Friday, November 30, 2007

WEIGHT WATCHER WEIGH IN: Another 3.6 Pounds Bite the Dust


After several weeks of being sick and Thanksgiving (which fell on my Weight Watcher Meeting day)...it felt GREAT yesterday to be back at Weight Watchers, weigh in officially, and attend the meeting. :)

I've lost another 3.6 pounds for a total of 24.6 pounds! I am making steady progress and I am pleased that the hard work (and I do mean hard work) is paying off!

At our meeting we developed a "Strategy for the Holidays!" Pre-planning makes a big difference as I go into a busy time with lots of social activities...most of which involve food!

My plan...lose five more pounds by Christmas eve, drink LOTS of water, up my exercise program, email my daily point totals to Amy so I am accountable on a daily basis, attend every weekly meeting, and remember to really enjoy my time and all the festivities!

I am not on a diet, I am doing a "lifestyle change!"

I feel GREAT physically, and even with the exhaustion of final exams and grading I am staying focused on my short term and long term goals!

Hope you are well too! God Bless and love and hugs to all who read this! Linda

Thursday, November 29, 2007

I LOVE MY LIFE...and the special people in it! :)

I love one liners...and my new favorite quote is:

" To have character is to be big enough to take life on!"
- Mary Caroline Richards

My life is so full, and I am incredibly grateful for all of it! I am TAKING LIFE ON...
but I'm not doing that alone!

This week I have had a deep and profound sense of gratitude for the gift of the special people in my life. I am blessed by their mere presence, a gift from God, and a daily blessing!

Here are just a few of my angels:

1)Yesterday I got an email from Jacob and I smiled and giggled about it for more than one hour!
He has put several posts on my blog and they warm my heart! :) His love for me runs so, so deep as does my love for him! He lights up my life!Thank you Jacob! You are such a blessing in my life!

2) Yesterday I also got a phone call from Emma. She is "SO ESCITED!!!" because she heard the Nutcracker music on the radio and knows that we will be going to the Nutcracker ballet together! The lilt and enthusiasm in her voice made my day! Her enthusiasm about everything rocks my world! Thank you Emma for being such a blessing in my life!

3)Bert is always so kind and attentive, even more so during this finals time!. Tomorrow he is coming to share his wisdom in my classes! After 25 years, I still adore that man! Thank you Boppa for being such a blessing in my life!

4) Amy and I talked yesterday and today will weigh in together at Weight Watchers! Her support and encouragement have helped to fuel my journey of getting healthy! I appreciate her wisdom about life, her open heart, her gifts as a Mom, and her unconditional love for me! She includes me in her life and teaches me constantly about what it means to be a "Yes Woman For The Lord!" Her faith inspires me! Thank you Aim for being such a blessing in my life!

5) Jessi and I talked yesterday and are meeting for coffee on Friday afternoon. Her support, cards, and information about being healthy have helped me in my journey to take charge of my health and wellness! Our phone conversation yesterday centered on the personal growth we are both experiencing and the "life lessons" that are at our door! Those talks warm my heart! I love knowing who you really are and sharing in your life! Thank you Jess Jess for being such a blessing in my life!

6) Kayla is so special and makes such an effort to post comments on my blog! Her love and support mean so, so much to me! I love it when Kayla and I share "Nana and KK Time!" Thanks Sis for all of your love, your desire to spend time with me means the world to me! Thanks too for caring enough to post your thoughts and feelings on my blog! Thank you for being such a special blessing in my life!

7) And I just can't leave out the cutest, most adorable baby girl on the planet...Jenna Marie Farrell! EVERYTHING Jenna does is SO adorable! She is a super stress reducer for her Nana, a gift from God and a reminder that He answers prayers. Her giggle and smile make me know that "All Is Well" in the world! I love her to the moon and back. This GG (God's Girl) is a HUGE blessing for me! Jenna- I love you and feel so grateful for the blessing you are in my life!

There are so many others who are a blessing....those of you who read this blog and comment on it make my day (special thanks to Amy, Jessi, Kayla, Jacob, Lorie, Kim, Tiffany...and others who have done that in the past). I always look forward to your support! You bless my life more than you could know!

So to family members, special friends, students, special colleagues, the gals at Starbucks who even gave me an early espresso so I could get to school early....you are ALL a blessings....
and I AM SO GRATEFUL!!

God bless! Hugs and loves to all who read this! Linda

Monday, November 26, 2007

THE PUSH IS ON...Nine Class Days Left To Go and Then Grading!


I have to chuckle to myself! I have been a teacher for forty years, thirty one of those at The Community Colleges of Spokane. You would think I would be conditioned to the flurry, hurry and push at the end of the quarter. Truth be told...I am always shocked at how long the hours are, how tired everyone is, and how rewarding it is to see students push through to the end.

There are nine total class days left....then finals...then grading finals... and submitting grades. I am in the "super-plan mode" for each day. And there may be a snow storm tomorrow. Yikes!

What I know for sure is that we will finish snow or no snow. We will do what has to be done. And then, in an instant, it will be over and all 93 students will, for the most part, be gone.

The entire process is a miracle full of challenges, love, care, hard work, talking, listening, complaining, doubting, believing. It is like orchestrating a symphony with the ultimate goal being each musician's ability to find their own instrument and play it beautifully...all by themselves.

I am blessed to be a teacher. I am called to be a teacher!

I would NEVER trade the hard work for any other job. I will miss each of my students, and I am SO proud of them!

God Bless! Love and Hugs! Linda

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

MY REAL LESSON ABOUT GRATITUDE AND THANKSGIVING!!


Our home is located near a church which has one of those message signs you can see from the road...not a fancy sign mind you, but the kind you put up word-by-word and letter-by-letter!
I glanced at that sign yesterday and saw it with new eyes!

Granted, I have been quite sick for the past week (and that is relative to what REALLY sick looks like), so perhaps I missed it as I drove by. Another possibility is that I read it and somehow just missed the enormity of the message. In any case, this time I stopped, read it, and re-read it as tears flowed down my cheeks.

The sign said this:
God, thank You for everything.

Sound simple? Just an average message? Not in my book.

While I consider myself to live a life of gratitude, there is no way I can even begin to calculate the enormity of the blessings I have...and I have those blessings every day. Am I truly grateful for them all, not even close. Do I thank God every day for the roof over my head, the food I have to eat, my wonderful husband and fabulous family, the 2 fabulous jobs I love, for all of the people who bless my life, for the smiles that come my way, for every student who graces my classroom?...or am I more caught up in the mundane "Here's What I Have To Do To Make It Happen Today!" mentality?

If I'm honest, there's no contest. I take for granted so many of life's blessings and forget to thank my Creator for making me and blessing my life.

And if I forget to thank Him for the multitude of blessings, I certainly miss out on thanking Him for the trials, disappointments, frustrations, and hard spots.

There is no way I can even begin to calculate the important gifts and life lessons I've received through the very difficult parts of my life. Each one is a gift, but I often forget to say thank you for those too.

I learned a HUGE life lesson this week about the REAL meaning of Thanksgiving and that lesson will stay with me for the rest of my life.

One of my very special students moved to Spokane to start a new life. He is someone who walks into my class and with a HUGE smile greets everyone. His smile lights up our room. He is someone who is honest, smart, authentic, and such a HARD WORKER. He even does all of his homework (yes, any one reading this who is a teacher will smile at that one) :) Every assignment is done with careful penmanship.

He LOVES school and feels so grateful to get to go. School, and having a new start in life, means everything to him. As he leaves class every day, he turns and says..."God Bless You!" to all of us.

My tears are falling as I write this...because this week I discovered, quite by chance, that he is homeless. He lives in his car, showers at our gym, and hadn't eaten since last Friday. That's right, LAST Friday! I found out all of this yesterday...Monday...and he hadn't eaten since last Friday.

I cannot bear that this lovely young man does not have a home. Needless to say, Bert and I went into high gear to set this straight, to get him help, to tell him he was MY student and I would NOT allow this to happen to him. Not on my watch!

But the point of this story is simple...while he was homeless, living out of his car, and not eating since Friday...he was grateful for EVERYTHING!

When I talked to him he said, "God's with me right there in that car so I am never alone!"
Tears streamed down his face as I got him breakfast. He kept saying. "You're so kind. There are others who need this more than I do."

Where oh where has MY gratitude REALLY been?

So as Thanksgiving approaches...this wonderful, young, African American man, who showers at the gym at SCC and lives in a car, is my angel. He has taught me in a way that nothing else can...God, thank you for EVERYTHING!

I am blessed beyond measure and he is one of my blessings! So are you!

Love and HUGS to all who read this! God Bless! Happy Thanksgiving!
Love Linda

Friday, November 16, 2007

Weight Watchers Works...Another Pound Bites the Dust!


When I first started Weight Watchers we were asked to send ourselves a post card. It would arrive before Thanksgiving. On it we were to put what our weight loss goal was by that holiday!

My postcard arrived yesterday and it said, "By Thanksgiving I want to lose at least ten pounds."

Well, Thanksgiving is almost here and another week has passed. I've lost another pound for a total of 22 pounds. I feel pleased that I am ahead of schedule. :)

I've been sick the latter part of this week, so not much appetite. I even had to take a sick leave day from school because I had a fever and absolutely NO voice...so food hasn't been a huge priority. But I have managed to stay on the program...sick or not.

I have a plan for Thanksgiving, in fact for the holiday season. I plan to stay focused, set reasonable goals, enjoy the food I eat, drink lots of water, and walk and exercise regularly.

My goal is to lose 5 more pounds by Christmas.

Love and hugs to all who read this! God Bless! Love Linda

Saturday, November 10, 2007

ANOTHER CAREER?...Want To Manage Stress? Do What Makes You Happy!


I used to marvel at my Mom's love of decorating! Growing up, as the holidays approached, I would see tasteful and artistic decorations slowly transform our home into a fairyland of delight! I remember putting on records like Perry Como or Bing Crosby in our living room, positioning myself under the Christmas tree, and getting lost in the myriad of colors, rhythms, smells, and textures!

The process of decorating for the holidays, be it Halloween, Easter, Thanksgiving or Christmas, was a pure delight for my Mom. She had a Masters Degree in Home Economics from the University of Washington and the holidays gave her a chance to put all of her talents to the test! The sights, smells, and sounds will always stay with me. Even now they make me smile! I can see her decorations in my mind and heart!

What I didn't understand then, but I get now, is that transforming our living environment from the mundane to the spectacular, was a gift to my Dad and a gift to me. It was also a gift to HER soul.

I have always said that if I had a third career besides teaching and consulting, both of which I currently do on a full time basis, it would be interior and exterior decorating. I absolutely LOVE doing this!! It feeds a part of my soul and heart that nothing else does! It makes me happy! It gives me an artistic and creative outlet!

When Bert and I drive past houses I am like an in-car "decorator at your disposal" sort of person. I always have a running dialogue about "If they just painted their front door it would make such a difference"....or "A splash of color would really transform their house." I inherited the decorating "gene" from my Mom. She used to say the same kind of things! :)

This last week, when things were really nuts and stress had reached a "beyond any normal proportion peak", I found great relief and stress management in starting to decorate the outside of our house for the upcoming holidays... not Christmas decorations per say, but "Winter Is On The Way" decorations. What? You didn't know that "Winter Is Coming!" is a season that merits decorating? :)

Bert works late three nights a week (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). On Wednesday night when he came home at 8:30 pm he found me hanging small white lights out in our garden. He gently said, "Honey, it's late. What are you doing?" I replied with a huge grin, "I'm creating a winter fairy garden!!"

Isn't everyone doing that at 8:30 pm in the dark?

And in putting up those lights, and re-doing the pots on my front porch, I was happy beyond measure! I sang my Christian songs and even threw in a few Christmas carols. You could hear me singing lines like "oh, oh tidings of comfort and joy...comfort and joy!"

And out in that garden, doing what made me happy, no matter the crazy hour, DID give me comfort and joy!

God Bless! Hugs and Loves to all who read this!
Love Linda

Friday, November 09, 2007

WEIGHT WATCHER WEIGH IN, MY WEEK IN A NUTSHELL, and FRIDAY'S FAVORITE QUOTE!


Recently I was at Mel's nursery and saw a plaque with this quote on it:

There are no shortcuts
To any place worth going.

I stood in front of the quote and couldn't seem to move! Those words really spoke to my heart and soul. In other words..do the work, move the mountain.

This week hasn't been easy. The 26 year old daughter of one of my long term teaching colleagues at the college died unexpectantly while sitting in a chair. Her husband was talking to her, left the room, came back, and she was gone.

Like that! In an instant! She had not even been ill.

Her mother, my dear friend, is broken. She is still at school because she doesn't want to be at home. My tears flow with her tears as I even try to remotely imagine how I would have felt getting that news about one of my beloved daughters. It is unthinkable.

This week Bert nicknamed me "Mrs. Dash". My schedule this week has barely left time to go to the bathroom. Rack 'em and stack 'em has been the theme. I LOVE teaching, and as of Thursday I have 92 nine page per student exams to grade by next Tuesday. We are at mid-quarter and the pace is unbelievable for students and teachers alike.

This week I have not felt balanced. I have been up every morning at 3:00am to grade, construct tests, get consulting done. At times I have forgotten to even breathe. I couldn't even find the time to take my morning walks. I made all these choices.

I got Oprah's Magazine and turned to the page where she says..."What I know for sure is...
and Oprah says, "I know nothing for sure this month. I have been too busy to be in touch with myself and too far behind to write this column." You have got to be kidding me! Even Oprah has lost her sanity.

Even more important, and a greater personal loss for me, I have skipped my time of reading the Bible in the morning. I ALWAYS do that and read my devotionals! That centers me! That helps me to focus on what REALLY matters in my life! I talked to Jesus on the run all week long. "OK God," I'd say. "Sorry I've put you as a PS", I'd say.

Do the work, move the mountain. There are no shortcuts!

I sat down and had a heart-to-heart talk with myself. I cannot have another week like this. I will not permit it! I will not choose it! I will not be praying in the car that I make it to the next school committee meeting on time without having an accident! I had three school meetings in the same day...two days in a row! I will set better boundaries!

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going!

I saw a video clip on Amy's blog about who God is that touched my soul! I cried every time I watched it! I KNEW I was off track!

I went to Weight Watchers not even knowing how I had done because while I had written down all the points I ate, I hadn't even kept good track of my progress! I was on auto-pilot all week. Weight Watchers took a back seat like everything else this week.

I lost another .6 ponds for a total of 21 pounds! I even got a Weight Watcher present for the percentage of overall weight I had lost. I had still followed many of my new habits even though I was in full speed mode this week.

But truth be told, I couldn't celebrate the small victory!

I knew in my heart of hearts that the week had been so off balance that my usual intentional attitude had been lost in the whirlwind. I take FULL responsibility for all of the choices I made that turned my days from 3am to 11pm. Some form of "Get It All Done Insanity" had taken hold.

Life is too short to not get my daily walk in! Life is too short to not have my daily Bible time!

Life is too short for not making the time to be grateful! Life is too short to not take breaks and breathe. Life is too short to not see Bert all week, except in small spurts while I'm headed elsewhere!

After all, the week's MOST important lesson is that you can be GONE in an instant!

There are no shortcuts to any place worth going! I will slow down! I will practice saying no. This next week will look different and be different!

This morning I got up early, took a wonderful walk, had a healthy Weight Watchers breakfast, actually took the time to taste my food, and had my Bible and prayer time!

I am breathing again! It's a start.

God Bless! Love and HUGS to all who read this! Love Linda

Thursday, November 01, 2007

WEIGHT WATCHER WEIGH IN RESULTS: A New Milestone


Well... I am smiling today as I met one of my short term goals in Weight Watchers. After nine weeks in the program, and losing another .6 pounds, I went over the 20 pound mark!!! :) :)

As of today I have lost...drum roll please... 20.4 pounds!!

Yup, I have lost a 20+ pound frozen turkey from my body!!

This first 20 pounds is one of my goals, but I am far from finished with this life-long process! There are no words to express how happy I am and how grateful I am for the support of those who love me and care about me!

This week I plan to do some experimenting with other healthy receipes, new (to me) weight watcher products, and I am completing my Fitness Challenge at SCC!! This is hard, hard work, but I am invigorated by the challenge!

Stay tuned...you'll see less of me next week!

God Bless! Hugs and loves to all who read this! Love Linda

CELEBRATING THE SMALL VICTORIES...One Holiday At A Time!


At our Weight Watcher meetings we talk about having a "game plan" for the days when you know you will be tempted to go off the program...and possible get off course in ways that don't help you get where you want to go long term. So they suggest, when you know a special occasion is coming up, to make a plan that works for your long term goals.

Special occassions like birthday parties, dinners out, and holidays need to be planned for. You can do these in moderation and save the points to do them. Or you can decide to take a different approach! Each of us does what works best for us! The goal is to make a plan and sick to it!!!

Yesterday was Halloween, and it was a test of my dedication to the goals I am pursuing!

Let me say...that I love chocolate!! I have always loved chocolate and I will always love chocolate. So Halloween, and having oodles of candy around, has always been a challenge. In the past, I have pretty much eaten whatever was at our house.

While I wanted to be hospitable this year to trick-or-treaters, and I wanted to have fun sharing Halloween with my students and fellow teachers, I knew I had to have different goals this year. Moderation and chocolate, at least at this point in the program, do not go hand-in-hand!

My goal was to not eat even one piece of Halloween candy..not one Halloween cupcake...not one Halloween anything this year! My plan was to have a frozen Weight Watcher Fudgesickle (1 point) and call it a day!

I knew that if I kept this goal I would wake up on November 1st and feel like a million bucks!!

Yesterday I had candy for my students, gave candy to my colleagues, said "NO, THANK YOU" to cupcakes, donuts, and cookies. I put out the Halloween treats and DID NOT EAT ONE PIECE OF HALLOWEEN CANDY...or anything else for that matter!

I woke up this morning and I feel like a million bucks!

While this may not seem like a big deal to some of you who read this, this is a HUGE victory for me! I weigh in at Weight Watchers this afternoon. No matter what the scale says, this week is a major drum roll for me!

Nancy Regan once said, "Just say no!" She was talking about saying no to drugs! Yesterday I just said no to Halloween temptations!

God Bless! Love and Hugs to all who read this! Love Linda

"Just Plain Hard"...

                  Stand up straight and                   realize who you are,                   that you tower over your               ...