Reflections, thoughts, introspection, rumination, pondering, contemplating and dreaming.

10 Tips For Better Living

Keeping it simple, keeping it real.  Here are 10 tips to incorporate into your life that will improve all areas.


  1. Lift Heavy Things. Strength is more important than any other aspect of fitness.  If you are weak you will not survive let alone thrive.
  2. Move.  Quickly and often; you must elevate your heart rate on a frequent basis and breathe heavy.  There are many ways to accomplish this – find what works best for you.
  3. 3 Times a Week. Find the time to do #’s 1 & 2.  If you cannot find the time you need to re evaluate and change your ‘schedule’ so that you can.  There are no excuses.
  4. Eat Real Food. Eat meat, fish and fowl that were raised on pasture, eggs and wild seafood. Eat vegetables and fruits preferably local and organic.  Eat healthy fats from pastured animals and wild fish. Eat roots, tubers and some starch commensurate with your activity levels and goals.
  5. Maintain a Healthy Weight: eat quantities of the above listed foods to support your activities but not excess body fat.
  6. Sleep.  At least 7-9 hours a night of sleep in a dark room with no LED distractions.  Avoid violent television and technological stimulation 2+ hours prior to bedtime
  7. Breathe & Focus. Find time for quiet reflection preferably in nature; if not, anywhere you can focus on the moment observing your breath and stillness.  Keep focused on your path and your goals. This can be done in many ways – find what works for best for you.
  8. Laugh. Find humor on a daily basis; learn to laugh and smile frequently.  See obstacles as opportunities. Maintain an optimistic yet realistic viewpoint.
  9. Find a Qualified Healer. Our healthcare system is rigged; seek a gifted alternative/holistic/functional medicine doctor to oversee your health care that focuses on preventative measures rather than disease and toxic drugs.
  10. Be Grateful. Appreciate and give thanks to a higher power for what you do have.  Ask for direction on how to achieve your goals and give back by helping those in need that also are willing to help themselves.

Elephant Meat – Part 1

Eat a lot of elephant meat.  Is it high in protein and grass fed?  Not sure but it will certainly allow you to get a lot done, simplify your life and enable you to better achieve your goals in many situations. You’ve heard the saying ‘how do you eat an elephant – one bite at a time’.


That mentality has helped me tremendously since I first heard the expression.  In today’s fast paced 24/7 now now now technology laden world we have less time than ever.  The majority of people feel overwhelmed most of the time. This is not a good or healthy way to live.

Trying to get everything done all at once is the same thing as attempting to inhale an elephant in one sitting. You’re going to have some pretty severe indigestion.  And a lot of frustration.

I am a big believer in goals; setting them, planning and strategizing on the best ways to achieve them.  While it is important to aim high and have lofty goals one must first break them down into smaller or shorter term goals that will ultimately lead to the big one.

For example if your long term goal is to compete in the CF Games what smaller goals should you come up with to achieve along the way?  Maybe for now you’d be best served with finding a coach to help establish a periodized training plan.

When you have smaller goals it gives you a couple of advantages.  First, it simplifies the process and gives you something concrete to focus on.  The idea of qualifying for the CF Games can be quite daunting to say the least. Not knowing what to do specifically will lead to frustration.  It’s a lot easier to seek out a qualified coach to develop an initial plan for you.

Secondly, it’s far more achievable and will give you the satisfaction of completing it and checking it off your to do list. While you still have along way to go to your ultimate goal you are on the right path and moving in the right direction.

Viewing your life’s goals as a series of smaller ones will lead to an overall better quality of life, satisfaction, happiness and success.  Keep the lofty goals within your sight while focusing on smaller ones along the way.  This series of small successes will keep you on track.  Often before you realize it you will look down at your plate and be amazed that there’s not much of the elephant left.  It all adds up.

Squat to the Potty

The Urban Dictionary defines old school as “anything that is from an earlier era and looked upon with high regard or respect. Can be used to refer to music, clothing, language, or anything really”.  I’m definitely as old school kind of girl in most regards.  The world is constantly trying to improve upon things and doing some serious backsliding.

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This was further witnessed on a recent trip to Fort Myers to visit my brother in law and sister in law.  When they initially moved into their home back in 1986 the whole family pitched in to help.  My job was to line the kitchen and bathroom shelves with shelving paper since I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist.

It had been a few years since we visited and I was impressed with how great the house looked.  They are both retired now and that must leave more time for remodeling and keeping things in perfect order. After settling into ‘our’ room (formerly my niece’s) and getting ready to take a shower I looked at the toilet before sitting down and noticed how low it was.

I don’t travel with my squatty potty and miss it while on vacation but this toilet in the pretty yellow and blue guest room was much lower than what I have at home or have seen recently in hotel rooms.  It put my legs are parallel which is not squatty potty level but was greatly improved over the current standard.

Why is so much lower I wondered or why are they making toilets so much higher theses days.  After mentioning it to my sister in law she hadn’t thought about it but agreed that “yes, they are much higher in newer homes and hotels.” This prompted me to measure the toilet height and then compare it to the one in my home which came to a difference of 2 inches. And we know 2 inches can make a huge difference.

Why do you think that is?  One reason that comes to my mind is that people are getting too weak to sit down and stand up.  I get it in terms of someone that is ill or disabled and needing assistance thus requiring modifications.  But what about those that are just deteriorating from inactivity and poor lifestyle habits.

Modern man’s answer is to make the toilet higher which doesn’t solve the problem merely enables it to continue.  My answer is to make the person stronger.  But then again, I’m old school. . .

The Art of Packing

In my twenties when going on a trip I over packed bringing enough for five times the length of my stay.  I packed what I needed, what I thought I might need and what I wanted to have on hand just in case times two. Over the years my packing for trips has been streamlined but I still want to be prepared. . .

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Which means depending on the type of trip I will be bringing a few extra things just in case.  I recently had back to back vacations; one to a family reunion and the other to a class reunion. Both trips were at the beach yet the packing was different.  Like your goal dictates your training the occasion will dictate your packing.

Family reunion beach trip

Scenario #1:  you haven’t stuck to your nutritional plan and the start of the summer has you 5 – 10# over where you’d like to be.  It’s hot and sultry beach weather and the style is casual. Lots of flip flop dresses.  They’re cute, comfy, casual and they will cover and flatter the hips and tummy.  My mainstay when not at my leanest.  A few pair of my baggier shorts paired with loose and flowy tops.  Tankinis  and bikins with boy short bottoms along with snazzy cover ups. Basic beach supplies and food if you’re eating in. Needs are simple, supplies minimal — we’re all set.

Scenario 2:  you’ve stuck to your nutritional plan and the start of summer has you at an ideal weight or maybe even rocking a six pack.  It’s still hot, the style’s still casual but you’re gonna flaunt it a little or a lot.  It’s shorts baby, dig out your daisy dukes, string bikinis and crop tops. The sun is going to shine on you.  Throw in the basic beach supplies and food and you’re all set.

Event Vacation

Whether you’re at your leanest or not will again dictate the styles you bring but a special event such as a class reunion, work gala or something where beyond casual will require more packing.  You’re not sure what the other women will wear.  Does it matter.  Uh, yea. How dressy or casual will the event actually be?  Those terms are vague at best.

At the class reunion we had a ‘beach casual night’ on Thursday and Friday with a ‘dress up’ night on Saturday but the interpretation of that can vary greatly.  For the first night’s dinner I deliberated between shorts and capris or slacks. Knowing that it was a 50th class reunion I doubted many would be sporting short shorts.  I brought both and opted for the capris the first night.  Perfect choice. After seeing how most were dressed and getting a feel the slacks I brought for Friday night with the halter top fit right in.

For the dress up night I brought a cute little dress and just in case it ended up not being that dressy I brought a back up pair of slacks and cute top.  Now with the dress — high heels or low? That can dress it up or down slightly and depending on the venue one may be better than the other. Better to bring both and be prepared.  The dress won out with the low heels since the beach club had a planked deck. This trip required more than a few changes of outfits and two shoe bags.

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Pre packing for any trip is key and will save you time and the stress of not having the right things in your arsenal .  The weekend before the trip I lay out everything I could possibly need on the bed in my guest room.  Each item is organized into piles i.e. workout clothes, evening wear, day wear, shoes, accessories and any other necessary items.  Then throughout the week I will visit the guest room after some thought and narrow down the items until I get to a reasonable amount.

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This has worked well for me over the years.  One other consideration is whether you are flying or driving.  When flying I streamline it even more. Driving allows the luxury of being able to take a little more just in case.  And luggage carts and someone to haul the stuff for you comes in handy too!

Class Reunion: 2016

The decision to return to the past vis a vis your semi decadal class reunion is sometimes a mixed one.  Personally I went to my 25th, had a phenomenal time along with closure but have no desire for another.  I have however been to eight of my husband’s reunions.  Yes, you read that right eight of them.  And I have had a blast at each and every one.

My first experience was his 20th back in 1986; we had been dating about a year and I was very excited to go.  That reunion (as most all of them have been) was a three  day affair at the beach.  The 20th was both a blast and a blur as we partied the entire weekend.  I was 26 and he was 37.

We missed the 25th but returned to the 30th, 35th, 40th and 45th.  Since classmates were growing older and sadly some were passing the decision was made that this grand old time should be held more often so there was a 46th and a 48th. We recently came back from the big one — his 50th class reunion.  While there was much less partying going on and the weekend is clearly remembered it was just as much fun as the first one 30 years ago…

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The great thing about being from Jacksonville is that you are really close to the beach and the Terry Parker class of 1966 has many fond memories from summers long ago when the development was non existent compared to the hustle bustle of the area today. This one was held at Ponte Vedra beach.  We were among some of the first to arrive.

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I always enjoy the first night of an event weekend since it’s usually a smaller crowd and more time for one on one conversations.  We headed out to a local Italian favorite Caffe Andiamo and the dinner was beyond compare both company and culinary.

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The “pan seared sea scallops wrapped in prosciutto with sauteed spinach, a truffle butter cream sauce and Italian fries” was heavenly.  And uh the creme brulee I shouldn’t have had for dessert was perfectly caramelized.

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Enough about my passion for food.  By Friday morning more of his buds had arrived and plans were made for the start of the day.

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Not everyone was game for a day at the beach but I headed out with Rick and one of his closest buds Ben for a fun afternoon.  Pretty cool to see 2 dudes who’ve been good friends since 1955 still surfing and then getting a game of paddle ball in on the beach.  Not bad for 67 years old.

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That night we headed out to the Beach Diner for dinner and dancing.  We even had a DJ; Ronnie — a classmate that puts on quite the array of music for every reunion.  He takes requests and played mine for ‘Once Bitten Twice Shy’ with a gentle reminder “that’s not from the 60’s”.

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Saturday we spent the morning and afternoon at the beach with another fun filled and action packed day.  Then we styled out and got ready for the big night.  Held at the Sawgrass Beach Club dinner was al fresco overlooking the Atlantic.  The evening was rounded out with socializing down memory lane, reconnecting and of course more music and dancing.

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All good things must come to an end but every reunion is finished off with an ‘until the we meet again’ leisurely breakfast. Terry Parker class of 66′ I feel like I belong.  Been a lot of fun over a lot of years — thanks for making me feel like an honorary member.  See y’all at the 52nd!

Family Reunion

I had the good fortune to marry into an incredible family so when our annual family reunion rolls around I know I’m in for a great time!  For starters it’s at the beach which makes it a winner before it even begins and it’s at a quaint old Florida style resort — the Seahorse Inn on Neptune Beach.  They even have our name on the welcome sign.

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We have a series of set traditions that have evolved over the years; a few weeks before an annual Jager Nation Family Reunion newsletter is sent out by my brother in law.  It highlights the upcoming days events.

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Wednesday:  the early arrivals come in and the feeding and drinking frenzy begins.  Its usually the most laid back day and evening as we all begin to decompress and wait for the little kiddos and a few more families to arrive. Some quiet time is enjoyed in a smaller group setting.

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Now, trying to get 30 people seated at a crowded restaurant and one that everyone likes is next to impossible so we’ve come up with ‘finnin’. Which means each family fends for themselves and we gather with our take out containers in the common area to eat dinner together.  Or together for the most part.

The Seahorse is surrounded by a bevy of restaurants, shops and bars all within walking distance.  I have my favorites which we frequent every year, occasionally trying out a new one.

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Thursday:  we head down to the beach for a day of fun while we wait for the rest of the family to arrive, watching everyone unpack, sweat and settle in.  That’s followed by another night of ‘finnin’ and the advent of the annual Poker Prelims; and this year we all wore a throwback tee.  The reunions have been taking place since 1990 with custom printed tee shirts becoming a staple starting 1995; needless to say we had plenty to choose form.

Friday:  this year the morning started quite differently with a ocean side memorial.  We lost our patriarch six weeks prior and the final wishes were to be joined with the matriarch and the ashes sprinkled in the ocean.  While laden with grief and a melancholy feeling for part of the afternoon the closure was soul cleansing especially for the five siblings.

The morning event was followed by a breakfast gathering, beach time, ‘finnin’  and the Poker finals rounded out the night.

Saturday:  is the last day but definitely one of the best days — we’re all pretty relaxed by this time. After another action and fun filled day at the beach we had our crazy contest — yet another tradition where each year something is chosen to be decorated such as crazy shirt, hat, sunglasses etc and this year it was crazy towels.

They are all laid out right after dinner and the judging begins…

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After the crazy contest there is often entertainment provided by a few of the more talented members of the family; three of our nieces better known as The Dancers 3 gave an outstanding performance.

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There is also a Shut the Box tournament, run by my nephew, that goes on all day Friday and Saturday with the winner being announced Saturday night.

Bocce, cornhole and other games will sometimes be played along with boogie boarding and surfing depending on the wave action.  Never a dull moment.  And often a fashion statement.

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After the sun sets on Saturday it’s time for more entertainment.  We all gather in one family’s hotel room and watch a slideshow collection of pictures taken by all throughout the weekend set to a bevy of summer songs chosen by each member of the family. By know it’s probably clear that just about everything is either bet on or a contest.

So right after the slideshow the songs are played in their entirety and the option is given to entertain with a routine of choice. Some of the family members unbeknownst to all actually choreographed and practiced a routine to their summer song.  Not fair but very impressive. Yes, they won.  We will be ready next year…

We conclude the evenings activities by choosing what will be the crazy item for next year, who will do the tee shirts and confirm that we have all booked our rooms as they go quickly at the Seahorse.  The evening is then capped off with last night socializing.

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And of course there is the ever impressive family photo.  It generally takes about 30+ minutes to get everyone and everyone’s cameras coordinated but well worth the final result. Thirty one year’s with this family; so many memories, so many wonderful times.  I am fortunate to have become a part of this family.  While none of us are perfect we are a family that loves each other and always has each other’s back.  Some things are worth their weight in gold.