The Gift Of Gratitude

“Feeling gratitude and not expressing it
is like wrapping a present and not giving it.”

-William Arthur Ward

My life is wonderful!!  It is NOT perfect either, but I am truly grateful for everything.  While I live in a beautiful home and have a few nice possessions; they are replaceable tangibles.  I am more appreciative and grateful for my loving husband, my cool and quirky children, my hard working and hilarious brother, my adventurous sister, my sharp-tongued mother, my loyal friends, my health and more!  I don’t take any of the loves in my life for granted, and as often as I can, I try to consistently communicate and share the gratefulness.

I’ve lived to enjoy age 50 and it’s nothing that I ever imagined.  I’m not old!  I’m wiser, more carefree, forgiving, fit and celebrating life.  I intend to make this next decade and new chapter even more colorful than the last.

My 2015 summer vacation has ended and I have experienced one of the best summers ever!!  So much fun that I slacked on my blogging. Lol!  It’s all good tho because I try to keep up a reasonable perspective on life. During the fall and winter, my schedule is less flexible, so in the summer, I unwind and indulge more into my wants.

Celebrating my 50th Birthday was the highlight of my summer.  I had good intentions of writing a post immediately after my birthday, but umm… as you can see, that didn’t happen.  :0)

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At the end of my birthday weekend, my face should have broken and cracked to itty bitty pieces from grinning and laughing so hard.

August 2014, I proclaimed that I wanted to celebrate my 50th birthday in a big way. “A big way” meant partying hard on a tropical island with an intimate group of family and friends. Hahaha! :0)

Little did I know that, for two years, hubby decided that he would surprise me with a 50th birthday bash. OMG!!

My three-day weekend of birthday festivities began with my bestie from high school driving up from Virginia to sweep me away to DC.

Since 1979, we’ve been friends. #loyalfriends

She hates driving bridges and, to get to me, she had to drive over several bridges. Thanks Diane!!

When I arrived at the hotel; her daughter; my God-daughter and flower girl in my wedding (27 years ago) was waiting for me in the hotel room.

hotel room

The room was decorated with balloons, ribbons, along with a delicious box of chocolates. I was surprised and I felt very special. :o)

Before heading out to dinner, I was surprised again but this time with Champagne & chocolate covered strawberries!!   We laughed, toasted to the evening, enjoyed the strawberries and left for dinner.

pure luxurytruffles in box

champ and strawberries

OYADC

We dined, “Where the Birthday Magic happens,” OYA Washington, DC.  Oh my goodness!  The atmosphere and decor, the food and service and the overall vibe was so me.  Lol!

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27 years ago, I never imagined that I'd be celebrating my 50th birthday with my beautiful flower girl. Who knew!!

27 years ago, I never imagined that I’d be celebrating my 50th birthday with my beautiful flower girl. She is wise beyond her years on earth. I love her as much as I love my daughter.  She rocks!

After cocktails and dinner, the waitress served me a mini banana bread cake that was to die for. You can see in the picture a lovely birthday greeting spelled out in dark chocolate. Yummy!
desert plateB'day cake

Hailing a cab in DC on a Friday night was interesting.  I am so used to the convenience of jumping in my car and driving to wherever I need to go, but the cab scene is a different world.  I learned real quick..don’t be afraid to step off the curb and into the street to snag a cab!  Lol!!

Next stop…

madams

Cool place, great vibe!

This eclectic three-story bar/lounge doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the venue kept us entertained throughout the night with a live Blue’s band and several DJ’s… the perfect setting to dance the night away.

The lead singer of the band, a 49-year-old loc wearing woman from Brooklyn, NY was cooler than cool!  What better way than to celebrate my 50th with a cool ass 49-year-old diva from New York! Her raspy soulful voice made my night.  I could have listened to her sing all night long.  Heeeey!!

Lead singer

Revised Rockstar

The music and dancing worked up our appetites.  My friend insisted that I have a chili dog at DC’s famous Ben’s Chili Bowl.  Well past midnight, the line to order snaked through the restaurant like it was a lunch-time crowd.  I think I was the only one phased by the AM rush. Lol!!  I wolfed down a chili turkey dog and french fries.

Saturday’s Festivities

I was serenaded and embarrassed beyond words during breakfast at Chic & Ruth’s Delly in Annapolis Maryland!

Chick and Ruths

Me and the owner of Chick & Ruth's

Me and the owner of Chick & Ruth’s

Before we ate, employees, including the owner came to “see” me because they didn’t believe that I was 50! The owner also performed a cool magic trick for us. Lol!  “Black don’t crack” felt like the theme of the hour.  The owner told the entire restaurant over the PA system that it was my 50th Birthday and they sang happy birthday to “the girl with the nice tan!”  Hahaha!

My God-daughter raved about their crab dip– I know why… that dip will make you slap somebody!!!   Lord Geez…..   They bake bread fresh on the premises and we sopped up the crab dip with the hot bread like we hadn’t eaten in days!!!  When my ginormous crab omelet was served, I couldn’t finish it.  None of us finished our meal…   Great restaurant… loads of fun.  Another eatery where folks line up and eagerly wait to eat.

After lunch/brunch we got on the road to drive to my home, where I found a crowd walking down that driveway singing, “Happy Birthday” to the tune of  Steve Wonder’s Birthday song blasting from the DJ’s station in the backyard.

crowd

...just getting out of my car...

…just getting out of my car…

Lol!  The moment was priceless and I will never forget it.  It’s the first and only party I’ve ever had!

Too see who was out in the crowd, I climbed atop my car!  Yes, climbed atop my car and danced to the singing and the DJ’s music Lol!!

Turnin' it up!! Lol!

Turnin’ it up!! Lol!

This (me dancing on my car) is what authentic living is all about.  Being true to who you are and not caring what others think.  :)

viewing the crowd

The bartender walked down the driveway and handed me a cocktail…. sitting atop the carI sat and sipped in amazement.

My God-daughter took this shot of me standing on the sunroof from inside my car.

My God-daughter took this shot of me standing on the sunroof from inside my car.

my homies

These two are also besties for life! They saw and talked with me daily but kept the secret well. Who has three genuine ride or die chicks in their life? Me and for that I am blessed. Love them all!

Leftover crumbs were the only proof that I had a cake!

Leftover crumbs were the only proof that I had a cake!

This is what 50 looks and feels like! Absolutely fabulous!

This is what 50 looks and feels like! Absolutely fabulous!

My AWESOME husband!! I love this man so much!! He loves me unconditionally and has taught me how to do the same. :)

My AWESOME husband!! I love this man so much!! He loves me unconditionally and has taught me how to do the same. :)

Since I never had a birthday party and emphatically said that I did not want a party, Big Daddy Cain, was determined to make the party happen anyway.  And boy did he do it right…. just the way I would have planned it for myself.  No stuffy formal party, just a good old time with good music, delightful food and lots of fun.

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Some of the catered grill food. Amazing!

A friend a some kids are shooting me with water guns.

A friend and some kids are shooting me with water guns.

My 81-year old mom.

My 81-year old mom.

My God-mother and 70+ year old aunt. Another one of the nine sisters. :)

My God-mother and 70+ year old aunt. Another one of the nine sisters. :)

My 70+ year old aunt came out to celebrate. Lover her! One of my mom's nine sisters.

My 70+ year old aunt came out to celebrate. Lover her! One of my mom’s nine sisters.

My wonderful brother and I. I am so proud of Lou.

My wonderful brother!  I am so proud of Lou.

Ms. Doris Hopkins and her staff at Miss Dee's Cookie Bar did an outstanding job on the food.

Ms. Doris Hopkins and her staff at Miss Dee’s Cookie Bar did an outstanding job on the food.

50 Even after the official partied ended, a few of us continued to celebrate.

The next day, (Sunday) the party continued with a few of the same friends. Lol!

The next morning/afternoon, we're still toasting to my birthday and to friendship. Lol!

The next morning/afternoon, we’re still toasting to my birthday and to friendship. Lol!

A once in a lifetime shot of me doing shots of tequila with my mother.

A once in a lifetime moment of me doing shots of tequila with my mother and a few friends.

Nothing beats having good people in your life who accepts you for who you are. The  number of friends that you have is not important, it is the quality and authenticity of the relationships that matters most.  I cherish my family and closely knit circle of friends.  You guys are the best and thank you again for a lifetime of memories.

:)

Taking It All In Stride

Life is a song-sing it.  Life is a game–play it.

Life is a challenge–meeet it.  Life is dream–realize it.  

Life is a sacrifice–offer it.  Life is love–enjoy it. 

                                                          — Sai Baba

                                                                  

According to our plans, we should have been out of New Jersey five hours ago. Instead as I’m writing this, we’re about 5 miles from the Delaware Memorial Bridge.  

4:30 yesterday afternoon, we went to pick up the rental car.

…it didn’t happen.

“We are expecting your car around 8 p.m., we’ll call you when it arrives.” 

Seven-thirty the phone rings.  Yay!! The car is ready!!  :0) 

WRONG!!

“Your car won’t be availalbe until tomorrow at noon.  The person who rented it was suppose to return the car today, but they did not bring it back.”

At 8 p.m., we start a new search for a similar vehicle but with a different company.  

….found one in Philadelphia.  We’re set! 

We leave the house close to 4 a.m., pick up my cuz and head an hour away to philly.

Around 6 a.m., we arrive at car rental agency.

“I’m sorry, the vehicle you requested is no longer available.” :o(

They  show us another vehicle, which is the same size of what we drove up in.  Well that ain’t gonna work.

….get back in the car and drive about 45 minutes away to Vineland, NJ.  We’re back tracking now.  Lol!!

…pull up at rental car agency at 7 a.m., but they don’t open until 8 a.m., but we spot a handful of cars and only ONE shiny and new SUV (Tahoe)  in the parking lot.  Finally!  Light at the end of the tunnel.

An agent from the original company (who screwed up our reservation)  supposedly called, faxed, and reserved a a large SUV that we requested.

To kill time, we drive to Walmart.

…7:45 a.m., we greet the regional manager, store manager, and two other workers.

“I’m sorry, ALL of the vehicles in the parking lot are already reserved.”

WTH!!!  Is this some kind of joke?  Are we on some kind of hidden camera show?  

Sigh!

Once again, we explain the culminating mishaps…

He has a minivan available.  We’re all looking like, we don’t want no damn minivan!

We walk out to the van.  It has two rows of seats–but there are 5 of us. One look at the small rear comparment confirmed it was too small and would never fit our luggage.  Ugh!  

I instruct the manger to follow me to our vehicle and I pop the trunk.  Lol!!  He looks at our bags, eyes widen, and he realizes we need a larger vehicle and promises to figure something out.

We’re pissed off, disappointed (again), exasperated, tired of looking for a vehicle and just want to get on the road.

Back inside the office, the manager quietly speaks to the regional manager… we anticipation, we helplessly wait.

“We have a 2015 Expedition that a representative is driving over.  We just have to clean it up and it should be ready for you in 15 minutes.”

Finally!!!!  :0)   

 Because of our situatiton, the manager (Tom) decided to honor the rate of the original agency. Tom also waived the fee for filling the vehicle.  His nickname is “Terrific Tom.”

So last night, initially I was angry with the agency and wanted to give them a down home cussin out.. because this is the second time they messed up our reservations.

But after blowing off my frustration, I felt like it wasn’t meant for us to be on the road as we planned.

After this morning’s circus, I’m CONVINCED that God had a plan to delay our road trip.  No matter what we tried to do to leave early, the road blocks kept coming–one after another.

I couldn’t even get mad.  I only knew that it was time to go with the flow.

God and the universe’s energy guides us.  Sometimes we listen; other times we don’t.  

We secured a car at the time it was okay for us go.  We just cleared the Harbor Tunnell with 653 miles to go.  We’re all in a good place, no tension, relaxed, talking, laughing, and enjoying an easy breezy ride.  :) There is no way we would allow a series of hiccups to destroy the blessing and joy of our family trip.

This morning, we sang the song, met the challenge, played the game, made the sacrafice, and we’re still loving life.

   
   

Regardless of the challenges we face in life, it is important to remember that life is a journey. The highs lows, the peaks and  the valleys are part of the journey, and can make us stronger and wiser.   The choice is ours; which do you choose?

Life is good.  Stay fit, be blessed, and enjoy every day.  

  
Make it a good one!

Happily Hitched For 27 Years!

Twenty-seven years ago, the statistics were stacked against our marital endeavors.  In fact, according to a 1988 report, the year we married,

43% of marriages [will] end in divorce.

Well guess what baby? We. Are. Still. Married.   Barring any dumb ass mid-life crises on either of our parts and God’s will and grace, we are on track to celebrate the BIG 30! I guess we blew the statisticians’ numbers out the window. :0) Heeeeey!

I feel like someone held down the fast forward button in our life as the years have passed seemingly quickly.

Although both of our parents had “successful” marriages that lived up to the vow of “..till death do us part; however, my parents’ marriage was far from what any marriage counselor would identify as functional.  I have no doubts they loved each other dearly, but damn it, they had a funky way of showing it. Oh, the memories! Lol!

After five years of good friendship, we married. In total we’ve been buddies for 32 years and still do mostly everything together.

At 23 years old, I tenderly recited traditional wedding vows, excluding the “obey” part, but I had no idea of what it meant.

Tanya, will you have this man to be your lawful wedded husband, to live together after God s ordinance in the Holy Estate of Matrimony? Will you love him, comfort him, honor and keep him in sickness and in health; and, forsaking all others keep you only unto him as long as you both shall live?
I Tanya take thee, James to be my wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish forever, according to God s Holy Ordinance, and thereto I give thee my pledge.

Two kids later, the death of parents, several careers for me, selling and buying homes, few lows and many highs, I understand the full scope of our vows.

If you’re lucky, with age comes wisdom and I’ve learned many lessons. The last two anniversaries, I shared 25 & 26 lessons I learned from marriage. They’re well worth the read, check them out below:

Celebrating 26 Years of Marital Lessons


25 Years Going Strong

Like any relationship, marriage has its ups and downs. Thank God we’ve shared more ups than downs.

Does he get on my damn nerves sometimes? Yup! Do I get oh his nerves sometimes? Heck yeah!

When you get down to the nitty-gritty, it is the basic principles that make a marriage work.

We fight (though rarely) clean… NEVER do we engage in name calling… always in private… never in front of anyone, including our children.  Respect is at the top of the list… we give it so we can receive it.

Would I marry Big Daddy again?  Absolutely!!! Lol! :0)  Here are 27 reasons why I’d marry hubby again:

  1. He loves me for who I am
  2. He is kind
  3. He gets along well with my mom (better than me)
  4. He doesn’t anger easily
  5. His sense of humor
  6. He dances with me, even when he doesn’t feel like it :0)
  7. He dances with me but HATES dancing
  8. He smiles a lot (like me)
  9. He is a great father
  10. He spoils our kids
  11. He spoils me
  12. He LOVES his career
  13. Makes a good bed
  14. He cleans a house well
  15. He supported me through school
  16. He encourages me
  17. He respects me
  18. He respects women
  19. He is ALWAYS there for me
  20. I can ALWAYS count on him
  21. He is consistent
  22. He treated his mother VERY well
  23. He was a good son (to both parents)
  24. He provides WELL for his family
  25. He is selfless
  26. He embraced my crazy (handful) of friends
  27. He is forgiving

Happy 27th Anniversary Sweets!! 

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This Is The Lifestyle

Positivity is like fitness… You don’t talk about it, you live it! :)
I could not resist this shirt. Lol!! 

Without Judgment Clarity Exists

There is eternal power and influence in motherhood.

-Julie B. Beck

Seeing the first image of our baby inside of our womb, the excitement of feeling the first kick inside our swollen bellies, the forever waited sound of the first breathe and cry at birth—all produces a plethora of emotions and fairytale like dreams.

Instant tears of joy and feelings of entitlement for our baby boy or baby girl—They will have our best and they will be the best at whatever they set out to do in life. We will always be there for them.

What is missing from the arrival of our bundle of joy is, a book of wisdom. Although you can find just about any book on any topic of how to do anything online and in stores, no single approach to parenting is a guarantee.

Every child and every mother is unique. We become mothers with an abundance of love and only our bag of history, experiences, and knowledge—the good and the bad.

Just as our moms raised us the best they could, we follow pursuit and plan to do the same, but better (or so we think).

It has taken me many years to step away from the idealism of how my mom should have raised me versus how I was raised.

Burying the judging gavel, allows me to see with clarity.

I see myself in her, which took over 25 years to happen.

I am an extension of my mother and I represent book two of Lena.

That little seed of kindness inside of her has blossomed within me and for that I am grateful.

That mighty strength of hers, which moves the heavens and the earth, has not fully matured within in me; I yearn for it, but patiently wait, as the growth is ongoing.

We are fiery women. Like an out of control woods fire, Mom’s flame skips around readily. I have the flame too, but work hard to suppress it. Occasionally the beast escapes. When the fire kindles, I am Lena’s lookalike.

Mother’s love for fashion and style (when she was younger) was evident in her old pics– Hmm… I got that from her too!  Lol!

She loves to win…so do I. :)

While I may not like or agree with everything about the process of how I have become the woman I am today,

I very much like who I am and give homage, praise and thanks to my mother for creating me.

To all the moms, mother’s-to-be, fill in moms, Nanas, mom-moms and everything else, Happy Mother’s Day and thank you for all that you do!!! :)

Motherhood quotes that make me smile: :) 

“A mother is a mother from the moment her baby is first placed in her arms until eternity. It didn’t matter if her child were three, thirteen, or thirty.”
Sarah Strohmeyer, Kindred Spirits

“…moms, even good ones, sometimes lose it a little so as not to lose it all.”
Susan Squire

“A mother who would stop at nothing for her child is dangerous woman when crossed.”
Solange nicole

“I cannot admit this out loud. In the first place, we are expected to be supermoms these days, instead of admitting that we have flaws. It is tempting to believe that all mothers wake up feeling fresh every morning, never raise their voices, only cook with organic food, and are equally at ease with the CEO and the PTA.”
Jodi Picoult, House Rules

“Half the time your kids end up hating you for at least 5 of their teenage years[.] And don’t ever expect anything so mundane as a thank you”
Donna Ball, At Home on Ladybug Farm 

14 Principles To Less Stress

Two weeks ago was Stress Awareness Day.  I had good intentions of posting but daily life took over and until today, the post remained a draft.

Since mom says I sugar coat everything,  I am just going to say it, stress is a real mother****** !

Former heavyweight boxing champ, Mike Tyson was known for delivering speedy and powerful punches that resulted in his opponents on their back floored and confused wondering what the hell happened.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

Well honey, stress will do the same thing, except slower. Been there done that; trust me, you don’t wanna go there.

Experiencing subtle chest pain, random heart palpitations, and/or loss of sleep are just a few indicators that you may be experiencing stress.

Just because you’re not experiencing more of the common systems, doesn’t mean that your body is not experiencing stress.

The American Institute of Stress (AIS) published a list of 50 Common Signs and Symptoms of Stress.Your body is speaking to you; listen to your body. Avoid the  mistake I made 22 years ago.

At 27 years old, throughout my work week, I experienced more than half of the symptoms. Too busy trying to be supermom, super wife, attending night classes, and managing a front office at a hotel, I ignored every damn symptom.  I thought my daily adrenaline rush was normal.

“Normal” it was not. Living short on patience and cursing folks out at the drop of a hat isn’t normal and neither is it okay.

I was young!  Chile please!  Who has heart attacks and strokes at 27?  Not me!! That mess wasn’t on my radar.  I was slim, managed to run and practiced Tang Soo Do!

I was oblivious and numb to what I felt. I did not understand why I felt the way I did.  As far as I was concerned, my daily adrenaline rush and fast paced day where, I cursed at least one person, by the days end was my norm.

If you don’t recognize the symptoms and figure out how to slow down, eventually your body will stop you dead in your tracks. it doesn’t matter how well you eat or how much you exercise, stress is stress and will slowly and methodically break the body down.


To reduce your stress, try these 14 tips:

  1. Use a calendar – If you don’t already record important dates on a calendar, start this immediately.  I like to use my smart phone, it works better than a date book. It has reminders. Add every event, doctor appointments, nail appointments, kids games, practice etc…  By doing this, you will have a clear picture of your real availability.
  2. Learn to say No! – You don’t have to attend every party or event you are invited to.  Look at your calendar and realistically decide if the event fits into your day. Ask yourself, How long is going to take me to get there? Do I need a baby sitter?  Do I have a class or work?  If it doesn’t fit, politely decline. If the person gets upset with you, perhaps it is time to evaluate your relationship with them, which brings me to my next point.
  3. Assess relationships – Evaluate the people in your life, including family. Think about how you feel when you are around them. Ask yourself, Are they positive influences?  Do they bring positive or negative energy your way? What are they doing with their life? Are they happy? When you are around them, do they make you feel good or bad?                                                                                                        
  4. Do the dirty work – With respect to rule #3, if you recognize that a person or people in your life are bringing you down, man up and do what has to be done. Phase them out of daily life. To end the relation, you don’t have to have a knock down-drag out fight. Just stop calling them, don’t invite them over and stop hanging out with them.  I’m serious!! Life is a journey of peaks and valleys.  No one is exempt from the highs and lows in life; however, people who are always negative–Debbie Downers and Negative Neds– Using an oversized lifelike straw, they suck the life and energy right out of you. Quick!!  Run!!!  Let them go!  They won’t understand.  Eventually they may ask.  If they do, tell them the truth, but be nice about it.  “I just couldn’t take your energy.”
  5. Effectively plan each week – Periodization is a concept used in strength training, that trainers use to help clients reach their fitness goals. Over simplified it is planning in phases for long-term performance. To accomplish your personal or professional goals, you can take the same approach.  Write a plan and strategically work towards it. Before your week begins, look closely at your schedule. Some days your schedule will be tighter than others; plan for these days. Example:  During football season, our schedule is regimented, so I plan our family meals. On Sunday, I cook larger family meals so there are a couple of days of leftovers. I buy the large size take out styrofoam plates from BJ’s or Sam’s Club, so when necessary, he can eat on the run. No plates, no dishes, no take out, no wasting money, and best of all, healthier meals!  Planning ahead like this, keeps you ahead of your game and avoids putting you in the stressful reaction mode.
  6. Mind YOUR business!  – Don’t make everybody’s problems your problems. We’ve all been there.  You know a family member or friend who just ain’t living right and they always have drama going on.  “She needs to do this!”  “She ought to be doing that!”  “If it were me….”   Stop it!!!  It ain’t none of your business, stay in YOUR lane. Nobody designated you as the official problem solver. Deal with and fix your own ish!
  7. Mind YOUR money! – An inability to manage your money can be a huge stress. It’s a basic concept.  Live within your means and avoid trying to impress others with your ish!  Grown and mature folks don’t give a damn about what kind of car you drive, designer handbags, expensive shoes, or where you live.  My car is 9 years old. The flaps on my running boards came off, she doesn’t have heated seats, but she has heat and air.   The ride is decent, but she’s PAID OFF!  So when a driver of a luxury car pulls up to me, I celebrate their pleasure and mine.  :)  When the time is right, I’ll have my “dream” car, but for now, I’m minding my money.  As my friend says, “All that glitters ain’t gold!”                                                                                 
  8. Stop putting out other folks fires! – Recognize that their emergency is not YOUR emergency.  Lol! I used this philosophy all the time. The lack of planning on someone else’s part does not have to be your problem.  I am all for helping others, but for some people, their emergencies are more OFTEN than NOT. Sympathize, empathize and everything else, but it’s their problem to solve not yours. The time and energy you spend bailing them out will ultimately mess up your day and you may end up feeling stressed.
  9. Make time for you – Care for yourself first. What are your interests? Do you have a hobby or want to go back to school?  Whatever your interest, do it!  Even if it means your kid has to take one less activity, do it. Life is too short and too uncertain to put your life on hold until your child finishes school.  Tomorrow isn’t promised is a cliché but its meaning is bona fide. Your family will benefit from your happiness.
  10. Meditate – The mind, body and spirit improves with meditation.  You don’t need an hour or even 30 minutes…  Start by finding 15 minutes in your day.  Once it becomes routine for you, you’ll figure out the best time and where you can meditate for longer (if you chose).   The Rest & Relax Guided Meditation App is my favorite. At $1.99 it’s worth it.  You pick your music, desired length of time and the session is guided. It’s a great application that can help you get started.
  11. Eat well – You are going to feel exactly how you eat. Eat crap and you’re going to feel like crap-there is no getting around it. If you listen to your body and pay attention to how you feel, you will understand what I am saying.  Regardless of your fitness goals, try to eat a balanced diet. Incorporate fruits, vegetables, lean meats, healthy grains, and water daily into your diet. Minimize or avoid excessive sugary drinks and food, alcohol, packaged foods, fried food, and fast food.  Destroying your body with poor nutrition will eventually lead to illness such high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, and diabetes.
  12. Exercise – You don’t have to be a fitness junkie like me, but incorporating exercise 3-4 days per week can have an positive impact on your quality of life.  Walking, weight training, yoga, running, CrossFit, aerobics, Zumba… just move.  To keep fitness interesting and fun, add a variety of workouts to your program. Find a gym or trainer that is right for you and an informed one that can help you meet your fitness goals and STICK WITH IT. Your heart is a muscle. When you exercise, your heart benefits and will function more efficiently.
  13. Sleep – The body  needs REST.  Going to bed late every night is counter productive to healthy living. Sleep affects how we look, feel and perform on a daily basis, and can have a major impact on our overall quality of life.                                                   
  14. Get annual physicals  – No matter how well you feel or look, get your annual check ups.  For ladies, that means, OBGYN’s, Mammograms, a general practitioner, and an eye exam. That’s a lot right?  Men have it easier. Lol!  Prevention is key. You might feel well, but something still could be wrong. There are many diseases such as breast and uterine cancer, that are silent and don’t exhibit symptoms, so keeping up with annual doctor visits can save lives.

I’ve been told that I smile a lot and I do!  :)   That’s because I live a simple life.  The less complicated, the better. My life isn’t perfect, but I live by the 14 principles, which sometimes requires tough decisions, but I do what I have to do, to maintain happiness and balance in my life.

Do you have other tips that you use to deal with stress?  I would love to hear from you! Leave a comment and make it a fabulous day!  :)