Clean Eating and My Definition of It

Clean Eating and My Definition of It

Embroidery It Healthy Living Series 3Down 4 pounds!

Dear Friends,

One thing I’m trying hard to do with healthy living is clean eating.  But wow, there are so many different ideas as to what clean eating is.  Some say no wheat or grain, some say no dairy, some say no meat.  Makes my head spin.  There are more books on clean eating than you can shake a stick at.

One thing I’ve learned in my life is that most everything should be in moderation.  Any time we swing the pendulum to one extreme or the other we are usually asking for problems.  Of course there are exceptions to this.

My definition of clean eating is that if it came from God, then it is good for me.  I’m all about fruits and vegetables and trying to get more of them in my diet and to make them the majority of what is on my plate.  I’m also for meat and dairy products.  Finally I am for healthy carbohydrates but in moderation.  No more of the food pyramid where we have been encouraged to eat 6 to 11 servings of grains.  I’m personally limiting myself to one serving of a healthy carbohydrate a day.  I’m also ok with healthy fats and oils but again sparingly or in moderation.

I’m also ok with one cup of coffee a day and stevia as a sweetener in it.  Limiting myself to 1 cup, not 1/2 pot due to the atrial fibrillation.  Yep, that was me.

I’m ok if my food is not organic.  Costco sells quite a bit of organic fruits and vegetables and many times all they offer of a certain food is organic which is fine.  I’m just not going out of my way to buy only organic or free range or all those other ‘supposed to be good for me’ foods at twice the price.

What I’m not ok with is sweets.  This is an addiction of mine.  I’m telling myself I can have one desert a week.  Not one after every meal which I had been having.  And if that one a week fires up my sweet tooth, I may have to consider eliminating it completely.

I’m not ok with processed or pre-made food with the exception of condiments.  I’m not going to the trouble to make my own ketchup, mayonnaise, or barbeque sauce as an example.  I am, however, making my own Thousand Island salad dressing.  Recipe below as it is easy peasy.  I’m also personally ok with milk, yogurt, cheese and butter in moderation.

I’m not ok with deep fried anything.  I love French fries so this is another tough one.  Boy-oh-boy my eating habits were just out of control.

I think we all need to look at what works best for our own bodies and take that into account when deciding what we will or won’t put on our plate.

And here is my Country Style Thousand Island Recipe I told you about.  Just click on the picture to enlarge and then print it out to add to your recipe box.

Thousand Island DressingMake healthy choices friends.


be creative daily and live life beautifully



Live Life Beautifully – Healthy Living Series

Live Life Beautifully – Healthy Living Series

Dear Friends,

It has been quite some time since I have updated you on my health.  When it comes to doctors, sometimes it can be a very slow process.  As you recall, a few months ago, February 10th, I went to the ER and my heart was in atrial fibrillation.  They shocked my heart to get it back in a normal rhythm.  You can read about it HERE if you are interested.  I think/hope that things are finally coming to a conclusion here.

Since that time I had an echocardiogram and a stress test.  Both of which came back normal.  Thank you Jesus for that.  In fact the cardiologist says my heart is fine.  I still on occasion feel my heart ‘pop’ which I know to be a PVC because I watched it on an EKG so I know what that feeling is related to.  The doctor is not concerned about the ‘popping’ and it has been occurring less and less.  Again, thank you precious Jesus.

What I have been tested for lately is sleep apnea.  I go in for another sleep study on the 26th of this month and they are going to fit me for a CPAP machine.  Over 50% of people who have atrial fibrillation have sleep apnea and I am one of them.  I’m actually looking forward to getting the machine because having the atrial fibrillation was so scary and I NEVER want to go through that again.  I’m just praying now that the CPAP machine will forever solve the problem.

Friends.  I heard this phrase and it has truly struck a chord with me.  “We are not living longer, we are dying longer.”  I am not in bad health, but I’m certainly not in excellent health either.  I haven’t been to the gym since this heart episode and I still eat some foods that are unhealthy and you know I struggle with my weight.  I’m at the point I would love to lose 30 pounds.  You may remember reading in the past I wanted to lose 25 pounds.  Now look at me.

Since hearing that phrase, “we are not living longer, we are dying longer,” I have had a change of mindset.  I will be posting here at least weekly about my journey to better health.  My posting here is not to bore you, as is a form of accountability for me.  I also hope I may serve as an inspiration to some of you.

I finish off most of my blog posts with “be creative daily and live life beautifully.”  Well, caring for ourselves with healthy habits is most certainly one way to live life beautifully.  If you are on a journey of improving your health, I’d love to hear your story.

I raise my water glass with a toast, “Here’s to living longer.”



be creative daily and live life beautifully


A New Year, A Creative New You January Reflection

Embroidery It A Creative New YouDear Friends,

We are already through January.  1/12 of the way through the year!  At the end of each month it is a good time to look back and to reflect.  I hope in your reflection time you find you have made progress towards some of your creative goals.

Looking back at my schedule of creative plans is something I enjoy doing.  It lets me see how far I’ve come and what I still need to do.

Take a moment to reflect back as well as to look forward.  What worked for you last month?  What didn’t?  Did you enjoy your creative time?  Use that knowledge in moving forward.  What creative plans do you have for this month?  How will they be fit into your calendar?  How will you most enjoy your creative time?

For me, two things that really worked were scheduling creative time on the calendar and daily journaling.  I journaled 23 out of 31 days and it became a great way to process thoughts which in turn helped my productivity immensely.  Because of such good results, you better believe I plan to continue scheduling and journaling.

Here are some of the creative things I made during January.

Embroidery It Mike's Birthday 1Embroidery It Mike's Birthday 2I embroidered two shirts for Mike’s birthday.  Both designs came from Designs by Sick.

Embroidery It Valentine's Day 2016A Valentine Treat Bag for Emily with her sorority letters.  My own creation.

Embroidery It Quilt Shop 1

I have also found a new quilt shop here in Grand Rapids!!!!!  Yippee!!!!  It was total eye candy.  I am hoping to take a class that will be in April which will be a lot of fun.

Another thing I did here in January which relates to creativity is I joined a local group of business women entrepreneurs that meet monthly.  It’s nice to get out of the house and share ideas with others in person.  It’s easy for me to stay at home–too much so  I need to make a real point of getting out of the house more.  I came home from the January meeting fresh and inspired and look forward to our next meeting.

If you would like to look back and refresh yourself on any of the A New Year, A Creative New You posts, you can find them here:

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

For now friends,  Happy Embroidering,


be creative daily and live life beautifully

Starting the Daniel Plan

Daniel Plan

Dear Friends,

I hope you are all doing well this summer.  This morning it is a cool, rainy day here in Michigan but I am hopeful the sun will come out this afternoon.  I’m trying to grab hold of all the summer days we have left as I know it will be only a few short weeks and the beautiful green leaves will be turning bright yellow orange and red.

Now that my travel is over with it is time for me to hit hard back with my weight loss journey.  This past week I’ve been back to the gym every day.  I went to Weight Watchers on Saturday and I am also following the Daniel Plan in conjunction with Weight Watchers.  It is a Christian lifestyle program based on Faith, Food, Fitness, Focus and Friends.

From my original weight, I am only down 8 pounds now.  At one point I was down 14 pounds.  Oh how they can quickly come on when we are out of our routines.  Anyway, now I know I will have a stretch here where I can focus on healthy eating and exercise and I am truly trying to turn some of this into good habits.  Portion control and sweets are both my downfall.

If any of you have tried the Daniel Plan or are using it currently, shoot me an e-mail or leave a comment.  I’d love to hear how you are doing.

Blessings everyone,


be creative daily and live life beautifully

Forward Strong Goals and Happy New Year from Embroidery It

Forward Strong Goals and Happy New Year from Embroidery It

Dear Friends,
I’m sending very Happy New Year wishes to each of you.  May 2014 be a year of health, peace, joy and prosperity for us all.  God is great and may he bestow an abundance of blessings on each of us.I wrote in a previous post HERE that during 2013 my focus was on the word SHINE.  I mentioned that this has been a year of service for me.  I feel that 2014 is to be a year to care more for myself and I have felt the words FORWARD STRONG placed on my heart a few weeks ago.

Our son Timothy and beagle, Cindy moving forward strong.

I always write goals down each year in all areas of my life.  Some of these goals overlap into different areas so you will see some listed more than once.  These are not what I consider resolutions, but they are things for me to work on throughout the year.  I don’t beat myself up if I fall short in attaining them, it just gives me something to focus on.  It helps me move Forward Strong to have goals and know what I am to move towards.  I also think that sharing them helps me be more accountable in accomplishing them so here goes:

Family Goals

  • Spend quality time with family when they are home.  Say ‘yes’ to family games and movies.
  • Visit Katie and Emily twice a year

Home Goals

  • Remove paper from the home and keep remaining paper organized (#1 goal and more on this below)
  • Tidy home daily
  • Clean home weekly
  • Grocery shop one time a week- instead of several times a week
  • Menu plan weekly
  • Go to bed with a clean kitchen

Spiritual Life Goals

  • Continue habits of Daily Audio Bible and weekly adoration in addition to Sunday church
  • Become actively involved in the women’s group at church
  • Read St. Faustina’s Diary
  • Attend a women’s retreat like Captivating
  • Notice God’s blessings daily

Finance Goals

  • Pay bills every Thursday
  • Pause before making purchases
  • Balance checkbook and reconcile credit card statements monthly

Friendship Goals

  • Become actively involved in the women’s group at church
  • Join Crafters with a Cause
  • Maintain monthly contact with friends from New Mexico and other locations we’ve lived
  • Grow online friendships on this blog

Creativity Goals

  • Take one art class or attend a quilt guild meeting – monthly
  • Learn a new craft
  • Learn to digitize embroidery designs

Knowledge Goals

  • Learn a new craft
  • Learn to digitize embroidery designs
  • Learn to set up a true website

Business Goals

  • Follow written business plan and get my business up and running (stop talking and start doing here)
  • Create a true website
  • Learn to digitize embroidery designs
  • Blog 2  times a week
  • Listen to Entrepreneur on Fire
  • Develop a newsletter
  • Create a contact list

Personal Goals

  • Clean eating
  • 10,000 steps a day
  • Classical stretch daily
  • weekly creative time

Community and World goals

  • Choose a cause to support
  • Blog
  • YouTube videos
  • Women’s group at church

My all time #1 focus goal this year is to get the paper out of the house.  I mean ALL paper.  If it doesn’t get out of the house then there better jolly well be a place for it.  When I look at this house I see WAY too much paper and that includes books, magazines, cards, receipts, trash, mail you name it.  This is going to be hard because I enjoy paper crafting and I also enjoy journaling with paper and pen, but if I don’t have a specific space for paper, then I’m going to do my best to get it out of here.  I have a real weakness for purchasing magazines when I go to the store.  It stops now.

This may seem like a lengthy list, but I think it is good for me to stretch myself.  If I would reach all my goals, then I don’t feel I would be stretching myself enough.

It is a good feeling to look back at this list several times a year to see what has been accomplished.  Then I also need to see what goals need to be modified and what goals need to be scrapped.  It is a fluid list and subject to change and I’m quite ok with that.  Last year I hit about half of my goals.  This year with my focus being on FORWARD STRONG, I am focusing more on myself which means focusing more on my goals.

As I said before, God is Great and He wants great things for us.  God has given each of us gifts that He wants us to use for His good here on earth.  By moving Forward Strong, I plan to be using my gifts and talents for the betterment of my life and the lives of others.

Please know I am praying for greatness for each of you in 2014.
With much love and blessings,
Happy New Year,

Shine Update


Dear Friends,
If you remember my focus this year is to SHINE.  You can read more about that HERE.One of the things in my life that has been lacking is to “shine” upon myself and to really care for myself.  I need to lose some weight and get my blood pressure in check.  I’ve made a focus in working to get in 10,000 steps each day and to really change my eating habits to real or natural foods.

Let me begin by saying that since December 29th I’ve lost 8.5 pounds.  I want to lose a total of 25.

With Emily, our middle child who is 17, having dealt with Lyme’s disease as well as Hashimoto’s disease, she has made radical changes to her diet.  She is quite disciplined as she knows how much better it really makes her feel to eat foods in their natural state.  I’ve always felt nutrition is important, but it has been a weakness of mine to reach for the sweets (after every meal) and I love bread.  Emily has been a huge source of inspiration to me.

I’ve done my best to cut out as many processed foods as I can.  My next step is to make more of my own salad dressings.  I’ve cut out most all simple sugars (candy etc.) and have cut way back on the complex sugars (rice, oatmeal, bread).  In fact, I’m limiting the complex sugars to one meal a day.  Finally I’ve basically eliminated anything fried as well.  I’ve given myself a one meal a week as a freebie or a treat meal in which I can have a dessert.  Side note here:  I used to work as a nurse at a weight loss center.  I know what to do, it is just the mind set of DOING it that is difficult.

For the last couple of months I’ve been wearing my pedometer.  It is surprisingly difficult to get 10,000 steps in each day.  If it is a quiet day, I’ll normally get 4,500 to 5,000 steps.  If it is a clean the house day I get in about 6,000 steps.  If it is a shopping day I get in about 7,000 to 8,000 steps.  This means I have to do some intentional walking/exercise each and every single day.

I’m doing it.  I’m working hard to care for myself.  I’m worth it.  I’m shining.

God Bless,

Go Through the Bible in One Year as a New Year’s Resolution

Go Through the Bible in One Year as a New Year’s Resolution

Happy Happy New Year to You!!!

Dear Friends,
I hope today, wherever in the world you are that it is a BEAUTIFUL day!  Happy New Year!

I’m talking today about the Daily Audio Bible as this is my third year to go through the Bible in audio form.  It NEVER gets old.  Since I was a little girl, I’ve had Christ in my life, but going through the Bible has changed my life forever and I’m truly blessed.

Brian Hardin reads a passage in the Old Testament, New Testament, Psalms and Proverbs each day.  Then he applies it to our lives today and finally callers who have called in with prayer requests or praise reports previously on a recorded line have their requests and praises played.  It is a privilege to get to pray for them, who I consider my Daily Audio Bible family, and they have prayed for me too.  What a blessing to know that hundreds of thousands of people are praying and joining together.

If you’ve thought you would like to go through the Bible in a year as a New Year’s resolution, consider listening to it.  Brian’s voice is comforting and he is so knowledgeable.  On occasion his family is on the air as well.  His wife Jill helps him and two of his children record Daily Audio Bible Kids.  It is precious.

So Friends, during 2013 and beyond:

May the Good Lord bless you and keep you,
May He make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you,
May He lift up his countenance on you and give you peace,
May the strength of God go with you,
May the wisdom of God instruct you,
May the hand of God protect you,
May the word of God direct you,
May you be sealed in Christ this day and forever more.
With Love,
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