Are There Shortcuts?

Yes, and no! Mostly, no.

This grandma opted for a right masectomy in 2013. I tell you what, when you hear the words "breast cancer" head in your direction... you want it gone.  At that time in my life, I was not even close to eating healthy or whole, not too mention macrobiotic. Did I want to take the long, hard process of getting on the slow train of healthy eating to rid myself of a less than 2cm lump with surrounding questionable areas? The lump biopsied cancerous.  I didn't even wait to have the questionable areas biopsied.

I chose the short cut ... take it out or take it off.

Six weeks post op, the prognosis from the oncologist was indeed the lesser of all the cancer treatment evils. I did not need radiation, I did not need chemotherapy, but I was highly encouraged to take the hormone blocker Letrozole for five years. My burden to bear side effects: weight gain and bone density deterioration.

Hello Shaklee vitamins, winters in Florida, a treadmill, a pretty healthy diet and weight gain.

I needed a shortcut. 

Enter Isagenix. 

In September of 2016 I started with an Isagenix nutritional package: two shakes a day, a sensible dinner and 4 cleanse/fast days a month. 18 lbs and 30 inches later, I'm still on the program and I will tell you why.

It's not the weight loss, or even the inches (although I'm thrilled) it's how I feel! I've lost almost all sweet and salty cravings, I'm hardly ever hungry, and I feel like I could conquer the world. I used to nap every day, and cleaning up the kitchen gave me a lower back ache. Now I power nap (15 min) about once a week and I can clean with enough energy left over to redecorate or repaint a whole house. I had trouble getting off the couch and Facebook. Now I walk everyday and my favortie thing to do on the computer is iChat with grandkids.

I wanted to share this part of my story with you because I want to encourage you on this journey.  I am a firm believer in eating less, but I'm also keenly aware that overeating is not how we all got here. I'm not suggesting that eating healthy will cure a cancer or blaming the food industry for all our pounds, BUT somehow, somewhere along the line we got our digestive systems whacked out and it is a long and hard road back. 

So is Isagenix a short cut? Yes and no! Mostly, no.  It's a whole new mindset. It's a cleansing syseten to remove toxins. It's a nutritional replacement drink. And it's just what I needed to get this grandma healthy, so I wanted to share with you.


Let It Go

My grandaughter's favorite movie is Frozen. And now you'll have Idina Menzel's voice in your head the rest of the day.

The meal replacement and nutrition company I'm using calls losing weight "releasing pounds."

Counselors almost always counsel on moving forward and not getting stuck in the past.

Stress eating may be the number one reason Americans eat, on average, 1/4 to 1/2 a pound of sugar a day.

This article by Jennifer Regan asks, "Would you eat 22 packets of sugar? Then why do you drink the eqivalent in your can of soda?  Not So Sweet.

Could you let go of added sugar? Think about it. Go back and read the above mentioned article. Also, the Netflix documentary "That Sugar Film" will get you thinking about giving up on sugar.

Here at Grandmas Getting Healthy we're all about taking steps, even if they're baby steps. So pick one thing this week. Let go of soda pop? Let go of chips? Let go of fruit juice? Let go of the doughnut? Step away from the ice cream? Bread? Cookies? Crackers? Salad dressing? 

On your mark, get set ... let it go.

While you're at it, make a decision to let go of a bad habit (ei: stress eating) and some old bitterness or grudges. Your mind, body, and soul will thank you.




Day Of Rest

When one lives south in the winter months, one may or may not lose all track of: 

  • what day it is
  • what time of day it is
  • what month it is
  • what season it is

The work-a-day world has it's Mondays, Hump days, and TGIFridays, but Sunday has a whole different feel.  I believe it's a universal feel.

Take today to reflect and relax.  

When I was losing weight with Weight Watchers, my mentor told me, "one day a week, give yourself a sensible  break.  Don't go crazy ... just take a break from being too hard on yourself.

When I thought I was an interior designer (more on all the jobs I've had later) my mentor told me, "In every room, on every wall, the eye needs a place to rest."

Keep drinking water, lots and lots of water. Keep having one serving.  Walk leisurly and find some coffee or roses to smell.  Encourage yourself.  You've worked hard this week so take a break from some of the less urgent rules. When you have a day off of work you don't quit breathing.  So do the important things, but use some self control to give your mind, body, and soul a rest.

Slow down, sit down, limit your words and screen time. Read a book, play a quiet game, go to church, watch the sunset.

God even rested on the 7th day.

One Serving Equals

We want Grandmas Getting Healthy to be your go-to blog for motivation, inspiration, and fresh ideas for getting and staying healthy in your mind, body, and soul.  We want you to be reading here at the end of 2017, so we're going to hit weight loss topics hard for the rest of the month, because y'all know the old saying, "Strike while the iron's hot" (gonna have to google where that saying comes from, sounds kinda harsh.) So at the risk of repeating, how ya doin' with One Serving Equals?

Guidelines for restaurants and when you're out and about without your measuring cups.

  • Your fist is equal to about one cup or one medium fruit
  • Your fist can be used to determine ... cereal, pasta, rice, potato
  • Your palm (minus your fingers ... ouch) is equal to 3 ounces of meat or chicken
  • Your thumb (from the tip to first joint) is about a tablespoon or one ounce
  • Your whole thumb is about one serving of cheese
  • Your index finger from the tip to the first joint is about a teaspoon
  • A handful is between 1-3 oz. Use this for nuts, snacks, chips, crackers, but remember you can always count it out too ... 

Here's a trick for resturant eating ... order what you want but ask for the carry out box right as you place your order. Divide your meal in 1/2 as soon as you receive it ... Voilà ... Saturday's lunch! 

So the phrase "Strike While The Iron's Hot" = This adage alludes to the blacksmith's forge and was coined in the 1300's.  If you want to change your eating habits, think differently about something, become a more positive person or basically, work at the New Year's resolutions ... strike while the iron's hot ... you can remake and remold even steel and stubborness.


Perspective ~ L to R ~  lime, medium apple, large apple

Perspective ~ L to R ~  lime, medium apple, large apple

Let's Get Going

The speed limit in our mobile home park is 10 MPH.  I'm a freakin' speed nazi when someone goes by our place at 25 MPH.  You hardly have to have your foot on the gas pedal to go 10 MPH. 

But you are moving. This post is to help you get going.  If you can only do one thing right now do "One Serving Equals" Anybody know what one serving of ice cream is?  That's right ... 1/2 cup.  Do any of us know what a 1/2 cup of ice cream looks like?  Hardly worth it, I KNOW!  

So let's say you're way advanced beyond me and you've moved on to strawberries and greek yogurt for dessert.  Still ... you have to have one serving. Check the labels.  Have one serving, Count your chips out. Even if you have a 2nd helping, have one serving for the first helping and have one serving for the 2nd helping.  In case you can't do math, that's one cup of ice cream.  Do any of us REALLY know what one cup of ice cream looks like?

You can do it ... set yourself a goal for a one week. One serving equals. We can't all go fast.  But we can all go. Even if it's 10 MPH.



For The Love

I going to let you in on a little more about the grandma behind Grandmas Getting Healthy.

I used to be a wedding photographer, actually, I used to be a lot of things.  I used to be thin. I used to be judgmental. I used to be fearful. I used to be young. I used to be negative. I used to be a republican. You kinda get my drift.

But now I'm a grandma and I want to be around to dance at their weddings and hold their children in my rocking chair.

They are the loves of my life... Lilly, Max, Moses, Calvin, and Lucy far. When I started Grandmas Getting Healthy my daughters suggested the title "For The Love" cuz I say that a lot.  Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that I have 2 daughters, 1 son, 2 son-in-laws, and a daughter-in-law. I really really like/love all of them, but dang it, I absolutely LOVE being a grandma! Love it.

So I'm gonna do everything in my power to be present in their lives. I'm gonna pray for them, play with them, read to them, write them letters, tease them, host them, and love them without limits.

Think about it ... who and what is your motivation?  How do you complete this sentance, "For the love of...?

 For the love of those kiddo's, I'm getting and staying healthy ... mind, body, and soul! 



Mind = Think positive

Body = One serving equals (see previous post)

Soul = A chapter a day in Proverbs

Happy New Year

If I wrote a weight loss book it would contain three words.

In 1996, we took our family to Disney World and I weighed 130lbs. I wanted to take a photo with Minnie Mouse and title it, in the scrapbook, Minnie & Skinny.  How silly of me.

By the early 2000's I had landed at about 155lbs, (I'm only 5'4") so I joined Weight Watchers. Back then, I reached my goal weight in 6 weeks and became a weight wathers leader and eventually, an area manager.

But life happens and you can do the math.  My weight fluctuated for nearly 20 years, with a little help from Oprah, The South Beach diet, and Trim Healthy Mama.

So welcome to my 2017 world. Just recently, (Sept 2016) I embarked on a couple months with the nutritious food program, Isagenix, and I'm almost back to the year 2000 weight number.

I'm fixin' to stay with Isagenix (a shake for breakfast & lunch, then a sensible dinner, including a couple of cleanse days) not so much for the weight loss, but for how good I feel.  I sincerely believe the cleansing is key, and I'll go into that in another post.  E-mail me, I can help you get started in about 1/2 hr.

But for now, I leave you with those three little words.  The words which help me eat that sensible dinner.  The three little words that could change your life.  The three little words that could easily be your New Years resolution.  The three little words which would be the entirety of my weight loss book if I wrote one.

Are you ready? Get set. Here ya go ... my gift to you for reading here.

One Serving Equals

Creative Memories

This magnetic board holds our 5 precious grandchildren.  Their stories (albums) will follow.

But for now, I've arranged the "old" Creative Memories books in chronological order and attacked the stack of boxes.


These books were completed pre-2006.  They represent the early years.  I laid aside scrapbooking in 2006.

But I'm baaaaaaaaack.


For approximately the past week, I've been in another world. Oh, always hovering slightly over the present, but mainly reliving 61 or so years in my minds eye. My loyal comrade, assistant, and memory jogger has been the brilliant and more often than not, not so brilliant photograph(s).

I started with 36 photo boxes and 4 or so tubs of memorabilia. I am down to 12 chronologially sorted photo boxes. I have a give-a-way tub with 4 sibling and 3 children envelopes. (They'll get their albums and mine when I'm gone). There is one tub left of memorabilia ... organized by project ... weddings, plays, musicals, camps, paris, young americans, grand canyon, etc. etc. etc.

I even started an album for our grandchildren, after all, our first "grandparent day" will be here before you know it.

I'm pretty much patting myself on the back because I'm all the way up to 2006, when everything in our world went digital. Thank goodness for the digital age, because I have 6 paper grocery bags out by the garbage, filled to overflowing with blurry duplicates and even some unrecognizable faces and places.

Shutterfly, a trusty slide-to-jpg converter, and I will tackle 2006-2016 at another time.

What goes around comes around ... I am once again a consultant with Creative Memories. 

Click on "Albums" in the header  to get started on your stash of photographs. 

Coming up next:

Steps to Sanity with your Stash


Mobile Home Living

1. Keep it simple: Take out the clutter, have nothing you don't absolutely love and stop bringing things from the north. (preachin' to the choir, here)

2. Use what you have: Wicker cart becomes a outdoor movable bar

3. Lipstick and rouge: This mobile home was built in the 60's ... it has an updated kitchen, wood floors and new windows, but every thing else is paint and more paint!

4. Be friendly: We love our neighborhood and neighbors.  But ya gotta get out there and socialize. Smile and wave. Make a meal for someone. Meet up for coffee and happy hour. Stay positive. Be happy.

5. Remember When: Most of our decor is our reminiscing.  Family photos, a bunting made out of our old t-shirts, artwork from a vedor on the Sienne River in Paris, and most importantly ~ an open door policy for making new memories.  

6. Balance The Scale: Scale down. You're cookin' for two or less now. I love my mini-salad spinner and 32" TV is the new "big screen" Less is more. 

Stop Motion

Wedding & Market Season is open

Check out some new stop motion videos on our sidebar --------->

All photographs and videos courtesy of Stories Photography and Jennifer Grace Photography.  

Now accepting summer and fall 2016 and 2017 markets and weddings. Specializing in rustic, home, and destination wedding photography and planning.




Stories Photography

Jennifer Grace Photography


Grey Barn Occasions

No extra travel fees in Michigan and Indiana. No extra travel fees in Florida (until April 30)

MARKETEERS ~ We have photographed for the following markets and popup sales.  Let's talk.

Hobnob Market Danville, IL  

Born In The Barn Cissna Park, IL

Savvycityfarmer Dundee, IL

Main Street Market Rockford IL 

Brocante Market

Sittin' by the dock of the bay area.

Sittin' in the morning sun... I'll be sittin' when the evening comes.

This is Stories Photography 2nd year of whiling away the winter time in the sunshine state. Last year we turned our blog into more of a lifestyle blog ... mainly to get our photography foot in the door with some of the locals, here in West Central Florida.  You can check out past posts ... but whatever you do ... set your reminders to February 6 & 7 for St Pete's Brocante Market.

It's a must see!

More pics uploading later ... now it's Downton Abbey time.  

Watchin' the ships roll in

Then I watch 'em roll away again ...

Retro Holiday Greetings

Want to hear a great story?

So I'm getting my bags ready for Hobnob Market with these vintage christmas cards {pictured on left in photo and ordered from eBay} . Flipping flippantly through each and every one, wanting to enhance the Stories Photography booth experience ... I stumbled upon the card on right in photo.

Mr. + Mrs. C.G. Bauer were my grandparents.

Needless to say, THIS card did not go on a Hobnob bag.  And as I started to attach the cards to the bags, I began to read each and every one.  I wondered about the stories? Where had each card travelled? Whose hearts had they warmed? When and why did the all end up on eBay?

The names and dates revealed the times.

I became a bit nostalgic as I read and imagined.  Before you knew it, I was setting up a makeshift photo op and snapping the shutter on every single one of the cards.  The results are below, mixed in with a few from the magical and marvelous December Hobnob Market.

I'll leave you with the words from Charlie Brown and Linus and their Christmas Special, which turned 50 on December 9.  

Charlie:  Isn’t there anyone who understands what Christmas is all about?

Linus: Sure, I can tell you what Christmas is all about.

Linus goes to center stage, spotlight.

Linus: “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, ‘fear not, for behold, I bring you tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you. Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes lying in the manger.’ And suddenly, there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, ‘glory to God in the highest, and on Earth peace, good will toward men.’”

Linus picks up blanket, walks back to piano.

Linus: That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.

Mark and Julee 

Stories Photography & Grey Barn Occasions

Christmas Card Photos

Need a Christmas card photo?

Don't have much time?

STORIES Photography can help.

1. Send us your photo and we'll make your cards. We photoshopped Darlene and Vic's grandson out of their NY trip photo and added the greeting. 


2. Call us for a quickie photo shoot. See the gallery below. We LOVED photographing this family... Nicholas, Victoria, Sofia, Evey, and Henry!  They got ready and we did the photo shoot, all in all, for about a total of 1/2 hour.

Call us ... everybody has a story to tell!  

Option #1. Nov 11-30 = $50 for 25 cards and envelopes        Dec 1-15 = $75 for 25 cards and envelopes

Option #2. Nov 11 -30 = Photo session = $50                           Dec 1-15 = $75 photo session. 

Call or text us at   (two three one) two, zero, six - two, seven, eight, one !!!   OR gmail = storiesphotographyllc


Hobnob Market

We have 3 Weddings and an Engagement to post here, but first let's have you put Dec 4 & 5 on your calender and add "Vendor" to my list of things I'm gonna do before the end of the year.

My sisters are such an encouragement to me, it moves me to jump outta the box, stretch my imagination, and literally moved the pen to sign on the dotted line for Hobnob Holiday Market , Danville IL. Dec 4 & 5 Holiday merry making at it's finest.

Look for the colorful booth, {not a white light in sight} and Mr & Mrs Claus to greet you.  STORIES Photography booth leans towards retro everything {I was born in the 50's}  We've developed a "timeworn" look to some of our photos and we'll have everything from cabinet cards to inspirational canvases.

We'll  take orders for customized Christmas cards and  your family pics on canvas. The "Welcome Home Remington IN" photo below is an actual canvas, as are the wedding trio photos ... the other photos will be available, as canvases, to carry home or place an order before or at Hobnob! {of course, all canvases and prints come without the watermark}

If you'd like to get started before Hobnob give me a text or call at {2312062781} or email me at {storiesphotographyllc} it's gmail so you know the drill.

Merry Everything and Happy Always

Main Street Market

The reason we named our photography business STORIES is just that! We love to tell stories through our cameras.  For those of you who found your way here from Urban Farmgirl's Main Street Market ... Welcome! C'mon in and sit a spell. We do Weddings, Events, and Celebrations. We love to travel and take pictures so you might be pleasantly surprised at our pricing. 

Even though we had to call in the replacements for yesterday's photo shoot ... we felt like we were actually there, strolling through the Village, meeting happy vendors, listening to artistic music, tasting yummy food, and being inspired at every turn. 

Jen from Jennifer Grace Photography (she does weddings, families, and engagements in West Michigan) found the light and told the story.  Here's a sampling ... more to come!

Indiana Barn Markets

Saturday, this photographer is heading to the 2nd Annual Indiana Barn Foundation Convention, in association with the National Barn Alliance.  There'll be break-out sessions on barn preservation with nationally known barn contractors and architects. I'll get to see the screening of the documentary, "The Resurrection of a Barn". There will be a market atmosphere of artists, crafters, and unique-use barn entrepreneurs.  I couldn't be more excited.  

I've always dreamed of preserving the family barn and my pinterest boards lean heavily towards reborn barns. I love the smell of barns, I love taking pictures of barns, I love dancing in a barn, I love red barns, white barns, and especially grey barns. Plain and simple, I love old barns.

Mix a barn with a barn sale, a barn wedding, or a barn dance, and I can't help myself. Here's a sampling of some photos that have  prompted a new fb group; Indiana Barn Markets.   Join us! 

"Shut the door, where you born in a barn?" 

"Have a cow!"

"I was so naive as a kid, I went out behind the barn and did nothing."

"... so God made a farmer"

"I wasn't born in a barn, but I got here as fast as I could."

"True Love was born in a stable."

Chris & Kelly

We loved being a part of Chris and Kelly's wedding day.  Thomas Duncan Hall for the ceremonly and Purdue Memorial Union Ballroom for the reception reeked of photo ops and history! The weather tried to cooperate but did nothing to dampen their long awaited wedding day! God bless as you continue on the journey. 

Pop Up Sale

It's Pop-up Sale Week!  Check out Retro Depot on Facebook for all the details, but here is a sampling of what will be for sale. Hope to see you there, and if you can't make it, head over to Indiana Barn Markets Group on Facebook to see sales/markets within a 1/2 day driving of Indianapolis. 

Jen's Fresh Vintage

I feel like maybe Jen, of Jen's Fresh Vintage, and I were separated at birth! I LOVE everything about her style and now she's a friend AND she let me "borrow" her turquoise tonka truck for my "Road Trip" logo ... I'll follow her anywhere and you should go follow her on facebook. Here's a sampling of her delicious style and stuff.