Thursday, 3 SEP 2015 :: Keeping track of your food choices.

I just finished creating a new (easily printed) file of my latest effort to keep track of what I eat.  You can see it below.

I recycle a lot of my one-sided pages by folding and tearing them into quarter-page size, then using the blank side as scratch paper.  That is why I made this file as a quarter-page.  I can fold and tear it into four weekly records per single sheet of copy paper.  It seems to be a better solution for me when I need to keep track of things throughout the day.

To explain my format ::

The numbers on the left are MY GOALS for daily servings.  These particular numbers are what I am trying to stick to.  Some days I eat more than these limits, and some days I don't even reach these amounts.  They are enough to stay healthy and to help me lose weight.

The food groups I chose for my recordkeeping form are the ones that I want to follow.  I don't have a dairy section because I have discovered that the healthy dairy items actually double as proteins.  I will put milk into the liquids section, and try to have at least one glass of it a day.  I have discovered that calcium, which is why we drink milk as a food group, is also a nutrient in other foods.  I am working toward consuming more of these other foods for my calcium needs.  This calcium question is included in materials about vegan diets, and some vegetarian literature.

I also put my food groups in the order of their importance to me.  First, I am trying to eat more FRUITS and VEGGIES, then I am learning how to eat better WHOLE GRAINS for their fiber content, and then I want to track the amount of PROTEIN foods I eat.  I have mentioned before that drinking water is a challenge for me, so I am currently focusing on consuming at least six (6) cups of various LIQUIDS... including soup broths and juices.

The OTHER category is my way of keeping track of the fats I use, like butter, oil for frying and salad dressings, mayonnaise, and other fatty foods.  I have discovered some dairy foods that I love and eat often are considered fat portions instead of dairy.  These would be cream cheese and sour cream.  In recording some meals or food items, I am using the slash ( / ) character to help me associate the food group item with what it was in... like butter on toast, cheese with rice, and using oil for my fried veggies and rice.

FOOD RECORD - filled in
I am more familiar with my food portions now, so I am just recording the actual food name, like brown rice, toast, chicken, beans, etc.  My primary emphasis right now is to figure out portions and groups to make sure I get a varied diet that covers my body's basic needs.  The serving numbers for me are for a weight-loss diet.  Your goal numbers might be different.

I had just a little extra space in my design so I added extra lines for veggies, fruits, and proteins.  It allows me to record them better.  I want to eat more fruit, and veggies usually have less calories.  I added a line under proteins because I tend to eat too many foods that are considered proteins. 

Proteins are a sticky issue with me.  I can't commit to being vegan or vegetarian, but I know they are healthier for the body.  I am committed to eating more fruits and veggies and reducing my meat consumption.  From what I have read over the years, it seems that meats are harder for the body to digest, so moderation is the key to enjoying the foods I don't want to give up.

In browsing through my new cookbooks from the thrift store, I read that pork loin is equal to lean (skinless) chicken breast in the health and protein discussion.  The health numbers cited were very nearly the same for both meats, and both meats were the lowest numbers on the list.  The sidebar item I remember was also showing that meats are better as your protein source than cheese and, sometimes, beans.  I always thought the opposite was true, so I would eat cheese thinking it was healthier.

I don't recall ever having a pork loin in my childhood, and they only recently made it into my grocery cart because of a meat sale.  I had no idea what they were or how to make them.  They are very good.  Since reading this cookbook information I am going to look for them (on sale) more often.  :-)  For me, the main issue is now portion control.  A single pork loin (as I know them) will make many meals.  (A pound of meat is divided into four (4) servings of 4 ounces each, BEFORE cooking.) That means it is a good value even though the (sale) price may seem large.

I hope you liked seeing my form for tracking my food choices.  I made it with the intention of uploading it here.  I am getting better at finding ways to share information with readers.  I hope to create more items to share as I learn about blogging.

Enjoy your weekend.  I am hoping to enjoy mine, too.  :-)

In Christ,


Wednesday, 2 SEP 2015 :: Recycling

Today I checked some more items off my long list of things to get done...

One of the items was to shop at the local materials recycling thrift store.  In Portland (OR) it is called SCRAP ( and they recently moved into a wonderful large open area that is more easily accessible than their last location.  Already the space is crowded with items to consider.

There are fabric sections, art sections, office supplies sections, books, scraps, stamps that belonged to past scrap-bookers, old tins (that can be painted to cover the advertising), a store section called the ReBoutique where fans and members of SCRAP can display their creations for selling, and a lot of things I have no idea what they are!  :-)  It is fun to explore.

Today I found more than I could afford to buy... again.  I am very happy with my finds and hope to enjoy them for a long time.

It was also my day for shopping at the Salvation Army's 50% off Sale Day... so I am really filled with recycled treasures.  :-)  None of them clothes... which is why I originally decided to go.  I realized I am trying to lose weight so I might as well wait as long as I can before investing in anything new... or new to me (from a thrift store).

At this sale I discovered a great metal box to store things in, and lots of picture frames for my planned artworks, and really great books to help me with my focus on healthier foods and weight loss, and some kitchen utensils I both wanted and needed.  I could have spent a lot more of my money, but I was already over my budget...  I had to make some hard choices and only purchase the things that meant the most, even though they were very inexpensive.

I guess I want to share the thought that buying things that other people have already used is not a sign of inferiority.  I like to say that once you wash that new pair of pants or shirt, it is used clothes...  sometimes there are brand new items in the thrift store, like clothes with the tags still attached, because we buy a lot more than we need.

I watched some of the PBS program on Queen Elizabeth's life and it mentions she had to have a new designer outfit for every occasion, sometimes 7 or more in one day.  That is a lot of money.  I wonder where she got the idea she had to have new outfits...  ordinary people have one good outfit and wear it to every fancy event.  :-)  Is it a real requirement, or a self-imposed requirement?  What happens to all those expensive clothes?  (They were nice looking!  :-) 

The SAVE THE EARTH movement is really about changing ideas like this.  Recycling isn't just cans and bottles, aluminum foil, newspapers, and cardboard... it is making sure we only create what is really needed, and try not to damage our only ecosystem as we create what we need.

I like recycling... I would do so much more if I could.  My yard sale to thrift shop life is more of a treasure hunt than anything.  And it also isn't as expensive as buying new.  :-)

I hope you do as much as you can , too.

Tuesday, 1 SEP 2015 :: Financial goals and the efforts to reach them

I hope to do better with this post than Monday's...  :-)

The day was a rest and slowly recuperating day for me... not idle, just moving a little more slowly.  It is how I recover when I try to do too much some days.  I am learning how to plan my activities, but I don't always know how to limit my actions when I have long lists of things to get done.  We all face this problem, age makes it a bit more critical because it can lead to death, or maybe infirmity.  I am learning to "pace" myself and get my body back to a better physical shape.

I am thankful for your patience (and assuming you are forgiving  :-).


Today I was busy with my September recordkeeping... the starting balances and budgeting activities for this new month.  I recently created a "cash flow" sheet for my own process, and was updating it with revisions and information.  It is a record of my spending, but not quite the same as my other budgeting efforts.  I hope to keep it in a place I can access every day so all the important details will be recorded.

The thing I like about this version is that I can see my balances and keep track of what I have available for the things I need to achieve my goals... I can better decide if I can buy something that would help me, or if I need to wait for the next month or further down the road.

The other day I checked on getting a secured credit card so I can work on building some kind of credit for the future.  I was told the money you deposit has to be held for two years, and the minimum balance is $300.  With a poverty background, collections are a part of life. The person I spoke with didn't think the secured savings account would be safe from collections activities... which makes the plan to try to get a secured credit card worthless.  I shall have to wait... or find another alternative... or, since the person I spoke with wasn't sure, I might have to keep asking.  :-)  Recovery from a lot of crises is such a pain.

I need a place to save money for all the many financial issues that I am facing, but it seems to be a difficult goal.  I hope to figure something out soon.

The news is not very good these days... so many police being shot... in one city there is a sniper that seems to be shooting random people. 

The stock market has been unstable for many years.  It is like a roller coaster, and no one knows if they will survive financially.  It has taken me some time to understand the Bull and Bear terminology... and I'm not sure I fully comprehend the references, but I think a down market is a (wild, attacking, threatening) bear and a rising profitable market is a (strong, charging) bull...  If that isn't right, just change the animals.  :-)

My view of stocks is that you look for a company you believe in and want to invest in, with the plan to stay with them through the ups and downs of business. 

             It has been a goal of mine
through Working Together
to help Christian businesses.

One of the options I have wanted to establish is a lending / investment program with several choices for funding. 

One of the choices for us and for potential businesses would be for Working Together to purchase 10% of a company's stock in exchange for a standard financial investment.  The 10% ownership would allow us to have a seat on the Board of Directors and remain involved in the daily activities and growth of the company.  A stock investment would not create debt for the company we invest in, and would eventually (hopefully) create income for Working Together. 

My view is to make it a long-term investment strategy for Working Together, its members, and those who will live past us. 

By investing in Christian companies, we would be supporting the Body of Christ and forming a partnership to help us all through the expected hard days ahead.  It has always been my plan to purchase as many Christian assets as possible to protect the future of Christians and to keep us from losing them to the world.  It is my hope these companies would provide work options for both the Christian community and Working Together members.

Board membership allows us to be ready to help in the future.  We can increase our investments in companies that warrant a larger involvement, or we can limit our financial commitment to the 10% maximum. 

The associated goal would be to invest our resources in the products we would need to survive.

I spent many years working out the details for Working Together, but am still waiting for GOD to provide the starting funds I could never raise, or the sales I would need to establish these programs.  The goals of Working Together are to save as many as possible, to create a way to provide basic survival resources for the Body of Christ.  My experiences with poverty helped me to focus on what would be the most important resources.

Now that age and health are affecting my plans, writing my vision down is growing more important.  In reading about successful social service programs (non-profits) while at the University of Oregon or in my own studies, I came to see that most programs die with the loss of their founder.  They may continue, but they are never the same.  I don't know how much writing out my vision would help Working Together or the future of Christians all over the world, but it seems to be an important quest to me... and would allow me to share the reasons why I think each element of Working Together is important.  It may also encourage others to think about and prepare for the unknown future based on what the Bible tells us is coming.

I can see why visions die with their founders because of the challenges I have faced.  I doubt there is another person that sees the End Times the way I do, or has the combination of past experiences I do... or has the same priorities as I do.  GOD has a purpose for all the things that are called my life, I just don't know what that purpose is... what part I play in the process... or maybe I should say ::

I just don't know why God hasn't already provided
the finances Working Together needs.

In the Bible we read that GOD acts "at the appointed time," that our sorrows are not always because of something we have done, and that sometimes the angels sent to help us are delayed.  Whatever the answer is,
GOD knows what He is doing.
He is the one in charge of our lives.
We have to trust Him,
and His love for us.

Monday, 31 AUG 2015 :: Long day, it's late... only a few words... I hope!

I can barely keep my eyes open... I won't be writing much.  I can't believe that SEPTEMBER starts in less than an hour! 

I really need to get busy!

I have amassed a bunch of supplies and will be able to do some serious creating in September... and listing things for you to buy!  :-)  The future is beginning to take shape.

I will see you tomorrow!