Category Archives: Attitude
I’ve told you I spent 5 days in Thibodaux, Louisiana, recently, visiting my husband’s cousin’s wife, Murray, one of the sweetest people on Earth. I had a great time, getting lots of good hugs,meeting a lot of fine people, and eating lots of good food. I threw caution to the winds, eating whatever seemed reasonable at the time, enjoying every bite.
If you’ve been reading my blog, you also know about my continuing effort to get the lard off – a daunting goal when you’re weight, age, and exercise challenged by nature.
I gained almost 4 pounds in the 5 days I was gone, but I got right back on the Nutrisystem horse when I returned. My husband and I even had a flex meal of steak and baked potatoes the other night, but we’re learning to compensate for flex meals better now.
This morning I was pleased to note that, not only had I lost the 4 pounds I had gained, but also hit a new low on the scales! I’m happy to report that as of this morning I’ve lost 26 pounds and 22.55 inches since we started on Nutrisystem this time. (I say, “this time,” because we were on it in the past, several years ago, and quit, due to NS dropping all the meals my husband liked.)
I’m also REALLY happy to tell you that my husband is trying to do some sit ups! This is a former Marine, used to doing a LOT of exercise to stay in shape while in the Corps. This is also the man who told me, “No way!” when I suggested that HE try to exercise, too. He has been encouraging ME, but steadfastly refuse to do any type of exercise himself.
(He caught a cold from my bringing home germs from my trip, and so has taken a few days off, but is really trying to do these each day. I have learned that, even if you can’t do the exercises or stretches as you would like, ATTEMPTING to do them on a regular basis strengthens and/or lengthens muscles, too, and so the effort is fruitful.
I look at this quote as encouragement to move outside your comfort zone. If you hope for something, you then try to do what you can to make it happen. Any time you reach out, you learn, gathering more experiences, becoming a richer person. Being rich in experiences with a lust for learning something new keeps your brain agile, looking at things in a different way. Being more and more active in mind and body allows you to appreciate all you have, the people you’re lucky enough to know, and the satisfaction in the DOING.
And it all starts with hope…
My biggest ‘take home’ from my trip was love demonstrated in so many forms it was overwhelming.
My SIL and I are married to guys who are brothers. We went to see Murray, the wife of our husbands’ cousin. We lost our cousin recently, and we had planned to get together for a ‘girls vacation’ – just the three of us. Happily, Murray came home from the hospital with good news. We made sure she rested with her feet up while we were there. We had told her before we came that we didn’t need to be ‘entertained.’ We just wanted to be with her.
Murray is a big part of her community, doing countless volunteer things, being on boards doing good things for the community, such as the Thibodaux Children’s Museum, and more. She is active in her church and has given so much to her town of Thibodaux. She recently was in the paper, with an article naming some of the things she has done!
What happened from the time we arrived to the time we left was the absolute definition of love and giving back. Murray’s group of close friends is larger than the number of people my husband and I have ever known in our entire lives. There were phone calls constantly, with people checking in to see that she was doing all right or just to touch base. She always made sure that each caller knew how much they meant to her.
There was a steady stream of friends, her priest, her housekeeper when it wasn’t her day to be there, her massage therapist and good friend, who also massaged the neck and back of a second visitor while she was there – after giving Murray a food massage. There were friends who had been with her in the hospital and were checking in again. There were people Murray invited because she wanted them to meet Mary Lou and me. There were neighbors. There was the ‘Queen of Pralines,’ Murray’s long-time friend who not only visited one day, but had her son, Chad, deliver a big box of pralines the next day. ( learned that you don’t say “Pray-leens.” They are pronounced, “Praw-leens.” I took two for my husband – since he LOVES anything sugary. He gobbled them up, smiled and nodded, saying, “These are truly heavenly. Don’t get me any more.” :0)
(Chad was the one who got our cousin John to the hospital recently and then picked him up there and brought him home recently, before he passed.) Each visitor brought love with him. The whole house was enveloped with it. There is no way to remember them all. There was a steady stream of caring, interesting, wonderful people, all loving Murray.
She has a wonderful way of introducing people. I’m socially challenged, in that after saying something like, “I’m happy to meet you,” I have trouble coming up with something to say next. Murray makes that go away with a story about who that person is, or asks them to tell a story, which then makes you want more information, so conversation is easy. She also tells them something about US, so the other people have something easy to say, too. What a gift Murray has!
The priest was young and wore bright blue long socks with cartoon characters on them! He was great, totally down to earth, not preachy, and showed he was a truly great addition to Thibodaux.
We went to a restaurant called, “Bubba’s II” one night. We all ordered, and then the waitress brought a soft-shelled crab to Murray, wanting her to enjoy it free of charge – just because she is Murray. That’s the kind of thing that makes me tear up. Jean (pronounced, “Zhaw” – that’s as close as I can get to it) went with us. Not only that, he secretly went up and paid for all of us. See what I mean?
We managed to do some significant stuff to help Murray go through things and clean out while we were there, but it’s great to know that Murray is so surrounded by people who truly care and want to give back the love she has given for so many years.
Now that she received great news from her doctors, she can concentrate on getting her strength back and spreading even more around!
Just in case you were wondering – my favorite dinosaur is a Stegosaurus, though I’ve never met one personally. :0)
Since I’m older than dirt, I FEEL like a dinosaur for many reasons –
The one that hits me in the face the most often is that good manners, common courtesy, good communication, and doing what you say you’ll do when you said you would do it have gone the way of the dinosaurs. It saddens me that I’m AMAZED when someone treats me the way I try to treat everyone.
One example of what I consider ‘old world style’ customer service is when we got covers for our gutters recently. I got three prospects for people who would install the covers. One never bothered to call back. Two called and came. One of the companies was really nice, but we couldn’t afford their services. The other was trying to make a ‘one time rush deal,’ so I blew him off. I decided to try to get an estimate for just cleaning out our gutters. I lucked into Edwards Gutter Cleaning in Fort Smith, AR.
He came out and looked at things. He asked if I would like him to install covers after he got the gutters cleaned out. We talked and I discovered that he did almost anything outside. I asked him if he could saw off the large branch that had broken off a tree at the bottom of our driveway. He gave me an estimate for all of this, coming in at 1/3 the price of the highest estimate. We agreed on a time and the amount of money. He actually gave me a time he would come. When he was delayed, he called me and asked if it were all right if he came an hour later. He discovered while cleaning out the gutters that we already HAD some covers on some of the gutters and that they were still good. We needed covers for the rest and so he revised the cost downward! He worked his head off with his partner, did everything he said he would do, cleaned up, etc.
I thanked him profusely for treating me so well, and that I hoped he would get rich because of working hard, treating his customers like real, valued people, and doing what he said he would do and more. I gave him a really good review on Home Advisor. He actually called me last week to be sure I was still happy with his work, asking if I needed anything now.
In this day and age, this kind of service doesn’t happen. We lucked into his wonderful guy and will definitely call him first when we have something we need done outside.
I still feel like a dinosaur, holding on to what I consider ‘basic courtesy,’ when I’m shown over and over that I’m’ behind the times and things don’t work that way anymore.’
Every day we face obstacles to what we want to accomplish. Some of them may prove too difficult, and then we need to figure out another alternative.
But most obstacles are within us. Are you, like me, your own worst enemy on a lot of things? Do feelings of inadequacy bubble up to the surface, making you give up before really even giving it a good try? Our inner voices, past experiences, and uncertainty thwart our efforts to learn something new, stick our necks out to try something we’ve never done before, and more.
We need to separate obstacles we really do need to honor from ones we throw up as excuses to avoid going outside our comfort zone. Our world needs to get larger as we age, rather than allowing it to quietly get smaller and smaller, ‘safer and more certain’ until it implodes.
If you find that you can no longer do something you once enjoyed, take an active interest in finding something to replace it. Reach out to others, read voraciously, TRY things that are a bit scary.
Challenge yourself to acknowledge it when you discover you’re giving up on something and make it a point to meet it head on and widen your horizons.
I don’t think the above quote is Pollyanna-ish. The way you look at life, particularly the every day, goes a long way to shape it. I am consciously saying to myself, “Today will be a good day,” each morning and reminding myself to SMILE – if not at strangers I see during the day – I smile at my husband, my doggies, my cats, and even my fish! I try to concentrate on finding something that brings up my spirits. Many times I find it in the birds at the feeders that I can see through the window as we eat breakfast. Our pets make us laugh. We’ll see a pair of roadrunners, as we did yesterday – speculating together on why they ran in different directions as we drove down the driveway.
Particularly as we age, it becomes harder and harder to do this – and more important that we do.
We see mostly bad news on TV, the newspaper, the Internet news sites. We hear that someone we love is ill. We lose our friends, Our bodies become a challenge, rather than a help. We can either let all of this engulf us, or we can determinedly stick our necks out and find things that bring us joy in being alive.
Learning new things, trying to do something you’ve never done before, reaching out to friends and family, joining a new group, reading, painting, gardening, writing a blog, volunteering –
Find your own sunshine every day, stick it in your pocket and carry it with you. You might just brighten someone ELSE’s day, too.
The Little Engine That Could said something like, “I THINK I can, I THINK I can,” enabling him to get to the top of the mountain. I’m feeling cautiously confident that MAYBE I’ve broken through the plateau from Hell I’ve been on for a couple of months now.
The chat counselor was helpful, looking at my NuMi log. She said, (I’m paraphrasing and putting a bit of my own spin on what she actually said) –
- It didn’t look like I was eating enough (I had skipped the Powerfuel serving at breakfasts, for example)
- My snacks didn’t have enough calories many times, giving my body the message that it “needed to store fat for the winter”
- It might be a good idea to switch lunches and dinners – giving me ‘heavier meals with slightly more calories earlier in the day
I did these, and they helped a bit, but didn’t actually impress the scales or the tape measure much.
The message I’ve gotten is that I need to shake things up some, since doing the same thing each day expecting different results is stupid.
I’m changing WHAT I’m eating for snacks, thinking that the variety will cause my body to take notice, rather than acting like a slug. I’m doing my yoga each day, but I’m also changing some of what I’m doing for exercise, thinking that will also get my body’s attention for the better.
I started these changes 3 days ago and I’ve lost weight the past two days. It’s early to think I’ve found the answer, but at least it seems to be PART of the answer for me. I’ve been old and sedentary for a long time. I’m still old (and hopefully getting older!) but I CAN do something about shaking things up and moving more effectively.
“I THINK I Can….”
I’ve tried all my life to remain calm in an emergency and haven’t managed it yet. This beautiful quote and illustration suggests it’s a skill you can practice. Does that mean you have to find emergencies over and over and then try to solve them, trying to remain calm in the process?
When my husband and I lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma a million or so years ago, we bought our first house. It was a lovely two-story wood home with a very small lot in a nice area of town where most of the homes were at least 50 years old. There was a small, rectangular ‘swimming pool’ taking up most of the back yard that didn’t hold water. :0) It also had a garage apartment that we fixed up and rented out.
After several years, I came home from a day of teaching school to find the garage apartment in flames! My reaction was to freak out. I did make sure that our renters weren’t inside. Then I called my mom, only figuring out several minutes later I should probably call the fire department…
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trying to do everything I could to AVOID emergencies. I guess that’s a good thing, but it doesn’t give you much help when you encounter the next one. I run around like a chicken with its head cut off, squawking and crying and panicking, rather than keeping a cool head and doing what’s necessary.
I admire people who know just what to do if someone gets hurt. My mind goes blank, forgetting everything I ever knew, other than maybe calling 911 – something my husband would rather DIE than do. HE wants me to get him into the car and go to the ER – the way he has done over the years (rarely, thank goodness) with ME.
Maybe I’m not alone in needing some practice.
It was suggested years ago that a good experiment was to consciously give a big smile to each person you met during the day and to see their reaction. I did this when my husband and I went to one of the shopping malls in Fort Smith.
I told my husband a corny joke. He groaned and I laughed, holding the smile as we passed several people. They smiled in return and my husband asked, “Who were they?” I replied. “I have no idea.” He said, “You don’t know them? Why were they smiling at you?”
This continued the whole time we were shopping. The thing that surprised me was that “I” felt good. My spirits were up. I was happy. I started the experiment – apparently brightening some other people’s’ lives – and had a happy day in return. I now remind myself to SMILE, even if I don’t feel like it.
A great lesson.
The Nutrisystem program encourages you to learn how to cook and eat in a reasonable fashion (unlike what we’ve been doing) by having us eat or cook one breakfast, lunch, dinner and snack on our own each week, preferably each on a different day during the week. They call these “FLEX” meals.
I really like this idea. We were on Nutrisystem before years ago before they added the flex meal idea (or frozen food choices) to their plan. We lost weight and then gradually put it back on because I went back to poor cooking habits from the past. This time they’re encouraging us to plan our flex meals for the week and work this idea into our new lifestyle.
So far, I’m having two problems:
- I’ve prepared a couple of flex dinners from their Leaf Recipes section. We each ate a serving of it and I froze the rest in individual portions so we can pull them out, nuke ’em, and eat. This is complicated by the fact that I’m eating “dinner” for ‘lunch’ at the counselor’s suggestion, trying to work my way out of a plateau on my weight loss. “I” pull out a flex dinner for lunch one day a week, but my husband either doesn’t think about it or the idea doesn’t appeal to him for HIS dinner. We can only eat ONE of these flex dinners per week, so the ‘reruns’ are lasting weeks and weeks!
- When I cook completely on my own, or we get something out, we gain weight back. Example, Sunday evening I cooked two 4 oz steaks. With them we had little bitty potatoes with a little bit of butter and no salt, plus cut up fresh tomatoes. I thought it was a good dinner and my husband thought it was ‘wonderful,’ but we were both up on the scales Monday morning. Last night we went bowling with friends and had a scoop of real ice cream afterwards as our “flex snack” for the week. We were both up AGAIN this morning. Friday we’re due to eat our flex breakfast (or lunch) at a restaurant with the “Breakfast Bunch.” This gain isn’t only for one day, either. It seems to take the whole week to get back to where we were.
My first reaction is to quit eating the flex meals because they’re messing us up. But then the more grown up part of me realizes that this is the whole point of the program. We’re supposed to be learning what a ‘portion’ is, how to choose foods more wisely when we’re out, and incorporating the ‘new’ healthier eating style into our lives as a regular thing.
I’ll probably get online and talk to a counselor about this, since I’m determined to learn the lesson and make it a larger and larger part of the way we live. Right now I’m frustrated, but hopefully a nice person at NS can guide me on a better path.
As I get older – and older – I see that this quote is true. It IS our choices that shape our lives.
- Do you choose to expand your life – try new things – learn something new?
- Do you choose to actively try to get healthier?
- Do you choose to reach out to a loved friend who needs you?
- Do you choose to tell – and show – people you love how much they mean to you?
- Do you choose to try to make each day count?
- Do you choose to look at life in a happier frame of mind?
- Do you choose look for ways to make others happier?
I’ve had several friends over the years seemingly make a conscious choice to allow their lives to implode. They resist change, refuse to learn new things, allowing their lives to get smaller and more insular until they’re gone. It’s a pattern I don’t want to follow. I’m choosing to live each day to the fullest. What choices are YOU making?
I worked every summer from the time I was 14 through college, and then at full time jobs as a teacher, reading clinic owner/teacher, administrative secretary. medical transcriptionist/bookkeeper, and website owner/artist for some 57 years all told. Now I am retired, and busier than I’ve ever been. I honestly don’t know how I used to have time to work full time!
Some people have real trouble adapting to a retired lifestyle. I’m very sorry for that. I have so MANY things I would like to do that I rarely have enough energy or time in the day to even make a dent in my list. I get overwhelmed with my ‘shoulds’ from time to time, and it’s been a long time since I gave myself permission to play in my art room, but I love the world my husband and I worked so many years to create. We also had the good fortune to inherit from our parents, so we’re comfortable financially if we don’t get stupid and greedy.
I love being able to decide my priorities for the day – being free to be really productive or enjoy NOT being. :0)
I’m happy that I can entertain myself. I guess I could be a hermit with little trouble, spending days and days up here on top of my ridge line with my husband and our animals, my flowers and my garden, my greenhouse and our shop, my books and my art room, my computer and my blog – plus the chat program that is a direct line to our son far away – one day spilling into the next – the weeks, months, and years flying past my head, making my hair blow.
I’m lucky enough to have relatives and friends that add so much fun, joy, and love to this hermit.
“I live in my own little world, but it’s ok, they know me here.”
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” – Marcel Proust
“Happiness is a by-product of an effort to make someone else happy.” ~ Gretta Brooker Palmer
The BAD news is that I’m still old and still don’t look a THING like Julia Roberts.
The GOOD news is that with the help of the Nutrisystem counselor, I seem to have broken through the plateau from Hell I was on and am losing weight again!
To date, I’ve lost 16.3 inches.
Poundage off is now 14.4.
Other GOOD things –
- I’m getting used to drinking 64 oz of water daily, no longer feeling that my eyes are floating. (My husband – who is not even trying to drink any certain amount – is getting used to having to pause the movie several times, though, as the drinking catches up with me in the evenings.)
- I’m getting more confident about being able to adapt our life style to the Nutrisystem program, particularly as it relates to the flex meals and our social life. We like to bowl with friends on Monday evenings, for example. We use the trip to Braum’s afterwards as our FLEX SNACK for the week. We eat with friends every Friday for what we call “Lunch Bunch.” We were counting that as FLEX LUNCH, but are finding it easier to work it into the program by having it as our FLEX BREAKFAST for the week. I’m starting to prepare some of the “Leaf” Nutrisystem FLEX DINNER recipes, having fixed two so far. One of the recipes was an “OKAY,” but the latest one, the “1-Pan Rice, Chicken and Vegetables” was a winner. Today, since I made it to 1100 subscribers – actually 1101 now) to my blog – HOOORAAAAAAAY!” – we’re going to Red Lobster for Lobster Tail as our FLEX LUNCH for the week in celebration!
- I’m starting to look forward to some of my exercising. I’ll never become like Jillian Michaels, who seems to live for exercise, or like annoying Leslie Sansone, who keeps talking about how much FUN her walking program is and how GOOD it feels, but I AM enjoying the half hour I spend daily doing my yoga stretches and then using my cervical pillow to completely relax for several minutes. I’m trying to do my elliptical trainer for 30 minutes every other day. I’m using all the vacuuming and mopping of floors as my exercise a couple of days a week or more, since I seem to have to devote my life to it to even THINK of trying to keep up with all the dog and cat hair right now.
- I’m starting to believe that if I keep on keepin’ on, I’ll eventually lose the lard, be healthier, and feel better as there is less of me.
My next goal is to earn my 20 lb Nutrisystem bear! One day at a time….
“Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world. Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak. Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to lighten up.” – Allen Klein
My dad taught me how important seeing the world with humor can be. He lived it, giving me a beautiful example on which to base my own attitude. I can stand back and look at what’s happening as if I’m watching a movie. This allows me to see the humor in the situation and give a big, hearty laugh at myself.
My mother-in-law gave me a reminder when we were driving her to a retirement center in Tulsa. Her whole life was changing. Her husband was dead set against the move. She was giving up much of her previous life and activities. She knew no one at the center. I asked her how she felt about the move. She smiled a bright smile, her eyes twinkling, and said, “I’m going to LOVE it!” I looked at her, silently asking her to go on. She said, again, “I’m going to love it. I’m going to make friends, find fun and interesting things to do, enjoy fixing up our rooms a bit, and make this my new home.” And she did. Everyone soon knew who she was and loved her.
I’ll never forget this, and hope to embrace changes with this same enthusiasm. Attitude colors everything. We can look at things with the idea of new opportunities and wonderful surprises ahead. I want my life to keep expanding. I would like to reach out, savoring what remains of my life with gusto. The more colorful, the better.
What color is YOUR attitude?