Tag Archives: challenges

Dramatic Changes!


These pictures were taken on a  hike in October 2015.  The sky is blue, the scenery is beautiful and I am in China – Miyun to be exact, just north east of Beijing.

After years of “talking about it” and lots of time spent loving my two grand-daughters, I left my home of 28 years and my homeland of 56 years and came to China to teach English.    I know many people didn’t believe I would ever leave my family behind, especially as grand baby #3 was due to arrive in October, but the end of August saw me bidding farewell to my daughter, son-in-law and three precious little people, knowing it would be a long time before I could hug the newest little fellow.

Although I had planned to combine my three blogs into this one blog, that hasn’t materialized.  My health journey, which has drastically changed since leaving Canada, will be recorded at One Year, One Week, One Pound .

Here I will try to share with you some of the things I am learning about money and money management as I live outside of our country.  I haven’t thought much about taxes, but I’m sure some will have to be paid.  There are also other considerations that I hadn’t thought of, but may be helpful to others considering the “ex-pat” scene for a season of life.

In the meantime, I wish you a wonderful 2016, God’s richest blessing, and joy on the journey!




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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., Uncategorized

Small Things….

Today I posted on my Facebook that I could use something stronger than a sherry right about now – and I could.  It’s been a tough day.  I feel like I’ve been stabbed in the back, and it hurts.  We’ll leave that there, except to say that there was one small thing I should have done (and forgot to do)  and now things are kind of messy and I’m drinking sherry – which feels very nice, Victorian and Miss Marple-ish all at the same time.  I so enjoy Miss Marple and her sherry!

Shortly after I posted that and responded to a comment that I felt was a bit uncaring, I realized that I was making the same mistake twice – and that was this:

Doing the RIGHT thing.

In this case, the real right thing to do is to pray.  The real right thing to do is to move forward as best you can without making things worse (and in my experience, most things stronger than sherry do make things worse – at least for me.)

Sadly, I don’t always think of the right or appropriate thing right away.  (Are there too many “right”s in this sentence or does it make sense?)  Maybe that’s true of most of us – the easy fix so that we can be on our way to the next thing on our list.  Well, that’s what got me into this situation in the first place.  I know (now, and well after the fact) that I should have done something else.

In the meantime – I suddenly have a gift of time that I wasn’t expecting to have, time that I can use to begin doing more of the right things.  For me that doesn’t include another bottle of sherry, or something stronger.  It does include spending some quiet time alone with my God and seeking His will in all of this.



It’s funny how one small thing can become something much bigger.  The thing WAS made right and I moved on.  Someone else read the situation differently and life changes drastically.  However, at this moment I will use this time wisely and I will trust in my God that He will work things to His glory.  I will also strive to remember to do the right thing instead of the easy thing.   (That always seems to be my downfall)

I hope this post can be an encouragment to someone who is also in a difficult place.

Have a good one!  The Scrabble picture comes from this blog: http://inspiredness.wordpress.com/ which is also encouraging.


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Filed under WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

It’s Official – Last Again!

Well, it’s 3 o’clock, Calgary time.  I’ve made it home on the C-train, iced the ankle, had a long soak in the bath (Lavender – just right!)  and I was kind of waiting for the results from  Winning Times.  If you scroll down to the very, very bottom – you’ll see my name!  And if  you check out this link and scroll down, guess what?

What’s interesting to me – is this:  My pace is the same for both races.  I’m pleased with that!  So here’s a bit of a reprieve of the day, which started for me at 4:32 am.

I had my usual coffee and porridge for breakfast and walked to the C-train (It was walk or wait 20 minutes for the next bus!)  The train was full and I had to stand, but I met a co-worker and we chitchatted.  It was good.

The checking in of gear – went very smoothly at both ends of the walk.  Of course I was one of the last to pick up my bag, but I’m glad I didn’t have to drag my stuff with me. Thanks to the “Inn From the Cold” staff for managing this so well.

This is the starting gate, and it was crowded with people.  And the jostling for position.  Not my cup of tea.  Thankfully, by the time I got to the gate, most of the runners were already well away.  Now I was being passed by walkers of all ages!  That was okay.

Then I got lapped by the runners doing the 10K.   But I did manage in all of that to get one picture of the scenery.  But that was all.  In the meantime I was texting my daughter and brother, letting them know where I was in the course:  That was kind of fun.  They were thinking of coming down to shout me into the grandstand.  I figured if I let them know when I hit the 16 K marker they’d have enough time to get down to the grounds:

7:35 am: 3K coming up

8:13: 6 K and a PP stop.

9:25: 12K and another PP (Porta-pottie) break

They were about to load it into the truck, but put it back so that I could take this picture!

10:16:  16K

10:54 :  20K

11:06: 1 K left to go!

I wasn’t sure that this shot made it, because the 5 K runners were zooming in at this point too. But my time is 4:20:36.63, isn’t that precise?

And then the grand finale, when I had my medal.  This quite surprised me.  But, now that my blisters have shown up (At least two of them at this point)  I’m going to keep this for a while.  Later on my grandbabies can play “Olympics” with them.  That will be fun!

And that is what I feel like even now, after a hot bath and some ice!

There was a bit of time, just before and after the half way marker that I walked alone.  It was nice having all those police officers holding up traffic, just so that I could cross the road.  Thanks to the Calgary Police for an awesome job as well.  I think walking alone slows you down a bit because there’s no one to pace yourself with.  On the other hand, I had a lot of fun singing to the music from my Ipod!

The last few K’s were indeed hard.  I could see the Saddledome but we still had to go two Ks before we were in – so close and yet so, so very far!

Thanks to everyone who supported me on this journey – Emma and Eric for coming down to meet me, even though I was done before you got here.  I wish we had gotten someone to take our picture.  That will have to wait for next year.  To everyone who sponsored me – we raised over $200 for Inn from the Cold.

Have a good day – I’ve got some resting to do!

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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized

What’s the Point?


Tulips (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As you can tell, I’m feeling a tad discouraged and frustrated with my life right now.  I like to set goals and I’m really good at setting SMART goals.  The problem is…doing the required bits in between that will help me attain those goals – and doing them consistently.

I started another blog to chronicle my weightloss – and sad to say, there hasn’t been any this year.  While I was really diligent about showing up at the gym in 2011, that hasn’t been true this year.

Financially I’m being kind of “off the wall” as well.  Too many visits to Value Village I think – but hey…isn’t that what grandmas do?

No it isn’t.  Oma’s and grandmas should not be spending wildly on their grandchildren – even at a discount!  It really is time for me to give my head a shake – dislodging all the sand and seeing clearly.

Sometimes I do this Three Minute Retreat.  Even though it comes to my Facebook profile and my in-box, I don’t always make the time.  This morning, with my bird on my shoulder and coffee in hand, I took the time and was reminded again…

I believe that I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.

  Psalm 27:10

Today the sun was shining as I walked to the gym.  My friends were there to greet me.  With coffee and breakfast I found money in my bank account that I can use to fund the daily details of my life – including becoming Oma! 

Today I am reminded that I will see the goodness of the Lord this day – and that I have already seen it.  I will remember that I will also see the goodness of the Lord tomorrow as I continue to move towards my goals in all areas of my life.

And that’s the point.  My goals are reminders of the Good that my God wants to see in my life.

Have a good day.  Enjoy the flowers and the birds and the changes that are coming into our lives!



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Filed under GREEN: Money matters that matter., RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

101 posts!

Because I have begun to write my posts the day before, I missed the fact that it was my 100th post.  Does that officially  make me a blogger?  I don’t know, but I do know that I like looking up pictures to go with my posts.  I like thinking about things to write about.  And I like that because it helps me to focus on the things I need to tweek in my life in order to move forward, doing the things God calls me to do.

On Sunday I was able to attend Hope For Life Christian Fellowship here in Calgary.  The pastor said we were going to end the service in a way that we probably had never ended a service before.  And it was truly a unique experience.

I had a link for the you-tube video for a song by Bill Withers called “Lean on Me!”  For 101 posts now I’ve been leaning on you who read my blog and comment on it.  I’ve been leaning on the act of writing about my experiences as I deal with the different colours of my life.  Writing helps me to focus on what’s happening in my life on a daily basis.

A blog can also be something to lean on.  By following certain blogs I am inspired to keep on keeping on.

Beyond Dave, http://beyonddave.com/

Get Rich Slowly http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/

The Simple Dollar http://www.thesimpledollar.com/

These blogs give me ideas about managing my money. Sometimes they give me ideas to write about.  But more than that, I lean on them and am encouraged and strengthened for the day!

Attic 24 http://attic24.typepad.com/weblog/ is a wonderful blog full of colour and pictures and it is a bright spot in my day when there’s a new post from England!

There are more, but that’s enough linking for one post.

The point is this.  Find someone to lean on.  Be inspired to move forward in a different direction.  God will always supply someone for you to lean on!  He did for me!

Have a wonderful day!


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Filed under Uncategorized, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

I’m Gonna Fail! – Maybe!

If things keep going as they are, then it looks, from the vantage point of September 28th, that I am not going to achieve my “number” goal of losing 50 pounds this year.  In order to do that I will have to lose 25 pounds in the next three months, or 8 pounds in each month.  Is it possible?  Yes.  Is it a safe goal?  Yes, I believe so.  However…

Last weeks Napoleon Hill reading was about failure.  Actually the essay is called “The Blessing of Failure” but I focused on the failure part of it, because that’s what lots of people do.  They set their sights on the negative and miss the positive.

A few years ago I drove to Saginaw, Michigan.  My quest was two fold.  One was to check out yarn shops and find the chicken pattern.  I was successful and I could have gone home after my first stop.  My second quest, tongue in cheek, was to meet a “Saginaw Fisherman”. I have to say, that I only saw one, and here he is:

My Saginaw Fisherman!

He’s the silent type, but he looked happy there, so I left him to his fishing!  So quest number two was a bust!  Too bad!

Winston Churchill once said that success is going from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm.  (He didn’t say it quite like that though).   Zig Ziglar reminds me that failure is an event, not a person.  We need to be careful not to define ourselves by our failures, but rather learn from them as Thomas Edison did.  Each failure is an opportunity to learn and we can use our new found information to enthusiastically try again!

The “eclairs in my refrigerator”  were chocolate covered almonds.  The buying of them got out of hand and I was stopping by the bin a little to regularly.  But I never bought them during work, just AFTER work.  By deciding to stop shopping after work, I hope to eliminate the stop at the almond shop!  We’ll see how it goes.  So far, so good!

Napoleon Hill says, “If you can keep on trying after a dozen failures, the seed of genius is sprouting within you.  Give it the sunshine of hope and faith and watch it grow into great personal achievements”

If I don’t lose 50 pounds this year, the world is not going to end.  I know, because I’m continuing to tweek my life and my thinking, that I will lose some more of this excess baggage and there’s always next year.  But the journey… the journey has been wonderful.  God has blessed me with evidence of His provision of encouragement and surprises along the way.  I have already lost 25 pounds and that’s much better than my average!

Maybe you are realizing that you might not achieve a goal that you set.  Keep going.  Every step forward is a step closer to achieving it.  You may just need a little longer to get there than you thought!

Have a great day!


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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature

The Eclairs in my Refrigerator

I know, it’s not right, putting such delectable delights in a blog that has been focusing on weightloss, but here it is, together with a link to the blog where I found it.  (The most recent recipe is for a Fig and Almond bread that I want to have a closer look at.) http://livinginthekitchenwithpuppies.blogspot.com/

I didn’t make up the phrase that I’ve used in my title.  It comes from a writer/basket-ball player named Jay Carty and I had the opportunity to hear him speak (and he helped me shoot a basket!) many years ago.

But, even though I don’t have the book, I still remember the phrase and it has been applicable in my life.  I have been messing with “eclairs in my refrigerator”.  This time they took the shape of chocolate covered almonds.  I thought that I could have just a few of them at a time – this time.  But, alas, that has not proven to be the case.

To be honest, I don’t much like eclairs. They don’t call my name like other things do.  Often I can ignore the calls, but NOT when they are in my house.  That’s the reason I try to keep from having things like ice-cream, Nutella, and peanut-butter in my house.  When they come in, they beg to be enjoyed.  And once I start, I find it so hard to stop.

Of course, this analogy applies to much more than food, even though it is very appropriate to that area of my life.  It speaks to the way I spend money.  It impacts how I spend my time.  It helps my choose appropriate books to read and what to stay away from.

I need to stay away from certain foods if I am to successfully maintain my weight loss and keep it going on the right track.  This means I also have to keep my wallet at home and I need to stay away from the bulk food section where the chocolate almonds spend most of their time!

What is keeping you from getting your jobs done?  Let’s take time to clearly identify them and keep them out of the refrigerators of our lives!

Have a great day!


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Filed under RED: Losing weight, gaining fitness, strength and new cooking ideas, Uncategorized, WHITE: Thoughts, mostly of a spiritual nature