Six Week Check In

It’s humbling to read back on all the different phases I’ve trudged through on this journey to better health. Humbling because I can clearly see God leading me to the path He wants me to be on, and the detours that I sometimes like to wander down. All have led to this one, and I feel pretty confident that this is where I need to put some roots down.

BSSbook-smToday is my 6th week with the Blood Sugar Solution program by Dr Mark Hyman. It’s been a good, a little tough, time. Mainly, my sugar cravings have been busted, unless I’m a bit off plan. The recommended supplements in the program are what ultimately brought me around to researching Plexus products.

My weight is down 8.5 lbs, waist is down 5 inches, my BMI has gone from 27.2 to 25.7 (this number moves irritatingly slow) and my W2HR is down from 62 to 56. All in all, I’m happy with the results. It’s hard work, and yes, I’ve stumbled, but it hasn’t degenerated into an all weekend carb-fest or anything like it used to be. I will stay on this program the way it is for another 6 weeks and reevaluate what I might be able to reintroduce and what I need to permanently stay away from.

Now, let me walk you back a bit. The Blood Sugar Solution was recommended to me by my doctor after I complained that no matter what “program” I tried, I could not lose more that 5-7 lbs. It didn’t matter how long I stayed on it, what I did or did not eat, etc. She recommended Dr. Hyman’s website, and also Dr. Sarah Gottfried‘s. Both stress the importance of balanced hormones and blood glucose levels. This is a path that I’ve been flitting around since my foray into the Trim Healthy Mama phase about 2 years ago. Then, I went vegetarian, then vegan and, well, here I am.

What I’ve discovered, or rather, what I already knew, is that one program/food plan/diet does not fit and fuel all body types. My oldest son, the Dog Walking King of Boston, thrives on a vegan diet. I did not. I have many friends who love and do well with THM. I did not. Weight Watchers, Atkins, whatever. I know people who do great and those who do not. I am usually among the “do nots,” and part of that for me is a spiritual struggle.

Let me backtrack further: my family health history is anything but. On my father’s side we have multiple sclerosis, diabetes, kidney diseases, some vague ear issues, and early onset heart issues. My oldest brother started his heart issues at 45, and my father passed from multiple heart issues at 66. My mom’s side is no better, with thyroid, cancers, diabetes. She succumbed to Fatty Liver Disease in 2006. My mother did not smoke, nor drink, but she was diabetic and on at least 10 different medications. No wonder her liver gave out!

YIKES! And, for most of my life, I have figured that any or all of these diseases will inevitably become mine. I mean, look at this, the deck is stacked pretty high against me, right? Plus, I do have my own issues of high blood pressure and low thyroid. It’s only a matter of time.

Well, NO! That is not true! I can take steps to regain my health and reverse the family “curse”! I will not go down without a fight, lol.

The information I have been accumulating over the past few years points to the facts that my body does not well tolerate dairy or grains. *sob* And, that may very well be for this time of gut healing and hormone balancing. I may, at some point, be able to add back whole grains, sweet potatoes, corn and yogurt. For now, verboten. And, that is finally okay with me.

You see, a huge part of this, for me, has been, “But I don’t wanna ______.” I don’t like not having my bagel, my grilled cheese on whole grain bread, my creamy Bullet Proof Coffee. I certainly, after waiting for 5.5 years for Dunkin Donuts to come to Colorado, don’t like not being able to go run and grab a coffee and a chocolate chip muffin.  I want to have that treat, whatever form that treat might take.

However, it is within my power, and with my health in mind, to forego these things. For one, none of it is good FOR ME. It’s probably not good for you, either. All of those things turn into glucose in your system, and glucose in large proportions is bad. It causes sugar spikes, sluggish energy levels, and it makes a body HANG ON TO FAT. Yes. Hang on.

It’s also a proven fact that you need to move your body to keep it in good shape. I’m not talking Ms. Olympia shape, just daily functioning without problems shape. I don’t want to have to exercise. I’d really prefer my weight just come off with no effort taken by me whatsoever. Well, I am not under 30 anymore, and this doesn’t “just happen.” I do need to move, and move on a daily basis. It can be as little as 10 minutes of Pilates or a 1 mile walk. The solution is to do it.

I suppose this is one of those “preaching to the choir” posts. One that is really just a stream of consciousness reminder to myself of all the things that need to be done to take care of this shell while I am here on the earth. I suppose, more importantly, that I am tired of reading “shaming” blog and social media posts that make you feel like a failure if you can’t drop 67 pound in 30 days, if you’re not using BeachSupremeMegaShakes or so strictly following the Carrot Diet that you are Trump orange.

In any case, I hope my post, as I hope all the others do, has blessed you in some way today. I’m working on a planner comparison post for later in the week, having received my personal-planner last week. Also, a think I might start a series on how balancing hormones is so important to overall health. What would you like to read about here on the blog?

Until next time, Be Blessed!

Weekend Update

It’s a hot weekend here in the Denver Metro area. I’m sitting inside, nice and semi-cool, working on all kinds of neat stuffs (which, unfortunately, does not include a dinner item as of yet). The Youngest Scout is mowing the lawn before his week away at camp. A race is on tonight, and, boy howdy, I’m looking forward to a Kyle Busch sweep. Well, in reality, I always am.

I created our Community Bible Study children’s class craft/lesson schedule, a meal sign up and now I need to add dates to Sign Up Genius. I also, in a fit of technological prowess, made a Periscope and YouTube channel! Wow. I amaze myself sometimes.  Now, you can not only read my life adventures, you can actually hear them, in a full blown New Jersey accent.  I’m hoping in the next few weeks to have some vids about books, Plexus and my new planner up. I can even live stream, but I’m not sure you all want to listen to that craziness.

My new planner: yes, I did order a new one! I went with the personal-planner, and I used my graphics from the blog for the cover. I’m looking forward to filling it up. I think, for me, it was the most bang for the buck, plus I hit a 15% off code on Facebook (see? It’s worth it to follow these pages!) so my planner had a grand total of $33. That included shipping. I’m pleased. I’ll “unbox” it and post the video.

July is the month that I started 2 new home-based businesses. Rushing Wind Media and Plexus.

Rushing Wind Media is the result of my working as social media manager for a friend’s dive shop this past year. I hope to help other small businesses get their social media platform up and running. I had a friend’s very talented daughter create some branding graphics for me and I am just tickled with them. I’m still tweaking the website a bit, but if you want to share some luv, feel free.Blue BG-12

I had a minor kerfuffle with my initial Plexus order which my upline, Jess, fixed for me this morning. Let me backtrack just a second and say that I never, ever, ever thought I’d use the phrase “upline” in any sentence ever in my life. Just a few of the new things that are happening around here these days. It wasn’t even with Plexus, it was with my lame postal delivery. I won’t bore you with too much detail except to say that while I LOVE living in the Big Blue House, there are a few drawbacks to living on a school campus. And, these are only very recent drawbacks. I guess the postmaster likes me to come in and speak to him about my lack of mail delivery in my loud, NJ voice. (not really, maybe) All of that to say, I should have my products this week, and I am very excited to start this leg of my wellness journey. I do have a Plexus Facebook page, and you can follow along there if you’d like information on their terrific products.

In book news, I have a tentative schedule for the release of the next Lakeville books. Yes, books. If you hop over to my author blog, there will be some news on that soon. But, I’m excited to get this new project into print. It’s been rattling around in my brain far too long, now.

So, “excitement” seems to be the word of the day here. And, why not? The Lord has given me so many ways to serve Him and others. It’s an honor to be used by Him, for His glory. Though Community Bible Study, my books, my social media start up business or Plexus, I have equal opportunity to honor Him. And, if that’s not exciting, I really don’t know what it!



“Hi, I’m Barb, and I’m a planner-holic.”

Here we are in July, and yes, I have been beginning to obsess about planners. Which is really sort of ironic in that I am more of the flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants type of person. But as I get busier in my advanced age, I find myself needing a bit of structure: I am the Children and Youth director at my Bible study, launching 2 new businesses, need to keep two different school schedules for the boys, my hubby’s work schedule at yet another school, what days I watch MAG (Most Adorable Grandboy, in case you’re new around here), and a writing/book release schedule. I’m a bit tired and confused just reading all of that. I love anything (and I do mean ANYthing) to do with paper, notebooks, pens, Sharpies and writing, so I suppose it’s not all that unnatural for me to love planners.

My continuing mission to find the planner that is perfect for ME has landed a few good choices, a few yucky choices and, below, this year’s crop of choices. Past ones have been the $2 Walmart bargain bin options to the customized Erin Condren.  So, here are my opinions on what I have been using this past year and what I’m looking at for next, which I’ll purchase around November unless a really great deal pops up in the meantime. Or, I get impatient, but I won’t mention that possibility. Nope. Not. At. All.

Happy Planner: fun but totally not functional for me; in fact, I haven’t touched it but to move it from my table since April. These are available at craft stores (Hobby Lobby, Michael’s) or online

~ I do NOT like disc bound anything

~ I do like the size

~ Layout is okay, I suppose

~ TOO many extra bells and whistles

~ Price range: $25 for the basic planner, and you can use your Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon

Spark Notebook (which is changing names to InkVolt) which I’ve been using for work…I might like it better if I had a bound one, I’m using the sample that I was able to download from Kickstarter for supporting their campaign. Available online.

~ I like the layout

~ I like the monthly goal list, I think

~ Not crazy about their “inspirational” quotes and stuff

~ Price range: $40

Traveler’s Notebooks from YellowPaperHouse on Etsy. You can spend hours (and hours and hours) scanning all the choices of these Midori take-offs, and I like to support home grown businesses if possible. You need a few essentials with this type of system: a cover, bands and the inserts.

~ Too small, but that was my own fault; I didn’t accurately judge the sizes available

~ I like the daily tracker one, but don’t want to buy one every month or two (it’s probably 3, actually)

~ I hardly use the weekly or monthly ones

~ Price range: $3-$10 for each insert, depending on size chosen

What I concluded from using these is that I like having it all in one book, and definitely a BOOK, not anything disc bound, or 3 ring binder. I think I prefer spiral to bound. It needs to be that A5 size. 8×11 is too big and anything smaller than A5 isn’t useful for me. I like washi tape, and maybe a sticker or two, but I don’t want to, nor do I have time to create a special layout for each month. I don’t want to “create” one, I want it all there. Also, buying an 18 month planner was a bad choice for me.

I’ve been playing with the personal-planner, a UK company. Very easy to create your planner.

~ It’s way easier to design than the Plum Paper Planner, popular on Etsy (I’ve tried several times, I just don’t get it)

~ I like the little modules on the bottom of the pages

~ I love that you can upload something for the cover, and I like their choices

~ I like the extras you can add to the back

~ Nice size ranges

~ Option to add personalized dates/address

~ Price range: $30-$40

Ah! Just when I thought I had it settled, a friend posted about this nifty planner on my Facebook page:

The Hustle Planner and , wow, oh, WOW, does it have some neat features. It’s almost a better version of the Spark, with some extras that would be beneficial and not all that extra inspirational stuff that I didn’t want. It’s a hefty price tag, though, at $60. They do have a fancy ring bound edition (at $84, gulp) and a student version (affordable-ish at $38)


Brilliant Business Moms has a fabulous planner, with almost everything I wanted in mine, plus extras that I would absolutely use! Oh. My. Goodness! It’s a good thing I did that free webinar about Pintrest for Business 😉 This beauty runs about $50, and you can download the 2016 one now for $25 to see if you’d use it. They also offer free printables to add to the planner. Now, from the way it looked, unless Beth Anne is very tiny, it’s an 8×11 size. But…it’s another option.

I think I’m going to try the personal-planner for 2017. Unless I get the Hustle. Or the BBM. Or maybe…

Book Review: Ante Up! by Chautona Havig

Ante UpIt’s here and it’s a keeper!

Ante Up!, the latest book in Chautona Havig’s Aggie’s Inheritance series, brings back all the humor, encouragement and antics of the large Sullivan/Stuart clan.

It’s been about five years since the last book, and the family is growing. The Murphy’s Law way of life Aggie and family live by seems ramped up to unbelievable proportions in the opening of the story.  It was so easy to jump right back into the lives of all the characters and it was wonderful to see how they’ve grown and matured. It was also lovely to see Luke and Aggie with their own child in the mix.

I loved how Chautona wove in the real-life issues of complicated family matters. No matter your faith, real life rears its ugly head and you deal with it. Step-children, kooky grandmothers, lifelong friends, boy/girl issues at any and every age. Chautona shows how these things all can make or almost break your faith, and certainly how faith grows even in the midst of adversity.

It was a pleasure to reconnect with characters that are beloved. A wonderful read, I highly recommend it!

An added bonus! The Celebrate Lit folks are hosting a blog tour to celebrate the release of Ante Up! and there are prizes and fun abounding! So, head over to Chautona Havig: Just the Right Escape and get the details!

P.S. Here’s the link to the Ante Up! Release Party contest widget.

New Look and New Books

Hi everyone! It’s been a while, so I thought I needed a facelift. I have all these great graphics from my books, so I thought I’d make use of some. It’s bright and fun and that’s what I want to display. Brightness (of Jesus) and fun! I’m changing the focus of my blog, sort of, to more health related posts.

I have so much going on, and I do want to fill you in, but for now let me leave you with two great books that released this month.

I’ve been having fun being involved on Chautona Havig’s launch team for her latest in the Aggie’s Inheritance series, Ante Up! If you go to her blog, you can see some of the great prizes she’s got to be given away to celebrate! She always has fun contests and treats her readers well.

Also, my book, Angels Unaware is out. It was a great book to write and work on with my editor (and CBS sister) Krista. We had a great time meeting at our local Panera and discussing the book and other things. We’ll be working on Lakeville #5 in the next few months. That will be a blast! But, here’s the link to grab Angels Unaware, and it’s available in either Kindle or traditional formats.

I’ll be back with some posts on the latest in my health journey and what neat new things I’m trying out and have discovered.

Thanks for reading!

Book Review: Web of Secrets, Susan Sleeman

I held my breath through the whole book!

webofsecretsThis is another great book in her “Web” series, and we meet a few new characters as well as revisiting the familiar ones. The story captures you immediately and, as usual, you need to read it through with no interruptions! All of her characters are well developed and deep, as though you really know them. The plot pushes the boundaries, but, in these days of technological scares, not impossible to believe. You can see the depth of Susan’s research to be certain she’s giving you a top-notch read.

Susan’s writing is suspenseful and she is wonderful at making a book downright creepy without resorting to sordid or graphic violence/sexual references.

Highly recommended! Just be sure to read with the lights on.

Book Review: Return to Life, Joseph Pilates

I’ve been kind of ga-ga over Pilates since about November, I think. I told my hubby, I think it’s tickling some latent German gene that’s floating around in my DNA. The book resonated with me on several levels, and it’s not anything that I can’t square with Scripture (unlike much of the bladdity-blah of yoga). In fact, it lines up pretty good.

I first read about Joseph Pilates in Aleceya Ungaro’s book on Pilates for beginners. He was a pretty fascinating fellow. He was the German equivalent to Jack La Lane, in that, he was into good fitness and well-being before it was “popular” to be. Hitler wanted him to train the German troops, but, since he was a pacifist, he emigrated to the U.S., settled in New York City and began a career which included training dancers.

pilates coverOriginally published in 1945, this book is right to the point. Let me quote some portions (which, since I have it on Kindle, will not include actual page numbers):

All in all, we do not give our bodies the care that our well-being deserves. True, we do stroll in the fresh air whenever our whimsical spirit moves us, or whenever necessity compels us to do so, with the result that on these occasions we do, in spite of ourselves, exercise our legs to this limited extent, accomplished, however, at the sacrifice of the rest of our body, which after all is much more important to us from the viewpoint of general health.

1 Corinthian 6:10: Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirt? We need to work to maintain our vessels for His good work!

Telephones, automobiles, and economic pressure all combine to create physical letdown and mental stress…

Remember, he wrote this in 1945. Imagine how much more these stresses are now, in this 21st Century.

There’s so much more; Just go get it 😉 It’s available on Kindle, and you can highligh. In the back are his original 34 exercises that began the huge, booming revolution that is now what we know as Pilates. If you look on YouTube, you can find many of his original films. (check out this one). You can also access, a place where you can find most of his original writings and lots of other neat stuff.