Please note that all posts are copyright. Do not reprint in whole or in part without permission of the author. You may refer to one of my posts in your own writing; simply include the link(s) so readers can be taken directly to my work. Thank you, and enjoy! ~Susan

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Weekly Weigh-In

I haven't lost any weight since I reported two weeks ago. But I haven't gained any either. I was trying to determine why I'd stalled and figured out that I was eating more bread and fewer fruits and veggies than I had been during the rescue week, so yesterday I got back on track. 

I feel good about the four pound weight loss and with only four to five more pounds to go, I've decided to make it my goal to lose these by the end of March. It's certainly doable; only a pound a week between now and then. The only "obstacle" I can think of is my mother's birthday mid-month, but we're planning to go to a buffet and I can definitely keep it veg-heavy and dessert-lite.

Spring is in the air, so one also feels like doing a little more moving, which is good for the calorie burn.

Hope everyone is doing well with his/her healthy lifestyle plans. Stay motivated!

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Right Now

I decided to focus on just one thing in today's Right Now post. It's late and I didn't have time to work on it first thing this morning as I usually do. So today it's just about what I'm

This is how I used to work!
Creating: I worked on revising a section of my novel today for this month's submission to my critique group. It motivated me to do more revisions and to move forward with this project. I still have a lot of space that needs creating so I can function, and I need to create beauty in my living room/dining room/kitchen before my book club meeting on Friday, so I will be busy between now and then (when I'm not working or attending my life group meeting). My husband pretty much demolished our main bathroom on the weekend, so we will need to get to work on recreating (remodeling) that room in the very near future. We've chosen our new tub and shower surround, but we also need flooring, a new toilet, sink and vanity. I'm sure it will look great when it's done. In the meantime we are fortunate to have a two-piece off of our master bedroom and a three-piece in the basement!

Yay, we don't have to resort to this!

What have you been creating lately?

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Booworm Meet-up: Book Review

Author: Mark Batterson
Publisher: Zondervan, 2013
Genre: non-fiction, Christian living

First Lines:
"A century ago, a band of brave souls became known as one-way missionaries. They purchased single tickets to the mission field without the return half. And instead of suitcases, they packed their few earthly belongings into coffins. As they sailed out of port, they waved good-bye to everyone they loved, everything they knew. They knew they’d never return home."
Goodreads Description:

"The Gospel costs nothing.  You can’t earn it or buy it.  It can only be received as a free gift compliments of God’s grace.  It doesn’t cost anything, but it demands everything.  It demands that we go “all in,” a term that simply means placing all that you have into God’s hands.  Pushing it all in.   And that’s where we get stuck—spiritual no man's land.  We’re afraid that if we go all in that we might miss out on what this life has to offer.  It’s not true.  The only thing you’ll miss out on is everything God has to offer.  And the good news is this: if you don't hold out on God, God won't hold out on you.  Readers will find Batterson’s writing filled with his customary vivid, contemporary illustrations as well as biblical characters like Shamgar and Elisha and Jonathan and . . . Judas.

"No one has ever sacrificed anything for God.  If you always get back more than you gave up, have you sacrificed anything at all?  The eternal reward always outweighs the temporal sacrifice.  At the end of the day, our greatest regret will be whatever we didn’t give back to God. What we didn’t push back across the table to Him.  Eternity will reveal that holding out is losing out.

"The message of All In is simple: if Jesus is not Lord of all then Jesus is not Lord at all.  It’s all or nothing. It’s now or never.   Kneeling at the foot of cross of Christ and surrendering to His Lordship is a radical act of dethroning yourself and enthroning Christ as King.  It’s also an act of disowning yourself.  Nothing belongs to you. Not even you.   

"Batterson writes, 'for many years, I thought I was following Jesus.  I wasn’t.  I had invited Jesus to follow me.  I call it inverted Christianity.  And it’s a subtle form of selfishness that masquerades as spirituality.  That’s when I sold out and bought in.  When did we start believing that the gospel is an insurance plan?  It’s a daring plan.  Jesus did not die just to keep us safe. He died to make us dangerous.'"

My Review

The Goodreads description is so thorough I can't really add anything to it, except to say that it was a powerful read and included much that Twitter users would find tweetable. As with any instruction-type book, it's in the application that the rubber meets the road.

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars

Monday, 20 February 2017

Family Day

This quote is in honour of Family Day which we are celebrating today in Ontario, Canada.

Family can be a pretty complicated place sometimes. It is a body made up of a group of disparate people who happen to share the same blood and heritage. When parents bring wanted children into the world, they tend to have expectations of what those children will look like when they grow up, who they will be. Perhaps we forget that each person is a unique being with his/her own personality, temperament, way of processing and interpreting life experiences. 

We are from the same family, but we are not identical in our thoughts, character, or responses to situations. Sometimes that can cause friction. If we are wise, we will try to put ourselves in the other person's shoes to attain a better understanding. We will respect our differences and continue to show love and care for one another. We will agree to disagree.

Let's be real: families aren't perfect. Were they meant to be? They're where we learn to do life, to relate, to stretch and grow beyond our own ways and our own thoughts. We don't get to choose the members of our family, but I believe God puts the right mix of individuals together because we have things to teach and learn from one another. Family can be messy but a mess can become a masterpiece if the right tools are applied.

I love my family. I trust that God decided these are the best people for me to be around and that there's a reason why they don't look just like me. Sometimes it's true that we're "trying to figure out the common thread that [binds] us all together," but ultimately we are bound together by the love that says "blood is thicker than water." (And  yes, I'm familiar with an addition to the quote that says "love is thicker than blood.") I will always be there for my family and I hope they will always be there for me.

The following has made the rounds on Facebook, so I think I am safe in sharing it here:

We are shaped by the families we grow up in. We are shaped by the partners we choose and the families we create. I think at a certain stage we all have a tendency to blame our parents for our difficulties and issues, but the older I get and the more life experience I have, the more I believe the above to be true. Our parents had every intention of being great, good, and grand, but they did the best they knew how with the resources, knowledge and experience they had, and some days all they could be was okay.  

Some days all I can be is okay. The grace I want my children to extend to me is the same grace I need to extend to my parents. The world will be a better place if we all show a little more understanding and compassion.

Happy Family Day, friends. 

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Right Now

Drinking: I was so tired this morning, I had a cup of half-caff coffee with one teaspoon of coconut sugar and a little almond milk. Right now I have a 28-oz bottle of reverse osmosis water in front of me.

Eating: For breakfast I had a small bowl of oatmeal with half a banana and one strawberry, cinnamon and ground flax; also with almond milk.

Reading: The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce for this month's book club.

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Watching: We've watched two movies in the last couple of nights: The Captive (2014), which was awful (we only kept watching to try to figure out when the heck things were happening) and Brooklyn (2015), which was fabulous, though I thought the sex scene was gratuitous. I also fell in love with the name Eilis (pronounced 'Aylish' in the movie). I just checked and apparently it means 'pledged to God.' Cool.

Listening: The Message on Sirius XM.

Creating: Not much of anything but a mess. I'm determined to get back to my 'real' writing, though, beginning today, and to get serious about decluttering, especially the papers and books as they are keeping me from enjoying my space and having a clear mind. See Monday's post if you missed it.

Buying: I just ordered a few books for my Nook for the first time in years: How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire (which I've already read) by Jim Cymbala, Spirit Rising, also by Cymbala, and The Beginner's Guide to Intercessory Prayer by Dutch Sheets. The only one I was really after was the first, but when I saw how well priced the other titles were and because I love the work of Jim Cymbala, I couldn't resist!

Pondering: God's Word and the need to daily put on the 'whole armour of God' as per Ephesians 6:11-18. I found the image below just now and plan to put it on my bathroom mirror so I can pray the armour on each morning as I'm getting ready to face the day.

Anticipating: The upcoming long weekend. We have Family Day on Monday. Not yet sure how we will mark it, but we should definitely incorporate something enjoyable that we can do together.

What are you anticipating?

Monday, 13 February 2017

Eliminate, Eradicate, Succeed

Many things in life can keep us from moving forward: past hurts, relationship baggage, miscommunications, incorrect thinking, poor choices, feelings of being overwhelmed, physical clutter, etc. In a way, these are "yesterday's junk."

Most of these can be dealt with: forgiving yourself and/or others, seeking wise counsel, asking for clarification, re-examining our thought processes, making better choices, delegating responsibilities, decluttering... so that we can reach for new things.

For myself, I know I need to deal with the excessive collection of papers and books in order to accomplish my creative goals and to find important things I've misplaced. I've been working away at this little by little, but I think it's time to set a more aggressive pace. The paper tiger keeps growing and I am starting to growl.

What junk do you need to let go of today to get where you want to be and meet your potential? Act now. As the saying goes, "there's no time like the present."

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Weekly Weigh-in

For those of you who have been following my weight-loss journey and are aware of my recent plan to try the Engine 2 Seven-Day Rescue Diet, my husband and I completed the challenge Wednesday, had our blood work re-tested Thursday, and here are my results:

Lipid Panel
February 2, 2017
February 9, 2017
X - 3 pounds
.58 mmol/L
.47 (-.11)
4.78 mmol/L
4.02 (-.76)
HDL Cholesterol
1.64 mmol/L
1.54 (-.10)
Non-HDL Cholesterol
3.14 mmol/L
2.48 (-.66)
LDL Cholesterol
2.88 mmol/L
2.27 (-.61)

For the record, I was fasting 15 hours before the first test and only 10 hours before the second, if that makes any difference.
You'll notice that my numbers decreased in every area. I'm no expert in interpreting the data, but for sure the decrease in triglycerides is a good thing. They are an important measure of heart health, and while I was already in the normal range, I'm happy to see this number lowered. My overall cholesterol also went down, which is probably why the HDL (good cholesterol) number is lower too. Great to see the LDL (bad cholesterol) number decrease. Who wants clogged arteries?

And my weight went down three pounds as well! When I got on the scale this morning, I was down another pound for a total of four! My husband and I took our body measurements at the outset and - perhaps a truer test of results - our waistlines decreased (his by an inch, mine by 3/4 of an inch) and our clothes fit better.

We're kickin' it!

In short, in a very brief amount of time, the Engine 2 Seven- Day Rescue Diet was able to achieve very positive results! We both feel that we want to continue with the dietary shift - maybe not 100%, but 90-95%. I admit that during the week I had 3.5 slices of breads that were not allowed on the plan (I was at my mom's and it was more convenient to eat what she had), and my husband used molasses on his bread and had at least one coffee-shop muffin. 

If you're interested in knowing more, I encourage you to read the book or visit Rip's blog. There you'll find a free downloadable guide for a 28-day challenge. I have already sent this information to a few people I think might benefit. Hopefully some of you might find it useful, too!

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

Right Now

Drinking: More water than usual, and herbal teas. I haven't had coffee or any juices since beginning the rescue diet last Thursday.

Eating: According to the rescue diet food choices. I haven't used a lot of the book's recipes, but have made meals from the 'approved' list of foods. You actually can eat oatmeal without sugar! (Hint: use banana as a sweetener).

Reading: Check out my reading list from yesterday's post.

Watching: We watched Sully last night (really good); next up is Jason Bourne.

Listening: the usual - The Message on Sirius XM.

Creating: Space. I have a few things up for sale on Kijiji and we've been slowly working away at decluttering. It' ain't easy, let me tell you.

Buying: Mainly groceries. I'm not a shopping fanatic.

Pondering: This quote from Sheila Walsh's Loved Back to Life: "Children are the best recorders of information - they miss nothing; but they are the poorest interpreters." Apart from showing your children love as they grow, the most important thing is communicating and making sure they understand what's going on around them. Encourage them to ask all the 'why' questions that are percolating in their brains and provide an environment that is communication-friendly. Don't assume they know things because you do.

Anticipating: my husband's birthday is this Sunday. His parents are taking us out to lunch and then we are going on our own to see a play. I'm looking forward to that. Also, today is the last day of the 7-day rescue diet and we'll weigh in tomorrow as well as get our 'after' blood tests. It'll be interesting to see how we fared and what the numbers say.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Bookworm Meet-up: Beside My Bed

No time for a book review today, so I thought I'd just share a list of the books I'm reading:

The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines

Power Through Prayer by E.M. Bounds

When Someone You Know Has Depression by Susan J. Noonan


Resorting to Murder: Holiday Mysteries, compiled by Martin Edwards

Quite an eclectic mix. 

Coming soon:

How Christianity Changed the World by Alvin Schmidt (with my online book club buddy)


The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Frye by Rachel Joyce (for my in-person book club at the end of this month)

What are you currently reading?

Monday, 6 February 2017

One Life, Live it Well

Do you have a plan for how you're going to use your time today? If not, chances are the next 24 hours are going to count down and you'll look back with some regret over how little was accomplished. If you're like me anyway.

We all have goals, dreams and aspirations, things we want to get done. In answer to the question "where do you see yourself in two, five, ten years?", most of us have at least a vague response, if not a well-thought-out one. The more difficult part would be how we intend to get there.

If you dream of having a certain career, you won't get there by sitting on your thumbs all day. You need to find out what the requirements are, then do what it takes to meet them, whether that's getting a college or university degree, finding and completing an apprenticeship, applying and interviewing for a position. 

If you long for greater success in what you are doing now, you need to find out how to achieve it. Would having a mentor be valuable? Should you be attending more workshops, conferences, seminars, and taking advantage of opportunities to network? If you're a writer like me, are you submitting your work, looking for an agent, improving in your craft?

As the above quote says, "The question in life is not how much time do we have. The question is what shall we do with it." And here's my challenge to all of us this week: pay attention to how you are spending your time. Keep a log book and track it. How much time are you giving to e-mail, Facebook, gaming, chatting on the phone, when you know your time would be better spent on goal-achieving activities?

Be wise in the use of time. Life is short, live it well.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Right Now

Drinking: Today it'll be 2-4 coffees and lots of water. I'll need it to stay awake after getting up so early (4:50 a.m.!)

Eating: I'm  at a day-long conference and had to leave early for the commute, so I'm eating out all day. Probably Tim Hortons (roll-up-the-rim begins today!) for breakfast and dinner; not sure where for lunch.

Reading: continuing to read the same books as I was reading last week

Watching: we watched Shaun the Sheep (7 stars) and Christmas Eve (4 stars) earlier this week, and finished off season 3 of Last Man Standing. Next we will probably watch Greater.

Listening: I was super-excited to find Rich Mullins' Brother's Keeper studio album CD at my local used music store and have been listening to it all week. Apart from the title track, I hadn't heard any of the songs previously. Who knew there was more of Rich Mullins to love?

Creating: meals for the seven-day rescue diet (smile)

Buying: ingredients needed for said menu

Pondering: the possible effects of political decisions that have been made since January 20th...

Anticipating: beginning the seven-day rescue diet tomorrow. Looking forward to positive results!