New Lily

Easter Is a Wonderful Chance to Try a “New Program”



This is a day of joy.  It represents new life.  New beginnings.  Second chances.  As a Christian, this day is THE day.  It trumps all others.  We celebrate Christ’s incredible gift to each one of us. I sat in church this morning keenly aware of how, though undeserving, I am grateful for the opportunity to start anew.  Glad to toss the “old self”, I feel excitement at the prospect of a new one.  This is true for all of me, not just the spiritual part. As a mother, a wife, a daughter, a sister, a friend.  In all aspects of my life I could use a second chance.  Can’t we all?

I am not a theologian.  And this is not a religious blog.  But I can’t help but see the connection of Easter in every area of my life.  Yesterday was unseasonably cold here in North Carolina.  It rained for 13 hours….then I stopped counting.  I was supposed to meet my friend Susan for an early am run… but it was raining too hard.  Instead of venturing out, I got on the treadmill in my bedroom. My husband gave me this treadmill two years ago.  Although thrilled at the time, I have actually not been a fan of running inside.  Boring.  I can never get past staring at the screen and counting each second as it goes by. [Read more...]

Is There a Healthy Way to Lose a Few Pounds In Time for Spring/Summer?

beachesphoto_lg_antiguaandbarbudaThe answer to the question is YES. From what I have learned over a number of years, however,  a slow weight loss is typically the most effective.  Losing weight in the short term can be helpful, though, as a jump start.  If, say, you are heading to the beach for spring break, and you want to lose a few pounds, you can do so in a healthy manner.  You can even keep it off if you play your cards right.  My suggestion is always to take the long term approach, but if you have an event like a wedding or spring break, using that as a goal to help you start the process is fine.

The following are three ways to lose a few pounds in a few weeks:

water glassimages1. Drink more water.  Wake up and drink a glass of water.  Drink a glass of water a few hours later.  Before lunch, drink a glass of water. Drink a water bottle all afternoon.  Drink a glass of water before (or with) dinner.  Drink some herbal tea with lemon an hour before you head to bed. Why is water helpful to losing weight? [Read more...]

Tabata Method is a Great Way to Workout

tabatascreen568x568I feel a little late in coming to the dance.  Folks have been talking about high intensity interval workouts for a long time.  Yet, it’s only been recently that I have used the Tabata method.  And I love it.  For those who might also be a little late to the dance, the Tabata method was named for Dr. Izumu Tabata, a Japanese doctor and coach who discovered that short, high intensity exercise followed by shorter rest intervals showed the best performance in studies he conducted (the idea was originally pioneered by the head coach for the Japanese Olympic speed skating team, Irisawa Koichi and Tabata piggybacked on his research and knowledge).

The Tabata method paper was published in 1996 in the journal “Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.” entitled, “Effects of Moderate-Intensity Endurance and High-Intensity Intermittent Training on Anaerobic Capacity and VO2max.”  These doctors discovered that interval training produces much better results than aerobic training. This included building as much muscular endurance as 45 minutes of normal cardio training. [Read more...]

Life is a Love Story

James and me after the birth of our 9th child, Sam.

James and me after the birth of our 9th child, Sam.

In honor of Valentine’s Day

“Love is a decision…”

James and I first heard these words from a priest about five years after we were married.  It was a bit of a paradigm shift.  Even in the pre-marriage class we attended, we could not remember hearing that concept.  I mean, who needed to “decide” to love? You just did.  Or were. Or whatever.

In the early years of our married life, we still relied on good “old-fashioned love”.  We figured that is what would sustain us through inevitable hard times.   And good times, too.  Our passionate hearts would trump our rational brains and love would always be there; always reliable.  But by the time we heard those words, like most married couples, the honeymoon had passed, and the reality of three children (there would be more), a mortgage, and the everyday stresses of life had taken its place. At this point the decision to love seemed like an idea worth exploring. [Read more...]

Exercise Should Relieve Stress, Not Create It

Whitney-on-ball-resizedI was talking to a friend the other day.  He had read one of my blog posts and was asking if I was training for a triathalon.  This launched us into a discussion about biking. I explained why I don’t like it.  It takes a lot of time.  The equipment is expensive.  After two crashes, it scares me.  “Basically,” I said, “I want my workouts to relieve stress…not create it.”

That short conversation got me thinking.  What does exercise do for me?  It’s a whole lot more than physical.  Yes, it keeps me fit, but after all my years of pounding the pavement, cranking out pushups, or tweeking my perfect strength routine, I have come to believe that the most substantial benefit of fitness is what it does for my peace of mind. [Read more...]

You Might Be Surprised What 200 Calories Looks Like!

That's a whole lot of celery!

That’s a whole lot of celery!

In today’s online world, images are everything.  The images in this article, “What 200 Calories Looks Like” (Fast Company) tell a whole lot!  There are many ways to eat 200 calories.  You get a whole lot more when you pick the healthy stuff.

For me, this photo slideshow is an excellent reminder.  I consider myself a fairly healthy eater.  Yet when I see the comparison of food in the 200 calorie range, I realize just how poor my choices really are.  It is a matter of being smart.  When I find time, cutting up veggies such as celery and carrots and putting them in the fridge for quick access.  Boiling water and throwing in eggs to hard boil.  Using ketchup sparingly!  Here is the link…what do you think?

These Are a Few Of My Favorite Things…Three Fitness Picks for 2014

There are so many ways to do a push up....a great body weight exercise!

There are so many ways to do a push up….a great body weight exercise!

These are a few of my favorite things that I will be doing lots more of in 2014…

1.Body Weight exercises

What it is: Body weight exercises are strength training exercises that do not require equipment; your own weight provides the resistance for the movement. Movements such as the push-up, the pull-up, and the sit-up are some of the most common bodyweight exercises.

Why I like it:  Using my own body strength, this kind of workout engages the core, utilizes many different muscle groups, and can be done basically anywhere.  From push-ups and squats, to lunges and planks, there is really no end to the variations I can do.  Sometimes I do the workout on its own, and sometimes I will stick a few body weight exercises in at the end of a run.  Here’s my favorite quickie (source:crossfit): [Read more...]

Skip the Beans with this Paleo Chili Recipe!

Ever since my husband’s cancer diagnosis 2 years ago, I have been searching for good nutritional changes for our entire family.  I have yet to settle on one…but the Paleo diet has intrigued me ever since I first heard of it (mainly because it seems to make sense to me). I am a believer in less carbs and more protein, but I don’t like the idea of avoiding fruit (I eat it all the time and who can say no to kids who want to eat fruit?).  Anyway, the Paleo diet encourages fruit and also seems to fit well into my family’s lifestyle.  I recently came across this chili recipe on (great website, too), and wanted to try it.  So I am going to… Tonight!  Do you have any good Paleo recipes?

Looks great with all those veggies on top!

Looks great with all those veggies on top….and the beans will likely not be missed!











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Nine Goals for the New Year

IMG_6186I am goal oriented.  I love new beginnings and the chance to start again.  I like to write goals down. Not that I ever go back and look at what I wrote, but the process seems official in some way.  Here are my nine goals for 2014 …. not all are resolutions because some of them I already do… I want to keep doing them.  What are your goals?

1. Get rid of junk.  That goes for the kind in my bedroom closet and the kind in the kitchen pantry.  We have too much stuff.  I want to go through every closet and gather all clothes, shoes, etc. that I don’t need, that my children don’t need, and that our house doesn’t need…and give it  away (or throw it away in the case of stained, icky, ancient)

2. Begin each day with the “Hours”.  I received a beautiful set of the Liturgy of the Hours (a way to pray throughout the day) for Christmas.  If I plan to get up at 6 am, I will set the alarm for 5:55 and do some spiritual reading before I tackle the day.  Then end each day the same way.

3.  Sleep more.  This will be difficult.  With nine children (even when three are out of the house for the most part), there are lots of different bedtimes. Most of them much later than mine should be.  The younger children suffer from this as well.  When three boys share a room (from the ages of 4 – 17), it makes it difficult to be diligent about sleep.  In 2014 I resolve to get myself to bed earlier and the rest of the family as well (a tall order).  Sleep is as important as what we eat or how we exercise.  Lacking sleep can be an instigator for many ills.   [Read more...]

Awesome Winter Cannellini Soup

YUM!  And cozy to boot...

YUM! And cozy to boot…

I love white beans so I knew this soup was going to be delicious as soon as I saw this recipe.  December is a wonderful month for getting warm and cozy – this soup will help with both! (Compliments BBC’s GoodFood)

Winter Cannellini Bean Soup [Read more...]