Aren’t we all kind of a Big Deal?

This photo says it all.  Little Miss Ava is a charmer in every way, beautiful blue eyes, a head full of curls and that wonderful toddler attitude that the world revolves around her,and ONLY her.

Put her in this tank top and the package is complete!Ava Grace is kinda a big deal

I just laughed when I saw her sporting this affirmation of who she is and what she is about.  We all think she is a big deal with or without the t-shirt !!     Wouldn’t it be great if we all had the self confidence to sport a shirt like this???

Why not?  Aren’t we all kind of a big deal??  No “kind of” about it.

When was the last time you gave yourself credit for anything and everything??

I am constantly amazed by the people I know and the people I meet who overcome incredible obstacles, follow their dreams despite all the naysayers, and just keep plugging away!!  They are a BIG DEAL and deserve lots of credit.

BUT so do you!!

We are great at giving ourselves credit for the big things.  What about the little everyday things??

Give yourself credit for taking out the garbage.  Take it from someone who left old shrimp in the kitchen garbage while away for a week-end.   I thought we would never get the smell out of the house!

So your assignment for today is to pretend you are wearing Ava’s tank top!   You ARE a BIG DEAL.  Start making a list of things you do and give yourself credit for them..give yourself an “ata boy or ata girl”  Keep the list going and look at it when the sun isn’t shining in your heart.

I’ll start…I am a BIG DEAL because  … I ate healthy this morning, I vacuumed up the dog hair, I wrote my blog ,  I  laughed, I replaced the toilet paper without yelling at someone and I was patient with myself!!

And lastly copy this quote and put it on your frig to remind yourself  how really wonderful you are!

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.  M. Williamsom

Make it a really BIG DEAL day!!!  Smiles,


Back in the saddle again

Its been awhile since I wrote a new blog post. Have I ever mentioned that I have turned procrastination into an art form?

Actually procrastination is not the right word. There is no right word for this but a phrase “putting what I love to do last on the list”

Turns out I have plenty of company in this unofficial club which consists mostly of women. We have good intentions but our daily to do lists are impossibly long and if the things we truly love to do make the list at all its at the bottom.

Since it is now July, all tried and true procrastinators are now finding time to make their 2010 New Years resolutions and mine is to put what I love to do at the top of the list. So the good news is you’ll be seeing more blog posts. That could also be the bad news but hey there is always the delete button!

Feel free to join me on this adventure of making New Years resolutions in July.  Its fun to break the rules!  Put what you love at the top of the list.  Make an appointment with yourself and KEEP them. Think of yourself as your friend waiting for you to keep the lunch date, movie date or whatever and make it a priority.

In addition to my New Years in July resolution I am embracing a word for each season to keep me aware of the many pleasures the different seasons bring.

My word for the summer is “savor”  Savor the summer and all its delicious offerings.

  • Take in the sun
  • Eat juicy fresh fruit and vine ripened tomatoes
  • Buy outrageous fun flip flops
  • Catch fireflies
  • Picnic…at a park or in your own backyard
  • Teach someone to swim
  • Do nothing
  • Watch the sunrise and the sunset
  • Put yourself at the top of the list and SAVOR your own loves!!!!

And in the words of those famous infomercials “but wait there’s more” There is always something more to savor, take a look around and drink it in, long cool sips of what you love about yourself and this season.

I’ve had quite a few adventures this summer ( some on purpose, some not) so stay tuned!


Keeping it simple

Did you ever wonder what would happen if we yanked the cord on everything?

When did it get all so complicated?

Even reading, one of my favorite pastimes is getting high tech.

I do have a thing for books. I read them all, ..well most of them. I was using the library quite a bit but after supporting the building of a new library wing with the fines I accumulated I decided it was easier to buy than to borrow.

After a year or two the books started to breed in my basement, and closets and when we moved it became evident I had a problem.

So I became a library partron again.

I then got the notion that I could be earth friendly, space friendly and still have all the books I wanted if I got a Kindlle or a Nook e-reader.

I was just about to take the plunge when the I-pad came out and my techy friend wait until this other thing comes out with even newer technology and you’ll be all set.


My desire to be “green” and make the techno leap vanished. I found a favorite book and leafed through the pages wistfully.

I yearned for simplicity. So I decided to go for a run. This should be easy and simple. I wish…this is how it played out..

Put on running clothes and shoes. Walk outside, check the weather, back inside. Oh wait need my phone for safety, need my running pouch ( spi it) Garmin running watch for time, speed, distance. Need to turn it on so it can find the satellite. Water, do I need water? Music..where’s my IPOD. Uh oh, Garmin is set for biking, need to set it for running. Looking for my ear phones, bathroom break. Find hat and sunglasses….40 minutes later I go running. much for simplicity

My techy friend read this and claimed the “simple” solution was to get an I-phone.


Think I will just go put on my PF Flyers so I can run faster and jump higher..maybe I can jump back in time?

Anyone with me??


More than just a daily walk

Long before I started running I was a walker.

5:15 every week-day morning found me rolling out my bed and out the door.

In the winter I appreciated the dark mornings that camouflaged my ratty, “grab what is warm” attire.  In the summer I appreciated sunglasses and hats to hide tracings of yesterdays mascara and my wild woman hair.

Most of all I appreciated what got me out of bed and moving my body, my walking partner Francy.

Just knowing she was waiting was enough to get me up and going.  We walked , griped, rejoiced and laughed for 2 miles every morning for over  10 years.

We agreed that what was “said on the walk stayed on the walk ” so no subject was taboo and there was a sense of trust and freedom with what we shared with each other.

Francy was walking long before I joined her. I initially started walking with her as a way to fit in some physical activity in my way too busy life, however those two miles became much more than exercise.

It was an incredible way to start the day sharing, pharmacy laughing, griping. We celebrated family milestones and even became grandparents for the first time in the same year. Later 2 of our grandchildren would be born on the same day!

People who routinely drove past us on their way to work either thought we were crazy or admired our dedication.

It really became a morning ritual that filled me in every way. I think it did for Francy as well

When I moved I have to say that this was one of things I missed most. It will remain one of those special times in my life that always makes me smile.

I hope you have a daily ritual or habit  that fills you in every way.

I found this photo I had taken early one morning and put this quote with it as a gift to Francy ( made one for myself as well) I think it sums up our walks pretty well.

Bless yourself with a walk this week..and take a friend along. Great things will come your way!

“An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day”  Thoreau



Tasty apple and a carrot a day….


Many of you probably thought I got lost in a snow drift here in Virginia.  It was a possibility considering we got almost 5 years worth of snow in Jan and Feb.  Guess that means we won’t get any for the next 4 years.  Not likely..makes me long the days we lived in Hawaii.

Nevertheless I am back.  And every Tuesday will feature a recipe that not only I have tried but so has my family and more importantly lived to tell about it.

When it comes to new recipes, especially those that involve the words healthy my family would like it if I hired a food taster or at least find that kid, Mikey, from the old Life Cereal commercials..

“Let Mikey try it, he hates everything”

MMM..that kid is probably in his thirties by now.  Wonder if he is for hire.

Since a big part of staying in shape and being healthy involves food it came to me that I should share some of these recipes.

Perhaps you should know that I DID  NOT inherit the family cooking gene.

That gene went disproportinately to my two sisters and sister in law .  Okay she is only related by marriage but she somehow got the gene as well.  arghhhh

This is actually good news for all of you.  The recipes I will be sharing are simple, yummy and good for you.  If your family shudders at the words “good for you” or equates that phrase with castor oil or brussel sprouts just leave it out and DO NOT share the ingredients until they already love it.

Also one other word of comfort from those familiar with my original cooking.  These are recipes from real cooks..all credit is given to the cook….

I hear a huge sigh of relief from those who have experienced my original recipes first hand .

This recipe comes from a great book  ” Eat for Health” by Dr. Joel Fuhrman.    It doesn’t last long in my house and my husband has NEVER noticed that I didn’t use mayonaise.

Okay now he knows!

Who can not like something called Sunshine Slaw ??  Try it , you’ll like it!

Sunshine Slaw ( from Eat for Health by SDr. Joel Fuhrman)

4 carrots grated

1 1/2 apples, peeled and chopped ( I use 2 or eat the other half 🙂

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup slivered or sliced almonds

1/3 cup low salt mayo or Vegenaise ( found in organic aisle) its great!

Directions:  Toss carrots and apples with lemon juice, Add raisins and almonds, Mix in low salt mayo or Veganaise.


I tried to include a photo but come to find out grated carrots and apple pieces , raisins and almonds are camera shy.

Stayed tuned tomorrow for “Whatever Wednesday”


Active Life Fitness promotes community spirit

I rolled out of bed on Saturday morning wishing it was a little warmer and grateful that the training team I joined for the Ukrops Monument 10 k was meeting at 8:30 rather than 8am.

I have no idea why 30 minutes makes a difference but it does. Maybe because its a Sat. morning.

Nancy Burnett is the head coach this year and the owner and founder of  the new fitness center ( Active Life Fitness) under construction in New Kent County.

I arrived to find a large group of runners and walkers ready to start training for the 10k on March 27th.

What I witnessed was communtiy spirit at its best.

The fitness center is barely under construction however we were able to warm up and fill out forms in a building nearby that is almost completed, generously opened up for this occasion.

A day care center ( Stay and Play)was available for those with little ones  AND we were encouraged to use the bathrooms at the Village Market and Deli because they were  expecting  welcoming us and it was so nice to go there after the run for a warm cup of coffee.

The run was great but what I thought about during the run was how everyone worked together and how the training team was already part of the community.

While the building for Active Life Fitness is just beginning, the spirit and what it will add to the communtiy is already evident.

Hats off to Nancy Burnett, Stay and Play,and the Village  Market and Deli for really being  a village of support for one another.

I will readily jump out of bed next Sat.,not only for the run but also for the community spirit.

Its not too late to join in the fun if you are local.  Registration info available at



A great idea or a trip to the ER?

I have had one thing on my gift list for awhile and my husband kept ignoring it.

He was against it.

He told me he was never going to get it for me because in his best italian/ mafia imitation he said

“Ya gonna break a your face”

So when he handed me the small rectangular box for my birthday with the words “I am totally against this”  I was thrilled because I knew what was inside!

Bike pedals, specifically clipless bike pedals.

Those of you who already have them or have been telling me to get them are sighing and thinking “Well, its about time”

For those of you who don’t bike, clipless bike pedals fit into a special bike shoe and “locks” your foot onto the pedal.   You can easily unlock your foot or so I am told.

This is the part where I actually could “breaka my face” if I can’t get “unlocked”

And lets not forget it makes you look like a cool biker dude.

Also according to my sources, asthma reliable and otherwise it will “optimize” the energy I use because it will allow me to

“pedal in complete circles” /”spin”
be more energy efficient
have faster, longer, more enjoyable rides

Want to know a secret??

I ‘m a little afraid that I may “break my face” or some other part of my body that I would like to stay in one piece.

This is why I have waited and not bought them for myself.  A little excuse to camouflage to my apprehension.

I am not the most coordinated person in the world and I have NO rhythm, so this will be a challenge.

Its been a relief that January has been really busy and more importantly cold, snowy and wet so outside biking has been out.

Feb 1st is my date with the bike shop to get my bike outfitted with all my new stuff.

Hold me accountable, photos are promised.

In the meantime  I ‘m wondering if the county would consider padding all the curbs??  Stay tuned!IMG0072


Do it for those who can’t

There have been many times when I have not wanted to run , bike or swim.  Life gets busy , the to do list gets longer and workouts get put on the back burner.

Since April  16, 2007  , whenever I need a push I remember to get out there and do it for those who can’t.

On April 16,  2007 a  familiar place to our family and most of Virginia experienced a horrific tragedy when a student at VA Tech took the lives of 32 innocent people.

Our oldest daughter graduated from Tech. Our second daughter had been there in 2006 in the same dorm.

My heart ached for those families.  I desperately wanted to do something for them.  I wanted them to know that their loved ones would not be forgotten.

So I prayed and I ran.

I dedicated a run to each one of those who lost their life that day.  Before each run I read their biography posted by the family. I looked at their photos.  They were intelligent, fun, energetic people.  They had amazing futures ahead of them.  Many were adventuresome, and athletic.  Community leaders and contributors.   They had so much to give to us and the world and in an unbelievable moment of violence it was taken away.

So I ran because they could not.

Those runs gave me immense peace and deep gratitude for the simple things I often missed while putting one foot in front of the other.   I ran with purpose and prayer to honor their lives.

That week in April was one of grief and happiness for our family.

On Friday April 20th everyone was encouraged to wear Virginia Tech colors to honor those who lost their lives on April 16th.

It was also the day we welcomed our 4th grandchild into our family.  Her name had been picked out months before but it held special meaning that day.

Bella Angelina    Beautiful Angel

I thought of all the beautiful angels we honored that day wearing maroon and orange.  It was everywhere.

Newborn babies, new hope.

Dedicate your next workout to someone who can’t.

You will find new purpose in each stride, each push of the pedal, each swim stroke.  Do it because you can.

Bella AngelinaVT_BANNER


Rain rain go away

Its the most wonderful time of the year or so the song goes.  And actually it is a great time of year and I am getting better and better each year at focusing on the real reason for the season.

Here in Virginia at this time of year ( actually all year round) the weather is fairly unpredictable.  Last year we had snow one week and 70 degrees the next.

It makes life interesting.

It can ( and has) wreaked  havoc on my training plan.

We have had nothing but cold rainy weather for what seems like forever and since I much prefer to run or bike outside my inner brat optimist wants to believe that each day it will clear up enough and just at the right time for me to get outside and run or bike.


So I have not been doing much except pulling the covers over my head each morning when I hear the pounding would think we live in Seattle.  Arghhhh

From past experience I know f I take too many days off  that when I DO get out there I will be having a close intimate realtionship with a king size bottle of motrin and the heating skin care pad.

I hate to admit it and or play the age card but those are the realities when you hit the half century mark !

Boy do I hate seeing that in print!

Since Plan A ( wishing for dry weather) isn’t working I had to come up with other workout choices.

Move to a more cooperative weather climate

Go to the gym Join a gym

Learn to run/bike in the rain

Use our  fairly new eliptical.

My first choice would be to move but I am still traumatized by our last move two years ago and still unpacking.

Last time I joined a gym my money made it there more times than I did.

Well I could learn to endure the elements but I think not.

So..with more rain predicted I made a plan to use the eliptical when the weather doesn’t cooperate and looking into bike trainers ( hey good birthday gift hint hint)

So very early this morning I headed downstairs and made good use of the eliptical.  Happy to be back on track.

Just in time to see clear skies and the sun shining and I swear I heard some snickering.

Keep “triing” everyday….even when the weather is “trying”  Jenneeyore_rain


Great book, questionable gift giving technique!

My husband is very supportive of all my crazy ideas and adventures.  One bonus of signing up to do the triathlon is he had all kinds of new ideas for gifts for me.  He gets stressed over the holidays which sort of puzzles me since here is the list of people he buys for:

1. Me!!

He claims that the reason he stresses is because once he comes up with a good gift idea  he immediately has to come up with another because my birthday is in early Jan.

( Jan 4th to be exact if any or all of you want to send me a Happy Birthday greeting!)

On Dec. 26th the conversation goes something like this.  “Oh no, your birthday is in 9 days…now what am I going to do, I am out of ideas”   Geez excuse me for being born in Jan.  By the way I have a special place in my heart for those born in Dec. and Jan..more on that in another xanax post.

In our family when you hit big with a gift we call it good gift giving technique…in other words you have put some thought and time into it.

I’m sure Paul thought he had used GGT on the following gift related to our upcoming triathlon.


Pay attention to the title.  SLOW FAT TRIATHLETE!

Gee thanks sweetie, my heart is warm all over…NOT!

Fortunately knowing my husband we all got a good laugh.   The added bonus is this is really GOOD book..its written with humor and really helped me get ready for my first triathlon.  Jayne Williams is the real deal and tells it like is.  She doesn’t gloss over any mistakes she has made , she shares them and moves on.

So while it was questionable GGT, I still use the book, still smile about it and think it ended up being a great gift.

More gift ideas for your triathlete in my next post!!  Cheers, Jenn