As a young girl who grew up in Southwest Virginia, I loved getting out of bed early and standing in the kitchen and watching my mother cook.
For some reason It was fascinating to me that she could take a hand full of this and a pinch of that and make a delicious dish to serve up for dinner. Eventually, as I grew up a little I would ask her questions about how to cook. I think I was maybe eleven years old when she allowed me to cook an entire breakfast for the rest of the family. I worked so hard trying to do it just right and of course, mom made me believe that it was every bit as good as hers. To this day, I know that I could never cook as well as my momma, but I do love to keep trying. Nobody could ever make homemade biscuits like my mom. I know that everyone probably feels the same about their mother. G.I. tells me that my cooking is as close to his mom’s as it gets so I think maybe I have learned a few things over the years.
When my overnight guests at the Metamora Inn tell me that the first time they come here, it is to ride the canal boat, to take a buggy ride, to ride the train, to take a hike or to shop in our village stores. I am quite sure that is enjoyable and relaxing to them, but after spending the night at the inn and eating the home cooking prepared by my sister and me, they come back again and again because they love the food and hospitality. There is no better way to get to know a person than to sit down to the table and have a friendly conversation over a delicious breakfast.
Over the years, my overnight guests have their favorite dishes and often request my recipes. I attempted to write a cook book at one time but somehow, I have never been able to complete it. I decided to share some of my most requested dishes with you. I hope you will try them and enjoy them. You may also print them off if you wish. If you would prefer that I cook those dishes for you, just call me and make a reservation. I would love to have you as my guest.Jo's Journal
It’s been a long time since I last blogged although I have made several pitiful attempts. I am still not too sure what I have been going through; so for now, let’s just call it a “valley”. I have searched endlessly trying to find a source of inspiration. After all, how can I be an inspiration to others if I am not feeling inspired? To bring you up to date, I did finish a 10K walk in the spring of last year. It was one of the most amazing things I have ever accomplished. I, of course, was the very last one to finish, but to walk through that finish line was unbelievably exciting. I had set that goal and accomplished it. I think part of my “valley” is the fact that I failed to set a new goal after that walk. It seems I had convinced myself that I had accomplished what I had determined to do and there was nothing left.
The Bible tells us to “guard” our minds and this is a prime example. Once we allow a negative thought to get into our minds, it will eventually penetrate our subconscious and there it will dictate our actions. I knew something was dragging me down and taking away my “joy” but I could not pinpoint the problem. G.I. and I have been blessed over and over again since moving to Metamora. Our lives have been so full and well rounded with activities that we love and enjoy. We have a great family and so many amazing friends and neighbors who are there when we need them. We have a loving son and beautiful daughter in law and two wonderful grand children, so what is my problem?
For almost a year, my weight loss has stayed at 40 pounds. I should have reached my goal weight long ago. How many times had I joined Weight Watchers and quit before I reached my goal? I know the answer is not to quit. I sure wanted to, but my dear, sweet G.I. would not allow that. Every Thursday morning, I found myself looking for reasons to stay home because I knew I would have to face that scale and not see a loss. He would give me that disappointed look and I somehow got the courage to go. I sat in the meetings and felt inspired for a little while and the next day, that inspiration just flew out the window. One Thursday, I surprised myself. The leader asked us for our definition of “success”. I found myself talking about my problems and failures but my refusal to give up. I felt that I was successful because I was attending the meetings and not giving up but trying to find a rope to pull myself out of this valley.
That day started my walk back up the mountain. It is still an up-hill challenge, but along the way, God has put the right people at the right time into my life that have been such an encouragement. It is ironic how these people show up in the most unusual places. For example, Charlotte, my best friend from high school whom I have not seen in 47 years, encourages me so much. We were able to reconnect through Facebook and for that I am thankful. My family of course is always there for me as well as my friends. Strangers will speak to me on the street and tell me how they were inspired by reading my blogs. The assistant editor of the Herald-Tribune that ran my blog in her paper told me just a few days ago that she had lost 15 pounds and was inspired by reading my blog. All of these things are so heart-warming to me, yet, I still could not find that much needed motivation. Just a couple of weeks ago, G.I. and I had the honor of attending the annual dinner of the Whitewater Canal Byway Association. We had attended this in past years but this one was special. Congressman Mike Pence would be the speaker and we would be seated with his Chief of Staff, a good friend of ours.
The meeting began with the introduction of several dignitaries and their contributions to the Whitewater Canal Byway Association. It was all very enlightening. Then a lovely lady was introduced whom we had decided should have the honor of sitting at the table with Congressman Pence. I had heard about this lady but I had never actually seen her before this night. Pauline Druley, a beautiful 102 year old lady was introduced as a supporter of the Byway Association, a past secretary to the Senate and the oldest person who walked the Whitewater Walk to raise awareness of the valley. I expected someone in a wheelchair needing assistance; instead, up popped this vibrant unbelievable lady who smiled so big and was so gracious. All of a sudden I was so inspired! This lady never gave up. She is still working to do what she can. She inspired the entire room of over a hundred people in a moment’s time.
Praise the Lord! I waited upon the Lord and He showed me the answer. You see, I have turned 65 since my last blog. Without realizing it, I had allowed the “age thing” to creep into my thoughts and by not dealing with it right away, it began to fester. Finally, I had convinced myself that somehow I had suddenly reached the age of being “old” and felt like everyone was looking at me as such and I was allowing my “joy” to be snatched away. Pauline made me know in my heart that I still have a life to live, things to do, battles to fight, and people to help along the way. God says we have to walk through the valley to see the mountain top. We cannot go under it or over it. We face it head on but always know that He is right there walking with you. Just keep on walking, never give up. I intend to do that. I have 37 years to catch up with Pauline! That is a life time ahead of me. I pray for God’s help along the way that I may in turn help someone else. By the way, I have lost two more pounds!Jo's Journal
The Whitewater Canal Adventure is in process! The Metamora part of the walk is Thursday and I am scared half to death! This is a huge challenge for me, being better prepared for this walk a month ago than I am now. A number of things have placed a stumbling block before me that I really need to overcome. I have tried for two weeks to write this blog and could not find a way to be inspiring to you when I am experiencing so much doubt within myself. I decided to take the advice of a friend of mine and just shut my eyes and jump right in. I have been having some health issues as well as physical problems, but Julie, my Weight Watcher leader spoke about “set –backs” this week and that was exactly the message I needed.
I think my problem has been the fear of not being able to keep up with everyone since my current health issues have slowed me down. Therefore, I have decided to be the tortoise not the hare. I want to finish the race and not rush, rush, rush and run out of steam in the middle of the walk. That’s my plan and I am sticking to it! I will do the best that I can do with the resources that I have. I have had so many wonderful friends, neighbors and family that have encouraged me all the way. My sister and buddy, Regina will be walking right beside me as well as my son, Jason and daughter-in-law, Bridget. The part that I love the most is my grandson, Alexander and our new little granddaughter, Layla will be coming along with us. My husband didn’t want to miss all the fun so he will be riding his bike. It’s going to be a great family outing for me that day. I am excited and looking forward to the challenge by jumping another hurdle of my journey.
The older I get the more I realize that life happens in small segments and steps. The good things almost never happen all at once. The vision usually comes first. Keeping our faith and never giving up is what sustains us. It works every time if we follow God’s leadership. The great artist, Picasso once said, “If you can imagine it, it is real.” I can imagine myself sometimes in the future as being at a healthy weight, looking and feeling better than I have in years. I have the vision; I have the plan and the faith that God will sustain me. I hope you will join me. Please continue to follow my blogs which will be archived on my website @ www.themetamorainn.com
Thanks so much for your interest and responses to my journal entries. I will share the results of the walk with you in another blog and after that please follow me on the above site as well as Facebook and Twitter. God bless all of you!
Hanging on the wall in the work-out room of the gym I attend, is a poster with the words “Feel The Power” and underneath are small pictures of football helmets of each NFL team. Of course, I see the significance of that poster, however, there are many different ways to interpret that statement. In reference to my own personal journey those words mean far more than just strength or muscle building.
Getting healthy and fit has many benefits other than the obvious ones that I had never before considered. I was just curious about those benefits and decided to do a Google search. Here are a few of the things I found. Most everyone knows that diet and exercise is believed to reduce the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and reduces the bad cholesterol while raising the good cholesterol. Exercise reduces stress, induces changes in the body’s immune system and may protect against some forms of cancer according to Harvard Medical School’s consumer Web site.
Another study now in progress is to prove that regular physical activity has an anti-aging effect at the cellular level, suggesting exercise could prevent aging of the cardiovascular system. One would think with all of this wonderful information at our finger tips that everyone of us would jump at the chance to get the weight off and get to moving. Some of us are slow learners and I include myself in that category. With four months of regular exercise behind me, I began to have a really good feeling of well being that I couldn’t identify until I noticed that poster I spoke of in the beginning. It is truly a feeling of empowerment. I get that feeling when I can walk into a restaurant and the greeter asks if I want a booth or table. I proudly announce I prefer a booth just because I know that I will fit comfortably . That is empowerment.
When I walk the trail and know that I will finish without having to stop and rest several times, that is empowerment. When I go to my Weight Watcher class and step up on the scale and realize a weight gain but I know I am replacing that ugly fat with strong healthy muscle, that is empowerment. When I go to my doctor for a routine check-up and she is so pleased that all my numbers are good, therefore, she reduces my blood pressure medicine , that is empowerment. When I am able to go into a clothing store and buy something off the rack that fits me and I didn’t have to go to the plus sizes department, that is over the top empowerment.
The list goes on and on. The personal victories are more encouraging to me than a study or research results from any medical association. There is nothing more empowering or self satisfactory than being able to actually squat down to the level of my grandson to get a big hug from him and be able to raise back up under my own power. That is the best re-ward of all! Nothing can replace those hugs ! I did experience jumping another hurdle this week by running a few feet for the first time in forty years. That was fun and empowering to see my husband’s shocked expression. I know from experience that you start with small steps and move on up . The next time I will run a few more steps. I do have to learn to hop and that is a little more difficult for a person my age but since I taught my grandson how to play Simon Says, wouldn’t you know the first thing that came out of his mouth was, “Simon says, hop on one foot” ! I just couldn’t do it so he decided he would help me by holding up my other foot……..not good. We had a lot of laughs from that but I do have a new challenge now.
Since my last journal entry, our family has been blessed with the most beautiful granddaughter named Layla Susan. She is one more reason to get up every day and get to walking and hopping because I have a feeling that Xander will be teaching her how to play Simon Says.Jo's Journal