These are a few of my favorite things…
My husband teases me and says I know just enough about everything to be dangerous. He’s right – I like to learn about a lot of different things. I’ve had people say things to me like, “I never knew that about you ….” Or “When did you get interested in ….” I have an insatiable desire to learn. I learn a lot by reading. The internet, in my opinion, is the greatest invention of all time because it allows me to find information on anything at any time. For a curious mind, Google is a girl’s best friend.
I do my best to be thorough when I research new items or information, and then I like to share! I love to share! So…without further ado…here are some of the things I cannot live without, am grateful I found, or have broadened my life immensely in some way. (Affiliate links included where I think you may be interested)
Katy Bowman – her books, her website, her podcasts, her mind
Movement Matters by Katy Bowman
Move Your DNA by Katy Bowman
Katy’s Website: Nutritious Movement
Katy’s Podcasts: Katy Says
A little about this discovery: You can ask my husband…I can’t stop talking about what I’ve learned from Katy. It’s “Katy says this…and Katy says that…” (BTW – that’s the name of her Podcasts – Katy Says!) He’ll come home and find me lying on the floor with my legs in the air and I’ll say, “Katy says we need to challenge our bodies and get off the couch.”
Katy Bowman is a biomechanist…stay with me because I had never heard of that term before either. She studies the way our bodies fit together and is an expert on movement. I do mean expert and I don’t mean exercise.
She takes apart the difference between our culture’s understanding of exercise and fitness and shows you the bigger picture that is all about movement.
She takes complex scientific terms and models and breaks them down into layman’s terms.
You will be astonished at what you thought you knew about fitness and the way our bodies truly should function and you will be amazed at how little you really knew about the amazing design of our bodies.
This is not an exercise or get-fit book. In fact, Katy will NOT give you 10 Easy Steps to Lose 10 Pounds, or 40 Days to a More Flexible You – she despises that mindset. What she will give you is an indispensable knowledge of the human body that will help you make decisions and choices every single day as you go about everyday activities to help you regain flexibility and strength without hurting yourself, discouraging yourself, weighing yourself, or spending a penny.
One of Katy’s key sayings and challenges is: “Are you outsourcing your movement?” Meaning, right now, are you allowing something outside your body to do something that your body can do? Are you slumped against the back of your chair instead of upright engaging your back and core? Are you sitting when you could be standing (guilty here….and read on for more about how I found a way to work and stand and move), are you allowing something to work for you when you could do the work – a blender versus chopping your own food for example, are you driving .3 miles to the store when you could walk?
These choices sound subtle and small…but over the course of a lifetime our choices either help us stay active and mobile or can handicap and harm us.
I rarely read books more than once but Katy’s books are so life-changing and chock full of good information that I’ve found myself turning back to them again and again.
Speaking of outsourcing my movement:
There’s a new saying that “sitting is the new smoking.” I realized if this is the case I was up to 8 packs a day.
Seriously, I was sitting at a computer 8-10 hours a day! I don’t sit as much now that I’m not working full time but writing this blog has me sitting back down again for more hours than I care to think about. I found a way to ease the repetitive sitting with a desk that allows me to seamlessly move from sitting to standing and back again.
This item was a bit pricey but at the time I felt it was worth the investment in my health (it’s currently listed well under what I paid a couple years ago). What I like about it is that it is sturdy – no cheap plastic – this thing is built to last. It holds my monitor, laptop, mouse, and keyboard so I can seamlessly move it up or down as I need to without moving equipment or cords. It adjusts to several heights so I can ensure my monitor is at eye level so I don’t strain my neck and cause headaches. It came fully assembled – yippee! It gives me no excuse to not stand and move more during the time I am at the computer.
Speaking of movement and health:
I had been feeling the tug in my spirit to try Yoga for several years. I had always been an avid workout girl – killing my shins back in the 80’s with high impact aerobics (groan now if you remember leg warmers) to grooving out in Zumba complete with belly skirt!
Unfortunately, my body just stopped responding to high-stress exercise and I was not losing weight. I felt awful after working out and the high-intensity workouts were triggering migraines. I was inconsolable thinking I would just get fat and flabby and there was not a thing I could do about it.
But the word “Yoga” kept flitting through my mind so I turned to You Tube. I tried a few yogis until I found Yoga with Adriene and I’ve stuck with her ever since. It’s kind of cool because she’s from Austin where I now live but I didn’t know that when I started following her from Cincinnati.
What do I like about Adriene? Her motto is “Find what feels good.” She’s kind, she’s gentle, she talks you through every pose offering variations for beginners or more advanced. She allows you time to learn and relax and be okay with where you are. She has videos from beginner (just search beginner Yoga with Adriene) to more advanced challenges. She’s cute and so is her dog Benji who sometimes plays along!
More health-related items:
Young Living essential oils.
About the same time I had set a goal to learn about Yoga I also felt compelled to look into using essential oils. Although I have been on the front edge of natural health practices since the late 90s when I was compelled to help my very sick little boy, I had kept essential oils at arm’s length.
There was some mystique about them – you have to “know” how to use them, they can be harmful if used incorrectly, and so on. As many friends started to explore them and share their amazing results on social media I became more and more intrigued.
A few years ago, I signed up to be a distributor for Young Living. As you can see my blog is not a Young Living platform, but I feel I would be remiss if I did not share with you that I use these products on a daily basis and I believe there are many benefits – from mental and emotional support to physical support.
These days I rarely talk to anyone who is not interested in addressing a healthier lifestyle with natural methods. Essential oils are a key component to doing that.
I am not going to go into detail here but I believe Young Living has a superb product and supports their members well. Signing up as a distributor gives you the distributor level pricing and allows you to participate in the monthly Essential Rewards program in which I currently earn 20% on all I purchase. Think of it as a rewards card for essential oils – 20% – really where else can you earn that type of reward?
Of course, if you are interested in joining you can use my membership link to do so or you can simply purchase a few oils here and there and I still earn a small commission that helps me do the things I love – like running this blog!
On an interesting side note, I met Gary Young, the founder of Young Living, on an airplane while flying home from Salt Lake City. Small world after all.
Another Fantastic Find:
Another amazing product I found a few years back (which I get no commission or payment from for promoting) is Ohio Valley Herbal Products. I stumbled across this line at a home and garden show in Ohio.
Marina has been making personal care products using wild herbs from the southeast Ohio Valley area for over 25 years. Her products all smell amazing with her signature essential oil formula. I am particularly fond of the facial cream (I once had to pull out my driver’s license to prove my age to a colleague!) and the aluminum free deodorant that really works! Check out her line of products.
I’ll finish with some books I’ve read and can’t rave enough about:
- Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by Angela Duckworth
This book is not just your flighty self-help pump-you-up book. It’s chock full of research, longitudinal studies and case studies for what Angela has dubbed “grit” – that component that makes some people able to persevere despite obstacles or hardships.
She moves into the discussion about a growth mindset which is something we all could learn more about. If you are not sure what having a growth mindset means then you will want to find out but here is an example:
My husband barely graduated high school, he believed himself to be “dumb” and quite frankly those around him didn’t have high expectations for his success in life. Lucky man, he married me. (insert wink and chuckle here).
He was afraid to try anything because he despised the feeling of failing, feeling or looking stupid, and felt it was safer to not try anything new than having those fears confirmed and reinforced.
It’s a long story but to get to the chase, the first thing I did was tell him he owed me one dollar every time he called himself dumb or stupid. We nipped that negative self-talk in the bud right there!
Then over and over and over I encouraged him to try new things. “Let’s just see if we can hang this ceiling fan ourselves…” “Why don’t you just apply for that job – it can’t hurt and maybe they will hire you…” “It can’t be that hard – we’ll google it!”
28 years later, my husband is a manager who is highly recognized in his company (having worked hard from truck driver up to where he is now), he teaches me more than I will ever care to know about spreadsheets, and he manages a multi-million dollar budget at work.
He’s still not Mr. Handyman but we do hang our own ceiling fans, and we even installed a herringbone floor together – OK – that one won’t win any HGTV awards but it was functional! And here he is the other day converting a dog house into a duck house for my Muscovy ducks. Growth mindset? Grit? You bet!
- One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
You have probably read about this one in a previous blog or newsletter but I can’t stop raving. Having read a LOT of books in my lifetime it’s rare that I rave and recommend one over and over but this one…it is just chock full of good stuff. I keep stopping after just a few pages because there is so much to digest. Today I read two pages and had to meditate on this:
“If authentic, saving belief is the act of trusting, then to choose stress is an act of disbelief…atheism. Anything less than gratitude and trust is practical atheism.” You see what I mean?
Ann’s writing style is unique and her stories are authentic and transparent and you won’t be sorry you picked this one!
- The Creative Call by Janice Elsheimer.
This one is an oldie but a goodie and if you are an artistic creative type in any way (artist, singer, writer, public speaking, etc.) you may want to find this gem.
The Creative Call is a Christian take on the famous book by Julia Cameron called The Artist’s Way. Janice read Julia’s book and decided to take these principles and add a scriptural framework to them.
I first heard about The Creative Call when listening to an interview with Janice on Christian radio. I had to pull over to the side of the road because the tears were making the windshield all blurry.
Her words hit home for me at a time I was desperately struggling with my identity and how all these crazy passions and gifts inside me fit into God’s will, and I was so worried that God was not sanctioning my gifts and my desire to write.
It felt frivolous, I didn’t want to draw attention to myself – that felt so prideful…I had shut down all my creative leanings so I could march a straight Christian line and “fit the mold” (as one pastor had instructed me), and be a busy worker bee for the kingdom of God – which meant do everything and anything the church leaders told me to do whether it was in line with my gifts or not.
And don’t get me wrong – we don’t have to be called or led to bake cookies or change diapers in the nursery (all of which I’ve done) but I felt like I was drowning in cookies and diapers everywhere and that I had no idea WHO I WAS IN CHRIST or WHAT HE HAD CALLED AND GIFTED ME TO DO – and what’s worse, not one church leader was interested in that either. I was just a body – a chess piece to move around from room to room.
I was sadly unfulfilled and plagued with guilt about the way I felt.
This book broke down dams and walls and barriers in my heart and allowed me to embrace my creative gifts as gifts from God.
The biggest AH HA moment I encountered was when she explained that God Himself is a creator (I mean look around…He’s awfully creative isn’t He?) and He placed talents and gifts inside of us (as He created us) so we can continue to be an extension of His creation. I mean – wow! – when you think about it that way it’s a sin NOT to use your gifts, right?
If you need some setting free from the “fit the mold” mentality or if the devil has been lying to you that you are not good enough, talented enough, whatever enough, you should read this book. It was life changing for me.
Last but not least for now…
Confession: I do very few Bible studies. They have to be good. I mean really good.
I’ve done Beth Moore studies, and I am a big fan of Stormie O’Martian – especially The Prayer That Changes Everything – The Hidden Power of Praising God.
Another author of devotionals I love a lot is Cynthia Heald – Her Becoming a Woman series has truly helped me become a stronger, kinder Christian woman. One of the first of her series I read was Becoming a Woman of Freedom (by now you probably see why I needed that one, right?)
The ultimate Bible teacher, in my humble layman’s opinion, is Warren Wiersbe.
His Be Series books are no nonsense, no personal agenda, no fly-by-night theology or the latest trend in Christian living. They are straightforward Bible studies designed for individual or group study built around a single book of the Bible.
He’s a Bible scholar that delivers the straight stuff. I have studied dozens of his Be books and have found them indispensable to my studying of the Bible. Two of my favorites are Be Free – a study in Galatians (are you seeing a pattern in my life?) and Be Complete – a study in Colossians.
And while we are on the topic of books…one of my favorite finds of all time is a site called Paperback Swap. You simply list a few books you no longer need or want and commit to paying for shipping (media mail is a little over $2.00 these days) and then you can choose from millions of books listed by other members. It’s not limited to just paperbacks. I have swapped hundreds of books this way.
I hope you found one goodie from my bag of favorites! Leave a comment below and share something you have found life-changing or indispensable to your emotional, spiritual, or physical well-being – after all Google doesn’t know everything, right?
We are all in this together, trying each day to live more productive and healthier lives so we can shine our lights and live the abundant life that Jesus has extended to us.
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life and that they may have it more abundantly. (John 10:10)