New Tools, New Challenges

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Friday, January 26, 2018

Hello, Mighty SparkWorld!

I've missed you. I love checking the feed throughout the day and seeing what everyone is up to. Thought I'd finally sit down and do a little catching up. Side note: Go Awesome A Team! You're doing amazing in the 5% Challenge.

I wanted to tell you about a couple of new tools that I'm using on my Spark journey. The first one is really fun. Well, let me back up a bit. Remember me telling you that my Creative Arts Team gifted me a subscription to all the shows in the current Broadway tours series? That's been a lifelong dream for this theatre geek. I've already been to two of the shows and it's been like Christmas morning both times.

My first show with my BFF, Shelley. It was also her first time seeing a Broadway production, so that was extra fun. And then after the show, we met the dogs and their dog handler in the parking garage. We even got to pet and play with the dogs. Honestly, it was more exciting than meeting the human actors. lol

Second show with my friend, Edie. And no, we didn't eat a single slice of pie all night! (Although when she came to my door to pick me up, Edie brought a homemade pie. I may have had a slice the next day...)

Anyway, I mention that just to show you how amazing these people are. Not everyone gets to work with their best friends; I'm eternally grateful. Then, in Oct. these people surprised the heck outta me for Pastor's Appreciation Month by giving me an Apple Watch. They knew I've been drooling over one for a while, but had no expectations of actually getting one. It was just fun to think about. They filmed me opening it and my complete surprise and delight were pretty funny to see. Probably the same reaction my 9 yr old self had, opening my Charlie McCarthy ventriloquist doll on Christmas morning. Some things never change.

Part of the reason I wanted the watch was for all the health monitoring options. It measures heart rate, reminds me to take time to do deep breathing, reminds me to stand up on the hour, tracks my workouts, counts steps, tallies mileage, and encourages me to keep moving. Now, it's all about closing these rings.


The fun part is that several of my friends have watches and we've shared our activity with each other. I get notifications during the day when they complete workouts, close rings and earn achievements. I can quickly tap an encouraging reply and we cheer each other on. Sundays, I'm at church from 7:15am-2 or 3pm. I have an open hour, in between morning services, and several of us have taken to walking a mile or so during that time. Closing our rings together. It's so much more fun that way.

Of course, I still walk with this guy, weather-permitting. I'm also currently trying to learn some choreography to a number from "Grease," just because it's fun. And hula hooping--always hooping.

Activity's never really been the problem. Food has always been my biggest trip-up. Remember Shelley was trying to help me with that, by doing some meal planning? Bless her heart, she really tried. I just didn't realize it was gonna involve heavy-duty carb cycling. I found out I don't do too well with that. It's a great fit for her, but I really struggled with it. So I'm back to doing my own thing.

Couple of things are helping with meal planning. One is that we have Kroger clicklist available at our grocery store now. It allows you to log onto an app, select all your groceries and schedule a time to go pick them up. They bring it right out to your car. We're still getting the hang of it; we've only used it a couple of times. It's better if Randy can sit down with me and make the list, because I tend to forget things. The offspring in the house also have access to the app, so they can add their own stuff too. I want to get into a routine where we plan a menu, make the list and schedule pickup the same days every week. I think that would help cut down on a lot of panicked, last-minute fast food runs or nights when we're all standing around looking at each other and wondering what's for dinner. We're working on it.

Another helper is the Pressure Cooker Randy got me for Christmas. He was so excited about this thing. The cooker he ordered was on back order, so he had cookbooks start arriving the week of Christmas. When the cooker actually got here, we all stood around and admired its shiny loveliness. We'd all been looking at recipes and were ready to start cooking. When we put it all together, we discovered it was missing the pressure release valve. I have no desire to blow up the house, so Randy spent several days and hours, wading through tiers of customer service. When we finally got the replacement part two weeks later, it was missing a piece. The replacement part was missing a part... I would love to re-enact all of Randy's mayhem with customer service. After a month of wrestling with this thing, he finally sent it back and ordered another one from a completely different place. He was so frustrated, he ordered the biggest one he could find. I think it eased his pain. Now I have a 14 quart pressure cooker that's roughly the size of a hot tub. But it's amazing! Anything that speeds up my time in the kitchen and still delivers a healthy dinner that doesn't take Julia Child skill level, is a helpful tool in my book.

Randy also decided that he wanted to try one of those air fryers. I think perhaps he's been watching a lot of infomercials when unsupervised. He thought it sounded like a great idea, so when he saw a Groupon offer for one, he jumped on it. I put the whole thing together last night. It looked like a cross between a robot and the incubators Audrey's kindergarten class used to hatch baby chicks. But hey, I'm game. Randy sat and sliced sweet potatoes while I cooked a pork loin in the Mammoth Pressure Cooker. We seasoned the potato slices with a little salt and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg. We placed everything in the air fryer, plugged it in and started it up. The Offspring wandered in to watch. We stood around, watching it light up and waiting for something to happen. Nothing happened. The fries just sat there. If this had been kindergarten, none of the eggs would've hatched. Turns out, the fan was broken and we got a defective machine. It pains me to even reflect on Randy's look of disappointment, especially after slicing all those sweet potatoes. From the bottom of my Southern toes, I say, "Bless his heart." He had his daily, routine call to customer service and we're supposed to get a replacement, as soon as he ships this thing back. I'll let you know what happens.

So there are three positive things that we hope to use to make better food choices. Now here's one we didn't quite plan. This week, Randy was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. He's still trying to process that. He's had training with the finger prick stuff, he's taking medication and we're learning new vocabulary. I told him I'm probably only a step or two behind him, so we're doing this together. (He offered to prick my finger yesterday, but I politely declined.) We know it's not the end of the world. We actually see this as an opportunity to make better choices together. We have to, so we will. Randy arranged a super romantic Valentine's date for us with his nutritionist, and we're going to an in-depth class to get up to speed. We'll tackle it like we do anything else, together and with a large dose of humor.

2018 is already turning into a big year for my family. We're figuring out the new order of things with Randy's diagnosis. Audrey's getting ready to graduate and we're helping her make plans for her next big step. (She's looking at moving to Florida and attending a Film/TV Makeup school. We are SO excited!) Shelley and I are publishing our book. Remember the book that we started in 2016? Well, it's taken on new life, new format, new everything and this is the year we make that happen. I can't wait to show y'all. So many changes, some challenging, some exciting--all of them with potential to make a positive difference. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I want to lose 20 pounds. 18 to go!

I'll leave you with the latest pic of my Friendship Rock Garden. I absolutely love looking at and praying over these rocks every day. They look just like the people who painted them!!

Spark ON, Brave Sparkers!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    Nothing like a little health challenge for new motivation. I pray that you and Randy are able to accomplish this together. I'm sure the humor in your relationship will get you through any trial!

    What an ordeal with your appliances! I hope you get better with the pressure cooker. I'm curious about the air fryer. If you get another one, I'll be curious to learn more about it from your experience.

    1017 days ago
  • PKBOO3
    Still doing CreativeSprint?
    1021 days ago
    Thank you for sharing and catching us up on what's been happening with you. I'm sure the theater shows have been great - we've been going to more of them lately and no matter what it is, it is always entertaining and the actors do such an awesome job. Can't believe your husband's bad luck with the appliances - I think my husband would have tossed the whole thing :)

    Good luck to your daughter as she graduates - and to you and your husband as you tackle his diagnosis. I'm sure as you work together, it will work out for both of you. A visit to the nutritionist is a great place to start - they should be able to give you some great ideas.

    1025 days ago
    You have one sweet husband. Mine had Diabetic 2 years ago and beat it with eating the proper foods. I'm sure Randy can do it too. Good luck to you both.
    1027 days ago
    14 QUARTS?!?! HAHAHAH. I was having a hard time deciding between 6 and 8 quarts. The pictures on the web make them look so small! I was shocked how big my 8 quarts turned out to be. But of course, I should've been able to visualize it better, I know what a quart mason jar looks like. Alas, spatial awareness has never been my forte.
    1028 days ago
    While I love your positive, upbeat response and approach to better health, I'm so sorry to hear about Randy's diagnosis. What a frustrating ordeal with all of those faulty appliances. Did he happen to order them from LOL
    1028 days ago
    GREAT blog!! So good to see a blog from you!!

    Yay, for new kitchen appliances. Boo, for all of the mishaps you've had to endure with them. Glad you got the pressure cooker resolved. I'm sure you'll get the air fryer taken care of too!

    I was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes last March when I was going through all of my pre- op testing before my neck surgery. I had a bad reaction to Metformin, changed primary care doctors, who referred me to a fantastic endocrinologist with an excellent diabetes counselor. My fasting blood sugar went from 405 to 100 with the help of an insulin delivery device called a V-Go, exercise, and most important, a change to a low carb diet. Can't emphasize that enough. For Type 2 diabetics, low carb, higher protein, and slightly higher fat is the way to go. Take a look at my past blogs about 'my averages' and you'll see. It's VERY doable!!

    Look for hidden sugars and carbs in foods too!
    You guys can do this!!
    1028 days ago
    Wow, so much on the plate for all of you, sticking together is the best way to tackle things. Hoping the new fryer will works and make Randy happy! Good luck with everything dear.
    1029 days ago
    every time i see googly eyes I think of you
    1029 days ago
    Everything sounds wonderful!!
    1029 days ago
    Wow!! What a great blog! Always good to read your uplifting blogs. Praying for Randy and your family.


    1029 days ago
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    The stones are great!
    1030 days ago
  • _CYNDY55_
    emoticon emoticon emoticon BLOG emoticon
    1030 days ago
  • _JODI404
    Oh wow. That was a very good catch up blog! I had no idea how out of touch I have become! Last I knew Audrey was looking at pharmacy. I know she always had a passion for making bloody make up etc -- so I know that will be a fantastic direction for her.

    Your new kitchen tools will be great. The air fryer definitely interests me, but I don't like how big they are! Please let me know how you like it and if you use it a ton.

    I do agree that Randy's diagnosis will be an opportunity for you both that will help lead you on your healthy lifestyle journeys. Limiting sugar is one of the best things I've done for my health. I haven't got it to zero, but I do have it WAY down and like to keep it that way most days.

    I can't wait to hear more about the book! I know it will be amazing!! I'm very excited for you both!

    The rock garden looks great! Whenever I pass rocks on walks I think of your garden. I need to pick up a rock one of these days for you! :)

    I'm cheering you on and here for you in any way if I can help! (I don't do any carb cycling!!) ;)
    I hope the nutritionist will be very helpful for you!

    1030 days ago
  • WALNUTT1961
    You've been very busy! My mom (83 yrs. old) was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes. She is doing well, but I had to learn so many things about it and then try to make her understand it all. I know with your help, your hubby will do okay with it too!
    Keep us posted on your journey (which helps to motivate us)!


    1031 days ago
    Shelli oh my you did not have right on your side ... my son got his wife a pressure cooker for Christmas ... lol all good and we got our air fryer a bit a go ----love it.... you will love yours too.

    Awesome about the watch... and I so love the idea app from the grocery store... hoping we will get that here soon...

    live love laugh
    1031 days ago
  • LINDAK25
    You sound like you’ve been having a blast, but poor Randy! It’s always good to hear from you. Here’s to a new year of better choices.

    Love the painted rocks. Amazing that Audrey is going to graduate, isn’t it? Florida seems so far away!
    1031 days ago
    Good to have a catch up. Been Diabetic is something you will both adjust to and take in your stride. Health choices will empower you both. I have an apple watch but can not wear it the 3 days I am at work (been a nurse we have to have fob watches ) I like trying to close the rings. I got my first pressure cooker when I got married nearly 40 years ago and use it regularly. looking forward to more of your blogs when you get time to share
    1031 days ago
    So good to catch up with you again through your blog. Wishing you and Randy both well as you learn and adapt - you'll all be much healthier especially with all the new toys and recipes! Last but not least what a special gift you received from very special friends - both make you very fortunate!
    1031 days ago
  • PICKIE98
    I avoid mail-order like I do the dentist. I will travel miles out of my way to go to a physical store to purchase something. My coffee maker died the day Kmart closed, so I was forced to get one online from Sears.
    Except for my Puritan's pride supplements, I order nothing online. It has the effect the same as walmart: killing local businesses and job loss.

    I have seen the air fryers and was wondering how they work. Online reviews are varied, plus I never buy anything until others have tried/failed with them and the price goes down to less than half the original price.
    I hope you let us know how the air fryer works when you get one that actually DOES work.

    Cool deal on that watch!
    I love your stones.

    1031 days ago
    I guess I’d have to quit ordering these things and go to a real brick and mortar store. Randy must have the patience of a saint. Good luck on Randy’s diabetic diagnosis. There is so much to learn. It’s a very complex disease which eventually affects every organ in your body if not well controlled, but it can be done. emoticon emoticon

    1031 days ago
    Oh wow! Your issues with "things ordered" sounds like something out of the mayhem series! We got our daughter an Instant Pot for Christmas (not NEARLY as big as yours! my goodness!) and she loves it. Thankfully, she didn't have issues with hers! Best wishes with learning how to cook for a diabetic, I know it can be challenging! I'd love to meet with a nutritionist! It would be sooo helpful!
    1031 days ago
    way to go keep busy
    1031 days ago
    Do you rent out your energy? Man! emoticon
    1031 days ago
    I painted a rock not too long ago at an American Cancer Society event for kids. My son, the cancer kid, absolutely refused to paint one, so I did it for him. And I surprised myself because I thought it turned out so well. I really was proud of it. So what happened? We had a big purge/housecleaning, and someone must have thrown away my rock. :-( I am still so sad. Seeing your Friendship Rock Garden reminded me.

    I'm sorry for the diabetes diagnosis, but I'm sure you two will handle it with grace and panache. I hope and pray 2018 will be a magnificent year for you all. :-)
    1031 days ago
    emoticon Awesome A's!!
    So happy for the great wonderful experiences in theater Broadway style!
    Pie would be my immediate downfall, especially homemade.
    Glad for the well deserved Apple watch given to the Best Creativity Pastor of their church emoticon And sharing the fun of being in sync with them. Such amazing friends, priceless.
    Food is my problem too, not physical activity.
    emoticon 'Er, what's for dinner?' emoticon
    You had me emoticon with the pressure cooker story and the air dryer! How can they both came defective? I feel for Randy.
    Oh, Shelli, I've been on the floor laughing myself out with your blog. I'm so glad you both are positive and with your humor side in care of handling type 2 diabetes in the best possible way.
    Audrey's plans are emoticon Best wishes! As for your book, can't wait to read it!
    Love your rock garden.

    1031 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/27/2018 10:38:31 AM
  • MARUKI52
    Wonderful to be reading your blogs again which I have truly missed. I'm sorry to hear of Randy's diagnosis but no doubt you will sort it all out between you and you will both be much healthier following Randy's nutritional advice. Hope to hear from you soon.....when you can tear yourself away from your new kitchen toys. emoticon
    1031 days ago
    Wow never a dull moment in your household! The pressure cooker is a wonderful addition, I almost feel like a cook(and that's saying a lot). Enjoy your new toys, I mean tools emoticon
    1031 days ago
    So glad to read your voice again! The rock garden is awesome! I think the challenge of type II diabetes will be the trigger that gets you & Randy on the lifestyle path that you will do best on. I had to laugh about the pressure cooker. I grew up with one of those in the house, but we weren't very creative with it. It was simple, and yes, you could blow up the house if you weren't careful. So we were careful. Except for the time my dad decided to cool it down in a hurry and the emergency plug got sucked down into the food. Not the greatest seasoning....
    Sounds like life is very exciting now with lots of interests and changes to be enjoyed & embraced, which I know you will.
    Cha Cha on!
    1031 days ago
    Lovely being able to watch the shows thanks for the update
    1031 days ago
    Enjoyed reading your update...Gosh, you've been busy. Wishing you many delicious meals with your new kitchen toys once you get them operating. Sounds like a great time saver and I love how your whole family got involved in the process. Sorry to hear about Randy's diagnosis but, I'm sure you'll work through it together and both benefit from the changes.You are a great team! Enjoy the shows and the Apple Watch...awesome gifts from awesome friends. emoticon
    1031 days ago
    Well I've been missing your blogs and was happy that you caught us up on what you have been doing and you have been busy .... you have wonderful friends & I know you deserved those great gifts!!

    Wishing you well and please keep those blogs coming!

    1031 days ago
  • EILEEN828
    Busy, busy, busy! Sorry, but I did chuckle a little over appliances snafus. emoticon Lucky you to get to see all the shows, sounds fun. I'm sad to hear about Randy's diagnosis. Look into really improving your diet, it's key to keeping medication low and possibly even getting off meds. Take whatever classes they offer it will really educate you for what it takes. The bonus is that Randy's diet will definitely help you as well.

    Don't worry too much about what you might be losing, as it turns out diet changes aren't that impossible, and they really will make you feel better and you will probably lose weight as well. Remember persistent progress is what it takes.

    When I was learning to deal with food allergies it really helped to do changes in baby steps. Look at what you already do now, then add one or two of the most important changes to make and focus on that. Add new changes when you're comfortable with the previous ones.

    It's also helped me to track my food changes on a calendar. Both what TO do and what to NOT do, they BOTH count and when you don't do well with one you will find you did well with others. When you track each day you stay motivated when you realize you are doing more than you thought. You can check out my blog to see how I did mine. It's a lot of information at once but their food suggestions really work.

    Good luck and best wishes for Audrey. You go girl!
    1031 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/27/2018 4:04:08 AM
    You have been busy. Congratulations to Audrey and good luck with her studies.
    I am thinking of getting myself an air fryer.
    Congratulations on your Apple watch. Lovely to be appreciated.
    I am glad you got a good pressure cooker. Had to smile at the process.
    1031 days ago
    Except for Randy’s news I laughed so hard I cried! So good to hear from you! You were missed! There is no better entertainment than broadway theater!
    1031 days ago
  • SUGAR0814
    You're still being awesome so all is well in Shellyland! Cool beans! emoticon
    1031 days ago
    So nothing has slowed down since before Christmas!!! You all are super busy and loving life! Take care of each other! emoticon
    1031 days ago
    Sounds like you have been extra busy. Enjoy your theater and your new watch. The watch sounds awesome. With all your new kitchen gadgets you'll have no excuses to not have great healthy meals. Sounds very nice. Sorry to hear your DH has diabetes. Mine does too and just started on Metformin. I'm hoping we can correct it with diet so he won't need to keep taking it. Have a great weekend.
    1031 days ago
  • EDWARDS1411
    Nice to hear from you and the catch-up!!
    1031 days ago
    Wow! What a crazy time you and your family have had! And all those calls to customer service.... Your husband is a saint for putting up with that. Sorry to hear about his diagnosis, but at least you guys are making the best of it and trying to make healthy changes.
    1031 days ago
    It will take me a while to catch up and process your blog. Since I have the empty nest and I've retired my life(compared to yours) is ...well really quiet. I did all that's happening to you and Randy and enjoyed every minute. Well maybe not every minute but it was crazy busy like your life. emoticon
    emoticon emoticon emoticon I love your blogs. Thank you for sharing Shelli.
    1031 days ago
    It was so good to get caught up on all the goings on. emoticon
    1031 days ago
  • KIPPER15
    Busy, busy. Hope the replacement air fryer comes soon. Looking forward to the update.
    1031 days ago
    In spite of issues here and there. You are really blessed! Surrounded with wonderful family and friends; hubby is outstanding too! Good to hear from you. I've missed you! Looking forward to the book and love the rock garden! Hugs.
    1031 days ago
    So good to hear from you! What an amazing life you have and a wonderful group of friends!

    emoticon emoticon
    1031 days ago
    You have been a busy, busy lady.
    Sorry to hear about Randy's diagnosis. That would be a lot to process.
    Too bad your new appliances were faulty. That had to be frustrating.

    Hope you will check in more often.

    1031 days ago
    Wow!!! that was a good one and we even got to see Bubba!! Does a heart good to see him smile!! I love when Bulldogs smile!!

    Pressure cookers and air fryers? What have you guys been up to?? Lots of challenges in your household.

    Enjoy the tickets and all the other fun.
    Good to see you back and Thanks for sharing!! emoticon
    1031 days ago
    It is so good to hear from you!!!!! And with everything in your blog, I can see why it has been a while.

    I'm delighted with your gifts and your little kid awe! I am happy that your daughter is ready to spread her wings, so to speak and head to Florida, to follow her dream. I will also choose to rejoice concerning Randy's diagnosis because this will make the FAMILY healthier in the long run and God can turn things around. I know this from experience. I was diagnosed stage 3 renal failure for three years and the fourth year God reversed it and that was that. God made me better than I was before and He's not a respecter of any persons. This battle belongs to the Lord and He ALWAYS comes out a WINNER!!!


    - Nancy Jean -
    1031 days ago
    Thanks for the update! I hope that your luck with kitchen appliances improves :-)

    1031 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    I am still smiling at your blog! Randy must have the patience of Job regarding customer service. I commend him. Seems like you didn't have very good luck with appliances this season. My son also got me a pressure cooker one of those Instapots. Well let me tell you it isn't Insta at all. I must admit though it cook meats faster, which I'm not sure now being retired is such a big deal for me. Where was this when I was working?

    As to Randy's diabetes, being Diabetic myself, here are some new words to add to the vocabulary. First off is: consistency, portion control, exercise, and carbohydrates. One thing that really got my Diabetes under control was cutting the carbs down significantly. I use a lot more vegetables in my dishes. This is a disease that makes you eat healthy. Also dropping 37 lbs this past year has helped too.

    As for your theater, I think that is so super! Like you said it would be Christmas morning for every show.

    Glad you took time to catch up as I have missed your blogs. Wishing you and your family all of the best that God has to offer. Take care.
    1031 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/26/2018 6:33:12 PM
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