Widmayer Wellness LLC

Encouragement in Your Wellness Journey

Category Archives: Thoughts

Who Ruined October?

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Who ruined October?  Who decided we needed to start our January resolutions in one of my favorite months of the year?  I have received several invitations to join end of year challenges!  Start the new year early and work on your goals now.  Work on the goals that failed in 2018 because time isn’t up.  Get a head start on the goals for 2019.  Really, it’s a lot of pressure.  And it’s fall. Who wants to think about goals?

I love fall.  I love long pants instead of shorts and heat instead of air conditioning. I love Macintosh apples that are crisp not soggy.  I love cuddling up with a cozy blanket or crocheting without sweating.  I love the smell of campfires and crisp, cool autumn air.  I love football and seasonal movies. And I love socks.  Yes, weird.  But I am happy to put away sandals and be allowed to wear socks, whether anklets, knee highs, or tights. I want to keep my feet warm, and my children forbid me to wear socks with my sandals.

I also love Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And fall holidays lead into Christmas, and the holidays are such a busy time.  So, why would anyone want to think about goals?

It is common to “begin” a new year in September; as a teacher, this is still my mental start of a new year.  And January, despite being the real start of a new year, does seem a somewhat artificial time to begin new things. And yet, some schools start in August, some in September, and some are year round.  So, what’s the point of beginning in October? Why do people offer challenges now?

Because.  We really should be working on the goals we have set continually, and it is easy to lose sight of them in the busyness of students returning to school, schedules getting tighter, and the days get shorter. It gets dark sooner.  The weather begins to cool, and hibernating sounds like a great idea.   But instead of hiding out all fall and winter, we need to re-evaluate goals and make sure we aren’t coasting. We need to find balance. We need to enjoy life and accomplish goals.

So, I encourage you to enjoy October.  But I also encourage you to drag out that January goal list, dust it off, and see if you can finish one or two things you planned to do so they can be checked off as done!

Think about how good it will feel when you are taking a walk at dusk on a cool fall evening to know that your goal list is nearing completion.

There will be time for those new goals in January. . . or next October.

Changing the Routine for Your Mental Health

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[Jesus] said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”        -–Mark  6:31

Summer is winding down. Did you have a chance to escape your normal routine? A vacation should be just that—a break from your normal routine. It doesn’t have to cost a lot; it just needs to be something you enjoy. Getaways are important not only for physical health to rest the body but also for mental health to rest the mind.

I just got back from a week with some of my family. I enjoyed sunshine, sun tanning, and sightseeing. You don’t have to go far away to get rest and relaxation, but getting away from your every day environment helps the brain to slow down.  It is hard to rest at home when there is a heap of laundry on the floor, a stack of dishes in the sink, and a pile of papers on the desk. Breaking your routine allows you to turn off that portion of your mind that is constantly thinking about what needs to happen next.  On a vacation, you don’t have to have a schedule.

Maybe you can’t take the time for a week of vacation.  Psalm 23:2-3 says, “He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters, he refreshes my soul.” Block out a Saturday, Sunday, or weekend to get outside and enjoy nature.  There is something peaceful and calming about considering Creation.  I love when my vacation takes me to a place where I can sit on a beach and view the ocean; however, I find the same calm come over me when I’m on my deck at home viewing a field of corn or the green grass and the trees that surround me.

Really all you need to do to rest your mind is get away from the usual to the unusual.  A family cookout, an hour at the spa, or lunch with a friend can bring refreshment and renewal to help you rest your mind.

As students and parents return to fall schedules and all that comes with them, I encourage you to take advantage of the late summer and fall days.  Get outside. Enjoy nature. Rest your mind. Refresh your soul.  Be renewed in your purpose.  Give your body and your mind the rest they crave. It is important for your mental health.

 

 

My Cup Runneth Over

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Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.  Psalm 23:5 KJV

I pulled a mug out of the cupboard this morning. It is decorated with a Bible verse.  As I poured my coffee, I thought about how long I have had that mug, who gave it to me, and on what occasion.  It is one of the mugs I use frequently.  It was given to me by a church friend as a housewarming gift when we moved into our previous home, not the one we are in currently.  That was 30 years ago!  I don’t see that friend for years at a time, but I think about her every time I pull that mug down to use it.

That got me thinking about how many mugs and cups I own compared to how many I use on any regular basis.  I have two complete sets of mugs that match respective dinnerware. These mugs are rarely used.

A mug I use needs two things in order to be right.  It needs to have a large handle and it needs to hold an adequate amount of coffee. There are six in my cupboard that meet the criteria:

  • I have a mug that is decorated with a violet. I bought that one myself on a vacation.  I honestly can’t remember where, but violets and pansies are my favorite flowers.
  • I have a pottery mug that is a little large, but it has a round design and is different from any of my other mugs. I bought that at a craft show when I was with my daughters.  They each had a mug like it, and they had been raving about these mugs for a year; so I got one, too.  I think about my daughters and our day out when I use that one.
  • One of my favorite mugs is one I got as a gift when I visited a local church. It is black on the outside and orange on the inside. It is labeled with the church name. It does not match my kitchen décor, and it is not from my home church; so why is it a favorite? It is the perfect size and shape with a large handle. It is comfortable to hold.
  • I have a red and white mug that came from students one Christmas. It was filled with candy. The candy is long gone, but the gift reminds of me of my teaching days.
  • And I have a cup that says Nana given to me by my grandchildren.

These six mugs are the ones I use over and over.  Truthfully, I could probably get rid of every other mug I own.

As I write this and reflect on my six mugs, I realize they are even more significant because they represent the most important areas of my life.

  • The Scripture verse mug from my church friend represents church friends and my faith in Jesus Christ.
  • The violet mug I bought on vacation represents special time spent with my husband.
  • The pottery mug represents special time spent with my two daughters.
  • The red and white mug represents my teaching career.
  • The Nana mug represents my status as grandmother to five amazing boys!
  • The black and orange mug represents those people in our lives that touch us, even though the time may be fleeting.

Each morning I choose a mug, pour some coffee, and spend time in the Word of God.  These quiet times with my Bible, my coffee, and the view of nature out my window emphasize the many blessings I have in my life.  The simple pleasures that we sometimes take for granted are gifts from God.  When I meditate on His blessings, even after my coffee cup is quite empty, I can truly say, “My cup runneth over.”

Choosing the Right Exercise Plan

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When the New Year rolled around and I chose the word WELLNESS as my #onelittleword for 2018, I had to decide how I was going to get back to exercising for my physical wellness.  I had been limited to exercise in the previous six months due to an injury and surgery.  But let’s be honest—I had fallen off the exercise track before my injury.

Over the years I have tried lots of options.  I have a treadmill, stationary bike, an exercise ball, and free weights in my home.  I have had gym memberships and a personal trainer.  I have joined Jazzercise and gone to yoga classes.  I have tried videos in my living room and walking outside. All of it.  But consistency is hard.  We go through seasons in life when one method works better than another; however, physical fitness is important, especially as one gets older.  There is no more time to procrastinate. It’s use it or lose it!  Even my mother-in-law, who is well into her 89th year, attends classes at her independent living facility.  These classes do not have the same intensity as a young person’s workout.  The goal is motion.  They say, “Motion is lotion.”

The thing I have learned is that all of these exercise methods have advantages and disadvantages when it comes to type of movement, cost, times offered, and social aspects.  I believe when it is time to re-evaluate your exercise plan, writing a pros and cons list can help you choose the best option.  So, here are some things to consider.

  • What amount of money can you afford to spend on a monthly basis? (Now, before you answer, consider that you are investing in your health and are likely saving money you would spend for medical treatment if you are not in good health.)
  • How convenient is the location? Is it on your way home from work, close to your home, accessible on weekends?
  • How convenient are the times? Are there classes at set times; is it open 24/7? Is it really going to work with your schedule?
  • What kind of coaching is available? Are there trainers available, is there an added cost for trainers, or is it teacher-led?
  • Are you self-motivated? Do you have knowledge of fitness so you can exercise without injuries, or do you need guidance?
  • How important is social interaction? Do you have a friend to go with you; do you prefer to be alone? Do you like classes and large groups? Even if you are working out alone, are you comfortable having other people working out along with you?
  • Do you have accountability? A partner? A spouse? Someone?
  • Does the workout plan offer all aspects: cardio, strength, flexibility?
  • Do you have any physical limitations that eliminate some forms of exercise?

What is the variety of workout options? Here’s a few I’ve tried.

  1. A gym has many options—lots of equipment choices, on-site staff to assist, availability because they are open frequently. Some centers also offer classes, both exercise and wellness. Some facilities have a pool.
  2. Jazzercise classes focus on cardio but also offer strength and flexibility as a part of their routines. Zumba offers similar classes, I believe; however, I’ve not tried those.
  3. Yoga can help with stress, flexibility, core strength, and even cardio.
  4. A home gym – Will you use it? Can you afford to purchase equipment? Do you have the space? How does the cost compare with memberships over time?
  5. Video – There are many internet sites offering subscriptions these days—yoga, dancing, and probably others. There are also free videos on YouTube. Are you motivated to workout at home? Do you have space? A designated time?
  6. I know there are others I haven’t experienced. Swimming, karate, kick-boxing, organized sports.  What will work for you?

As I made my own list of pros and cons, it changed my decision about my 2018 choice.  For me, in this season of life, the best choice was a membership at a local community fitness center.  I did not choose the one closest to my home, which was less expensive, because it did not have extended hours and is closed at my prime work out time.  It offers some level of social interaction, even if I attend alone, and I am a social creature.  I also have a couple of friends who are already members. It has a gym and organized classes at various times of day. And as the “parent” fitness center, I can still attend the one closer to my home if I find it more convenient at times.  The advantages were worth the cost.

Though I have enjoyed both yoga and Jazzercise in the past—and they were the right choices then, the fitness center is right for me now.

I have gotten back on track with physical fitness in 2018, and I am motivated to continue to strengthen my body after recent surgery.  By thinking through this decision and weighing my options, I have been more successful than when I just choose something impulsively.  And as I have tried various machines and routines at the center, I have been more motivated to complement those with things I do at home on the days I do not travel to the gym. I have also realized my limitations and given myself permission to go slowly.  I will not regain all of my strength in a short time.  This must be a lifestyle for now and the future.

Though physical fitness is only one aspect of my goals in choosing the word “wellness,” I am happy to have made a strong start to my year.  This was the area where I felt weakest, so it feels good to have made this decision and stuck with it.

I hope my journey inspires you to start exercising if you don’t already.  Get out a pencil and paper, find out what’s available to you locally, and start making that list of pros and cons.  Find something that works for you now, and then stick with.  Put it on your schedule as a non-negotiable.  And if you can, find an accountability partner.  You’re on your way!

Happy Exercising!

 

 

The Gift of Hospitality

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img_3897Hospitality is listed in the Bible as a spiritual gift.  But anyone can become better at hospitality if they just practice.  Essentially, hospitality is making people feel welcome; and when you open your home for a dinner, a business meeting, a holiday party, or a one to one conversation, you can offer hospitality and make your guests feel welcome.

I learned hospitality first at home.  My mom and dad often had people over after work, especially in the summer, for a backyard cookout.  It wasn’t anything special, really.  It was just burgers on the grill and a lounge chair seat.  But people liked to come, and we had a few single people who became regulars—almost part of the family.  My father always made people had something to drink—even when I returned home as a “guest” after I married, he was caring and attentive to my needs.

When I met first met my husband and began joining his family for Sunday and holiday dinners, I learned more from my mother-in-law.  She always had a beautifully set table, serving dishes, and frequently, little favors at each table setting.  She silently taught me about the little “extras.”  I learned through observing.

When my husband and I had been married for quite a while, we began to host Easter breakfasts at our home when our church stopped having them.  We lived near to the church during those years, and it was convenient for our friends to have breakfast at our house.  This is when I learned that my husband had also picked up some things from his mom, and probably his grandmother, too.  He was the cook at these breakfasts, as he had previously been at church.  His little extras included warming the plates so the food would stay hot, warming the syrup for the pancakes, choosing attractive serving dishes.  This is where I took on the role of table setting.  Fortunately, we had received some lovely things as gifts when we were married, and this was an opportunity to pull those things out of storage and use them.  This home had more storage in the kitchen than our first home, and I was able to keep those items in an accessible place.  One of the little extras I used was individual salt and pepper shakers—one at each place setting.  Extravagant? Maybe.  But I had them, so why not use them?

Wimg_3900hen we moved again to an older home and began hosting our families for Thanksgiving and Christmas, I began to hone my skills as a table setter.  My goal was for my guests to feel that the holiday was special and they were special.  I wanted them to be filled with delight at the setting, even if they only experienced it at a subconscious level.

I am not always good about planning ahead, and I would sometimes get bursts of creativity at the last minute, forcing me to rush around and sometimes improvise.  But over the years, I have gathered a lot of things for my collection for table settings:  my mom’s silver table service, cloth napkins, napkin rings, colorful tablecloths and placemats, water goblets, a varied collection of creamer and sugar sets, butter dishes, gravy boats, platters, a punch bowl (for larger crowds, which I bought at an auction for $2.00 and it included the cups), centerpieces, handmade name cards, holiday dishes, and figurines.  One year, I took a Christmas poem I had written (but you could use any appropriate poem), and I printed it, pasted it on a colorful construction paper background, and set it at each place setting.

As the family grew, I hosted wedding and baby showers. Now here is where I gathered some help.  I am not great at the gift favors, and I recently enlisted my sister-in-law to help with those for a shower I was hosting.  There is nothing wrong with enlisting the gifts and talents with others to assist you in your hospitality.

Nimg_4143ow, I have a home business, and I sometimes host gatherings in my home.  Though not as elaborate, I try to take the same approach so my guests will feel comfortable and special.  Everyone wants to feel special, and the little extras show that you have taken the time to care.

I recently hosted a customer event at my home.  I learned from others who had shared and then modeled my event after those. I purchased what I needed to make my customer event uniquely mine.  And I bought everything at the dollar store, so I didn’t need to break the bank to pull this off. I didn’t have a specific plan when I went into the store.  It developed as I found what was available.  I found silver (plastic) trays and silver frames, so I had a theme going.  I had already purchased gold and white dispensers I needed, and I thought those colors would work well together.  When I went out to buy more frames, I ended up with black ones.  Okay, still works.  I just went with what’s available and made it work.  I chose a coordinating color tablecloth, and I was ready.

Maybe you don’t feel table setting is your gift, but you can still be hospitable.  Perhaps you are a great cook.  You notice I don’t talk about the food for any of my events.  My husband does the cooking.  I make some things, but I stick to the few dishes I’ve mastered and don’t try to get too wild with new things.  And when it’s a business meeting or a make and take, food isn’t the focus so simple is best.  Or maybe decorating cakes and cookies or making desserts is your specialty.  Make a dish that makes your guests feel special.

And it doesn’t have to be formal to be hospitable.  I admit, I used to use the good china for every occasion, but I finally figured out that smoked ribs in the summer don’t require a china plate for a picnic setting.  I’ve succumbed to paper—but I always buy Chinet plates.  Thick and heavy-duty so the plates don’t sag in the middle when loaded with food.  You can also find lots of fun and colorful, seasonal, tableware at a dollar store to spice things up, even if it is just a centerpiece.

Each of us has something unique to offer when we invite guests into our home for a dinner, an event, or a meeting.  If hospitality is your gift, this is your chance to shine.  And if it isn’t, you can take one or two ideas to add something special for your own guests.

The most important thing is to be there to greet them, introduce them to people they don’t know, and then, relax and enjoy them.  They came to see you.

Change

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My husband always buys white tennis shoes.  In over forty years of marriage, he’s never bought another color—until this time.  This time, he bought gray tennis shoes.  I like them.  But every time I see them sitting by his chair or our bed, I’m confused.  For a split second, I wonder, “Whose shoes are those?”

We are creatures of habit, and change is hard.  Even when a change has no impact on what we do—like a new pair of shoes—it takes the brain a while to process.  If such an insignificant change can be so difficult to grasp, how can we ever change things in our lives that are of great significance?  How do we change bad habits into good ones?  How do we change prejudice into acceptance?  How do we change hate into love?

The short answer is, “We can’t.”  We often don’t have the strength, desire, or will power we need to make changes like that on our own.  No matter how much we determine we will power through, it takes very little to slip back into old, comfortable habits or mindsets.  That’s why I’m thankful for Jesus.  Jesus, Who came to earth and died for our sins, Who forgave us, and Who is the only One who can transform us into the image of God.  In Christ, all things are possible.  In Christ, changes can happen.  Thank God that in Him we “are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”  2 Corinthians 3:18

Do you need to make a change in your life?  Ask God to help you.  The biggest change He ever makes is when He cleanses us from our sins when we ask Him for forgiveness and put our lives in His hands. From that point forward, He helps us make the other changes we need, whether it’s something big like transforming an attitude or prejudice, or something personal, like changing our lifestyles to healthier ones.

And speaking of healthier lifestyles, I believe I will go find my own tennis shoes and take a walk.

For Fathers (Proverbs 31)

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A Virtuous Husband

A strong, sensitive, and spiritual husband—who is she that can find him?

He is far more precious than solid bars of gold, and his value is far above the wealth of Wall Street.

The heart of his wife trusts implicitly in his priesthood of their home, confidently relying in his spiritual wisdom.

He comforts, cares for, supports, and partners her in all their endeavors, and supports her and their offspring as long as there is life within him.

He spends quality time with each child in his family, learning the child’s bent and seeking to develop his or her potential to its fullest.

He finds joy in the accomplishments of his family.

He rises while it is early to study and seek God’s will for his life and the life of his loved ones, and stays up late praying for the growth and safety of his children.

He works diligently to provide for his family.  He considers business decisions in Godly context and does all things with integrity, ensuring his family’s future and well-being to the best of his God-given abilities.

He does not worry over his children’s futures for he has provided a solid spiritual and economic foundation from which to launch them.

He looks well to the care of his home and property and gives excellent care to those material things which God has provided.

He manages the family finances, giving tithes to the Lord and contributing to the needs of the poor and lost.

He is a leader among men and an example to all who know him, and provides whatever help he can to his neighbor.

He opens his hand to his friends and neighbors and shares the fruits of God’s bounty wherever he can.

He speaks words of Godly wisdom and is a father and spiritual guide to all whom the Lord brings across his path.

His children honor him and respect his advice, and he is blessed with grandchildren in his latter years.

He knows the importance of rest and relationships and takes time to celebrate the Lord’s Day and family events.

He takes time to acknowledge his wife—his life partner—and is sensitive to her needs.  He is rewarded with a solid bond, lasting through golden years.

Many sons have done virtuously, but you exceed them all.

Brains and good looks are deceptive, and physical strength is vain, but a man who lives with God as Lord of his life shall be praised.