Category Archives: mindfulness

Anyday Serenity

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There was a great inclusion from a site called, “Girlfriends in God,”

in my monthly church bulletin. I enjoyed this, along with a few other

worthwhile and meaningful quotations.

Hope this finds you peaceful, content and relaxing on this fine morning,

afternoon or evening.

 

You may find their website at:

http://crosswalk.com

http://www.girlfriendsingod.com

 

“Count your blessings instead of your crosses.

Count your gains instead of your losses.

Count your joys instead of your woes.

Count your friends instead of your foes.

Count your smiles instead of your tears.

Count your courage instead of your fears.

Count your kind deeds instead of your mean.

Count your health instead of your wealth.

Count on God instead of yourself.”

 

(You may substitute Allah, Mother Nature or other form of

a Higher Being.)

 

This is a positive way of explaining a horrible experience. . .

I always like when people use pets to explain life’s situations.

 

“~Death~ What a wonderful way to explain it
A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to leave the

examination room and said,

‘Doctor, I am afraid to die. Tell me what lies on the other side.’

Very quietly, the doctor replied, ‘I don’t know. . .’

‘You don’t know? You’re a Christian man and don’t know what’s

on the other side?’

 

The doctor was holding the handle of the door; on the other side

came a sound of scratching and whining, and as he opened the

door, a dog sprang into the room and leaped on him with an eager

show of gladness.

 

Turning to the patient, the doctor said, ‘Did you notice my dog?

He’s never been in this room before. He didn’t know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his owner (his master) was here, and

when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

 

I know little of what is on the other side of death. But I do know one

thing. . . I know my Master is there and that is enough.'”

(No author was listed. Please let me know if this is unknown or if you

know a name to tag this with.)

 

C.S. Lewis wrote of many subjects, some were Christian and some were

fantasy/science fiction:

“Every day in a life fills the whole Life

with expectation and memory.”

 

In Psalms 128:5 there is a lovely wish for those to hear. I like the idea of

psalms being songs and positive Old Testament wishes:

“May the Lord continually bless you with human’s blessings

as well as with human joys.”

 

A Prayer by Thomas Merton:

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself and the fact that I think that I am

following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in me in all that I am doing.

I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And know that if I do this you will lead me by the the right road

though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost

and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never

leave me to face my perils alone.”

 

This prayer by Thomas Merton is featured in his ‘Through the Year”

daily devotional book.

 

Thrift Store and Road Trip Adventures

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The road to almost anywhere seems to take you much longer than the

trip home. My brothers give me directions around Cleveland, forgetting

my crooked path that began on the lake which I call ‘home’ to the small

towns I have lived in and then back again, to visit again. The total number

of years away are much more than the years I lived at ‘home.’ I had lived 6

years in Bowling Green, Ohio, four while attending college and two while

young, newly married and teaching middle school. I spent 5 years farther

south, in Lancaster, Ohio, and a big chunk of 28 years in my chosen (picked

it on a map) location of Delaware, Ohio.

So, we valiantly set off to a short distance away to go shopping. Mom and I

were off on another one of our adventures, traveling around the city streets,

some I have forgotten their names. “Fasten your seat belt, Mom! Hold onto

your hat, since the windows will be down it is such a beautiful and warm

day!”

Mom and I ate lunch out at a casual location, fortifying for our shopping

expedition. So serious, that Mom had made a list and so had I! We were

heading towards Lorain Road (one town over, North Olmsted) from Center

Ridge Road (Westlake). We located the Dr.’s office we would go to on Wed.,

along with the Dr.’s office we would head towards on Thurs. Then, we were

on Busy and much traveled, Dover Center Road. We passed the church where

my early days of Girl Scouts had met, along with a house of where one of my

Mom’s favorite fellow Westlake (Demons) teachers had lived. They live out

West in Colorado, writing letters and exchanging cards with Mom.

When we arrived on Lorain Road, I traveled East first; nope!  Wrong direction!

I saw an outstanding and extraordinarily low priced familiar gas station, where

there were several people, one elderly man who may have been retired, chatting

by the door of the place. It is one where Brazilian coffee has joined the hot brews,

along with my favorite cappuccino mixes. Having had three days of the Senior

Apartment brewed coffee, a little above average and the Maxwell House instant

coffee my Mom drinks all day, I decided to grab a flavored ice tea for Mom and

pre-pay for some gas. I left my Mom’s windows open and locked her in. We gave

a little laugh, since she knows I worry a lot about her memory and her safety, too.

I was told I was only a few hundred feet to get to Dollar General and only two

blocks away from Giant Eagle, whose plaza has a huge Volunteers of America

Thrift Store. I thanked the men who were gathered on the step of the gas station,

and gave the elderly, very genuinely concerned man a brief but sincere hug. He

laughed and said, “You made my day, Honey.”

Once we got in the doors of the V. of A. Thrift Store, we checked carefully for the

“Colors of the Day” chart. I repeated them twice to Mom, since the color of orange

meant 50% off the price tags of that color, the color of green meant a whopping

75% off.

We spent over two hours searching for our own respective list of ‘clothing needs.’

Which for me usually includes dark and patterned shirts and jeans that are ‘not too

tight’ for my warehouse job. She was fascinated by the Halloween decorations, I had

to insist she had her ‘door and shelves covered with October décor.’ Once I had her

steered towards the relaxed pants and turtle necks part of the store, I could head off

into the misses and juniors areas.  I went back to her twice, to find her cart piled

high in clothes she WISHED she could wear. I loved the attitude coming from her,

really like her sparkling belief that she can still wear pants with belts and shirts

with buttons. We had to put the black pin striped suit she wanted to wear ‘to go to

meetings in’ back. I got her to go back one row over where the pants were elastic-

waisted and the shirts were pullovers.

This time I headed off to the Sundries department. It makes you think of a garage

sale or one of those big flea markets that are set up on fairgrounds. Twice I had to

stop people to ask first, for the frames area and then, for the photo albums area.

I found five albums for my grandkids’ photos, various covers and styles from a

big pile of these. I liked the ones I found for the girls, one with flowers, another

with a geometric design and the ones for the boys, one had a red ‘leather’ look

for my oldest, Skyler and another had a green ‘leather’ look for Landen. The

others will be ‘jazzed up’ like I do with dollar store albums, using stickers and

little bit of acrylic paint designs. So much money saved and I may have told you

this summer I printed out 700 photographs, dating back to Fall, 2013. Yikes!

Blogging has taken me away from my usual careful seasonally printing off the

pictures and individually separating them into 6 distinct albums. My grandies

have looked more into their past, then their recent happenings, when they go

to my four foot stack of photo albums, one for each season of their lives.

The other great find was a beautiful mahogany or cherry antique frame to put

my #86 Birthday Gift to my Mother in. I know how much she loves Autumn

leaves and found a beautiful branched photograph, with multiple leaves of

brilliant shades to place a male red cardinal on and the step below him, a

female yellow cardinal perched on a branch. I painted this in watercolors,

starting in early October. The frame was a ‘firm’ price, not one that will be

reduced by its tag, $3.99. What a bargain! I gave my Mom her gift early, since

we have plans for dinner Wednesday with my youngest brother and his wife,

then on Friday with my ‘older’ brother, just 18 months younger than I. (We

ran around in a ‘pack’ from childhood through high school, 3 born in 4 years.)

Here were Mom’s purchases in a list:

1. Four pairs of elastic waist pants,

*Pink ones made of denim material, brand new condition. Mom’s favorite color.

*Blue jeans, a nice dark denim with large, deep pockets. She acknowledged their

benefits by saying,

“Robin, I can put tissues and my keys in this pocket and the doggie bags in the

other one. Some may call them doggie doo doo bags… but I also put her treats

from my dinner in them, too.” (Not at the same time nor same bag, may I add!)

*Black soft cotton material pants with pockets. They may resemble sweat pants,

but she wears this style to bed and to answer the door in the morning.

* Black sturdier, some acrylic/polyester material pants that look ‘dressy’ and less

worn. Mom exclaimed about her next three purchases that would be worn with

these same pants,

“Robin, look at this beautiful jacket for the holidays, this red turtleneck and this

red cowl necked sweater! You will not believe how lucky I was at finding them!”

 

 

Here is the best part of the red plaid wool jacket labeled, Norton McNaughton,

with its black velvet color and such a Scottish printed plaid:

It was marked “99 cents” and happened to be a green tag, so take 75% off and

Mom paid only one quarter for this jacket, with its freshly dry cleaned tag attached.

 

The trip back home was short and sweet, we sipped our tea, (Mom’s) and coffee,

(mine) quite content to bask in our wonderful purchases. We stopped on the way

home to sit in the woods of Bradley Woods Park, looking at the busy squirrels, the

chirping birds and sun glowing colors of Autumn. I pulled out of my purse two

Milky Way bars and two little dark chocolate Hershey kisses. We felt like we were

almost in Heaven.

 

A flyer in Mom’s door had a religious message but I loved the

quote:

“The Clock

The clock of life is wound but once,

and no man has the power

to tell just when the hands will stop

at late or early hour.

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more.

To lose one’s soul is such a loss

That no one can restore.”

(Author Unknown, found on a religious tract)

 

*As far as I am concerned,

in this poem, the word,  “soul”

can mean our enthusiasm and

sometimes Grace. ~Robin E. O. Cochran

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Healthy and Simple “Switches” to Lower Carbs

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The Institute of Medicine recommends 130 grams of carbohydrates a day!

One big sundae, with my girlfriend, used up my daily ‘allowance’ and then

some of the next day’s, too! Smiles for this, but seriously, I have several

close friends who have to consider their carbohydrates, due to diabetes

and/or high cholesterol.

The sugary, starchy ‘yummy’ stuff, can be replaced or “switched” into

equally delicious, but more healthier foods. I love it when I find a few in

a row, so hope you will enjoy this compilation list:

1. This is the place I have trouble in:  restaurants!

Give yourself one carb allowance for that meal. Choose to splurge on a

glass of wine or a beer. Or would you rather have a piece of bread or a

dinner roll?

Do you have someone who really wants to try a dessert after the meal,

who would be willing to ‘split it’ with you?

Make your plate fill up with vegetables, fish, meat, or a protein of some

kind.

2. Instead of having regular order of pizza, ask if they have a carb-free

choice, whole grain crust or possibly gluten free. Any of these beats the

‘white dough crust’ that usually you enjoy. Now, vegans and vegetarians

use a lot of vegetables to fill their plate and suit their palate, too. Can

you skip the pepperoni? If at the store, you could buy turkey pepperoni…

Otherwise, go for all the vegetables, add a little extra red pepper flakes

and you will find yourself satisfied and feeling kind of ‘righteous!’

3. If you are interested in totally carb-free pizzas, try a Portobello

mushroom or eggplant slices for the base, add sauce, (try to check for

less sugar in your pasta sauces…) and go to ‘town’ on the veggies!

4. While ordering burgers or veggie burgers, try asking for a lettuce

‘wrap’ instead of a bun! You can also do what my friend does, she

puts her meat on her salad! Steak, chicken strips and even- burgers!

5. When you go out with family or on a Sunday brunch ‘date,’ you

may want to think about scrambled eggs with onions, peppers, cheese

and mushrooms, or an omelet! Try to get only one whole grain pancake,

ask for real butter and a small amount of real maple syrup. (I order, for

example, at Cracker Barrel, the breakfast for ‘Any Ages’ which has one

egg, one bread and one piece of meat. I love their thick bacon. Sorry, I

know I have Vegans who are my blogging friends!

Then, I put my cornbread muffin in a box (saving it for another day)

and ask for one Pecan Pancake with real butter and real maple syrup!

It adds up to (I think) about $5.99, with my beverage of choice, coffee

included.

As a matter of fact, any of their daily specials, you can get “Kids of Any

Ages” with a bread and beverage included. It is a smaller portion, of

the Friday Fish Fry, for example, but it satisfies! Most places have Senior

Menu, but are only eligible for over a certain age. I recommend ‘ala carte’

when you cannot find what you want on a menu. There used to be a

“Hoggy’s Restaurant” in Delaware, Ohio, where you could order two

vegetable meals or three vegetable meals. Also, you could do salad and

soup. Sometimes, you have to let the calories go in soups, but asking

about carbs, while diabetic, is important!

6. Thai and Indian curries, don’t necessarily have to go over rice! This

was a new concept to me, thanks to the Cleveland Plain Dealer’s holiday

suggestions for making a bland serving of cauliflower or broccoli, taste

so much more interesting. I also find cheese sauces and ask for it on the

side, then can decide how much to put on my vegetables.

The article gave this summary: “The rage in the Paleo community is

“Cauliflower rice” as a nutrient- and fiber-rich way to stick to your diet

and still enjoy Thai panang or chicken tikka masala.” (December, 2013).

7. I am sure you have already tried Spaghetti squash, but just in case

you have been holding back on this, it is easy to prepare, shreds and

looks like spaghetti. I like having it with marinara sauce, lots of fresh

Parmesan or Romano cheese sprinkled over it. You can also make your

meatballs, (my son does this) without any bread crumbs but using some

mushrooms and eggs to hold it together. Do you have any favorite ways

to make meatballs without bread or cracker crumbs?

Just FYI: According to the United States government’s food guidelines,

a serving portion of spaghetti is one half a cup. (That is 1/2 cup, folks!)

At least, practice with whole wheat pasta and find it delicious by not

overcooking it! It makes it a little healthier and yet, not as much as

you could eat of spaghetti squash! Or eggplant parmesan…

8. A way to get the flavor of Italian restaurants is to always ask for

the red, marinara sauce, pour it over a piece of grilled chicken or a

pork chop, or a veggie burger, then add an unlimited number of

salads, if you are at Olive Garden! (Yes, their Italian has carbs!)

9. Another favorite food of many is mashed potatoes or macaroni and

cheese. Both of these can have substitutions of cauliflower, one with it

being mashed, with a little milk and butter and the other with cheese

over cauliflower florets.

10. When you are making salads at home, you can certainly prevent

the croutons, fried tortilla strips, sugary salad dressings, and the

bread bowls or tortilla shell bowls. I found out, surprisingly, that

Ranch and Blue Cheese Dressings are the main ones with low levels

of sugar. If you make your own dressing, you may use vinegar, oil,

a small amount of Blue Agave Nectar or honey, but you are in

control of adding delicious spices! It will be easier and less calories,

than the store bought dressings. If you love blue cheese, look up on

the internet, some healthy recipes or buy yogurt based or ones in the

low calorie or even the sugar free aisle! In the summer time, if you

are not diabetic, adding raspberries, blueberries, pineapple, orange

slices, and even watermelon, can really brighten up your salad.

If you are diabetic, you know how many berries or other fruits you

may have in your daily diet. I enjoy adding pecans, walnuts or

almonds to my salads, for protein instead of meat. Spare use of

cheese, will limit your calories, of course!

Enjoy your food preparation and your meals out, too. You deserve to

be pampered and have someone else prepare it, wash the dishes and

help you to slow down while you eat. Isn’t it true? Don’t you eat much

slower at a restaurant? Allowing yourself to savor your foods, will always

help make you mindful. This is good on so many levels, to add “Being

Mindful,” into our lives!

My last suggestion on this trip down “Carbohydrates Free Street” is:

I hope you find these helpful and easy ways to make your diet a lot

more healthier and nutritious. Any changes will help you feel much

better!

 

is