What Goes Around


One day a man saw an old lady, stranded on the side of the road, but even in the dim light of day, he could see she needed help. So he pulled up in front of her Mercedes and got out. His Pontiac was still sputtering when he approached her.

Even with the smile on her face, she looked worried. No one had stopped to help for the last hour or so. Was he going to hurt her? He didn’t look safe; he looked poor and hungry.

He could see that she was frightened, standing out there in the cold. He knew how she felt. It was that chill which only fear can put in you.

He said, “I’m here to help you, ma’am. Why don’t you wait in the car where it’s warm? By the way, my name is Bryan Anderson.”

Well, all she had was a flat tire, but for an old lady, that was bad enough. Bryan crawled under the car looking for a place to put the jack, skinning his knuckles a time or two. Soon he was able to change the tire, but he had to get dirty and his hands hurt.

As he was tightening up the lug nuts, she rolled down the window and began to talk to him. She told him that she was from St. Louis and was only just passing through. She couldn’t thank him enough for coming to her aid.

Bryan just smiled as he closed her trunk. The lady asked how much she owed him. Any amount would have been all right with her. She already imagined all the awful things that could have happened had he not stopped. Bryan never thought twice about being paid. This was not a job to him. This was helping someone in need, and God knows there were plenty who had given him a hand in the past. He had lived his whole life that way, and it never occurred to him to act any other way.

He told her that if she really wanted to pay him back, the next time she saw someone who needed help, she could give that person the assistance they needed, and Bryan added, “And think of me.”

He waited until she started her car and drove off. It had been a cold and depressing day, but he felt good as he headed for home, disappearing into the twilight.

A few miles down the road the lady saw a small cafe. She went in to grab a bite to eat, and take the chill off before she made the last leg of her trip home. It was a dingy looking restaurant. Outside were two old gas pumps. The whole scene was unfamiliar to her. The waitress came over and brought a clean towel to wipe her wet hair. She had a sweet smile, one that even being on her feet for the whole day couldn’t erase. The lady noticed the waitress was nearly eight months pregnant, but she never let the strain and aches change her attitude. The old lady wondered how someone who had so little could be so giving to a stranger. Then she remembered Bryan.

After the lady finished her meal, she paid with a hundred dollar bill. The waitress quickly went to get change for her hundred dollar bill, but the old lady had slipped right out the door. She was gone by the time the waitress came back. The waitress wondered where the lady could be. Then she noticed something written on the napkin.

There were tears in her eyes when she read what the lady wrote, “You don’t owe me anything. I have been there, too. Somebody once helped me out, the way I’m helping you. If you really want to pay me back, here is what you do: Do not let this chain of love end with you.”

Under the napkin were four more $100 bills.

Well, there were tables to clear, sugar bowls to fill and people to serve, but the waitress made it through another day. That night when she got home from work and climbed into bed, she was thinking about the money and what the lady had written. How could the lady have known how much she and her husband needed it? With the baby due next month, it was going to be hard….

She knew how worried her husband was, and as he lay sleeping next to her, she gave him a soft kiss and whispered soft and low, “Everything’s going to be all right. I love you, Bryan Anderson.”

~Author Unknown~

Weight Loss By Observation


Today I bring you a really helpful post by Cory Trusty from Aquarian Bath, who discusses ways to help track your calorie intake so you can manage your weight. Welcome Cory and thank you for this very insightful post.

After I had my first baby it was easy to get back into shape. It was an uncomplicated pregnancy. I was eight years younger, biked everywhere during that time and didn’t have any spare money for extra fattening treats. With my second pregnancy I was not in as good shape initially, and I also had problems with the pregnancy that made it necessary to be on extended bed rest. The result has been that I had a lot of excess weight to lose after my second pregnancy. I leveled off at a weight that I wasn’t comfortable with, and I couldn’t seem to make much progress even though I was dancing, running and biking on and off.  After a lot of frustration, I have finally started making progress in what I feel is a healthy sustainable way. I’m really excited about it, and I wanted to share what I have been doing because it is nothing very drastic. It is mostly just observation that has helped me make more informed food choices, but it seems as they say that observation really does change what you are observing. In this case the changes are very positive.

I have been losing weight by tracking my calories, activity level and weight at the Live Strong website. This has been a low stress and informative process. Live Strong has a calorie counter called “My Plate.” You can enter in your weight, activity level, height and age, and it calculates the number of calories you need to maintain your weight, or gain or lose a certain number of pounds per week. You can enter in the calories of foods you prepare at home or from many restaurant chains. I was hesitant before starting Live Strong again (I did use it once briefly after weaning my first daughter) because I didn’t like the idea of not knowing exactly how many calories I was eating when it came to foods I had not prepared myself. I also didn’t like the idea of not knowing how to factor in calories that I was losing by nursing my toddler. In the end I just decided to estimate calories if I am not sure about a meal, and any calories I am losing by nursing my toddler are just a hidden bonus in the weight loss. If you are the type of person who wants to record everything precisely, then I think you should give it a try anyway. After a while you will be able to estimate calories pretty well, or you can use estimates pre-programmed into “My Plate.”  Estimates will still give you useful information. It does take a lot of dedication and attention to record calorie intake, but if you are a person with compulsive eating habits, tracking your calories is a positive way to redirect that type energy as long as you don’t take it to extremes. Also you don’t have to record everything 100 percent perfectly, although the more information you have the better. 

My weight has gone up and down periodically, but I have lost weight consistently despite having gone over my calorie goal on a few days and skipped tracking a couple of days.   Besides tracking calorie intake you can also track the number of calories burned during various activities like running, gardening, stretching, yoga, hula hooping or swimming. You can also track your water intake. One excellent tool at Live Strong is a graph that shows your calorie intake plotted alongside your weight gains and losses.

Observing tracking results has been extremely helpful for determining correlations with eating habits and weight gain or loss. You might start noticing some interesting patterns that will help you understand your body and meet your weight goals even if you just have “maintain your current weight” as a goal. That is what I did at first, and then I switched my goal to “lose one pound a week,” then “lose one and a half pounds a week.”  Now I am back to having it set at losing one pound a week, because that is an easy goal to maintain. 

These are some of the patterns that I have identified that have helped me make good decisions on a daily basis to meet my weight goals. First, I noticed a correlation between stomach upset on days when my calorie goals were far exceeded. I think humans like me are very strange animals to need to enter their foods into a database to figure this out, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who could benefit by observing and recording. I also noticed some surprising results. On a day when I am expending tremendous mental energy but am otherwise sedentary, for example concentrating on learning new information or focusing on digital details and deadlines, I can eat far over my calorie goals and still lose weight. Certain habits were noticeably detrimental. For example, I can eat well under my calorie goal for the day, but if one of the foods I have eaten is pizza, then I gain weight anyway. Now that I know eating pizza will cause me to gain two pounds that are difficult to lose over a period of three days, it is very easy for me to avoid. Late night snacks also throw me off from my progress similar to pizza. Happily, occasional sweets and wine or beer do not effect me radically like pizza. 

I also found some helpful trends. I read an article on Live Strong about eating eggs for weight loss. I was skeptical, but I did notice on days after I ate eggs, my weight also went down. On days that I drink enough water I also don’t feel the need to eat as much food. I also have noticed three-day eating cycles: for two days in a row I eat a relatively low level of calories, then on day three I tend to go way over my calorie goals. Interestingly I tend to lose weight after this cycle (day four) if my calorie consumption was relatively low on days one and two. This is something I would have never noticed without seeing my calories and weight plotted together in a graph. It’s great to be able to recognize this pattern and experiment working with it along side my exercise activities. These are just the patterns I have observed in the last month and a half. 

If you have been stuck at a certain weight and want to gain or lose, I hope you will give it a try and have good luck with it. I’m sure everyone will notice different patterns with their bodies and how they react to different foods and eating patterns. If you try it I would love to know how it goes for you. Come back and leave a comment if you do. Since May 24 I have lost eight pounds. I am taking it slow and easy. It’s not dramatic, but that is kind of the point. I’m happy with slow and steady results, because this is not a diet, it is a sustainable life style change in progress.

I also want to give a shout out to Michala of Spell Bound Hoops in Gainesville, Fla. After starting this tracking process I wanted to add a fun fitness activity as a part of my life style. Michala makes awesome heavy hula hoops for fitness, and you can have them customized with different colors. Mine is three colors with holographic black, white and black, but I love the look of these rainbow color hoops, too. I got one for me and liked it so much that I got a second one for my eight-year-old daughter, Moira, right away. 

About Cory Trusty

Cory Trusty is an herbalist, soap maker and gardener in central Florida. She studied Biology at the University of Washington as an undergraduate, then studied Traditional Chinese Medicine in a Masters Program for two years, but her school closed before Cory could complete it. She moved to Atlanta for a short time, met her husband and moved to his home town in Daytona Beach. They have two girls. Cory gave birth at home with just her husband, no midwife, there both times. The second time she was pregnant, there were a lot of problems, but she got through it with herbs and being careful. She never had a midwife or doctor the second time she was pregnant. Since Cory did not finish her herb program, and the economy is not so good in Daytona for biologists, she started to make herbal products for a business. Soaps and things became an easier way for her to have a successful business because it has a broader appeal. She still likes to use her training and love for herbs to do what she can to make therapeutic products. Check out some of her items to see what she means:

You can find Cory’s all-natural bath and body products at Aquarian Bath. You can also connect with her on Blogspot, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Google Plus and OzoShare.

Hold the Presses


Hi guys!! Me again. I just wanted to update you on the progress of my first book. I’ve decided to put my life story on hold until further notice. I just don’t have time with work and everything else going on in my life right now (family, sleep, eating, sleep, driving an hour each way to work, oh, and did I mention sleep?).

The past few days I’ve had a brand new idea for a fiction book, loosely based on my relationship with my grandfather. The book will follow a young Native American warrior who has spina bifida and his aging grandfather, who is the chief of their tribe. The grandfather has always looked after his grandson like he’s one of his own children, often taking him fishing, hunting or making sure he has something to eat whenever he visits their land. As time goes by and the young warrior grows up, he slowly fades from his grandfather’s life, just as the warrior’s own father faded from his life, often to feed his need for tobacco and alcohol.

One day while the younger Indian is out hunting and fishing so his family has something to eat for the winter, he feels a mysterious presence with him, almost telling him to go see his grandfather. When he arrives, he realizes that his grandfather has contracted smallpox and scarlet fever. As he is making his way back to the reservation, the warrior can’t help but feel guilty for not going to see his grandfather more often and being there for him when he really needed him. Will he arrive at the reservation in time to save his grandfather’s life? Or will he get there just in time to say his final goodbyes and pay his last respects to the one man in his life who actually treated him like his own son?

Time will tell.

Happy Birthday to Me!!!


Well, today is my 30th birthday, and trust me it’s catching up with me… I can tell I’m getting older in a few ways. For example, now I am in the bathroom practically every hour (thanks to spina bifida and lack of bladder control), my bones pop every time I get out of bed or transfer to or from my wheelchair, and I’ve got about five bottles of vitamins and supplements on my dresser to help get my iron levels back where they should be.

One of the things I LOVE about my life is the amount of friends I’ve made and the relationships I’ve created over the years, especially working with the city of Marietta, Ga. My supervisor treated me to lunch at Chick-Fil-A today, and he kept ragging me about getting all the girls to sing to me (thank goodness they didn’t, or I’d have turned as red as the ketchup). Anyway, while we were eating the general manager, Rachel, brought me one of their new sundaes, and my supervisor even snapped our picture together. I love my life!!! 🙂

Stay tuned, if my 20s were any indication, my 30s are going to ROCK!!!

Re-post: Lonely Valentine


Well, another Valentine’s Day has come and gone, and your’s truly is still sadly single. But that’s okay, I’ve got the greatest, most amazing friends in the world and a loving family who is always in my heart. I hope you enjoy this poem I wrote last year. Happy Valentine’s Day, wherever you are.

Lonely Valentine

See that blonde over by the bar
Staring at me from afar
Sitting alone in the corner
Does she know how much I adore her?

Eating fries and chicken fingers
The image of her still lingers
Every time she smiles, she’s so hot
How long I’ve been here, I totally forgot

Does she know I exist?
To ask would be a big risk
Happy hour’s over
My courage sinking lower

Over by the jukebox stands her man
My poor heart’s broken again

Body Image


For the longest time, I was captured inside a body I hated. I thought I was ugly, fat, not tall enough and, therefore, completely unlovable. I was convinced that most of the horrible things that were happening to me had to do with my appearance.

I desperately longed for a different body. I thought my life would turn around completely once I was leaner, had longer legs and was as thin as a piece of paper. 

When I had my first thoughts of dieting at the age of 10, I knew that this was the only way I could make others love me. I knew that it was the only way I could tolerate living.

And at the beginning, my prediction seemed to become a reality. When I lost a few pounds, I received one compliment after the other from teachers, my parents, grandparents and friends. Life seemed a bit better, and I felt like I had accomplished something good.

But the way I saw myself did not change. I still always felt too fat, and all the bad things around me did not stop either. So, I continued to restrict what I was eating, and I intensified my workouts always hoping that my world would be brighter once I reached a new goal.

Unsurprisingly, this was not the case.

During the next 14 years, I would completely disconnect from myself and my body. I would be entangled in anorexia nervosa, hating my body more than ever before.

I’d stand in front of the mirror looking like a skeleton and still only see fat and failure. All I wanted was to eradicate the last inch of fat in order to be happy and fill the hollowness inside.

When I finally committed to recovery, I was terrified of having to gain weight. If I could not love my body when it was hardly there, how could I love my body when I was heavier?

In the first few months, I struggled a lot with these thoughts. I thought I could not live without being skinnier than a model. I thought I had no right living and looking healthy. I believed everybody would judge me for having eaten and instantly think of me as inferior.

As the months went by and I gained pound after pound, I went through many phases of despising myself. I was even more self-conscious than ever before, put on big shirts and pants in order to hide the weight gain. I shed way too many tears and probably strained my husband’s patience during this time of transition.

When I reached a healthy weight, I had to get used to not only a completely new body, but also a completely new me. The face I saw in the mirror was not the gaunt one I had seen for most of my life. The body I looked at was not the one of a girl anymore. I had curves now and was not as flat as a child anymore. I hardly knew the person in that reflection and had a few moments of crisis whenever I saw a picture of the new me. I felt unworthy and undeserving of living a rich and fun life in this body that I could not accept as my own.

Intimacy with my husband decreased drastically. One some days, I could not even let him take my hand or touch my back. I just did not want to feel my new reality. This, of course, let to many arguments and moments of huge fights.

I was at a loss and had no idea what to do. I did not want to relapse, but I also refused to keep on living this way.

I had to make a choice. Would I continue to weigh myself down or would I try something new and drastically improve my life?

I decided to challenge myself, and changed my thoughts and my habits. Instead of looking in the mirror and judging myself, I focused on a body part that I liked. Instead of comparing myself with others, which is one of the worst things a person can do, I focused on myself. I started to say positive messages to my body. I stopped standing in front of the mirror over and over again checking my belly and thighs.

I gave myself the permission to grow into the natural shape that I was supposed to be.

The transformation that has taken place since that day is unbelievable. I am not exaggerating that by simply altering the way I look at myself, I completely changed my life. I can walk taller. I dare to voice my opinion with more confidence than ever before. I feel free. I can look on the bright side much more often than I used to. I can laugh again. I can enjoy being intimate with my husband again without worrying about imaginary flaws, and I fell in love with myself again.

I have become so convinced that we are the only ones who stand in our way of a healthy body image and a love for ourselves that I created The Ultimate Guide to a Healthy Body Image. In this guide, I explain exactly what I did to transform my body image, and I motivate you to do the same in video form, work books and audio files.

I would like to stress that I did not lose a single pound, nor did I try to.

All I did was redefine what beauty means to me. I allowed myself to think that I am beautiful now, exactly the way I look today. Nobody has the right to tell me otherwise. Not even I.

I want every single person in this world to experience the joy of living in and with a body that we not only accept, but also love. Everybody can do it, and it is easier than you think.

I would never have imagined that I would have the audacity to say that I love my body the way that it is today. The fact that I am doing it should you give tons of hope that you will soon be able to do it too!

About Anne – Sophie Reinhardt

Anne – Sophie Reinhardt is a world traveler, anorexia survivor, podcaster, blogger, digital entrepreneur, speaker, wife, lover of books, and aspiring yogi and social media enthusiast. Her blogs My Intercontinental Life and Fighting Anorexia are focused on everybody who wants to live a purposeful, free, healthy and passionate life.

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Sustainable Education Initiative: February Update


Well, we have made it through our first month of our journey relatively unscathed. Still a long way to go to become totally sustainable. This month’s accomplishments include switching over to home laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent and our baked goods. Stuff we have done before but had gotten back into the lazy cycle of just buying it from the store.

We have also completed our new strawberry planters, recycled deck staircases. We have also begun building new garden boxes so that we can create our new raised beds. Strawberries are on order, sharing the cost with a friend. We have ordered the ever popular Ozark beauties, a large sweet everbearing berry. Everbearing means that we can harvest them 2-3 times per year.

We are gathering our seeds saved from last year and ordering new ones from BBBseeds, Territorial Seeds and a few other well known heirloom seed companies. Hopefully we will be able to get some old water oaks and pine trees removed from various places around the property to open for more sunlight and the addition of fruit trees. Along the road frontage we will be planting roses and blueberries. This will be a beautiful sight to see as pull into the driveway. If all goes well, blooms and berries and beautiful greenery.

February is plastic free month. This is a worthwhile task, however, realistically we are going to work towards lessening our plastic usage or at least repurposing more of it. We are creating plarn (plastic yarn) from shopping bags and then turning them into sturdy reusable shopping bags and anything else we can think of to crochet. Milk jugs and plastic 2L bottles will become mini greenhouses just right for starting seeds. Just small steps to lessen our impact and create a little income, the shopping bags will be available on our store website by the end of February.

We have also opened a CafePress.com store to help support the Sustainable Education Initiative.

Thanks to everyone for all of your support!

Light, Love and Peace

Tammy Curry

About Tammy Curry

I have been described as driven, artsy, genuine and earthy. I am the modern granola girl. My name is Tammy Curry, and I live on the outskirts of a quiet little town in South Carolina. This is not my native state, but if you drink the water long enough, it changes your DNA, and you become a Carolina girl. This is easiest when you have lived in both of the Carolinas.

You will find me talking passionately about my family and my life. It has taken a long time for me to figure out who I am and what my purpose is in this life. My purpose is to be an example to my children and to others in my community (physical and virtual communities) on how to happily live simply and sustainably. Together with my husband and children, we are creating a sustainable suburban homestead. Out of that is growing a movement we have titled the Sustainable Education Initiative. We are going to share via video, blogs and social media our journey to create a better world for our children, your children and other future generations via one small change at a time. Check out my blog, follow me on Twitter and be a fan of the Sustainable Education Initiative on Facebook.

I look forward to sharing our journey with you.

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