Fabulous Fitness Friday

start of Stuart 5K in the rain 2017

And they’re off, rain and all the day has begun.

It’s a rainy Friday, which doesn’t stop the fabulousness. At some point, I hope to do some healthy eating blogs. That is not today. Today is about the physical part of fitness. After all, eating healthy, and in proper proportions which are fabulous too will only get us so far. We also need to exercise and move our bodies.

In another post in the near future, I’ll share all or some of the benefits of exercise. For today, you get my routine.


I started out super slow because I didn’t want to overwhelm myself, or tire my body too much and quit. After all, knowing an exercise does me no good if I’m not actually moving my body.


It needed to be something I could do at home.


Not boring.


the stationary bike.

Keren and Nappy bike riding

This bike actually goes places

The bike that no matter how hard or long I pedal goes nowhere. Now my seat and the bike’s seat don’t exactly match, but they’re close enough.


 No problem with the bike, I could go as slow or fast as I want. It doesn’t care.

SECOND: Something I could do at home.

No problem, the bike lives at my house. Even the weather isn’t an issue, darn.

THIRD: Boring

No problem, read emails or Facebook posts while pedaling.


Start date: December 10. Speed? Slower than slow. Probably could not have stayed upright on a regular bike. Length of ride: 5 minutes.

Today: 16-minute rides, with three 45 second sprints.

The sprints, some call High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), just means I ride a little faster for 45 seconds. Fast enough I can’t be on Facebook. The goal is to get to equal times slow and fast.

After the bike ride, I do pushups against the kitchen counter. Doing them on the floor properly is not possible at the moment, I’m working my way down.

The question is which will I do first, a proper push up on the floor, or a bike ride of HIIT and slow riding the same duration?

Do you have an exercise routine?

What do you do to stay motivated to exercise?

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Does Social Media Help or Hinder the Grieving Process?

yesterday's painThe other day a friend asked, “Does social media enhance the grief and keep one stuck in the pain or help move through the grief.”

There are of course support groups online that are a great help, especially to those who live in outlying areas, or have few friends and family to help them.  However, she was taking about those posts we see online about a favorite relative (aunt, grandparent, cousin, etc.) or immediate family member (parent, sibling) and how much the person is missed and life will never be the same without them in it. Often, the deceased has been gone five, six, or more years.

Of course there is no limit on the length of time for grief, we will always miss the person who died, and no, life isn’t the same. But life isn’t the same from one year to the next, one month to the next, even one day to the next, without throwing death into the mix.

The holiday when we were in our teens is much different than the holiday when we are older. Life changes.

Yes, we will always miss our loved ones. Yes, their absence will always be felt. Yes, we will talk about them from time to time.

However, if we continue to focus on their departure. If we only see the pain and never acknowledge the happiness that has entered our lives through other venues can we grow? Can we adjust to the different life?

Mourning the death of a loved one is natural. Hanging on to the pain of their death causes us more grief, and keeps us from the joy that waits.

when you get to the end of your rope.

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Wednesday’s Words


Some people do a Wordless Wednesday post on Wednesdays. A day when they post pictures. I like the alliteration and the idea, except I feel like I need to explain the pictures. Sort of defeats the title, although I love the bloggers that do add an explanation, makes the pictures more meaningful.

I thought I’d go a different direction. If I’m not going to do a Wordless Wednesday, how about a Wordy Wednesday? So, I rounded up seven quotes, thoughts, or ideas that hopefully are encouraging or inspiring. Sometimes they’ll be mine, sometimes quotes of others, with credit for them.

That said (hee, hee) here are today’s thoughts, um, words.

I am strong enough to face tomorrow and smart enough to rest tonight.



Standing tall, with head held high, I can handle life’s punches.

Wishes and dreams are worth holding on to with both hands.

Fine is delicate. Good is acceptable. Great is awesome. We are great.

Happy is a choice. It is my choice to be happy.

I am enough.

Celebrate the day. There is always something to celebrate.

ice cream dessert

Have a great week.

Do you have a quote or mantra you use daily?


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Oklahoma to Virginia and Back in One Day

In theory, it’s possible to make the trip from Oklahoma to Virginia and back in twenty-four hours, especially if you fly. However, it wouldn’t be my preferred way to travel or visit another area.

At one time Tuesday’s on this blog was intended to be about travel. Real travel, going from one place in real life to another and sharing the experience. In actuality, that is harder than expected, despite the fact I tend to be on the go often.

Since real life travel seems to be evading this blog, and since one of the goals for 2019 is to read more, it seemed fitting to share about traveling by book. This way, I’ll be doubly motivated to actually read the books on my list, or that others suggest.

This first read took me from my home in Oklahoma in 2019 to the 1970s hills of Virginia, and to the Big Stone Gap Holler,  a coal mining community. I not only traveled across the country, I also traveled back in time. Andriana Trigiani wrote the book, Big Stone Gap with interesting characters and a good balance of action and description. This is the first book by Adriana Trigiani I’ve read, it won’t be the last. I felt like I was in Big Stone Gap in a different time listening to Ave Marie tell me about her town and the people.

It’s been a long time since I traveled by book. Usually, my attention is divided between the book, what needs to be done and sometimes listening to a podcast. Last night though I turned all my attention to the book. It didn’t disappoint.

Next time I read a book I’ll give it my full attention, it makes the book much more enjoyable. My goal this year is to read a minimum of a book a week, fifty-two books.

I have done reading challenges in the past, one year I did a short story challenge, that didn’t work well. I’ve joined book clubs and always opted out. This year I am part of two real-life reading groups, and I have books recommended to me by others to read.

I don’t have a full list yet, but in no particular order here is the list in progress:

Big Stone Gap – Adriana Trigiani – done

Goldfinch – Donna Tartt

All the Light You Can Not See – Anthony Doerr

Indelible – Karen Slaughter

Tuesday’s with Morrie – Mitch Abrams 

The Traveler’s Gift – Andy Andrews 

When Crickets Cry – Charles Martin 

The Crying Rocks – by Janet Taylor Lisle

The Silver Suitcase – Terri Todd

Paper Bag Christmas – Kevin Milne

Roadkill on the Highway to Heaven – Chanda Pierce

Bare Bones – Kathy Reights

The Lifeboat Clique – Kathy Parks

Primary Justice – William Bernhardt

The Runaway Jury – John Grisham

Bone Slivers – D.E. Chandler 

Over Maya Dead Body – Sandra Orchard

Bring on the Blessings – Beverly Jenkins

That’s only 16, so there’s plenty of room for more books. A few more will be added later this week when I attend the reading groups and get those lists for the year. I realize none of these are new books, with the exception of BONE SLIVERS, which just came out last year.

TUESDAY’S WITH MORRIE and THE TRAVELER’S GIFT have both been out for several years, but I haven’t read them. That’s one of the nice things about books, they don’t go bad, they can be read, or reread years after being written.

Do you plan to read more this year?

Do you have a reading list?

Do you have a book to recommend?


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Creating Your Dream Team Board of Directors to Help You

Several months ago I heard an encouraging speech by  motivational speaker, Andy Andrews. He suggested we need to have our own board of directors. These are people we can look to who can help us achieve whatever goal it is we are trying to reach.

The interesting thing, to me anyway, was these people don’t have to know they are on a board of directors. They don’t even have to know me. They are just people who are a little further along the road I’m traveling that I can follow. I can read their books, or books about them, follow them on social media, listen to them if they have a YouTube channel, even talk to them if I happen to know them.

I gave his idea some thought and decided it was worth a try. After all who better to lead than someone who has been there. I looked around at what I want to do, and looked for someone already successful in that area. On my board of directors I have people who excel at speaking, traveling the widow journey, are successful writers.

My speaking advisors include two men, Ryan Avery and Joe Shaw as well as a female speaker, Mary Rogers. Ryan Avery is or was the youngest person to win the Toastmaster International speech contest. He went on to set a goal of speaking on every continent in one year, which he achieved. He has other speaking goals now and I watch his progress as he sets and reaches goals. Joe Shaw is another Toastmaster. I met him on Ryan’s site. Joe has competed at the International level and has had years when he didn’t make it to the International contest. He keeps speaking, and creating new goals. Mary Rogers is also a Toastmaster, I met her at a real, honest-to-goodness Toastmaster meeting. She has won several state championships, but has fallen short on the International one. She currently sells jewelry and gives training for different businessess.

All three of these speakers have something to offer and I learn from each of them. Luckily Mary is local, so she’s able to help me improve my speaking in person.

When I feel like the world is caving in around me I look at some of the widows who have been on this journey longer, Helen Hartsfield, Mrs. Blasengame, Lela Mae Beshear, Betty White, and Laura Warfel

Helen Hartsfield and Mrs. Blasengame are two ladies from my hometown. In the early days of widowhood I often looked at them in awe of all they did after their husbands died. They inspired me to keep going. Lela Mae is/was my mother-in-law, she’s gone now, the the lessons she taught about putting one foot in front of the other continue to help me. Betty White continued with her career and made the decision to embrace life after the death of her husband Alan Luden. Laura Warfel is a widow I met online, her website encourages and comforts me. These are my ladies, my champions on my board of directors.

Since I’m a member of a couple of writing organizations, there is no shortage of writers to inspire me. My favorite two “mentors” at the moment are Jennifer McMurrain and Amy Shojai. These are two of my “board members” that I know in real life

Jennifer is new to my board of directors. She is a member of Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI) and her local group the Bartlesville Wordweavers. She has written several books, and is a mom to a seven year old, and a newborn. Jennifer inspires me with her dedication to writing, and her determination to carve out some writing time, even after the birth of her son. If she can find time to write, so can I.

Amy and I have known each other for a lot of years. We met at an OWFI conference. Amy started out writing about pets, which she still does. However, she has also re-invented herself as a fiction writer and playwright. Reinventing ourselves is something many of us have to do and Amy did it flawlessly, at least from my perspective.

I have a few other members on my board, but you get the idea. I try to find people who are successful at something I want to succeed at and follow their lead. A board of directors for our life journey is a good idea. All CEO’s need a team.

Do you have a board of directors?

What is one aspect of your life that could benefit from a mentor?



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Time- Friend or Foe

Today, at the Ultimate Blog Challenge the suggestion is to write about something that comes in fours. I’m not sure what comes in four There are weeks in a month, suites in a deck of cards, classical elements (earth, air, fire, water), and of course, the four gospels. I’m sure there are more, but I don’t want to write about any of them.

Three isn’t much better. In my teens I worked in a nursing home and the nurses there told me that births and deaths come in threes. Since there weren’t many births in the nursing home that couldn’t be proven. However, it did seem that when there was one death two more followed within a couple of weeks if not sooner.

When my children were born the babies in the nursery (back then babies went to the nursery) were some multiple of three. Maybe the nurses knew what they were talking about. 

Instead of writing about fours, or threes, or any number beyond one, I thought about the one thing that we all (especially widows) need to remember . Number one is time. Time changes everything.

The saying is, “time heals all wounds.” I’m not sure I agree with that. After all it’s been 12 years since my husband left, and I still feel the pain of his death. However, time does change the perspective. I no longer cry daily over what isn’t. My hand doesn’t beat against my leg, the couch, the wall, whatever is handy in frustration. I no longer rush to be home and in the house behind locked doors before dark. No leaving lights on didn’t help. 

The gut-wrenching, mind-numbing, dizzing pain, began to lessen, with time. Doesn’t mean it’s not still present or that the tears no longer flow, or I no longer hit the wall in frustration. It just means the intensity, and occurrences are less often and less fierce.

While we all have different paths, and worries, many widows ask, “how am I going to live the rest of my life without him in it?” The words might be different for some, but the question is essentially the same.

When I hear new widows say, “I don’t know how I’ll live without him,” my heart squeezes because I know the feeling and because I’ve learned that we don’t live without our husbands by thinking about it, we just, take care of business and do what needs to be done. 

We do it one day, one hour, one minute at a time. We can’t live our life all at once. We can’t create our new normal in one day, or hour. We don’t find our new path on the first try. Instead, it all happens over time. We have to give ourselves time to grieve. Time to mourn. Time to hurt. And time to be angry. 

The Bible reminds us of that in Ecclesiastes 3:2-8

A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant,

and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down

and a time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones,

and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace,

and a time to refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;

a time of war, and a time of peace.

When I got married I didn’t know what the future would hold. I just knew that my best friend and I would face it. I didn’t know then that there would be trials and times when I wasn’t sure he was my best friend, or that that would pass and we’d be closer than we’d been before. I didn’t know our marriage would involve upteen moves, something I’d vowed I would NOT do as an adult. I didn’t know the marriage would introduce me to country living and I’d love it. There was so much I did not know about what life had in store for me, or how I would handle it.

When he died, I wanted to know the how. I wanted to know how I was going to move to our new place without him. Who was I going to talk to, my best friend was gone? How was I going to get the car serviced? Who would handle the little things at the house that needed attention? How was I going to continue his pig business? How was I going to live my life without him?

There is no one answer for all the questions. Time, however shows the solution.

When he died my tears gushed down my face. I cried at the smallest remark or sight. Before long the tears had slowed to gentle stream. Today the tears make occasional appearances, often slipping out the side of my eye and down my face at a simple thought or action.

Time doesn’t heal everything, but it makes it bearable and then acceptable. 

When has time been your friend or your enemy? 



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10 Winter Wonderful Things

The other day someone asked, “what’s your favorite thing about winter?”

My knee-jerk reaction was, “nothing. There is nothing good about winter.” I am a summer girl. I prefer the heat to this bone crunching cold any day.

However, I also try to be positive. I’m positive winter is here for another six to eight weeks, maybe longer. While the days won’t always be frigid, they won’t be warm. Frigid or not, it will be cold more days than it isn’t.

It’s been said of Oklahoma, “if you don’t like the weather, wait ten minutes, it’ll change.” Even waiting ten minutes won’t make a huge difference. The rain might stop, or start, or turn into snow. The wind can stop blowing (ha!) or start. The weather does change some, still, it will be cold.

Which means, if I want to be positive, and I’m faced with several weeks of winter weather, listing what I like about winter sounds good. In no particular order, just how I happen to think of them are ten things I like about winter. At least then things that make winter tolerable.

  1. Winter sports. No, I do not snow ski, ice skate or sled. I know people who do though, and for them I appreciate winter.
  2. The smell of burning wood. I have a neighbor who has a fireplace, and the smell of the burning wood wafts across the area.
  3. Baking-the heat from the oven, the busyness, the smell of foods cooking all make a great winter day
  4. Stews are made for winter
  5. Hot chocolate, hot spiced apple cider, hot tea
  6. looking at seed catalogs/planning the planting, whether I plant or not, dreaming of the perfect garden and looking at all the  plants and flowers available are winter-perfect
  7. Pajama days. Of course we can have a pajama day anytime, but it’s much more fun in the winter.
  8. No mosquitos or other buggy bugs. Nice to not be swatting at them, or putting lotion on their bites.
  9. Sunrises happen all year long, but in the winter they come late enough in the day to enjoy.
  10. Cardinals and other birds that stuck around. They are a joy to watch at the bird feeders and their color brightens the area.


There are those who tell me that in the winter they can add and layer their clothing for warmth, yet in the heat of the summer there are only so many clothes they can take off to get cool. To that I say, if I put on too many layers for warmth I can’t move. In the summer there are shade trees and cool breezes and swimming pools for cooling off.

What is your favorite season?

Are you a winter or summer person?

What’s one thing you enjoy about winter?


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