Loving One Another

Posts tagged ‘TOPS’

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Wordless Wednesday


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F = Friends


Day #6 of the A-Z series on “What Makes Me Happy”

FRIENDS

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Friends who go fishing with my hubby (Thanks, Ray & Charley, CG & BW, Gerry & Steve)

Friends who are fabulous cooks, invite us over, and serve fabulous food, wine, and conversation

Friends at TOPS who reach their goal weight and inspire me

Friends who share their birthday happiness with us

Friends who worship with us at church, share their husband to fish with mine, make me smile, give great hugs and are just plain FABULOUS

Friends who are family – what a blessing when that happens!

Friends who are grown up former students and have kept in touch through the years

Friends who bake beautiful pies and who love the Lord as I do

Friends who serve the community, support FUND-raisers, and give generously to make our world a better place

Friends who donate zucchini to the Sr. Center – and the dear friend who plans, cooks, and serves our seniors with such grace and skill

Friends who live into their 80s and 90s and set a beautiful example of vitality and grace for the rest of us

Forever friends who are FAITHFUL forever and continue to love us in spite of our FLAWS (ah, don’t you love that F word?) … and who are as lovely inside as these FLOWERS are outside!

Friends who go FOUR-WHEELING with us

Friends who never forget us and who are FAITHFUL friends to our children

Here’s another one of those… our Friend who is our #2 daughter… Yes, FAMILY is more than blood relatives.

FAMILY is FRIENDS we choose, not just those we inherit. And if we’re truly blessed,

We have family who are friends in all parts of the world

We have grandchildren who are friends and are FUN to be with, and

We have children who keep in touch with love and gratitude daily, even if they move across the sea thousands of miles from us.

My prayer is that the ones who live close enough to see us daily will come by at least once a month, and let our great-grandson grow to know us as his FRIEND, too.

Ah, my blogging friends, I hope you are truly blessed with the FUN of FAMILY and FRIENDS who make you happy, too! I love making new blogging friends!

And never FORGET (that’s a troublesome F word) the Friend who is your constant companion. If you have this kind of a FRIEND you are blessed indeed

And don’t forget the faithful furry four-legged friends, too!

What’s the F word that makes you happiest?

Fettuccine Fantasy


Do you have any food fantasies?

Is there a food group that shows up in your dreams?

Candy? That’s a food group, isn’t it?

I have a friend in my TOPS group (that’s my support group of friends who also are trying to “Take Off Pounds Sensibly”). My friend fantasizes about candy. It’s her downfall. With Halloween on its way next month, she’s already worried about how many pounds she’ll gain when those triangular yellow and orange candy corns tempt her from that bowl on her kitchen counter.

Not me! Candy – even the chocolate variety – can sit on my kitchen counter for weeks. I’d rather have fresh, green vegetables.

But don’t get me wrong. That doesn’t mean I don’t have my caloric downfalls. I’m no pure and disciplined vegetarian. Besides peanut butter filled pretzels, sesame breadsticks, and real buttered popcorn, my BIGGEST downfall is pasta!

What do you expect? My paternal grandmother came from Italy and made gnocchi from scratch.

My Aunt Genevieve made her own pesto sauce and my Aunt Angie made the most delicious pizzas you’d ever hope to savor.

Aunt Marie made homemade fettuccine. I dream of Aunt Laura’s shrimp fettuccine! Bring on the carbs!

Last night our dear neighbors treated us to dinner. He ordered a beautiful, healthy lean steak with fresh green veggies cooked just right – crisp tender.

Did I select something lean or green? By no means!

Mmm! Shrimp Fettuccine with tomato basil sauce – and of course, an extra helping of French bread smothered with real butter!

How am I going to take off pounds sensibly when I order that kind of a meal and literally lick the plate (no, I didn’t!). Really, I soaked up the last of the sauce with an extra piece of French bread. It’s okay, friends. It was a small piece!

What makes your mouth water? What’s your food fantasy? I bet it’s not candy corn!

95 Years of Life Lessons


Living Fully Every Day

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My 95 years young friend, Carol, was in the hospital. Her face lit up when I walked in. It was a joy to see her. We chatted about her recent birthday, the family who came from far and near to celebrate with her, and about my trip this year to visit our daughter and grandkids in Switzerland. I shared that one of my grandsons may come to live with us for a time – and how Bob & I look forward to sharing life with him for awhile.

I told Carol, “With eight decades of living under our belts, we find joy in sharing some of the pearls of wit and wisdom we’ve picked up along the path.”

I asked Carol if she would share some of her life lessons with me. I don’t think I was prepared for the depth of her sharing. But, as soon as she began, I knew I was in for a treat. I grabbed a paper and pen and asked her if she would mind if I took notes. Carol used to be a writer, too … but she finds it hard to set pen to paper these days. So, knowing I love to write, she grinned widely, and nodded.

“Here are some things I have learned as I’ve grown older:

  1. Life softens.
  2. Things aren’t so urgent.
  3. I can fall in love at all ages.
  4. Life constantly changes – be open!
  5. It takes judgement to realize the possibilities life holds.
  6. We’re happier if we count our blessings.
  7. Our lives become more dimensional with years.
  8. Love is huge!
  9. We all must take responsibility for ourselves and our actions.
  10. . Life comes together in a natural and beautiful way.”

I read her list of life lessons back to her – choking up more than once in the process of doing so. Such wisdom! Such articulation!

“I want to be you when I grow up,” I told her. “I hope I can learn and internalize those lessons as beautifully as you have done.”

Carol and I hugged – and as I left her, she called after me, “It all comes down to living fully every day.”

May you, my dear blogging friends, live fully every day, too. Reach out to a loved one and ask, “What have you learned as you’ve grown older?” Their answers may surprise you.

Share one of your life lessons with me today.

Keep Your Promises


This morning was almost a disaster. My husband was going on our ATV with a friend and two float tubes to do some fishing on No Name Lake. I forgot that I told him I’d make a sandwich for his lunch. It was time for me to go to my TOPS meeting. (For those of you unfamiliar with the acronym, it stands for “Take Off Weight Sensibly.”) Anyway, a promise is a promise. I carved out the time to make him an egg salad sandwich. Bless his heart, he’d already boiled the eggs for it.

Now it’s past time for TOPS and I suddenly remembered this is the day of our Installation of Officers meeting. We’re having breakfast in the Park. It’s a once a year extravaganza. I had promised to bring the coffee. Oh no! Guess what, there wasn’t a coffee bean or can of ground coffee to be found anywhere in the house. What to do? A promise is a promise!

The grocery store is 5 to 10 minutes away. By the time I’d go there and back with a can of Folgers, and brew it, the breakfast in the Park would be nearly over. Think creatively!!

Yes, we have a Keurig coffee maker. One cup at a time. Six pods of Vanilla Biscotti by Green Mountain and six pods of Paul Newman’s French Roast. Ah yes, put it in the coffee pot and away to the Park with cups, creamer, and Sweet n Low. Just in time for the breakfast set up!

A promise is a promise. Whatever it takes, even if you’re as screwy and forgetful as I am, keep your promises!

Oh, and you might check your calendar occasionally, too. That might help!

Hope for Marigolds


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I am a member of the Ennis Chapter of TOPS (Take Off Pounds Sensibly). Those initials also might stand for “Take Off Pounds Socially.” As a social being who finds it difficult to remain motivated in isolation, I tried unsuccessfully to take off weight by myself. Seeing the weight creep up over the years so that my size 8 body needed a size 14 to cover it, I had a wake-up call when the 14s were too tight and I realized I might need a 16 if I did any shopping. Hey, I am only 5’1″ and this body was never intended to be more than an 8. Age is not an excuse! Lots of pictures were taken at our 50th wedding anniversary party. When I saw those, I realized pictures don’t lie. I was FAT! I didn’t like the looks of myself. I needed to stop procrastinating and making excuses, stop looking at my obese aunts and rotund paternal grandmother, and telling myself, “You can’t help it. It’s in your genes.” WRONG! My mother avoided excessive weight gain. My father did not become round like his father and mother had. I needed a support group who could help me become accountable – and a program that would teach me to make wiser food choices.

A friend here in Ennis, Montana who is about my height and used to weigh about what I did, encouraged me to join her in the newly formed TOPS group. My friend had lost a pound a week over about 25 weeks. She looked terrific. If she could do it, I decided, I could, too. I joined. That was about a year and a half ago. Today I have reached my 30 pound weight-loss goal and have graduated to KOPS status. I have given away all the size 12s and 14s – and I am determined to live up to the KOPS label: Keep Off Pounds Sensibly. I presented my weight steps “secrets” in a program for my support group today. I titled it “Hope for the Marigolds” and gave a marigold plant to each of the others (5 of them) who also has reached her goal weight.

Here are the “Seven Steps from TOPS to KOPS” that I presented today:

     Select
Healthy

Options ; Choose

Portions

Effectively.

Find

Opportunties for

Renewal.

Move

Actively.

Read

Inspirational

Guidelines.

Own your

Limitations.

Decide on

Slimness/Success!!

 

Seven Steps to Being Merry and Reaching the Gold (Reaching your Goals)

1 – Select Healthy Options

2 – Choose Portions Effectively

3 – Find Opportunities for Renewal

4 – Move Actively

5 – Read Inspirational Guidelines **

6 – Own Your Limitations

7 – Decide on Slimness/ Success

 

** Some of inspirational guidelines that TOPS members are familiar with are the pledge we recite at the beginning of each meeting and the poem we recite at the close of each gathering. They are below.

PLEDGE:

“I am an intelligent person. I will control my emotions, not let my emotions control me. Every time I am tempted to use food to satisfy my frustrated desires, build up my injured ego, or dull my senses, I will remember, even though I overeat in private, my excess poundage is there for all the world to see. I will TAKE OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY.”

FAREWELL (close of each meeting):

“You take my hand and I’ll take yours
And we’ll start out today.
For a helping hand is what we need
To guide us along our way.
For the road to goal is a rocky path.
We need someone to care.
So, reach out, my friend, and take my hand.
We’ll encourage and we’ll share.”

Unlike some other weigh-loss organizations, TOPS does not end when you have reached your goal. It only costs $5. a month to join the local organization – and an annual dues of $29. for the national membership. It is not only affordable to remain in the group, but it is wise, encouraging, and altruistic. By continuing to belong, members encourage one another, remain accountable to the group, recognize the importance as serving as a role model for others, and keep from slipping back into old habits. TOPS and KOPS are not a diet program. They represent a way of life. Once you have learned a healthier way to live, you won’t want to slip back into those bigger sizes ever again – and you will want to be there to support your new friends, just as they supported you when you were on the path to a better body.

I gave a marigold plant to each of the ladies who had met her goal. I encouraged the others to follow the seven steps being “Merry” and reaching their “Gold” also. I have a marigold for you. Come join us!

KOPS Pledge:

I am an intelligent person. I have controlled my emotions and not let my emotions control me. Every time I am tempted to use food to satisfy my frustrated desires, build up my injured ego, or dull my senses, I will remember that I am to be an example of what TOPS can do, as I KEEP OFF POUNDS SENSIBLY.”

 

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