Addicted to Food? Join the Made to Crave Bible Study

Bethanny's "Before" Pictures 1-17-14I’m addicted to cookies, and to a lesser degree, cake. If there are cookies in the house, I eat them. And I don’t mean one or two. That would be fine. We’re talking a dozen or two. And with two young children in the house who are constantly asking for them, I often cave in and buy or make cookies. For the kids, of course! As a result, I’m carrying around close to 100 extra pounds of cookies and cake on my body.

It wasn’t so bad at first. Size 12 I could live with. But you just keep getting bigger and bigger. 14, 16… until several years pass and now I am up to size 22 pants and 2XL shirts. I am fat.

I look in the mirror and what I see makes me feel ashamed. My face is fat; my stomach is fat; my butt is fat. It’s hard to feel good about yourself when you want to cry every time you look in the mirror.

I have let myself go in other ways. I look bad no matter what, so why bother with makeup? Why curl my hair? What’s the point?

My back hurts, and I have bad feet. These are problems that are least partially weight-related. I worry about my blood sugar. Will I get diabetes? What other health problems will I experience due to my lack of self-control?

There comes a point when you just have to say, “Enough is enough!” I can’t live like this anymore. I don’t want to live like this anymore.

That’s why I signed up for the Made to Crave online Bible study through Proverbs 31 Ministries. I want to explore any emotional or spiritual issues that may contribute to my overconsumption of cookies. And cake. And Pringles Sour Cream and Onion potato chips (I think they put something in those to make them impossible to resist, but that’s an issue for another post!).

What about you? Are you addicted to food? What is your weakness? Most importantly, are you ready to do the hard work you need to do to kick your food addiction once and for all? If so, head on over to Proverbs 31 Ministries and sign up for the Made to Crave online Bible study. I’ll look forward to seeing you there!

P.S. I am also going to start walking, running, or biking every day. What actions are you taking to combat your addiction to food and get healthier in 2014? Please share in the comments!

Posted in Faith, Fitness | 20 Comments

Myrtle (A Limerick)

I have written over 100 poems in my lifetime, but most have been lost. Somewhere, there is a Zip disk (remember those?) out there with my poetry on it. I’m sure I’ll never see it again. Anyhow, this limerick popped into my head a few days ago, so I decided to publish it before I forget it again. I wrote this many years ago, probably around 1993-1995. I wrote another limerick the same day, but so far, I can’t remember what it was about. If I can remember, I’ll come back and post it later.

Skinny Myrtle


There once was a woman named Myrtle
who was skinny but not very fertile
    She wanted a kid,
    but when finally she did—
She had to start wearing a girdle!

Fat Myrtle
Have you written any limericks? Feel free to share them in the comments—but keep it clean! This is a family-friendly site.

Image credit: The images used in this post were cropped from Fat and Slim Ladies Stock Image by africa on

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Progress Charts for #NaNoWriMo and #SlapDash100

NaNoWriMo Writing ChartSlapDash100 Mile Chart

Both NaNoWriMo and the Slap Dash 100 start today, so I made up some progress charts to help me (and you!) track our progress.

The NaNoWriMo Writing Chart

My NaNo chart goes to 100,000 because the type of novel I’m writing typically has around 100,000 words. If you’re just trying to hit the 50,000-word minimum, you can modify the Excel file or just try to fill in the chart up to whatever your goal is.

  • To get the .png image file, click the small NaNo chart image above and right-click the larger image to save it.
  • To download the .pdf, right click here and save to your hard drive.
  • To download the .xlsx file, right click here and save.

Note: The .xlsx file contains both charts. Click the tabs at the bottom to switch from one to the other.

To use the chart, just fill in the date in the space on the left when you reach that word count. For example, if I write 3,100 words today, I’ll write today’s date in front of 500, 1,000, and so on up to 3,000.

The Slap Dash 100 Mile Chart

My SlapDash100 chart goes to 125, just in case I go over. Fat chance, but you never know, right? If you fill up the first four columns, you made it. The fifth column is optional.

  • To get the .png file, click the small image at the top of this post and it will take you to the full-size image. Right-click to save.
  • To download the .pdf file, right click here and choose save.
  • To download the .xlsx file, right click here and save.

Note: The .xlsx file contains both charts. Click the tabs at the bottom to switch from one to the other.

SlapDash ExampleFor this chart, I pushed the numbers to the left a bit so you can write in the decimal portion. So if I walk 3.35 miles today, I can write “.35” after the 3 and write today’s date to the left of the first three boxes. If I then walk 3.4 miles tomorrow, I add that to the 3.35, bringing my cumulative total to 6.75, so I write “.75” after the six and put tomorrow’s date in front of the 4, 5, and 6 mile boxes.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or problems with downloading. Also, did you find the charts helpful?

Posted in Fitness, The Writing Process | Leave a comment

3 is the Magic Number for Nov. 2013 Challenges #NaNo #SlapDash100

November 2013 Challenges

One challenge at a time is probably enough for most people, but NO… I have to complicate things. I have two challenges lined up for November: NaNoWriMo and the Slap Dash 100.

So… a little about each:


I signed up for NaNo first. The goal of this challenge is to write an entire novel in one month, but you get credit for finishing if you write at least 50,000 words. I signed up once before, I think, in a previous year, but didn’t get far.

This year, I have a new project to work on and I’m determined to finish. Since the novel I’ll be working on is a political thriller, the finished length should probably be somewhere around 100,000 words. That number was just too scary though, so I set my goal at 90,000. That comes out to 3,000 words per day. Yeah, that’s a reasonable goal. I can do that.

But I’m going to be sitting on my butt typing for hours on end, and that’s not good. So I jumped at the chance to get involved when Sadie announced…

The Slap Dash 100

To win this challenge, you run, walk, jog, swim—whatever—a total of 100 miles during the month of November. Everyone who meets the goal gets entered into a giveaway at the end of the challenge. In order to get to 100 miles by the end of November, I’ll have to walk 3 1/3 miles per day every single day.

The Magic Number 3

OK, I’m not superstitious, and I don’t believe in magic. But 3,000 words per day and 3 1/3 miles—that’s a lot of threes!

Oh, and it gets worse.

3 1/3 miles = 3.3333333 (Yeah, it goes on forever!)

And, if I had the guts to set my writing goal at 100,000 instead of copping out at 90k, that would be…

100,000 / 30 = 3333.3333333 (Again, it goes on and on.)

So I’ve decided that three is my number for November. Maybe I should spin around three times before I sit down to write, just in case.

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Father’s Day at the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids

For Father’s Day, we took the kids to the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids. We all had a good time, and the kids were remarkably well-behaved. Reilly fell asleep for a while, so we put the seats down in the wagon and pulled him around while he napped.

Julie really seemed to enjoy looking at the animals. She was fascinated by the big brown bear that kept pacing back and forth in its cage, and she almost started crying when we left the budgie cage, which has 200-300 budgies in it. You can actually go inside and feed the birds seed from a stick! Julie loved that.

Here are some of the pictures I took at the zoo:

John Ball Zoo Entrance

The entrance to the John Ball Zoo in Grand Rapids, Michigan


John Ball Zoo Rose Garden

The rose garden outside the entrance of the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Budgie Aviary

The budgie aviary houses at least 200-300 budgies.


John Ball Zoo Budgies

Budgies at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Budgies 8

Julie really got a kick out of feeding the budgies.


John Ball Zoo Budgies

A Yellow and Green Budgie


Budgie at the John Ball Zoo

Someone Feeding a Budgie


Green and Yellow Budgie

Green and Yellow Budgie


John Ball Zoo Budgies

Budgies at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Pelican



John Ball Zoo Pelicans



John Ball Zoo Reticulated Python

Reticulated Python


John Ball Zoo Komodo Dragon

Komodo Dragon


John Ball Zoo Poison Dart Frogs

Poison Dart Frogs


Blue Poison Dart Frog

Blue Poison Dart Frog


John Ball Zoo Anemones

Anemones at the Zoo Aquarium


John Ball Zoo Anemones 2

More Anemones


John Ball Zoo Bear

A Bear at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Living Wall

Living Wall at the John Ball Zoo


John Ball Zoo Living Wall

A closer look at the Living Wall


John Ball Zoo Dragon Statue

This dragon is located in the swan boat pond outside of the zoo.


Licensing Information: Feel free to use any of these photos for non-commercial purposes as long as you give me credit by linking back to this site. You may not sell any of these photos or any product made with them without purchasing a license, but it’s fine to use them for illustrative purposes on a website that earns revenue from advertising or other means.

Posted in Family Outings | Tagged , | 4 Comments

Why I Won’t Be Joining Thruzt

Let’s start with what Thruzt is: it’s a social bookmarking site. At first glance, it looks great. The layout is styled after Pinterest, but it’s not just for photos. You can share articles too. In fact, most of the content appears to be shared articles.

Just look at this screenshot, and you’ll see why Thruzt is so appealing:

Thruzt Screenshot

It looks great, right? So what’s the problem? Here it is, from the Thruzt FAQ:

Thruzt TOS Screenshot

Let me get this straight: By submitting content to Thruzt, I am dedicating it to the public domain? WHAT?! You have got to be kidding me. There is no way I am dedicating my content to the public domain.

In case you’re not sure just what that means, here is a screenshot of the definition of the Creative Commons Public Domain Zero license:

Public Domain Dedication

And that is why I won’t be posting anything on Thruzt. Unless, of course, they change their terms.

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What Growing Zone Am I In?

Plant Hardiness Zones for Gardening Have Changed

If it seems like the weather is getting warmer, it’s not your imagination. The USDA has just issued a new zone map for gardeners that reflects recent climate changes. Here are the new USDA zone maps for the US and Michigan. If you’re in another state, you can click your state on the interactive map on the USDA website to see the hardiness zone in your exact location.

USDA Hardiness Zone Map

USDA Hardiness Zones in Michigan

Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

House Remodeling Update–with Pictures!

A bunch of guys from church came and helped us put up drywall this morning. There was an electrician with them too. They were only here for about four hours, I think, but they probably got more done than we would have been able to do by ourselves in a week! It’s so exciting to see so much progress.

The heat has been working for about three days now, and we are staying in the house at night even though the water isn’t hooked up yet so we still have to use the bathroom in the RV. The air mattress we were sleeping on developed a hole, though, and we have a regular mattress to sleep on in the house.

The toilet and the drain for the tub are hooked up now, and the city will be coming out to turn on the water on Monday. Hopefully, we can get the rest of the plumbing done before then. We still have to hook up the bathroom and kitchen sinks.

Here are some pictures to show how much has been done so far.


Entryway Before

Entryway Before

Entryway Today

Entryway Today

Living Room

Living Room Before

Living Room Before

Living Room with Insulation

Living Room with Insulation

Dad working in Living Room

Dad working in Living Room

Josh in the Living Room

Josh in the Living Room

The Kids’ Rooms

The kids’ rooms and bathroom started out as one open space. We put in walls to make the bathroom, a small bedroom for the two little kids, and a medium-sized bedroom for Josh.

Kids Rooms & Bathroom Before

Kids Rooms & Bathroom Before

First, the Walls

First, the Walls

Then the Insulation

Then the Insulation

The Small Bedroom Today

The Small Bedroom Today

The Medium Bedroom Today

The Medium Bedroom Today


The Bathroom Ceiling

The Bathroom Ceiling

My Brother Steve Working on the Bathroom Ceiling

My Brother Steve Working on the Bathroom Ceiling

Mom Working in the Tub

Mom Working in the Tub

Our Bedroom

Our Bedroom Before

Our Bedroom Before

Bedroom Closet from Kitchen Before

Bedroom Closet from Kitchen Before

Our Bedroom in Process

Our Bedroom in Process

Working on Our Bedroom Today

Working on Our Bedroom Today


Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before



OK, So Only Half of the Kitchen is Done!

OK, So Only Half of the Kitchen is Done!

Front Porch—This Will Be My Office

Front Porch Before

Front Porch Before

The Front Porch Still Needs a Lot of Work

The Front Porch Still Needs a Lot of Work

Posted in Our House | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

“Before” Pictures of Our New House—and a Progress Update

We are buying a house from my Mom and Dad on land contract. They had bought it as an investment—they were going to fix it up and sell it—but somehow it never happened. We were looking for a place to live and my Dad said, “Well, we have that house in Grant.”

I had completely forgotten about it.

The house in Grant was completely gutted by the former owners. They were going to completely remodel the interior but guess what? They never got around to it either. So we have a house that looks pretty much OK from the outside, but the inside is a completely different story.

Here are the “before” pictures:

Pretty, huh? Well, it will be!

Since these pictures were taken, we have cleaned it up, pulled out a lot of nails, and torn out what was left of the old insulation and drywall. We have framed in the interior walls and are almost done with the wiring and insulating the walls.

We still have a lot to do before we can move in, but we are getting closer.

If you want to help us get moved in sooner, check out my IndieGoGo project: Help Us Move Into Our New Home Before Winter. I’m offering some perks for those who decide to donate.

If you live in the Grant Rapids area or the thumb of Michigan—or anywhere in between—and want to donate used furniture or building materials, we can probably come pick them up. We are in need of DRYWALL, interior and exterior doors, gas lines, pipes for plumbing, a faucet and sprayer for the kitchen sink, a tub surround, a faucet and shower head for the tub, a queen bed with mattresses, a full or twin bed with mattresses, a crib mattress, kitchen chairs, a high chair, a booster seat, and a potty chair. There’s probably more, but that’s all I can think of right now.

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Going on a Mind Diet

Today We Are RichI downloaded a free excerpt of Today We Are Rich, which you can get from Tim Sanders’ website, and I have realized that I need to go on a mind diet. This is not the first time I’ve heard of this concept, but sometimes you need to be reminded a few times before you actually remember something and do it.

What Is a Mind Diet?

A mind diet is the practice of paying attention to—and controlling—what goes into your mind. It’s about watching, reading, and listening to positive things and avoiding things that are negative, such as violent TV shows, video games, and news articles. It goes beyond simply avoiding the negative, though. You also need to avoid things that are merely useless. There may not be anything negative about playing FarmVille or whatever the latest addictive Facebook game is, but these things keep you from thinking about and doing things that are positive.

I have done well by eliminating mindless games from my life. I have been guilty of wasting countless hours in the past playing Farmville, Zoo World, Kingdoms of Camelot, and other addictive games. What could I have accomplished if I had used those hours for more productive purposes? I’ll never know.

However, even though I’ve stopped playing these games, I have not eliminated all of the negatives from my thought diet. I still get caught up in reading negative news stories now and then, for one thing. But the worst of the negatives come from my memories. Do you ever beat yourself up for the mistakes you’ve made in the past? I sure do! The thing is, as Tim points out in Today We Are Rich, there is no point in going over and over the mistakes you have made. What’s done is done. Learn what you can from them, and then let them go.

Keeping a Mind Diet Journal

The key, of course, is to catch yourself thinking negative thoughts and then do something to switch your thinking to something more positive. You can’t think about two things at once, so you do this by remembering and reliving the successes you have experienced instead of the failures. This will do you a lot more good. By reliving the successes, you will create the confidence you need to succeed over and over again.

Tim recommends keeping a journal of everything you read, watch, or listen to so that you can see what you are putting into your mind. I think it would also be a good idea to use a section of that journal to write down your successes so you don’t have to rely on your memory when you are trying to think of something positive to push the bad memories away. All you need is a little notebook and you’re ready to go with your mind diet journal. You don’t need anything fancy.

Tim’s Book Is More than Just a Mind Diet

The mind diet is a good start, but there is much more to Tim’s book. The mind diet is just one of the seven principles he teaches in Today We Are Rich. Tim believes that these principles are the keys to confidence, which in turn is the key to success. Here is a look at the contents to give you an idea of what you can find in this book.

Today We Are Rich: Table of Contents

Prologue: Billye’s Lesson I Never Forgot

Part 1: The Case for Confidence

Chapter 1: Sideways Years
Chapter 2: The Awakening
Chapter 3: The Good Loop

Part 2: The Principles of Total Confidence

Chapter 4: Principle 1: Feed Your Mind Good Stuff
Chapter 5: Principle 2: Move the Conversation Forward
Chapter 6: Principle 3: Exercise Your Gratitude Muscle
Chapter 7: Principle 4: Give to Be Rich
Chapter 8: Principle 5: Prepare Yourself
Chapter 9: Principle 6: Balance Your Confidence
Chapter 10: Principle 7: Promise Made, Promise Kept

Epilogue: A First Step into the Good Loop

Other Books by Tim Sanders

Saving the World at Work: What Companies and Individuals Can Do to Go Beyond Making a Profit to Making a Difference

Love Is the Killer App: How to Win Business and Influence Friends

The Likeability Factor: How to Boost Your L-Factor and Achieve Your Life’s Dreams

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