Slow in the Fast Lane

Health Park Gym

I haven’t blogged for 2 months. I wanted to get through the holidays and test myself to see if I could get back on track.  A couple of things inspired me to do that. Mark and I are now going to the health park together and he bought me a Fitbit watch for Christmas. This photo above is the gym at the health park where we shoot baskets together about once a week and above that is the walking track where we walk 3 times a week. I am trying to get in shape to walk/run a 5k and not be the absolute last one in the race, followed closely by the police car and race officials picking up the route cones! As of yesterday, I can walk/run a 19 minute mile. I use the term “run” very loosely. The outside lane is for runners, but when I am running in that lane, or rather when I am jogging, there are several people walking who walk right past me. There are few, if any, runners when I go. So, I stay in that lane, because there is a psychological boost for me to be in the runners lane. I am working my way through a “couch-to-5k” plan and it took me 8 weeks to make it to “day 30” out of 75, but I am on track now to finish in real time. When I started, I could barely run 2 minutes.

The fitbit Ionic has been fun to have and helpful for keeping track of my heart rate and steps per day and sleeping hours. It is not that I have to have one, but it has helped me at this time in my life to stick with a plan. For example, when I go to the gym, I set the watch to log an activity like running. It will tell me the distance I ran and my heart rate and it will encourage me to log at least one activity a day for 5 days each week. But even if I have no specific activities, it tracks my steps for the day and how many flights of stairs I walk, and times per day that my heart rate rises with regular activity, like lugging groceries from the van to the house. The watch cannot detect that I am specifically lugging groceries, though. (I don’t think!) One day, my back and neck were sore and I needed to use the hot tub. I had been reading that when pain prevents us from exercising, the hot tub is a good alternative, because it raises the heart rate and respiration as though the body was exercising. I’ve used it a couple of times and it was quite a nice alternative. It did raise my heart rate according to the Fitbit. However, I have a goal now to be ready for a 5k by springtime, so I will keep on running until I get there.

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smell flowers

Somebody’s Doggo Taking the Time to Smell a Flower

So, I managed to make it through all of October as a vegetarian. I tried for vegan, but I just wasn’t militant enough. So, some cheese appeared in some of my foods and I just ate it and I had some milk. Overall, the changes were a benefit to my digestion. And my blood glucose numbers look better. Exercise has proven to be very helpful in bringing those numbers down immediately. My body responds well and responds quickly to the exercise now. For example, last night I ate a few Thanksgiving cookies and a cup of milk after supper, checked the numbers and then went for a walk at Smother’s Park with my son. It was late and we had a fun time. When I got home, I checked again and the numbers had dropped by 100mg/dl and I was back in the safe range for after a meal.

In November, I have incorporated some meat back into my diet, but grains are now on the chopping block and I have to be very careful with fruit. It is a bit of a learning/discipline curve for me to cook as normally as possible but avoid refined grains, sugar and even good natural fruits and sweeteners. Just today, the scale says this Thanksgiving week alone I gained back 4 of the 8 pounds I lost. I will check again Monday, but I’m going to have to keep reducing the amount of carbs in my diet. Even if I eliminated refined sugar and grains completely and never cheated,  fruit, potatoes, beans and milk are all items that make my blood sugar rise too high. If you are or have ever been on a low-carb diet, Paleo, Keto, Atkins, etc. You know that it works well for weight loss, but it can be difficult to maintain in our carb-laden world.

I remember when the Atkins diet made a big comeback about 15 years ago in my neighborhood and the local stores in our small town sold out of eggs, bacon and cream like bread and milk on the eve of a big storm! It seems to be back again, and rather than calling it Atkins or low-carb, people are using the term “Keto”, short for Ketogenic diet or drinks and supplements of therapeutic ketones. The Ketogenic diet first came to my attention in association with epilepsy and the diet’s success in seizure reduction. My husband and I had gone to see the movie Lorenzo’s Oil and as this was prior to internet access, I did some library research on the topic. Here is a good article that explains in more detail:

https://www.healthline.com/health/type-2-diabetes-ketogenic-diet#Otherdiets8

Today though, in thinking back over the last 2 months and doing some research, I am going to keep going toward God and away from thinking about food and drink. I thought about what Jesus was teaching in Matthew 6, saying not to worry about tomorrow, or what we would eat or drink and to put our full trust in God. If I’m thinking and plotting and planning every day what I’m going to be eating and drinking, then I’m spending too much time on this. So, I’m going to spend *less* time on it. That is not the same as spending no time on it. I just don’t want my God to be my stomach. Gluttony and excess in the new testament scripture seems to be our problem over and above the actual food and drink. But don’t take my assertion here and apply it immediately to yourself and be self-conscious. This is just for me right now.

Today is what I have. Tomorrow can take care of itself.

 

 

 

Blogtober 14th: Don’t Talk to Police?

yo

This year I served on the grand jury. It was an educational experience. I came away very proud of our local law enforcement, especially after all of the negative press in recent years of other law enforcement issues around the country. And as much as I wanted to see crime prosecuted and ultimately reduced, I was repeatedly surprised and dismayed at the things people blab to the police when they are pulled over or being questioned or arrested. I considered my own behavior when driving a vehicle and how I should do things differently. I thought about my young son and how he should conduct himself when he is out with friends or out driving in the future. The following video was very enlightening:

 

The first half of this video is a defense attorney discussing the 5th amendment and the 2nd half of the video is a police detective explaining what he does and how talking to the police when being questioned about a crime is always a mistake. Both explain the reasons why we should not talk to the police and the steps we should take if we are asked questions or escorted to an interview. I’ll need to investigate this some more. I may even want to talk to a police officer.

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Blogtober 13th: Ok, No.

Friday the 13th

When I was about 11 or 12, I took an interest in the occult. Thankfully it was a mild interest that I didn’t pursue. However, around that same time I started reading novels with negative psychological and supernatural themes. Stephen King would become my favorite author as a teenager. I liked Peter Straub, and was very excited when his novel Ghost Story was made into a movie. I read the Flowers in the Attic series more than once. After I came to know Christ, my fiction reading tapered off. I now almost exclusively prefer non-fiction, but I haven’t forgotten the stories that at one time were very important to me. Recently, Stephen King’s novel IT was made into a movie again. In 1987, I was in the middle of reading that book for a second time when my husband (then, my fiance) challenged me for the sake of my relationship with the Lord, to put it down and walk away. He said he didn’t think I could do it, but I did. Maybe he used reverse psychology on me! I guess it worked.

Over the last 30 years though, I have picked up and put down many things that caused problems for me spiritually. Some are fairly obvious, others are deceivingly covert. This has to be between the individual and the Lord. I am probably impervious to some things that others are very sensitive to. That is ok. I have found when trying to explain this issue to people, they always want me to confess to what things cause problems for me, so they can debunk the very idea of items that cause spiritual problems. I have been heckled with many mean-spirited remarks for trying to get something out of my life that bothers me. It is very convicting to others when someone begins to clean house. So, let me be very clear that I am not being “judgy”. I’m not disobeying Jesus’ command to “…judge not, lest ye be judged”. I’m not an overzealous, cult-type bigot. If you don’t have any problems whatsoever with a story about a clown that lives in the sewer and lures children down there to torture and kill them, well then you are amazingly stout. Plenty of people with no particular religious beliefs have a lot of problems with it.

Recently, I ran across a youtube channel with some interesting videos made by a young man who used to be New Age guru of sorts. He came to Christ last year and has some excellent testimony about books and objects that cause people to experience negative spiritual issues:

“I noticed that there was dark spiritual activity in my house after I got saved, and it was because my house with filled with New Age books and idols that I had not thrown out yet from when I was involved in the occult.” – Steven Bancarz

If what I have said here interests you, disturbs you or makes you angry,  please read the article linked below and watch the video. Then take some time to think and pray about this and read your bible. Whoever you are reading this blog post, I’m praying for you.

http://reasonsforjesus.com/occult-objects-can-give-demons-legal-ground/

 

 

Blogtober 12th: Shedding Pounds of Stuff

All this will be yoursAnytime I embark on personal changes, I take a look at our cluttered closets, garage and basement. We certainly don’t *need* all of this stuff. Why do we keep it? Cluttery habits spill over into everything. Recently we visited family members who moved from an old senior building to a brand new one. They had applied last year to make the move happen this year and their application was accepted. The new building is absolutely beautiful and in good repair. I asked how many of their friends applied and moved to the new building. They said ‘none’. I couldn’t believe it! ‘Why not?’ I asked. ‘Because they didn’t want to go to the trouble of moving all of their stuff.’ Oh. That made me feel sad. I don’t want that to be me.

Blogtober 11th: What Now?

So, exercise, means more control when addressing blood glucose levels. The weather has cooled off a lot, and walking in the cool air feels very refreshing. As for meals, at home I continue with the beans & salsa and the fruit/kale smoothies and then when eating out, Chic-fil-A has become our best friend. I order a Market Salad base with no chicken, a Superfood Side and Unsweet Tea. I use Chic-fil-a sauce for the dressing. We went out of town to visit family recently and went out to dinner to Jameson’s Char House. I skipped the steak, but while ordering my salad, I almost asked for Chic-fil-A sauce! I had oil and vinegar instead. I’ve had no problem at all avoiding meat, but while out of town, I had pasta one night and veggie pizza another. These were not good choices for me and I had to walk a lot. As this month progresses, I realize I will need to make some modifications for November. I will have to completely avoid grains for awhile.

“The end of ministry, the purpose of ministry is to transform people into ministers.” – J. Calico

‘And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:’

‭‭Ephesians‬ ‭4:11-13‬ ‭KJV‬‬

http://bible.com/1/eph.4.11-13.kjv

Blogtober 10th: Art and Partisan Rancor

The Guernica by Picasso

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

“Popular culture and counter-culture cannot be truly independent and diverse if weighed down with the onerous burden of having to constantly regurgitate a partisan creed. True art thrives when it can connect with people at the level of universal human archetypes; ideas, sentiments and concepts that exist beyond the realm of petty, sectarian, political squabbles.” – Paul Joseph Watson