Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I did!

PHOTO: Rusty & Murphy


This morning I was up at 6:30, hopped on Belle, the ball and did my weight routine, and then pedaled on Rusty, the stationary bike. But, I must share with you something exciting. When I usually hop on Rusty, I can’t just start pedaling normal. The Fake Knee doesn’t allow that. I first must pedal backwards half way until I’ve coaxed the knee into a full rotation. Once I do that for a bit, then I start pedaling forward half way until I once again coax the Fake Knee into a full rotation. This is what I have to do before I jump on LuLu too. First Rusty to limber up the knee, then on to LuLu. However, this morning, for the first time in two years or more, I was able to pedal a full forward rotation right from the start! This is a big deal for me.

What this tells me is that my time spent with LuLu is slowly, but surely making me a healthier gal. And it most definitely is helping me to keep and gain flexibility with my knee. I’m ecstatic!

I have lots to go in the weight-losing department, but today, I rejoiced in a victory I didn’t see coming. So, I must ask you, what little victories have you been surprised with lately? Think about them and give them their due. Nothing is too small or insignificant. If it was a goal and you reached it, then it matters. We are sometimes to quick to put ourselves down or make light of an accomplishment. And, granted, manners and decorum call for modest restraint at times. But not at all times.

So pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and then keep moving forward. This morning as I made a couple of full rotations, I swear I heard the theme song from Rocky playing in the distance somewhere, or maybe it was just in my own heart.

I think I can, I think I can… I know I can… I did! And, so can you.


Thursday, January 26, 2012

God is no fool


A long time ago, I discovered a little book that I have continually read for many years. Every time I pick it up, I discover something new. Unfortunately it’s out of print making me cherish the one copy I own all the more.

God is no fool was written by Lois Cheney back in the early 60s. It is the only book she ever wrote. One day, maybe ten years ago, I tracked Ms. Cheney down somewhere in Kentucky. As with Harper Lee with To Kill A Mockingbird and Margaret Mitchell with Gone with the Wind, I wanted to know why there was never another book. Ms. Cheney was cordial and spoke to me with the graciousness of one who had better things to do, but made time for a fan overstepping her bounds.

When I asked why she never wrote another book, she simply said, “I said all I wanted to say.” Well, done, Ms. Cheney.

Since I’m am on my own writing retreat this week and making sport of wrestling with just the right words, I wanted to honor Ms. Cheney by posting one of my favorite vignettes from God is no fool. Enjoy. I’ll see you next week.


One day, Just one day.

If I could present to my God, Just one day Of pure intention Of faithful purpose Of loving heart Of prayerful actions.

Just one day, Of total commitment Of untarnished speech Of unselfish acts Of total concentration.

Just one day, Lacking weakness Lacking jealousy Lacking self-absorption Lacking foolishness.

Just one day, One day

If I could present to my God, Just one day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Vows. Vowels. And, lots of water


LuLu-ism #44: When you can’t be with the one you love—pack chocolate. But make sure it’s dark chocolate because it’s good for you and promotes a healthy whatever, not like that bad milk chocolate.

It’s full-fledged winter up here in the North Country. We’ve had temps in the minuses the last few days. So, I’m afraid my sweet LuLu is going to be garage-bound for a few months now. It’s hard to believe that we biked only a little over a week ago in forty degree weather.

But do not fear. I am continuing on with my quest to healthy up my heart and other parts of me, even if LuLu can no longer venture outside. As I write this, I am in Door County on my annual Writing Retreat. But, I am not here alone, no sir. Belle, the exercise ball, and her accompanying hand weights have joined me on this little trip. The plan is to exercise every morning before I start my writing day. And, to keep me honest, I now have a couple of accountability partners whom I must check in with every day via email. More about those ladies in another post. So you see, I may be LuLu-less at the moment, but her spirit keeps me moving on.

Ever been to Door County in the ‘thumb’ of Wisconsin? It’s a God-kissed place hugging to the shores of Lake Michigan. The minute I pass into the first little village of the county, stress starts dropping off of me like sailors abandoning ship, and I’m left with this quiet glide toward shore. I have some dear friends who have generously loaned me their digs for the week. It’s a lovely little place bordering some large pines and cedars and only a block from a marina that frames some pretty spectacular sunsets.

I’ve come with the blessings of my sweet hubs with an admonishment to “Write, dear wife. Write until the words can come no more; write until the last vowel trickles from your fingers onto your keyboard like the emptying of a great ocean that gushes and flows into rivers, then lakes, then streams and finally spurts to the a small cup. Write, dear wife, and make us rich!” Well, that’s not exactly what he said, but he did send me off with a kiss and said he hoped I got a lot done.

So, I’ll write. I’ll exercise a bit. And, yes, Adrienne, I will drink my water… lots and lots of water.

How about you? How are your vows to yourself for the New Year coming? It’s only the end of January. We got a lot of year to go.

Later, dear friends,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

No Whine Zone


LuLu-ism # 43: Real heroes are few and far between. Cherish them.

Sorry about posting a little late this morning. I’m puny as is half of Wisconsin right now. Don’t know about you but there’s an evil little bug going round up here causing havoc with our respiratory systems, tummies and just about anything else it can get a-hold of. I’ve dragged myself around the house for two days now with rubbery legs and aching bones. Hear me whine!

But, let me tell you about someone who isn’t whining but has every right to… my hubs. He’s not here right now because he’s at the hospital getting his daily radiation treatment. About a year ago he had his first radiation treatment and came through with flying colors until a nasty infection set up housekeeping at the radiated site. Two more stays in the hospital and a few more months of recup and he was good to ago. Until his three month PET scan revealed another cancerous site behind his knee. Yet another surgery. Minor, but surgery just the same. Then right before Thanksgiving, a PET revealed another ‘suspicious’ site behind the same knee. This time instead of surgery he opted for radiation. And, here we are. We’re almost two years into what Gary calls his Medical Mystery Tour. Those who have kept up with us know my sweet man was diagnosed with a rare form of atypical Melanoma in March 2010. A tumor the size of Cancun had staked claim to his ankle and then sent cancer on up to some lymph nodes in his groin area. It’s been a battle, but one that my hubs has braved as ferociously as the young shepherd boy did when facing Goliath. And, he’s done it all without whining.

The man is my hero. The man is the love of my life. He is teaching me how to live like a warrior. I keep breaking a nail on the shield he is training me to fight with and then whining about it, but another thing he is, is patient. That’s a good thing for me. Pray for him today if you get a chance. God knows his name well. He knows all giant-slayers intimately and this one He’s been quite partial to.



Monday, January 16, 2012



Disappointment. How do you handle it? As most of you know I’m from Wisconsin. On Sunday the Green Bay Packers lost their play-off bid with a heartbreaking game. We had high hopes. We’d won the Super Bowl last year. We had a 15-1 season. We were world championship bound. And then Sunday happened. Arrrg.

Disappointment hurts, but without it, we’d all turn into spoiled folks with skin so thin that a broken fingernail would send us into a depression that even chocolate fudge couldn’t reach.

Disappointment helps us put life in perspective and it gives us a practice ground to strengthen our character and to discover what truly matters. I mean really, what if everything always went our way? I’m thinking we’d turn into big, fat babies crying every time someone took our candy away.

I have a husband who is still fighting cancer. I have a dad who is losing himself to Alzheimer’s. I simply cannot afford to invest too much emotional energy into something that simply doesn’t matter, no matter how disappointing it is. Yeah, I wanted the Packers to kick major butt on Sunday. I was cheering. I was waving my Title Towel. Our little group was high-five-ing all over the place. Our mascot, Vince, the Packer Pig, was sitting in front of the TV projecting his mojo over the game. But when the buzzard sounded all that really happened was a game lost. Not a life. Not a reputation. Not a marriage. Not anything important. As bummed as I was, it was great practice to see how quickly I could adjust, to reset the mind, haul in the perspective and normalize.

Disappointment hurts, but rarely is it fatal. Use it to your advantage. Allow it to seed new hope for what comes next.



Thursday, January 12, 2012



Yesterday, LuLu and I took a ride down the road with Murphy Dog perched in the basket. I hadn’t given the little dog a bike ride in awhile but since he kept running circles around LuLu and me while we were still in the garage, he was just too cute to leave behind.

The minute we turned out of the driveway onto the lane, Murph got comfy and allowed the breeze to pin his ears back. He was King of the Road. He kept sniffing the air and wagging his tail and looking back at me as if to say, “Isn’t this the best! See that tree over there? I’ve never seen anything like it. And lookie there, brown grass! So cool! And, is that a buffalo I smell? I’m in heaven!” Talk about a joy ride. The pup was full of wonder.

I envied him. When was the last time I felt that kind of wonder? You know the “twinkle-twinkle-little-star-how-I-wonder-what-you-are kind of wonder. I had a dear friend named Gail. Gail was about fifteen years older than me but in ‘wonder years’ she was a perpetual ten-year-old. Everything gave her joy. Everything was meant to be savored. Her curiosity remained child-like her whole life. A budding flower in spring took her breath away. And, I loved to watch her eat because it was like her tongue and taste buds had a little party with every bite. Nothing was wasted on her. Cranberry pudding with warm butter sauce gave her excited shivers. Our last meal together before she died was at a Mexican restaurant. She was very ill but insisted we go out to lunch. She ordered cheesecake for dessert and practically licked the plate when she was done. In fact, she did run her finger along the edge and scooped up the last bit of chocolate sauce and made a great show of licking her fingers. She taught me many great things.

Yesterday, Murphy was acting like Gail. Every brown blade of grass, every whiff of something unseen, every tweet from a bird made his tail wag. If his little feet weren’t prancing in place, he was making excited, high-pitched grunts. He was in awe, and it was just a regular Wednesday.

Can I add another resolution to my list? Why not? It’s my blog, right? I am going to try my hardest to find something in everyday that makes me want to lick my fingers and prance a little with glee. I’m going to try and dust off my ‘wonder-meter’ and allow my breath to be taken away.

Are you game? I’ll look forward to hearing from you.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Do overs


LuLu-ism #42: If at first you don’t succeed, get your Cowgirl in gear, quit your whining, and start again… baby.

I’m about to be convinced that there is something to this global warming thingy. To be honest I haven’t given it much thought until now. Snow comes. Snow goes. Sunshine comes. Sunshine goes. But in Wisconsin, it is unheard of to be able to ride one’s bike on dry, iceless roads in the month of January. But I got to tell you, LuLu and I looked pretty smart the other day tooling down the road in nothing but a sweatshirt and ear muffs. (Well I had on other stuff, but no heavy coat, no long johns and no gloves.) It was an out-of-winter-experience.

So, the health plan continues. I’m exercising. I’m starting to make better eating choices and I’m taking my vitamin supplements. Yet… it’s all still hard. Given a choice I’d rather have a chocolate dipped Oreo over an apple any day. And, oranges are great, but peanut butter M & M’s are to die for in my book.

You should hear the arguments I have with myself about throwing the covers off early in the morning and going down in the basement and climbing on Hildegard. The Sweatmaker. If the sun isn’t going to show it’s bright face before 7 a.m. then why should I? Confession time: The covers are winning more times than not.

With all that said, I’m still trying.

Still trying. Isn’t that what it’s all about? Trying. Making an effort? If you mess up, you try again. If the covers win, or the Oreo wins or Hildegard is too scary, we don’t give up. Tomorrow is a do-over.

I’m not just talking exercise and eating, I’m talking life. If you make mistakes, do what needs to be done to make amends, forgive yourself, forgive others and then start again.

I say, thank our God for second chances and do-overs.


Thursday, January 5, 2012

Here I sit

Photo: Belle, the ball


I think I’m having the after-holiday-blues. Ever have them? And to add to it I woke up this morning with a crick in my shoulder. I feel 106 years old. I’m sitting up in my little office staring out the window overlooking the garage and pining away for LuLu. She’s just sitting there on her little kickstand waiting, wondering where I am. There’s snow on the ground and it’s in the teens degree wise. I’m afraid she’s going to have to wait and wonder a little while longer.

I know how to make myself feel better, but I’m having an inner struggle with myself. In the basement stands Hildegard, the sweatmaker. Across the room sits Belle, the ball. If I put on my sweats and go down there and start exercising, I’m sure I would be able to work this kink out of my shoulder stretching over Belle (my big exercise ball), plus going about three miles on Hildegard (she’s an elliptical machine for all those who haven’t met her) would get the endorphins going. In thirty minutes the kink would be gone and the blues chased away.

Yet, here I sit.

Why, oh why is it so easy to do the wrong things for yourself and so very hard to buck up and do the right things?

If being a lazy whiner would make one rich, I’d be planning a trip to Europe right now or some warm deserted island where I’d lay on the beach, listening to the gulls overhead and allowing the slow, drifting waves to lull me to sleep.

But I’m not, rich that is, so that must mean I’m a lazy whiner and there’s not one good thing about being a lazy whiner.

Here I sit.

Shoulder hurting.

Feeling sorry for myself.

LuLu in the garage.

I sit.

See, New Year resolutions are not worth the time it took to dream them up, unless…

I’m going now. My sweatpants await, as do Belle and her buddy.

Here I go. I’m getting up now…



Tuesday, January 3, 2012

May the Force be with you

PHOTO: My girls and me. My motivation to get healthy.


Okay. It’s January 3, 2012. How’s the resolutions going? Just asking…

Here’s my philosophy on dieting. SPHLAAA!

I don’t know about you but I’ve been developing a list of questions I’m going to ask God when I see Him. This list is several columns wide now and several years in the making. There are the typical mysteries I want to know, like “Why do bad things happen to good people?” and “How can God be in China and Oshkosh, WI at the same time?” Deep things like that. And then there’s the every day variety question like, “If liver is so good for you, how come it taste so very, very bad?” Same goes for broccoli, beets and rutabagas. Or, “If He didn’t want us to eat chocolate peanut butter balls, then why did He give us the peanut, the sugar cane and the coco bean?” Seriously, what did He think we we’re going to do with those things?

Why, oh, why is it so easy to eat badly and so hard to eat healthy? Or am I the only one who has a problem with this? I never had a weight problem until I got married. Then, the minute I said, “I do”, it was like my body forgot how to process food. I don’t know why I bother to put anything into my mouth. To save time I should just applied it directly to my hips and been done with it.

But, here I am once again promising myself I’ll do better. And I mean it. I always mean it. Maybe this year, I really mean it. At least I have help now. There’s LuLu, the pink bike and her friends. There’s my hubs bound and determined to lose some weight along with me in the coming months as well. But here’s the rub with that. I’ll exercise two hours a day, eat a spinach leaf and a half a celery stick, and maybe, maybe I’ll lose a pound every month or so. The hubs just has to decide to not put ice cream on his piece of chocolate cake and he’ll lose seven pounds in one week. Don’t get me started.

But, try I will…. once again. Why? Because I want to be healthier. I have seven grandkids that love for me to play and roll around with them. I don’t want their lasting memory of me to be the traumatic sight of this chunky lady struggling to get up off the floor. Also, I want to honor God by honoring this body He gave me. He made me with forethought and love. Of course, that’s on my list of questions too. “Why did He give me this particular body?" Sense of humor maybe?

I’ll let you know how it’s coming. And, let me hear from you too. Surely, I’m not the only toots on the planet trying to get her Cowgirl to fit on a bike seat.

Good luck to us all! May the Force be with you.