Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sticking to the Diet at Applebee's.

Today I went Applebee's restaurant.  I wanted to stay the course, and not derail all my hard work or waste the money it cost to join Weight Watchers.  I did a little internet homework before leaving the house, and when in the restaurant, I chose a peppercorn steak meal for about 400 calories. I drank a Coke Zero and had no dessert.   I think I did well.  My stomach seemed to think differently. 

It seemed to be thinking, "Hey wait a minute, we're not done yet!"  That comes from being used to eating more, and having something sweet after the meal, even if it's just a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I ignored the stomach.  We had our drinks poured into Styrofoam cups and headed for the art show. 

I had a couple of small artworks in the show, but the most prominent thing to my eyes was the table of cookies, cake, dip, and more.  I had a small dish of fruit and that was all.  My prayer is that I can continue in this vein of good behavior. The Bible says to resist the devil and he will flee from you.  I can't remember reading anything in there about cookies. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

After One Week on Weight Watchers

I have been on Weight Watchers for one week.  At the beginning, I weighed myself, and the scale said 158 pounds.  It is hard to admit that.  When I tell people how much I weigh, they don't believe me, so I must hold the weight pretty well.  Still 158 pounds is noticeable if you are just under 5'1".  

Today I weighed myself and the scale is now at 150.  So during the first week, I lost eight pounds.  I realize that is a kick-off weight loss, and that I will not lose that much every week.  I also know that I should not lose that much every week.  But I'd like to lose an average of two and a half pounds a week.  If I lose less than that, it's still progress. Slow and steady wins the race.  Just ask the tortoise! 

I have begun to step up the activity.  I have lots of nice excuses for not doing that.  The road is too busy to walk.  It's too hot to walk outside; I'll get a heatstroke!  Gas is too expensive to drive to the mall to walk.  If I join a gym, it will just be somewhere else to have to go, and the money will be wasted, not to mention the aforementioned gas prices.  So what is a determined loser to do?

I have an indoor step ladder.  It's in the spare room.  I climb the first two steps and then back down, over and over.  And over.  Right now I'm only doing it for 10 minutes at a time, while listening to the Kindle's read-aloud feature or watching something on my netbook.  If you try this, make sure the ladder is locked into the open position.  Use a sturdy one, and carefully see how it reacts when you first try it.  I'm going to get on it right now.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Joined Weight Watchers

In this incredibly blessed land, it is really easy to overeat.  While some are worrying about getting a meal in the next few days, I'm stuffing myself with with indulgences such as the famous-to-cruisers Warm Chocolate Melting Cake and vanilla ice cream, complete with a chocolate "whale tail."  Of course like a good little girl, I ate my appetizer and main entree before digging into the dessert. 

When I downloaded the cruise pictures, I saw a picture of myself on the windy front deck of the Carnival Ecstasy, and I could not deny what the wind highlighted.  My loose-fitting blouse was plastered against the front of my torso, and I cringed.. After the cruise, I stepped on the scales  and learned that I had gained about 8 pounds, which I did not need in the first place.

I needed motivation, so a  few days ago, I joined Weight Watchers online.  The money spent is one of the motivations.  I don't like to waste money, and that will be strong incentive not to quit.    For these first 3 days, it has been quite easy.  I know that trials will come, but I am determined to do it.  I'm thinking of showing a before picture, but I am just not brave enough at this time. 

I am brand new to Weight Watchers, but I will say that they make it very easy to get started.  Within a few minutes, I knew enough to begin counting points. and I was into the program almost immediately.  If you are reading this and have any questions about it, put them in the comments section and I'll be happy to try to answer them, although I am still a newbie.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Jenna Janean James, Forever Young

Jenna, the anniversary is imminent. I'm talking about the anniversary of your leaving this earth. Right now, I'm thinking of you as a butterfly, beautiful, elusive, fleeting. It seems that you were never still for very long; how poetic that you would suddenly leave the earth at the age of 15. Sometimes the horror of your abrupt and tragic death attempts to stare me in the face. Then the grace of our merciful God takes over, reminding me that death is defeated, and you behold His presence. The dark sadness here is only temporary. The Glorious Reunion is coming.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Anger, Which Tries to Take Over

Some are easily angered; others know they can manipulate them into losing control and getting into trouble.  They think that by showing anger, they are taking control.  No--they are being controlled by those who make them mad.  Just one moment of anger could change such a person's entire life, and not for the better.  Do not let your anger do your thinking!

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Natural Life and Eternity

This life reminds me of a period at the beginning of a run-on sentence.  .The sentence runs on forever and ever and ever and ever and...

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Don't Forget the Lost Quiet Ones

So here I was, praying fervently for the salvation of the rude, disrespectful person that seemed to be a tool of that hideous satan. Do you have people in your life who seem to desperately want you to despise them?  I do.  So I pray for them.  I pray for their salvation, and that they will be all God wants them to be.

But then I saw a mental picture of the quiet person who never gives anyone any trouble, and is always compliant and helpful.  The fact that she is kind and sweet does not make her automatically saved from eternal darkness.  So now, I pray for the quiet ones, the ones whose names may not jump out at me twenty years from now.  Quiet people's names don't always stick with you the way thorns do.  So please, if you are reading this (and I suppose you must be), don't forget the lost quiet ones.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Melrose Plantation, Louisiana

Step back into time...
Melrose Plantation

Where:  Head South from Natchitoches on I-49; Exit 119 
Price:  $10 for a tour of about an hour (as of June 2010)
Open:  Daily, 12-4:00 PM, except for major holidays

A Little About Melrose Plantation

I love visiting Melrose Plantation; I've been there three times.  It consists of lovely, well-kept grounds, with several interesting buildings.  Of course, the star of the show is the majestic "big house."  This house actually was not the original main house.  That honor belongs to Yucca House, which stands in the back of the tour area. 

I won't delve deeply into the historical aspects of the story of Marie Therese Coincoin, the original owner of Yucca House; check the link below for that.  A former slave, Ms. Coincoin became the mistress of her own plantation, and owned slaves. Later,  the plantation underwent a few changes of ownership.  The Henry family did much to make Melrose what it is today, adding onto the current main house, and bringing in additional buildings.  

Mrs. Henry was hostess to several famous authors and artists.  One of the most famous artists associated with Melrose was not actually a guest.  Folk artist Clemintine Hunter was a cook and field hand.  She was inspired when she found some tubes of paint that an artist had discarded.   In an upper room of the hig house, you can see some of her original works.  Upstairs in African House, the walls are lined with murals that Clementine painted.  She created them while under the old oak tree that stands on the front lawn of Melrose. 
The guides will tell you interesting stories of  her explanations of what she painted and why she painted certain things.

There is a huge amount of information that I haven't written here.  Do see it for yourself.  It's easy to get lost in the enchantment of that place.  I wanted to just wander off alone and daydream about being an artist or a writer, invited by Mrs. Henry to stay at Melrose. 


*Melrose sits near the Cane River, which is not really a river, at least not now.  It's actually a horseshoe lake that was once a part of the Red River.  It was cut off when the Red changed course.  Real estate on the move!

*The tour guides told us that one man came to Yucca House (when the Henry family was there) to stay for six weeks and ended up staying for over thirty years.

*On my second tour, a descendant of Ms. Coincoin was one of our tour guides.  She gave a captivating portrayal of her famous ancestor. 

*African House is a unique and interesting structure, said to be the only one of its age and type in North America.

Melrose Plantation at

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Breathing Constitution?

Regarding the U. S. Constitution:  I submit that a constitution that can be changed to suit the winds of political correctness is not a living, breathing document.  It is a gasping, drying one.  The following link explains it briefly and well:

Thursday, January 6, 2011

First MRI

I wrote this article shortly after I endured my first MRI session.  I was reminded of three basic lessons that have taken me my whole lifetime to learn--lessons about life in general.  I list them below:

1. Things are usually much better than they seem.
They slid me into that tube twice. The first time, I lay on my back. As I glided into the tube, it narrowed a bit. The ceiling was just above my head. I began to feel claustrophobic, and visions of sarcophagi danced in my head. However, my fear was unnecessary. They pulled me out of the tube, and I was allowed to stand for a few minutes. I had thought, wrongly, that the tube was closed at one end, the end closest to my head. As I glanced into that tiny prison, I saw that it was actually open on both ends. So my head was never against the closed end of a tube. I felt slightly foolish and very relieved.

2. It is vital to trust other people.While lying in that tube, thinking morbid thoughts, I had to let go and trust the technicians to remember me, take care of me, and just be nice to me in general. That sounds like a no-brainer, but many of us feel a need to control all situations. When we learn to occasionally turn the reins over to other people, out lives become much easier.

3. When you cannot quiet the noise around you, turn to the Voice inside you. An MRI is noisy business. The tube was tight and I had to lie still. The procedure was somewhat loud and I had to remain calm. I turned to the Lord, communicating with Him. I don't remember exactly what I said to Him, but He was there, and I was calm. A few years ago, the turning inward would have only exposed me to my own weaknesses, or at best, my own coping strategies. There was basically emptiness. The emptiness no longer exists. I have, in accordance with lesson number 2, learned that we can't control everything about our lives, and we certainly cannot control everything about eternity. Because Jesus took my place on the cross and I accepted His gift of salvation, He now lives inside me, and prepares a place for me in eternity. As a bonus, I am able to lean on Him in this life.

Three lessons learned, a million to go!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Canvas and Other Art Supplies

Buying and Using Stretched Canvas

1. When buying stretched canvas, check to make sure the stretcher bars are not warped. I lay the stretched canvas on the floor, tapping it here and there to make sure it doesn't rock. It should lie flat on the floor.

2. If you do find yourself stuck with a warped canvas, a good, sturdy frame will likely bring it back into shape. However, you should not try to display an obviously warped, unframed canvas, even if you've carefully and beautifully painted the unstapled sides. (Note:  This happened to me!  I was displaying in a multi-artist show and did not realize the thing was warped until the show had begun.  It happened between the hanging and the show.  Ouch!)

3. You may have to add more gesso to your stretched canvas. I know most of them advertise double gesso, but if you hold the canvas up to a light, you may see tiny openings. Oils will seep through the openings and leak to the other side. So, if you see tiny holes, put on more gesso.

4. Be careful where you set your canvas. Even after several years, I've leaned a stretched canvas over things that poked dents in it. It's worse if you end up with holes.

Extra thought: Beautiful art is more important than beautiful consumable art supplies. 
I used to have a problem messing up my nice, pretty new pastels, pencils, or paint tubes. I didn't want to mess up the points or tear off the paper. I wanted to keep them pretty. I began to realize that I could either have attractive paint and pencils, or I could have great art. So when Pencils and pastels start to wear down, and when tubes start to get crinkled, great. You've been hard at work.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unexpected Contentment

I don't really like cooking.  I do all sorts of things to avoid it and when the other half says, "Let's scrounge for food tonight," I readily agree.  So why is it that when I when I am preparing food, I often encounter an unexpected feeling of contentment and even (huh?) happiness?  Maybe it's because I'm thankful to have something to cook.  Maybe it's because my family is near and okay.  Maybe I'm doing what I should do, so I feel satisfaction.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Teeth in Amos 4

Reading the Bible the other day, I was reminded that I need to read carefully. I was reading Amos 4, and came upon 4:6. The verse states,
"'But I gave you also cleanness of teeth in all your cities
And lack of bread in all your places,
Yet you have not returned to Me,' declares the LORD."

When I first read the part about cleanness of teeth, I thought that was a good thing. Hey, clean teeth are great! Clean teeth with nice, fancy breath is even better. What a silly twenty-first century person I am. The teeth are clean because they haven't seen food in no telling how long. Reading the Bible carelessly causes a lot of misunderstanding.