Dreaming of Gardens

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We have two wood stoves at my house, and this is how we heat in winter.  While that’s all well and good, we also have to take some trees down every year, as well as get some logs delivered in order to have enough wood to last a winter.  Luckily, we’re nearing the end of taking our own trees down, and have only a few more to go.  Since we’ve already rented a wood chipper this spring, I know that we’re finished with the trees this year.  Unfortunately, we needed to take down some smaller trees in the backyard due to their being a hazard.  Because of this, we now have some room back there that will be rather bare once we get the trees cut up and the wood stacked.

So, I’ve been dreaming of gardens.  You know, those fantastic English gardens that look so wonderfully peaceful?  Those gardens.  However, as much as I dream of having gardens like that, I know that I just don’t have the ability to create them.  In my head, I’m the most artistic person ever.  In reality, not so much.  I do have a spatial-relation problem (I can’t picture how something is going to look), but I also don’t know much about gardens.  Years ago, I had a large vegetable garden, and I did manage that pretty well.  However, I’ve never planted flowers and have no idea how to go about it.  So, for the moment I’m just dreaming of gardens.

If you have any books for inept beginners that I could read in the subject, I’d be grateful if you’d let me know.  Meanwhile, here are some photos of wonderful gardens to enjoy!

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Problem Talk (Complaining)

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Problem talk is something that we all do.  Some of us do it more than others.  Sometimes we can get so caught up in the problem talk and completely forget that there is usually a solution.  We are the ones who usually have the solution inside ourselves, if only we spent some time thinking about solutions, and not wasting our time by complaining.  Sound familiar?  I’m guilty of it and almost everyone I know is guilty of it, also.

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While complaining about a problem has its place; there is a lot to be said for venting, after all, frustration is a valid emotion, problem talk is not a solution.  It’s just not going to get the problem solved.  And, at the end of the day isn’t that what we really want?  To get the problem solved.

Here are some questions to ask yourself the next time you find yourself caught up in the never-ending problem talk.  Is there something you can do to change this situation?  Can you think of a way to take your focus off this situation and put it into something that is beneficial to you?  I’ve found over the years that when I focus on what I can do to change my reactions or focus, I can manage problems that have no solution much better.

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As a simple example of this, when I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia I immediately thought that there was no solution and nothing that I could do.  I wallowed in my depression for about two weeks, and then I got on the internet and found things that I could do.  Since I’m not a person who likes to take pharmaceuticals I found natural ways of dealing with the pain and managing my problem.  So, yes, I’m aware that not all problems can be “solved”, however, there is usually something that can do done to help deal with a problem (besides problem-talk).  Let me know what it is that you do to either solve a problem, or to deal with it in a more positive manner.

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Finding Serenity

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Life can be pretty nuts.  Not only do we have to worry about what’s going on in our own lives, but there is also the human suffering that we all see every day – and a lot of that is not just somewhere “out there” in the world, but here at home.

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So, what to do?  How can we deal with all of this?  The stress of just daily life can be overwhelming. How can we find some form of serenity?  There is only so much that we can do as individuals.  Yes, there are letters to write and petitions to sign, but how do we find a way to cope with the stresses that need to be dealt with?

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Personally, at the end of the day I realize that there is only so much I can do to influence what’s going on “out there”.  I try to influence people who I come across each day.  If I think that someone who I don’t know looks really nice, I’ll tell them.  Just the look of surprise and happiness that I see on their faces lets me know that even though I may have hesitated to give them a compliment, it was the right decision.  And, although talking to a total stranger is hard for me, it was worthwhile.  So, let me know what you do to throw a little happiness out there in the world.  I’d love to hear your stories and advice.

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Your Attitude Affects Your Life

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In a way, that statement, your attitude affects your life, can be a little intimating. No one wants a bad life.  We all want to be happy, joyful and successful (however it is that we each measure success). When we want to change our behavior, we need to first change our attitude.  I’m pretty sure that everyone has heard all about an “attitude of gratitude”, and “thinking good thoughts”.  Yes, those are clichés, however, as with many clichés there is some truth to them.  If someone were to get up in the morning and think to themselves, I’m going to have a horrible, terrible no good day today.  We would think that they were crazy.  Who in the world would do that to themselves?  See, you do believe in attitude affecting behavior and change.

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So, today why not try something new.  Get up and think I’m going to have a great day.  Nothing is going to put me in a bad mood.  Whatever happens, I’ll deal with it and move on.  I’m going to try this, since I need an attitude adjustment – just like many other people.  Let’s give it a go and see if it works!

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Using Lists

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I know that some people say that making lists just isn’t too effective.  However, I have to say that if it weren’t for my lists I’d feel like I was getting basically nothing done.  I started making lists after I gave birth to my son and became a stay-at-home mother.  I was encased within the fog of no sleep and endless new-baby tasks.  My husband would come home and ask what I’d done all day and I struggled to remember doing anything beyond baby-related tasks.  So, I started making lists of tasks to be accomplished each and every day.

To this day, my list consists of such things as washing dishes, running the dishwasher, laundry, vacuuming, picking up, etc.  All those little things that you do during the day, but don’t really consider them “work”.  But, my lists also have the bigger things on them like: writing a blog post, chapters for a book, and illustrating the book, along with the dreaded paying of bills, grocery shopping and meal making.

There have been times that I’ve neglected to make lists, however I’ve found that one thing is completely clear.  In order to function, I need a list.  It’s not so much the remembering to actually do what’s on the list, it’s the crossing out of the things that I’ve accomplished.  I get great satisfaction in crossing out the tasks that I’ve finished.  Now when my husband comes home and asks what I’ve done, I can reference the crossed-out list.  Of course, my list often consists of all the things that I’ve done for him so that he doesn’t have to do them – making doctor appointments, calling insurance agents, etc.  All those things where you can be put on hold for thirty minutes or so at a time, which is why I call and he doesn’t.

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Probably one of the reasons I like to make lists is that they keep me accountable to my goals.  Let me know if you’re a list-maker, and if it helps you accomplish what you want to achieve.

Staying Positive

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While I try really hard to stay positive, and maintain the momentum while moving toward my goals, I occasionally get side-tracked with depression.  This has been the case for a few weeks now.  I have discussed how I have some people in my life who are extremely negative.  Most of the time I ignore this negativity, but there are times when it’s just too aggressive to ignore.

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I know the famous quote by Eleanor Roosevelt that no one can make you feel inferior without your permission.  However good a quote it may be, sometimes it’s just a quote.  After wallowing in my own sadness, I’ve begun the long climb back up the well of despair and am beginning to see the light again.  I understand that I need to just put all my focus on what I’m doing, continue doing it, and ignore the negativity bearers.  While I know this, it’s not always easy to put into practice.

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So, here I am, fighting toward the light.  I hope that all of you continue on toward your goals no matter what other people have to throw at you.

 

Food and Exercise

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I’ve been on the Engine 2 Rescue Diet now for almost three weeks.  This diet is a no oil, no preservatives plant -based one.  How is it going?  Well, at times all I really want to do is to eat all the chips in the bag!  However, I haven’t done that, and it’s going pretty good.  I haven’t fallen “off the wagon” at all, and when I do get chip cravings, I tend to eat either some grapes – which are totally delicious, by the way, or an orange.

Learning how to make stir-fry without oil was a little hard to get used to, but I’ve got that down, now.  Tonight, is Chinese night, so I’m really looking forward to the steamed veggies with white rice.  A meal that I don’t have to cook is always a source of excitement.

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I’ve been having Quaker Quick Oats for breakfast with some maple syrup, cinnamon, banana and blueberries.  At first I thought yuck! I hate oatmeal, but when I have it like this, it’s really good!  If I get hungry later in the morning (sometimes I’ve already eaten by 6:30, I’ll have an orange.

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Here’s a lunch that I love.  I just cut-up some onion, mushroom, squash and peppers, then I stir-fried them in a little water.  I put them on a Sandwich Thin (again, no oil), added a little no-oil homemade hummus and dug in.  I also ate the leftovers.  Good lunch!  Next week I’ll give you some dinner recipes.  I have to take pictures, since I haven’t gotten around to that, yet.

I’ll also eat a salad with extra veggies and chickpeas. If I still feel hungry I’ll throw a small red potato in the microwave and cook it up.  I’ll then eat it with some garlic powder.  No vegan butter for me.  This was actually a little strange at first, but I’ve gotten used to it, and now like the potato with only some herbs on it.

I’ve added some more exercise to my routine also.  I now work-out in the morning, then go for a walk with my dog around eleven, then come home and work-out some more.  In the afternoon, I’ll do so again.  So, this is what I do:  Monday, Wednesday and Friday I’ll do my Soloflex machine (yes, I’ve had one for more years than I want to admit), then a Denise Austin DVD with weights in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a Denise Austin Pilates DVD.  I hate Pilates!  Tuesday and Thursday, I’ll do a Fitness Blender video in the morning.  In the afternoon, I’ll do a bunch of Sun Salutations very slowly.  On the weekend, I usually mix it up with some Denise Austin workouts and different Fitness Blender videos.

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The whole process has been a major time-commitment, what with the meal planning, making things that I usually don’t from scratch and working out.  However, I’ve finally seen a positive change in my body.  Have you changed anything about your diet or exercise routine?  Let me know how that’s going for you.