Newton’s Laws of Motion Apply to Me

The Laws of Motion are defined as three laws of mechanics describing the motion of a body. The first law states that a body remains at rest or in uniform motion in a straight line unless acted upon by a force. The second law states that a body’s rate of change of momentum is proportional to the force causing it. The third law states that when a force acts on a body due to another body, then an equal and opposite force acts simultaneously on that body.

When I learned this in school, I applied it in scientific ways, and it also was used when our driving instructor was telling us about the horrors of car accidents. I have come to realize that these laws apply to my person.

On days that I get up and walk and go about my many activities, I get so much accomplished. Once I sit down, usually my get and go gets up and leaves. If I start out my day watching a movie or television show…then I end up watching another and another and another. To combat this, I try to make most days ones of movement early on. Not only do I get more done, but when I do take a break, I don’t feel guilty about it.

couch potato

Survival: 390 Year Old Bonsai is an Ambassador of History

When I think of a plant that has lived for hundreds of years, I think of the Giant Sequoias in California – towering high overhead. This bonsai was potted 390 years ago and it currently resides at the U.S. National Arboretum.

It was a gift for our 200 year bicentennial – given by a family who had tended it for five generations. It was designed to be a symbol of peace and friendship – given a mere 30 years after the bombing of Hiroshima. This tree is a survivor – it was growing only two miles away from where the atomic bomb was dropped. The love and care of the Yamaki family and the protection of the nursery walls ensured its survival.The history this tree has seen…if only it could talk!

Photo courtesy of National Geographic.

390 year old Bonsai





TBT: Moving into the Dorm

Today, I was in Walmart, along with dozens of parents and their teenagers coming to school. School is back in session and we have a lot of colleges in the Lynchburg area: Central Virginia Community College,   Liberty University, Lynchburg College,  Miller-Motte College, National College, Randolph College, and Sweet Briar College.

So many hopeful and excited young adults embarking on a great adventure. I watched with nostalgia as parents picked up rugs, dorm fridges, pillows, hangers and more. I listened as one Dad recommended to his daughter that she try Marie Callender meals because they were ‘the bomb.’ I couldn’t help but smile.

The influx of students means a lot for Lynchburg. More traffic, longer lines in stores and longer waits at restaurants. It also means more money for our economy. These young folks and their parents helped keep us fairly stable during the last recession. They need jobs, but they also provide a need for jobs that are filled by the local folks They bring new ideas, excitement, cultural events, and laughter.

I realize that the same dynamics were in play when more than 4,000 students descended on the College of William and Mary back in the 1980s. We were a boon and an annoyance. At the time, I was only aware of being excited about learning, making new friends and becoming more independent. I had no clue that the local folks cared one way or another about our invasion.

I remember moving into my Freshman room – my parents and our pull along U-Haul in attendance. Negotiating with a person I barely knew about how our furniture would be placed in our 10′ x 10′ room. My mom and dad being proud, excited and sad. So many new experiences and friendships began that day – including with my roommate who I am still friends with today.

Move In DayMove In Day

Bunk BedsBunk Beds – do you know which is mine?

Doug and MelI may have liked unicorns…Doug was the R.A. for our brother dorm, Hunt.

Phone HomePhoning Home…way before cell phones!

Book Review: It Starts With Food by Dallas Hartwig and Melissa Hartwig

Last spring my blood pressure was going up, I was 85 pounds overweight and I felt miserable. I decided I needed to do something drastic, but within parameters. I have tried a hundred other diet plans over the years only to end up frustrated and back where I started. I don’t like logging every bit of food I eat. I don’t like weighing everything. And I needed a plan with no wiggle room.

If you have fought with weight loss, you know what I mean. “Cool, I get 27 points a day…I will eat as many sweets as I can fit into that and then I will fill up with no points veggies.” This does not make for a healthy eating lifestyle! I had a friend who was following the Paleo lifestyle (please – not one caveman joke…I get enough of those from my husband). She had lost a lot of weight and had posted on Facebook about all of the energy she had and how good she felt. I reached out to her and asked for a book recommendation of where to start for recipes. She told me it is really pretty easy – no dairy, legumes, grains, sugar and eat the highest quality meats, veggies, and fruits that you can. Hey, a point in it’s favor – No wiggle room! She recommended a couple of great cookbooks like Well Fed and Well Fed 2. I also picked up Paleo for Beginners, Against the all Grain, and Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook (links below). And I found the Paleo Grubs website.

I got busy reading – it is truly a simple diet. There is no measuring, no counting, no logging and no wiggle room. I have lost 27 pounds since April and that is even though I have traveled quite a bit this summer and haven’t always been able to strictly follow the plan (couldn’t turn down Aunt Brenda’s cake or Cold Stone Creamery on my birthday now could I?) Anyway, I digress. My reading led me to It Starts with Food and in a way I wish I had started here.

In this book, I found out how different foods I eat affect my body and my body chemistry. Dallas and Melissa do a great job of breaking it down very simply so even a non-scientific minded person can understand and clearly see how our food choices affect us. And they reminded me that my food choices are my choices – no one is holding a gun to my head to make a certain choice. My choices can lead to a cascade of malfunctions that then encourage me to go on making poor choices – driven by out of balance body chemistry I make more wrong choices and the cycle continues.

Melissa and Dallas are all about giving you the information and then you doing the work – but the work is easy! They provide meal ideas and they have a website that you can go to for ongoing support. The Whole30 plan is kind of a detox plan and it may end up stretching to a Whole 45 or Whole 60 plan in individual cases. Once your body chemistry is under control – then you can reintroduce some things and determine what has a bad effect on you and what does not. This helps you to make future good choices – knowledge is power!

I highly recommend this book and the cookbooks below if you want to change your life for the better and get off of the yo-yo wagon! I plan to do the Whole30 plan beginning August 31st after my dad’s 70th birthday. In the meantime I will stick to the Paleo lifestyle as closely as possible but for the Whole30, it requires 30 days of no exceptions and I can’t say no to my family’s cooking!

Good luck and let me know how it goes for you!

Book Review: Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

Just finished listening to Adrenaline. This is a book written for action junkies. Plenty of explosions, murder, and adventure. The main character is a very likeable guy who finds himself in a situation where he is being accused of treason by association. As he seeks to clear his name and find his missing wife and unborn child – he takes us on a trip from New York to Holland, London, Belgium, and Hungary. Fast-paced, well thought out and well written. There are twists that you don’t expect and it seems like time and again our guy can’t get a break. You’ll have to check out the book to find out how he does in the end.

Book Review: A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley

A Curious Man: The Strange and Brilliant Life of Robert “Believe It or Not!” Ripley by Neal Thompson.

I have been to a Ripley’s museum, but it was a long time ago. I remember seeing the comic in the paper when I was younger – don’t ever read a paper now. I really didn’t know anything about the man though and when I ran across this title, I decided I wanted to know more. Besides I love to read biographies!

I really knew nothing about him and this book covers it all – from his humble beginnings to his ingenuity to his love of sports which expanded to include a love of travel and of learning about interesting/strange phenomenon. He also had a love for all things Asian and when China became a Communist country, it broke his heart.


He was flamboyant, educated millions with the tidbits he discovered, and in his heyday was much looked up to – kids wanted to be a traveler like him. He met with Presidents and was commended for the knowledge he gained and shared. His comic strip and later radio show were beacons of light and hope during the Depression and two World Wars.

A fascinating man and a comprehensive biography.

Book Review: Maybe This Time

Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie

I couldn’t stop listening to this book – I liked the characters: feisty Andi, cool North, fun Southie, sad/angry Alice and distant Carter. The cast also includes three ghosts, a housekeeper, a TV reporter, a cameraman, a detective, two mothers, a writer, an parapsychologist and a medium. I don’t think I left anyone out.

Jennifer created very likeable characters and an intriguing story. For the most part, Andi was very much an independent, strong, capable woman who was trying to make things right for two orphaned children who were surrounded by ghosts with varying agendas. There is romance in here as well and humor. I found myself chuckling aloud several times as I walked along and listened to the tale.

My only frustration came toward the end. There was something left unexplained (but I don’t want to give it away) and there were a couple of times where I was thinking…come on, Andi – you’ve been so smart until now…why stop?  It was like she lost her focus – not sure if this was the author’s attempt to drag things out or if the author herself lost focus. Or maybe I have just seen too many episodes of Supernatural! But even with that, I enjoyed the book and think it would make a good movie.

Ebook: Life of the American Bison

The American Bison has a very interesting story – originally believed to have a population in the millions, it was driven to the brink of extinction by hunters in the late 19th century. However, the bison has made a comeback and has been discovered to be not only an interesting and beautiful animal, but one that provides a healthy form of protein. This book is designed for middle school children – it follows a bison from the time it is born until she grows up and has a calf of her own. There are photos, web links and lots of information about the bison in this informative ebook. Thanks for checking it out!

Ebook: Life of the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

I find hummingbirds to be fascinating creatures, their speedy flight, their ability to hover and fly backwards and the long trek they make across the Gulf of Mexico each year are just a few of their characteristics that intrigued me. So I put together this picture book. It follows a hummingbird through their migration to the Eastern U.S., breeding, raising their young, and the return trip home. There are photos and links to interesting websites for definitions and more in depth information. I hope you will enjoy it!

Ebook: Hamburger Casserole Recipes

Looking for new ways to cook ground beef (or turkey or chicken or pork)? Want to make the meat stretch further? Want to have a complete meal in one dish? Then, this is the book for you! Over 100 recipes that I have tried over the years – and some date back to my great-grandmother’s kitchen. There are a few award winning recipes that don’t contain hamburger thrown in for fun. Who doesn’t want to try an award winning casserole?

Bon appetit!