Archive for the ‘Five For Friday’ Category


What a way to get your steps! Galena, Illinois, steps from downtown to streets above.

The big 6-0 is approaching – less than a week to go. I’ve come a long way since November when I first started thinking about my upcoming birthday. Those few short months ago, I was dreading it. Sixty?! It sounds so old! But since then, I’ve begun taking active steps, mentally and emotionally, to shift my mindset from what I used to think, to what I want to think. Sixty is a number – it is not my identity. I’m going to work hard to make sure my sixties are the best decade of my life – emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Therefore, today’s wisdom will be five of my favorite ways to stay healthy…even at this advanced age.


  • Drink water. Lots of it.

A few years ago, when I was actively working out at a Curves facility (I really miss my Curves workouts and friends), one of my favorite pieces of advice was to drink water. Weight loss is easier when you are hydrated. Everything is easier when you’re hydrated. I’ve made it a goal to drink at least 80 ounces of water a day, and I do not count coffee as “water.” Coffee is wonderful, but it doesn’t add to your hydration. There are so many benefits of drinking water. Your body and brain will thank you!

  • Get up and move.

C25k app is my go-to for 5k training every year.

Regular exercise, even just walking or stretching, will help you feel better. Of course, I’m no doctor (I don’t even play one on TV), but regular movement gets the endorphins going, loosens up stiff joints and muscles, and burns a few calories. I walk every day. My goal is 10,000 steps, and I feel as though I’m keeping my body in better shape for those “elderly” years (whenever that happens). We were gifted with a great treadmill at the end of last year, and I use it every day that I cannot get outside because of darkness or cold. I’ll begin my running regimen this month, instead of having to wait until whenever spring decides to show up.


  • Fruit and vegetables.

The recommended daily intake of five servings of fruit and vegetables seems pretty doable. I absolutely love vegetables and so eating them in abundance every day is not a hardship for me. You’ll enjoy the benefits of increased vitamins and fiber (and all that does for a body). Don and I love roasting vegetables seasoned with some flavorful salts and peppers (425 degrees, 15-20 minutes, drizzled with EVOO and seasonings). I try to eat an apple every afternoon, instead of hitting up my co-worker’s chocolate stash. Spinach in a smoothie, pulverized carrots and onions in a meatloaf, raw veggies with hummus as a snack…possibilities are endless.

  • Sleep.

I love sleep. And I know I need at least 7 hours of sleep to function at my best the next day. I’m usually asleep by 10ish on weekdays, and up before 6, so unless my mind decides otherwise, I do get a good night’s sleep most of the time. As I get older, I realize I’m more like a toddler. If I’m grumpy and pouty, it’s because I’m tired or hungry.

  • Occasional pampering.

One of the very best benefits of getting older is guilt-free time for some pampering. When I was in my 30s and 40s, I would have loved a mani-pedi, or a massage, or taking a long walk alone, but it wasn’t possible for a variety of reasons. People frown on moms who leave their small children home alone. We also didn’t have much extra money, and I would have felt awful using any funds for “silly” things like a pedicure.  But now that I’m working, Don’s working, and the kids are grown up and out of the house, I feel no guilt if I take some money for a sugaring session, or a pedicure, or buying a new pair of running shoes. Today I was able to have a 75-minute stone massage and it was wonderful! My kids gifted me with a session for last year’s birthday and I was happy to use it up.

I know there could be health surprises in my future; things I have no control over. But I also know God has shown me ways to be a good steward of the body I have. My body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and I want to honor Him with the choices I make. I want to be prepared for whatever my sixties hold. Come on 60! I hear you’re the new 40.


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It’s a new year. Time for another installation of Friday Five – five totally random bits of wisdom to jump start your year.

  • One mistake doesn’t make you a failure.

Fallen off the New Year’s resolutions wagon yet? Hope not. But, if so, get right back on. Just because you ate something unhealthy, skipped a day at the gym, forgot to read your Bible, sat around all day watching Netflix, doesn’t mean you can’t right the ship. The author (James Clear) of my 2019 favorite book (Atomic Habits) gave me lots of great advice, but one thing that really stuck with me:

“If you’re having trouble changing your habits, the problem isn’t you. The problem is your system. Bad habits repeat themselves again and again not because you don’t want to change, but because you have the wrong system for change.”

So…change your system. If putting your new habit for going to gym isn’t working at 6 AM, move it to 5 PM, or whatever time will work better. If your new resolution to eat healthier is failing, put a better system in place to give yourself a chance at success.

You are not the problem – your system is. This stuff is gold, people. Total game changer for me.

  • Volunteer your time somewhere.

Annual bell ringing in December

As we enter this new year, make a choice to volunteer to benefit someone less fortunate. So many wonderful organizations could use some of your valuable time. And trust me on this, you will benefit more than anyone else. If you struggle with depression, grief, or just plain old “winter blues,” sign up to help out at the local women’s shelter, Salvation Army, or my favorite pay-it-forward restaurant, Groundswell Cafe, in Cedar Rapids. Of course, there are loads of other places to help out – your kids’ school is always looking for extra help, the local library could use assistance shelving books, the animal shelter will never turn away someone to feed or play with the dogs and cats. Got a knack for construction? Check out Habitat for Humanity. Somehow, when we take our minds off ourselves and our own circumstances, and place them on someone else, we end up feeling better. This won’t cure clinical depression or anxiety, but volunteering just plain feels good.

  • Be anonymous.

Do something for someone else and don’t tell them it was you. Allow someone else to take the credit for your bright idea. Share a social media post without adding your own two-cents. Give a gift without a “from” label. If you have the funds, pay for someone’s groceries in line behind you…and don’t stick around to see how they respond. Clean up the break room at work without looking to see who is watching you. I think you get the idea.

  • Go to a museum and read all the stuff.

A few years ago, I convinced my husband to go with me to the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art. It was fun and we really enjoyed it. We had lived here for over 25 years and never taken the time to see the exhibits. Now I have a long list of other museums in the area that I’d like to see: the National Czech and Slovak Museum (always mean to, never have); the African-American Museum of Iowa; the History Center; and Brucemore.


The view of the Czech and Slovak Museum over the 12th Avenue bridge

I just clicked on the National Czech and Slovak Museum link – their current exhibit is the art and evolution of the guitar, open until January 26th. Sounds like a good mother-son activity!

  • Don’t text and drive.

My public service announcement for the day. This isn’t a joke – this is serious stuff. Please consider others before yourself. You can wait to check that text or take that call. Even a half-second of looking away from the road (including changing the radio station) can result in an accident. I’ve set my phone to “do not disturb” while driving so any incoming texts receive a message that I’m unavailable to respond until I stop driving. It may be annoying to the sender, but it helps me stay more focused on what I need to be doing – driving. And focus is my 2020 word.

Have a great weekend!

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It’s Friday and that means another installment of “Five for Friday,” my version of my favorite things. Today I’m listing my five favorite blogs.


There are thousands of blogs in cyberspace. Maybe hundreds of thousands. I love to read, but I only subscribe and regularly absorb only a handful, because it would be sooooo easy to spend all day and all night reading other people’s insightful (but sometimes downright stupid) writings. The following is a list of my favorites…in no order and in no relation to one another.

The Leadership Freak blog arrives in my email inbox every single day. Dan Rockwell is a leadership genius but the reason this blog is one of my favorites, which I read every day, is because he writes this blog every day. Without fail. Even on Christmas and Easter. And each post is encouraging, uplifting, enlightening, insightful, educational, and best of all, short. Dan has committed to keeping each post around 300 words. Short, to the point, and makes me think. Every time.

Jeremy Affeldt is a former major league relief pitcher, retiring last year with the San Francisco Giants. I forgave him for pitching for one of the Cubs’ competitors when I first started reading his posts. Jeremy is a strong Christian who not only believes in Jesus, but follows through with obeying the words of Christ. His blog is about grace and justice and the true meaning of following Christ. Wisdom from a Giants pitcher. Go figure.

 I probably don’t have to say much about my next two favorites. Ree Drummond (aka The Pioneer Woman) is known to most people because of her Food Network program, but I knew of her long before she hit cable television. And she is certainly more than just a great recipe. Ree was a city girl, transplanted to ranch wife, when she married her Marlboro Man and moved to Pawhuska, Oklahoma. She began blogging many years ago, before I even know what the word “blog” meant. She is a homeschooling mom, photographer and humorist…and each blog is a vulnerable look into her life. One of my favorite’s is a conversation with her husband. Hilarious.

Ann Voskamp is the author of a little book called “One Thousand Gifts” – a little book that has its own website and sat on the New York Times’ best-selling list for 60 weeks. A little Christian book about being thankful, finding joy even in the midst of incredible suffering, written almost like a poem. 60 weeks. Her blogs are similarly written – beautiful, flowing script full of wisdom and integrity and bravery. Ann is a wife and mother who was surprised at her little book’s success but has stepped into the role God has given her as a voice for embracing brokenness and pain to find healing in Jesus.

Sean_McGarveyLastly, I love, love, love my own son’s blog. Sean is my second son, a young adult who writes honestly about struggles with love, disappointment, despair, success, and hope. He writes both fiction and non-fiction but each post reflects his sensitivity and wisdom. I am so proud of him. Cannot quite wrap my brain around this young man who would cry crocodile tears when I gave him a writing assignment as a middle school student. You’ve come a long way, baby.

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