Today's picture is from Saturday's hike to Mt. Cammerer in the The Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was a little hazy, but still spectacular.
I hope everyone had an Independence Day as enjoyable as mine was. We heard an excellent sermon reminding us that yes, we are free and for that, we should celebrate and be grateful. But it doesn't stop there. That hard fought for freedom wasn't won just for us to sit back and talk about how lucky we are to be free. No, this freedom we enjoy challenges us to love, serve and treat others in exactly the same way that we would like to be loved, served and treated. It was a wonderful reminder that freedom comes with a great deal of responsibility.
Mr. B and I had accepted invitations to two events both of which we knew would be lots of fun. One was a cookout, the other we weren't sure of the menu, but it didn't matter because we would be arriving late and only for dessert. This worked out to my advantage because I didn't not have to deal with two entire meals, both of which would have been a tremendous challenge for me. I am pleased with the way I maneuvered through both events. I ended up eating only a hamburger with trimmings, good sized helping of potato salad (this friend makes the world's BEST potato salad) and then a decadent helping of cake/ice cream. I have paid for the cake/ice cream today in the form of a slight reaction to the high concentration of sugar. Although I enjoy it as much as the next person, sugar is not normally my downfall or even "trigger" food (salty is another story), so I don't eat it that often and when I do, I can tell for several hours afterwards. Since I planned for it, I suppose it was worth it, but the jury is still out on that one.
We spent some time this morning breaking beans on the front porch of my in-law's house. If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know the situation there and how precious time spent with my father-in-law is. By early afternoon, we were back at home spending a quiet afternoon resting and relaxing. For dinner, I prepared a wonderful grilled chicken salad with ingredients from our local farmer's market and chicken breast straight off the grill. Also threw some zucchini fresh from garden on the grill and ate that alongside our salad. A light and tasty dinner for a hot afternoon in East Tennessee.
I am excited to say I am participating in my first challenge since beginning this blog. It is the Freedom Challenge sponsored by Deb who blogs at http://debwillbethin.blogspot.com/. It began today and will end on August 2. The rules are very simple which was great for my first challenge. I also thought it was a nice touch that Deb suggested at least one of our goals be unrelated to weight loss. These are the goals I set for myself during the four weeks of this challenge:
1) Walking is my form of exercise. Since 2006, I have worn a pedometer, kept a log and averaged 10,000 steps per week. I'd like to increase that goal to 12,000 steps per week.
2) I want to begin planning menus in advance. I will plan menus three days this week and increase it by one day each week, so that by the end of the challenge, I'll be planning a week in advance.
3) Along with goal #2, I will find and try at least one new recipe each week and post a picture of it on my blog.
4) July 30th is my birthday. I will eat nothing with white sugar in it until that day (and maybe not then).
5) This is a "just for fun" goal since you asked that our goals be unrelated to weight loss. I'd like to weigh 155 or less by my birthday. This is my 55th birthday (EEK!!) and I think it would be cool to be at or below 155 on my 55th birthday. I'm already very close, so this should be a easy no-brainer.
This challenge has a fun prize package at the end. Maybe I'll win the prize in the first challenge I join. How cool would that be?