Heart Choices: 2009-02-08 -->

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Fitness Friday ~ Healthy Family Lifestyle

Today is Fitness Friday! My Fitness Friday partner Sandy at God Speaks Today is back in business. Last week, her part of the country experienced a major power outage. But Sandy's back and I'm so glad to link to her.

Many of you are moms with busy lifestyles. Since I don’t have children, I interviewed my good friend Jamie to discover some of her secrets to living and modeling a healthy lifestyle.

After all, she’s fit and healthy. She’s a wife and mother to five children ranging in age from 4 months to 14 years old. And did I mention that she also home schools?

I wrote Part 1 of this interview on a previous post. If you’ve not read that, you may want to link there first.

Jamie runs at least one or two marathons a year. Do you remember the photo of her running that she tapes to her mirror? It reminds her of how good it felt to cross the finish line of this race.

Although she tries to model healthy eating habits in her home, she admits that she’s far from perfect.

But here are a few of the tips she shared:

  • Sugars and processed foods are kept to a minimum.

  • She does not purchase candy, soda or chips.

  • Oatmeal, granola and wheat bread are staples.

  • Snacks include pretzels and low fat/sugar peanut butter and jelly.

  • Lunch includes fresh veggies and fruit on the side.

  • Her family tends to eat five smaller portion meals/snacks each day.

  • Dinner is not a huge meal unless they have company.

Jamie mentioned that her son doesn’t like to drink water and gravitates towards sweets. The pediatrician suggested that they all drink a glass of water before sitting down to eat a meal so they wouldn’t eat as much. Hmm …that’s good advice for adults too. It also helps with hydration and digestion.

Do you ever feel like a short order cook in your house?

Don't do it. Jamie’s children have learned to eat whatever is served. She doesn’t cater to the likes and dislikes of each child but doesn’t purposely make things she knows someone hates.

I remember my mother doing that too. We learned to like certain foods over time even if they weren’t our favorites. If the kids don’t eat their lunch or dinner, they do not get a snack later.

Trying to manage and cook healthy meals for a family requires some planning.

Jamie has put together a spreadsheet with all the grocery items in her kitchen. All of the commonly used foods are listed in grouped sections like dairy, veggies, breads, canned goods, and household items. Using this list helps make her grocery shopping go faster and easier and she avoids extra trips for those forgotten items.

Jamie spends Sunday evenings planning the family’s dinner and lunch meals for the week. She tries to keep it simple so she doesn’t have to spend too much time in the kitchen. Another spreadsheet consists of all the meals that she likes to fix for quick reference.

Well, I don’t know about you but ...I was pretty impressed with her organized system.

Not everyone is so organized but I think we can all learn something from this busy mom.

Now what about you? Do you have any tips or suggestions that have helped you maintain a healthy lifestyle for your family?

And by the way, don't forget to visit Sandy at God Speaks Today. She's written a great post about the mental aspect of fitness. Maybe you've made a commitment to get fit but you're having some trouble sticking with it. Well, you need to hop over to Sandy's Fitness Friday post to read some of her great tips.

Thankful Thursday ~ Love

It's Thankful Thursday and this week our hostess Iris has chosen the theme love.

I'm so glad. Love is a subject I could write about every day. Valentine's Day only comes once a year but ...I'd love to celebrate it all year long. I'm such a romantic!

In the Bible, the book of 1 Corinthians 13 is all about love. It's often quoted during wedding ceremonies. What do I learn about love from these passages?

I learn that:
  • If I'm gifted with many talents

  • Give all I have to the poor

  • Suffer terribly in my body

  • Have an abundance of knowledge to share

But if I don't have love ...I gain nothing.

I can be "doing" all the right stuff but if my motive isn't love then it really doesn't matter. I might be able to fool myself but God knows my heart. I can't hide from Him.

The verses go on to say what love is and how it's seen in action. Phrases like love is patient, kind, does not boast, is not rude, or self-seeking, or easily angered and keeps no record of wrongs.

As I thought about love, it became easier to write my thankful Thursday list. Instead of focusing on all of the problems and irritations in life, I choose to focus on remembering the good and kind and lovely. And for that, I'm truly thankful.

I'm thankful for:
  • God's love that lives in my heart and enables me to love even difficult people. Remember, I'm a work in progress but He is teaching me to do this even though ...there are times when I fail miserably.

  • My husband's love that has been growing so much more as we go through a challenging time in life.

  • My family's love and support.

  • Ruth who emails me words of encouragement every week.

  • Debra of Clothed With Scarlet who reached out to me this week in a very precious way even though we've never met face to face.

My friend Helen, who along with her husband John and grandson Joseph, took the time to drive the long distance to attend church with me and take me to lunch on my birthday.

  • Friends Terri and Janet who extended the fun and splurged on a birthday celebration at Lon's at the Hermosa. We ate on the patio surrounded by the beauty of the Arizona desert.

  • Sue and Barb who consistently keep in touch with me and meet for coffee at Einstein Brothers Bagels to offer encouragement.

  • My friend Robyn who I've known since the second grade. I sat behind her in class and she helped me learn to write in script. She's so consistent in sending cards and emails.

  • My friend Kathy who doesn't like email too much but stays in touch with me by phone. I've known Kathy since 7th grade and we recently had the opportunity to spend time together after many years apart.

  • My brother-in-law Frank who has gone out of his way to help get our house ready to sell.

  • My mentor Susie who offered to drive me to our Group of 12 luncheon today so we could spend time talking along the way.
It's amazing!

When I choose to take the time to focus on all that I can be thankful for and to remember the many people who've demonstrated love in action ...my perspective changes.

Worry and fear are replaced with ...love and contentment in all circumstances.

On this thankful Thursday will you choose to take the time to write a thankful list? And don't forget to add a comment and share something you're thankful for today.

You can visit other blogs participating in thankful Thursday by linking here.

Bloggy Love

Mom Blogs

February is the LOVE MONTH. And I want to celebrate with some bloggy love!

5 Minutes For Mom is hosting a blog carnival called Say it FORWARD. It's a time when you can say thank you to your loyal commenters.

I know that many people enjoy reading blogs but many never comment. Now don't get me wrong. I'm glad for the people who are faithful to read but ...it's really so nice to know someone is listening!

This past Sunday I was reading one of my favorite blogs Just Another Day in Paradise. I added a comment and refreshed my page and voila ...I saw this post with my picture on it. What a pleasant surprise! Thank you Kate. And I hope you take the time to visit her blog. I plan to write a bit more about it next week.

I want my first Say it Forward post to highlight and thank my new friend, Lori of Lori's Reflections. Lori was one of the first bloggers I made friends with online. I know for some ...the internet can be a scary place to make friends. Of course, we need to always be careful but I've been blessed with some wonderful new friends in the blogosphere. And it's come at a time when I'm working at home so I'm not free to be out and about doing lunch and shopping with my friends.

Lori and I met when Darren Rowse, who is a full time blogger from Australia, had a social fest on ProBlogger. He encouraged bloggers to add a comment and to list their blog names, twitter and Facebook profiles. Bloggers had the opportunity to find people to connect with who might have common interests. The day I participated I ended up with more friends than I ever had in my entire life. However, only a few continued to keep coming back and one of those was Lori.

Lori is a wife and mother to three growing boys. Lots of testosterone in their home, I'm sure. She grew up in Arizona (too bad I didn't meet her then) but now lives in Florida. Hmm ...I even lived in Florida for a few years. You can read more about her here. She graduated from college with a degree in communications.

When I first started using Twitter, she would send me a message after reading something I posted. I remember the day Sarah Palin was invited to be Senator John McCain's running mate, Lori and I twittered back and forth. And when one of my dear friends was dying, Lori was immediately there for me with words of comfort.

Lori writes book reviews and even got to interview Rebecca St. James! She writes a weekly post called "Looking Back" and highlights things she's read and learned during the week. I've discovered many jewels by linking to the lessons she's learned or simply enjoyed reading. She's a devotional writer at Laced with Grace. And did I mention that Lori is a book reviewer at Christian Women Online?

So, on my first Say it Forward post I want to thank Lori. Despite her busy schedule, she always makes the time to add a comment to Heart Choices.

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