Whimsy and wonderings about everyday life

Archive for the ‘Serious stuff’ Category

55 Digital Citizenship Links – great resources from Ask a Tech Teacher

Safety on the Internet - SanSense

Digital citizenship is something that our kids need to learn early and well. The links in this blog update have some great tips.

Sadly for me, I don’t have any children in grades K-six any more. But, for those who do, here are some handy links for teaching them to use the Web safely and responsibly. It has a link to be notified when the “digital citizenship” curriculum is updated.

The site, written by an experienced technology teacher, is a worthwhile follow for any parent whose children spend time online.

Weekend Website #114: 55 Digital Citizenship Links.

via AskaTechTeacher.

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Bit Rebels Cheat Sheet Guide to Cooking

Bit Rebels Cheat Sheet Guide to Cooking

I don’t know why cooking has been on my mind so much. I guess it is simply the Christmas season. Do yourself a favor. Head over to BitRebels and check out their cheat sheet for cooking infographic. It has everything you need – temperatures, weights, meat cuts, cooking times, how to organize your refrigerator…it’s simply amazing. They post nifty information on all kinds of stuff so they’re worth checking out in any case. May your days be merry and bright!

Last minute gift idea for your fitness fanatic or to help with your own New Year’s resolution – FitBit

I love FitBit. I’ve lost an undisclosable amount of weight with the device, which I have been using since April. Suffice it to say I’ve gone down three to four sizes. The women out there can figure out the math.

I went to the doctor in July, when my fitness regimen of walking with my  buddy was not doing the trick. I told him I thought my metabolism might be at issue. He asked me what I ate on any given day. I told him. He asked me how often I drank wine or beer or any other alcohol. I told him. He said, matter-of-factly, “Your problem is that you eat and drink too much.” And so it was.

I cut out bad carbs and followed something resembling the South Beach Diet through the end of September. I cut out wine entirely for the first rhree months. It was my alcoholic beverage of choice. I easily gave up beer, since I have it two or three times a year at most. Hard liquor only makes an appearance when egg nog rears its ugly-yet-sublimely-tasty head – right about now, as a matter of fact, in December.

By the end of November, I had reached my doctor’s target weight for me. I *might* want to lose some more weight, but we shall see if it continues to come off as easily as it has to date. This is about health ore than vanity (although vanity certainly plays a role.) Here are before and after pictures:

In 2008, before FitBit

In 2008, before FitBit

In 2012, after FitBit

In 2012, after FitBit

Why does FitBit work?

1. It asked me the right questions. How much weight did I want to lose? What was my activity level? By answering these simple questions honestly, I was able to see how many steps I needed to take each day and how many calories I could consume.

2. It set achievable goals. For me? 10,000 steps a day, which i easily achieve (I’m a mom. I have an Australian shepherd and a Jack Russell terrier. 10,000 steps is not difficult.) 10 sets of stairs, which, in hilly Colorado, is also easy. I did notice that, when I visited family in Alabama, those ten sets of stairs were more difficult to come by.

3. It encouraged me in whimsical and frequent ways. FitBit gives you badges for achievements as mundane as walking 5,000 steps. Now I’ve walked over two million. Booyah. I would not know that if not for FitBit. My BMI went from the obese range to 24.5, perfectly normal. I would not have known this if not for FitBit.

4. The upgrades made sense and added value. I bought the Aria scale. It kept me honest by automatically updating my weight wirelessly every time I weighed in. I upgraded to the Pro membership and logged my sleep and food. I get a nutritional report on demand, a personal trainer analysis, a sleep analysis, and an exercise analysis (sedentary, low effort, and high effort.) All of this was useful. I could print out the results and take them to the doctor for my monthly weigh-in, should I so choose. (I never needed to because, after the first month of rapid weight loss, I lost between two and three pounds a week.)

5. The community option was there if I needed it. I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers. It worked for me as a teen. It did not as an adult because, perhaps, I am less vulnerable to peer pressure. For whatever reason, I did not need community support. But I knew I had it if I did.

I highly recommend FitBit.    It is a great product. It has produced results for me. It is accurate, inobtrusive and handy. I  definitely consider myself a FitBit success story.

FitBit success story

FitBit is a helpful gadget for anyone who wants to lose weight and keep it off!

A prayer for peace

image

May we all find peace through compassion for each other this season, even as hope seems distant and grief lurks close by. Help somebody today – anybody – in some kind way, and help add to the positive loving balance in the world.

The doors of hope

  “Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.…It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”           

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger                                     

Hope


Have you ever seen a child alight with pure hope so powerful, so trusting, you’ll do whatever it takes to make his or her dream come true?

 This is the season of hope for the child within each of us. Perhaps, just for today, you might choose to focus on the ideal of the rebirth each year of the long ago new idea, of perfect, unconditional love. Because if you reject the focus on the imperfect way we play this ideal out, just for today, you might find something of value for yourself  in the truth that remains.

Just think about the ideal of perfect, unconditional love, itself.

But, you say, Christianity was responsible for the deaths of thousands. Millions. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Radical Islamists brought down the twin towers in the name of religion. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Some fundamentalists spew hate at gays and lesbians and use the Bible to justify their beliefs. Therefore, God must not exist, and perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Jews…Hindus…Buddhists…everyone has done bad things in the name of their religion. And, by the way, I eat pork, and the Bible says not to do that. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Bad things happen. People hate other people. Therefore God must not exist. Perfect, unconditional love is a myth.

Isn’t that a bunch of rubbish when we write it out? Or, more pithily, as Scrooge said, “Bah. Humbug.”

Bad things happen. Perfect, unconditional love exists. It is abundant and available in the face of scarcity, of evil, of those bad things. It encourages the abundant, innate goodness in each of us in the face of evil.  It gives us the strength to comfort each other in the face of trouble. To help when bad things happen. To learn, to remember,  and to avert future disaster. To connect with each other. To be one. To heal. To hope.

Perfect, unconditional love encourages and forgives.  Always and everywhere. It is the  purest essence of God.  Perhaps, this year, spend a little time looking into what your concept of God is. Look at the god you don’t believe in. What *do* you believe in?  What have others discovered in the ongoing search, dating back to the beginning of recorded history, for a greater meaning beyond day-to-day, self absorbed survival?

Tap into the ideal this season. Suspend disbelief. Open up. See your life begin to transform, over time, into something fine, made of hope, love and generosity. A happy life, even with the inevitable sorrow and pain that comes with openness. A sacred life. A courageous life. A quite amazing and rewarding life. Not care-free, but cared-for, and surrounded by the certainty of unconditional love – which, is simply perfect.

Colorado Gives Day

Check out what Giving First is up to these days. December 4 is Colorado Gives Day

From the site:

Colorado Gives Day is an initiative to increase philanthropy in Colorado through online giving. Presented by Community First Foundation and FirstBank, Colorado Gives Day will take place during a 24-hour period on Tuesday, December 4, 2012. Donations will be accepted through the website GivingFirst.org, with a goal to inspire and unite Coloradans in supporting local nonprofits.

What a great idea! And, if you look at the Giving First website – what a great website! You can search for a nonprofit to support by zip code or by function. You can register your own nonprofit for the site. You can sign up you or your group to host a fundraiser. They even highlight fundraisers that are close to making their goals.

Colorado Gives is December 4. Donate or fundraise for your favorite cause.

Colorado Gives is December 4. Donate or raise funds for your favorite cause.

Eliana here is five years old and raising $180 to help build a community center. She states that she wants to learn about giving as a multiplier of chai (life in Hebrew.) She is almost to $180 as I write this. Sure, someone helped her write her goal. But she will remember that she raised what must seem like an impossible amount of money , when she was five years old, forever. I did not change the world at all when I was five – how about you? Sites like this make a difference. Maybe each of us can be inspired to do so as well?

 

In celebration of All Saints Day

“All of the places of our lives are sanctuaries; some of them just happen to have steeples. And all of the people in our lives are saints; it is just that some of them have day jobs, and most will never have feast days named for them.”
— Robert Benson in Between the Dreaming and the Coming True

Grandmommy

Do you tend to look for the good in people or more typically try to find the bad in a ceaseless game of one-upsmanship? I think we’re biologically geared toward the latter. If we can find flaws in others, then we are, perhaps, not as woeful as we suspect.

But, like the choice to search for the Divine in life, looking for the good in others is a conscious choice and it takes commitment and perseverance. I find that I cannot see the good in others as clearly when I am driving. Or in Walmart. However, I can see it vividly in a nursing home. In a preschool. In a church service. Whenever I see two people who are tender with each other, for whatever reason. When someone is unexpectedly kind to me. When my son stirs on a lazy weekend morning and sleepily smiles at me –  before he awakened enough to raise the gates of his teenage defenses against the slings and arrows of the surly world.

There are saints around us everywhere, every day. Each of us is one. Each of us responds, when called, with our better nature.  You’ve done it before. I’ve done it before. Maybe next time, I won’t wait to be asked, but just step in and give. How about you?