Saturday, December 31, 2011

DEC 31st And On We Continue!

Hello there Journal & Friends,

I don't have any resolutions to share... I'm just continuing ON with my plan! It feels right and is working, so why fix what ain't broke?! :-D

On that note, here's my theme badge for this exciting, fresh, shiny New Year:

(can click pic for larger view)

Happy New Year to all my bloggyland friends, and I'll leave you with some interesting quotes I ran across recently, all from 1902 (!) by James Allen:

“The vision that you glorify in your mind, the ideal that you enthrone in your heart – this you will build your life by, this you will become.”

“You cannot travel within and stand still without.” 

“. . . cause and effect is as absolute and undeviating in the hidden realm of thought as in the world of visible and material things.”

“Circumstance does not make the man; it reveals him to himself.”

“Men are anxious to improve their circumstances, but are unwilling to improve themselves; they therefore remain bound.” 

“Right thinking begins with the words we say to ourselves.”

And so, to myself (and you) I say: 

2012 is going to be
the best year yet!!

Enjoy the Journey & the New Year,


DAY 866

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

DEC 28th I Stuck to my Plan & The Birthday Girl!

Hi Journal & Friends,

Joey went with us on Christmas Eve to see the Christmas lights... what fun! 

We made our "imitation blizzards" to take, and they turned out delicious. I didn't miss the Dairy Queen version in the least! And we knew what we were drinking was actually good for us, too. Well, "most" of it. Jim wanted a "butterfinger" flavor, like the one DQ makes. I came kinda close, but to get his requested flavor had to use some of his little Russel Stover butter crunch candies whizzed up in them. Oh well, it was still better than going off plan and hitting the local DQ!  :-D

I went into the holidays with a plan, and stuck to it. I can't tell you how encouraging and energizing that feels. By the way, if anyone reading this did NOT stay on their plan, please don't wait til the new year. Start NOW. You'll feel that same encouragement and energy just from making the choice to make your health a priority. Or, as Anne at Carb Tripper calls it, your Fitness Goals. You've gotta see her latest VLOG, it's so good.

Anyway, grab ahold NOW, don't wait, you'll be glad you did. :-)

So... off we went to see the pretty lights. And Joey was sooo funny. She spends most days at home with me, so she is always jazzed when she gets to go on an adventure. This was her first Christmas... she will turn one year old on Dec 28th... oh, wait, that's today! 

Happy Birthday Joey!

Here are a few of the pretty houses we saw (can click to enlarge).

First stop was at the
Elf Training Center:

 Joey and Jim looking
at the lights:

 Joey was excited by 
people walking around...
lots of parents brought 
their children and that
got Joey all jazzed. Not 
that it takes much to get a
mini-schnauzer jazzed!

 She caught me aiming the
camera at her:

 Can you see what the
neighbor did for his 

 The neighbors lights:

 Next we were off to the 
"fancy" neighborhood. Every 
year they do a food drive, 
since they get thousands
of drive by lookers.

It was a residential street, with lots of pedestrians. Joey was so excited by all the people walking around... and actually tried to sort of sing/howl when she heard the carolers... too funny!

And I want to thank all of you that left such great comments after my first VLOG attempt. You were soooo kind and encouraging! Why... I think I'll even do another one some time, ha ha ha!

From Dr Phil's book: "You must hold yourself to a higher standard now. You cannot be wishy washy."

My verse for today: Blessed is he who has regard for the weak; the Lord delivers him in times of trouble."

My quote for today: "Age is something that just doesn't matter, unless  you're a cheese." --Billie Burke

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 863

Sunday, December 25, 2011

DEC 26th I DID it!

Hello Journal & Friends, 

I know, I know. I said I was on a blogging mini-vacation. I am... but I didn't say anything about VLOGGING!

As a Christmas gift to myself, I spent all day Sunday learning how to do The Vlog Thing. It took me 13 hours to get it right and able to upload, but my stubbornness paid off, LOL!

So now I'm sharing the results with you! :-O

Enjoy the Journey,


Day 861

Thursday, December 22, 2011

DEC 22nd We Are Loved & We Are Worth It

Hello Journal & Friends,

I'm enjoying the holidays this year... in a sort of gentle way. It feels peaceful and thankful. 

Jim put up our white icicle lights this year, adding several large green wreaths with huge red bows. The house looks so festive and pretty! It always touches me when he does this... it's a lot of work. If he had his way, he wouldn't bother. But, he does it solely because he knows how much I love it. I don't take that for granted... it's a gift to me!

I started my sugarfree/glutenfree gingerbread men this morning... the dough is in the fridge "resting", and I'll finish them later today. They'll be my dessert contribution at a family Christmas Eve dinner.

I was trying to put my finger on why I'm feeling so peaceful this holiday season. Aside from staying away from crazy crowds of shoppers ;-) I think it's because I am feeling "worth it". 

  • Choosing to make the extra effort to bake fun holiday stuff that is On Plan, because my health is worth it. 

  • Choosing to tell the hostess of the dinner we'll be going to that I don't want to offend anyone, but will NOT be eating anything with sugar or flour, and offering to bring something... because I am respecting my own needs and putting my health first, above "politeness". And she was totally gracious!

  • Choosing to pass on things I used to abuse, like store bought egg nog (which is full of sugar and chemicals) because I would rather lose weight and get healthy than repeat past poor choices. And I do mean reeeaaally poor choices... we'd get a half gallon of the stuff and Jim was lucky if he got one serving. Guess who drank the rest?!!  Now, I would rather take care of myself than go for that immediate gratification that comes back later to bite me in the you-know-where! It's just not worth it anymore. I found a recipe online for Almond Milk Eggnog from Carolyn Ketchum HERE  that I'm going to try instead. And I'm more than fine with that choice... in fact, it makes me smile.

  • Choosing to continue to work on the mental aspect of this journey. I did my homework so have the majority of the nutritional stuff worked out, with a little fine tuning to do yet. But I am still 100% convinced that long-term success lies in the area of mental toughness. I have a spiritual foundation that gives me a solid footing. But after that, I know it's been my squirrelly thinking in the past that derailed me. So, I continue to focus on that aspect. More to come on that in a few days. :-)

My Christmas gift to myself: Choosing to believe I am worth it. I want to respect myself. To make loving choices that will help create my healthy future.

And in the long run, it also turns out to be a gift to those I care about, since I am better able to live, love and give if I'm healthy and strong.

Do I ever struggle? Of course. Just last night I started to go over my limit. I had to laugh when I remembered Chris's post  about how to tell if you're really hungry... would you eat radishes or cabbage?? Uh... no! Not THAT hungry. Then stop. Do you want to lose the weight or eat that? Uh... I want to lose the weight. Then stop. 

I'm going to join the trend in taking a Christmas mini-vacation from blogging. 

So I hope all of you have a most WONDERFUL Christmas, or Hanukkah or other holy days you celebrate. 

Me... I'm celebrating the birth of the Christ child who grew up to be the Savior. And it was all because of Love. So God's gift to me and to you at Christmas is Love.

See ya in a few days!

Enjoying the Journey during the Holidays,


PS: Joey is doing great! The vet's office said to try to keep her calm so she won't tear out her stitches... then laughed and said "good luck with that" when they remembered she was a Mini-Schnauzer, LOL! Joey says Thank You for the well wishes. 

DAY 857

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

DEC 19th Snip Snip Ouch Ouch!

Good afternoon Journal & Friends,

Lessons from a Puppy #11

If It's Hard Now, 
Keep Going...
Cuz It'll Get Better

Joey went in for surgery yesterday. She will forever be a Miss now, never a mommy. It was hard on her, since she is almost always with either me or her Hero, Jim. That was the hardest part, seeing her fear of being left with strangers. Poor baby.

Here she was, in the car right after picking her up to bring her home. I drove so Joey could cuddle with her Hero. She was a little groggy and subdued, but perked up the instant she saw Jim.

She spent the rest of the day being pampered, watching tv with Jim, and dozing in his lap.

Today she is a little better. She doesn't bark out loud yet, just "whispers". And is sleeping most of the day, or just sitting and watching. But she is improving, and totally will be back to a bundle of enthusiastic energy by the time her first birthday gets here on Dec 28th. :-)

This too shall pass... 

And that's my lesson to remember the next time things get hard. And I know sooner or later they will, it's just the nature of the beast... that's life. But it's not permanent... it always gets better.

For now, I'm enjoying the holidays! :-D

From Dr Phil's book: "You talk to yourself more than everybody else in your life combined."

My verse for today: "See, I will not forget you... I have carved you on the palm of my hand."

My quote for today: "Life begins at the end of your comfort zone." --Neale Walsh

Enjoy the Journey, 


DAY 855

Friday, December 16, 2011

DEC 15th A Colorful Friday Favorites

Hello Journal & Friends,

Since so many folks say they are looking to eat only "real food" and ditch the chemicals, I thought I'd share a little thing I ran across recently... bought it... tried it... and LIKED IT!!

It's natural food coloring made from vegetable colorants, called India Tree Natural Decorating Colors. Comes in the typical red, yellow and blue, in little squeeze bottles just like it's chemical cousins. The coloring agents are from red cabbage, beet, and turmeric. I used some in a frosting at Thanksgiving, and NO, it didn't affect the flavor at all. Just made it pretty and festive!

Examples of what you can get by mixing the 3 colors up:

I bought mine online from  for $22.39. 
I know, I know, me too! $$$  ;-)

But, they last a long time. And they work well. The blue seems a little weaker than the red and yellow colors, but other that, I love them. One tiny more step towards a healthier kitchen, yes?

From Dr Phil's book: "What is true about you in your mind, you will live."

My verse for today: "The earth is filled with your love, O Lord."

My quote for today: "Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You." --Dr Seuss

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 851 

Monday, December 12, 2011

DEC 11th If I Don't Get Tuff... I'm Gonna Die Fat??

Hidy Ho Journal & Friends,

Ever read or hear something that you LOVE... and HATE at the same time?!! 

You love the parts you agree with, and hate the parts you are convinced he got wrong? You find youself arguing with your iPod as you listen to the interview?

You'd love to "straighten this guy out" so his message could be improved, and that way he could help more folks. But he is convinced that those that are upset by his message are "just making excuses".

So... he has closed his OWN thinking off, to seeing a different perspective that might have validity, which could actually improve his message. 

Sigh... I debated even writing about all this, since it's so frustrating. But I will. :-D

Because I decided, FOR ME, to be teachable and "eat the meat and spit out the bones."  This guy has some good stuff. Really good stuff.

He does have good ideas, albeit presented in a blunt way. I don't think he's trying to be mean or mocking, like some internet bullies I've crossed swords with... no, to me his heart seems in the right place.

Enough vagueness. His name is Steve Siebold, and he makes his living as a motivational speaker. The core of all his messages have to do with MENTAL TOUGHNESS.

And this time, he wrote a book after he gained 40 pounds, then lost it. It's called

Die Fat or Get Tough: 
101 Differences in Thinking 
Between Fat People and Fit People.

Yeah, he likes to use shock value to "break through the walls of self-delusion". I suppose that works with some personality types. His main idea is to smack you in the face with the differences between how Fat People think versus how Fit People think. Unfortunately his blunt approach repulses as many people as it reaches. The poor guy has even had death threats!!!

Disclaimer: I have not read the book. Why?? Because after reading a ton of reviews on, reading excerpts at his website (you can get the first 5 chapters for free), and listening to several interviews with Steve, I get the gist of it. I get it. I really do. And agree 100% with the mental aspects of his message. My own summary of his book would be something like: You made the choices that broke it, and you have the power to fix it. It's time to grow up, and make healthy choices. You can DO this!  

To me, that message is empowering, and I can get behind it. The part that drives me NUTSO in his approach is that he doesn't take into account that we were told by all the authorities for a LIFETIME that eating a certain way (low fat and lots of "healthy" whole grains and high carbs) was THE way to lose weight and get healthy. And now we are a fatter, sicker nation, with a raging diabetes epidemic. That's no excuse. It's the truth. Some of us tried for years, but it was like swimming upstream against a hard current... exhausting and not making much progress.

I was put on my first diet at age 10. That's FIFTY YEARS AGO!!!!! :-O  I searched and searched for a sustainable "diet", and tried, literally, several dozen. It's not just a matter of being fat and lazy. Some of us really tried. But were working with the wrong information. Did we go through times of despair, and just give up for a time?? Did we choose to eat food to affect our emotions, to bring relief, escape, or a thousand other reasons? 

Yes, we did. Or we wouldn't be fat. 
Yes, *I* did, or I wouldn't be fat.

Do you have any idea how hard it is not to be sucked totally down the drain of hopelessness and self-loathing, after trying and failing that many times??? 

But to our credit, we didn't give up permanently. We tried to learn. We got up and went ON. 

He seems to know nothing about metabolism or the science behind weight loss. The best book I've read on that lately is by Gary Taubes: Why We Get Fat and What To Do About It.  It's not a rah rah motivational book. It's full of solid science and facts. I highly recommend it.

Do any of Steve's arguments apply?? Yes, of course. But I'm just saying, he's too simplistic, that's all. Anyway, back to the part of his message that I DO agree with, the mental stuff. 

Basically, after all the legitimate factors are accounted for, we are left with: NOW WHAT?? What am I going to DO about it? 

And I agree with him, that it takes mental toughness. (Now for all you Christians out there, cool your jets. :-) My Rock, my Strength comes from God. I'm talking here not about the spiritual foundation we all need... but about what we allow ourself to think about, which plays out in our actions. Now that we have THAT cleared up...)

Mental toughness

Hmmm...  that's actually a term I've puzzled over for many years! Long before it became sort of popular now, and the topic du jour of todays motivational speakers.

So... I decided to be teachable. To not get offended. To not accept the parts he missed the mark on, and accept the parts where he hit the bullseye. He lost his weight in his late 30's, and is still learning. So in time, I'll bet his message is tempered with experience and wisdom. 

In the mean time, here are some quotes I transcribed directly from an interview with Steve Siebold that I heard on HCL BlogTalkRadio, hosted by Audley Stephenson (no relation to moi).

  • Make a decision. 
  • Make a decision you're going to do this... if you do the work, you'll see the results. 
  • This is not complicated... make a decision and take responsibility.
  • If you're going to program yourself for success, you've got to do what successful people do.
  • Don't feel bad about yourself, don't beat yourself up. Just make a decision that you're going to solve it.
  • There's really no staying neutral. You're going to either have to solve it, or you're probably going to die fat.
  • Study how fit people think, they really think differently that fat people.
  • Study as many world class experts on health and fitness as you can.
  • Beginning today, invest 15 minutes a day studying an expert you respect.
  • When your beliefs start to change, your behavior starts to follow your beliefs.
  • Self-talk is very powerful.
  • This is not about being comfortable. This is about being successful. There's a difference!

You can go to  and click on Look Inside, and read several pages for yourself. I'd be curious to read what others in our online wt loss community think about it. I mean, we are already working on it, or we wouldn't be here. So I have to wonder if our reaction would be different than someone who is NOT actively working on it. I kinda think it would sting!

So in summary: 
I do NOT agree with him when he denies there are legitimate factors that affect our weight loss attempts. 
I DO agree we can't be successful if we allow those factors to make us victims. 
I DO agree we need to ask NOW WHAT? and get on with solving it. 
I DO agree that how we think is absolutely crucial, and that's where I can learn from him.

To be fair, here's Steve's website,  so he gets the last word. 

From Dr Phil's book: "Change your thinking to change your weight."

My verse for today: "Praise be to the Lord my Rock, who trains my hands for war, my fingers for battle."

My quote for today: "You must do the things you think you cannot do." --Eleanor Roosevelt

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 847

Friday, December 9, 2011

DEC 9th Planning a New Adventure

Good Evening Journal & Friends,

Okay... nuff controversary. Time for some fun! Well, it's fun for me, anywhoo. ;-)

I mentioned recently that next year one of my goals was to pluck up my courage and open my very own Zazzle  store. I no longer feel as though I have to get "skinny" before I step outside my comfort zone. :-)

Zazzle is an online shop that takes our own designs and puts them on stuff. Everything from prints, cards, posters, key chains and stickers, to personalized postage, t-shirts, buttons and coffee mugs. And tons more, too boring to list here. 

Anyway, before I get involved, I'd like to make sure I really want my NAME associated with them. In other words, I want to check out the quality of their printing and merchandise. So, I bought some stuff.

And most of them turned out terrific! 

I'll be honest in my review... I bought 5 things and: 

3 were fabulous 
1 was just okay 
1 was a little disappointing  

The actual merchandise seems very nice. For instance, the apron is not flimsy at all, but nice, bright white heavy poly/cotton fabric, neatly sewn. Same with the coffee mug: nice size and fabrication. My minor beef is just with how the images turned out on 2 items. And one of those might be because I didn't read close enough to know how big the final image was going to be... not sure about that one. Here's the deets:

We got two mousepads... here
is the one Jim chose, from one
of his waterfall photos. He likes the
quality and richness of the image.

Here is mine. I used one of my 
designs, and stuck on text that
was meaningful to me. I think it
came out crisp and colorful; overall
I am very satisfied. The background
is a soft gray, and my mouse glides very
 easily over the silky smooth surface. 
Eek, I sound like an infomercial!

I love the sturdy white fabric of my apron,
but have to say that in person the image
is not as bright as I had expected. 
Perfectionist?? Me?? Why, never. ;-) 

My mug turned out bold and fabulous!!
I am drinking tea out of it this very minute.
The colors are strong and vibrant, and
I added my new Mantra: 
I Can Do Hard Things

And last but not least... we got Joey
her very own t-shirt! We love how 
she looks in it, and it's adorable. But,
this is the one I was most disappointed 
in. The photo was sooo much smaller 
than I expected. Good thing we have
her in person to look at, LOL!

We're starting to get frost and snow here
in Southern Oregon, so she can keep cozy
when she goes outside to Do Her Business.
Oh, and dig to China after the gopher that 
decided to move into our backyard!

So far, I am leaning towards a thumbs UP on opening my own Zazzle store. It would be called Art by Retta, with a bunch of my designs available to put on shoes, hats, t-shirts, ipod cases, mugs, posters, office accessories, blah blah blah... all the stuff I've mentioned and more. I'll just do it in my spare time. (choke choke... if you only knew what a joke THAT was, LOL!) 

But Jules at Big Girl Bombshell recently had a wonderful post on choices, time and our goals. So my Zazzle store will happen when I make it a priority. Period. Thanks for that nudge, Jules.

Anyone use Zazzle before? Would you recommend it? If I'm headin for a cliff, I'd rather know BEFORE I feel air blowing in my hair! Just doing my research before I decide. :-D

From Dr Phil's book: "Having specific carefully mapped out, vividly envisioned goals is an absolute requirement for success."

My verse for today: "As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is flawless."

My quote for today: "Age is something that just doesn't matter, unless you're a cheese." --Billie Burke

Enjoy the Journey,


DAY 844
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