? First, I have to just “be calm,” as they say, and try to be productive while the work is being done. Next, I must look forward to the finished product that we’ve been planning for a long time, even though things look ugly right now. And, I need to recognize that overhauls sometimes take longer or become more complicated, so I’ll have to be patient with the process.

Our lives are sometimes like that. There are times when our personal or professional lives become messy. Often those times usher in growth of one form or another. The messes we typically bring on ourselves must be endured in the process of learning and becoming better, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.

In those growing and learning spaces in time, we must relax and try to do good work. We should be excited about the finished product that He has in mind for each of us. And, we need to exercise patience as God’s plan for each of us unfolds and becomes complete.

Wish me well on my home remodeling project, as well as any holy upgrades that are surely in my future. I will do the same for you!

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally

50 By 50

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I enjoyed several Facebook movies today in celebration of the social media company’s 10-year anniversary. Ten years is a nice milestone to reach, but let’s talk about an even bigger one – the 50th birthday.

There are a lot of folks turning 50 this year! Let’s see… Courtney Love and Courteney Cox, Michelle Obama, Laura Ingraham and Glenn Beck, Sandra Bullock and Melissa Gilbert, Russell Crowe, Nicolas Cage, Keanu Reeves and Rob Lowe. Jeopardy!, Mary Kay Cosmetics, and the musical “Fiddler on the Roof” also turn 50 in 2014. It seems every time I turn around I hear of someone turning 50. It may be I am just tuned into those particular messages, but 1964 was a big year. In addition to being a pivotal time in history, the year marks the official end of the Baby Boom Generation, the years 1946-1964.

Along with these high-profile individuals above, I and many of my friends will see 50 during the course of this year. I admit I have some anxiety about the whole thing, but what is one to do?

So, as I began this year, I again made the resolution to lose weight and get into shape. This is not a new effort for me. If I am to be totally honest, this is perhaps the area in which I have felt most defeated and frustrated throughout my life. Many face the same weight challenges.

I decided I should make it my goal to lose 50 pounds by my 50th birthday. Thankfully, my birthday falls in September, so this is a doable, if not lofty goal. I have been dieting for about one month now, and I am down seven pounds. This is certainly not as fast as I would like, but remember… I am almost 50!

Whether your motivator is a big birthday, a big event, or a challenge gone unmet for too long, may you have success in your 2014 resolutions and goals. I will keep you posted on mine. My hope is that with lots of effort and prayer, I can do this thing. Plus, it would be really fun to say “I lost 50 pounds the year I turned 50!”

Let me know what motivates you in 2014.

Have a Blessed Wednesday!

Hally