Archive for the 'Lifestyle' Category

How Do You Deal with the Winter Blues?

I confess that with the beautiful temperatures (low 70’s) we have, I am very thankful to be here and not in Columbus, OH dealing with ice, 5″ of snow and very slow traffic! This past Saturday, however, two special events that I was taking part in were cancelled due to the weather!  It rained and the prediction included stormy weather.  Not conducive for taking the family out for a couple of hours to leisurely stroll through a community event and certainly not fun for a women’s night out! I share this so that you know the weather is not perfect here!  No matter where you live, there are challenges!

In talking with my Columbus friends, though, I know this is a tough time: it’s January, it’s winter and most of the country is ‘very good at it!’

So how do you make it through this tough mental and physical challenge?

An article I recently read (I apologize for not taking down the source) gave a few suggestions that I further modified.

* If you are a gardener, get out a gardening magazine and begin to dream and plan for your ‘next’ garden bed.

* Start planning a short spring trip or event with a best friend or spouse. We have a corporate event in Dallas TX in late April that I know provides a great get-away south at just the right time!

* Do a closet audit.  If you didn’t wear it last spring or summer, you’ll probably not going to wear it in 2013.  Don’t wait for January 1 (2014!!) to get yourself to your ideal size! (BTW, I can help with that little project now if you give me a call…and we have a special product promotion that will help you get there.  Send me an email and let’s talk!)

One of my Phoenix Toastmaster friends, Mary Lynn Ilnitsky, is a Certified Image Consultant.  Mary Lynn gave a great seminar on Wednesday night, Ageless Style, and I picked up some great tips to ‘Live the Stage, not the Age!’   I’ll share them in another column.  One of my takeaways: many of us, even if we have unlimited resources, do not know how to dress ourselves and it is of great benefit to get connected to someone with skill and expertise in this area.  If you are in the Phoenix area, call me for Mary Lynn’s contact information. If you are not local, do your best to locate someone who can help you do a closet audit.  I’m looking forward to my time with Mary Lynn!

* Create! Take a class that teaches you a new skill.  Adult Education classes provide abundant opportunities to explore new skills in a safe, inexpensive venue, taught by experts who are typically available to take you further down the path if you find it to your liking. I plan to be teaching a class “How to Create a Happy Body” in an upcoming session of an adult education curriculum. Contact me for details if you are in the Phoenix area.

* Tackle a household job that you’ve been putting off: a closet, a spare room.  That might simply mean organizing, but it might mean painting or re-decorating it in some way. Pinterest might provide some inspiration.

* Get into some very comfortable clothes and get out some travel magazines.  Cut out pictures of your next vacation destination and post them on the fridge.

* Embrace winter!  OK, those of you who know me would agree that this was something I never could do.  It is why we are finally in the south.  However, if you cannot relocate south, then making a mental shift would be helpful: not just being resigned to winter, but embracing it. I think this might be the most difficult approach…and I believe doing this would look differently for each of us.

What do you do to handle the winter? I’d love to read your comments below.

What’s Ahead for You in 2013?

Living in AZ provides us with unlimited possibilities for hiking, an activity that Ed and I both enjoy.

My bottom line description of hiking is taking a walk on a trail.  That said, all hikes are not equal.  Three weeks ago we revisited a hike in the Superstition Mountains. On that first attempt in January, 2012, we started out mid-morning on the Garden Valley Loop Hike, an 8 mile, 5 hour hike.  We got back to our car as the sun was setting behind the mountains, and pulled away with our headlights on!  For more of the drama- and the lessons learned- read my previous blog post.

As we re-walked the trail we were impressed with the challenge of the terrain. We didn’t remember it being so difficult: bald rocks, washes to cross without markings, trail signs (cairns- piles of rocks), many, many natural steps both up and down, narrow passes, broad flat lands…and almost always, rocks of various sizes covering the trail.

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks

Garden Valley Trail, bald rocks

 

Garden Valley Trail- cairns

Garden Valley Trail- cairns

The variety in the trail prompted me to take a number of photos.  As I walked over and around the rocks,  I thought about what a picture this is of our lives- and at this point in the year, Dec. 22, not only reflective of 2012, but also a potential picture of 2013 that is unfolding.

If you are evaluating 2012 (as I am) and you are planning 2013 (as I am), perhaps these thoughts can encourage you and prepare you for what lies ahead.

On the trail, sometimes the rocks were quite large- and our pace and progress were definitely slowed.  Does that describe any part of 2012 for you?  How did you handle that? What were the lessons? As you are looking at 2013, and writing down Plan A, do you have a Plan B?

Garden Valley Trail

Garden Valley Trail- large rocks

 

Garden Valley Trail- small rocks

Garden Valley Trail- small rocks

 

Garden Valley trail-uphill

Garden Valley trail-uphill

The majority of the trail was strewn with many little rocks-slowing the pace only slightly, requiring adjustment of immediate attention, while continuing to move forward.  I thought of the many daily distractions that become momentum-busters, and the necessity to focus on the big picture of what needs to be accomplished for the day, the week, the month. I recently was reminded of this planning tip: Before the end of the day, take time to write down the 6 things you wnat to accomplish the following day.  On the new day, start with number one and pursue it until it is done.  Then start number two.  Whatever is not completed moves to the next day’s list.  Brian Tracy calls this technique “Eat That Frog” and further says that if there are two frogs that must be eaten, eat the ugliest one first!

Sometimes we were climbing up- and sometimes we were climbing down.  During those climbs I was very thankful for the walking pole that I had: it provided stability, so that I could keep my pace fairly consistently, and gave me confidence that I had help if I needed it.  What’s your tool?  Do you know how to use it?  Are you using it?

Because we were constantly navigating rocks of various sizes, we were immediately aware of  ‘smooth,’ no rocks.  We definitely took advantage of the change!  Whoever was leading shouted out, “No rocks- let’s make up some time,” and we immediately quickened our pace.  When the terrain changes in your life, when opportunity comes, are you ready to move forward quickly and gather momentum- or do you fail to notice the change and therefore lose the opportunity to gain ground?

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Garden Valley Trail- smooth!

Hikers are typically a friendly lot: they’ll tell you how far it is to the next marker, share a sandwich, point out an unusual bird or other animal, or share a tale

 

about someone who got lost on this very trail!  Many of us are in a ‘people business,’ regardless of our industry.  Are you ready to talk to people you meet? I have found that it’s best to have a friendly attitude: ‘to have friends, show yourself friendly.’  It is difficult to maintain a friendly disposition if you are sick, not feeling well, or are ‘under the weather.’  Do your best to stay healthy: maintain (or gain) a strong immune system.  If you need some assistance in this area, please give me a call.  One of the most rewarding aspects of my business is knowing that I help others to be the best they can be on many different levels, including their health.

Hiking is a great metaphor for facing a new year.  Both are best done with a good measure of preparation: mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually.  Both hiking and a new year have aspects of predictability and serendipity.  Be prepared for both and enjoy the ride!

What are you looking forward to in 2013? And how are you preparing for it? I’d be delighted if you would share your thoughts and plans below.

Have a blessed Christmas and may your 2013 be your best year ever!

Making Memories

Sunday morning I had to locate my sweaters.  The temperature has been in the low fifties in the morning here in San Tan Valley, AZ.  Numbers like that require more than a T-shirt and shorts on my body!

Next to my ‘package of sweaters’ in the cedar chest was a ‘package of memories:’  rotated photoa very small  Cubs t-shirt (Nathan’s first favorite baseball team); a Dr Who Fan Club t-shirt (we were great Dr Who fans in the 80’s: the boys would ‘sneak’ into the family room after we had put them into bed to watch it- which of course meant we all watched it!); a t-shirt with a corn snake on it (Nathan successfully bred and hatched corn snakes as a 9-yr old); a blue turtleneck with trucks embroidered by Ed’s mom as well as two sweater vests she knitted; and an army shirt that Daniel wore as a 6 or 7 yr old in North Fort Myers.  (I’m sure that Daniel will correct me on the details!)

Since we have moved to Arizona, we have the opportunity to make new memories.  I connected with Erin on Thursday morning, and Greyson (age 3) and Sawyer (age 1) started on our day together.  Because we live where residential meets agriculture, we stopped at Schnepf”s Farm to visit the u-pick fields.  With Sawyer on my hip, and Greyson helping me with our wooden baskets, we slowly made our way to the fields (emphasis on slowly!).  We got to the squash row, put our basket at the end of the row, and carefully sat Sawyer next to it as the guardian.  Fortunately— he sat there very absorbed in simply watching us!  That attention lasted through our picking radishes, cucumbers, and spinach.  By the time we hit the lettuce rows, Sawyer was much more comfortable, and within a few minutes of being set down, he started crawling toward us!  Greyson and I looked at each other and knew that we were done!

We gathered everything, and proceeded to slowly make our way back to the check-out (emphasis on slowly).  On the way, we discovered a great photo op.  I took this one of Greyson—and he took the second one of Sawyer being held in place by me…

Greyson farm photo

Greyson

     Cost of the vegetables: about $2.00.

     Memories made: priceless!

Sawyer

Sawyer

We did much more on Thursday together: walked to the park with Grandpa; watched hummingbirds at the feeder cuddled under a blanket (because that’s how we did it the first time two weeks ago); listened to Christmas carols by Grandpa on the violin and me on the piano; and of course, the boys played with trains.  What a wonderful day!

Life is much too short.  Take the time to make memories!  You don’t have to break the bank to do it.  Gifts, gift cards, cash…all come and go.  The three keys to building relationships- any relationships- are time, truth, and trust. Invest in people- one of two things that last for eternity!

Today, spend some time with someone.  You might need him/her.  S/he might need you. Sometimes you can plan the details.  Sometimes you simply have to take the first step.  Start walking!

Drop me a note and let me know what kind of a memory you made this week!

My Favorite Holiday

What is YOUR favorite holiday?

My favorite holiday is this week!  Although I am not one to turn down seconds on moist turkey and dressing, tasty veggies, homemade mashed potatoes and gravy, and my own delicious pumpkin pie, I will tell you that food is not the primary reason Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.

My reason is a bit philosophical I suppose. To me Thanksgiving is the “purest” holiday,  the one most free of commercialization. Think about it: retailers jump from Halloween to Christmas- with very little if any space dedicated to Thanksgiving sentiment and decorations.  After all, Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, being grateful, expressing gratitude. It boils down to celebrating an attitude…and acknowledging that what we have as a country and individuals, as Abraham Lincoln said in his original proclamation, are ‘gracious gifts of the most high God.”  Thanking God is not exactly politically correct or socially acceptable in all circles today.

That being said, I’d like to acknowledge three things for which I am thankful, and in doing so, I believe you will get a snapshot of who I am today.

First, I’m thankful for my faith. As a teenager, I realized that I wasn’t good enough to get to heaven on my own merit. I needed someone else’s perfect life.  I came to the point of understanding that person was Jesus Christ and that what He did for me in dying on the cross almost 2000 years ago, changed my relationship with God forever. The result has been a confidence in my future hope after death.  Now regardless of what is going on in the world, I have an ongoing personal relationship with God my Father who continues to give me good things.

A second thing I’m thankful for is my family. My husband Ed (next month we will celebrate 35 years together!) is a pastor-teacher-professor.

Ed and Mari in Saguaro NP

We have had churches in a number of cities in Florida, Illinois, and Ohio. We parented two outstanding boys, Daniel and Nathan, now ages 30 and 28. As a result of our decision to homeschool, we are very close as a family and have many wonderful memories of special adventures.  Both boys are married to wonderful Christian women, and both are fathers. Daniel, who lives here in Gilbert, has two sons, ages 3 and 1

Greyson, age 3

Sawyer, 1st BD

Erica, Nathan, Jackson (3 mo)

and Nathan, living near Seattle, has one son, 7 months old.

We are thankful that with our move to San Tan Valley about a month ago, we are on the same time zone- at least some of the year.

In addition to being thankful for my faith and my family, I am thankful for the many freedoms that we have because we live in the United States. I’m thinking especially of the freedom to pursue our dreams in our own way.  Let me explain how that looks in my life.

When we made a decision in 1998 for Ed to return to seminary, I began to consider a home business opportunity. I didn’t want to go back into the classroom; I didn’t want to work for a small hourly wage for someone else and be told when I could take a break, when I could take vacation, etc. I dreamed of an opportunity that would provide an income that I could truly work from home.

I found it in an unexpected way. I was introduced to a children’s nutritional product that my boys actually liked- a gummi-bear that was actually 12 fruits and vegetables.

I figured I could talk to other moms who would be just as thrilled as I was to find something that could pass through our kids’ mouths and count for fruits and vegetables! My business was a good extension of my previous career as a health and physical education teacher and coach. I have appreciated the continuing education training that I have gotten in nutrition. I am certified as a weight management advisor. Today I am working with a team of social entrepreneurs to provide a solution to global malnutrition of children.  Our goal is to link 5 million consumers to 5 million kids who need nutrition, not just food.  I think you can see that the dreams that I am dreaming today are much bigger than 14 years ago!

Countries served by GFR

Thanksgiving 2008 was the last time that we were all together as a family.  Nathan was in the States on a 2-week leave from a tour of duty in Afghanistan with the 101st.  We all met in PA. Daniel and Erin told us that we were going to be grandparents (and now we have 3 grandsons!!). We enjoyed a crazy Black Friday walking in NYC (that should tell you something about our family!!).

This year we will be with Daniel and family in Gilbert for dinner and then host them for my delicious pumpkin pie at our house.  At some point in the afternoon, we will connect with the Seattle DeZago’s via FaceTime.  What a special day!

In sharing my favorite holiday, I hope that I have given you some food for thought so that you can enjoy Thanksgiving this year with more gratitude than ever before.

Mari

(I shared these thoughts with my new Toastmasters Club in San Tan Valley last night.  I know this is longer than my regular posts.  Thanks for reading today!)

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Below are 5 suggested action steps.  Pick one…but be careful!  It could change your life!

If you have an interest in the nutrition that we are providing for children around the world, watch this video.

If you are interested in starting on an effective and affordable nutritional plan, click here.

If you have any questions about the need to take responsibility for your lifestyle choices, especially food, click here to watch a 4 minute video.

If you want to receive my bi-monthly ezine, Wellness Notes,  send me an email (or text 614.804.0291) requesting that your name be added to the list. First issue was sent out Nov. 8.

If there is any way that I can serve you, just let me know with an email to mari.dezago@gmail.com

Take My Hand…

Ed and I were walking recently at Highbanks, one of our metroparks.  About 7 miles of trails that include hills, stairs, and straight-aways make Highbanks an attractive place for casual and serious walkers, as well as families.

Highbanks trail

Highbanks stream

On this particular day, as we were walking up the ‘very long hill,’ we came upon a mom with three children, a young boy about 4, a girl about 6 and the oldest girl about 8.

Interesting, all three children had ‘walking sticks.’  The girls were using them in ‘walking-stick fashion’- that is, holding the stick at one end, planting the other end, and allowing the stick to help them walk.  The young boy, however, was brandishing the stick like a sword.  You might ask, ‘How can that be???’  We had boys—we weren’t asking that question!

The girls were ahead on the trail, but the mom was with the young boy.  ‘I can’t make it up the hill,’ we heard him say to his mom.

‘Take my hand, and let’s do it together!’ the mom wisely answered as we passed them…and I believe that together they got up the hill.

What a great visual for the best way to get a job done!

What about you?

Is there a project under your direction that is lagging? It could be in your family, it could be at work, it could be a church or community project.  Is there someone who is falling behind with his or her responsibility in the project?  Do they need some assistance?  Do they need some encouragement?

Would it help if you simply said,

“Let’s do it together!”

Go for it!  And let me know what happens when you do.  I’d be delighted if you would leave your comments below.

Are You Showing Up?

My business mentors, Phil and Kathleen, send out short emails regularly to educate, inform, inspire, or motivate us as business partners.  Today, their email included some thoughts from the book, The Science of Opportunity, by Howard Melamed.

Melamed makes the observation that there are opportunities all around us, but how we respond is our decision. A quote from p.9, “A coincidence offers an opportunity worth exploring and these improbable events often lead to Opportunity…Become sensitive to chance happenings.”

Another observation from Melamed  applies to those who are successful.  He has noticed that successful people  SHOW UP!  For what? Everything! Life! Birth! Celebration! Work! Concerts! Walks in the park! Meetings??

One of my business mentors, Jim Rohn, whom I have quoted a number of times on my Biz Tips page, has said that you never know which event is going to be the one that changes your life: which sermon will impact you forever; which speaker will inspire you to take action in a totally new direction with amazing results…so take good notes, and DON’T MISS ANYTHING!

Here’s a question for you: What activity or event is missing YOU? Something that you are debating about attending, participating in, supporting.  You do have a choice…you always have a choice. So make a decision to SHOW UP!

Although my theology gives me the confidence to know that my choices are never a surprise to God, I also know that choices result in ripples of effects, sometimes bigger than others.  Good choices result in benefits or even rewards.  Poor choices result in consequences, many times unpleasant, and sometimes long-term.

Those observations lead to another thought: Does The Science of Opportunity apply to more than business? Of course!  The opportunity to meet someone new, the opportunity to try a new restaurant or a new food, the opportunity to take a new walking path, the opportunity to read a new book or a new author, the opportunity to visit a new city…any of these opportunities could ultimately change your life! Isn’t that exciting??

Wow, The Science of Opportunity could have some unexpected results in any area of your life.  Certainly an interesting concept.

Click here to read a chapter of the book.  Here you can listen to an audio clip of the same chapter. What are your thoughts? Your comments are welcome below.

 

National Nutrition Month

The month is almost gone…yes, only four more days of March.

Perhaps you have read headlines, articles, blogs providing nutrition tips for you and your family because March is designated as National Nutrition Month.  Certainly, this is  a worthy focus!

It’s never the wrong time to make a decision, then make a commitment, and finally take action about improving your nutrition.  Why is that?

You have certainly heard this quote: Clothes make the man (unable to verify the original author) and while that is true enough, here’s a better one: You are what you eat  (Anthelme Brillat-Savarin wrote, in Physiologie du Gout, ou Meditations de Gastronomie Transcendante, 1826: “Dis-moi ce que tu manges, je te dirai ce que tu es.” [Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are]. I’m sure that was more information than you wanted to know about that phrase,  but amazingly,  it is all available on the internet! Is that a good thing???).

Look at the big picture of why food is so very important. Food affects all 100 trillion of our cells, and therefore, all of our functions: mood, energy levels, food cravings, thinking capacity, sex drive, sleeping habits and general health.

So is it worth it to make some changes?

Absolutely!

It’s never too late.  Here are two action steps you can take today:

1. Be conscious of what you are eating. Whenever you eat, including snack time, you should include something in each of these categories- carbohydrates, fats, protein. The percentage on your plate depends on your metabolism.  Contact me for a complimentary survey to identify your metabolic type.

BTW, carbohydrates should be of the fruit and vegetable category, food groups that probably every major health organization or disease-prevention-organization and even doctors would agree need to be increased on a daily basis.  It is also important to realize that counting french fries and ketchup as 2 of your suggested 7-11 daily servings of fruits and vegetables is not putting you on the path to optimal health!

2. Exercise portion control.  Mealtime portions can be helped by dishing up the food onto the plates in the kitchen, away from the table.  Snack portions can be reduced by measuring out or even counting if necessary, a serving size. Here’s a link for a handy portion control guide that you can print out for yourself.  The website also has visuals of serving sizes of foods.

One of my personal biggest challenges is what I call “amnesia eating,’ which occurs when I graze all day long and grab a few nuts (they’re good for you, of course!)- multiple times throughout the day.  It has been shocking when I have measured out a serving size and limited myself to that quantity for the entire day- what a concept!

This tip also reflects the necessity of reading labels.  Serving size is listed on packages that you purchase and serving size is connected to caloric and  nutritional intake.  This is true for beverages as well.  The bottles and cans of drinks that people are downing in one sitting  can be as much as 2.5 servings.  Check it out before your next purchase and decide if the calories and non-nutrients are what you want to take in versus a glass of pure water.

Portion control is also helped by the size of the plate that you use. Our grandmothers served meals on plates quite a bit smaller than what most of us use today.  Bigger plates translate into bigger portions, and this is exactly what has happened in both home and restaurants.  Our brain takes visual cues from everything about food, including how full the plate is to start!  If we see it on our plate, we seem to need to eat it (you remember, the ‘clean your plate’ philosophy or perhaps ‘the starving children in Africa would be glad…’  philosophy) Review this article for other tips about portion control.

In our home, we have been using  luncheon size plates for a number of years. We also regularly take home 1/3 to 1/2 of what we are served in the restaurant for a future meal.  Using a smaller plate as a visual cue for quantity allows us to leave the table satisfied, and not stuffed.

Trust that these two tips will be helpful to you today as you consider what you can do to improve your own level of health via better nutrition.  What tips can you share with our readers that have helped you make better choices about eating?

Remember, if there is anything I can do for you to help you on this journey of better health and fitness, just let me know.