Why I Eat Juice Plus

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First, notice that I said, “Why I EAT Juice Plus.”  Juice Plus is food; not a vitamin, not a supplement (although you do supplement your already good diet or your poor diet by eating it), and not a medicine.

Why I started eating Juice Plus.

I started eating Juice Plus so I could get it for my youngest son, who is 16.  He rarely eats vegetables or fruit and as a health coach I know the importance of eating fruits and vegetables every day.  I also started eating Juice Plus because Dr. Sears recommends it and because I realized that I do not eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables myself.

Why I will keep eating Juice Plus.

I will keep eating Juice Plus because when other people are fighting colds and headaches and catching the bugs that go around, I am not.  That is not to say I will never get sick again, I know that is probably not the case.  The fact is, I have not had any of my “normal” allergy problems that I had before eating Juice Plus.  Migraines are almost totally eliminated.  Joint pain is minimal.  Energy level is higher than ever.  And lately I’ve noticed my sense of smell is much more heightened as well, this is not always a good thing.  And just to be honest, as much as I try to eat healthy, I know I need to do a lot better.  Just as a reminder, we should be eating 7 to 12 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.  This is what I ate yesterday and how many servings of fruits and vegetables were included.


Breakfast:  30 fruits and veggies (My Juice Plus Trio) My coconut/almond milk not so smoothie…1 serving of pumpkin

Lunch: Juice Plus Complete (more fruits and veggies)

Snack: Sweet potato chips with hummus-I think I can count that as one serving of veggies between the chips and the hummus, but I didn’t measure it.

Dinner: Greek Yogurt parfait with maybe a whole strawberry and two blueberries.

Snack: Bacon, egg & cheese cup.

Now you see why it is important to me to eat Juice Plus every day.  If I didn’t eat my juice plus, I might be lucky to say that I eat two or three servings of fruit and veggies per day.  Most days I eat a salad as well, but yesterday was a busy day and I didn’t have time.


Here’s a challenge.  Take a week and write down everything you eat, and keep in context how many servings of fruit and vegetables you are getting in each meal.  Maybe you do better than me.  It will really put things into perspective for you if you keep track for a week.

Why I will never go without my Juice Plus.

When I first started eating Juice Plus, I went to a smoothie party and I heard several people say that they would never stop eating their Juice Plus.  I had only been eating Juice Plus for a couple weeks at that time and hadn’t really noticed any major changes yet, so I was still skeptical.  I tend to like to see for myself about most things, and I don’t just believe everything I hear.  I didn’t realize at that time what a huge change it would make for me personally, but I do now.  I feel exactly the same way:  I will give up just about anything else in my grocery budget in order to keep eating Juice Plus.  I tried juicing; it was ok, but the preparation and clean up was so tedious I just couldn’t make myself keep doing it.  And when I would try making some different juices for variety, sometimes I would ruin the whole batch and it was really expensive.  I know for myself Juice Plus has really simplified my life for me.  I love the Juice Plus complete because I drink that for lunch nearly every day and it takes so little time to pack my lunch.  It costs me $2.00 a day for lunch which is about $5.00 less than when I go to Wendy’s to get a salad.  The only other way I could eat lunch for $2.00 is to go to McDonalds and that is just not going to happen.

I love my Juice Plus.  I wish I had learned about it a long time ago, but maybe I wouldn’t have been ready back then.  Take the challenge.  Write down what you eat every day for a week and see how you’re doing with your fruits and vegetables.  I think you’ll find it very interesting.


If you would like more information about Juice Plus, check out m-t4.juiceplus.com or comment below. 




Prime Time Health

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We had an amazing time Monday night with my first Wine & Wellness event.  We gathered at Hamlet Vineyards, had a few appetizers, a glass of wine or Sangria and learned a little bit about how we can make some positive, but simple changes in our lives.

On October 18, 2016, I will be going more in depth on how to change our lifestyles to improve, adjust, and sometimes completely overhaul our eating habits.  Most of us will admit that we don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables, we don’t exercise enough and we probably don’t get nearly enough sleep.  As I was going through my health coaching certification process, I learned that even I am not as healthy as I thought I was.  (And I thought I was pretty healthy!)

One of the reasons I went back to school to be a health coach was because I wanted to learn how everything works in our bodies.  Why does fat affect us the way it does?  How much fat is good?  Is all fat bad?  I used to believe that a no fat diet was the very best diet you could possibly use, but I was wrong.  What about how to balance protein and carbs?  Can people who are diagnosed with diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and other illnesses get completely well without prescription medication?  For as long as I can remember I have not wanted to take prescriptions in any form.  It is a very rare occasion that I will take a prescription.  I have to be desperate.

Let me tell you about a time I was desperate.  A few years ago, I got a promotion from working out on the floor, which was a very physical job, to working in an office.  At the time I was just really excited about getting the promotion, which also came with a raise, that I didn’t think about the effects it would have on me physically.  I was in good shape physically, my weight was where it should be, I had muscle tone and other than the “normal” joint pain and migraines & allergies that I had come to accept as part of my life, I felt pretty good.  After only a year of sitting more than I was working physically I started to experience a pain in my hip that was not normal.  Eventually it started to radiate down my leg, and before long the pain was even in the bottom of my foot.  My leg was tense all the time and I felt like I couldn’t relax, even when I was in bed.  I had already been taking ibuprofen pretty much every four hours almost every day, but it wasn’t even making a dent in the pain I was having.  I was going to the chiropractor at least once a month, sometimes even more often than that.  I started adding tylenol to the ibuprofen most days with very little relief.  You may have figured out by now that the pain I was experiencing was sciatica pain.  I looked on the internet for every possible natural remedy that didn’t involve prescriptions.  I had already been to my doctor who recommended steroids, but I refused.  After nearly a year of trying everything, including yoga, using a tennis ball for massage, chiropractor and prayer (continually), I decided it was time to give in and try the prescription.  At that point, I was getting desperate.  Right at the same time I decided to take the prescription, my husband and I decided to go to Alabama for some training related to his job in paint and body repair.  I didn’t know how I was going to ride 9 hours to get to the hotel, but somehow I made it.  After the training we went to visit my older sister in Birmingham for the night.  In the morning, we were getting ready to leave for the 8 1/2  hour drive back home and I was in so much pain that I was in tears.  My sister made a suggestion to me that led me to research a natural anti-inflammatory that I found on the internet that very day.  I had been taking the steroids for almost a week by then with no notable relief.  I stopped taking the steroids and as soon as I got the natural anti-inflammatory I started taking it.  After only taking the natural anti-inflammatory for one week, I started noticing a difference.  After a month, the pain was nearly gone.  After a month and a half, I was so excited that I did not have any more pain in my hip.  That is when I realized how much inflammation affects our bodies.

It was after I went through my trouble with my sciatica that I decided I wanted to go back to school to be a health coach.  I wanted to learn how to be healthy, not just skinny, and how to really be healthy deep down, not just look good.  I realized very quickly that my new sedentary job had a lot to do with my trouble and that I was going to have to intentionally exercise now that my job did not require it from me.

I said all that to say this.  Prime Time Health is all about how to be healthy from the inside out.  It is about all four aspects of health: Lifestyle Exercise Attitude and Nutrition.  We are very diverse people and have different likes, dislikes, desires and gifts, but all of us some of the same things.  We all need a lifestyle that leads us to better health, rather than to growing old too fast.  We all need to move our bodies on a regular basis so that things work the way they’re supposed to with less or no pain.  We all need an attitude that is positive and that shows that we want to succeed at whatever we are doing…a can-do attitude.  And lastly, but possibly most importantly we all need to learn what good nutrition is and how to integrate it into our daily, busy lives.

If this sounds like something you would be interested in, please contact me for more information.  I will be posting an event on Facebook, for those that follow me there, I will also have an event sign up here on my website so that you can pay for your ticket in advance.  Just look down the left side of the page and you will see it under “Events”.   I will need to know how many people will attend as soon as possible.

I truly believe we can learn how to take better care of ourselves and how we can live a longer, healthier life.  I hope you will join me Oct. 18, 2016 at 6:30 pm.


Tower Garden Update 8/2016

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You know, I really consider myself to be fairly intelligent, definitely not dumb,but when it comes to websites and downloading/uploading pictures and getting them to work right, it can make even the smartest person feel a little dumb.  Several days ago I took pictures with my phone, thinking I could just upload them to my website right from there and it would be so simple.  Not simple at all.  I ended up taking the pictures again with my camera and loading them on to my computer so I could attempt to get them uploaded without such a struggle.  So this is the resulting update. 🙂


We had a few pretty dry weeks, so my dirt garden is looking a little rough.  Actually, everything except the peppers are pretty well done for.  I did water a little bit here and there, but for the most part, I kind of let nature have it’s way.  I have gotten a total of about 2 1/2  dozen tomatoes from the tomato plants in my dirt garden.


My tower garden on the other hand, is still flourishing.



These pictures were taken last week.  I had so much trouble with my website uploading pictures that I couldn’t get things to work right until now.  Having faster internet has certainly helped!

TG 8416 2

TG 8416 1



I had to trim off some dead leaves, etc. so these are pictures I took today.



The following pictures are of my traditional dirt garden.  It is looking pretty sad.



So far I only have two new flowers on my dirt garden tomatoes, at least most of the leaves are still green.  I’ve trimmed back all the dead leaves, so there’s not much left.  As you can see, I’ve kind of let the weeds grow up again, too.  It has been way too hot to be out there weeding the garden.   On my tower garden I have dozens of flowers and I counted 17 tomatoes and 7 peppers so far.

The peppers were my most successful plants in my traditional garden.  I harvested a bunch of hot banana peppers and a new pepper that I tried this year called a Cajun Bell.  They are pretty spicy, but really good.  The bell peppers have not done very well, I think I’ve harvested two and I have about four out there now.  I’m counting on my tower garden to come through on those.

In all I harvested about 3 dozen tomatoes from my traditional garden, and I had about twenty plants.  I have harvested nearly a dozen from the tower garden and I have seventeen more growing.  The only thing I’ve noticed is that it seems the growing time for the tower garden is longer than the traditional garden.  I did put the tower garden under my step daughters arch from her wedding since it was here and I didn’t want the hot Southern Virginia sun beating down on my tomatoes in the heat of the day.  Oh, I almost forgot!  My basil in the tower garden is still doing great as well.  I have to say my herbs that I grew in dirt this year have done very well.  Next year I plan to grow even more herbs since I have figured out how to grow them now.





I am really happy with my tower garden so far.  It has really been very little physical work at all.  I check it just about every day, mainly because I sit at the table right next to it every chance I get.  I check to make sure the water level is right, and I check the pH fairly regularly as well.  The tomatoes seem to like the higher pH but the peppers not so much.  It really is quite simple, even when I have to trim the roots back.  The only thing I’m wondering is how am I going to move this inside in the fall?  I’m tempted to build a screened porch that I can close up in the winter just to keep my tower garden growing all year!





Serious about my health

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I am pretty serious about my health, I always have been.  When I was young, maybe even as early as 5 years old, I started having headaches.  Back then there wasn’t a lot of information in our circle about migraines, but as I’ve gotten older I believe they were migraine headaches.  My mother has said that I would come inside from playing and lay on the couch and cry because my head would hurt so bad.  She would try to get me to stop crying because it only made it worse, but as a small child you can’t always understand how that works.  My mother and grandmother tried to research and find out what could be causing the headaches, they thought maybe allergies, but my grandmother passed away when I was 13 before really finding out what was causing my headaches.  We didn’t go to the doctor all the time, which I’m thankful for today, so we didn’t have a lot of tests done or take any prescriptions.  I remember taking Tylenol to school with me as early as 10 or 11 years old, just so I could get through the day.

When I was around 21 or 22, maybe even when I gave birth to my oldest son, my headaches seemed to lessen.  I had spent a good share of my teen years starving myself so that I could lose weight, so it’s very likely that nutrition had a part in causing the headaches.  As I got older, I noticed that certain times of the month the headaches would appear for a few days and it was my father who introduced me to Excedrin for Migraines.  I literally lived on that stuff for a while.  Fortunately for me, if I caught the headache early, the Excedrin would usually kick in (especially if I drank a cup of coffee with it) after about 30 minutes and I could feel sort of human.

I also struggled with joint pain from a very young age.  My paternal grandmother had crippling arthritis, so I guess I just assumed I was going to have arthritis as well, so I just accepted it.  I started taking ibuprofen on a pretty regular basis starting in my late teens.

Even though I was experiencing quite a bit of pain, I never liked the idea of taking prescription medication.  When I gave birth to my first son I planned to have him naturally, without any medication.  Unfortunately we had to have an emergency C-section so natural didn’t happen, but even when I came home from the hospital and they wanted to prescribe me something for pain I didn’t want to take it.  When I had both of my bunions removed at the same time they gave me some sort of pain prescription which I took the very first day.  It made me sleep so much I decided to stop taking it.  I have a hard time understanding how people can get addicted to something that just makes them sleep all the time.  I totally understand being so depressed that you would rather sleep, but I am just way too active for that.  Exercise definitely does more for me than sleeping does.


My point in all this is that I really hate prescription medicine for anything.  There are too many adverse side effects and most of the time you’re only masking the symptoms.  So, about a year ago I began researching a diet that would help with inflammation and pain so that I could live a life that reflected how young I feel, even if I’m not really that young. 🙂  The very best diet for inflammation, pain, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and many other ailments and diseases is a diet rich in fruits and vegetables and lean meats (preferably poultry and fish), nuts, grains and beans.  The Mediterranean diet is a great example of this type of diet.  I started trying to implement the Mediterranean diet as soon as possible, but I found it was really difficult to get enough fruits and vegetables in my diet.  I love fruits and vegetables, but I just couldn’t eat enough of them.

After I started eating more fruits and vegetables I noticed a change in my headaches.  I was getting them much less frequently.  Then I found Juice Plus.  Juice Plus is a capsule or a gummy that you take every day.  It is not a vitamin.  It is whole fruits and vegetables, including the skin and seeds.  This is a quote from an article I read today:

Research shows that 90% of a fruit’s or vegetable’s antioxidant power is in the peel or just below the skin. Does your supplement contain the peel, skin and pulp? More importantly, is it safe to take these isolated supplements in a pill rather than as part of the food they naturally occur in? Or could there be side effects from taking them in a way that is not natural to our body?

The naturally occurring compounds in whole foods allow the body to identify the nutrients, thus the body can use what it needs and discard or store any excess of the nutrients.

Since I started taking Juice Plus in April of this year, I can count on one hand how many migraines I’ve had.  The few headaches that I’ve had have been very mild and I think I have only taken Excedrin twice.  I have not taken any ibuprofen for pain in over 6 months.  For those who don’t know me very well, this might not seem like a very big deal, but I was taking ibuprofen every 4 hours while I was awake pretty much daily.  I no longer struggle with sciatica pain, I have minimal (almost non-existent) migraines, and very little joint pain.  I do occasionally have muscle pain related to zumba, walking or other exercise that I have implemented into my life to reduce the amount of time I am sitting at my desk.

I share all this with you because I believe in Juice Plus.  I believe in a healthy diet with exercise, and I believe that people can and should be healthy.  We can all take control of our own health if we really want to. It isn’t always easy.  I know trying to change our diets in the world of fast food and eating out more than we eat at home can be difficult.  If I had the money to open a fresh fast food restaurant I would do it in a minute.  We need more healthy options out there!  For now, I am going to keep telling people about Juice Plus and I’m going to keep buying it for my family, because I know it works!

fruits  smoothies

If you want more information about the health benefits of Juice Plus, including helping with symptoms from chemo therapy and other cancer related side effects, check out my website at m-t4.juiceplus.com or email me at lifestylemuse.net with any questions you may have.


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caboose left

It seems to be a common theme lately in the things I’ve been reading that we just have to learn to live in today.  I think all of our lives we’re taught to plan for the future in one way or another.  From the time we are born our parents are thinking way ahead so they can help us figure out what we’re supposed to do with the rest or our lives.  When we are in school, we wish time would go by faster so we can get home and play, watch tv, play video games, or talk to our friends.  When we are at work, unless we really love our jobs, we’re wishing we could get home to do all those things we want to do at home.

Looking back I have found that most stages of my life I have wished I could be at a different stage.  Especially when I’m going through something really difficult, I wish it would pass, I wish for better days, hope for things to improve.  The problem with that view of life is that we are always looking for something else, something other than what we have right now.  The truth is, all we have is right now.  There is no guarantee that tomorrow will even come, but we wish for things, hope for things and dream about what could be.  Obviously, dreaming, hoping and believing are a very necessary and important part of life.  The problem comes in when we don’t take care of today, because we’re too busy worrying about, or planning for tomorrow.

I can remember when my first husband and I were struggling financially.  I had a budget figured out that would help us get out of debt and hopefully save some money.  Each week I would look at the bills that needed to be paid and figure out how much of the paycheck had to go to each bill.  All week long I waited for that paycheck so I could pay those bills and mark one more thing of my list.  Then payday would come, I would go to the bank, pay the bills and get a few groceries and then I would start waiting for the next paycheck.  It was a sad routine, not one I would wish on anyone.

Its easy to tell someone to stop trying to live in the future and live in today, but its a little harder to actually do it.  We need to make some plans, have some goals and dream about the future, we just can’t live there.  If you have kids, you know how hard it is not to be thinking way into the future and trying to figure out how to help them get where they (or maybe just we) want to go.

I’ll be honest with you.  I haven’t mastered this living in today yet.  I’m still working on it, and I have to keep reminding myself to do it.  I like making lists and marking things off, I like setting goals and reaching them, and I like having a plan, but more than that I want to actually enjoy the little unplanned things that happen.  Like selling my car yesterday after trying for over a year with no success.  Now I have to find another car a little quicker than I anticipated, but I am looking forward to enjoying the experience and trying not to rush it by.  Hopefully I will even find a car that I really like, so I don’t keep wishing for a different one.

My youngest son will be a junior in high school this fall and I distinctly remember wishing he would get out of the terrible twos!  Now I find myself wishing he would slow down a little.  I think as we get older, we all wish things would slow down a little.  My best advice is, try to enjoy today.  Try not to numb yourself to the problems, or the pain or the difficulties.  Try to learn from them the best you can and experience everything life has for you.  The more you learn to accept that today is all you really have, the easier it will be to actually enjoy it and the easier it will be to let other people enjoy it, too. Let your kids be kids today, learn to laugh at the silly things that they find funny.    Let yourself live and feel and experience every moment that comes to you.  If you don’t like how things are going, figure out how to change it.  If you do like how your life is going right now, find a way to keep things that way.

Most of all, take care of yourself today.  Do the things today that will help make you healthier, stronger, happier and wiser.  Read that book you’ve been meaning to read.  Take that walk, or go buy that kayak you’ve been talking about.  Call that person you really want to talk to, but haven’t had the nerve to contact yet.  Do the very best thing you can for yourself today, and then tomorrow you can do it all again.


Iced Coffee & Relationships

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Some days I just wish things were easy.  Well, let’s be honest, most days I wish things were easy, but they rarely are easy.  It would have been easier to stop at Sheetz or McDonald’s (yuk) on my way home from work today instead of buying a bag of ice and coming home and making my own iced coffee.  I have figured out though, that I really prefer my own iced coffee and it’s much less expensive than most places.  I know it seems like a silly reference, but I love coffee, and especially iced coffee on a hot afternoon, so coffee it is.

My life right now is very mixed up.  I’m trying to learn as much as I can so I can help people learn how to live more healthy.  I’m trying to share about Juice Plus as often as I can so I can help as many people as I can to add more fruits and vegetables to their diet.  I’m trying to exercise myself, as well as teach other people how to get active and move more.  Even more than all that, in the last several years I have been trying to figure out who I am.  And now, in the midst of all this (and more), my marriage is seriously on the rocks.  My family is hurting and my husband and I are trying to figure out where we go from here, but more importantly, HOW we go from here.

I was talking to my sister yesterday and she said something that really stuck with me.  She said if you don’t know how, you can learn.  Seems so simple, but it’s true.   And to learn, sometimes you have to find someone smarter, or maybe just more experienced than you and be willing to learn from them. It’s hard to admit when you’ve allowed things to get so bad that you just don’t want to deal with them anymore.  It’s even harder to admit that you’ve known things were bad for a long time and you just weren’t willing to do what you needed to in order to make things right.  We all get that way sometimes.

Really everything in life can be related to our relationships and iced coffee.  When you let things go in a relationship, it starts to get unhealthy, but you don’t always get it taken care of right away.  Then eventually, things get so unhealthy that you wonder if you shouldn’t just scrap it and start over.  Lots of people have allowed their bodies to get to a point that they are unhealthy and they either don’t know how to get better or they’re not willing to make the changes it will take to get healthy again.  So, they go for the quick fix and get a prescription, hoping it will make them feel better, and for a while it does.  But eventually they realize they are spending a lot of money on medications that really aren’t fixing the problem, they are really only masking the symptoms.  Most people realize, even if they don’t want to admit it, that unless you get to the core problem, you’ll never really be healthy.  It’s true of your physical health and its true in the health or your relationships.  In both cases, it takes a lot of determination and dedication to make the changes that are necessary for healing.  In the case of relationships, all of the people involved really have to be committed to making changes or the relationship(s) will not survive.  Fortunately, when it comes to our bodies, we are the only ones who really have to be committed to making the changes.

How does all this relate to iced coffee?  Well, if I stop on my way home from work and get iced coffee from somewhere, nine times out of ten I’m going to be disappointed.  It takes a little more time and effort on my part to come home and make it myself, but it is so much better.  I am rarely ever disappointed in my own iced coffee.

Even at my age, I realize that I have a lot to learn about relationships.  I am still learning about myself, who I am, who I want to be, and where I’m going.  I am willing to take the time to learn more about how I can improve, what I need to do to have better relationships, and what it’s going to take for my marriage to survive what seems to be a major shipwreck.  I am also willing to learn what it’s going to take to be healthy, both physically and emotionally, and I’m willing to commit to doing what it takes.  I know it won’t be easy.  Sometimes I will probably feel like giving up, scrapping it and starting over, and I’ll probably feel like running away sometimes.  The truth is, there are lots of times in life that I have run away, scrapped it and started over and even quit, but the best results come from sticking with it, working hard, and seeing things through. It takes more work, but it really is better in the long run.

I know this is really kind of personal, but I think that sometimes we have to share who we really are with each other.  I don’t have it all together.  Sometimes I don’t eat right, some days I just don’t feel like exercising, and some days I’m not as nice as I wish I was, but I keep at it.  Sometimes it just helps to know that we are all in this together, and we can help encourage each other and try to be positive, even when things don’t look all that positive.  There is a writer that I follow, Glennon Doyle Melton, who says, “We can do hard things” and it’s true.  We CAN do hard things, especially if we do them together.

My tower garden

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This is my new Tower Garden!  I got it last week and I decided to document my progress in putting it together, planting the seeds and growing my own fresh vegetables.  When it comes, it’s in a very large box, but it’s not terribly heavy so you can move it around pretty well where you want it.

tower on table

This is everything that was in the Tower Garden box.  It looks like a lot, but it’s really pretty simple to put together.  I did it all in about 30 minutes or so.

tower set up

I will say it is a little bigger than I pictured, but still easy enough to move around and light enough to pick up and move myself if I need to.  I took it to a vendor fair last weekend and it wasn’t all that difficult to transport.


This is right after I planted the seeds.  I have them in the house to start with, after they get big enough I will put them in the tower garden and hopefully put them out on my front porch.


After only a few days, I already have sprouts!  Mostly the lettuces have sprouted, but I’m sure in just a few days my tomatoes and eggplant and peppers will be coming up as well!   As soon as they are big enough to transplant into the tower garden, I will post more pictures!!!

This past weekend, May 13, 2016, I worked on setting up my tower garden with the plants in it and got my raised garden weeded out and planted.

tower garden set up

It took me about an hour to get the water in the base, add the proper amount of minerals, and then test the ph and get it set up correctly.  Then just a few minutes to put the plants in the mesh pots and turn it on.  I tried to choose a spot in my front yard where it will get sun, but not too much of the hot afternoon sun.  Then, last night the temps got down to 34 degrees.  I’m hoping when I get home today my plants are still alive.  Also on Friday, I spent several hours getting the weeds out of my raised garden and then finally planting my raised garden.

full garden weeds

garden partially weeded

garden weeded

garden planted

For anyone who has ever prepared and planted a garden, you know just how much work it is.  It takes time and a lot of effort to get all the weeds out and then run the tiller one more time.  My husband usually does the tilling, but this time I really wanted to get the garden in on Friday, so I did it myself.  He makes it look a lot easier than it is, I can tell you that much.  The end result is that I have 36 plants in my raised garden.  I have 2 zucchini squash plants, 4 yellow squash, 3 different types of peppers (6 plants in all), one mini eggplant and the rest are tomatoes.  All of this is planted in approximately 160 square feet  of dirt.  I also have 20 plants in my tower garden (if they survived the cold last night) including eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and basil and the tower garden only takes up about 2 square feet.

I really enjoy getting out and working in the yard, I welcome the exercise, but I know there are some people who cannot get out and work in a garden.  And there are people who don’t have the space to grow a garden as well.  People in some states really struggle with being able to water their gardens, so quite often they don’t even try to grow their own food.  These situations are where the tower garden is so helpful.  The initial investment in water is only 20 gallons, and over time you will  need to add more a little at a time.  The investment in the tower garden itself may seem a little pricey at first, but when you can harvest all year it really does pay for itself.  I am looking forward to having fresh tomatoes growing in my house all year long, so I don’t have to buy those bland, flavorless tomatoes you get in the grocery store anymore. To find out more information about the tower garden, you can visit my website at m-t4.towergarden.com.

tg update

This is how my plants look today.  I did lose the original seedlings to the very cold night we had unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago.  I bought new plants at the farm market and washed all the dirt off the roots and planted them in the tower garden.  They are growing very well and I actually already have a tiny tomato growing already.  I can’t wait to see how quickly they grow.  My dirt garden is doing very well also! (May 30, 2016)

I thought it may be time for an update on the tower garden.  I spent a couple of hours the last two nights weeding my dirt garden and staking up my tomatoes.  I will say they have gotten a little out of hand.  Here in Southern Virginia it has been a little cooler the last two days so I was thankful for that, but it was still pretty hot.  I thought it would be funny to share that I spent several hours working on my dirt garden and then I spent about 10 minutes checking the ph on my tower garden (which was perfect, by the way) and looking over my plants.  The tower garden plants are not as thick as the ones in the garden, but they look very healthy and I have a few tomatoes already.

garden 1  garden 2

tower garden 1tower garden 2

I’m really looking forward to comparing the harvest when I start getting tomatoes and peppers.  My basil on the tower garden is looking really great!  I will have to discipline myself to count how many I get each time or I’ll forget to compare!  (updated 6/10/2016)

Ready for the weekend!

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I am really looking forward to the 4th of July weekend!  We don’t usually have or go to big cookouts or parties, but I know a lot of people do.  It’s really difficult to stay on track around the holidays!  Even if I am just home for a much needed day off, I have to be careful not to forget all about the habits I’ve begun to form.  I have some holiday weekend advice for you!  Don’t stress about it!

I know you’re probably thinking, “Don’t stress about it!?! I’ll gain five pounds if I don’t stress about it!”  I’m not saying don’t be mindful of what you’re eating, I’m just saying don’t make it the focal point of your weekend.

I think in so many areas of our lives we sabotage our own plans by focusing so much on the things we want to change.  For people who want to quit drinking, all they think about is NOT drinking. People who want to cut back, diet, start eating better, all they think about is food.  If you’re trying to quit smoking, what is always on your mind???  DON’T smoke!  Am I right?

So what if this weekend, instead of focusing on what you’re not supposed to eat, you try focusing on spending time with people you love.  Try making a more conscious effort to talk to people, and enjoy every bit of what you experience.  Savor the foods that you do eat, don’t just mindlessly eat them.  Try to spend more time in face to face conversation with the people in the room instead of looking at your phone to see who said what on facebook, twitter or instagram.  I honestly think that we eat and drink too much when we are not paying attention to what we are doing.

Take the time this weekend to really enjoy everything.  Experience everything you can, and be intentional about what you experience.  I think you will find that if you just focus on having a good time and stop focusing on all the things you shouldn’t eat, drink, do, you will do the right things naturally.  You’ve been working hard to make new habits, just have faith in yourself that you will keep on the right track!  Have a great 4th of July and try to relax and have fun!

Feeling pretty damn good

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I’m feeling pretty damn good right now.  Maybe it was the two hours of zumba this morning for a good cause, with just a couple of breaks for a quick drink of water.  Maybe it’s because I got two compliments from complete strangers on my outfit (the one I wore for zumba and then went to Lowe’s). Maybe it’s because I’ve gained a ton of confidence in the last eight months or so.  I’m not entirely sure why I feel good, but I like it.

I’m not saying my life is devoid of frustration, struggles, aggravation and heartaches, that is far from the truth.  I am saying that somehow in the last little while I’ve figured a few things out.  One…I am not ok all the time, but that’s ok.  Two…it’s ok to feel good about myself.  Three….I don’t need any particular person, ie. spouse, friend, child to make me feel loved.  Let’s face it, if you’re counting on any of them, you’re probably going to be disappointed. I’ve figured out that I am loved regardless of what I look like, what I feel like or what I’ve been doing.  That’s pretty important to me, because I’ve spent a good share of my life doing what I thought other people expected of me so they would love me.  Not anymore.

I figured out something else, too.  I feel pretty damn good about what I look like, especially lately… in bright colors.  I’ve spent a lot of my life wearing drab colors and trying to blend in, trying to stay on the outside edge where no one will really notice me.  Somehow I thought that was protecting myself and other people.  My grandmother used to say that the women in her church were too drab, she loved color.  In that way, I think I’m becoming more like her.  If someone doesn’t like the fact that I LOVE tie dye, or that I’m learning to love the brighter colors, too bad!  I’ve also learned that if you take your picture from above you look a lot better. 🙂


I have to give credit where it’s due.   I started going to zumba around 8 months ago.  My sister in law kept asking me to go, but I was afraid.  I was afraid people would see how I have no rhythm, or that I was uncoordinated and they would laugh at me.  Eight months ago that would have destroyed me.  But, I finally decided to go.  I wanted to do something that was just for me.  So, I went and I actually loved it.  I couldn’t do most of the moves, I was behind most everyone there and I probably looked ridiculous, but not one person laughed at me.  That meant more to me than the exercise. And people seemed like they were open, caring and real, and I needed that, too.   My confidence has been building all this time.  The more I go to zumba, the more I learn how to do the moves, the better I feel about going.  I’ve met so many awesome ladies that I have become friends with that I wouldn’t even attempt to name them all.

The point I’m trying to make is this.  I’ve pretty much weighed the same for the last sixteen years, but until just the last eight months I have been self conscious, uncomfortable in my own skin and pretty much not feeling pretty or attractive at all.  Today I can honestly say I feel good about myself.  I am starting to actually enjoy exercise, especially zumba, and I am feeling stronger, prettier, and healthier.  The truth is, I feel pretty damn good.

Do you hate to exercise?

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I know as a health coach it’s just plain wrong to admit this, but I really hate working out.  I mean, there are some things I like to do, but when it comes to getting dressed, getting in my car, driving to the gym, then going in and trying to do all the things I know I should do…well, I can’t say I like it at all.  But, I know I need to work out.  So what do you do when you hate to work out, but you know you really need to do it?  Make up your own workout!  That’s what I decided to do this week.

I work a full time job that keeps me inside at a desk from 6:00 am to 2:30 pm.  A lot of evenings when I get out of work I have to stop at the grocery store, stop at the shop where my husband works, or some other kind of errand.  I try to go straight home, but that doesn’t always work.  In the summer I refuse to go to the gym, because I am already stuck inside so much of the time.  Lately, because of summer activities, zumba has been getting cancelled more often, so I haven’t been getting my exercise in like I should.  So this week I decided to do something different.

We live on a short road with a cul de sac at the end.  I haven’t measured how long the road is, but we only have four houses on our little road.  Monday I decided I was going to go out and walk on our road, so I grabbed my phone, so I could keep track of steps, and my weighted gloves and I started walking.  After about two times around,  I determined it was around 400 steps each time around, I figured I needed to do something different with my arms than just swing them.  I started out by raising my arms out in front of me shoulder high and then back down, around twenty or thirty reps.  Then I raised my arms out to the side about shoulder height and back down, about the same number of reps.  I continued walking and moving my arms in several different ways, including punching out in front of me and doing uppercut punches.  I didn’t really count how many arm raises I was doing on the first day, I just kept moving.

After about 2500 steps, I decided to take on the back yard so I could have some varying terrain.  Our road is very straight and level.  My back yard has a dip in the middle so when you start from one side and go to the other, you have to walk down a hill, then back up.  I did a very tight snake pattern on the back yard all the way to the back and back up to the front.  Last night I figured out it makes about 2500 steps there too.  I found that I can walk for almost an hour and get at least 5000 steps this way and I’m getting a work out on my arms, back, legs, and abs and I don’t get bored.  After a week or so I’m going to move up to carrying weights instead of the weighted gloves.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  The very best exercise you can do is one you will enjoy doing and do consistently.  If I get bored with this workout, I’ll come up with another one, but for now, I like this one pretty well.  I can already see toning in my arms just from three days this week!