December 30, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , at 3:24 am by Debra

Remember it?  It’s a  pretty famous song, with some very famous lyrics:

To everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under Heaven

Living now in the midwest, my husband and I have a renewed appreciation for the seasons.  We moved here in the spring, then watched the freshness of spring fade into the fun of a nice, warm summer.  Then, before we knew it, summer transformed into the amazing beauty of fall colors everywhere.  Which brings us to now, we are in the throws of winter.  Spring, then summer, then fall, then winter. Like clockwork.

Turn, turn, turn.

When so many things in life nowadays seem totally disrupted and upside down, and seemingly out of control, one thing is for certain.  As surely as night turns into day, one season will turn into another.  The beauty of fall will always be overcome by the harshness of winter.  But, just as surely,  we know that winter will soon fade, and it will be spring again.

It made me think of the many difficulties our country is going through right now.  So many families are struggling financially, ours included.  Foreclosures, bank failures, and bailouts are the order of the day. People out of work, or worried about losing their jobs. Our financial security is no longer. No doubt about it, this is one extremely bad winter.

American history has taught us, though, this is but a season.  Even though we are all experiencing a really bad winter, we must live each day knowing that this season will eventually give way to a new season – spring! We will have some relief, and many of our challenges will, at some point, relent.  After all, we never know exactly when winter will cease, we just know that it will.

Turn, turn, turn.

No family is immune to the effects of a down economy, not even our own.  So, I’ve told our family,  let’s do our best to help one another, tighten our belts, and look forward to those first signs of spring –  things like new opportunities, new people in our lives, and new challenges to meet. We’re not going to just “get through” this bad boy of a winter, we’re going to use this time to grow wiser, become better people, and lean even closer on one another.

And, maybe after such a tough winter, we’ll come into the new seasons with a little more wisdom, a little less wastefulness, and a much more intense love for one another like never before, having bonded through a crisis together.  It’s a choice, and I’m chosing to make this season and all the rest of the seasons to come, my best ever.

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracings

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late

Olive U.


December 3, 2008

My Ten Tips For a Healthy Holiday

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:15 pm by Debra

Dieting over the holidays is not only a smart idea, it’s a necessity! I’ve found it is the only way to discipline myself with all the amazing goodies everywhere. But, not only that, it can give us the motivation we need to jump start a healthy eating plan that will carry us well into the new year.

Here are my tips, that really do work, for a healthy holiday (and beyond):

1) Portion control. I know, DUH, right? Easier said than done. But here’s my tip – you can only control your portions by eating MORE frequently. Set your phone alarm to go off every 2 hours between breakfast and dinner. I learned this from a personal trainer I worked with. She told me I wasn’t eating frequently enough to speed up my metabolism or to control my food portions. I found the more frequently I ate, the smaller my appetite became. Crazy, I know. But it works.

2) Appetite control. Eat foods that DECREASE your appetite, and avoid eating foods that INCREASE your appetite. Some foods activate the hormone that tells your brain that you are full, some foods activate the hormone that tells your brain that you need more food. Samples of foods that INCREASE appetite are processed sugar, corn syrup, white flour, white rice. Nuts, on the other hand, work great to DECREASE appetite. Everytime I eat some sugar, I’m thinking, oh no, this is going to make me more hungry! Just what I don’t want. I take one more bite and then I’m done. You can read all about this concept in Dr. Oz’s book YOU ON A DIET, and also on his website

3) Fiber. Fiber keeps your colon healthy and working well. By eating lots of fruit, whole grains, legumes, you are giving your body everything it needs to process the foods you eat, absorb nutrients, and get rid of all the unwanted. Breakfast is the easiest meal to get all your fiber down – eat whole grain oatmeal, pile on the fruit and nuts, eat only whole grain breads, and brown rice. Check your labels, though, for that pesky corn syrup that sneaks into so many of our baked goods. If it has corn syrup, don’t buy it.

4) Maximum 5 g sugar, 5 g fat per meal. Sugar from fruit is not counted in the 5g because of the huge benefit of the fiber in it. Watch your prepared foods (sauces, diet dinners, etc.) where the sugar and or fat count can be very high. Again, by limiting your portions, it’s a lot easier to minimize fat and sugar totals.

5) Olive Oil. Olive oil is your friend. It’s a “good” fat, with lots of antioxidants. Find ways to put a little olive oil on your food everyday. Salad dressings are the easiest, but also use it for a “dip” for your whole wheat bread, pour a little over your whole wheat pasta, add it to your bake potato instead of butter. If you cook with it, just add it in at the end of your cooking or serve broiled hot veggies with a little olive oil poured over them. (Olive oil looses all its good properties when heated to a high temperature.)

6) Your plate. Downsize your plate. The bigger your plate, the more food you’ll eat. Also, put your salad on your plate, not in a separate bowl. Fill half your plate with salad, the rest of your meal on the other half. (more portion control!). You will have a full plate of food, and you will think you are eating a lot!

7) Walk. Move. Everyday. No exceptions. No excuses. Get your heart pumping, to burn calories, and de-stress! If it’s too cold to walk outside, head for a big store, like Walmart or Target, and walk from one end to the other. Several times. Just leave your wallet in the car so you aren’t tempted to spend! When at home, pull out the vacuum, mop, or broom and work it! If you have stairs in your house – even better, a few trips up and down and your heart will get a good workout. Try to increase your activity level every week.

8) Fill up on good stuff first. Before you head to a holiday party or event, fill up on the “healthy” foods at home, so you’ll be “full” when you arrive. Appetite control again. Also, bring a lovely holiday dish full of mixed nuts to share. You’ll have your nuts there to help you with appetite control, so you’ll be free to sample some of the holiday treats.

9) Agave Nectar. A very healthy sugar substitute, available at most health food stores. Use it when you feel the need for a sweetener in your food or drink. It’s very sweet, you only need a few drops, and it does not increase appetite.

10) Fish Oils. Strawberry flavored are my favorite. These have so many benefits, good for your heart, your metabolism, your skin, your everything. The best formulas also contain EPA which significantly helps your mood! Can you believe it? It’s true. Changing eating habits can be stressful, give yourself some help with a few fish oil capsules each day.

Try these simple steps, and watch your appetite and portion control improve. Watch your clothes start to fit much better, especially around the waist and hips. Watch your holiday fun level increase as you thoroughly enjoy the holidays without the guilt feelings. And then, after the holidays, keep it going, you’ve created a new set of very good habits that will help you achieve the healthy body you’ve been wanting. NOW is the best time to start. Let’s do it!

November 25, 2008

A Thanksgiving Poem

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:32 pm by Debra

A Thanksgiving poem by Lizelia Augusta Jenkins Moorer, an African-American poet writing at the turn of the 20th century. Her generous, hopeful view of Thanksgiving is made even more remarkable by the suffering and discrimination she endured as an African-American in the late 19th and early 20th century.


Let us give thanks to God above,
Thanks for expressions of His love,
Seen in the book of nature, grand
Taught by His love on every hand.
Let us be thankful in our hearts,
Thankful for all the truth imparts,
For the religion of our Lord,
All that is taught us in His word.
Let us be thankful for a land,
That will for such religion stand;
One that protects it by the law,
One that before it stands in awe.
Thankful for all things let us be,
Though there be woes and misery;
Lessons they bring us for our good-
Later ’twill all be understood.
Thankful for peace o’er land and sea,
Thankful for signs of liberty,
Thankful for homes, for life and health,
Pleasure and plenty, fame and wealth.
Thankful for friends and loved ones, too,
Thankful for all things, good and true,
Thankful for harvest in the fall,
Thankful to Him who gave it all.

November 24, 2008

Self Esteem, Are You Healthy?

Posted in Uncategorized at 2:44 pm by Debra

I’ve been working on this post for over a week now, and I finally realized maybe my own unhealthy self esteem was keeping me from writing it!  🙂  I’m doing better now, so here goes…

A very wise person once told me, “you evaluate all you SEE and DO through self-esteemed colored glasses“.  Just as true, others will also evaluate YOU through their own self-esteemed colored glasses.  I’ll give you a second to think about that.

Our self esteem is an ever flowing reflection of what we THINK about on the inside and what we DO on the outside.  And without a HEALTHY self esteem, we will never truly become the person we were intended to be.  

I’m so thankful my husband and I learned the importance of building self-esteem in our children at a young age, which is ideally when it should all start.  We understood that, next to teaching them about God and His perfect love for them, affirming each of them in their unique abilities was first and foremost.  We learned to become acutely aware of the words we used when speaking to them both in conversation and in discipline. 

Parents, we are responsible for modeling healthy self esteem to our children.   We have to show them through our actions, that we have a healthy self esteem too.  As usual, when you endeavor to teach others, you learn more yourself. 

The importance of a healthy self esteem escapes most people. I’m not sure why, exactly.  I think some people seem to have a comfort with their misery, and so they seek to bring others down into their unhealthy comfort zone with them.  Or, maybe they’ve never seen a healthy self esteem modeled, so they wouldn’t know or recognize one if they saw it.

The symptoms are pretty obvious – jealousy, pettiness, arrogance, laziness, harmful anger, critical spirit, blaming others, selfishness, hopelessness, fear of rejection, procrastination, etc.  When I see these in myself, I recognize I need to immediately work on my self esteem because continuing to exhibit these only makes my self esteem worse!  

When I see these symptoms in others, I recognize that it’s not about me, it’s about them and their struggle with self esteem issues too.  

But I have also learned, too much hanging around people with unhealthy self esteem does rub off, and makes my job of staying healthy a lot harder.  On the other hand, hanging out with positive, affirming people, it’s a lot easier keeping my self esteem healthy. It’s a fact. I’m just sayin.

I’ll pass on a quick tip for giving yourself an immediate lift in self-esteem.  It’s only 2 things, if you’re like me, you may need to do them daily (or even hourly!):

1) Forgive yourself, for whatever junk you’ve done, or imagined you’ve done.

2) Forgive others, who’ve done all kinds of rotten things to you.

Forgiveness works.  Trust me.

Affirm yourself with thoughts such as I’m conscientious, I’m a hard worker, I’m a good person, spouse, parent, sibling, or friend.  Decide to have joy and contentment in your life, even in the worst of situations. Allow yourself to be thankful for all that you do have.

Make a decision to stop judging yourself by impossible standards, just do your best, and continue to live your life as the imperfect human being that you are.  You will be replacing weak thoughts with strong, powerful ones.

This is not “pollyanna”, or “pie in the sky” thinking.  This is recognizing that your healthy self esteem is more important than all that other stuff.  Your health, your future, your life depends on it.

And, lastly, the ol’ saying, “never judge someone until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes” still applies today.  We have no idea what goes on in their lives, and until we do, why go there?

It’s really. Not. Healthy.

Olive U.

November 9, 2008

FLYing with the Flylady

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:30 pm by Debra

F.L.Y. stands for “Finally Loving Yourself”

Enter Marla Ciley, who has been mentoring women since 1999.  Marla founded her yahoo group to help other women like herself – women who were frustrated with  organizing both home and life.  She says it wasn’t until she learned how to F.L.Y that she was able to become the person of her dreams.

There are a really only a handful of people in my life who by their teaching and encouragement have made a dramatic difference in my life, and I am proud to say, FLYLADY is one of them.  She is funny, inspirational, full of great advice, and also tough.  “NO WHINING ALLOWED” she would often tell us.

When I joined her yahoo group I was trying to find more time and happiness in my day. My house was in her words CHAOS or “can’t have anyone over syndrome”.  With my husband, my 4 kids, in 4 different schools, running a business from home, I was desperate for some wisdom, or some system, that could help, even a little bit.  

The first thing Flylady teaches us is that we are OK.  We’re not alone, we’re not behind, and we are not a bad person, we just need to learn what and how to do when.  She promised that if I followed her plan faithfully, I would succeed.

What I learned from Flylady was more than a system, though.  It was an attitude, a way of taking care of me first, which filled up my cup to overflowing, so I was able to do what I needed to do for everyone else.  How unexpected!

I’ll be honest, at first I thought her simple answers were a little too, well….SIMPLE!  But, she told us we needed to create new habits, and it took 21 days to create a habit.  Except for those of us who are in CHAOS, then it would take us 28 days.  So I committed to follow her for 28 days. I knew my way of doing things was not working, so I had nothing to lose by trying her way.  

I also learned what a perfectionist looked like, it had my picture all over it, although you wouldn’t have known it if you had seen what my home looked like.  A perfectionist doesn’t even start a job if they don’t think they have the time to do it perfectly.  I learned how perfectionism can kill your self esteem, and the self esteem of everyone who lives with you.  

My home and my life began changing in a very short time, and everyone, including me, was thrilled with the change.  Suddenly, I had SO much more time, to do the things I really loved doing.  I was so much more successful in my business, and was able to pass these principles on to my family and my team of consultants.  Their lives were transformed by Flylady too.  I was a very happy mommy. 

If you want a happier, healthier home, Flylady may just be able to help you.  Do what I did, and check out her website, all her information is free there.  Then start with her BABYSTEPS, and go from there.  Let me know when you start FLYing too, so I can help encourage you along the way.

November 5, 2008

Boomers Turning Towards Natural Medicine

Posted in Uncategorized at 6:53 pm by Debra

I read recently that the Baby Boomer generation (that’s me!) is the largest (77 million) best-educated and most affluent generation in history.  Yeah baby.  The boomer’s want to look better, and live longer than their parents and grandparents did.  An amazing epidemic, it’s reported, is sweeping across America.  Huge numbers of people are turning to complimentary and alternative treatments for a wide range of medical conditions. 

According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, one in three adults uses some complimentary and alternative therapy regularly (a $27 billion annual market). The report also stated visits to complimentary practitioners exceeded the number of visits to primary care physicians between 1990 and 1997.

When results of this study were analyzed using only respondents who had personal experience with alternative practitioners, 93% said they had positive outcomes following a chiropractic visit, but only 82% said the same for their MD/DO. Of this group, those who had “cured” or “symptoms diminished” outcomes after their most recent visit, massage therapy was 87% and acupuncture treatment 74%.

I know many people who rarely see their medical doctor anymore.  Personally, I suffered for years with severe allergies despite conventional medical treatments. A friend of mine recommended a naturopathic doctor who completely cured me of all my allergies, with no medications.  

My youngest daughter was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of 7.  For almost 2 years she was followed by a rheumatologist at the Mayo clinic, her joint pain increased to such a point where she could not walk without experiencing severe pain.  Not satisfied with those results, we took her to see a chiropractor recommended by my mother, and under her care, she very soon was able to walk again without pain, and in a short time, weaned off of all her arthritis medications.  She has remained free of arthritis ever since.

Our most remarkable experience was when our first grandson was diagnosed with autism. Our chiropractor recommended allergy testing and treatment, since studies had shown marked behavior improvements in autistic children.  It was discovered he had multiple food allergies and after treatment he experienced amazing results – he started sleeping at night, had fewer tantrums, etc. which gave my daughter and her husband some much needed relief.

I’m so thankful we sought alternative treatments, what would our life be like today if we hadn’t?

I don’t want to give up my medical doctor, but why can’t all of these medical providers work together for the good of their patients?  People want to feel better, live longer, enjoy a healthy quality of life, and help their families to do the same.  We want a greener planet, a greener community and home, and, yes greener medical approaches.  Hopefully the medical profession will pay attention. We can only pray that they will.

October 31, 2008

There’s Help and Hope at the Skin Care Blog

Posted in Uncategorized at 4:03 pm by Debra

I’m sharing my skin care expertise over here now.  I’ll be posting and commenting on the latest advancements in skin care technologies and treatments.  Another new adventure for me, as I look forward to helping more people with their skin care questions and concerns.

Olive U.

October 30, 2008

Back Home Again, in Indiana

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:30 pm by Debra


    “Back home again in Indiana,

    And it seems that I can see

    The gleaming candlelight, still shining bright,

    Through the sycamores for me”

My husband and I decided it was time we brought our children and grandchildren to visit our old alma mater, Indiana University, in beautiful southern Indiana.  It was hard to believe it has been 30+ years since we last visited.  We knew October would be the best time of year to see the fall foliage, so we planned a fun weekend and rented a cabin in the woods in picturesque Brown County.

We ate strombolis from our favorite restaurant, and took everyone on a walking tour through the sycamores and bikepaths of old I.U.  Our last stop was a visit to my sorority house, Kappa Delta.  Walking through the doors of that big house, I enjoyed all the happy memories as they flooded over me.  The best part, was getting a chance to show my grown daughters where I lived for three years while I was dating their dad.  They were absolutely mesmerized by it all.

The college years were truly the carefree years of our lives, even though we didn’t realize it at the time. In later years, looking back, we longed for the total lack of responsibility we had back then.  Even so, college was also a time of total self-absorption.  What was happening in our own lives was all we really thought about.   After graduation, our marriage began, and our family grew, and we learned how to think of others more than ourselves, and to put others needs before our own.  

Helping others is so much more rewarding and fulfilling.  It’s when we lose our self-focus, that we become the real person we were intended to be.  It’s how we develop character and purpose, and our growth is never ending.  

Unfortunately, however, sometimes we lose ourselves in the process.  Not cool.  Our family certainly doesn’t want a mom/wife to feel sorry for.  They want someone who will take good care of themselves, find joy in life, and then model that to their offspring. To find real meaning in life, we can never stop growing, never stop learning.  Never.

If you haven’t visited your college campus in awhile, you need to, and take your family with you.  Celebrate the happy memories, and celebrate how far you’ve come.  

(If you would like to hear the classic 1917 song sung beautifully by the men’s acapella group at I.U., you can go here.)

“When I dream about the moonlight on the Wabash,

    Then I long for my Indiana home.”

Olive U.

October 29, 2008

Welcome! Olive U. Very Much

Posted in Uncategorized at 5:17 pm by Debra

When my oldest daughter went off to college, I told her, “I will write you everyday, so you won’t miss your family too much.”  I began sending her emails, and always signed them “Olive U.”  It’s how I have signed all my emails to each of my children through the years.  

My emails were generally about what was happening with the family, but a lot of the time, they contained little tidbits of wisdom that I wanted to pass on to them.  Because,amazingly, once they turned 18, they really didn’t want to hear any more wisdom from their parents.   They (thought) were so wise.  But if I emailed my thoughts to them, they did not object.  Score!  Because, yes, they did still have a lot to learn, and I felt I still had a lot to teach them.

They have all encouraged me to start this blog, where I can share my little tidbits with the rest of the world.  Naturally, I was hesitant at first, but decided that if they felt that this would be good for me, then I would trust their judgment and try my hand at it.

I don’t plan on posting a lot about my daily life, but instead include lessons I’ve learned and continue to learn as life teaches me.  I’m passionate about my devotion to my family, out of the box thinking, personal individuality, respect for others, motherhood, natural health care, and women’s rights issues.  I love to help others improve their self esteem by teaching them how to  create a more positive self image – both inside and out, and through personal goal setting.  

I’ve been a skin care consultant for 20+ years, and love helping people look better, so they can feel better about themselves and build their self confidence.  I’m somewhat of an expert on time management, having been married for 36 years and raised 4 children while running a business out of my home, and being an active member in our church.

So, basically, when I have something to say, I’m not afraid to say it.  I look forward to my new blogging adventure and getting to know all of my new friends in blogdom.

Olive U.

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