It’s a beautiful morning and I am enjoying a nice walk with our 2 dogs down a road less traveled. Obviously, the guy in this picture gave up way too soon. As unfortunately, many people seem to do.
I think this is a good parable today for Roger and I. We recently made a very brave decision to sell our home other property and move to Star Valley Wyoming to build our dream log home. We are literally and figuratively on one of life’s less traveled roads. As we worked the last few months moving all of our belongings into storage, selling homes and packing to move so many of our friends, neighbors and relatives have commented, “You are living our dream.”
For many years I’ve incorporated into my speaking engagements a little something about dreaming big dreams. I learned early on that “It costs no more to dream a big dream than it does to dream a big dream” So, why not? We dreamed it, now we are doing it! “Living the Dream” as they say takes commitment, hard work, sacrifice and courage. And more of the same will surely be required as we continue on this adventure. Lets hope we are up for it, because here we are. Living in our 5th wheel trailer while we clear our land and build our dream home. We are blessed to have our family behind us and look forward to creating a peaceful retreat for them. We are so encouraged as people share that they are inspired by our decision.
Unfortunately, the road less traveled is a lonely one. So many dream, but never dare. So many hope but never follow through. But life offers everyone the choice to travel any road they choose. Perhaps you are ready for a new direction. Perhaps you see a pathway in the distance that will lead you to your dreams. Follow it! Dream, then dare, hope and pray, then get to work!
A few weeks ago, I took two of my grandchildren to a dollar store to buy a little toy for their cousin Axel who is turning 2. With two kids a trip down the candy isle was inevitable. There at eye level was a display of specially priced Jelly Beans – Belly Flops. At first, I though that is was a competitor trying to capitalize on the famous Jelly Belly name, but at second look, they WERE Jelly Bellies! For a buck! “Seriously?” I thought. As I looked closer, the Belly Flops are Jelly Belly rejects. Imperfect, mis-shaped, mis-stamped Jelly Belly jelly beans. By some stoke of genius by a marketing team, now these odd, rejects have their own identity. “Brilliant!”
What a great example of turning mistakes into something valuable. You know, the lemons into lemon-aide sort of thing. I have thought about Belly Flops quite a bit over the last few weeks and what lessons they can teach. I have reviewed a few flops of my own and I have discovered that in my life, I only make mistakes when I actually stick my neck out. Duh. But I have come to know how important it is to actually do, reach, create, live life, give it a try, make something happen. Yes, it is much easier to live risk free and to settle into a calm, comfortable routines, but our willing to do and dare is oh so important for our growth, personal progress & development. Like Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad, Poor Dad) shares, “When you come to the boundary of what you know, its time to make some mistakes and learn something new.”
So, won’t you join me? Lets go out a make some mistakes.
|Well, on a good day I am sugar free! And the more I have experimented, the more I have learned for myself the many reasons why I should be sugar free always! I suspect that most of you can relate to the downward (and I don’t mean weight) spiral that comes on that slippery, surgery slope once you take a nibble or two of the tiny snickers bars, or M & M’s.
In my 16 years experience as a weight loss surgery patient, I am finally convinced that nothing good comes from something sweet. I suppose that is a little harsh – but let me share with you some of the things I have discovered for myself and why I am committed to being more mindful about consuming sugary products.
8 REASONS WHY I AM SUGAR FREE
1. I I don’t need it. Though we need energy from our food – it does not need to come from refined sugars.
2. It makes me groggy in the morning. (I will admit that I got into a bad habit of having a little something sweet at night before bed – finally put two and two together and I am convinced that my sluggish beginning to my day is directly related to eating sugary sweets the night before.
3. It It give me headaches. Again this was a keen realization that when I over indulge in sweets a few hours later I get a headache.
4. There are many alternatives – I use a little Splenda, Equal and Sweet and Low now and then – can’t tell the difference in taste so why waste calories on sugar if the substitutes are just as good? And I like honey as well – much better choice than refined sugar.
5. Diabetes in my family – My recent blood work showing my blood sugar levels creeping up and bit has frightened me. I always thought that after losing over 110 pounds I would not have to worry about such things. Apparently not!
6. Calories add up quickly from sugar sources and too many calories = weight gain – plain and simple. Don’t need it – don’t want it.
7. I have learned to like fruit. An apple a day…..
8. Cavities! who needs them?
After I made this list, I also make another list to see why I would choose to consume sugar products. I only found two reasons. 1. It tastes good and 2. It is easy. So, it’s my health 8 – sugar 2. The choice seems pretty clear don’t you think? I hope you will take a minute to evaluate your sugar consumption and see if you discover, as I did, that it’s something I can live without and it will help “tip the scales’ in your favor!
During my graduating year in High School (1977) I got the biggest kick out of the TV commercial featuring the winners of the Publishers Clearinghouse Sweepstakes. The two mild mannered, plainly dressed, farm folk declared (with more drawl and twang than Gomer Pile) “What luck! We Mays are in luck. We have just won a million dollars! Our lives will never be the same!”
Yep, they are lucky, I thought. I am a May too, so how come I’m not so lucky? Though many spend a considerable amount of time, effort, and energy entering sweepstakes – hoping to get ‘lucky,’ I have adopted a different philosophy. “The harder you work the luckier you get!” Time and time again that has proven to be the case.
Following my weight-loss surgery in 1995, I recall mustering up the nerve to call a few of my friends to tell them what I had done. The first call I made was to a long time nurse friend. I will forever remember her immediate reply after I told her where I was and that I had just had a gastric bypass. “You are so lucky!” she exclaimed. “Lucky?” I replied. “What do you mean lucky?” I have spent my entire life fighting my weight and finally, finally, I had the courage to make this gigantic commitment. It took great thought, planning, preparation, prayer, not to mention a support of my family, and a 2nd mortgage to do this. Luck had nothing to do with it!”
The first year was a dream come true. The weight seemed to fall off. I lost 125 pounds. No complications, no bumps, and very little effort on my part. Wow was I lucky! I would find myself eating something I shouldn’t. Or skipping a few days of exercise only to weigh in to find that I lost another pound! “Dodged a bullet this week; Man I am so lucky!” I thought. And then…. I found that the next month, was not so lucky. I learned by experience that I was not invincible, and that maintaining my weight loss requires much more than luck. It requires dedication, commitment, thought, focus, and constant effort. Indeed I found, that in weight issues too, the harder I work, the luckier I am.
It has been over 20 years now and my weight continues to fluctuate up and down 15 pounds or so. Interesting, when I work hard at it, I lose – when I don’t, I gain. Go figure.
It seems that this weight management thing will always require effort. Throughout your journey, you too, will have ups and downs, good days and bad days. We have a remarkable tool, but we will always reap what we sow. As you work to reach and maintain your weight-loss goals, remember to stay committed to your Success Habits, stay in tune with your body, work hard; and oh, good luck!
I am a water drinker; I always have been. I have never been a fan of carbonated beverages, I don’t drink alcohol or coffee, don’t care for milk and am very careful with juices. So that pretty much leaves water. Through the years ( I am a 20 year WLS Patient) I have gone through phases of what to add to my water. Early on I used a number of artificially sweetened powders & vitamins crystals, but as I have learned more about the many reasons NOT to use artificial sweeteners, I have sought out other options. Most recently, I have enjoyed fresh mint and cucumbers. Yum! I have several infuser bottles (Dollar store) which makes is easy to add a slice of orange, pineapple or apples, or a favorite, limes. So easy, delicious and no sweeteners!
Water is so essential to our good health & well being. So many reasons to drink water. You know them: Removes toxins, helps with weight loss, raises energy, improves skin and so many more benefits. Once you get in the habit of drinking water, your body will start to crave it! Promise. Learn more and find more ideas and helps in The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients.
An enduring inspiration, for over 22 years Colleen Cook has educated and motivated audiences all over the world. She is a successful weight loss surgery patient from 1995 and President of Bariatric Support Centers International. Named “Bariatric Professional of the Year” in 2009, and honored by the International Federation of the Surgery for Obesity for her research. Colleen is the author of the internationally acclaimed, bariatric best seller, The Success Habits of Weight Loss Surgery Patients book and is a sought after speaker for both professional healthcare conferences and weight loss celebrations.
As an obesity education advocate, Colleen’s research-based presentations are a valuable addition to any healthcare conference for nurses, dieticians, or mental health professionals.
An active member of The National Speakers Association since 1996, Colleen is a seasoned speaker and her presentations are well crafted and can be customized for a particular conference theme.
Thanks for your interest. Visit my Profile on Mormon.org
The following is a talk that I gave in church in February 2016
In contrast to the world in which we live. This crazy busy big, loud, complex and complicated life.. is the sweet peace living the gospel brings. The simple truths, the consistent, gentle commands. The quiet promptings of the Spirit, and the tender mercies of the Lord.
In the Old Testament The Prophet Elijah writes Kings 19: 11
“And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice”
We all know that the happiness we seek is not in the chaos of the world, it is not in the crazy busy; it wasn’t in the powerball either– it is by living each day in accordance with principles of the Gospel
In our day, our challenges are not the elements, or pulling a handcarts, or being tarred and feathered – it is the very speed of life, the crazy business that places demands on our time, distracts us from what matters most.
Words to an old county song by Joe Diffy “Cause and effect, chain of events, all of this chaos makes perfect sense, when the world is spinning round, things come undone – welcome to earth third rock from the sun.”
Maybe it is just my age, but life seems to go faster and faster –always in constant chaos, crazy busy. The adversary has literally turned up the volume, increased the speed. Our lives these days are complicated and noisy. And all too often, we get caught up in the busy – miss the important.
Corrie Ten Boom quote “If Satan can’t make you bad, he’ll make you busy.”
Dallin H Oaks “We do not improve our position in eternity just by flying farther and faster in mortality, but only by moving knowledgeably in the right direction.”
If we don’t slow down, and be mindful, we might miss a prompting to serve another with a small act of kindness, we might miss simple opportunities for growth, we may miss some of the small blessings our Father has in store for us.
I have been given a special warning in my patriarchal blessing. “Calm yourself and wait and all good things will come to you.”
Implies that I am in charge of that!
A lesson I am learning…
The speed of life these days is one of our greatest challenges. The world often seems spinning out of control. Information flies faster and faster, requiring our constant response to keep up. Faster and faster we go, sometimes unaware of why we are hurrying and missing so much along the way.
In a favorite scene in the Star Trek Movie “Insurrection,” a woman friend of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Anij appears to slow down time. A waterfall becomes a magical display of beauty, a hummingbird’s wings flap so slowly one can count the beats, and pollen blown from a flower floats softly in mid-air for the longest time. What an inspiring scene depicting what life would be like if we could control time. Of course, we can’t. We can however, control ourselves, the speed in which we live our lives, and what we choose to do with our time.
I agree with these words from Mormon Apostle, Dieter F. Uchtdorf.
“One of the characteristics of modern life seems to be that we are moving at an ever-increasing rate, regardless of turbulence or obstacles. Let’s be honest; it’s rather easy to be busy. We all can think up a list of tasks that will overwhelm our schedules. Some might even think that their self-worth depends on the length of their to-do list. “The wise resist the temptation to get caught up in the frantic rush of everyday life.”
They follow the advice from Mahatma Gandhi. ‘There is more to life than increasing its speed.’ In short, they focus on the things that matter most.”
Many of life’s meaningful moments are so easily missed in the busy of our daily routines. Dr. Seuss “Sometimes you never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory”
I want to embrace more of those simple moments, don’t you?
It is helpful to recognize that we are ultimately in control. We are the creators of this “chaos.” We have both the responsibility and opportunity to choose what we do with our time. We have all been invited to live in the eye of the storm where we find the calm assurance that He lives, that he loves us.
The great thing is each of us gets to decide how often we choose to truly experience and embrace the small and simple things.
On the banks of the Mississippi River, this grateful man sang with heart and soul. It was both inspiring and humbling. It was a moment that mattered to me and to him, and we embraced it. It is a memory I will forever hold dear. This was one of those moments that Maya Angelou was talking about when she said, “Life is not measured by the breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away.” To think what I might have missed had I not stopped my crazy-busy life for just a moment to listen to his story, hear his song, and connect in such a powerful way.
As I have reflected back on this experience, I wonder if I should have snapped a quick selfie with him, or tweeted #homeless #Katrina #survivor. Maybe I should have recorded a video for YouTube, blogged the experience, or posted it on Facebook. I could have even created a “GoFundMe” page for him. At the very least, I could have sent an email or text to my colleagues who were attending the same conference to come and hear him play. I did none of those things.
What I have recognized since is that any one of these things would have detracted from that very special moment in time. I would have been worried about how I might look in the picture. Was the lighting right? Would the video sound be okay? Would it go viral? Would I misspell something in my blog or would my text interrupt friends? Instead, I chose to simply live life and be fully present in the moment. To relish the connection, to really soak it in and to wholeheartedly embrace a moment that mattered. I am so grateful that I did.
I know that my Heavenly Father loves me. I know He loves all of his children just like we love our children. He wants only the best for us, only our eternal happiness. He sent his son, Jesus Christ to earth to teach us; to lead us and to provide the necessary atoning sacrifice for our mistakes.
I know the Joseph Smith was called to fulfill his mission on this earth to translate the Book of Mormon and restore essential truths. To provide greater clarity and understanding of our who we are and our Heavenly Father’s plan for us.
Our Savior said,
“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” (John 14:27.)
“When we put God first, all other things fall into their proper place or drop out of our lives.”
“Honor the space between no longer and not yet” Nancy Levin
Oh my, what chaos we have created in our family. Roger and I decided last fall to move forward with our plans to get out of the city, move back to Wyoming and build a log home. We purchased 3-1/2 acres of mountain property in Star Valley, Wyoming and as soon as it thaws and the snow turns to mud and much, we will break ground! Roger is retired and looking forward to excavating and building our dream home. I will continue to work as President of BSCI. So much of my work is done in webinars and telephonic meetings and of course I travel for my speaking engagements. As long as I have internet, a telephone,a post office and an airport I’m good to go.
So, here we go. We have caused quite an upheaval with our kids and their families. They are also selling and buying new homes. We are all sorting, storing, de-junking, boxing, moving or selling. Stressful and exciting all at the same time. I will be blogging and adding updates and photos to share our new adventure. This photo is of Black Bear Lane, Trail Ridge Estates, Alpine, Wyoming. Should I look forward to finding out how and why the road got it’s name?
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Our decision to leave the city and build a log home in the mountains of Star Valley, Wyoming was brave, drastic and life-changing. As we have shared our plans, many of our friends and family members ask “Why?” “How can you leave your grandkids?” And my personal favorite, “Really? At your age?”
This decision was made with our family in mind. To create a peaceful, comforting retreat from the crazy busy of life. A sanctuary to connect with self, family and a loving Father in Heaven who has created this beautiful world.
May I refer you to this photo I took about 20 minutes ago. It is of our grandson’s first experience Kayaking. This week he has hiked, (saw a deer this morning) rode a 4-wheeler, learned to make a proper wood pile, ate s’mores, enjoyed fireworks and earned a BB Gun. He has a new appreciation for the outdoors.
These experiences and the many more we will have, explain our “why”don’t you think?