Refreshment · The Scenic Route · Winter

Beating the Winter Blues

The winter blues are a real thing and I find it crucial in the middle of these winter months to make special effort to stay encouraged. Simple pleasures can go a long way in perking up my dreary spirits. Here’s a sampling of some of my recent winter day activities that helped beat the blues.

The best way to defeat being down is to have my heart lifted up through the Truths of God’s Word. This year I’m reading through the Bible using a chronological plan. Already I’ve seen new truths, been comforted about God’s care and presence, and have been reminded that God always has a plan for every person in every situation. That means right now in 2021, during a pandemic, on a dreary winter day, He is at work!

My husband and I played a round of Rummikub on Sunday evening. It was a cold night, so we set up a small table in front of the fireplace and enjoyed the warmth of the fire while we played. It was warm, it was fun, and we had time together!

We had a sunny day this week and I was determined to make the most of it. This was my radio recording day, so I headed out early so I could get my Jeep washed and also do a little shopping beforehand. It was a needed morning out!

I’ve been working on redoing our family room since September and the last piece of furniture I need for that room is a love seat. I’ve been looking for months and just couldn’t find what I wanted. We took a drive to Greeneville, TN to Robert’s Furniture Store and I found this lovely piece that is going to be perfect in my newly decorated space! It will be delivered later this week and I can’t wait. I am going to paint a wall, then I’ll be anxious to make a reveal here on my blog!
If you’re in East Tennessee, you need to visit Robert’s. It’s a locally owned business with the sweetest people and quality furniture. I can’t say enough about our experience with them!

Doing what we love, my husband and I took the scenic route through the country to go to the furniture store. The views are so pretty and the drive just made my heart smile! The sky on the way home was gorgeous…

I also spent some time in the kitchen this week. I’ve made several new recipes for supper, baked some bread, made more Rice Krispy Treats (for our small group) and also some Chicken broth in my crock pot. It feels good to be productive in the kitchen!

I pray that your winter days are being filled with blessings that you recognize as gifts from God’s hands. He’s the giver of them all.

P.S. I mentioned my radio recording – in case you don’t know, I do a daily broadcast on a local radio station. My church has all the recordings on their website. I linked it earlier and I’ll link it again, here, in case you’re interested. There’s a plethora of subjects from character traits to homemaking advice. Each broadcast is 15 minutes long. It is aired each week day on WHCB at 2:30 (recently changed) and on Saturday at 3:45. This is a ministry that the Lord placed in my lap, and I feel like the most unlikely person to be on the raido! There are days I wonder if anyone hears it, but I j ust know that I’m obeying the Lord in His direction in my life. So there you have it. If it can encourage you, than I’ll rejoice!

Tell me about one of your activities that helped you beat the winter blues!

Stay refreshed this winter,

Healthy Eating · Lightened Up Recipe · Refreshment

We Lost Weight and Feel Great!

I begin this post today with a little trepidation because I was warned that if I ever shared about weight loss on my blog, I would get some hard hits and ugly comments. I’m not sure why that would be the case, but I’m confident that anyone who disagrees will do so kindly. =) I’m sharing this personal subject matter because it refreshed my husband and me in helping us feel better, and I thought it could encourage and refresh someone who may be feeling as we did early this summer. How is that? In need of taking off excess pounds.

Shepherd’s Pie

I mentioned on Monday that my husband and I decided this summer that it was time to take charge of our health. I had a high cholesterol report and we both had felt uncomfortable in our clothes and at the sight of the scale. I’m only 4’9″, so if I gain a few pounds, it looks like a lot more. We had been eating whatever we felt like, and it was beginning to show. But what to do? I had tried before to simply “watch what I eat,” to no avail. After a day or two, I’d give up and cave into my old habits, so I looked around a bit at our options…

  1. We could do one of the diets where you order their food, drink their drink and eat strange things like cauliflower everything. While I’m happy for those that are helped by these plans, this option just didn’t work well for our lifestyle. We are with people in many settings that involve food and we didn’t want to have to bring our own meal along just to accommodate a diet.
  2. We could bite the bullet and sign up for tried and true Weight Watchers. I checked out their prices and found I could initially get 3 months for around $21. I liked the fact that :
  • We could eat “normal” foods.
  • Weight Watchers would give us an amount of “points” to follow for weight loss.
  • We could track every meal on the WW app, making it super simple.
  • We could save up extra points for the times when we would be celebrating with family or friends and going a little off the diet path.
  • We could find delicious recipes not only from Weight Watchers but also other sites that tally WW points.
  • We would not be hungry because they have a long list of “Zero Point foods” that keep you snacking if you need something to eat.
  • The WW app lists tons of restaurants and the points of their menu items, making eating out a simple choice of what we could enjoy and what we needed to avoid.
  • The WW app is so easy to use and also encouraging as you use it to track your foods and also weigh in each week.

When I contacted WW to begin, they asked for my height, age, current weight and how much I wanted to lose. My goal was ten pounds; my husband wanted to take off 30. They then gave me my number of points to use each day, along with a list of Zero point foods and access to all the great recipes right on the app.

My recent post of Turkey Meatloaf in the crock pot is a WW recipe!

One benefit of having the app was that I could search for a particular food and see the point value before I indulged. It was amazing to me how high some of our “normal” foods were. Seeing the point value gave me the option of choosing to lighten up a recipe, or even have just a bite of that dessert instead of a whole piece…which, by the way, always satisfied my sweet tooth!

Here’s a photo of my app one day. I had 23 points each day. The “Weekly remaining are the “rollovers” – the points that I hadn’t used that were accumulating for a day when I might need more than the 23 points.

In three month’s time, we had both reach our goals! It came off slowly and wisely and we ate so well we never felt like we were really dieting. Oh sure, we weren’t snacking on tortilla chips at the Mexican restaurant anymore or eating sweets each day, but we had delicious and nourishing foods at every meal. I lost track of how many watermelons I purchased this summer. That was our treat with zero points!

We’re both in maintenance mode and feeling terrific. We’ve really changed the way we eat are thankful for the Weight Watchers plan that made it so easy to get on track! I’m still using the app, just to keep up with our daily points. I think it’s going to help us with the upcoming holidays and all the gatherings and wonderful foods that come with them. Again, it’s not that we won’t be indulging, but we’ll know how much to have and when to replace it with something more healthy. I’ve learned that portion control is also key. You can have that bowl of cheddar popcorn for a nighttime snack, but make it a smaller bowl. As they say, all things in moderation.

I get no kickback from my promotion of Weight Watchers, I just wanted to share it with others who might wonder how to take off unwanted pounds easily. If that’s you, I’d encourage you to at least check it out. They’re always offering start-up deals that are quite reasonable. Since your health is involved, it’s a wise investment.

If you have questions about Weight Watchers, feel free to leave it in the comments!

Some of our favorite Weight Watcher recipes:
Pork Chops with Mustard Sauce
Shepherd’s Pie
Four-Ingredient Peanut Butter Cookies
Smoky Tilapia Tacos

Refresh yourself by taking care of the body God gave you; it’s His temple.

Fall · memories · Refreshment

Bye, September, That Was Fun!

Just like the leaves scattered on my walking path, September has left some special memories of events and happenings during the month. Here are the photos from some of the blessings of those thirty days.

I had the blessing of speaking at two different ladies’ events last month. After pouring over God’s Word and seeking God’s direction in my study, it’s such a joy to my heart to get to teach women Truth from the Scriptures. Both events were so well planned out, and I believe all the ladies were just so thankful to have an opportunity to gather together. Things were different, of course, but it was still such a blessing to share this time with these precious ladies!

My husband traveled with me to the first event, and then my dear friend traveled with me to the second one. She’s a jewel, carrying my belongings, tending to any need, and also mingling with the women and serving them so well.

Then we were blessed to get to gather in Asheville as a family to celebrate Whitney’s birthday. Spite the fact that we ate outside in an alley with the cool winds whipping around our feet, we had a great time! We made the best of it by wrapping up with blankets retrieved from the car and later warming ourselves over dessert served outside of Starbucks with coffee and sunshine!

That same week we were saddened by the hospitalization of my dear dad, but thankful to the Lord that he came home after a two-night stay. These photos were the evening of the day he was discharged. How blessed we are for every day together, every dish of ice cream shared, every conversation spoken. God answered our prayers and we are rejoicing!

The next weekend took us to Pennsylvania where my husband had the joy of preaching at the installation of a dear friend as he assumed role as pastor at a church there. This church had been without a pastor for three years, so they were so excited. Our friend and his wife had been praying about returning back to ministry after a few years of rest. What a blessing to see how God prepared the way for all this to happen. My husband got to give the charge to the new pastor. We shared sweet fellowship with them in their home.

The fall colors were beautiful and we took some scenic routes and enjoyed the journey!

September had lots of miles, lots of memories, and so many blessings! Our hearts are full and thankful!

What was your best adventure in September?

I hope you’ll refresh yourself in a Bible preaching church this Sunday!

Family life · Refreshment · womanhood

The Blessing of a Sister Retreat

Sisters, sisters
There were never such devoted sisters…

I had the joy of going on a four-day Sister Retreat  last week!  This is the third time my two sisters and I have had the chance to get away together.  We started these “retreats” eleven years ago and have had three totally different kinds of events each time.

The first retreat was  a trip to New York City!  We made a long weekend of it and did all the highlights of the city!  The next time we retreated, we went to a special place – Fairhaven Ministries, near my home and stayed in a little chalet.  We walked the trails, we cooked, we prayed.

This year’s retreat was also fairly near my home.  My sisters traveled from Kentucky to Tennessee and we drove less than an hour to go to a lovely cottage on a lake.  The setting Continue reading “The Blessing of a Sister Retreat”

Encouragement · gratitude · Refreshment

(Some of) The Best Parts of My Week

I have tried really hard to keep a good attitude during these days at home.  I LOVE home and enjoy being here…but I must admit that the rainy, cold days have tried me.  One day I almost sent a text complaining about the rain, but then as the Spirit of God reminded me that it was sent from God’s hand, I wrote, “These rainy days are making me really thankful for the days when the sun shines!”

To help with keeping a right attitude, I have kept a list in my Happy Planner every day for the last several weeks of the blessings in the day.  They’re not big things, but just things that encouraged me or made me smile!  I’ll share some of the pictures of those things with you today as I did last Friday.

The sweetest gift – My husband has brought home two bouquets of flowers this week when he’s dashed into Kroger for cream or produce.  We love to check out their marked down bouquets.  Let’s face it, a bunch of fresh flowers just perk up an otherwise dreary day! He’s quite a guy to be so thoughtful.  Continue reading “(Some of) The Best Parts of My Week”