Thursday, August 30, 2012

AUG 30th My Choice & My Bracelet

Some people call it delusional.
Some people call it pollyanna.
Some people call it spin.
Some people call it denial.

I call it MY CHOICE  to view the world with optimism and hope.

I call it MY CHOICE as to which colored glasses I will view the world:

Dark and dismal... or... light and bright and open to possibilities.

My belief: optimists have more fun

(Joey always has a party goin' on!)

We optimists may have the same amount of junk hit us as everybody else, but we choose not to wallow in it or stay focused on it. Learn and move on is my current mantra.

We choose to focus on things for which to feel thankful.

"Our ultimate freedom is the right and power 
to decide how anybody or anything 
outside ourselves will affect us." 
--Stephen Covey

All this "choice" talk brings me to the other part of this post: my bracelet came! 

In my sidebar is a pic of Sean Anderson's book (which I totally loved) called Transformation Road (can click on the book to go to his website). 

Sean is the real deal. He's not some slick phoney out to sell you a manufactured "story" just to make a buck. I've followed his journey ever since I started my blog, about 3 1/2 years ago, and I trust his heart and his motives. Sean lost about 280 lbs, and is passionate about encouraging others that they, too, can choose to change.

Sean made it. He busted out of his self-made mental shackles and CHANGED. He CHOSE to change, before the change came and chose him.  

That's his mantra: 
Choose change 
before change chooses you.

So as you can see, Sean is big on this idea of Choice. I clicked with that right away. I may not be as lickety-split fast on this journey as he was (ha ha, what an understatement!), but I understand what he's saying, and agree. That's why when he offered his leather bracelets recently, I snapped one up from his website HERE!  

Here's mine:

It's stamped with: I'M CHOOSING CHANGE

I rarely buy or wear bracelets because they are usually too small. Heck, who needs to be reminded that they still have a fat wrist, right?! Well, Sean made his bracelet a generous adjustable length, and it fits great! If you're dinkier than me, you could even wear it as an anklet, LOL!

It's just a little tangible reminder to make those good choices. Yes, I struggle at times. I lose focus and zone out. Or get discouraged and lose sight of my goal. So this is a good thing for me to wear. It reminds me I am NOT a victim. I DO have a choice. And I will never EVER quit, til I get there.

Thanks, Sean... I love my bracelet!

My book quote for today: "What you persistently think eventually but inevitably crystallizes into the words you speak and then the things you do." --Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today: "The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart."

My quote for today: "You must take personal responsibility. You cannot change the circumstances, the seasons, or the wind, but you can change yourself." --Jim Rohn

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 1103

Monday, August 27, 2012

AUG 27th Quotes & Chris Has Struck Again!

I love quotes. I can't remember a time when I did NOT enjoy them. They are like distilled wisdom. So naturally I have little scraps of paper around my studio with some of my favorites scrawled on them. Some are so old, they are faded and hard to read. (click on any pics to enlarge)

One favorite place I stick them on is a kitchen tool caddy that I use in my studio for my colored pencil collection, plus other assorted junk.

You know how when you have something up so long, that you eventually don't even "see" it?? Well, yesterday morning I glanced at my tool twirlie, and two words caught my eye: the amateur

The paper this quote was on had faded so badly--it's probably been taped up there 15 years!--that I had inked over those two words to see them better. I had to get up close to read the REST of that quote:

"The artistic temperament
is the indulgence
of the amateur."
--G K Chesterton

Huh! It struck me that the truth of that quote is not only for the "artist". But for all endeavors. Like... oh let me think...hmmm... weight loss endeavors!! 

No, not a deep or new thought. But it just struck me yesterday, and reminded me that it doesn't matter in the slightest how I FEEL. Strong, determined, optimistic, spiritual, hopeful... or discouraged, weak, frustrated, annoyed or skeered. 

Doesn't matter. 

Doesn't matter in the sense that I don't have to be sitting around waiting for the right feeling to come along, for me to be working on making the right choices in the meantime. If I want to be successful at this thing, then even while I'm still trying to get my ducks all in a row, I can't indulge in the "temperament of the amateur".

Even while I iron out the wrinkles, I need to be working on making healthy choices. Chris at A Deliberate Life  recently had a post that really affected me. So much so, that I didn't leave a comment for days!! Some things you just have to chew longer before you can swallow them, ya know?!  :-}  

Does she have all the answers? All her bugs worked out perfectly?? I doubt it. But Chris decided she wasn't satisfied with "mediocrity" any longer. She is ready to make a hard push. She said she will work out the rest of the details later. She said that for NOW, "I am capable of more."

Sometimes we need a kick in the tush to shake up our point of view! I had always said that whatever I do, it has to be for life. I've gone on and off hundreds of "diets" over the years, and I was done with that. Well... Chris offered a different point of view about that. And it made me at least stop and think, and consider that sometimes it's okay to shake things up! 

I mean... if a guy was out in the ocean drowning, you wouldn't sit in your little boat and lecture him on how to swim, because after all, it's a skill he'd need for life. You throw him a life ring! And worry about swimming lessons later. Right or wrong in my interpretation, that's how what Chris wrote struck me.

So! Hard as it is to stick my neck out there and once again declare a "goal"... I am joining Chris in her determination at making a HARD PUSH. It's time. I need it. I don't plan to stop my other lines of focus, since the REAL change is on the inside. But I'm drowning here!! I need to swim NOW!!

It's Hard Push time. It's hit me hard that as of today, it's been 1100 days since I started this blog. And I'm still not to my goal. I can let that kick me DOWN, or I can choose to let it kick me UP.  I'm choosing UP.

Want a kick in your tush?? Go read Chris' post. Pretty good stuff. :-)

My book quote for today: "With  high levels of mental discipline, you'll reach your goals faster, upgrade your potential for joy, and become a lot more fun to be around. When you keep your thoughts fixed on God, the things of God will naturally permeate your life, and thus your goals will be in line with his will..." --Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today: "Be joyful always; pray continually; give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus."

My quote for today: "Becoming realistic is the most common path to mediocrity." --Will Smith

Enjoy the Journey,


Day 1100

Friday, August 24, 2012

AUG 24th A Little Tweaking

Awhile back I bought a little book titled The 4:8 Principle. Good book! And I get occasional email newsletters from the author, Tommy Newberry.

Today I got one that was super! Just a tweak... a new perspective, a seemingly little idea, but with big consequences. It was probably in his book, and I missed it. 

First, here's the link to the whole article, which I highly recommend. I've been thinking about Joy AND Focus the last few days, and of course, that was his topic. Hmmm, no wonder it stuck out to me. 

In a nutshell, I think I sort of had the cart before the horse. 

And since the latest blogging BUZZ has been about getting sued (!) over using pics from online sources, I ripped out my own quickie illustration, LOL!!

Anyway, I realized I've been focused on the END of the process, the behavior I wanted. The outcome, the success, the victory. 

And Tommy says to focus, instead, on the START of the process. To quote from the article:

"Whatever we emphasize with our thoughts, words, or deeds multiplies in our mind. These thoughts become our focus. Our focus dictates our behavior."

So, I need to sow the seeds of right choices by thinking right thoughts, today. I can improve my tomorrow by improving my focus today. 

I've talked a lot about CHOICE here, and I think I sort of emphasized the choice of behavior. Sure, that's still true. But I think it just might work better if I started with my choice of FOCUS, and let the behavior flow from that... 

I know, clear as mud, LOL!  It's a subtle difference, I guess. But when I read it, it sort of clicked with me, and I got excited and encouraged to work on it.  Hope you like the article, too, since it will explain it MUCHO better. :-D

My book quote for today: "Right thinking is a choice." --Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today: "Though I have fallen, I will rise. Though I sit in darkness, the Lord will be my light."

My quote for today: "The bad news is time flies. The good news is you're the pilot." --Michael Althsuler

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 1097

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

AUG 15th Choc-O-Licious!

Hot diggity dog! I think I've finally found a nice homemade sugar-free chocolate candy recipe!

Why make it myself?? 

Because 1) I can't afford the nice but expensive ones that I used to buy online and 2) The cheaper local store-bought sugar-free brands contain a lot of chemicals, including sweeteners like maltitol, which causes... um... icky tummy disturbances.

I've been playing with recipes on and off for 3 years, determined to make an affordable but nice version. Sorry, I'm not in the all-or-nothing camp who say you can never have sweets or dessert if you want to be healthy. 

This is for life, folks. I'm in it for the duration, so I've converted lots of recipes to low carb/gluten free/sugar free versions. Especially a few old family favorites that are wrapped up in tradition and memories. :-)

But I also refuse to eat sugar, knowing how it affects me, personally. Hence my search for THE perfect chocolate recipe.

Here was my previous attempt; it's taste was nice BUT it was a tad grainy/chalky:

 Eek! See the grainy spoon??
The splenda just refused to dissolve. grrr

I didn't share that recipe for obvious reasons. :-}

And so the search continued... until now. 
And the joke is on me! 
This newest recipe is not even mine!! :-D

Well, it's actually a modified version of one from Linda Genaw. She has been generously sharing low carb, sugar free recipes online for years. Here is her Website, and the original version, Truffle Cups, in case you prefer hers. 

Anyhoo... here is my version, that I'm pretty happy with:

I doubled Linda's recipe, made a couple of ingredient changes, and used a silicone candy mold. It made about 42 little Chocolates (I included some links to sources).

My Chocolates 

8 ounces sugar free semisweet chocolate chips (I used Nevada Manna Sugar Free Chocolate Chips, from Netrition. They cost more, but don't have maltitol. If you can tolerate a little sugar, you can use regular semi-sweet choc chips) 
2 Tablespoons butter
1 Tablespoon cocoa butter (My first cocoa butter was from Amazon;  but Netrition also carries Food grade cocoa butter. Just make sure to get FOOD GRADE cocoa butter, not just moisturizer! It MUST say so.) 
1 Tablespoon coconut oil (I buy 1 gallon tubs locally of Aunt Patty's Organic Coconut Oil; Netrition also carried Nutiva, a nice brand) 

Melt all above together (you can do it in a microwave like Linda suggests in the original recipe. I used a great little chocolate melting pot by Wilton, Here. It's not necessary, just efficient, fun and cute. And it keeps the chocolate at the right temp instead of hardening too fast while filling the molds). 

After melted, stir in the following ingredients til smooth:

4 Tablespoons heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (as per Linda, you can vary the flavor; this was my favorite)

Dip or pour into molds (or paper cups) immediately (I use a long handled mini-ladle from Amazon.  If using the chocolate melting pot, you won't have to rush. I appreciated that, since I doubled her recipe and had more chocolate to get into the molds before it hardened).

Now just put in the fridge til firm. You can keep in fridge or freezer. I've done both, and it's fine both ways.

I added the cocoa butter to my version to make it silky, and the coconut oil to help make it firmer. But they still need to live in the fridge til served, or will melt.

For variation, next time I might try dropping in a nut, or a tiny bit of dried cherry, or?? :-D

I don't have the nutritional data for my version, but you can check out Linda's link above for that; they should be similar, depending on what ingredients you chose.

Bon appetit!

This is my very own well-worn apron!

My book quote for today:  "Do your part now so that God can honor your faith and empower you to live a life of excellence. Think the thoughts you would think if you trusted God's promises completely." --Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today: "Restore us, O God; make your face shine on us, that we may be saved."

My quote for today: "All you need is love. But a little chocolate now and then doesn't hurt." --Charles M Schulz, creator of Peanuts comic strip

Enjoy the Journey with a little chocolate,


DAY 1088

PS: Just so you know, I am not affilitated with any products I recommend here; I just like them, and wanted to share the love, no strings attached. :-)

Friday, August 10, 2012

AUG 10th Unfocused

Well, I just re-read my last post (HERE) and had to ruefully laugh. I know WHAT I need to do... yet somehow seem to be drifting instead of focusing! For the past couple of days I've felt sooo tired, yet I don't think I'm sick or anything like that. Just... tired. 

(to go cross eyed, click to enlarge)

Maybe I've allowed that to be an excuse for not focusing. When I feel less than 100%, it's too easy to drift, to not fight, to let it go and think "tomorrow".

Today I read a quote on Coach Dayne's blog Coach Your Mind.  It is from Michael Phelps. In case you don't follow the Olympics, he is the USA swimmer who made history by earning 22 Gold Medals over his Olympics career. He's 27 years old. 

Michael said 
"You can't put a limit on anything."

The title of Coach Dayne's post is "Your Choice Dictates Every Outcome". Ouch.

How many Gold Medals do you think Michael Phelps would have won if he occasionally said "Oh, I'm kinda tired. I think I'll skip training today."

Sigh... guess I'd better listen to Michael. :-}

My book quote for today:   "Every thought you have shifts your life in a particular direction, sometimes in a minor way and sometimes in a major way. Every individual thought matters."--Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today:  "Praise the Lord, O my soul... who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle."

My quote for today: "I believe we get more of whatever it is we give our most intense focus... My focus is on being a champion of my choices everyday--owning each one and maintaining the healthy-normal boundaries that have brought me this far." --Sean Anderson, Transformation Road (website) 

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 1083

Friday, August 3, 2012

AUG 3rd Regaining Focus

From the start of my blog, my intention was to always be honest and open. Lately, I've felt like I have been going in circles, with nothing to say... so I haven't said much. :-}

But I don't want to give the impression that I'm trying to hide anything, or mislead. I just really didn't know what to say. Or that what I thought of to say wasn't worth saying. I hadn't changed anything that I was aware of, yet the scale was creeping UPwards. My conclusion is that it was a combination of several things, that all added up.

So... the last few days I've been doing a lot of praying, thinking, praying, reading, praying, and more praying! If you don't believe in prayer, or in a relationship with the living God, that's okay, I respect that. But I do, and I've been met with kindness, graciousness and encouragement.

And I really did need that encouragement! I'm looking for the answer to one question: "What now?"

And for me, it starts with my relationship with my God. Back to basics, if you will. Programs are fine. Books are fine. Plans and lists are fine. Blogs, dreams, goals... all this is fine and has a place. They are great tools.

But for me, they need to come AFTER the relationship. I don't want to get the cart before the horse. Get so busy that I forget that love relationship with my Lord, the one who loves me best.

How do I do that? Hey, I'm not the expert here, that's for sure. All I can say is, it's about focus... priorities... the intention of my heart. 

If you loved a person, but forgot to include them in your day, your plans, your thoughts, your TIME... how loved would they feel? Wouldn't they think "Gee, you're getting kind of self-absorbed, dontcha think? Remember me??"

I don't feel guilty, condemned, or anything like that. I feel quite loved, actually. :-) But I'm just working on getting my priorities in line. 

And this morning I listened to a podcast that confirmed to me that I'm on the right track. It was Dr Loyd (author of the Healing Code book I've talked about HERE  a little) and he was asking the question: are you doing things to GET love, peace and joy, or are you doing things OUT OF love, peace and joy??

He said if you are doing things to GET love, peace and joy, then it can get hard; you can get tired, burned out and feel like you are always chasing it and it's just out of reach. It will just seem so HARD! Um... kind of how I was feeling about this weight loss journey.

But if you are first filled up with that love, peace and joy, then it flows OUT from you to others. That thing you are doing, working towards, or the goal you want to reach will not feel so hard; you will have that energy that comes from being full, not running on empty. And it will seem a lot easier, not an uphill battle. You will be working out of a place of love, peace and joy, not chasing after it.

Well, like I said, I'm no expert on all this. I feel like it's time to dig deeper. I've gotten too comfortable; stalled in my journey. That's weird to say, that I got "comfortable", seeing as how I have such physical pain right now. 

Yet, I got comfortable in my mindset, not wanting to make harder changes. Not wanting to shine the light into the corners where I held on to the "familiar" and safe stuff. But to make progress, I need to do that now. To trust that even while uncomfortable, it will be okay. Because I don't walk alone. My God is leading the way into those dark corners, shining the light and showing me what to do next. 

It's an inside job, this journey. Always has been. The rest follows. How did I forget that??!

My book quote for today: "Research indicates that the average person thinks approximately fifty thousand thoughts per day. This is either good or bad news because every thought moves you either toward your God-given potential or away from it. No thoughts are neutral." --Tommy Newberry, The 4:8 Principle

My verse for today: "I will restore them because I have compassion on them."

My quote for today: "They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past, but sometimes I think progress progressess too fast!" --Dr Seuss

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 1076

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

AUG 1st Party Medieval Style With a Free Book!

It's another Launch Party!

This times it's my very own sister, author Karen Elizabeth Brown. Today kicks off the official launch of her newest novella, Medieval Muse.

On July 14th over at my art blog (HERE)  I gave a behind the scenes look at the making of the cover art for Medieval Muse.

Now... we are celebrating the story itself! First, I'll share Karen's "official" announcement, then below that I'll give MY review of the book. Watch out, just because she's my sister, don't expect me to "fudge" with my opinion. ;-)

Medieval Muse
By Karen Elizabeth Brown
What happens when Victoria Budroix receives a cameo that promises to give her the desires of her heart? Since she doesn’t know what that would be, a trip to medieval times, intrigue, threat of war and an overbearing lord are on the list for her to choose from. Or could it be meeting her one true love?
Sir William of Conrad has escorted a stranger home to be under his protection. He discovers this woman speaks her own mind and melts his heart. He faces his father’s outrage and a broken alliance with the neighboring clan by falling in love. 
Medieval Muse is available as a free read from, HERE. 

Karen Elizabeth Brown’s passion for writing is what fills her entire life with exhilarating inspiration. She spends her days writing, doing research and studying about the subjects of her stories.
When she’s not writing, she enjoys music and reading, especially medieval fantasy. Born in Southern California, she migrated to Southern Oregon in 1974 where she now resides in the Rogue Valley with her family and friends. Find out more about the author at her official website. 

Okay, time for my honest review. 

Sister or not... Karen wrote a totally interesting story! I love time travel type tales, and this novella whisks you back to medieval times in an unusual way. 

I could identify with our leading lady. A modern, strong willed, independent and spunky gal who DETESTS having to ask ANY man for "permission" for anything... being plunked down in the middle ages! I enjoyed the humor that situation caused.

I also enjoyed "meeting" the people from the castle. The main characters seemed real and believable, from the castle gossip to the timid scullery maid. And of COURSE our leading man. Poor guy had his hands full with this feisty "Lady" who appears out of nowhere!

I won't give away the ending, but let's just say it didn't leave me grinding my teeth, like some unresolved stories do! It ended "just right". :-)

If you enjoy romantic fantasy, time travel, castles, intrigue, humor, double-crossing women and gossips... well, maybe not those last two. But this was a totally enjoyable novella, just right for a hot summer evening with a tall glass of iced tea.

Enjoy the journey with a free e-book!


PS: Did I mention that it's a free e-book?? Just follow the link to Smashwords, where you can download it in whatever format works best for you. And if you enjoy it, would you be so kind as to do my Sis a favor and leave a review at Smashwords? 
Thanks bunches!

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