Sunday, March 31, 2013

Celebrating Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean created a handy little item called the Magic Eraser.  It is a sponge of some sort that when dampened will wipe just about any blemish or mark from most anything.  It can make the dirtiest of walls look new again, will take a little darling's masterpiece from the living room wall, take soap scum off of a shower door, remove mold and mildew and rust marks from porcelain and a host of other uses.  No one really knows what is magic about Mr. Clean's eraser but it will even take permanent marker off of most things.

The original Magic Eraser rose from the tomb over 2,000 years ago.  His resurrection has the ability to make the dirtiest of lives look new again.  He can wipe any blemish or mark from anyone's life.  He can remove a masterpiece you made of your life that ruined your future.  He can take scum and make it shiny and streak free.  He can remove mold, mildew and rust from our lives that no amount of apologizing will erase.  He can remove mistakes from our lives, even ones with permanent reminders.

Mr. Clean, although amazing, is not a new concept.  My Mr. Clean died for my sins and rose again on the third day.  My Mr. Clean is your Mr. Clean.  We accept our Mr. Clean when we confess His name before men, and dampen ourselves in the burial waters of baptism.  He then magically erases our mistakes, even ones with permanent reminders.

Today I celebrate Mr. Clean.  For He has Risen!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Let's Get Moving in the Right Shoes

Our idea for weight loss is not dieting.  It is more simple than that.  It is Eat Less, Move More.  Quite a few have started the podcast for the Couch to 5K program.  Don't get discouraged if it is hard to get going.  Remember the hardest step for a runner/walker is tying your shoes and getting out the door.  I write on the inside of my running shoes with permanent marker this sentiment, "This is the hardest part."  That way when I tie my shoes I know I am doing great because I am going to exercise once I get my shoes on.  Once you get in the habit, it will become much easier.  Trust me.  It is scary to try something new, to vow to eat less and move more, but we will be free when we take time out for ourselves, for only then it will make us a better mom/dad, a better wife/husband, a better employee, a better servant of God.  Just the simple fact that we refuse to diet and we won't deprive ourselves is motivation enough to know that we can be successful.  We won't create cravings, desperation for foods, or lack of motivation.  Slow and steady wins the race.

Let's talk about what kind of shoes to run/walk/move more in. I know it is hard to believe when you have not even run that first step, that you will eventually be replacing your running shoes about every 4 months. Some like being fitted for your first pair. This is a fabulous idea if you have a lot of money to invest right away, and are certain you are going to stick with it. When I got up off the couch and started running, I started in the pair that I had in the closet for casual wear. After all, everyone laughed me into next week when I made the declaration anyway, so why would I invest in shoes if I was only going to run a time or two. I would start with Asics GT 1000-a great, middle of the road shoe that can be bought online for a reasonable price. Run/walk in those for 3-4 months and see if this is something you are going to stick with. If it is, then go get fitted for some higher end shoes. If you want to get fitted right away, go to the Athlete's House downtown. It is my experience that they are the most knowlegeable and kind crowd of runners.   Although I have gone and been fitted into expensive running shoes, I ultimately go back to my tried and true Asics GT 1000.  Below is a link to order you a pair.  They run true to size so if you wear an 8.5 then order an 8.5. provides free shipping both ways so you can order them and if they don't fit you can ship them back for free and get another size.  It is truly hassle free shopping.  They have super cool colors in this model also!  When you click on the grey and blue shoes below, you can see the other color options as well.

Some of you have mentioned having knee and leg pain as you have started moving more.  For me, the shoes were everything.  In fact, when my legs and knees start hurting, I know it is my signal to buy new shoes.  If you need the link to Couch to 5K it is in a previous blog post.  Search for Couch to 5K in my search box on the right to find that post.

Thanks for reading my blog and please subscribe using the Subscribe to button on the right column of the page so you will know right away when I update with a new post.  Tonight I will leave you with a little motivation to get you going.

Now that is a point to ponder.

Happy Easter Everybunny!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Being Authentic

Being Authentic.  What does that even mean?  One of my readers asked me to write about how I became an authentic person and I have to admit is has totally left me scratching my head.  It has led me on a soul searching journey for the past week or so examining what does being authentic even mean and how did this person even determine that I was authentic?  This is good stuff.  We all need to be authentic.  Just be ourselves on a day to day basis.  To the person who asked me to write about this, it is going to have to be a series on Being Authentic because it is a multifaceted topic.  To those who are reading, I hope my thoughts help just one person be themselves on a daily basis.

First of all, if you don't even know who you are that is a place to start.  In my early adult life, I remember and even look back on pictures at how I dressed and how I did my hair and how I cooked and how I acted.  It all was about what someone else thought I should wear, look like, act like, cook like, etc..  In an earlier blog post I talked about my decision to cut my hair short and spiky and how I was met with much opposition in that decision.  The bottom line there is that you may not want your hair short and spiky but I do.  And that is ok.  You may not want to wear black, but I do.  You may not like to allow your children to get their cartilage pierced, but I choose not to fight that battle.  The fact is that we are all different and God made us this way.  We all need to be tolerant and accepting of other people's desires, opinions, style of dress, and ways to raise their children because what may be good for one person may not be good for another person.  But we should be supportive of what other people like and do as long as it is not harmful or against God's word.  What we don't realize is that our support of others relieves a ton of pressure to allow us all to be Authentic.  We are all human and as much as we would not like to let the opinions of others affect our decisions, the fact is that it does.  So if we all would be in support of different people's different strategies to survive life, raising kids, and dressing themselves, then we would all feel much more free to be who we are.  Let's face it, not everyone can just say "forget them, I am going to do what I want to do.".  So a little tolerance and keeping your mouth shut with your opinions will help tremendously towards a birth of authentisism in everyone.  Let's all take time to cut down the pressure by keeping our opinions to ourselves and only show support and not negativity unless it is harmful or against God's word, and your definition of harmful may not be really harmful in the grand scheme of things.

The reason people lie is because they believe the truth will not be good enough.  Read that statement twice or three times.  It is about as true as anything on this planet.  One of the ways to be authentic is to tell the truth all the time and let that be good enough.  When you realize that people lie because they believe the truth is not good enough then you can tell the truth all the time because your truth IS good enough.  We all make mistakes and sometimes our truth is not pretty but it is part of the knitting of the fabric of our lives.  If we are allowing ourselves to be authentic then we will admit that we are not perfect and tell of times when we made mistakes because God allows us to suffer to help others along the way.  What I have been through may help someone else.  But if I keep it to myself then who am I helping?  I heard a story of Jews escaping concentration camps and the years of work they spent mapping and planning.  Once they escaped do you think they kept their info to themselves?  NO  They shared it so others could escape.  If we are transparent and share our struggles with others then we are being authentic and you will find that others will come out of the woodwork showing gratitude for sharing because they have been closet sufferers of the same thing.  Being Authentic means being transparent.  No one is perfect and if you act like you are then you are living a lie.  Your story can help others.

This is the first installment of the Being Authentic Series.  I hope it has helped just one person. I have many things to share about this and am excited to continue to think on the subject of being authentic.  For today, I will leave you with one of my favorite mottos:

Be Yourself and let that be Good Enough

Now that is a point to ponder.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

God's Timing almost always is not Our Timing

Tonight I went to a wedding.  I have been to many weddings in my life, all of which has been beautiful.  Tonight I went to the most beautiful wedding I have ever been to not because the decorations were the best I had ever seen, or the bride looked the most beautiful, or the groom was the most handsome, or the weather was the most perfect, or the food was the best I had ever eaten.  In fact, I really paid less attention to any of these physical properties than I have at any wedding I have ever been to.  The wedding I went to tonight was a culmination of God's perfect timing.  It was the most beautiful event I have ever been to.  There were no physical bridesmaids, or physical groomsmen.  The witness that stood up with the bride and groom was the one and only God.  

The bride's son sat on the front row along with the parents of both the bride and groom.  There was not a dry eye in the audience.  The groom and bride walked out of the back of the house and ambled hand in hand dripping with joy to the alter of greenery over an archway.  God saw this day long ago and the happily ever after that it began for these two.  God wiped their tears individually for the past years as the wounds were deep and raw from failed marriages and previous spouses who taught them who NOT to marry. 

The bride is one of my best friends.  Not because we spend a lot of time together, that is not always necessary.  We have been to hell and back together in different situations, but we put our backs together through the rain and slept that way so neither one of our heads fell in the mud.  There has been a lot of mud for a lot of years.  When my mud dried and I was able to walk on dry land again, my best friend continued to struggle.  Some days we wondered if her misery would ever end.  If it wasn't flies it was ants. But faithful love is a friend just when hope seems to end, welcome face, sweet embrace, tender touch filled with grace.  Faithful love drowns each fear, reaches down, dries each tear, holds my hand when I can't stand on my own.

One day, a very handsome man who I have known my whole life and whose father was one of my Christian mentors growing up came in to Sunday school and sat next to my best friend.  By the time Sunday school was over, he was practically sitting in her seat with her.  Both happier than I had seen them in years.  My husband and I elbowed each other and snickered to ourselves without saying a word.  I couldn't tell you what that Bible class was about that day because I was watching what God was doing right in the row in front of me.  That prince and princess were married today with God in attendance.

The wedding was perfect, the decorations were perfect, the bride was the most beautiful, the groom most handsome, the food the greatest I ever tasted, because God blessed the broken road that led them straight to paradise.  I was blessed to be able to witness the culmination of years of heartache that gave way to God's perfect plan, God's perfect timing, God's perfect family.  It started to sprinkle rain during the ceremony, then it quit.  It reminded me of how many tears my friend and I have dried for each other over the years.  The rain stopped and so have the tears.  If ever there was a happily ever after, this is it.  Congratulations, my Friend on your happily ever after.  Sometimes we have to kiss some frogs to find our handsome prince.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ways to Get Your Children Talking to You

Don't you just love it when you go to the dentist and the Doc or hygienist tries to talk to you while you have your mouth wide open and they are scraping crust from your teeth and the suction is halfway down your throat?!  Our children's version of this scenario is this:  Don't you just love it when you are in the middle of your favorite show, or playing with your favorite toy, or trying to get ready to go out with your friends, or getting ready for school and your parents come in and try to talk to you?  Timing is everything to get your children to talk and tell you the important stuff. 

I am one very blessed momma in that my children tell me just about everything.  Yes, they lie sometimes and yes, I have had some times that they have been doing things they shouldn't, but for the most part, they tell me stuff that I need to know.  It is because I have set up open lines of communication from the very beginning.  Showing your children that you are not going to panic or interrupt when they talk is important to establishing lines of communication.  Remember when your kids fall and you give this look of horror to them and they start crying?  I always have a pleasant look on my face when something happens and don't panic.  That way the child can decide if it is an instance that warrants upset reaction.  Don't panic, and look pleasant.  Rule #1 to open lines of communication.  If you start this early then not only will you establish credibility and openness with your little ones, it will train you to not panic so when they are teens and come to you with who had drugs at the party or who is trying to have sex with them then you won't panic either.  I assure you your teens will not open up if you panic every time they speak to you about stuff.

When you go get your nails or hair done, it seems to be a time to talk to the person doing your nails or hair.  I noticed this anomaly  and the fact that at a hair salon, dirty laundry is hung without inhibition for all to hear.  Cool!  I brought this home and used it on my children with much success.  Regularly paint and clip your girl's nails and do their hair and the dirty laundry is out to dry.  With my boy, it involves clipping and digging dirt.  They don't realize that I have a motive in my pampering, but that is ok.  I start out just like a hairdresser does.  What can I do for you today?  What has been going on with you since the last time we did your nails, etc.  My children have responded beautifully to this tactic.  I get a lot of information out of them this way, and gives me a chance to listen to them.  Again, don't panic, and don't ask too many questions.  Over time, it establishes communication lines for anything, not just the easy stuff like where are we going to eat Friday night.

With my boy, shooting hockey is a good time to talk.  Shoot hockey with him, shoot basketball with him, dig a hole in the yard with him, dig dirt out of his fingernails for him, all of which have been successful talking times for me with my boy.  Again, don't panic or ask too many questions.

Bathtime is a good time to talk when your children are small.  My children used to tell me all kinds of things from bathtime.  However, I never panicked, offered too much advice, or looked shocked by anything they told me even from a young age. 

What do I do if my child tells me something they did that is bad?  You said not to panic!  Well, I am glad you asked.  The way I handle this is simple.  I put it back on them.  I say, "What do you think God is saying about what you are doing?"  For me, it works every time.  Gives them a chance to think through what happened, and how they should correct themselves.  No shouting, no fussing, just correction.  Children want to do what is right.

When they come home from school is a terrible time to talk, but it also is the best time to talk if you know what questions to ask.  Here is the scenario:  They get off the bus, come in the house, and you say Hey!  How was school today?  You are setting yourself up for closed lines of communication here.  What is the answer to the overused "How was school today?" ?  Well, it is "fine".  Door shut, communication stunted, tv on, snack prepared, you are DONE momma!  Try this and see if it doesn't get you further than a standard "fine".  When my kids come home I say to them, Well you look happy today! or Well you look upset about something. or You look like you are excited about something.  These comments open the door for a more thorough explanation or answer than "fine".  Kids will correct you if you say they look happy and they are not at all!  They will reply with No, I am not happy at all, I failed the math test and my best friend is saying I'm not her friend anymore.  NOW, you lines are open. and you can have a nice discussion of things.  It is all in the questions you ask, folks.

I hope my blog today will help even one person to open some lines of communication with their child.  Do their nails, do their hair, play beauty salon, bathtime, bedtime, whatever works.  Just don't panic, lay grounds of communication early so you train yourself and your child, when they do start to tell something, don't offer too much advice, just listen.  Keep calm and listen on.

Now that is a point to ponder.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Discoveries from the World of Hearing-Never Take Things for Granted :)

Barbara Walters here reporting live from the world of hearing!  I am thrilled again to have been given permission to share these stories.  My oldest daughter has actually asked me to blog all of her discoveries about the world of hearing.  She didn't have to ask me twice because it has been such an exciting few days since she got her hearing aids which are called her "little miracles".  Some of the items that she has learned about the world of hearing she thought were embarrassing, but now she has seen how so many have been impacted by her story that she wants to share more :)

I must say that I have learned SO much in the past days about not taking things for granted.  Sounds that I have not paid attention to ever, have been brought to my attention as my girl has heard them for the first time.  Yesterday, I had to take my youngest to the pediatrician and everyone was interested in my story which I was incredibly thrilled to tell.  Our doctor barely began to make mention of a "shoulda, coulda, woulda" thought that he had since finding out about my girl and her new life.  I stopped him before he could even get started because this is God's story and not ours.  God did what he wanted to do with my girl and I wouldn't change a thing.  When you go to a Christian pediatrician, those conversations about what could have been different are not productive.  We can't go back, only forward :)

You grow through what you go through. 

Be thankful for the bad things in life.  For they opened your eyes to the good things you weren't paying attention to before.  I will forever pay attention to these things because I am thankful I can hear them:

  • when you run your hand across a chair arm, it makes a noise
  • she heard something whispered to another person when she wasn't looking straight at them
  • before, some kids would find it hilarious to walk up to my girl and mouth words with their mouth but not really say anything.  Since we have now discovered she was reading lips all this time, she would say "Wait, what did you say?" to the kids.  Then they would leave laughing at her response basically making fun of her.  When this happened for the first time after she got her "little miracles"(her hearing aids) she shouted and pointed her finger at them and said "HA!  You weren't saying anything!"  TAKE THAT mean kids!!
  • when the heat cut on in the house she was a bit frightened having never heard that before
  • When the ice maker dropped ice it scared her to death
  • on her first day to school with little miracles, the pencil sharpener scared her to death
  • now she responds immediately when spoken to
  • her eyes are bright
  • she is extremely happy and laughs a lot
  • she makes noises with her mouth and laughs
  • She talks in all kinds of funny voices and laughs at her sounds
  • she taps her fingers just to hear the sound
  • she "gets" jokes and sarcasm that she never did before because she couldn't hear it
  • she hates having to take her hearing aids out at night because she says she can't hear anything and she goes back to a dark world she lived in before and she doesn't like that world anymore  
  • she said she feels like she is "normal" with her little miracles in
  • when she went to school she was bouncing around telling and showing everyone about her little miracles and one kid said "Aren't you embarrassed that you have hearing aids??"  My girl replied, "NO!  Because I can HEAR!!"
  • Before we arrived at the audiologists office, my girl was worried about what the hearing aids would look like, would she look like an old woman, etc.  Once they were programmed and placed in her ears, that was no longer a discussion.  She quickly realized that what they look like did not matter because it was so great to hear
  • She says "I hear that!" alot
  • last night, she was at her babysitting job that she does regularly, and she told the little doll to stop smacking her mouth when she was eating.  The little doll said, "But I always eat like this and you never said anything before".  My girl said, "Well if I have ever heard your smacking I would have told you a long time ago to stop smacking, so stop smacking please."
  • she said the Pledge of Allegiance for the first time.  She knew it, but never knew where they were in it, so didn't participate.  Said it sounded like Charlie Brown's teacher before.
  • coming out of church she said she had heard the most beautiful singing.  She knew I always said she had a beautiful voice but she never heard it.
  • she has stopped smacking her mouth when she eats even though we have told her to stop for years, but she didn't understand why we told her that because she couldn't hear it.  Now she will smack loudly on purpose and laugh about it
Before I tell my favorite story of them all, I will say that my girl has given me permission to share this.  It is the most precious moment we have had, it is hilarious, but precious coming from an 17 year old girl, almost 18.  At first she thought it was too embarrassing to tell, but I told her what the moral of the story is, and she wanted me to share it.  So read carefully and enjoy, but don't forget the moral at the end.  Enjoy:

We were leaving the audiologists office with her newfound freedom into the world of hearing.  Driving home, she had called my mom to tell her she could hear.  In the middle of the conversation, she threw the phone down and started laughing hysterically, rocking back and forth with tears streaming down her face from hard laughing.  This went on for minutes.  She was laughing so hard she couldn't speak.  I said, "What is going on?"  She said, "Mom!  I just farted and it made the funniest sound I have ever heard!"  Then she proceeded to laugh uncontrollably along with me.

Folks, the moral of that story is this:  May we never again hear the sound of an annoying fart that will stink up the joint without laughing uncontrollably, for we were able to hear the sound. We have  become so immune to the sound that we get aggravated with the scent.  May we all live our lives appreciating how funny a fart sounds from this day forward.  Amen.

Now THAT is a point to ponder.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Fat Burning Solutions

Words cannot express how humbled I am at the outpouring of love and commentary about the story of my girl and her hearing loss.  Never in a million years did I realize that people would be so interested in my stories.  It is just everyday life to me.  I have some fabulous stories to share about her discovery of the world of hearing but today I have some more tips on burning fat.

Please share the link to my blog with anyone you would like to.  The more visits and commentary we get the closer I get to being able to getting advertisements on my blog that cause it to be a moneymaking site for me.  If you like what you read, then comment on the blog comments at the bottom of each post and subscribe to the blog which will allow you to get email or text message when I write a new post.  Thanks for all your support.  Now on to fat burning:

Fat burning is the most mysterious thing that I have ever encountered.  If you have read any of my blog thusfar, you know that I am anti-diet, anti-cardboard eating, anti-deprivation when it comes to losing weight. Before you fill up on yogurt this morning that you don't even really like, check the label of it.  Most yogurt is Full of SUGAR and will build belly fat faster than you can imagine.  Even Greek yogurt has a lot of sugar in it.  There are better choices.  ANYTHING that has a healthy label on it that you think is good for you, read how much sugar is in it.  It is astounding.  Greek yogurt is great for a dessert option because it has a lot of protein in it, most of the time around 11 grams.  Remember, higher protein, lower sugar.

Take your Apple Cider Vinegar and make sure it is undilluted(which makes it nastier and healthier).  Take your coconut oil like a good girl or boy.  Coconut oil speeds your metabolism.  Visit my pinterest page for more uses of coconut oil on my board "Products I Love"  Visit my pinterest page by clicking on the icon on the right top of my blog page.

NOW!!  Finally I am going to share the secret to fat burning.  I wish I had known this before now lest I would have never spent my life overweight.  I figured out the problem.  

When you use shampoo in the shower the suds run all down my body.  You can't help but let the suds run.  I read on the bottle of shampoo, and they all say it no matter what kind you use, "Adds volume and extra body"  This has been the problem all along.  My shampoo running down my body has been adding extra body and volume making me fat all my life.  Well, I have a solution for us.  I started washing my hair in Dawn dishwashing liquid.  On the label it reads, "Dissolves Fat that is otherwise Hard to Remove"  Problem solved!  And it is great for oily hair.

If you call me and I don't answer, I am in the shower.

Now this is a point to ponder.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Witnessing a Modern Day Miracle and Realization of Dreams

I am generally a very funny person but this morning I blog with a cup that runneth over with joy.  Let me start by saying that I have finally been granted permission by my oldest daughter to share her story.  It is a beautiful story that God wrote from the very beginning.  It has many gorgeous details and a lot of heartache.  It is a story of perseverance, the triumph of the human spirit, never backing down, and most importantly following God when the way seems dark and lonely and you can't see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I am beyond delighted to have permission to write her story.  Some of the details will be left out still, simply to protect her.  It is my prayer as I candidly type her story that it will give even just one person hope for another day.

My oldest daughter is about to turn 18 in a few short weeks.  She will be graduating high school this year and attending college in the fall.  When she was born, I had so many hopes and dreams for her like all moms do.  I remember laying on the bed with her when she was a few days old and crying because I wanted her to be able to remain so innocent the rest of her life.  I knew the world was cruel and I just ached for what she would experience and see in this old world one day.  I knew I couldn't save her from everything, but I vowed to that baby that day that I would die trying.  It is a vow I have kept to my beautiful girl.

Fast forward to school days:  Every mom gets excited and sad when their child goes off to Kindergarten, and every mom just knows that their kid is the smartest, the most adorable, etc.  Up until they go to Kindergarten they ARE!  but all of a sudden, they are judged on the world's scale in a school and it isn't always as pretty as we dreamed it to be.  If you have a child that makes straight A's all the time and work is simple for them, I am so incredibly happy for you.  I no longer wish that was my lot in life for motherhood.  I am grateful for every tear that was shed over homework and every mean thing that has been said to my girl because this is God's story and my girl has turned into an incredibly hard worker, self motivated, Christian young lady who will do amazing things in God's kingdom in her life.  I spent many years crying and praying that things be easier for my girl.  Praise God that He said, "No".

Fast Forward-2nd Grade:  Having had a terrible time in school and grades that suffered, we began to believe there was a problem.  We took her to have her eyes tested and her hearing tested. Then ultimately had testing done through the school and pediatrician where the ultimate diagnosis was Attention Deficit Disorder and a learning disablility.  NOT what I dreamed of when my girl was born.  We moved on, and things improved with knowledge of how to deal with our daughter.  A behavioral therapist was involved and also was able to help us tremendously to teach our daughter how to deal with her "lot".

Kids are mean and there have been many hurtful things uttered to our girl about being dumb and stupid and "special ed".  I can't believe that special ed is actually a term children use to refer to another one of God's creatures.  In our home, we celebrate D's if we worked hard to get them.  ABCDF are letters used to judge knowledge on the world's scale, NOT GOD'S SCALE.  God's scale judges how much character a child has, and how loving they are, and whether or not they are kind to one another.  My girl is all of these things.

In 6th grade, there was new legislation that allowed a child to receive special education services for medical reasons such as Attention Deficit Disorder as well as learning disability.  We made a very hard decision to place her in that program so she could receive the best education opportunity she could receive.

In the meantime, I prayed daily for my girl that things be easier for her and many other specifics as they arose.  Also in the meantime, she grew to love the Lord even more, she grew in stature and faith and in favor with God and man.  She learned to work circles around the other "smarter" kids in class, learned to be incredibly organized, and learned to develop tough skin for hurtful words from mean kids and teasing that was not meant to be teasing but was hurtful even from her best friends.

Fast Forward-12th grade:  She was accepted to college by the grace of God based on her grades which was a feat orchestrated entirely by the one and only God.  Her grade point average continued to rise, provisions were taken away gradually as we learned to learn to where ultimately in the 11th and 12th grade, all special education provisions were removed and my girl was allowed to spread her wings and fly.  She recently received her first set of straight A's.  We all cried and celebrated because we knew that she had finally proved on the world's scale just once that she was smart, a quality that we knew she was all along, but now the world had proof.  TAKE THAT world!!

We had to go to the pediatrician to get booster shots for college and upon the checkup protocol, a hearing test which she failed miserably.  We have had hearing tests almost yearly and she never had passed one, even when we took her to Bill Wilkerson Hearing Institute at Vanderbilt when she was 10.  It was always treated with antibiotics and antihistamines to remove fluid, repair burst ear drum, or some other medical anomaly that may have been present in her ears at the time.  Our pediatrician referred her to an audiologist and a doctor of facial and head surgery to be evaluated for hearing.  We attended the appointment where we were told that our daughter had "severe hearing loss".  The doctor continued to talk and I began to cry not because he told me my daughter needed hearing aids, but because he told our entire story in the context of her hearing loss and he had never met us before to know the struggles our child had in school.  All these things were related to hearing loss and not Attention Deficit Disorder OR a learning disability.  The child simply could not hear.  Now, many would be furious, but not me.  No sir!!  We can't look back we can only look forward, and praise God that we found this!  Had God intended us to find out this problem before now, He would have let it be known and her failed hearing tests would not have been dismissed as fluid, ear infection, etc.

Yesterday I witnessed a miracle.  I praise God and thank Him tearfully that I was able to witness His miracle.  We went to the Audiologist who fitted my girl with hearing aids.  They were programmed to her hearing loss via computer and placed in her ears.  Folks, THIS is what you look like when you are able to hear for the very first time in your life.
My girl was literally giddy when she heard for the first time. She got very teary eyed because she was hearing for the very first time in her life. She started laughing and listening.  The audiologist said, "go outside and ask her a question without her being able to see you"  My girl said, "I heard that!"  She rubbed the chair arm that I was sitting in and pulled her hand away like she touched something hot and I asked her what was wrong, and she said, "OMgoodness did you hear that?  The chair arm makes noise when you rub it!"  She proceeded to tap, whistle and laugh a lot.  I looked over at her because she was making so much noise I couldn't hear the audiologist.  She said, "I am just enjoying hearing!"  Our moments since yesterday have involved her self discovery of the world of hearing.  It is something we take for granted every day.  I will not take this for granted another day.  It has been a wonderful time to watch how excited she is about every noise that I never think about but that she has never heard.  She texted me and said she said the pledge today.  She had not heard it before.

I am so grateful that God chose me to be this fabulous girl's mother.  She has taught me more about life that I would ever have learned from anywhere else.  I am also grateful that God chose to write this wonderful story for my girl and for all the heartache that goes with it, for it made her what she is today: perfect!I will leave you with a picture of my girl showing you her miracle pieces that set her free from the bondage of misdiagnosis of Attention Deficit Disorder and a learning disability.
Amanda Dugger Photography did my daughter's senior pictures and also designed her graduation announcements.  The quote that was placed on the front of the announcement is from Eleanor Roosevelt.  It reads, 

 The Future Belongs to Those who Believe in the Beauty of their Dreams

I believe...and so does my girl.  We always have, even when times were tough, we always believed.

Visit www.amandaduggerphotography

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Eat this, Not that! A Guide to Some Alternatives to Fattening Foods

Hey Hey Hey!!  So excited that some of you are sharing my blog on your Facebook pages and Twitter and with your friends!  Thank you so much for sharing.  It is the only way I will keep blogging because it takes time to write down everything and if no one is reading, then it is not worth the time :)  Got many more responses from the last blog than from earlier blogs.  Keep spreading the word.

Today's subject is some alternatives to fatty foods that satisfy.  Now the things I have to share are things that work for me.  Most are not things that I have read in a book, but rather things that I personally use to curb by appetite(I seriously can eat a whole large pizza and a dozen donuts in a sitting, but this behavior does not support my effort to maintain a girlish figure) and to satisfy my cravings for sweets and things that are bad for me.  I hope you get just one tip from my eating information today.  Who is on day 3 of the C25K program?  Let's get moving!

First of all, every morning, I drink two teaspoons of Apple Cider Vinegar.  It is totally nasty and my children laugh at the faces I make when I drink it.  Google the health benefits of it.  Proper dosage is 3 tablespoons per day.  I am sorry but I just can't drink that much of this stuff. I always say, do what you can and start small.  Well this is all I can do for now. :) You should start drinking it too.  Here is the kind I choke down every morning:

Now the main reason that I drink the apple cider vinegar every morning is because it curbs your appetite and significantly reduces cravings for sweets.  It does a lot of other stuff too, like balance your PH in your body and keep flu and germs from setting up residency in your body, but I just drink it so I don't eat a dozen donuts every day.  I'm telling you this stuff is NASTY!! and make sure you drink unfiltered, which is even worse than filtered.  Get it at Walmart in the vinegar or your grocery store.

Next, when I get out of bed in the morning, I take a chaw of Coconut Oil and let it melt in my mouth then swish with it before I brush my teeth.  The longer you swish with it, the better.  I swish for 5 minutes while I shower.  Then spit it out.  It takes all the toxins out of you mouth that build up overnight and it also gives you energy and speeds up your metabolism.  It really does!!  I also cook with this instead of vegatable oil, and I condition my hair with it, rub it on my hands for natural lotion, put it on zits to make them go away, etc.  Google it, it is amazing stuff too.  During the day, I eat about 2 tablespoons of Coconut oil by itself because it keeps my metabolism speedy.  It also has a host of other benefits but these are why I use it.  Buy it also at Walmart on the top shelf above the olive oil. By the way, it has no flavor whatsoever.  

The more protein you eat, the less hungry you are during the day.  I have tried every protein bar, shake, whatever on the market.  They almost all taste like cardboard but we need to shift from Living to eat to Eating to Live, so these are the best protein bars on the market:

They have 20 grams of protein per bar and taste good and even feel like a candy bar.  They have the least amount of sugar without tasting like cardboard you can get.  Get them in the pharmacy section of Walmart with the Health foods and bars, or the big box you see pictured came from Sams.  They end up being 80 cents per bar at Walmart, and around a dollar to $1.25 at Kroger or Target.  All flavors are good, I haven't found one I didn't like yet, and no cardboard so this is a win/win.

I eat a protein bar for breakfast and most of the time lunch.  Watch out with protein bars.  Some have a lot of calories and sugar in them.  Pure Protein is the best, low cal, high protein, low sugar.  The ones that have NO sugar at all are the cardboard variety.

I also like Oikos Greek Yogurt in Key Lime because it tastes like a piece of key lime pie and has 11 grams of protein in it.  If you sprinkle some ground flax seed in the yogurt and don't mix it up, just eat it like that, it is about as close to key lime pie you can get and it is SO yummy.  Flax seed keeps you regular like Mary Poopins.  Cleansing your colon thoroughly on a regular basis will help you keep your girlish figure.

Now to the unconventional way I have satisfied my craving for sweets.  I love cakes, and cake mix.  I have discovered that eating a cup of cake mix mixed with water only has about 100 calories and I feel like I have really had a great thing since I love eating cake mix when I am making a cake.  However, the eggs and oil we put in the cake mix are what bumps up calories and fat.  But when I just dump a cup of cake mix in a bowl right out of the box, and mix a little water with it and eat it with a spoon, I feel like I am getting cake mix and am very satisfied with it as a sweet, but have skipped the calories.  The eggs and oil are so that the cake will cook properly.  Not for taste.  So this works for me, what works for you?

If I want a candy bar, I eat a protein bar.  It has less calories than a snickers, but it has a ton of protein in it and tastes like and has the consistency of a candy bar. Now that is a point to ponder.

I hope you get some tips from today's blog post.  Let me know what you do to curb your cravings in comments!  Share the blog and let's go VIRAL!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Diets Don't Work, so Let's Try Running/Walking

Back to the popular subject of weight loss, we have determined that diets don't work because we have to be ourselves because everyone else is taken.  The last time I checked, I am not Jenny Craig, or my name is not Adkins, and as cool a name as it would be, mine is also not South Beach.  So I know that if I try those diets they will work and I will lose weight, but I will gain it right back and then some as soon as I stop eating Jenny's food, or add carbohydrates back to my diet after eating meat and cheese like Adkins, and as soon as I quit the South Beach diet, my South Beach body will be back in the South Ditch.  So shall we move on to something that actually works?

Here is my validation that what I am saying will be successful.  I made a before/after picture of myself and am excited to try to inspire others to a healthy lifestyle.
I have spent the majority of my life overweight.  I have tried every diet, and every exercise program.  I have finally found what works and it is SO simple and will change your life.

The left side of the picture is the time that I made a major decision for myself and my health.  I was literally laying on the couch and bounced up and announced what I know now to be the most incorrect statement I may have ever made.  I said, "I have never seen a fat runner so I will start running."  My husband looked at me like I had an eye in the middle of my forehead because I had NEVER been a runner.  I never ran in high school, never ran period.  I am the embodiment of Elephants on Parade.  I am not light on my feet and not a graceful runner or graceful at anything.  That day, I got out and ran to my mailbox.  Now I can probably spit on my mailbox from my front porch.  So we are talking about a couple of hundred feet that I ran that first day.  I was winded, tired, and needed a two day rest after that first run, but two days later I ran to the stop sign at the end of the street.  This is how I got started.  Did what I could with what I had.  After gradually increasing my distance over time and with a day to rest in between, I built up.  Then I found the podcast that really got me moving.  Here is the link to the Couch to 5K program that I used.  It combines walking and running and gradually introduces your body to movement.  Remember, Eat less, move more.  That is the ticket.

I downloaded this podcast to my mp3 player and did it religiously.  It beeps in your ear and gives extra instruction along the way to help you stay motivated and on track.  It starts out with people who are not conditioned or in shape, and in 9 weeks, moves to being able to walk fast or run for 30 minutes without stopping.  It works!  Trust me, it does.  So this week's medicine is simple:  continue eating what you want but less of it, and add Couch to 5K to your ipod or MP3 and get moving!  Let's do week one this week!
I moved on from C25K to bridge to 10K then I trained for a half marathon and eventually ran a full marathon.  I am back to running for my health now, which we will discuss in a later blog post.

Here is the link to what I used.

Here is your motivation, so grab a friend and let's get moving!  
Now this is a point to ponder.

Let's get some followers, and share my link on your facebook page and twitter.  I have one follower.  Folks, I am not going to continue blogging if I don't have followers.  I have a few who are telling me they are reading, but not a bunch.  Who is reading my blog?  and who is subscribed to it?  I would love to go viral with blogging and get some advertisers on here, but I have to have subscribers to do that.  I read a statistic that most blogs last 9 months unless they have subscribers and advertisements.

Here is another question for your to comment on:
What is your running/walking, fitness story?

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff AKA A Mouse in a Car

If God can part the Red Sea to allow Moses and the Egyptians to cross on dry land, then He can SURELY place a mouse in a car.

This week has been a real eye opener to not sweat the small stuff, and it's all small stuff.  My dad, who is my biggest fan, the man who is my first love, who never acted annoyed by my presence no matter how busy he was when I was growing up, the one who loves me unconditionally and is the embodiment of my "glass half full attitude, has been in the hospital with a life threatening problem.  When a doctor says to you, "Your dad could bleed to death in less than a minute.  He needs life saving surgery.", you sit up and take notice real quick.

Apparently, not majoring in minors is a lesson much needed in the Anglin home because God taught it to us in a most unusual way:

The Setting:  the car

The Problem: A protein bar that had been opened but not visibly eaten

The Story:  A protein bar was stored in the car for lunch one day.  When it was decided to be eaten, it was discovered that the package had been opened and when reached for, crumbs sprinkled all over.  A call was received at the hospital while my dad was in a serious condition to explain the opened and partially eaten bar.  The call was very quickly dispelled, upon frustration with such a minor problem being addressed during a grave situation.  Not happy with no solution to the much important protein bar, more Anglins were called and questioned about the protein bar.  Upon arriving home, the bar was produced and shown to the Anglins and the questioning continued since no perpetrator has been found.  One Anglin picked up the Protein Bar and immediately saw the problem.  There was no way that a human had opened, much less eaten this bar.  The teeth marks were way too tiny and the packaging had been chewed off and some was missing.  (Another case solved by the FBI agent in the home)  It was then stated that the "crumbs that scattered from the package were possibly not crumbs at all.  ;)

The Conversation:
Anglin A-Who ever heard of a mouse in a car? And how could a mouse even get in a car:
Anglin B-If God could part the Red Sea for Moses and the Egyptians to walk across on dry land, then I am certain He could place a mouse in a car to teach us what is important in life.

The Plan:
Set a mouse trap in the car with a piece of protein bar as bait.

The Resolution:

The Lesson:  Don't major in minors.

Folks, lets all take a step back and realize what is important in life:  God, Family and Friends-all people.  Not protein bars, not stuff, just people.  Now that is a point to ponder.

I hope you all have a wonderful day, hug your kids and your family a little tighter and hug God by reading His word and talking to Him through prayer.  My dad is going to be ok.  He is home recovering and will have a second surgery on March 27, my daughter's 18th birthday.  I will be celebrating life in two ways that day:  The birth of my oldest, and the gift of life for my Daddy.  I am ever so grateful for both.