Looking Back! Looking Forward!

imagesLooking Back!  Looking Forward!

New Year’s eve 2015 – time to reflect and look back on the past year, and plan for the year ahead.  2015 was a landmark year as I had my 80th birthday, and Betty & I celebrated our 50th anniversary.  Betty also had a remarkably perfect total hip replacement with no pain from the surgery.  The lack of pain is from God’s provision and lots of PROformance, the superfruit extract from eXfuze that is high anti-inflammatory.

My rhyming story picture book, “Mouse in the Manger” was an award-winning Finalist in both the Florida Writer’s Royal Palm Literary Awards, and the 2015 USA Best Book Awards.

Our intent for the new year is to press on – keep on keeping on with renewed resolve to our commitment made some 45 years ago to be as healthy as we can be.  We were challenged by our doctor in Hawaii to learn and do what it takes to be healthy.

As God led us on a path to health and well being; we learned many things, and gathered tools and resources to improve our health.  We had stages to go through, as we learned that low fat, low cholesterol eating, while good, was not enough because we were eating preservatives, artificial colors and additives that were detrimental.  We learned the necessity of “movement” called “exercise”, and then resources for eating organic as the food supply became detrimental from GMOs.

We trained at the Better Life Institute to teach people how to lose weight, and then worked with a certified nutritionist as wellness coaches for 20 years.  We loved helping others improve their health, and continue to offer the information and resources we found when people want to make the lifestyle change for good health and anti-aging.

If better health is one of your new year’s resolutions, and you are serious about it, give us a call, and we’d be delighted to help you on your journey by sharing what we’ve learned.

2016 Goals:

Help people with their health goals.   Expand our eXfuze business.   Exercise daily.   Be consistent with the Blog – twice weekly.   Publish a new rhyming story picture book – “Danny the Dragon” – already in the works.    Ashly Otis, who did the illustrations for “Mouse in the Manger”, has completed one illustration of Danny – and it is gorgeous!

What are your goals for 2016?  Feel free to share – writing your goals is the first step in getting started!

Your health is your greatest asset!

Happy New Year!

Christmas Memories

imagesChristmas Memories

My favorite holiday is Christmas! It is first special because it is the birthday of Jesus, who came to be with us and be our savior. Second, Christmas has special memories from my childhood that I cherish.

Christmas was always the big family event of the year, with Christmas Eve as the most exciting part for me. Soon after Thanksgiving, we would go to a tree farm and buy a fresh cut tree, usually eight to ten feet tall to set up near the front window in the living room.
We fussed with the strings of lights because all the bulbs had to be good for the string to light. My sister Jan and I decorated the tree with many colored balls and dangling ornaments, and strands of icicles. We had a special antique angel for the top.

Our gift giving tradition was to “fish” for small inexpensive gifts. Mom said that Grandma started the tradition during the Depression when there wasn’t much money for gifts. All the wrapped gifts were piled on the pool table in the front room, and a sheet tacked up over the door. We tied a string on a “fishing pole” to throw over the sheet. Someone would hook a gift on the string and call for the recipient to come “fish” it out while everyone watched to see what they got. With many small gifts, the giving could be stretched out for the whole evening.

The gifts also became a tradition. I always gave Mom a box of #2 lead pencils and packs of Wrigley’s Spearmint gum — individually wrapped, of course. I tied the pencils in a long string. I always gave my sister Jan a can of cashews, and Daddy a bottle of after shave lotion; usually Old Spice or Bay Rum. Daddy got paperback books, or Zane Grey westerns or Agatha Christi mysteries.

We vied to see who would notice the passing of midnight, and be the first to wish everyone a Merry Christmas. Then we hung our stockings on the mantle over the fireplace and waded through the mounds of wrapping paper to go to bed.
Christmas morning I was up early! I snuck out to once again try to shout “Merry Christmas” before someone else did. First stop was to see what goodies were in my stocking; maybe a candy bar or a small jackknife.

Mom was already up preparing Christmas dinner for the midday. Normal days we ate in the kitchen, but today we ate on the big table in the dining room. Mom usually boiled two of our own chickens, and dropped dumplings on top of them. I loved those dumplings and gravy! The rest was traditional, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and apple pie or pumpkin pie for dessert.

Either Christmas Eve or the end of Christmas day, or both, Mom would sit down at the old upright piano, and we gathered around to sing Christmas carols.

Sigh. Christmas was over. Now, the long wait until next year. The wonderful memories lingered as we ate leftover chicken and pie.

Do you have special traditions at Christmas, or memories from Christmas past? Please share – we’d love to hear them!

19. Teaching at Hilo College

images-119. Teaching at the Hilo College 

Al Yonan and I shared an office with one desk, two chairs and jalousie windows – always open.  We looked out on a lawn with one apparently dead stick sticking up in the middle.  Nine months later, a leaf poked out, then a pod, then a fantastic beautiful flower – it was a Bombax.  Then, it was gone, just the stick waiting for another year to pass.

My teaching assignment was the required Speech 145, AND, surprise – to teach all local students to speak Standard American English –  like me, assuming that was what I spoke.

First, I had to learn in what ways the local students spoke “pidgin”, the local dialect.  All students had to be tested – whew!

Trying to teach correct pronunciation to so many local students seemed a daunting task until I had the brilliant idea to recruit other students to help.  I was allowed 5 teaching aids, girls who were planning to be teachers, to work with me.  I taught them a course in Linguistics, and made sure they spoke perfectly.

Ester, one of the girls, went on to get a doctorate, and returned to thank me for her instruction.  She got a job in California teaching English to Japanese students.  She had the confidence to reassure a Japanese student that even though she was of Japanese heritage, she was speaking and teaching perfect Standard American English.  Ester later became a Professor at Michigan State University, my alma mater.

I was pleased, and proud, to receive a merit wage increase for the innovative peer teaching program.  The instructor I was replacing extended her leave, so we stayed on a second year.

Then Al moved to Oahu, the department expanded, and I was asked to stay on – hurrah!

18. Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii

Mauna Kea snow18. Liliuokalani Park, Hawaii

Occasionally we went to Liliuokalani Park for a picnic and to take pictures. The park is 30 acres of beautiful Japanese gardens with bridges, statues, and waterways on Hilo Bay.

Liliuokalani Gardens Hilo

One day there was a beautiful view of Mauna Kea when the clouds lifted to show the snow on top. Headline in the Hilo newspaper – “SCHOOLS CLOSED BECAUSE OF SNOW”.

There was snow down to the 10,000 ft level, so they closed schools and bused the kids up to play in the snow. A trucking company brought loads of snow down to a park by Hilo bay and dumped piles of snow for the kids to play in. It quickly became cold slush, but the kids still jumped around in it barefoot –  (Who has shoes in Hawaii? )