Thursday, September 29, 2011

Being a Model for Our Children - Exercising for Fun and Fitness

When my youngest child entered Grade 1, I had discovered that I had become an uncomfortable size 14 with poor eating habits not allowing myself to ever feel hungry – snacking whenever I wanted on whatever I wanted. I knew it was time for a change but I live 50 km from the nearest pool, gym or program and for my own peace of being, I still needed to be available to my children when they were home from school. I taught two days a week and decided to run on the three weekdays that I did not teach. I could barely breathe and could only run for short stints, when I heard about John Stanton a confirmed couch potato who started the chain of stores and programs called The Running Room. Although he has inspired many marathon runners, his goal has never been to create them but to assist in helping people get off of the sofa. What follows is my program, that was inspired by John, that I have followed for almost 8 years now, without injury or ever getting bored with running.

Week 1 – 1 minute run/1 minute walk x 10 - 3 days a week

Week 2 – 2 minute run/1 minute walk x 6 – 3 days a week

Week 3 – 3 minute run/1 minute walk x 5 – 3 days a week

Week 4 – 4 minute run/1 minute walk x 4 – 3 days a week

Week 5 – 5 minute run/1 minute walk x 3 – 3 days a week

At this point I discovered that I could and wanted to increase it to 4 days a week and I wanted to run in a 5km race and began to train for my first one.

Week 6 – 6 minute run/1 minute walk x 3 – 4 days a week

Week 7 – 8 minute run/1 minute walk x 2 – 4 days a week

Week 8 – 10 minute run/1 minute walk x 2 – 4 days a week

Week 9 – 20 minute non-stop run – 4 days a week

If this is too difficult a task to start with, one can start with an even better/slower program suited to them. If one needed to repeat a week – one could!

After 9 weeks, I was able to continue to add time and km and started to run 5 km in 25-30 minutes. The first race I ran was that spring - 5km in 25 minutes. My goal has always been to just treat my heart well and run for health. Although I have run up to 21 km in one run, it is not my preference to do so. It took me a couple of years to drop in size to an 8 and for four years am a size 6-8 depending on the cut of the clothes.

And yet I still must push myself to go out. As I sit here writing, I must actually schedule in my running because I may still look for an excuse on a full day or on a miserable weather day. I use inspirational sayings and photos to help me get off of this desk chair and go for a run.

Why is this?

I think it has to do what has been engrained in me early in life. My parents were healthy thin people who did not need to work at being so and I don’t remember seeing them exercise for fun or fitness. For the most part, children will become like their parents or main caregivers, which is mostly a good thing. Let’s remember to show them we care about ourselves and exercise for fun and fitness.


Tuesday, September 27, 2011


Even though I had never really heard about intentional affirmations until about six years ago, they have come to play a huge role in my individual life and our family life.
When my teens come home with a particular ailment, the first thing they ask me for, is an affirmation, in order to rid them of the infliction. The first time it happened, I chuckled inside but gladly wrote out an affirmation to help Jillian with an aching muscle.

Before we exit we are reminded to create our own day...
 Infliction... In...

I believe that sickness comes from within and is tied to our emotions. Some years ago now, I began to use Louise Hay’s book, YouCan Heal Your Life as well as Feelings Buried Alive, Never Die by Karol K. Truman. These women’s ways of handling their health make sense to me. 
The statement below the mirror invites us to "Believe"
I remember at age fourteen when I had a crush on a fella in my youth group. I was looking forward to going to a weekend camp and seeing him for a few days in a row. When we all arrived at camp, he ignored me. In fact, he ignored me all weekend. I was confused and sad and when my mom and dad picked me up, when the camp was over, I was silent. Later that evening, my mom questioned me about my behaviour and I broke into tears, holding my chest because I could barely breathe and I asked her why it was that my chest actually hurt. She smiled warmly and held me and told me that when your heart is broken, you feel the pain there.
All matters of the heart hurt the heart, hurt the breast and so if we heal those matters, we heal the physical pain and dis-ease.
Statements are scattered throughout our house, beside our beds, by the light switches, above the shower and mirrors, over the family desk and anywhere else we may take time to read these important words. The few photos that I have collected to put with this post, demonstrate how we use some affirmations in our life and we always end each avowal in gratefulness.
Appropriately placed for anyone to affirm good health...
 If you use affirmations to heal, I would love to hear about your experience?


Monday, September 12, 2011

Running on Country Roads

I consider myself to be a seasoned runner. My last running themed writing, on this blog, states that I have been running for seven years, which presently makes it eight. I only run 3-4 days a week and sometimes go for weeks not running, but I can quickly get going again.
I love that I can run right out my front door, safely and peacefully on this beautiful country road. However, there are some hazards to running on a country road one of which hit me the other day causing me to trip. My Golden Retrievers run with me, and my male, Gus, loves to lead. When I turn and come back for home, he is sometimes out in the pasture. I always give him a warning that I am going to be turning back soon but the other day it took him awhile to catch up and pass me. He actually knocked me down. I was shocked, and rediscovered that gravel burn is not fun. Luckily that was all. I guess I would have had to crawl home if I had turned an ankle.
Other hazards that I have encountered are ducks and coyotes. Coyotes stay at a distant but I sometimes wonder what if one had rabies? I remember a young coyote following me once, until my dogs came running from the pasture to chase it away. Ducks really aren't a hazard just a little startling as they nest and swim in the little ponds in the ditch.
I love running and am wondering, if you run, walk or bike, where do you love doing this?
In 2004 and at Jilly's request we ran in a Mother's Day Race together.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Dinner Time Strategy

When my husband and I were both working away from home full time and our kidlets were in elementary school, my good friend Kaye offered me the most wonderful little bit advice surrounding meal organization. Kaye insisted on a few rules for this as many of you trying it may want to as well. Rules such as everyone must try everyone else's meal and only positive comments are allowed. Our children have always eaten a variety of foods and enjoy trying new ones and so it was unnecessary for us to do this.
We live on a farm and grocery shopping can be challenging considering that we like to eat mostly homegrown or all natural foods. I do not like to stop by the store for this or that and prefer to have our groceries purchased monthly and so this worked beautifully for us. I’ll change the tense here because we continue to use this handy little strategy.
At the start of every month, the kids and Brent each choose 5 meals while I choose 10 and then I write them on the calendar for the next 25 days knowing that some days will be leftover days. With the exception of a few fresh items, all of the groceries are then purchased. Every morning, or the night before, the meat is taken out to thaw and prepping becomes a dream come true for the first person to arrive home who starts dinner.
Here is our family calendar for the month of September with the only items not included being salads and vegetables that accompany every meal. 

Meals are highlighted in caramel.

Friday, September 2, 2011

The Shift

The Shift
I feel the shift of fall.
Many years ago, my friend Carrie, offered me this sensation that resonated immediately and inspired me to write. Carrie says that she can smell the shift. I see it in the colour of fall. The way the evening sunlight bounces orange like over the dinner table and causes me to think that it is time to retire for the evening. Like the character Joe Fox, in the movie You’ve Got Mail, it is the time of year when I am compelled to buy bouquets of yellow HB pencils for friends. It is also that time when I find myself fortunate to be able to walk through institutional steel doorways, effortlessly, like I have been doing it all of my life. I almost have.

I started school forty-four years ago and there have been very few years since then that I haven’t started school. When I finished high school, I was tired of that place called school and had no intention of ever going to school again. Needless to say, my parents were devastated. I began working for a hotel, cleaning rooms, and when I rode the student packed city bus to work that first morning in September when University had begun, I yearned to be one of those rucksack-clad bodies with new clothes and a fresh new outlook. I knew right then, that I wasn’t finished with school.
I am a lifelong learner and although I miss being with those amazing little beings in a classroom that once filled my life with vigor and joy, I am content and satisfied knowing that that part of my life is finished. But not my learning about those little ones or that place called school…

Which brings me to this: School is not just a place but plays one of the most important roles in our lives. My wish this year is that teachers will honour this so that our students will as well. I want to wish each and every learner a transformational year.

Enjoy and envelop the shift...
Our Virginia Creeper climbs and climbs...