Lessons from a Treadmill

Last  winter we added an new piece of exercise equipment to my collection.

I hadn’t even been looking for one. I didn’t know I needed one. But my husband did.

He had been looking for quite awhile – and then he found it.

A treadmill.

There it was – a for sale sign on the bulletin board at the grocery store. He called as soon as we got in the car and we drove over immediately to check it out.

He bought it on the spot.

I was a bit ambivalent at first – but once we got it home and set it up I got a little excited – until my husband plugged it in.

Whoa! This was a horse of a different color! None of my other equipment had to be plugged in. I provided all the horsepower they needed. If I slowed down – they slowed down. If I stopped – they stopped.

Not this new guy.

Oh no. It just continues running -even if I don’t.

I had mental images of me flying off the back end and landing in a very ungraceful heap on the floor while the skin of my face is scraped off by the belt.

Ka- chunk. Ka-chunk. Ka-chunk.

Or having my shoe strings get caught – flinging me off the side while my foot is hopelessly tangled.

Can’t you just read the headlines: “Women Maimed by Rogue Treadmill” or “Uncoordinated Amateur  On Treadmill Propelled Through Window”.

The truth of the matter was that I was scared of it.

That’s right – I was just plain scared to not be in control.

But I finally faced down those fears and actually got on the thing and turned it on – I learned something very valuable.

The treadmill pushed me beyond my comfort zone. It made me work out harder than I made myself and in the process it made my body stronger and more fit.

Can you see the spiritual connection?

When I let the Lord take control of my life – He may lead me to places that I’m unfamiliar with and situations that I would rather not  be in.  He will push me harder than I would push myself.

He will lovingly  take me into uncharted territory where I need to depend on Him more – and in the process make me a stronger, more useful vessel for Him.

So…what do you need to relinquish control of today?


Things just didn’t go as planned.

Every spring my amazing sister-in-law takes all five of my children for a long weekend so my husband Jan and I can get away.

One week-end.

I look forward to it all year.

I check hotels, research restaurants, and make plans for it all year.To say it is the highlight of my spring is an understatement.

But this year – I got sick.

The kids left on Wednesday and I went to the couch – down for the count, exhausted with no voice, a deep racking cough, and achy all over.

I was still there on Thursday.

And Friday.

And Saturday.

Instead of a gorgeous hotel room with my wonderful husband – I got my couch surrounded by empty tea cups and dirty Kleenex.

Instead of wandering around old antique stores and specialty shops – I watched hours of Little House on the Prairie and cooking shows.

Instead of eating out at different restaurants every meal – I limped to the kitchen and heated more chicken noodle soup.

Disappointment is too mild of a word.

And as if that wasn’t enough – on Friday night it started to snow. Not just light flurries – but heavy snow. Seven inches of heavy snow.

Even if I felt good – we still couldn’t get out until somebody went out to shovel.

Talk about salt in an open wound.

I cried – but that just made my nose run more.

Heavy sigh.

Can I have a “do-over”?

The sun did come out today and I  got off the couch long enough today to ride with Jan to pick up the kids. He even took me out to me eat. 🙂

And he promised me another weekend away – when I felt better – maybe in August for our 20th anniversary (surely it wouldn’t snow then – would it?!)

So as we come to the end of this rather disappointing weekend, I’m exhausted from my foray into the real world. I’m back on the couch with a cup of hot tea.

But this time the tears are gone and I’m busy planning my big anniversary weekend- sometime in August.

Life is looking up again.

Proverbs 13:12 “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life…”

Finally – I Can Write a Weight Loss Blog Post!

Last year at this time – just like every other year for the past 10 years – I made a New Year’s Resolution to lose weight.

But last year was different. Last year was the year that I actually took some steps to make it happen.

The first step was admitting that I couldn’t do it alone – I’ve tried.

So I joined Weight Watchers Online. Their point system was something I could understand. I have so many points every day – just like having money in the bank. I can use them in any way I want but when I use them up – they are gone.

Weight Watchers helped me make better choices. Since my life will always include mashed potatoes and chocolate – I had to figure out how to live with them.

I’m a wife and the mom of five children – so I cook almost everything from scratch. With Weight Watchers I can figure out the point value of my own recipes using the Recipe Builder.

My second step was to get moving. I’ve watched the Biggest Loser long enough to know that exercise is key to getting the weight off and keeping it off.

The problem is – I hate exercise.

I had to find a way to motivate myself. My solution – the TV.

Seriously.  I love watching TV. So we set up the exercise bike in front of the TV in the basement. Now I get to “treat” myself to TV or a movie while I work out. (And yes – I appreciate the irony of working out while watching Paula Deen make decadent desserts using 4 pounds of butter!)

I started out with a 15 minute work-out but gradually worked up to 30 minutes, then 45. I’m now up to an hour a day.

I also learned that my muscles quickly learn routine and start using fewer calories in a work-out. So I needed to switch things up a bit. We’ve slowly added to our “exercise room” as we found exercise equipment at garage sales or thrift stores.

But it’s not about fancy equipment. I also lost weight just running in place in front of the TV or taking power walks up and down the hills. It’s all about the sweat and how much time I put into it.

Believe me, I don’t have it all figured out! It’s still a daily struggle. The holidays have been especially difficult.

But it has been so worth it!

For the first time in many years I am entering a New Year feeling good about myself. A year ago I was wearing size 16. Today I put on size 10 pants and even have a few size 8’s in my drawer.

And if I can do it – so can you!

Let this year be your year!


Are Wii Fit or are Wii Not?

Wii Fit

I have my 2 Chicago nephews here for the week. Along with their play clothes, boots and school books, they packed their Wii.

At first I wasn’t all that interested, I just figured it would keep everybody entertained for a few minutes and then would cause more than a few fights over whose turn it was.

(I was right about the fighting part.)

But the Wii took on a whole new dimension when I discovered that they had brought Wii Fit.

I watched with interest as the kids set up my 12 year old son. The Wii figured his height, age and even weighed him – then figured his BMI. The next part scared me spitless – they showed a chart on the screen starting with normal at the bottom and heading upwards to overweight and right into obese. It had a line indicating where he was (thankfully it was normal!)

I gulped and slid down on the couch trying to figure out a way to use the Wii without having it tell the room my BMI and show my chart!

I could just imagine the smoke billowing out as the Wii screams in pain “Get that fat lady off- she’s too heavy – overweight – tilt- tilt!’

No, my experimenting had to done alone, and with a secret identity.

I let my son play with it for a few minutes and then sent him (and the rest of the crew) off to do school. When I was sure I was alone, I climbed up on the Wii balance board and pressed the button, thinking I would pretend to be my 12 y/o son.

Ha! You can’t fool a Wii! It immediately said, “You weigh considerably more than before, are you sure you want to continue?”

Of course I want to continue!

Well, then again, maybe I don’t. By the time I had been hit in the head multiple times by flying soccer cleats and pandas, drowned in the river, and fallen to my death from the high wire, I began to rethink this entire Wii experience.

Maybe I needed to move beyond the children’s favorites and discover the other side of the Wii. The kinder, gentler side. Yoga.

How hard can be it be – really? You just stand in these positions.

Or not.

Trust me, it’s a whole lot harder than it looks. It actually hurts. My “tree” position looked like a tornado had come through.

But my one saving grace was the basic step. Up down, up down, step left, step, step. Hey- this is easy! I started to get into it and jazz up my steps with a few claps.

The children gathered around me in awe… wow- the old gal can really move! She dominates on the steps!

Finally! I had discovered something that I could do better than the children. Thanks to years of cheerleading, this mom can still keep beat and move her feet!

Maybe this Wii thing ain’t so bad after all…

Poison Ivy Remedies: What Really Works

Yep. It happened again, another outbreak of poison ivy. This exposure was many times worse than my first.

My daughters and I picked wild grapes on Wednesday, August 27th. I was standing on the gravel road the entire time and never even thought about poison ivy.

It wasn’t until Friday night that I felt a burning on my left leg. By Saturday I had little bumps appear and the itching started. I just thought they were bug bites.  Ha, was I wrong.

By Sunday I knew it was poison ivy.  By Monday it was spreading. After that it becomes a itchy painful blur.

I did look online for some help. Here’s what I learned:

  • Once you’ve had a reaction, each time you are exposed, your reaction will be worse. I hope not- but it looks like they might be right!
  • Redness and swelling will appear in about 12 to 48 hours. Blisters and itching will follow. Yep. I was a textbook case.
  • Because they don’t contain urushiol, the oozing blisters are not contagious nor can the fluid cause further spread on the affected person’s body. Whew! That’s a relief to know because my legs oozed everywhere!
  • The rash will only occur where urushiol has touched the skin; it doesn’t spread throughout the body. Now this one I don’t agree with. I continually had new blisters appear even in places where I was not exposed, for weeks after my exposure.
  • The rash, blisters and itch normally disappear in 14 to 20 days without any treatment. That’s a relief, this should be over any day now!

Now for treatments. Believe me, I was given lots of advice, from the medical to the downright strange!

  • Take Benedryl. This one I did only at night because Benedryl wipes me out. I get really loopy on it for at least 12 hours. But it did allow me to sleep through the night despite the itching.
  • Use Calamine lotion. I actually used Caladryl which was calamine lotion with Benedryl. Again, I did this in the evenings while the benedryl kicked in. It might have helped a little.
  • Use hydrocortisone cream. I used this with my first outbreak, but not this one. The area was just too big. It wasn’t practical. Would it have helped? I wonder.
  • Using the hottest water you can stand, rinse the area until the inching stops. Believe it not, this does work. l guess the hot water releases the histimines which causes intense itching while the water is running. Seriously, it itches so bad it hurts! But then I would have several almost itch free hours. I did this every morning. (It also helps to remove the pink dried-on Caladryl.)
  • Soak a towel in milk of magnesia and wrap it around the affected area. Hmm…didn’t try this one.
  • Wash the affected area with bleach. I tried this one. Didn’t do much but take the tan off my legs in weird streaks, like tiger stripes.
  • Scrape the blisters with a popsicle stick and pour gasoline on them. Ouch! I can’t even think about this one! Several people swear by it, but I just told them gasoline was way too expensive to pour it on my extensive rash!
  • Use a grinder on them! Umm, I think he was joking on this one. You were joking weren’t you, Roger?

And some practical things that I discovered:

  • Baby wipes are handy to carry around when you are oozing. They kept my legs clean and kept the ooze from drying in orange blobs around my ankles.
  • Pouring hydrogen peroxide over the affected area several times a day also kept the area clean to avoid a secondary infection.
  • A clean washcloth with soap and water will help the itching for awhile.

So here I am, almost 3 weeks from my initial exposure. I still have a nasty rash on my left leg and smaller ones on my right leg. I can’t wear shoes or socks because the one at my ankle is so painful. I can’t have anything touch the rash, that includes pants, skirts and even sheets.

But the swelling has gone down. I’ve slept 2 days in a row without Benedryl and there are no more weeping sores.

There is light at the end of the tunnel.