Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Happy Column Theory

For the most part, and generally speaking, I am a happy person.  Not necessarily because I have some magical life, but because I choose to be such.   People ask me all the time how come I am happy, bubbly, easy-going, laid-back, etc.  The answer is easy.  I decide to be such.  I choose joy.  And for the record, I don't even like the word happy very much.  I prefer the word JOY.  Happy indicates it is a feeling related to happenings or that your circumstances/environment or events somehow determine your state of 'happiness'. Joy is just pure joy, and an attitude.  I also think of the word JOY as an acronym:   Jesus.  Others.  Yourself. When I choose to live my life with this JOY attitude and prioritize Jesus, then others, then myself .. this is when I am genuinely the 'happiest' or most full of JOY.

Don't get me wrong.  I am human.  I get angry.  I actually have a quick temper and it can be a problem if I don't pay attention to this fact.  I get frustrated and annoyed just like everyone else.  I get sad.  I've experienced depression.  I know what it is like to be in a room full of people and feel lonely.  I've suffered great loss and experienced intense grief ... just like most people on the planet.  I just choose not to STAY in those emotional states.  Everyone is human.  Everyone is going to feel these various emotions, and then some.  But how long you stay there, well that is completely up to you.  Over the years, I have mastered the art of 'letting things go'.

Here's the deal.  At the end of your life, imagine there are two columns drawn on a piece of paper.  One column is titled the 'Happy Column' and the other column is titled the 'UN-Happy Column'.  Every minute of your life that you spend in the UN-Happy column, takes a minute away from the Happy Column.  We only get so many minutes on this Earth - and that number is unknown.  I am not in the business of wasting my minutes. Unless of course, I'm on Facebook, those minutes are totally wasted, lol.

So get mad.  Feel that frustration.  Be sad.  Steal a few minutes to just cry or scream or rant if you need to do that.  Then move on.  Let go, and Let God.  Easier said than done, I know. Now for my disclaimer: I also completely recognize and realize that depression or anxiety is a very real thing, some people need medication, and some people have tried everything under the sun and nothing works.  This is a physical issue, not a Faith issue, and not at all what I am talking about.  Those people are not choosing their state of being. That, my friends, is a whole other conversation.

Meanwhile, beyond my 'Happy Column Theory' ... here's my unsolicited advice:   Pray often. Forgive easily. Appreciate your blessings. Eliminate negative noise, even if that means people.   Be picky about what media and input or thoughts/images you allow into your psyche.  Laugh a lot, and hard, and I mean the belly gut laughs that make your ribs hurt.  Hug people.  Be kind.  Give compliments.  Give to charity.  Volunteer. Practice random acts of generosity. Be proactive.  Take of yourself (Mind/Body/Soul). Manage your money wisely. Keep your word.  Be responsible.  Do what you love. Eliminate clutter. Teach somebody something. Make time to play. Turn off the t.v.  Walk outside. And as cliche, as it may sound ... take time to smell the flowers.

As always, make champion choices,

Monday, April 7, 2014

20 or more Fruits and Vegetables?

So I just bought this at my gym ... Since I hate vegetables I wonder if this would be good for me to try ... It says it has 20+ servings of fruits/vegetables. It came in chocolate and strawberry kiwi at the gym, but there appear to be more flavors online.  It seems they also have Mangosteen Berry, Mangosteen Mint and Strawberry Cream. This is gluten free. I've never even heard of this.

They describe it as follows: Dynamic Fruits & Greens Natural Chocolate by Nutri Dyn is a delicious, antioxidant-packed powdered drink mix featuring super fruits, whole-food concentrates, dairy-free probiotics, fiber and enzymes. Naturally sweet, rich chocolate flavor makes it easy to drink your greens!  Alkalizing Antioxidant Super-Fruits, Vegetables, Greens and More!

I have not tasted it yet.  It says to mix with it with chilled water but I will probably mix it with milk.  I got it yesterday.  It is about forty dollars.  Now let's see how long it takes for me to actually open it up and try it.  I tend to be very slow about these things. So who is placing bets as to how long I wait to actually open it up and give it a whirl??

As always, make champion choices,

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Kickapoo Camping

So the Higginbotham crew went camping at a new destination this weekend, about 3 hours west of here.  It is called Kickapoo Caverns State Park ... a great use of our annual state park pass we buy every year.  The other great thing is that we had two families from Church join us, which really made it awesome.  Fabulous fellowship, great weather and an all around good time (except for the puke from James in the car on the way there and my 9 year old's bloody nose on the way home, lol).

One bummer of the trip was that my daughter could not go, she had to work, and it really seems weird to go camping without her!

I really enjoyed hiking a trail up a hill and the view from the top.  One thing that became painfully clear to me, though, is that I definitely need new shoes.  I also realized I should never under-estimate the Texas sun, as I did indeed get sunburned.

I will confess, I did not sleep well in the tent.  Partly because it was very windy and thus noisy, but also because my 5 year old was still kinda recovering from being ill and he kept trying to burrow himself inside my body all night.  But it wasn't too bad.  I think the hubby and I have agreed that an air mattress is now in order.

And there's a bonus.   I managed to lose 2 pounds since last weigh in, so clearly our little camping adventure did not derail me.  That's always a plus.  There were chips, and s'mores and and all kinds of things available for my consumption, but I stuck to what I had planned.  And on the topic of eating, I was quite impressed that my oldest son, William, tried and ate hard boiled eggs.  He has never done that before, and he liked them.  Thomas liked them too, but he is much better at trying new things.  William is more like me, so both me and him are definitely making progress.  YAY!   Now they want hard boiled eggs before school.  I can't complain about that.

So we've made plans for another camping trip with the same family.  We've decided on the weekend, but need to nail down a destination as many of the parks are already full.  So hopefully at the end of April, we'll do this again, somewhere new, and rack up some miles in our adventure logs.  Hopefully by then I'll have new shoes too.   And if I'm really lucky, I'll have a new air mattress as well.

Me in all my natural glory :)

As always, make champion choices,

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Are You Present?

Bear with me for a moment, for this is not in the context of gloom... but gratitude. I would love for people to shift whatever may be on their hearts, optimistically, to gratitude! I'm suggesting a way to live... where we are in love with life, and present.

Do you fear death?  Some people do and I get that.  I think some people fear death because they crave life. Often, we fear death because we think there's something to get that we haven't experienced yet. Many people feel that death will take something away from them. A wise person realizes that death is constantly giving them something. Death is giving meaning to our lives. Humans are the ones who throw life away. Too many people waste every second of it. They get in their car, drive from here to there, and they don't SEE anything. It's like they're not even there. They are too busy thinking about what they are going to do next. They are a week ahead of themselves, or even a month or more. They are not living their life; they are simply existing.  Well some people are anyway. So it is humans that throw life away, not the event of death. The prospect of death actually helps us get our life back; by making us pay more attention to the moment. It makes one say, "My gosh,what if I lose this? I could orphan my children.  From now on I'm going to pay more attention to my health, my family, and to all my friends and loved ones. I want to get so much more out of life!"

I do not share these thoughts with you from any other perspective than as someone who adores life, loves others, and lives in the moment I am in!  But I am also a Christian, and I do not fear death because only the Lord God controls life and death, and when I die, greater glory awaits.  But don't worry, I'm not in a hurry. Just know that part of my mission is this: If I can maybe make someone else smile in their own particular situation; with gratitude instead of fear; I am successful. Don't worry ... I am not dying or anything, I am perfectly healthy ... I am just feeling blessed.  Take time to stop and look at the bluebonnets, smile at a stranger, put down your phone sometimes, be PRESENT in your interactions ... and always and tip the server well.   Carry on.

As always, make champion choices,

Photo Credit:  Linda Long Goodman

Monday, March 3, 2014

40 Days of Lent 2014

I will be following this list for the 40 Days of Lent this year.  Ash Wednesday is this week, March 5th.

Lent 2014

Day 1: Pray for your enemies
Day 2: Eliminate all social media for one hour (or more)
Day 3: Perform a random act of kindness
Day 4: Give $10 to a non-profit of your choosing
Day 5: Forgive someone, even if it is yourself
Day 6: Look out the window until you find something of beauty you had not noticed before
Day 7: Tell someone what you are thankful for
Day 8: No complaining all day
Day 9: Read John 8:1-11 
Day 10: Call a friend on the phone
Day 11: Check out morning and evening prayer at The Daily Office
Day 12: Pray the Paper (pray for people and situations in today’s news)
Day 13: Read Psalm 139
Day 14: Pay a few sincere compliments to strangers
Day 15: Do not use your SmartPhone or cell phone while in your vehicle
Day 16: Educate yourself about Spiritual Strongholds (Pray for revelation)  
Day 17: Take 5 minutes of silence at noon
Day 18: Pray for your nation’s leaders and your nation’s enemies
Day 19: Write a hand written thank you note and send to someone who deserves it
Day 20: Do not eat out anywhere today
Day 21: Ask for help
Day 22: Give 5 or more items of clothing to charity
Day 23: Introduce yourself to a neighbor (If no neighbors, then a stranger)
Day 24: Read Psalm 121
Day 25: Pray for God to reveal sin your life that you are unaware about
Day 26: Donate 5 or more items to a food pantry/bank
Day 27: Walk into every room of your home and Pray for God to bless every inch
Day 28: Be mindful of your language; do not curse, swear or speak ill of another; do not gossip
Day 29: Write a thank you note to a Veteran
Day 30: Invest in re-usable shopping bags
Day 31: Pray for peace
Day 32: Donate supplies or books to a local school
Day 33: Do someone else’s chore
Day 34: Walk in nature and look for beauty; pray for God to reveal more beauty in your life
Day 35: Pray for the future or current spouses of your children, if no children, pray for others
Day 36: No added or artificial sugar today – where else is there sweetness in your life?
Day 37: Give someone an unexpected gift
Day 38: Educate yourself about volunteer opportunities in your community
Day 39: Share with someone a lesson that God has taught you

Day 40: Write out 40 ways in which God has blessed you during your lifetime       


Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trying New Things ...

If you want me to climb a tower, or cross a high bridge, no problem.  If you want me to explore a new city, let's go.  If you want me to meet new people, I'm game.  If you want to give a speech in front of a crowded room, show me the way.  If you want me to explore a new park or hike a new hill ... let me get my shoes. If you want me to try a new class at the gym, tell me what time.  I'm there.

But, if you want me to come over to your house for dinner, stress sets in.  I may make an excuse, but I may just be blunt and tell you I'd rather pick a restaurant where I know my 'safe' foods are.  It's not because I'm on a diet (which I'm not) ... or trying to eat Healthy (which I am) ... it's because trying new foods FREAKS ME OUT.  I am 44 years old, and this has been true since the day I was born.  I have no idea why, I just came this way.  No childhood trauma, no abuse, no real reason, just born this way.  This list of things I DO eat is far shorter than the list of things I DON'T eat.  I wrote about this under the tab up top called 'My Disorder'.  And quite honestly, it gets exhausting trying to explain it to people all of the time.  But I try.

However; and this is a big however, I am getting better.  I have made progress.  I don't know that I will ever be able to completely abolish my extreme sensitivity to texture, taste and smell ... but I'm working on it.  I re-introduce things.  It is tiring and it is stressful, but I do it.  I take breaks, then I start again.  I try to blog about when I try new things. I try to always remember Phil. 4:13 "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me". Yesterday I tried a new Smoothie combination using Dark Chocolate Almond Milk and while I was a little nervous ... it was indeed YUMMO.  Woo Hoo.

And guess what?  I went to the doctor last week and I am no longer anemic and I no longer have PCOS. All of my numbers are good.  Great blood pressure, great cholesterol, great blood sugar, still losing weight.  All is well in this healthy habit body.  The only thing is my Vitamin D is a little low so he put me on a prescription to take once a week.  Woo Hoo.   So yes, I see my doctor regularly and I am monitored.  This is important to me, to make sure I am around for a long time to see great grand children and hike new trails with them. Meanwhile, here is a handy chart to help me along my way.

As always, make champion choices,

Friday, February 14, 2014

Measuring UP

How do you measure your progress? Make sure it is more than just the scale. Take measurements. How do your clothes fit? Take pictures of yourself, even if you hate to do so. How does your face look, your skin? How is your hair? How are your nails and teeth? What are your numbers like cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar, etc. How is your mood? How is your sex drive? All of these things go into your overall health, these and more. Don't let the scale define you.

As always, make champion choices,