Tuesday, February 28, 2012

February Is Heart Month And It's Almost Over

Before we say goodbye to February, let's take a moment to remember our hearts.  You can take that however you'd like.  For example, my little doggie is my heart.

 My children are my heart.  Hubby is my heart.  And so is my sister, my friends, my family, my home....and even my art is my heart.  But the heart that beats in your chest is really why we have Heart Month in February...to teach us how to take care of it.

Last week I heard a cardiologist speak about prevention.  He enjoyed it, he said, "because by the time a patient gets to a cardiologist, it's not about prevention.  It's already a problem."  That's what he said.

He talked a long time, fed us a heart-healthy snack, and showed us how to make it from scratch.  It was delicious!  So here is the bottom line if you're interested.

  • Every minute a woman dies in the USA due to some cardio event.  That's over 525,000 a year.  Breast cancer claims 40,000 lives in the same year.
  • Men still die younger than women, BUT if a man makes it to the hospital with a heart attack, 70% of them will live.  For women, only 30% will survive.
  • Men usually get a crushing pain in the chest.  Women may, but are more likely to have shortness of breath and gastro discomfort in the pit of the stomach or reflex type symptoms, and light-headednes.
  • "Time is muscle", he said.  Once you lose heart muscle, you never get it back.  So don't wait if you're concerned.
  • Exercise is the best thing you can do for your heart health according to ALL studies.  How much?  Hold on!  He says, "One hour, 3-4 times a week."  He wants that exercise to make you breathless for most of the hour...not just a casual stroll but an intense one.
  • Someone, me, asked about red wine because my husband loves it so.  The Doc loves it too.  Says it's so good for you, but, you men gotta stop at 8 ounces, and we women must stop at 4.  That's not a lot.  Excessive alcohol causes an enzyme in your heart to "uncouple" when it needs to "couple".  
  • Blood Pressure is important.  Again, exercise, he says.  Same to lower cholesterol.
  • Diabetes is HUGE to this heart doctor.  He says it always affects the heart, and not in a good way.
So, you probably knew all of that already.  Sorry I can't share the snack.  It was homemade hummus, spread on pita bread and drizzled with romesco sauce.  I had seconds.  Really good.

Other good heart things to do.  Love yourself, love your friends, heck, just love.  And play.  And laugh.  And enjoy every day.  Interesting that "God is love", isn't it.  Does a body good.  (I John 4:8)  

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Want A Virgin Margarita Today For Only 33 Calories?.

Source Unknown

Just in case you'd like a cool and refreshing  margarita out on your back deck after a long day in the fields, but you'd rather not have the alcohol or the calories, here is a recipe to try.  And limes are sooooooooo good for you too.

Virgin Margarita

1/4 cup lime juice (about 1 lime)
2 T agave nectar (
or other sweetener, maybe honey)
Crushed Ice
1/2 cup club soda or Sprite
Lime wedge for garnish

In a small glass, combine lime juice and agave nectar.
Stir.  May make ahead and refrigerate.
When ready to serve, fill a 12-ounce glass with crushed ice.  Add lime juice mixture and top off with club soda or Sprite.  Garnish with lime/orange slices to make yourself feel special...cause you are.

This is from the AJC, Feb 2012.  Recipe from Verdi's Restaurant in Atlanta, GA

33 calories 

Updated July 21, 2014

From:  http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/fruit/health-benefits-of-lime.html

Not only does lime make this delicious drink, it is loaded with health benefits and weight loss properties.  Read more at Organic Facts and you may be convinced to find ways to add lime to your daily life.  If you find another way to make it really tasty and easy, please share.   I especially like the Readers' Comments on this Organic Facts article.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Are You Psychic?

Do you know anyone who is psychic?  Do you think anyone is?

Right now I am listening to Mary Higgins Clark's bestseller, Before I Say Goodbye, on tape.  Nell, the main character in the story,  loses her husband the very day after they have a big fight.  Her sorrow and grief is compounded with guilt, which leads her to a medium who communicates with "the dead".  It brings Nell much comfort when her husband, Adam, relays that he is fine and  wants her to go on with her life guilt-free.  Whew!  Good man.

But in real life, do you believe?  Have you had any quirky things happen that could lead you to believe, or at least wonder, or maybe to know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that those who go before us send messages back to us?

I would guess that most of us believe that life is eternal, that death is nothing to dread in itself, and that the best is yet to come.  That doesn't lessen the sadness we feel when loved ones leave this plane.  We are still here.  They are not.  We cannot hug them and be hugged back.  We cannot look upon their face.  We miss them.

And, yet, maybe their energy and their love is still here for us.  Maybe there are those among us who can communicate and share their messages with us.

Tomorrow I'll be taking a little trip in my car and I'll find out what happens next in this mystery.  I'll eventually know "who dun it" and why and all the twists and turns.  But I won't find out if Adam's message to Nell is really from him or merely comfort bestowed upon her by the psychic.

What do I think?  I think it's really Adam.  I think it's real.  What do you think?

Monday, February 20, 2012

Hope And Life Abound

"Photo Journal Mid Winter"

A Flash of Red Berries Still Around

Southern White Camellias Refuse To Go Away

Sweet Old Fashioned Candytuft Comes Back Every Year

And Brilliant Pansies Bloom On and On

Just when we think that life is only cold and grey, stop, and look.  Peer deeply in and around your life and you will find the spots of color.  Cling to those no matter how small.  And know the best is yet to come for you.  The hope and new life of Spring will be here soon.  Hang on.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Favorite Quote

"Give thanks for unknown blessings already on their way."

Native American Proverb

Don't you just love knowing there are good things on their way to you?  Wonder what they are?  Hold the thought.  Be patient and know that good is ahead.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking For A Book To Read?

My Book Club just finished reading Minding Frankie by Irish writer Maeve Binchy.  This is her latest in a string of novels and takes place in her native land of Ireland.

Unlike some of my friends, I don't really read to learn something new.  If I am interested in learning something, I will read non-fiction.  But fiction, to me, is just for fun and I thought this novel was fun.  It's very light and easy to pick up and put down reading 15 minutes at a time or in a couple afternoons....once you get all the characters down.

I'll just say it is a sweet story with a little romance, betrayal, psychology, friendship, loss, and  familial love set in a contemporary time with a small town village feel.  Everyone knows everyone and soon you feel like you do too.  If you've been looking for an easy, fun read, you can probably find this one at your library.

What kind of books do you like to read?  I have found that even though there are run away best sellers, I was completely wrong in assuming most of us like the same kinds of books.  This club of my peers has picked books I would NEVER have read on my own.  What one loves, another finds totally unlikable.

And, you probably knew this was coming, "you surely can't tell a book by it's cover!"

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Strong Bones and Too Much Fat

Remember I am in a study at the local University that is focusing on folks over 60.  It is rather a baseline study, I think, to learn more about aging...specifically exercise, memory, and general well being.  Last Friday I concluded my part and I will walk you through that morning.

First of all it is a wet day, grey, and a little windy.  Just enough wind to permeate your hair with a fine mist.  When I am in need of a haircut, like now, I keep a few fat rollers in the car to "pump up the volume"  while on the way to my destination, especially on wet, bad hair days.  Well, wouldn't you know it, while intently listening to my GPS (on the way to the memory study), I forgot all about the rollers.  So I find my parking deck and set off through this walking campus to find the building and room number I need.  I am just loving being among students in this college campus atmosphere....students rushing, carrying coffees, listening to tunes.  It's been a long time.

I find the room, say hello, and head to the bathroom as I am a little early.  I get to the sink to wash my hands, and, OMGosh!!!!, you guessed it.  The rollers are still in place!  Why didn't someone tell me???
Oh well, enough about that.  You do have to be able to laugh at yourself every now and then, huh?

The test results?  Good news first.  The DEXA scan showed my bones are now equivalent to those of the average 30 year old!  I have been working on this goal for about a year so I am thrilled.  Other good news.  My weight is fine.  Don't need to lose any.  My BMI is good too.  But, and it's a big one, my body composition is 40% fat!  Now that was astounding to me.  Really astounding.  I am not a heavy person.  Ironically, the Health PhD Dr. says,  if I lose weight it is likely my fat percentage would increase as it is a percentage of my overall weight.  So, for me, 2-3 times a week at the gym is not enough.  It could be enough.  It all depends on how I use my time there.

If you, (or your mom most likely), is a "post menopausal woman", you could be in the same boat with me.  Due to hormonal changes, the lean muscle we naturally lose while aging is replaced by fat.  And, heart-wise, it is not good to have fatty tissue laying on and around your organs.  What to do?  They call it resistance training.  You can "lift weights", use stretchy bands, use dumbbells, machines, whatever.  So I will continue my yoga and pilates and occasional spin class, AND, while I am there, you will find me pushing weight around 3-5 days a week.

I am very goal oriented and project oriented so I am happy to have this to work on.  Now that I have been set free from the proverbial 9 to 5, a little daily structure is a good thing.

Isn't life grand?  There is always a growing edge, something to work for, to reach for, to expand.  I love adding those kinds of things to my every day grocery store to-do list.  And what are you working on this heart healthy February?  Speaking it out loud will garner support back to you.  Just like you are sending me right now.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Cleanliness Is Next To Godliness

Who said that anyway?  People think it's in the Bible but it's not.  And what does it mean?  How far do you take this cleanliness thing?

I'm thinking of cleanliness today because it's a clean day at my house!  Yay!  I realized awhile ago after I washed the dog that:
  • My house is clean
  • I am clean
  • My hair is clean
  • My dog is clean
  • My laundry is clean
  • My dishes are clean
  • My sheets are clean
Everything here got "washed" today.  Rarely does it all happen on the same day but what a good feeling it is!  There is something about a clean space that is inspiring.  After all, once you get on a roll, it's hard to stop.  You want to wash the dirty dishes and take out the trash.

On the other hand, when most of our life house is a mess, it's just too overwhelming to get started so "mess begets mess", just like "cleanliness and order beget cleanliness and order".  I'm not sure why that is true but I know it is.

Taking that inside, cleaning up our act feels good too doesn't it.  And once you start, it gets harder to hold onto that one area that still feels dark and dirty.  When we begin cleaning up, we inspire ourselves to keep at it.

How good it feels to dump any garbage we've been carrying around.  Things we wish we had done differently.  Things we wish we hadn't done at all.  Coming clean gives us a new start.  It is inspiring.  It is like a bath for our soul.

My house is clean today because I had help.  If I'd had to do it all by myself I'd never finish...not all in one day!   Help is good.  Even Jesus asked for help.  "John, will you baptize me in the water?"  "I've come a long way to ask you for your help."  John didn't know why in the world Jesus was asking but he helped with the task and Jesus was spotless.  He set the example, huh?

We can be too.  We just take out our garbage and dump it.  Give it up.  Start clean and fresh to design our lives and be who we want to be.