Thursday, December 6, 2012

Take a Minute Thursday

Well, we’re full throttle into the holi-daze… shopping madness, added events to an already crowded calendar, more chores and cleaning and cooking responsibilities, to say nothing of the added stress to look and be perfect and have that Hallmark Christmas that EVERYONE ELSE seems to have… or NOT?

Take a minute today to be thankful for what you have and what is happening in your life. I love the phrase “take a minute today” because life can so easily overwhelm as everything rains down upon us in (as my Grandmom used to say), one fell swoop. You may not be able to control everything that’s going on, but take a minute to sit down and think about and focus upon the good things you do have happening in your life. For example, I ran out of the house this morning with my ever-so-mandatory two-bag 20 oz. teacup, aka caffeine for life. I didn’t even realize it till I got to my destination. But thankfully, I was able to get a strong cup of tea and my friend Collette (God bless you, dear) even shared her soy milk with me. So as I sit here writing this, I am sipping a cup of tea for which I am EXTREMELY thankful!

Right now I’m in a time poverty situation where I’m juggling far too much and facing a looming deadline and scrambling to finish a paper while I try to figure out how to get the house holiday-ready for friends who are coming by Friday night (since at this writing I still have yet to take down the pumpkins and wheat shafts and hay bales from the autumn décor). Yes, part of me is completely verklempt and a mental madwoman over this. Part of me is chiding me for yet again biting off more than I can chew and not building margin into my life. But… I am taking a minute today to be thankful for my work, for the opportunity to be going back to school, for owning my own home and for my amazing friends who will visit and frankly couldn’t care what my house looks like because they love me. Trust me, girls, THOSE are TRUE friends!

And while we’re at it, let’s remember to be thankful for things like clean, hot water, a flushing toilet, food in our bellies, shoes on our feet, clothes on our backs, and a home of our own. How many out there can’t say this?

Look, I’m not trying to be a syrupy sweet Pollyanna with her head in the clouds when it comes to the reality of life. We all have heartaches and problems and overwhelming situations that crush us on a daily basis.. I’m in no way trying to minimize your life, your pain or your problems. I wish I could wrap my arms around each of you and let you cry until you feel better and then help you work things out. I know some days we’re so tired we can barely lift our heads up or take one more step… I do understand. What I’m asking is that you take a moment today to escape the reality, and look at one or two things that are good, and for which you feel blessed. I do believe it will give you a welcome break, if only for a minute or two… and give you a chance to catch your breath. Reality will soon be tugging at you and come back in your face with a rude awakening… but perhaps that momentary break will be just enough to give you a bit more energy, a bit more hope to face the rest of your day. I’m praying will help… just a little. Remember you are a very special and strong woman, and give yourself the gift of taking a moment today… for the blessings of which you are one to so many.

Blessings and encouragement,

Coach Linda

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Monday MOVE IT!!!

Monday – grey, rainy... the one-two “rainy days and Mondays always get me down” punch that they wrote the song about by the Carpenters (Google it if you’re too young to remember… sigh…) Okay, let’s break out and CHOOSE JOY TODAY! Sometimes you just gotta get outta your own way, outta your comfort zone and break free from the limitations you put on yourself. Ohhh… it’s Monday… poor me, I’m tired, work stinks, I gained two pounds… yada yada yada.

STOP IT! Why keep convincing yourself that today will be AWFUL? Howza ‘bout today, just for a few minutes RIGHT NOW… you opt to LIVE JUICY and do something fun and spontaneous?

I can never ever stay grouchy/grumpy/whiney/miserable if I dance. Just won’t happen! When I blast the music and start movin’ and a groovin’ shaking my dance thang, I always wind up feeling better. My endorphins start doin' the funky salsa through my bloodstream and before I know it, I have a big smile on my face and I just plain feel better.

So at some point (maybe even right now…), put on your earphones, turn up that music that rocks you to the point where nothing short of an act of God can keep you still – and let the music shake your body and spirit free. I don’t care if you think you look like you’re doing the Elaine dance, just do it. Think of the parade dance scene in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off when he gets everybody on the street dancing to the Beatles’ Twist and Shout! Or go to YouTube and watch Ben Aaron get people to Dance Walk – hysterical!!!

Seat dance in the car – who cares what the guy in the other lane is thinking? Really, will you EVER see him again? Start dancing and invite him to join in! Imagine a flash mob seat-dancing scene at your next traffic jam! Talk about making the most of a bad situation!! Blast the music in your car, sing at the top of your lungs and burn some serious calories at that red light.

Go ahead – I double dog DARE YOU to DANCE today! Ain’t too many folks lying on their deathbed taking their last breath who would regret going for the gusto when they had the chance!




Monday, November 12, 2012

Monitor Meals Monday

Welcome to a new week and new opportunities to make healthy choices for your life!  Today I'm pointing you to a VERY eye-opening article brought to you by our friends at the Eat This!  Not That! website.  It lists the fattiest foods in America, and let me tell you, the biggest offenders are amazingly high on fat and calories.  Buckle your seat belt (which might be hard to do if you eat any of these offenders regularly), but the number one calorie criminal (no surprise for the place who has cheesecake in it's name) has... are you ready... 103 grams of SATURATED FATS (and this isn't the total fat count), 1,517 mg of sodium, and 2,300 CALORIES!!!!  Holy cow - I think my cholesterol rose and I gained weight just reading about this horrific dish.

So, read below and you can also go to their website at

Monitor your meals by exercising your eye muscles by reading nutritional information on labels, and be sure to always try to find a restaurant's website before you go out to eat, as many now offer their nutritional information in the meals they offer.  Ignorance may be bliss, but it's also very dangerous... and FATTENING!

Coach Linda

The Fattiest Foods in America

6. FAT OFFENDER #6: A BURGER : Ruby Tuesday Triple Prime Bacon Cheddar Burger

1,333 calories, 101 g fat, 1,892 mg sodium
New rule: The more syllables in a menu item's name, the more fat there's likely to be in the dish. Less than 3 percent of the beef produced in this country earns the USDA's "prime" rating, and that's not a bad thing. Prime beef, as it turns out, is the fattiest beef you can sink your teeth into. If you really want a burger, you're better off heading elsewhere. Not one of Ruby's has fewer than 700 calories. Go with the Plain Grilled Top Sirloin and earn all the beefy protein without the superfluous calories.

Eat This Instead!

Plain Grilled Top Sirloin

290 calories, 12 g fat, 420 mg sodium

5. FAT OFFENDER #5: A STEAK: Chili’s Flame-Grilled Ribeye with broccoli and mashed potatoes

1,460 calories, 106 g fat (44 g saturated), 3,700 mg sodium
For a healthy diet, the USDA recommends you cap your daily saturated fat intake at 20 grams. This meal more than doubles that, and it's only 12 ounces of meat. Sure, ribeye is a notoriously fatty cut, but it's primarily the bath of butter that pushes this steak's fat count to such unhealthy heights. Switch to the Guiltless Grill Classic Sirloin and save an astounding 1,090 calories.

Eat This Instead!

Guiltless Grill Classic Sirloin with steamed veggies

370 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 3,680 mg sodium

4. FAT OFFENDER #4: MEXICAN FOOD: Chili’s Bacon Ranch Chicken Quesadilla

1,650 calories, 107 g fat (39 g saturated), 3,450 mg sodium
Traditional Mexican food is big on seasoning and light on cheese, but with this quesadilla, Chili's takes a different approach. Trying to appease palates primed for indulgence, the restaurant layers on the fat in four ways: cheese, ranch, bacon, and sour cream. Go with the Margarita Grilled Chicken and you'll cut the overall fat content by more than 80 percent.

Eat This Instead!

Margarita Grilled Chicken

550 calories, 14 g fat (4 g saturated), 1,870 mg sodium

3. FAT OFFENDER #3: A 'HEALTHY' SALAD: IHOP Chicken and Spinach Salad

1,600 calories, 118 g fat (32 g saturated), 2,340 mg sodium
Chicken? Good. Spinach? Good. IHOP’s Chicken and Spinach Salad—downright deplorable. You'll need to i-hop for four hours to burn it off. This salad is exactly what makes restaurant food so questionable and potentially unhealthy. The name makes it sound like a paragon of nutritious eating, yet the numbers reveal it to be just the opposite. The chicken here is actually fried chicken, and the spinach is little more than a small bed for bacon and cheddar cheese. You could snarf down six pancake short stacks and still take in less fat. Save yourself the waistline damage and opt for the Simple & Fit Simply Chicken Sandwich instead.

Click here for all of today's nutrition, health, and fitness news!

Eat This Instead!

Simply Chicken Sandwich with fresh fruit, side salad, and reduced-fat Italian dressing

565 calories, 12.5 g fat (3.5 g saturated), 1,085 mg sodium

2. FAT OFFENDER #2: 'HEALTHY' FISH: Applebee’s New England Fish & Chips

1,930 calories, 138 g fat (24 g saturated), 3,180 mg sodium
The American Heart Association recommends eating fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice a week. By doing so, you lower your risk of such chronic diseases as heart disease and cancer. But if you prepare fish by deep frying it in a tub of bubbling fat—like Applebee's does with this artery-clogging monstrosity—you reverse all those benefits. Opt for Applebee's Garlic Herb Salmon instead. It offers 109 fewer grams of fat, nearly two-thirds fewer calories, and a heap of flavor that will still leave you satiated.

Eat This Instead!

Applebee’s Garlic Herb Salmon

690 calories, 29 g fat (8 g saturated), 1,460 mg sodium

1. FAT OFFENDER #1: PASTA: Cheesecake Factory Fettuccini Alfredo with Chicken

2,300 calories, 103 g saturated fat, 1,517 mg sodium
Cheesecake Factory prefers to keep its nutritional stats hidden, but a law in California forced it to reveal saturated fat. Total fat is still a mystery, but this meal breaks through the 100-gram ceiling on saturated fat alone! The culprits here are the oversized portion and the thick, fat-riddled alfredo sauce. The typical restaurant recipe for this sauce relies on some combination of cream, butter, oil, and cheese, and there's no reason to believe that Cheesecake's version strays from the norm. Unfortunately, the chain offers no single pasta dish with fewer than 1,100 calories, so keep yourself safe by sticking to the new Skinnylicious menu.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Make It Happen Monday

I DID IT!  I DID IT!  If you have no idea what I’m talking about, in yesterday’s Sleepy Surprise Sunday blog, I said I was trying to start a new routine where I’d get up at 4am each morning in order to make the most of those early hours before work to get more accomplished.  Okay, maybe the photo isn't exactly a completely fair representation of my stance as I got up, but it was how I felt on the inside!  
I actually woke up at 4am this morning to the strains of Mandisa’s “Good Morning” ring tone!  I made my tea, had my morning quiet time, got myself ready for work, put the finishing touches on my lunch, put away some laundry, read my emails and responded, did a few stretches… and all without rushing about in my usual morning frenzy! 
Last night I prepared by getting most of my lunch cooked and prepared, set out all my clothes for this morning, put my things by the door – anything I thought would help me.  It’s amazing how the small little things will help you along the way in hitting your target.
Wild women, believe me, if I can do this, ANYBODY CAN!  I am the least likely person to haul my booty outta bed one second before absolutely necessary.  But the satisfaction of achieving this goal is almost heady - I am on top of the world!  It is one day at a time as I try to condition myself to do this every morning.  Now the next leg of this little challenge will be to get to bed earlier so I get my appropriate amount of sleep. 
So… what can you do today, what one small step can you take towards attaining one of your goals?  What would it look like, sound like, feel like if you were able to do that one thing?  Now exercise that “MAKE IT HAPPEN” muscle and start today.  You’ll be amazed at what you can do!!!
Coach Linda
(…and be sure to stay tuned to see if I can do it again tomorrow!)

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Sleepy Surprise Sunday

The end of Daylight Savings Time in the fall is by far the most wonderful night of the year, and at this point in my life rivals Christmas Eve and my birthday, because I get the gift of 60 whole minutes more in my life to sleep.  Such a rare thing, this sleeping oddity!  The joy I feel when I go to bed on this most magical of bedtimes almost keeps me away like a child on Christmas Eve.

So what happens this morning?  I wake up at 4am and can’t get back to sleep!  Nature’s cruel joke?  No, not at all really.  One of my goals is to become more morning-oriented.  Okay for anyone out there who knows me personally, you can stop laughing now.  No really, you’ll fall off your chair if you don’t stop laughing so hard!!  I got so much done this morning (as I write this it’s now 7am)!!!  I feel great.  Of course, ask me again at 3pm and you may find me using duct tape to keep my eyelids open. 

I have several friends who are naturally early risers, and while I have always thought them somewhat demented or having some morning gene that escaped my DNA, I secretly have envied their ability to accomplish more between 4am-7am than most can do all day (myself included).  I quietly long to have my eyes pop open at 4am, ready to meet the day all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (as my Grandmom used to say).  Instead, at 4am if I awaken, it’s usually to groan, hit the bathroom, crawl back into bed and pull the covers over my head, snuggling down into the warmth of my blankets to hibernate until the last possible thrice-pounded snooze button minute.

But now here is a new opportunity to use my body clock to the best possible advantage.  My brain/system still thinks its 5am instead of 4am, so is it possible to trick it and begin getting up at 4am this week?  Admittedly it may be a crazy, impossible dream, but it’s worth the shot – timing is everything, and what better time to try it than now?  I’d like to have a time of prayer and Bible reading without falling asleep (and waking up suddenly saying, AMEN! – Oh yeah, like God didn’t know I fell asleep while talking to Him?!??!!?) and I’d like to toss a load of laundry in, exercise, have a relaxed cup of tea at my kitchen table instead of running like a madwoman out the door.  I’m getting really jazzed about this plan, I really am!!!!

So… anybody up for joining me in this new fresh page on the morning journey?  I’m going to set up alarm(s) – yes, I use several – I’m telling you, stop laughing!  As I was saying… I’m going to set up alarm to go off at 4am tomorrow morning hoping and praying I can exercise my new body clock muscles (as well as my “I will do this” muscles) to begin a whole new morning routine.  Tomorrow morning I will report (and be held accountable by all of you) on whether I was able to pull off this seemingly unattainable feat!  Are you with me?  If so please post your comments here or write me at


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Through the Storm Tuesday

As you probably know, the East Coast was hit with Hurricane Sandy.  Freight cars lie on the NJ Turnpike, and houses and boats block major roads especially in the Jersey Shore area.  Numerous people have flooding and power loss.  Millions of households have been impacted -- twice the number affected by Hurricane Irene.  There are houses on Route 35, and many shore communities are under water.  The level of devestation is unthinkable. 

I have been so incredibly blessed that my power never went out, and the trees on my property didn't fall. 

To all my readers - I ask your prayers for everyone in NJ, NY, PA, DE -- the whole East Coast. 

If you are local and can volunteer in some way, please do so.  If you cannot volunteer, consider giving blood or money via the American Red Cross:  You can volunteer through many operations including Samaritan's Purse at:

I am so very thankful my family and friends are safe, but am heartsick for their material losses.  It really makes you aware of what is important - how friends text and call to make sure you're okay, how others reach out as they can in the midst of their own fear during the storm.  I thank my God for each and every one of them.

So today, exercise your ability to prayer and thank God for your blessings.  Hold your dear ones close, and give as you can for others today.  God bless you all.

Coach Linda

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Wild Woman Wednesday

I woke up this morning having dreamed the name Clare Boothe.  I’m not kidding, this is a true story.  I had this very bizarre and vivid dream about roaming about a beautiful graveyard with artistic stones and monuments.  People were touring it, and everyone was in 1940’s era clothing and hairstyles.  In my wanderings I came across a woman reading a poetry book and knitting, and for some reason I thought the book was written by someone named Clare Boothe.  This young woman was reading a poem out loud, and unfortunately I can’t recall the words of the poem.  What does all this mean?  I know, don’t eat heavy foods before bed!?!? 
So when I woke up I did the logical thing – I went to Google, researched her name and came up with information on the Socialite Clare Boothe Luce.  She was quite a woman – married to a publishing mogul, she was in her lifetime a US Congresswoman and ambassador to Brazil and Italy.  She also wrote plays, was a World War II war correspondent, and wrote articles and review.  She had some really interesting quotes as well, such as:
“No good deed goes unpunished.” (I’ve said this for years!)
“A man has only one escape from his old self: to see a different self in the mirror of some woman's eyes.”
“There is nothing harder than the softness of indifference.”
And my favorite:  “Courage is the ladder on which all the other virtues mount.”
But what surprised me the most was that she was the author of one of my very favorite movies of all time (which EVERY wild woman should consider required viewing), “THE WOMEN”, an all-female cast of some of the best actresses of the 1930's era (including Joan Crawford, Rosalind Russel, Norma Shearer, Paulette Goddard and Joan Fontaine)!  The original 1939 movie is an absolute MUST SEE (forget the lame remake from 2008).  Two words:  JUNGLE RED!  (You'll have to see the movie to understand that one.)  Click on Jungle Red for a preview...
So, exercise your wild women research skills and check out the links below to find out about this famous woman – it’s the stuff dreams are made of!
Coach Linda Bush

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Motor Miles Monday

Over the weekend I drove about 20 hours and 800 some odd miles to attend a family function in New Hampshire.  Certain things I have learned about travelling long distances in your car, as well as some basic preparations for the upcoming colder season (for those of you who live in areas where you experience winter weather).  So as the season approaches, get your car winterized at your local place of repairs, then remember these dirty dozen tips:

1.  Get Triple AAA!!  It’s not that expensive, and one single use certainly more than pays the annual dues.  On Sunday after about 15 minutes into the home trek, my engine light battery came on and my car came to a slow halt.  What?!?!?!  Thankfully, I was able to get it started again and at the next exit found a major gas station with convenience store and bathroom.  Hallelujah!  Triple AAA was there within the hour to help.  PRICELESS!

2. Always have your cell phone with you, and make sure you have a car charger just in case your cell phone battery is low.  The LAST thing you want to do is have a dead phone if you’re stuck.

3.  Like Mom always said, GO POTTY BEFORE YOU LEAVE… ANYWHERE!  Really, do you want to be stuck in bumper-to-bumper traffic for hours needing to go?  It ain't pretty!

4.  Carry water and snacks in your car.  Keep granola bars, a jar of peanut butter, things like that in your car.  If you are tempted to snack often in the car, keep them in the trunk.  But have them on hand.

5.  Pack an extra outfit, as well as a pair of old jeans, sweater/sweatshirt and sneakers, to keep in the car.  You never know…and keep a warm blanket in the car as well – doubles for a spontaneous picnic mat!

6.  Keep a fully-stocked first aid kit in your car at all times!

7.  Keep some cash stashed in the car – an extra $20 is always useful.

8.  Never let your gas tank go below the halfway mark!  Not only is it a way to keep from running out of gas, but did you ever notice that gas burners faster the second half of the tank full?  Yep!  So you’ll be more energy efficient and save a little extra cash as well.

9.  Get a car battery charger and keep it in your car.  You can’t always depend on someone else to come along and give your car a jump start.

10.  Also helpful is to keep a bag of cat litter in the car and an old welcome mat -- if you're on the ice the cat litter can be scattered to give you traction and the old mat can be wedged under the tire for traction as well.  Plus, the extra weight of the cat litter in the back of the car is helpful.

11.  Get a good GPS.  I LOVE my iPhone app WAZE which got me through being lost this weekend in the dark, in the woods, on a mud road, in pouring rain and fog in the middle of who-knows-where boonies where I could swear I heard the strains of a banjo playing the theme song to Deliverance!!!  I was just waiting for Bigfoot to hitch a ride - VERY SCARY!!  But always plan your trip ahead of time and have printed directions and local maps in addition to your phone app or GPS.

12. Finally, learn to maintain your own car as much as you can and keep oil, jumper cables, flares, gloves, flashlight and extra batteries, and a FULL READY spare tire – and know how to change it!  Wild women should always know how to take care of their own car – don’t depend on anyone else to “save you” – SAVE YOURSELF!  Even if you have a loving, reliable significant other you don' t always know if they'll answer the phone, etc.
On Amazon you can find a kit to keep in your car as well -- very helpful:  CLICK HERE!  In addition, be sure to tell at least one friend or contact where you are going, and when you are expecting to return.  Have an emergency contact just in case...
Now… exercise your take-care-of-my-wheels safety muscles and enjoy the ride!  And please share any experiences, comments or additional tips here with your comments!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wild Woman Wednesday

"For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace."

If you are a boomer you will also remember the words above from the song “Turn, Turn, Turn” sung by The Byrds in 1965.
I write today in honor of my Aunt, Helen, who left us suddenly in the early morning hours of Sunday, October 14th.  Earlier in the day she had been spending time with her family, cooking and talking and then abruptly…  she was gone.  We will miss her very much – she was a gifted and talented artist and a strong, independent woman.
Things happen out of the blue – a loved one dies, a relationship is ended with no previous indications, life’s circumstances turn on a dime and we are left broken, the wind knocked out of us, reeling with grief and pain, barely able to breathe.  We cry, we pray, we try to make some sense of it all and yet there is no explanation.  It is in these times we find our faith, our strength and try to believe there is a reason that we just don’t see.  Through our tears we seek for lessons to be learned.
Wild women – take a moment today and unabashedly shower your love on those important people in your lives.  Don’t hold back, let them know.  Hug.  Kiss.  Make peace/amends.  Shower YOURSELF with love – do the things you’ve been putting off.  If not now, when?  Live bright, live bold, live loud and make every single minute count on the journey!
With all my heart I encourage and entreat you TODAY to “LIVE JUICY”, as the poet/artist/author S.A.R.K. says to us.  Life really, truly is short – and it’s not a dress rehearsal – so stop procrastinating on living the best and most glorious life you envision, and make NOW the beginning of your adventure to make your dreams reality.  Embrace yourself and all the ones who touch your life each day.  Leave a legacy of love and unbridled enthusiam for every second of your time here. 
For everything there is a season… may yours begin NOW.
With love and blessings,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Told Ya Tuesday

Today I’m here to tell you about an exercise program that changed my life.  PILATES!  Years ago I had fallen down a flight of stairs on my tailbone, and for the next 15 years I suffered from a whole lotta pain and discomfort, including twice being bedridden.  I will tell you that chiropractors helped me get back on track, but when I found Pilates, it opened up a whole new world of healing for me.  I lost weight, began strengthening my core muscles and it changed by body.  In fact, a few years ago my chiropractor said to me, “Linda, if I didn’t know your history of back problems, I would never know you had any issues at all!”
Invented by Joseph Pilates, his exercises are about flexion, extension, rotation (twisting) and lateral (side bends) of the spine, thus supporting and strengthening muscles of the spine.  It lengthens and strengths your muscles and your core – and once your core is strong, you work on your upper and lower spine with less chance of injury.  It is something almost anyone can do, including those recovering from injuries, whether you’re pregnant or getting your post-baby body back in shape, men, women, and  every age and size from the athlete to the newbie exerciser. 
I loved it so much, I became a Pilates mat and Pilates Reformer instructor.  I have a passion for Pilates! 
So, if you’re in the area and would like to learn more about Pilates classes, or to get a free Pilates reformer demonstration, come to the RWJ Hamilton Center for Health & Wellness and COME SEE ME ! 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Tickle Me Thursday

Time to lighten up!  Far be it from me to be some pretentious Pollyanna, because we all know that when we’re under a mountain of mature, it’s real hard to see daylight.  That being said, however… today I’m going to ask you to join me in digging out from under and finding joy in a few of the simple pleasures of life that don’t cost a penny but are PRICELESS!

Right now in NJ we are having a few days of perfect autumnal weather – sunny, crisp days with cool breezes and no humidity.  I try to walk just a bit slower when I’m going to/from my car to enjoy a few moments of the sun on my face, and I breathe a bit deeper to take it all in.  I’m planning on getting in a few good walk/runs in my local parks this weekend as well.  The trees are just starting to turn colors, which is always a treat for my eyes and spirit. 

Pumpkins! Pumpkins!  I just love the sight, smell and taste of anything pumpkin -- I smile whenever I see a house decorated with mums and pumpkins, and salivate when I smell a pumpkin pie or anything that has those deee-lishous spices wafting across the room and tickling my nostrils.  In fact, today I am having lunch with a friend at Whole Foods and I plan on having a one-scoop serving of their to-die-for pumpkin gelato!

When was the last time you stopped and focused on and counted your blessings for some of the most mundane things in your day?  Like a bed to sleep in, a flushing toilet, hot and cold clean water, food in your belly, clothes on your back, a car with gas in it?  Our senses of taste, touch, hearing, sight, smell?  We often forget how fortunate we are to have these riches, so take a moment right now. 

Have you washed your hands?  Okay, now I sound like a real mom, don’t I?  But, take a minute to run some warm water, then lather up and feel the creamy sensation of the suds on your skin and the heat of the warm water.  It really feels great.

How about stretching?  I am always amazed at how great it feels (and mucho relaxing as well) when I take a few minutes to stretch and flex my weary body and bones.  For a guide to ten basic stretches from the Mayo Clinic surf over to

Now, I’m about to make a confession.  I’m a H-U-G-E Pinterest fan.  If you don’t already know, is a website that offers you the opportunity to create virtual corkboards of all the things that interest you.  I love surfing around for creative ideas, art, quotes, recipes and lots of things that make me laugh.  There’s no limit to what you can see or pin.  It’s a great diversion for a few minutes and just plain fun.  You can follow me at and I hope you’ll exercise your creativity and childlike curiosity and imagination there. (I even have a board just about pumpkins - yes, I'm a tad freakish about my pumpkin passion!)

So… wild women… what simple pleasures are your favorites?  What tickles you?  Please take a moment now to write me at or make your comments here, and we can share with our community our little ways to feel better.  Also, if you like this blog, please pass it along, and take a moment to subscribe so I can visit you in your mailbox and you won’t miss a thing! Scroll down on the left column to subscribe before you go.

Exercise your “count your blessings” and “enjoy life” muscles this weekend, take time to worship and give thanks, and remember to love those around you with everything you’ve got – it will only come back to you a hundredfold someday.

With love and blessings,

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wild Women Wednesday

Wild women are squatters!  Huh?  What?  Did you just say I look like a fireplug?  No, no, no... I'm not trying to be cheeky (sorry, couldn't resist)... and I'm not talking about stealing property or what we do in a filthy garage rest room (and you KNOW who you are)!

We're talking about exercise here, and today we're getting to the bottom line - your booty!  Prevention Magazine had a great article about workin' that thang so it's toned and tight, and one of the best exercises to work the lower back, glutes, quads and hamstrings is the squat.  So I searched for a bunch of pictures on google to put to most of the exercises mentioned in the article (see link at end of post to go there yourself), because I'm a visual learner and need to see what I'm supposed to be doing.  No buts about it, these work!

So... look it over, and try a few to maximize your assets!  And remember, ALWAYS check with your doctor before beginning any exercise program.  The last thing you need is to come into the office wearing a sling around your bum because you strained your derrière.  Yeah... explain that one clearly!


1. Chair Squat
Stand with your back to a chair seat, shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up, feet shoulder-width apart. Slowly lower your butt to the chair seat, tap it on the chair, then slowly rise. Repeat 15-20 times.

2. Standard Squat
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up, feet shoulder-width apart. Rest your weight in heels (you can lift your toes slightly off ground to serve as a reminder). Swing your hips back, don’t bend knees into the squat position until your hips are all the way back. Stick your butt out, and aim to have your thighs parallel to the ground. Repeat 15-20 times.

3. One-Legged Squat
Stand to the side of a pole or some other stable structure, gripping it with your left hand. Raise your right leg and hold it out straight. Keep proper squat form, bending at the hips and lowering your left knee, taking care that your back is not bending and that your left knee is not going out past your toes. Return to standing, repeat 15-20 times and then switch sides.

4. Side Squat
Stand with your legs together, shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up. Your feet, again, are shoulder-width apart. Step to the side with the right leg and lower into a squat. Then stand up, bringing the left leg in to meet the right. Do 10 squats in that direction, stop, and head back for 10 more in the opposite direction.

5. Squat Jump
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward, chin up and feet shoulder-width apart. Rest your weight in your heels and swing your hips back into a full standard squat. From the squat position, jump up and land in a squat position. Repeat 15-20 times.

6. Squat Kick
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward, chin up and feet shoulder-width apart. Rest your weight in your heels and swing your hips back into a full standard squat. From the squat, rise up and kick your foot forward. Repeat 10-15 times; take a 10-second break; then repeat with opposite leg.

7. Goddess Squat
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up. Assume a wide-legged stance (wider than shoulder-length apart), pointing your toes out to either side, like a plié. Bend your knees so your thighs are parallel to the ground and your butt will remain under the body, not sticking out toward the imaginary wall behind you. For an added challenge, jump up, keeping legs wide, and land in the modified squat position. Repeat 15-20 times.

8. Sumo Squat with Karate Kick
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up. Assume a wide-legged stance, toes pointing forward. Swing your hips back into a standard squat. Return to standing while kicking right leg straight in front of your body. Return to the standard squat position and do the same on the left leg. Alternate for a total of 20 reps.

9. Goblet Squat
Stand with your shoulders rolled back, chest facing forward and chin up. Your feet should be shoulder-width apart. Clasp your hands in front of your chest, elbows extending away from the body (or hold a dumbbell vertically in front of your chest from one end). Swing your hips back into a standard squat and lower as far down as possible—further than a normal squat. Think about bringing your butt as close to the ground as you can. Keeping your weight in your heels, push yourself back up to the starting position. Repeat 10-15 times.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Muddle Through Monday

Anybody out there have a hard weekend?  One of those achy-breaky heart times?  Maybe you’re going through a rough time physically?  Financially?  Relationally?  Whatever you're going through -- it causes you to hurt from the minute your eyes open in the morning through the tossing and turning fitfulness of those sleepless nights?  Worries, anxiety, loneliness… all your constant companions? 
So how do you cope?
There are many ways both healthy and, er, uh… hmmm… not so much healthy.  Prayer, exercise, talking things through with a friend, journaling… good stuff.  Crying – good stuff, gets it all out, but can go into not so much if you can’t stop for days.  Retail therapy?  Could be a little good unless you blow your budget.  Drugs, alcohol, food?  Okay, I’m the first one to admit that men will come and men will go, but wine, chocolate and Hagen Das are always faithful, won’t cheat on you, will patiently listen, and are loyally and dependably ALWAYS there.  However… let’s all remember that nothing and no one is ever worth your health.  And face it, do you really want to gain a bunch of weight over this?  Will it really help?  Frankly,butt/thigh/belly enlargement is not my idea of therapy!  Remember, wild women, looking FAB-ulous is ALWAYS great revenge!  In fact, I am wearing an extraordinary pair of 4” heel leopard print and black leather therapy shoes today that were even 50% off – now that’s smart and inexpensive therapy, let me tell you!
But seriously, getting through a day, sometimes an hour can be a monumental effort when you’re in pain.  I understand – been there more times than I’d like to remember, got the tee-shirts, and burned them.  Just take it one hour at a time.  I am an advocate of sitting with the pain and going through it, not stuffing it away and pretending you’re fine.  Until we go through it, we can’t learn to be stronger.  But that doesn’t mean you dwell in it forever.  Find some true blue friends that will support you (and I thank God EVERY DAY for the amazing, supportive, patient, kind and loving friends (and did I mention patient) who gather round me and love on me endlessly when I’m going through a bad time.  Don’t crawl into bed and pull the covers over your head – (maybe for a day is okay), but then get up, shower, fix your face, put on your best outfit, and get out of the house.  Walk, exercise, work on a project, at night cozy up and watch some old movies that make you laugh or have strong women characters.  Do things that make you happy.  Journal – write out your feelings and let them flow like your tears.  Dance, listen to music – but don’t spend hours listening to all the songs that make you sad or bring back memories – not so much! But yourself a beautiful bouquet of flowers.  Find a friend who needs help, and go help her - or volunteer at your local community center or place of worship -- get out of yourself for awhile.
In my experience, the only true healer of pain is God and time.  Wish there was an instant fix, but that's about as real a fairy tale as most "and they lived happily ever afters". Fifteen minutes at a time, an hour, a day… and eventually it will get better.  And if you find you can’t seem to get out of your own way, that’s okay, too.  Find a coach or counselor that can help you – been there, done that, and it was healing and therapeutic and wonderful. 
Most of all don’t think you have to go through it alone.  You don’t. There is a light at the end of the tunnel… and it’s not always a train.  You are strong, and you are courageous, and you will get through and flourish.
So tell me, how do you get through a rough patch?  Please comment because we can share the wealth and healing, and who knows how reading your comments might help another?