#NYTWellChallenge – 2/28

Today we’re working on CONNECT.

The New York Times Wellness Challenge asked us to read out loud to someone. Luckily, today was my poetry writing class, and we each had the opportunity to read the poem we had written out loud to the rest of the class. This is mine.

By Abbie Watters

The menu said “Pan-fried Trout”
And my heart rejoiced.
I love eating fresh-water fish.

Papa was an avid fisherman,
Mama liked to fish because
He liked to have her with him.

One sister and my brother both
Loved to fish, one of my sons loved it.
One of my foreign-exchange boys went fishing with Papa.

My brother-in-law died in a boat
After a long morning of fishing.
We knew how happy he must have been to die that way.

Quiet moments standing on the bank
Flinging my bobber, sinker and hook
Into the middle of the current.

Or sitting in a gently rocking boat with Papa
Casting my lure into the lily pads,
Watching the bass rise from the depths

With a great WHOMP!
That will get your blood pressure up.
Floating in a canoe or row boat,

River, lake or ocean
Motorboat, either outboard or inboard,
Or cabin cruiser. It mattered not.

Worms, minnows, or flies for bait.
Drifting with the current, paddling from staub to staub,
Trolling slowly with the trolling motor,

Sunnys, perch, crappie, big-mouth bass,
Black bass, sand bass, catfish,
Trout, or wall-eyes. Fluke, flounder,

And blowfish who puff up
And will bounce like a ball
When you catch them.

Pike, pickerel, or even gar.
Needle-nosed, bony, and viscious
With prehistoric teeth in long jaws.

The waitress returns to the table
“I’ll have the trout” I say,
And return to my reverie of warm summer days on the water.

Intentions Review for February 2019

My Star Word for this year is “Empathy”. The internet defines empathy as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. Merriam-Webster says, “Empathy is similar to sympathy, but empathy usually suggests stronger, more instinctive feeling.”

When Facebook sent me my “Year in Review,” the thing that stood out for me was that 90% of the pictures I posted through the year were of landscapes, seascapes, and skyscapes. There were VERY few pictures of people, and very few posts about people. I suppose that’s not unusual for an introvert like I am, but I also realized that I tend to flit through life without getting really close to other folks. It’s part of the shell that I’ve built up to keep from suffering the grief that comes from separation. After the nomadic life that I’ve lived (27 houses in eight states and three countries), I realize that I’ve always just found new friends, and forgotten to tend the old ones. But I’ve never had a BFF. The closest thing I’ve had is my family – siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles, parents and children. I try to keep up with them, but I do a poor job of it. The ones I’m reasonably close to are now living in Washington, California, Texas, Arkansas, New York, Illinois, and Alabama. We gather for weddings and funerals and are able to take up where we left off. Anyway, I’d like to change a little of that this year, and, with my Star Word, try to become closer to the people who matter to me, and closer to the ones near to me.

Here are my intentions for 2019.

Physical Health

  • Continue to eat real food, and, hopefully, lose about 20 more pounds this year. – I’ve done well with the weight loss, and am down 4 pounds so far this year.
  • Continue to average 150 miles a month on my Fitbit. – Again, I’ve done well. According to my Fitbit, I’ve walked 167 miles this month.
  • Continue to work with my personal trainer for strength, balance, and endurance. – Check. She has added more core training, and we do both stairs and ramps, in addition to single steps up and down without a railing.
  • Return to weekly Tai Chi classes. I’ve dropped out of Tai Chi again. Sorry. It just doesn’t fit into my schedule. Maybe later in the year.
  • I’ve been following #NYTWellChallenge. I’m in the third week, and if you are following this blog, I report on what I’m doing with it every day.
  • February was almost a lost month. We were house-bound with the snow for two weeks, and locked out of the Wellness Center for another week because of illness in Assisted Living. I did the best I could, but I feel like I lost ground on my steps and endurance.
  • You can follow my success (or not) on my blog “Nevertheless I Persisted.”

Emotional Health

  • Practice empathy by taking a picture a day of someone who crosses my path. – I’ve almost dropped the picture a day because (see above) I was not out in the world for most of the month. The people I saw were usually people I had already taken pictures of.
  • Try to learn the story of each person I take a picture of. – Again, this is a fail. Maybe next month.
  • Post those on a new blog “Tribes“.

Intellectual Health

  • Expand my leisure reading from fluff mysteries to more substantial novels. – Books read this month.
    • The Library Book by Susan Orleans – finished
    • Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens – finished
    • Becoming by Michelle Obama – finished
    • Womanish Midrash by Wil Gafney – finished
    • The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – finished
    • The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter – reading
    • Entering the Passion of Jesus – reading all through Lent
  • Continue to read the Washington Post and the New York Times for reasonably non-biased reporting. – I scan the headlines and read articles that interest me.
  • Continue to watch the Rachel Maddow Show to feed my angst and resolve. – Check
  • Return to writing. Try writing a story about each person I take a picture of. – See above.
  • Keep writing midrash poetry, as I’m inspired by the Sunday sermon or weekly Bible study. – I don’t have one going right now, but I think I may do the Daughters of Zelaphahad.
  • I’m also writing things for the Poetry class that meets twice a month.

Spiritual Health

  • Continue to participate in weekly Bible study, and weekly Worship. – Check. We will be expanding to two services the beginning of February. I’m still going at 11:00.
  • Try to carve out time daily for intentional prayer and meditation. – I’m not doing very well with this, although my midrash poetry and Wil Gafney’s book are driving me deeper into my beliefs.

Social Health

  • Tend the relationships I have at Franke Tobey Jones. – I still regularly attend the Gazebo Group (the folks who meet on Monday evenings for Happy Hour.)
  • Tend the relationships I have at Bethany Presbyterian Church. – I also regularly attend Bible Study. Since Coffee Hour is now between the services, I am missing it, but I will be Lay Leader at the early service in April, so maybe I’ll develop a new habit there.
  • Tend the relationships I have on Social Media. – I try to keep up with people I call my friends on Facebook. It’s hard when so much of the stuff there is political.


  • Keep up with People Power as an Admin. – A new group of people has become very active as admins, and I’m allowing them to take the lead. I keep up with what’s going on, though, and support if and when necessary.
  • Participate in Town Halls and face-to-face meetings with elected officials. – Attended the Environmental Priorities Lobby Day at the State Capital in January. The Lobby Day with Faith Action Network was cancelled because of weather, unfortunately.
  • Our City Council representative was here and met with the residents this month. He was able to slip through between the snow and the illnesses.
  • I will be attending NEXT Church next month in Seattle.
  • Attend GA Nominating Committee meetings, both face-to-face and virtually. – The first meeting is scheduled for the end of April. I have my train tickets, and plans are made.
  • Support #BlackLiveMatter, #Me,Too, #ThePoorPeople’sCampaign, #ClimateAction, and other social justice movements. – I donate regularly to MoveOn, the ACLU, and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I attend rallies and marches if I’m available.


#NYTWellChallenge – 2/27

Today we were exhorted to MOVE.

The New York Times Wellness Challenge for today we’re back to the 7 minute workout. They suggested we begin with a mindfulness exercise for about 3 minutes.

Cardio – March in place – 30 sec.

Rest 15 sec.

Lower Body – “Sit to stands”. – 30 sec.

Rest 15 sec.

Upper Body – Push-ups with my hands on a chair – 30 sec.

Rest 15 sec.

Plank – I did a seated plank. – 30 sec.

Rest 15 sec.

Rinse and repeat.

Rest and stretch

Before this, I spent an hour at the Wellness Center, and pedaled the recumbent cross trainer for and hour. Refueled with my personal trail mix.


#NYTWellChallenge – 2/25

Today we were exhorted to FIND OUR SOUNDTRACK.

The New York Times Wellness Challenge for today we’re back to the 7 minute workout. I didn’t follow this at all today, because I had an appointment with my Personal Trainer. The suggestion here was that I find music to work out to, but I already do my cardio (60 min. most days) while watching Netflix or Prime on my iPad. Anticipating what’s happening in the current episode is enough to get me back to the gym.

Cardio – Obstacle Course (including cones, dots, and steps) – 3 min.

Lower Body – “Sit to stands” – 5 times, followed by sit to stand and walk around a cone, 5 times.

Hand-Eye Coordination – ping pong for 10 min

Upper Body – Flexible Bar (20) – 15 down, 15 up, 15 in

Plank – Seated plank – 12 sec. 3-times


60 min on the recumbent cross-trainer while I watched Cadfael on Prime.


#NYTWellChallenge – 2/24

Today we’re working on REFRESH.

The New York Times Wellness Challenge is do an 8-minute Gratitude meditation. “The more gratitude you feel, the more likely you will be to seek out positive experiences that will make you feel grateful.”

I’m trying to practice this every day by posting “5 things that made me happy today” on Facebook. I find as I go through the day that knowing I’ll have to come up with five things for a post in the evening, I keep an eye out for things that make me happy, instead of just assuming that they are always going to be there. It helps me keep focused on the good things in my life.


#NYTWellChallenge – 2/23

Today we’re working on NOURISH.

The New York Times Wellness Challenge asked us to Fatten our Salad. I have several go-to salads that fit this bill. They are mostly from restaurants, although I can and have recreated them at home. I understand that SUGAR is where the culprit lies, not FAT.

Wedge Salad – Sprinkle a wedge of iceberg lettuce with craisens, chopped pecans, blue cheese, and crisp bacon. Add blue cheese dressing.

Italian Deli Chopped Salad – Greens, diced tomatoes, bacon, chickpeas, diced hard salami, diced mortadella, shredded mozzarella cheese. Top with creamy homemade Italian dressing.

Mexican Chopped Salad – Greens, diced tomatoes, chopped avocado, chopped grilled chicken breast, roasted corn, bacon, and gorgonzola cheese. Add Chipotle Ranch dressing.

I’ll be eternally grateful when spring comes, and decent tomatoes re-appear.