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Easter Blessings

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Some seasons are beautiful for their meaning, others for the activities that usually take place, and still others for the symbols connected with it or for the time of year when it happens. Easter includes all of these! How beautiful is the Springtime-the time of new life & beauty! And how meaningful is Christ's resurrection-when He became alive again after dying for the sins of the world. New life, new hope, new beauty...it's all ours-and for free!

What an appropriate time to renew our goals & determination to eat healthy, lose weight and...whatever else you would like to see happen in your life! May this season give you new hope, motivation & energy...sparked by the strength & courage that not only the Lord can give but that also our family & friends (especially Spark!) can give.

Blessings on our journeys!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOLLESUE 1/16/2010 5:36PM


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REYNJANET 4/13/2009 11:52AM

    Hope you have a wonderful time of renewal! I agree, Easter season is my favorite time of the year! Been a while since we heard from you, missing your posting on our site.


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MUJU71 4/10/2009 11:39AM

    One of my favorite times of the year - for all of the reasons you mentioned. Blessings to you and your family!

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LUV-BEING-NANA 4/10/2009 11:29AM

    Thank you Rena....Easter blessings on you!
Sorry! Seems this posted three times and i cannot figure out how to delete the other two!!!!!

Comment edited on: 4/10/2009 11:30:44 AM

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PMCFARM 4/8/2009 10:16PM

  Such a thought provoking blog! Thank you.

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MOM2ACAT 4/8/2009 5:41PM

    Happy Easter!

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GOANNA2 4/8/2009 5:09PM

    Have a Happy Easter and I do love your page. emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 4/8/2009 9:34AM

    Blessings to you this Easter!
emoticon emoticon

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GIRLINBRAZIL 4/8/2009 7:25AM

    Great entry, Rena!


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BEACHDREAMS 4/8/2009 7:14AM

    THank you Rena!! I hope you are renewed as well.

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GERRYGAIL 4/8/2009 6:59AM

    Easter time is truly a beautiful time of the year. A time to count our blessings and there are so many and like you said they are free.

Happy Springtime to you !


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"Holiday Eating Tips" (ready to laugh?)

Friday, December 12, 2008

To my extremely healthy spark friends, I am passing on to you what a fellow-sparker sent to me yesterday. Laughing is healthy so, go ahead...Enjoy (that's enjoy, as in, reading, but not following, these tips)!


1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can
before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin.
Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner.

Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a great holiday season!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticonThis is just what I do when I'm stateside; greedily grabbing all the good food I can't get the rest of the year. I'm never there for Christmas but we can get eggnog year-round next door in Costa Rica.

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GOANNA2 12/31/2008 6:53PM

    Thank you and it is so true. I will pass it ontoo.
Have a happy New Year and it is already January! LOL

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REYNJANET 12/16/2008 5:48AM

    AMEN Girl! You've captured the true Christmas spirit! After all it's the time to look like Santa right, LOL.

Thanks for these good laughs!

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 12/15/2008 9:35AM

    Too funny! Thx for the laugh!

Hope your holidays are special and full of peaceful moments! Maybe one day we can sit with tea or coffee and really have a good long talk again! Seems like forever since we've done that!

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LADYWEZ 12/13/2008 10:22AM

    Very funny. I love it

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GIRLINBRAZIL 12/13/2008 8:42AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MUJU71 12/13/2008 12:54AM

    This was emoticon

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CAROLYN0107 12/12/2008 3:09PM

    Thanks Rena.. Very funny. I too will send this link to others!

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PIANO*LADY 12/12/2008 10:22AM

    Rena, you are a joy to our team and thank you for sharing this list. I was laughing at each one, but also thinking with some, "Okay, I've done that!" I love the one about waiting until January when there's nothing to do. Some think January is a depressing month, but I'll probably be active with team challenges by then.

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BEACHDREAMS 12/12/2008 9:37AM

    Rena--THANK YOU!! I love this--and I sent the link to your blog to about 10 people!! Most of them aren't Sparkers, so they won't be able to leave comments--but they will be encouraged, and get a good laugh!!

Thank you for sharing!

PS--And I actually DO plan to follow them, at the right times and places! Because it's true--this is a time of richness and sharing--of the best we have, make and are! ANd I want to enjoy every morsel!

Comment edited on: 12/12/2008 9:40:41 AM

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Helpful Website

Monday, December 01, 2008

For my own reference, and for those who might be interested, I'm posting here a helpful website to facilitate searches for foods that have a higher/lower content of certain nutrients & minerals:
This is the USDA site. Not that they're necessarily "gospel truth" but it's certainly a guideline.

P.S. (to my Brazilian friends) This photo was taken to prove that you CAN have an almošo WITHOUT "arroz & feijŃo". I'm still amazed at this, after 6 yrs here in the South! This is not at my house but in a Brazilian one.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARTHA-ANN 12/2/2008 6:38AM

    Thanks, I'm going to check it out. emoticon

Comment edited on: 12/2/2008 7:17:34 AM

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GIRLINBRAZIL 12/1/2008 11:50AM

    I'm going to check out your suggestion!

A Brazilian meal with no beans and rice! Wow! That would be neat to see and eat!

Love you!

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BEACHDREAMS 12/1/2008 8:10AM

    Thanks for the site--and thanks, too, for the glimpse into another culture!! Maybe this economy will get back on track, and we can get back to planning a visit!! ;)

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    emoticonGreat site! I enjoy all the info we can find nowadays for living healthier. It has all helped ME as I try to make healthier choices.

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The best is still yet to come...

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I titled my spark page with that and I'm still waiting around for it to happen! Kidding aside, I'm serious about that. But I realize, too, that it isn't going to happen all by itself, I'm going to have to put in more effort than I have been in recent months. Unlike a piece of a plant I had that was growing & blooming all on its own...no mother plant, no earth and sometimes no water ...the thing was still growing against all odds when I finally gave it away to someone. I want to be like that in one sense: against all odds, growing & blooming! On the other hand, I don't want to move away from my sources of life, nutrition, strength & growth. Those sources are many and it doesn't take long for you to imagine what they are, since they are the same as, or similar to, your own.

When I saw my weight creeping back up to almost my original starting point, I made the conscious decision to get back to business: eating smaller portions, less carbs (ouch!), more exercise and, especially, cardio. Cardio isn't anything fancy for me, no machines, Tae-bo, or what have you. It's walking fast or running, simple as that. And some of that is uphill so, right now, 30 seconds to 1 minute is about all I can comfortably handle if I'm running! I plan to keep doing that until I can endure longer periods of time, interspersed with just normal walking. I've read more than once that it's more effective that way.

OK, I've bared my heart-now I'm off to the race, the weightloss one. But I'm not competing with anyone except myself...my will, desire and self-control being my main competitors!

P.S. I had a photo of that "piece of plant" but can't find it. This photo is of the mother plant from which it fell. That piece, though, was actually producing flowers! Amazing.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BEACHDREAMS 11/30/2008 9:07AM

    These are the basics, and I'm with you. It's easy to get distracted and not notice what we're really doing--good work, and we will support and encourage you. As your blog also supports and encourages me!!

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SLAYINGDRAGONS 11/28/2008 5:27PM

    Baring the heart is good-for-the-soul! Great blog and emoticon
I have gained focus over-and-over-and-over! And I really do believe that's what it takes - remember, focus, refocus, determine, persist, and WIN!!! I love your positive attitude and I'm grateful that YOU rub me the right way!

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MUJU71 11/28/2008 12:39AM

    Thanks for blogging, Rena. Way to go starting with small goals for the running. Slow and steady wins the race!

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GIRLINBRAZIL 11/26/2008 10:31AM

    Great entry, Rena! Love the flower illustration. Keep taking your short bursts of running and keep walking. Look how far you've come!

Love you and Happy Thanksgiving!

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SENKYOUSHI 11/26/2008 5:45AM

    This is so encouraging! Thank you! I'm struggling. I didn't meet my yearly goals and I want this next year to be the year! I keep hoping it will happen without much effort on my part. Thanks for your transparency. It is so helpful to me!

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CAROLYN0107 11/26/2008 1:38AM

    Good thoughts on your blog. Thanks. It's a good time to get started again.... in time to avoid Holiday damage.
Go Rena!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Low-cal whole grains...?

Sunday, October 19, 2008

I've been doing some extra thinking about whole grains. I love them and try to be creative in what & how I eat them, but I'm finding it a bit difficult to keep them down to a low roar. LOL! Know what I mean? If they're so good for me(and I believe they are), how can I eat the amount of daily servings that I'm supposed to and not rack up the calories like crazy?!

First of all, I'm not sure about how many servings I'm supposed to have since I've heard of anywhere from 3 to at least 7 p/day. Three doesn't seem to be enough (not for me, the bread lover!) and 7 makes me easily imagine that I'm blowing up like a balloon. I need an official word about this. Anyone?

Secondly, there are extremely few whole grains that you can just eat by themselves(this, as opposed to fruits & veggies, for example, that you can happily eat w/o any, or extremely few, additions). I mean, it really doesn't appeal to me to choke down hard or dry grains, or cooked ones that are saltless, sugarless, fatless or white flourless. Does this make sense to you and do you see what I'm getting at?

OK, so there's brown rice, cooked & w/ a bit of salt, that's edible w/o adding too many extras-although a bit on the bland side. But when you think of all, or at least most, of the other options, you find yourself also having servings of: sugar, fat, white flour, and other undesirables. Take, for example, a slice of so-called whole wheat bread. You can't make a decent loaf of bread w/o also adding some white flour and a bit of sugar, shortening, etc. Remember, I said "decent". Even a just-right bowl of Goldilocks porridge has to have a bit of sweetener & milk. How many extra calories is that, I ask you? Not too many, you may say, if you add artificial sweetener(yuck!) and no-fat milk(yuck again!).

I'm not saying what the solution is here, I'd like to know myself! So I'm open to any suggestions that anyone has. How do you eat YOUR whole grains w/o also adding on the calories from other ingredients that have to go into them??

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SLAYINGDRAGONS 10/23/2008 11:39PM

    I checked on www.mypyramid.gov and found that a woman my age and stature should be eating no more than 7 oz. of grains a day, half of them whole grains.

1 oz. whole grain = 1 slice of whole grain bread, 5 triscuits, or 1 piece of cornbread that is 2 1/2" x 2 1/2"

I think that if I could control my intake better, I'd be able to stay in calorie range. For me, it means that I have a measured or weighed 2 oz. portion at each meal, plus a 1 oz portion for my snack. I haven't been doing so well with it lately - overdoing on the snacks!

I have found that I can get by without butter by using jam and being careful to only use 1-2 Tb. Measuring brown sugar in my oatmeal works and helps to hold down calories. I have grown accustomed to not using butter on so many things. I even catch myself now preferring my sandwiches with no mayonnaise - I don't miss it when I have lots of lettuce or sprouts.

It's so true that more fiber means more tummy rumbles. I hate that!!! I have discovered that by varying the grains, it helps me. Rye tends to give me less gas than whole wheat. I love the mixed grains, too. At home, I often make my bread by mixing grains. I always make my cornbread with extra fiber and whole wheat, adding just a little white flour for texture. DH doesn't like my cornbread, but I have learned to love it so much that the normal recipe tastes funny to me and kinda goes mush in my mouth - like it has no body to it at all! I only make my biscuits with whole grains, too. My whole wheat recipe is to add 1/3 c wheat bran, 1/3 c wheat germ to 2/3 c white flour. I even make cakes, pancakes, and waffles this way.

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    You might want to consider choosing foods with a low glycemic index (less than 60). This spark page doesn't load up too well on my computer & I can't seem to add a link, so go to the October Chat Room for Surviving Cancer & I'll post a link to my endocrinologist's webpage of the significance of glycemic index & a list of foods. He tells me that if you choose lower glycemic index foods you'll lose weight more quickly...

Comment edited on: 10/22/2008 1:18:29 AM

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GIRLINBRAZIL 10/19/2008 11:14PM

    Hey there! I mix up grains in my breads and add wheat germ to everything from pancakes to biscuits to pizza dough.


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BEACHDREAMS 10/19/2008 9:59PM

    I love them too, and they are a calorie issue. We have so much more support, I htink, with health food stores. For instance--today I had Ezekiel 4:9 bread, which is whole grain, very hearty and only 85 calories a slice, and also Kashi '7-Grain Pilaf', which has 7 different whole grains and sesame seeds. Yummy, great with the stir-fry chicken and veggies. But I doubt you could get either one of those!

Do you bake bread???

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