Wednesday, December 27, 2017

A Snack Basket Blessing

Be A Blessing....

Often when someone is in the hospital we want to help, but rarely do we know what to do.... may I suggest a snack basket.

Ideas for a snack basket:
 Fresh fruit with a pairing knife
Plastic silverware, napkins, and paper plates
 sweets - candy, cupcakes, trail mix
salty - nuts, chips, crackers, popcorn, combos
meal/snack bars
 cheese sticks 
fruit snacks or died fruit
bottles of water or other drinks 
pudding cups, jello
 bread, miracle whip (packets), lunch meat, cheese and chips to make sandwiches

 My mom and my mother in law, both brought us in snacks and it made such a difference. Another thing is offer to stop and pick up a meal or a burger and fries, or shake. A pizza tastes better than hospital food any day.

We also appreciated an extra $10 or $20 that was gifted to use to use for food or things we needed while we were at the hospital.

 I was lucky that there was a hospital across the road that had a nice salad buffet, and I appreciated it when people offered to stay with our son, so that I could walk to the hospital across the street to make me a salad. I would usually go over once or twice a week and get a nice big salad to bring back to the room and have for two or three meals.

We were in the hospital for over 34 days, and I am so grateful for those who brought us snacks, food, gave money and came to visit.

If you want to bless someone who is going to be hospital bound for awhile, I strongly encourage a basket of snacks.... it really blessed us.

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas from the Kindred's

2017 Year In Review:

January - Jekyll Island, Georgia vacation

February - finished painting interior trim and doors throughout the house.

March - Rhoda 1st. surgery

May - Faith high school graduation
         -wyatt surgery in hospital stay

June - Wyatt 2nd. surgery/ hospital stay

July - Wyatt home from the hospital and infusions at home for 3 weeks

August - Rhoda 2nd. surgery and 3rd. emergency surgery

September - visited College of the Ozarks and the St Louis Arch in Missouri

October - Hocking Hills Ohio trip

December - Blessed with a new Church family and friends.

Stephen - still working at the glass plant and stays busy keeping things looking good around our little farm.

Rhoda - busy with our Shaklee business, homeschooling, and being wife, and Mama.

~ Married 12.2 years ~
More in love now than ever! Rented a cabin in Hocking Hills, Ohio for our anniversary and enjoyed hiking the rim and gorge trails. We enjoyed the hot tub and the alone time was much needed after the year that we had. 

Faith - 16.6 years - graduated high school. Got tp dance at her 1st Civil War Ball. Filling out college applications. Started a new job at a Christian daycare center. Fills pur house with music/Plays the guitar, ukulele, piano, and paints, draws, and writes.

Wyatt - 10.9 years - got saved! Still struggles with learning difficulties. Had brain surgery and is recovering well - it was a scary year for him. He loves riding his bike and creating things with Legos. He is learning to play the ukulele.

Adilayia - 7.9 years - seemed to grow up fast this year. She loves animals and crafts, and is in 1st grade. She loves to sing and is always happy. Layia is learning to play the piano.

We are Thankful for God's protection for our family this year and for the gift of life. 

 - With love the Kindred's 

Friday, December 22, 2017

Christmas Caroling

I have many, happy, childhood memories of Christmas caroling. 

When I was a kid, we used to go caroling with our church and with my grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, every year. It was a family tradition. 

 We would all bring cookies and candies, and put together cookie plates to give to those that we went caroling to. 

After the plates were made and we all had our caroling books, we would pile into cars and drive to the people's place's that we were caroling for. I loved riding in Grandpa's car or with my best friend Carla. 

Growing up in a conservative family, we did not decorate for Christmas or have a Christmas tree. So, as a kid, I loved seeing all the Christmas lights and decorations in the people's homes we visited.

 My favorite place to go caroling was our old neighbor lady Adell's house. She doted on us kids and would pass out candy and I loved her Christmas lights and her singing Santa doll.

 After caroling, we all came back and ate a warm meal or would have hot chocolate to finish off the night. It was perfect!


 I wanted my kids to know what it was like to go Christmas caroling. To share a little joy with others. To make memories, and to be a blessing. 

So this year, we enjoyed Christmas caroling with my family and with our new church friends. The kids enjoyed it and it brought back many memories. 

If you have never went caroling; get some friends together and try it. I think you will enjoy it and it will be a fun memory for you to pass on to your kids someday!

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Finding a Church

I am a christian.... but I haven't been to church regularly for over five years... and it's been over twelve years since I've had a church where I felt loved, needed, and a part of.

I used to help on buses, be a nursery worker, do bulletin boards, decorate the church, help with Ladies meetings and loved singing special music.

The reason is NOT for a lack of wanting or trying to find a good church.

On the contrary... we have visited a lot of churches over the years always hoping we'd find what we were looking for, but always coming up short.

My biggest issue with finding a church after what it believes and preaches, is that there are people there that want the same as me in life.

Some of my needs in no particular order:
(This may be a good time to point out I am conservative and like things rather old fashion.) 
  • Independent, Fundamental, KJV Baptist Church 
  • Home-schoolers - wanting to raise their kids for the Lord 
  • People dress up for church - dressing their best for the Lord 
  • Singing that glorifies God and everyone happy to participate in it. 
  • Sound bible preaching 
  • Youth and kids groups 
  • People using their bibles and living out Gods word in their daily life. 
  • A welcoming spirit 
  • An old fashion culture 
Ok, so - I know there's not a thing as a perfect church, but hubby met a guy a few weeks ago who seemed so genuine and real in everyday life that when he invited us to visit his church, we couldn't stop thinking about it.

We put it off for a couple Sundays... not sure about the thirty-five minute drive and dreading trying yet again another church that "probably" would be just like all the rest....

But, two weeks ago on a Sunday evening, we got up the courage to go and was very pleasantly surprised...

We got there 15 min. early, but the parking lot was full of cars. People greeted us nonstop. When the choir started singing - hubby and I both said "that's what a choir should sound like..." Everyone had their bibles open, taking notes and giving their undivided attention to the preaching.... Kids sitting quietly listening - no noise, toys, or candy wrappers. No one on their cell phone or tablets. No one eating or drinking in the auditorium. Good gospel music and everyone singing with gusto. Brothers and sisters lifting each other up - happy to be in God's house together - each working towards a common goal of seeing people saved and living a joyful life for the Lord....

It felt so good to be with good people worshiping a great God!

We went back again last sunday for both the morning and evening service and loved it! We were invited out for lunch with two families and really feel God's spirit living in the people.

I'm not sure if this is the church for us, but we will definitely be going back and praying that God will show us if this is where he wants us to serve and grow in Him.

And I'm looking forward to the Christmas Eve candlelight service, getting to know more people, and being involved with activities.

Good, Bible Believing, Conservative, Fundamental, KJV Churches still exist.... sometimes it takes a complete stranger sharing God's love to find it.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

30 Days To Peace Journal Review

The 30 Days To Peace A One-Month Creative Journal is a little book that features writing and drawing prompts, along with peace related quotes throughout the book.

This journal is a way for you to unwind and find peace amidst our busy lives and is perfect for this time of year when the hustle and bustle of the holidays have you stressed to the max.

Even though the book is small, there is plenty of space to express yourself. If you are not into drawing, you can create a collage or include photographs.

The only down side is that the pages are thin and if you color with markers (I use fine point ones), the marker bleeds through to the next page, which ruins what you have written. Also, I am not a fan of the colors on the cover.

To comply with regulations by the FTC, the publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Monday, December 4, 2017

Cleaning Out Your Closet and What To Put Back In

When it comes to cleaning out your closet.... many people find that taking everything out is the easy part. It's knowing what to put back in that's a little more tough to figure out.

I recommend making four piles. Put each item of clothing on one of these piles.....

1. Throw out

2. Give away 

3. Repair 

4. Soul stirring  
- Take inventory then put in one of the above piles.
(see what you love about each of these items) 

Keep only clothing items that you love - not like

Stains, holes, doesn't fit well, wrong size, wrong color = toss it out

70% of your closet should be meat and potatoes = solid, working clothes.

30% of your closet should be icing and fluff = color, pattern, shine, and accessories. 

Make a list of gaps in your wardrobe so you know what to buy. 

Buy clothes for your life style and not for your fantasy world.

Buy one piece you love vs. 10 pieces that are okay. 

Buy less - buy better.
Make this your new motto. 

Identify your personal style - for example - I like soft, comfortable fabrics with alittle bit of structure. I like v-necks, and texture to my clothes. I like sleeveless, cap or short sleeves. I love paring a cardigan with my outfits. I want the comfort of a farmer with the put together look of a business professional. I like short skirts, low necks, and sandals. 

Invest in great hangers - they make your clothes hang better - quality over quantity. Or, if you don't want expensive hangers, at least keep your hangers all the same style and color. 

Hang hangers backward - when you wear an item hang it the correct way. After 3-6 months get rid of all clothes on backward facing hangers. 

Its a formula, not a prescription, adjust your closet to your individual lifestyle and keep what makes you feel great and look the best in!

The Curated Closet by Anuschka Rees is a great resource for building a wardrobe you love.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Capital Gaines Book Review

I love watching 'Fixer Upper' and just about any show on HGTV! 

TV personality Chip Gaines' Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff gives us a transparent look into his life - Gaines shares his successes and his failures. He's incredibly honest about his shortcomings... 

In this book, he shares many successes and failures he has in starting many businesses, growing relationships with those he works with, life as a husband, and father. He is a man of faith and hard work ethics.

To comply with regulations by the FTC, the publisher has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Old Friends....

"Spending time with old friends is good for the soul."

Old best friends are like magic. You may not see them for months or even years, yet when you meet, it seems like yesterday that you were having a good chat and drinking tea! 

Old friends remind you of parts of yourself that you might have forgotten about. Even if you have changed a lot since that time, you will be reminded of the path that it took to get you where you are. Those memories are treasures.

Old friends allow you to skip the small talk and go deep. There’s nothing like picking up right where you left off; that’s the beauty of connecting with an old friend. You can cover so much ground in such a short time because the foundation has been laid.

Old friends make you feel loved and secure. There is a depth of connection between old friends that wraps around you like a warm blanket. You feel known, and safe. Few words are needed, because they understand you– your heart, and how you process things. 

Old friends refresh you - not stress you! They are the ones you can be yourself with, and if your house is a mess or your food flops, they don't mind at all. Old friends are the ones you invite back again and genuinely enjoy it went they come! 

If you’ve ever had a really good friend (and if you have you are blessed) then you know what I’m talking about. True friendship is unique, and enduring.

So to all of you — call that old friend! Send her a text, write an email, book a flight, or plan a trip. Don’t put off connecting with your old friends! You need it more than you even realize!

My friend Suzie and I at my wedding in 2005 -it was taken at the end of a long day and the picture isn't the best, but it's the only photo I have of us together.
Thank you Suzie for being my friend. I love our talks and spending time together!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

He Holds My Hand Book Review

He Holds My Hand: Experiencing God's Presence... 
By: Carol Kent

To be honest, I was rather dissapointed in this devotional book.
This is not a traditional book of devotions. Ms. Kent has used the format of writing as if she is God speaking to the reader. That was a turn off for me.

In the Introduction, the author shares her deeply personal story and how her family's life drastically changed, however, she never goes on to include what her thought process was during that difficult situation, as the synopsis leads you to believe! 

This book contains 365 daily devotions. Each daily devotional includes the title, quote, devotional text, and scripture verse. 

The one and only thing that I did like about the book was the following quote:
"My goal is not to provide all the answers to your tough questions, but to remind you that God holds your hand--in every situation. At His right hand there are eternal pleasure (Psalm 16:11), even in the middle of your darkest experience."
 *Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale, book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Three Ideas to Minimize

Today, I'd like to give you three Ideas to minimize stuff you don't need. Many people often think that getting rid of clutter is a long, hard process, but in fact it is simple.

1. Look around your home and see what items you would take with you in the event of a hurricane, flood, tornado etc... I bet there's not a super large amount that would make the cut.... I did this a few months ago and realized there's not a lot of stuff that means a lot to me. So, now you know what items you treasure.... 

2. Next add in the items that you need. For example sheets, towels, dishes, toilet brush, lawn mower, broom, toilet paper, clothes.... these are the items I'm talking about. Everyone knows you need these items, but most of us own way too many. For example two towels for each person and 2 sheet sets per bed are plenty. 

Dishes.... do you really need and use all that you have? For years I have collected a Chutney Corelle dish set, which I still use and love, but many items in my set I did not use - I only had them because they matched.... needless to say I got rid of some of my prized dishes and don't miss them at all.

Clothes.... I mean do you even like or wear half of them? I have gotten rid of lots of bags of clothes and I'm finding that the ones I have now, I actually like, wear, and feel great in them. Another added bonus is that I love opening my closet and admiring the extra space.

3. What things make you happy? Keep those things. I put decorations, curtains, live plants, throw pillows, picture albums, etc. into this category. While I have never liked or had a cluttered house, I do love a well decorated cozy home..... my decor makes me happy... No, I don't have a lot, but the items I do have are on display and I love the way my home looks, and the peace I feel every time I walk in  the door.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Know Who You Are Book Review

 Know Who You Are, Live Like It Matters
by Tim Tebow

This is a great book for homeschool students age 11 - 14. Tim will guide you through thirty-six weeks of lessons, each based on a key Scripture, to discover who you are. You will also have the opportunity to write down your thoughts, feelings, and ideas on topics such as: building godly character, maintaining great relationships, standing out from the crowd, and doing things that matter in the big picture.

Throughout the book, there is one subtle theme: You can make a difference, even though you're a teenager. 

I really like how Tim is able to talk to teenagers in a way that speaks to them with authority and wisdom, without treating them like children. He can speak their language and still be an authority figure. 

Get ready to live bigger than ever before…with your faith and identity secured in a God who loves you beyond measure!

I received this book in exchange of an honest review.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Kids Need Love

Watching love comes softly movies. I'm amazed at how the family's heritage not only passes down though the generations, but how the family dynamic changes. How family isn't always blood, and how you can always grow to love someone, given time. I love how the grandpa tells Belinda in Love's Unending Legacy that they are not there to replace any other grandparents, but that they believe that a child can never have too many people love them.

Here's the Love comes softly family tree:

Clark Davis  
 + Marti Clarridge 
             - Son Arnie Davis
      + Aaron Clarridge
             - Son Aaron Clarridge Davis
 + Ellen Barlow Davis 

             -  Daughter Missy Davis LaHaye Tyler
                                 + Willy LaHaye 
                                        - Adopted Son Jeff Huff LaHaye
                                        - Son Mattie LaHaye  
                                        - Daughter Kathy LaHaye
                                 + Zac Tyler
                                        - Adopted Son Jacob Marshell LaHaye Tyler
                                        - Adopted Daughter Belinda Marshell LaHaye Tyler 
                                                                        Drew Simpson
                                                                             - Adopted Daughter Lilian Simpson Owens                                                                          + Lee Owens
                                                                             - Expecting Baby Owens

In four generations of the same family, there are 50 bloodlines. (To put that in perspective there are only 9 bloodlines in a 4 generation family that has no 2nd marriages or adoptions.)

Life back then was hard. Burying your loved ones young, was a way of life that left widows, widowers, and orphan children.

Today, mixed family's are caused by divorce, drugs, alcohol, abuse, random sex with no commitment, and rape. But, I believe the same principles back then apply to life today. Family doesn't always mean blood... Family is who you choose it to be.

Kids need love, and people to care for them. It shouldn't matter who that person is..... in this world of hurt that we live in. Kids need all the love they can get. It's time to put our differences behind us and put the well being of our kids first.

Why is it that a lot of divorced parents try to keep the kids from seeing the non custody side of the family? You know, I used to be one of those people..... but, I've learned a lot the last 15 yrs. 

As a previously divorced mom, I wish now, that I'd have done things differently... I took grandparents, aunts and a biological dad away from my kid because I was afraid of the unknown, and because I thought my kid was better off with me. Don't get me wrong - I know she was/is better off with me - but looking back I deprived my kid of even more love - and for that I will always feel guilty.

I had full custody of my daughter. Her birth father never asked for visitation. Once he was out of our life, he remarried, than a year later, I remarried. I wanted to keep my little girl safe. I became over protective. I never again took her to see her birth fathers side of the family. I thought I was doing the right thing. WRONG! - Kids need all the love they can get.

Now, to be clear my ex husband's side of the family smokes, drinks, and don't fit in with how I choose to live my life. However, they are not bad people. You see my daughter could have grown up knowing a wonderful caring grandpa, a step grandma, and two fun aunts who would have loved and doted on her. Instead, I kept my daughter to myself. Never once thinking that I was destroying her chances at having more love in her life.

Is her life ruined? No. I remarried when my daughter was 4 yrs old. She has a wonderful dad who adopted her when she was five. She gained a set of grandparents and 5 great grandparents, lots of great aunts and uncles and other extended family. She is thriving. She is an artist, violinist, pianist, guitarist, and a gifted writer. I know that I did the best I could for her.... I just wish I could have opened my eyes to letting more people love her.

kids just need to be loved... it shouldn't matter who does the loving....

Friday, November 3, 2017

Please Don't Gift Me Things....

If you wish to bless someones life in someway -give them an experience, a memory or a consumable item, but please don't be offended by someones lifestyle choice to not want things to add clutter to their lives.... 

Here are some ideas:
  • Take them out to eat
  • Gift cards to restaurants, a favorite store, a gas card, or music download
  • A membership to the zoo, gym, garden club, Shaklee, etc.
  • Buy them lessons/classes - florist class, music lesson, dance lessons, pottery or art class
  • Make them some yummy food - most people love homemade goodies
  • Put together a fruit basket
  • Box of chocolates - who doesn't love chocolate?!?!
  • Gift certificate to a massage therapist, hair appointment, or a nail salon 
  • Give them a Get Clean Kit to get chemicals out of their home and help them live better.
  • Lotion or bath salts (make sure the person you're gifting too actually likes and uses them)
  • Send some flowers - flowers are my love language and I truly enjoy them.
  • Airplane tickets to travel or a gift card to use to travely
  • Tickets to a musical, symphony, concert, or play
  • Movie tickets along with a few $$ to buy some popcorn
  • Give them a clean, natural Skincare Kit that they will love - it's like having a facial everyday!
  • Send a note - almost everyone appreciates a hand written note
  • Spend time with them - take a walk, lend a helping hand, or a listening ear
  • Hugs are one of the best gifts ever!
  • And finally, you can never go wrong with the gift of money.
Did you know that nearly 7 in 10 Americans (69%) said they would skip exchanging gifts this holiday season if their friends and family agreed to it and 43% of those who spend money on anything related to the holidays said they feel pressured to spend more than they can afford. This is crazy! 

 It's not that I'm being ungrateful, I just genuinely don't want!

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

GIF's - Just Say No

Unpopular opinion below: 

I hate GIF's.

There you have it! You heard me. I’m coming out and saying it. GIF tyranny must stop.

I get it, some people think GIF's are good for a laugh, but when it comes to social platforms, GIF's aren’t my style.

 I’m seeing a ton of marketers — many of whom want the attention of my demographic — using them to get my attention. Instead, those GIF's are turning me off. I am seriously thinking of unfollowing some business pages that I actually like because to me, the GIF's are childish, stupid and very unprofessional.

Of course everyone has the right to express themselves in whatever way they choose, but those of us who find GIF's irritating also have the right to block them if we can or decide to end a friendship on a social platform if we choose.

So please, think about others before filling their newsfeed full of GIF's... people like myself will thank you!

Monday, October 30, 2017

A Well-Crafted Home Book Review

A Well-Crafted Home: Inspiration and 60 Projects for Personalizing Your Space

 By: Janet Crowther 

Being a crafter (and a somewhat of a good one) I am very disappointed in this book. 
There is nothing classy in this book that I would want to have in my home. I like my home to look like Joanna Gaines decorated it, not put together by odds and ends a teen could make.

Sorry, but there are better ideas available on Pinterest. Don't waste your money on this book.

I received this book in exchange of an honest review.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Hocking Hills Anniversary Getaway 2017

Little did I know, back in January, when I booked our anniversary getaway trip, just how much we would need the quiet, peaceful, relaxation that a getaway brings.

With our oldest daughter graduating this spring, me having 3 surgeries this year, my son having emergency brain surgery and a 5 week hospital stay, another surgery and around the clock infusions at home, and a trip to take our oldest to visit a college in Missouri... needless to say, I was more than ready for an overnight getaway date with my man.... I think the last time we had an actual date away from home was in March... that's over 7 months ago. I don't think we've ever went that long in between dates, but it feels good to know that when life had a turn for the worse, our marriage was strong, even without alone time.

We booked our getaway with Getaway Cabins in Hocking hills Ohio and rented Cabin 36....

'Ever After' was a beautiful, clean, private, and romantic cabin.... however it is 8 miles away from Hocking Hills. The bed - although huge, was very uncomfortable, the neighbors dogs were barking all night, and there was some road/car noise, so needless to say we got NO sleep for the two nights we were there! But, we did have a fabulous time and want to go back with the kids in the near future!


Hocking Hills State Park is one of the best places to hike in Ohio. The park’s extensive trail system showcases a variety of landmarks, including rock formations, waterfalls, cliffs, and caves. We visited every site and walked both the gorge trails and the rim trails. The weather was gorgeous and the landscape was absolutely beautiful!

Ash Cave - Ash Cave offers two of the southernmost trails in Hocking Hills State Park. Lower Ash Cave travels about a quarter-mile alongside the Ash Cave Gorge. The Upper Ash Cave Trail, often referred to as the Ash Cave Rim, offers a more rugged climb. Ash Cave is Ohio's largest recessed cave. Erosion to the 700-foot horseshoe-shaped rock face has created a 100-foot-deep recess and, when conditions are right, a slender 90-foot-high waterfall.

Cedar Falls - Cedar Falls is another fabulous hike in Hocking Hills State Park. Laden with hemlock trees, this primitive area is known for its steep rock walls, grottos, and waterfalls. The water tumbles 50 feet down a sandstone wall on Queer Creek into a pool. A grist mill once stood atop the falls.

Ash Cave Fire Tower - Located in the Hocking Hills State Forest, Ash Cave Fire Tower was constructed in 1934. We climbed the 80’ tower.

Old Mans Cave - Old Man's Cave, is an easy hike of 10 minutes from the visitor center in the heart of the park. There are seven trails in the area. Some include tunnels and stairways through the rock, various waterfalls, rapids, and the large recess cave. There are quite a few stairs, and some steep drop-offs in places.The cave itself is 200 feet long with the look and feel of a rocky amphitheater. It is 50 feet high and the overhang is 75 feet deep.

The cave gets its name from hermit Richard Rowe, who lived in it in the late 1860s with two dogs. It sits in a half-mile-long hemlock-lined gorge with three waterfalls up to 40 feet tall and picturesque pools. It is a very cool place to explore on a hot summer afternoon. Attractions include Devil's Bathtub, Eagle Rock, Whale in the Wall, and the Sphinx Head.

Lower Falls

Upper Falls

Whispering Cave - Whispering Cave is the Hocking Hill’s newest attraction opening in 2017. The cave is about 300 feet wide; a drizzly waterfall pours from its rim, falling 105 feet to the floor below. The hike to Whispering Cave was more strenuous then most of the others (except for Cantwell Cliffs), but it was our favorite. 

Cockles Hollow - Conkle’s Hollow is a rugged, rocky gorge that’s considered one of the deepest in Ohio. It’s Lower Trail offers a paved, mile-long journey that’s dotted with enormous hemlocks, rock formations, cliffs, and a meandering stream. The Upper Trail is about 2.5 miles long and leads to a spectacular waterfall. It is a stunning sandstone gorge with sheer cliffs that rise 200 feet. It is as narrow as 70 feet in places and is reportedly the deepest canyon in Ohio.The best views are from the east side of the Rim Trail. There is an imposing 96-foot-high waterfall at the northern end of the canyon that is only visible from the Rim Trail. The trail on the west side is farther away from the main canyon but offers views into side canyons. It is cooler, wetter, and more shaded.

Rock House - Nestled deep in the woods, the Rock House Trail is memorable for hikers of all ages. This scenic quarter-mile route resembles a South American jungle in the summertime! Once at the Rock House, feel free to explore the cave’s gothic-like windows and enjoy spectacular views of the green valley below. a rocky room that is 200 feet long, 25 feet high, and up to 30 feet deep inside a brightly colored cliff. There are 120 steps along the quarter-mile hike. Rock House includes seven windowlike openings with a Gothic feel. The openings in the rock are halfway up the face of the 150-foot-tall cliff.

Indians once lived in Rock House. A 16-room resort hotel was built near the Rock House in 1835. You will see graffiti from the 19th century on some rocks. The trail at Rock House is a relatively short loop trail, but some of the grades to the natural cave and back are very steep.

Cantwell Cliffs - Cantwell Cliffs is arguably the most isolated section of Hocking Hills State Park. It features 150-foot-high cliffs, massive rock outcroppings, large recess caves, deep woods, and narrow passages between downed boulders and the cliff along its trails. The Fat Woman's Squeeze is one such passage. It is the most rugged section of Hocking Hills and its trails are the steepest. It was largely carved by Buck Run. The trail at Cantwell Cliffs is a 1 mile loop trail that goes first along the cliff rim and then down to the cliff base around and back up again. The trail is strenuous with sharp drop-offs in places. I would definitely recommend Cantwell Cliffs - I'm disappointed that most of my pictures I took here somehow were deleted - but it is absolutely beautiful and a really adventurous hike!

Overall, we really enjoyed our anniversary getaway, the scenic nature, and each other in Hocking Hills!

Getting Healthy - Part 2

Continued from Getting Healthy - Part 1....

..... So, last year, hubby and I really started searching for options. We knew that to make a lifestyle change as big as I needed - I would need the best tools to help me succeed. In October 2016, I attended a health seminar and started meeting with a dietitian monthly.

Over the next few months, I continued meeting with my dietitian, but with Thanksgiving and Christmas we didn't do awholelotta changing. I did manage to lose 10 lb. through - the monthly visits with the dietitian helped to keep me accountable. We decided to start 2017 out fresh with a lifestyle change, not just for me but for our whole family!

Well, that was the plan.... life had other ideas. 

You see, I have multiple autoimmune disorders. The last couple months I had been seeing a different specialist for other ongoing health problems. That Doctor set a surgery date for March. The surgery, although it was out patient, set me back quite a bit.

During this time, I had lots of testing done regarding other health issues and another doctor set yet another surgery date for May. My plan was altered. I was still seeing my dietitian and during that time lost another 10 lbs. But was kinda in limbo waiting for the next surgery, which would be a big one.

The day before my scheduled surgery - it was cancelled - partly because of a paper work mix up and partly because of another auto immune disease that they found in my pre-opt testing blood work. They wanted me to see yet another specialist and more testing before they would go through with my scheduled surgery.....  this actually turned into a blessing, because 3 days later, my son was emitted to the hospital for emergency brain surgery.... He was in the hospital for 5 weeks.... and home with transfusions for another 3 weeks.

During that time, I saw a new specialist and another doctor who (although I do have yet another auto immune disease), she signed off on me going ahead with my original surgery....

My surgery was on August 2nd. I was in the hospital for 4 days - ended up having complications and a second emergency surgery 12 hours after the first one, on a liquid diet and didn't have strength to exercise, so I just mainly walked.

 The surgery was hard, both mentally and physically, and it did set my lifestyle change back by about 8 extra months, but it was actually a blessing. As a result, I lost another 20#'s and also started eating healthier! 

The best part about having the last major surgery was that it was a success and many of my health problems are no longer a problem!

So, in August, I really hit my lifestyle change hard! 

The main changes have been: 

  • Portion control - instead of eating 5 cookies, I eat and enjoy one and no more. 
  • Eating high protein foods first. I supplement with Shaklee protein when I need extra.
  • Eating low-carb. I still eat carbs - I just try to be aware of how many I eat.
  • Taking high quality whole food supplements - believe me, I've done the research, there is nothing better out there with the science to back it up! I've taken Shaklee supplements off and on for over 7 years. But I now am consistent with taking my food supplements and have noticed a big difference.
  •  I do regular activities with my hubby and kids - like riding bike, playing 4 square, and walks. 
  • And I continue seeing my dietitian...not as much as I did previously, but it helps keep me accountable, and she helps me find ways to change my negative eating habits into healthy ones.
Since I started seeing my dietitian and consistently taking my Shaklee, eating a high protein diet and exercising, I have lost a total of 54 lbs since October 2016. I started at 240 lb. and a size 22/24, and a BMI of 45.9. I am now 186 lbs. and wear a size 16/18.

I've still got a long way to go - but with Gods help, this is a lifestyle journey that I want to continue... not just for me but for my family as well. 
My goal is not to be skinny or to be a certain size. My goal is to be healthy, happy!

To be continued......

Read Getting Healthy - Part 1 here

Note: We have chosen NOT to discuss or to explain my surgeries with anyone, as in the past, discussing my health has caused unnecessary drama. I, Rhoda do suffer from multiple auto-immune disorders, cancer, and chronic stress. The doctor said without this surgery, I would only have a 3% chance at going on to live a healthier life style, so for me and my family's sake, this has been the right thing to do. We will not apologize for not explaining!


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