Category Archives: walking

How Do You Juggle?

How do you juggle multiple responsibilities and still nurture your heart?

Or do you?

I find it’s a constant choice to seek joy, peace, and balance when the pace of life increases. As I type, I’m less than a week out from my son’s wedding. (Exciting!) A few weeks out from a book deadline. (Exciting!) And coming off a wonderful three-day speaking engagement in February. (Exciting!) Of course there are other joys and responsibilities in between the big events. Finding joy in hardship is a challenge for me, but I’m discovering joy can also be lost in good times if I’m not careful, just because of the pace!

So . . . how to hang onto the joy? To celebrate all this good even as time feels shorter (which of course it never is, really.) How to stay peaceful in the hurry?

A little self-care helps. This morning I took a time out to re-read a few passages from a book releasing on April 1 by a friend of mine Vicki Caruana, of the popular Apples and Chalkdust blog. 20170321_093105Why take the time? The topic is timely. I don’t think it is coincidence that the week my son marries I receive The Joy of Letting Go in the mail. I devoured an advanced copy of this book before it published, and I knew the wisdom and grace Vicki offers would be as good for my heart as my eggs and avocados were this morning.  It was.

The pretty book cover inspired me to an extra bit of self-nuture, so I grabbed this beautiful cup given to me by the lovely bride-to-be (my new daughter!!) and that inspired me to pull out my grandmother’s china and a new cloth napkin I purchased for the bridal shower. (Isn’t it lucky my reading glasses match too?) I don’t usually eat out of china, but this extra touch of beauty only cost me about thirty seconds and it meant something to me!

What touch of beauty would cost little time but mean something to you today?

The other thing I’ve done during this busy season is engage with Colors of Hope, the first coloring book in the new inspirational coloring series by Lisa Joy Samson. If you love good fiction, you’ve likely read one of Lisa’s novels. You’ve also heard her name here because Lisa drew the cover art for my Soul Scents book series.

It seems counter-intuitive to color when you have a lot to get done, but I’ve found that it calms me and makes me more creative and productive later, especially when tackling the novella deadline. Besides it’s fun and playful, and with the Bible verses and beauty of the art, the coloring book helps me spend some restful moment thinking about the One who gives hope. 20170311_082302.jpgHow about you? Is there something you enjoy that is simple and creative that will bring your stress down and free you to more productivity? (A hint: I do set a timer when I color, so this creative endeavor doesn’t suck me into giving up more time than is wise. I take several days to color one page.)

17156189_10211441460007228_7758007868974633871_nI’m still walking, and it still provides great joy and peace. I’ll be honest and admit that it is hard to make myself take the time, and too often I don’t make the choice to get outside, but every time I do I feel better and have more peace and stamina when I return to my work. Added bonus right now? If I pay attention, I see spring coming!

I also often use this time to catch up with a friend. Another great stress reducer!

How about you? Where can you find a few minutes to get some sunshine and a little activity? Time with a friend?

If you know me well, you’re going to be shocked at my last stress-reducing activity. My husband actually laughed out loud this morning when I said I needed to climb out of bed because the sunrise is so pretty.

Honestly, I’m a huge fan of sunsets, but sunrises happen too early for me. That said, for some reason I’ve seen every one of them this week. Instead of letting it stress me out that I’m not sleeping as much as I prefer, I slip into the living room and position myself for the best view. Curling beneath a soft blanket, I take a few minutes just to enjoy.20170318_065141I don’t know whether you’re a sunrise or sunset person–or both! But I hope tonight or tomorrow morning you’ll pause a moment and let the beauty seep in!

Here’s to capturing joy and peace in the midst of the bustle.

Now I’m off to clean the bathrooms for wedding company!

(By the way, after the wedding I’ve invited Lisa to share with us about the benefits of coloring and Vickie to help us process the joy of releasing our progeny to their adult lives. I hope you’ll join us the next few weeks. It’s going to be beautiful!)

Blessings,

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Weigh In Wednesday ~ Old Advice with a Powerful New Aha!

Yup. I know. You thought I was too full of bemoaning my revolving front door and emptying nest to think about Wednesdays.

I made a plan I didn’t stick to, promising you I’d post about weight and healthy living once a week. Heck, lately I haven’t even posted once a week, much less in a ordered fashion. For those of you who once looked to Wednesdays for that little nudge of encouragement on your journey to better health, I’m sorry I wasn’t here.

The good news is I’m bursting with stuff to share with you today. Some of it is new (to me), and some revisits what we’ve talked about before.

First off, can I just say the sunshine is absolutely glorious?

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After above average rainfall I’m loving the sunshine AND getting back outside. As my good friend Marie of I Walk Alone reminded me last week, walking is good for what ails us, including empty nest grief.

I LOVE the more active lifestyle I began in 2012 when I starting walking to help drop those unwanted pounds, and I am determined not to lose the ability to enjoy the more physical aspects of life.

Today I walked with a new friend on a new trail. Everything was fresh and green.

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Flowers bloomed.

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We even saw ducks!

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Does it get any better? My oft-repeated advice I repeat once again. Get outside! Move! Enjoy some sunshine. As Rachelle Gardner reminded me in her post, On Self Care and Being Humble, taking care of ourselves is not wasted time!

Second (and here’s the old advice with the new aha), I heard something interesting on the radio this morning. According to some study–sorry I missed which one–can you guess the WORST thing you can do for weight-related issues?

Stand in front of a mirror and tell yourself you’re fat.

Now that wasn’t earth-shattering for me, but I made some connections I hadn’t before. The DJ mentioned Zig Ziglar teaches that goal-setting should be done in front of the mirror in the form of positive affirmations. For example stand there and say, “I’m thin” or “I’m good with money” or whatever it is you want to accomplish.

My brother, who recently launched a podcast that quickly reached the “new and noteworthy” list told me to state my dreams as already reached. He says it feels weird at first but that you’re not lying, you’re simply stating future realities.

A friend had a slightly different approach. He spoke to his subconscious. He told himself that the extra weight he carried was damaging his health, and that it was imperative he the lose weight. He explained the specific health issues he faced, then he asked himself to help him exercise and resist unhealthy food choices. He dropped pounds quickly and is now–in a short space of time–more fit than I’ve ever seen him.

To be honest the above concepts sounded a little like psychological mumbo-jumbo to me, but because of my own weight loss journey and how deeply my thoughts and self-talk affected my success or lack thereof, I’ve been listening. Still . . . some of it seemed a little off the deep end.

But the DJ on the radio brought it together for me this morning when he said, “after all, isn’t this just renewing our minds like the Bible talks about? And besides, ‘As a man thinketh in his heart so is he.'”*

Whew. It all came together for me then.

Maybe that study is right. THE most powerful tool in our getting healthy journey is our mind.

So, what are you going to say to your mirror? I, for one, am trashing the trash talk and speaking future realities.

And about these Weigh In Wednesdays? Here’s my mirror words for today: I am an advocate of healthy, joyful living and sharing about it on my blog on Wednesdays is a priority!

Until Next Time,

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*Romans 12: 2; Proverbs 23:7

The Glory of a Walk in the Sunshine

1 sAfter a couple weeks of abnormal cold and snowfall, Colorado has finally been released to the blue skies and sunshine that makes much of the country covet our little neck of the wood (or plains as the case may be.) What’s especially glorious about living in Denver this time of year is the incredible views of the snow covered mountain peeks.

After curling up and ignoring the snow and grey skies for the last two weeks, I’ve finally came out of hibernation as the sun and blues skies lured me into the fresh air.

It started last Friday with walking up and down main street in a small town north of us. 1 mountainsHubby and I enjoyed exploring the little shops and sampling one of the best cups of chai we’ve ever had. (If you ever have the choice for bhakti chai vs . . .  well, any of the others, it’s bhakti all the way!)

While I got in some decent exercise, I can’t claim it helped my efforts toward a smaller summer waistline because my husband couldn’t resist the pie factory at the end of the road. I’m positive that whatever calories we walked off found their way back on as we plopped on a park bench and enjoyed a blackberry/raspberry pie. (Both our favorites–blackberry for him, raspberry for me, all in one!) Thankfully, it was a not full-sized pie. This is especially good because we ate every single last bite. He even licked the pan!

After this indulgence, however, I am happy to report that more fruits and veggies (and less unhealthy foods) have found their way into my mouth in the following days, and that I got a walk in every single day since! Those Colorado skies are simply irresistible.

As I browsed online today I found an article that made me feel even better about the walking habit. It’s called Why Steve Jobs Took Long Walks and Why You Should Too. According to this article walking not only improves health, productivity, communication, but also makes us at least 60% more creative. Need proof? Many of the creative giants like Beethoven and Charles Dickens were known walkers!

So lace up those tennies.

See you in the sunshine,

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Weigh-in Wednesday – What???

Sitting trumps fat in killing us off.

Americans buy MORE calories the first three months after the holidays than they bought during!

What?

booksandsuchlogoRather than rewrite two powerful posts by Janet Kobobel Grant, I hope to whet your appetite (pun intended!) to learn more and send you rushing on over to the Books and Such blog.

Did you know long-term sitting increases our chance of cardiovascular disease by 80 percent? According to Janet’s post even one hour of sitting can impair blood flow by as much as 50 percent! Scary stuff not only for writers but for the all of us who work on the computer. While adding a more consistent exercise routine into my day has great benefits, this article showed me that it is not the complete answer to keeping my heart safe. Check out what Janet has to say about SIMPLE ways to reverse the deadly effects of SITTING.

Then pop over to her second post, How to Combat the Negative Effects of a Sedentary Overeating Lifestyle. Remember a few posts back I admitted I found it easier to return to more consistent exercise than I did to fewer calories? Janet’s post said most Americans buy a stunning 890 MORE calories per serving from January to March! This information certainly validates my struggle to eat well, but Janet’s post doesn’t stop there. She offers sounds advice for overcoming as well as more fascinating research about how sitting affects our health.

Enjoy these great resources, and have a beautiful Wednesday, my friend. Let’s do this getting healthy thing together!

Until Next Time,

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PS . . . As an author I am represented by Books and Such. I’m grateful my agent, Rachelle Gardner, as well as all the folks at Books and Such, care about their clients–mind, body, emotions, and spirit. It’s a dream come true to be a part of this powerful and encouraging community.

Wednesday Weigh-in ~ Eating, Exercise, Excuses, and a Plan

There’s always stuff to do. Person-weighing-themselve-007

There’s always stuff that hurts.

There’s always excuses.

I wanted to start this blog whining about how hard it’s been to focus on my body while remodeling a house, grieving deaths, and adjusting to the kids leaving home. All of those reasons for my struggle are real. Emotional eating is an easy trap to fall back into when sadness or loneliness hits. It’s hard to prioritize exercise when my home feels chaotic, and I can’t stand the mess one more day.

But the truth is life happens. I’m pretty sure I will never live an entire day without more pulling at me than I can conquer in that day, and I’m also sure that however many joyful moments a day holds, there will be something that happens that wants to pull me down, stress me out, or at least irritate me.

The truth is I am no longer at the age I can live and eat without intentionality. There are consequences. Not just on the scale, but in my body, health, and energy levels. As hard as it was to lose all that weight, if I’m not intentional I will find it again. All of it.

For the first time since 2012 I didn’t pay attention to how I ate or exercised over the holidays. And it shows. I feel myself getting into old patterns–being discouraged about the weight gain and allowing that discouragement to shut me down. Emotional eating comes really easy when I’m in that state. Getting out and walking does not. I’m also lonely more often now, and those solitary walks don’t sound quite as inviting as they did when the house was constantly noisy.

Here’s the honest truth. I need to get serious about my health again. I need prayer ’cause I know I can’t do this alone.

This week I’m taking a good first step. I’m doing a BENew cleanse. When I was losing weight and doing these consistently I noticed they helped reduce my cravings for the bad foods. (That first cleanse was a rough one for me emotionally. This one isn’t quite as bad, but I’m struggling a little.)

We’re in another car transition, which has made my schedule difficult. So step 2 for me was arranging with my kids for a schedule that allows me a car two mornings a week. My plan is to visit my chiropractor then meet with a friend who lives nearby so we can walk together.

Step 3 is I’ve also returned to doing a few light exercises every morning at home–some crunches, leg lifts, push-ups, and stretching. Nothing too intense. If I start with too much at first I know I won’t continue, so I’m beginning small and seeking to be consistent.

Where I feel the greatest resistance inside is food. I’ve continued much of the healthier eating that I learned in 2012–more fresh fruits and vegetables, making the largest portion my salad instead of the carbs. But unhealthy stuff has crept back in, too, like sometimes having a snack before bed, being mindless about portions, and being less careful with sweets.

When I lost weight I talked a lot about making changes I felt I could live with long-term. I believe I did that. The problem is I grew weary of mindfulness when it came to healthy choices and wise portions. Combined with less activity and less muscle mass, the weight began slipping back on.

And so I continue the journey. Instead of maintenance, I am seeking the courage to stand up and admit I need to lose a few pounds before it gets out of hand. Honestly, it makes me sad to own that, but pretending it isn’t there doesn’t make me any happier. And as much as I would prefer to keep this a private battle, I know accountability makes a difference. I need to lose eight to ten pounds. I need to do this now before things get out-of-control again, and it’s fifty I need to drop.

There. I said it.

If you’re on this journey with me, maybe a summary of my plan can help you, too.

  • Honesty with self – choosing to admit I must deal with this problem
  • Intentionality – Making choices with intent to stay on the road of health
  • Mindfulness – Paying attention to what (and how much!) I eat and how much I move
  • Spiritual support – Asking God to help me and others to pray for me
  • Admission – Admitting I need to lose and owning exactly how many pounds
  • Accountability – Telling someone that I need to change and have chosen to do so.
  • A plan – for me it is 1) cleanse 2) exercise 3) Portion control 4) healthier foods

Anybody with me?

Until next time,

Paula another test (401x192) (2)

Weigh-in Wednesday: Let’s Get Real!

IMAG0191Let’s get real!

It isn’t that we don’t know the path to better health. While we each may have physical limitations or allergies unique to us, we know the basics: Increase activity. Decrease intake. Eat fresh.

So if we know what it takes why is it so hard to lose weight and maintain a healthier body?

It’s a bear to establish healthy habits, but it’s just as difficult to continue them once goals are met–at least for me.

Am I the only out here?

(I know I’m not.)

With all the renovations on my house the only part of my body that grew stronger were painting muscles. My walking legs aren’t quite as muscled and the middle is going soft again.

And I let it happen after all that work to drop 55 pounds and get strong after those car accidents!

So I’m trying to re-establish the healthy choices that brought much freedom and joy back into my life before the ease of movement slips away again.

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The brave and beautiful Jennifer bundled in several layers to walk with me today!

Yesterday I chose to walk while I took a phone call. Today I asked a friend to walk with me. I’m an extrovert, so being in community while I walk gives me that little extra joy I need to keep my feet moving. I know I need to return to this activity even when it’s a solitary endeavor, and I’ll get there, but for now having a friend helps!

Jennifer bundled up to stay cozy in the cold and we enjoyed the fresh (though slightly nippy) air, avoided the goose poop, and had a good long conversation uninterrupted by the real world.

Honestly, it was heavenly!

How about you? Would calling a friend make it more fun to be active today?

Weighin’ In at 49

In this place I’m better at 49 than I was at 39.

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Desert heat. High altitude. Steep terrain.

This post was birthed in my mind a couple of months ago, but I’m glad I didn’t get around to writing it until now. It seems the perfect birthday post as I enter my last year of this decade.

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One of my best friends and I went on an adventure the first week of September. It was an amazing unfolding of unplanned wandering into uncharted terrain.

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Pictures don’t do justice to the challenge we faced with steep trails and long, windy stone staircases in these hot, dusty places. But thanks to stronger bodies, we didn’t cower.

We sweated. We ached. And we conquered.

Day after day, trail after trail, we found new heights to climb. There’s no way my body could have handled the heat or the repeated assault on lungs and burning muscles before.

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The journey to health and weight loss gave me a new lease on life.

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In 365 days I’ll enter my 50’s. Who could have dreamed I’d have more stamina and thirst for adventure than I did when I entered my 40’s?

My weight loss journey continues to have its shares of triumphs and frustrations. The fight to drop the weight took plain ole hard work. Maintenance isn’t a cake walk. (Yes, I chose that old saying on purpose.) But here is the victory: Hiking. Climbing. Rafting. Even strolls through the park with my honey.

Reclaiming my love of movement, my love of adventure.

Reclaiming a piece of me, long lost.

If you’re struggling along the journey to better health, may I encourage you with this thought?

It’s worth it.

Stick to it, and find your own adventurous self!

Until Next Time,

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Walking and Weighin’ and Being Sensible

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Photo from fanpop.com

Evidently I have great timing. Twice this week I’ve started a walk under cloud cover and ended up getting soak. Like Marianne Dashwood in Sense and Sensibility I begin with a blind optimism that I won’t get caught in the rain. Then I do.

I suppose like her the truth is I haven’t minded so much. After the heat of some very hot days a little cool and wet feels like refreshment.

And no, a handsome man did not come and rescue me, though my husband did attempt to  on his way home from work. I was only a block from home by the time he caught up to me so he just grinned through his open window and followed me around the corner. I grinned back through dripping eyelashes.

I’m feeling more optimistic than I have since I decided I needed the accountability of a Weigh-In Wednesday. The scale has receded instead of continuing its rising. I’ve taken walks despite the rain, and with the exception of one day this weekend when I watched the Lord of the Rings marathon and enjoyed all the treats lining our family room counter, I’ve been mostly sensible about my food intake.

(I was very good on Monday to make up for Sunday’s indulgence! Light and healthy!)

My rainy walk last Thursday included some tiny hail pellets. Yes, I do live in Colorado. 94 degrees that morning, stifling heat, then the rain and ice. ICE.

Tuesday’s walk started with glorious reminders of the beauty of summer.

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Soon the trickles started.

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I made it half-way through my walk before the rain got heavy.

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It grew in intensity for the mile and a half back home. Me walking, the cars splashing past.

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By the time I rounded the last corner the water rushed down the street next to me.

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I was soaked (picture coming on Friday).

But I have to say my attitude rocked. It doesn’t always, so I’m celebrating this fact and hoping it shows some sort of wonderful resilience forged in the fires of life. (More on that on Friday’s post, too.)

How are you doing this fine Wednesday? What successes are spurring you on in your journey of health? Where is it raining on your parade?

The rain will come. But even if it overcomes us there is One who is good who carries us to safety.

The One who cares sees every struggle of our heart and body. He is not callous to our pain. His heart is tender. He longs for us to call upon Him, to let Him take action. To be strong for us in our time of weakness, whether in our bodies or our hearts.

Hang onto your successes. Make good choices for health one at a time. Lean on the Creator when your energy and hope wanes.

Let’s do this thing!

Until next time,

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Weight Loss, Walking, and Wondering

Tonight I’m wondering about this blog. I knew my journey was inside out weight loss. Not just pounds, but inner stuff, too.

weight loss beginning and endBut the early days focused on the journey to fit back into my skin on the outside, even as you and I had some pretty honest dialogue about how the inside junk fought against the outside journey.

Many of you have hung in there with me in recent posts, which are becoming more and more about those interior places. The questions of the soul, not so much the body. That inside weight loss.

But the reality is we are body, mind, soul, and spirit.

I don’t want to let go of the forward motion of the body even as the focus has lessened as I met my weight loss goals.

The crappy truth is caring for the body isn’t a one-time success story. It’s still that every day journey I knew it would be, those every day choices I knew I’d have to make. I knew it in my head. Now that I’m a year and a half into this gig, I’m walking out the hard reality. Sometimes successfully. Sometimes not.

The thing is, I still need you.

I need the accountability of talking with you about this journey. I need your words spurring me on to stay on the path and not give up my hard-earned ground.

Maybe you need me, too?

Today I almost went back to the Fitness Pal app. I’d allowed myself a five pound range where I felt comfortable so I didn’t freak about every single pound, but I’ve let a few pounds creep on beyond that safe zone.

If I don’t pay attention it will ALL creep back: the old habits, the choices not to walk, the extra slices of pizza and chocolate cake, the hours with books and computers and movies and chats at a coffee shop without the balance of fresh air, sunshine, crunches, leg lifts, and movement.

Today when the novel I’m working on didn’t go so well I grabbed a tiny handful of Rasinets (you know20140715_213922 I’ve got a weakness for those!) but stopped myself and grabbed an apple instead of the rest of the box. It’s a small victory, but it is a victory, and great victories are won that way, one small choice after one small choice.

At lunch I put peaches into a BENew shake instead of giving into all the high calorie left-overs in the refrigerator.

The last two days I also chose to walk when I could have driven and chatted with a best friend while hitting the pavement instead of curling up with the phone in my comfy recliner. Another 6 miles or so of good choices.

Choices that have to continue if I’m going to be healthy and strong. I hope these choices will soon show on the scale. It’s crazy how much easier it is for the number to climb than decrease.

So my friends, even as I know this blog is so many other things, I don’t want to stop talking about the needs of the body as we did at the beginning. God made all of me, not just the parts within where a writer can lose herself. That’s too easy for me to forget.

So here’s my commitment to myself and to you. My goal is to write Weigh-In Wednesdays – a consistent once a week reminder that the journey of health is still important.

Please pray for me, that I won’t lose any more ground, that I can return to and stay in that comfort zone where I promised myself I’d live. That empty nest grief and hospital stays and family pizza nights will not derail me. That I’ll walk, breathe deep, and stay strong.

How about you? Do you need it too? This weekly reminder?

We’ve been in this together for over a year now. Let’s stay the course! I’d love your feedback. What are you doing to keep your body strong? To focus on the goals you continue to strive for? How can we encourage each other on our BENew Journey?

Let’s talk about it,

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Wandering and Pondering

There is no goal but movement.

No map dictating the journey.

No planned route.

On the days I set aside time to exercise for at least an hour, I simply walk forward.

I haven’t had much time for free wandering. Or I haven’t made it lately. My routes have been quicker and planned to burn 2-300 calories.

But today the wanderlust hit again.

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I thought I’d harvested all the vistas within an hour’s foot travel. That my neighborhood had been explored.

But today I gave myself an hour.

I took a turn I hadn’t taken before.

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And as my feet moved, I pondered last year’s wanderings.

Was the Spirit chuckling as I meandered day after day, making unexpected discoveries? Did rub eager hands waiting for the day HE nudged me to knock on a stranger’s door to see if they needed food?  the day a pastor I’d never met asked me to pray for him, or when I felt a spiritual confrontation like a physical assault when God led me to a gathering to walk through and pray?

Did He do this on purpose? Train my inner person to loosen up by first freeing my feet?

I’d almost forgotten the breath-taking wonder of taking off out the front door not knowing what He was going to lead me to do next.

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Until today.

When I once again pounded the sidewalk realizing this brave meandering in my familiar neighborhood has done more than release my body. The courage I’ve found here, just walking to lose weight, shook loose some sort of interior control mechanism so I could find courage to move forward in life.

So I could figure stuff out that I hadn’t yet.

Would last week’s epiphany have come if last year’s walking had not?

Today I walked the familiar route past the library and the park and kept going.

At first it was more of the same. Fences around a trailer park. Not especially exciting.

I determined to see beauty.

I noticed the homes with rosebushes, big canopied tents sheltering tables and grills. Heard music flowing. Brushed beneath the fresh green leaves of a huge tree.

And then came the surprise. A park I’d forgotten with a nature path I didn’t know existed.

Off I meandered, gravel crunching beneath my feet, curving through verdant grass. First down a hill, then following a stream, then on paved walk into a new neighborhood.

The houses and streets were unfamiliar, though I knew I’d driven through it further north.

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I kept walking, thinking I would find my way back to a road I knew.

But a nudge sent me turning right when I meant to go straight.

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Such a lovely street unfolded before me with home after home with beautiful landscaping, and all those flowers made my heart full.

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More unexpected treasures.

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Found just because I moved forward.

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Flowing with the promptings of my heart.

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In freedom.

And now that I’m learning to flow forward in life, not just in my neighborhood meandering, what else might I discover in this place?

This freedom place.

Until next time,

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