Heart Choices: 6 Things I Learned in 2018 -->

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6 Things I Learned in 2018

As 2018 is coming to a close, I want to pause and reflect on some of the things I learned. I think it's important to learn lessons. After all, I want to move forward and not repeat the mistakes I've made along the way.

"Those who fail to learn from history are condemned to repeat it." 
Winston Churchill

1. You can lose weight, but you need a plan to keep it off for the long term. 

I started off 2017 with the goal of losing weight. For most of my adult life, I weighed 120 pounds. But over time, with the stress and seasons of life, I'd added almost 25 extra pounds. And I felt it. My clothes were tight and didn't look good on me. It took me longer to get ready in the morning since I had to try on numerous outfits before finding one that looked decent. And I was tired of this!

So, I gave in and signed up at Red Mountain Weight Loss. It was one of the ketosis diets.  In years past, I would never have considered it, but I was determined. I kept it up diligently for two months and lost the 25 pounds. Because of the low-calorie diet, I was told not to exercise. And I discovered I had extra time in the morning because I didn't have to go on my treadmill.

Then maintenance began. I slowly added some fats back into my diet and was told I could begin exercising again. But I'd come to enjoy the extra time in the morning, so I didn't get back into the habit of exercise first thing in the morning. And that was a mistake!

I gained back about 10 pounds by November, and I wasn't happy. So, now I'm back to a regular routine of hopping on my treadmill first thing in the morning before I can think about it. I stopped eating the goodies so available during the holiday season and returned to my healthy way of eating. Snacks are now apples and oranges, instead of Hershey's Kisses. I'm down 4 pounds and have 6 more to go. I can do it! Yes, I can!

2. Audiobooks are a lifesaver.

I love to read but don't have lots of time. So, I joined Audible through Amazon and downloaded books on my Kindle Fire. I have earplugs so I listen without disturbing anyone else. It makes my time on the treadmill go by so fast! I've heard of other people who listen while they clean or do laundry. I guess whatever works for you.

3. Working as a preschool teacher is both challenging and rewarding.

I love my preschool students. Are there challenges? Yes, of course. But I see these little faces, and I can't help but smile. They are little sponges soaking up what they learn. I have to be careful what I say because they repeat everything. It's so rewarding when I can almost see the lightbulb go off in their head and they get it. One mom told me that they play school at home. Her daughter is Ms. Debbie, and she is the student. It's so funny to hear these stories. It reminds me of when I was a little girl playing school with my dolls and little sister in the middle of them.

4. Getting old is challenging.

In my head, I still feel young. But then I look in the mirror, and the reality hits me. I'm getting old, and I work with young teachers every day. I could easily be their mother. But I have to say that I love it. I enjoy talking with them and sharing insights. And I learn much from them too. It's certainly a different generation from when I was growing up in the '50s and '60s. But I think it's good for me to continue to grow, learn, and be stimulated.

I am thankful that my health is good. So many friends my age are beginning to have health issues. I am on my knees and up and down throughout my day as a preschool teacher. I had a recent injury to my knee that got better with a few physical therapy sessions. I have a few aches and pains by the time I go to bed at night but Tylenol or Motrin seems to help. I try to stay awake but end up falling asleep early and then it starts all over the next day. And so it goes!

5. Writing takes a commitment of time and energy.

I've written two books but haven't yet self-published either of them. Am I afraid nobody will read them and like them? I guess I have to admit yes. But more than that is the time it takes to self-publish and promote a book. I will complete this soon but in the meantime, I have a fulltime job and I'm helping my husband in his latest venture. So, hopefully, it will all come together in a good way.

My latest book is called "Kids Say the Funniest Things in Preschool". I accumulated many of the funny things students say and added a section on tips for parents. It's a gentle reminder to put down your phone and pay attention.

6. My family is most important to me.

My dad will be turning 90 in February. When he was 60 years old, he suffered a sudden massive heart attack. He was on life support as I flew cross-country to be there with my family. At the time, we didn't know if he would live or die. But God gave him many extra years and we're grateful for that. He's had a few recent hospitalizations and his health is on the decline. He is so thankful to be living in his own place with help from family and friends. My brother and sister live close by in Florida but I live in Arizona. So, it's difficult to visit as often as I'd like. I talk with him at least twice a day though. I just don't want to have any regrets. After all, we never really know when we will breathe our last breath. I've learned that it's important to not leave things unsaid. My dad knows he is loved.

How about you?

If you look back at 2018, are there lessons you learned? I hope you will take the time to ponder and maybe write them down. I encourage you to leave a comment about one thing you learned in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Blessings and love,

Debbie Petras
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  1. Happy New Year, dear Debbie. Weight, or sooner over weight has been a challenge to me and my husband too. It's the evil circle; over weight makes it hard to move, which lead to other health issues. We've tried out several theories, and finally landed upon our own, which after three month has made Gunnar loose ten kilos and me 5,5 kilos. The main thing has been removing wheat from our food plan. Gunnar is making his special tasty sallad from ecologic eggs, cheese, tomatoes, cucumber, cauliflower, onion as a base. A huge bowl will last for abot 2 days. Gunna adds soaked oats, I like some boiled barley. For dinner food from the bottom. No wheat gravy. No cookies even for Christmas. Lamb, fish, pork, but made from clean ingredients. It's working fine. Fruits and vegetables , lots of it. We do not count caliries and we are full and pleased every meal.

  2. Dearest Felisol! Tusen tak for stopping by and leaving your comment. Weight issues are something we all struggle with as we get older. It takes more effort and thought as to what to eat. I applaud you and Gunnar for taking the time to make healthier choices. I have to admit that one thing I did indulge in during the holidays is to eat lots of Norwegian waffles. But it was worth it! But I packed away my heart shaped waffle iron for next year. I wish you and your family a healthy new year filled with good choices and of course, much love!

  3. Happy New Year sister Debbie! Congratulations on finishing your books. I pray you will find the perfect time to have them out there because when He wants you to, then you have nothing to worry about. I don't think there's any perfect diet. It is indeed hard as we get older. There are lots to consider like the amount of activities, caloric intake...etc... Having time off now from corrections, I'm grateful to have that extra time to prepare meals for my family and lessen the amount of going out which is not healthy anyway. We still go out but chooses carefully to what's on the menu. It helps to know the amount of sodium, sat fat... But I tried the DASH diet, hesitant at first that with increased amount of fruits, it might increase the blood sugar. But now I do believe that everything just goes back to eating something with fiber and just portion control. All of our labs came back normal and we lost weight. We still eat sweets but only a small amount and I try to remind myself and family, only once a day if desired. I try to add fiber by adding dried fruits or nuts in baked stuff. So, I hope you find what works for you. As for your dad, I pray comfort and strength and I can say that I understand your situation and heart's desires because I had the same thing when my dad was sick and my brothers and I were thousands of miles away. I thank God for the people He sent who truly loved and cared for my dad as their own. It wasn't easy to just go home whenever I wanted to. So, I always called him on days that I was away. I'm glad you have siblings nearby and friends who cared. That truly helps not only for your dad but for your peace of mind. So, may the Lord bless you and guide you and give you His discernment. May you have a wonderful new year no matter what obstacles come your way. Blessings sister.

  4. Oh, sweet friend! Thank you for your kind words of encouragement. I've missed our blogging group. Even though we aren't working in the nursing field right now, we'll always be nurses. Thanks for sharing. Love you and God bless you.

  5. Your words have encouraged me this morning, Debbie, because as I have gotten older, I see some things are getting harder to do, especially due to the health problems I have had, but also now because of age. I, too, weighed around 115-120 mosy of my adult life, but have added more pounds each year, and I do not feel like myself. A friend of mine has a weightloss/fitness business and I am going to start going there, now that my insurance covers the Silver Sneakers plan. I also ned to cut out sugar, an addiction from my youth. I am glad you mentioned your books, as I have been wondering if you published yet! I am looking forward to reading them. I love the idea of the preschool kids' sayings! My coworkers and I were always saying we should write a book about what our students said, but we never seem to have had the time and energy to do it! The things I think I learned the most in 2018 are to slow down and enjoy the moments, enjoy the time with grandkids because they are growing up fast, and to savor my time with my husband now that he is retired. God is good. May your 2019 be filled with blessings, Debbie!

  6. You, in turn, encouraged me Laurie! Getting older has its challenges. But I love that you are going to start the Silver Sneakers plan. I think part of the problem is we don't need as many calories when we age and in the meantime we tend to be more sedentary. So the result is weight gain. But I know you can do it!


I love to read your comments! I know you have something to share so join in the conversation. And thank you for taking the time.

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