Weekly Photo Challenge: Horizon

In response to the Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge for HORIZON, I’m going to post some of the memories still within reach to capture on my brain’s horizon.

17 cliff view

View from the cliffs summit at Mount LeConte (access point: Gatlinburg, TN)

24 watching the weather change

View of cloud cover from the Bullhead descent from Mount LeConte

Sunset at the Marina

Sunset at the Marina


October morning view of the Gulf of Mexico

Blue Ridge Mountains

Blue Ridge Mountains


My son’s first trip to state this year with a “championship horizon” view

up from the plains

Yei, Sudan area horizon view – from the plains to the mountains

the village rises with her

The village rises, as does the sun on the South Sudan horizon


paddling towards the horizon

FIRE IN THE FOG: Morning sunrise view on a foggy day

FIRE IN THE FOG: Morning sunrise view on a foggy day


an upward horizon from the Sea of Galilee


casting towards the horizon


Morning Sunrise View from Front Porch Nook

Morning Sunrise View from Front Porch Nook

Powerful in Pink

When I was 5, my best friend was diagnosed with leukemia. Beyond not recognizing her when she returned from St. Jude’s, feeling as if I was making a brand new friend as we became reacquainted once her immune system could tolerate my presence, and spending the rest of my pre-adult years trying to convince her that the damage the chemo had done to her hair did not detract from her beauty, I didn’t really understand what she had overcome – not until I lost my nephew to this same horrific cancer years later in my life. I was a kid. She was a kid. I had no awareness of death.

When I was 7, my mom was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Beyond not seeing her for weeks on end when she’d have to go for treatments, then feeling exuberant over spending nearly every day with her one summer at the dialysis clinic (when her kidneys stopped functioning), and knowing I wasn’t to get near the heparin and needles in her closet, I didn’t really understand terminal cancer – not until the very end, anyway, as she would lie in the hospital bed at our house, looking up towards heaven and speaking to angels in words only they could understood. All other times, she functioned as normally as she possibly could as a mom. I didn’t notice the graft loop in her forearm or the fact that her skin had become a yellowish-green tint over her emaciated structure. (It was only in looking back at pictures, years later, that enabled me to see those changes.) I have no doubt that she put forth great effort to be as productive and seem as vivacious and as lovely as she could for her family. I was a kid. I had no awareness of the war a mom will wage to “do anything” for those she loves.

I’m sure it’s not by accident that I ended up being drawn into the health care field. For a portion of those years, I had the privilege of serving many women in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, most directly while supervising and assuring accreditation of three breast centers in their early years of operation. We all opted to wear pink each day there, not just as a reminder to the women who came to us that we were dedicated to supporting them, but to remind ourselves and others (when we were away from our work territory throughout the day) of the bravery of these women who were waging war against a deadly opponent. We were wearing our team colors proudly, supporting and cheering this team of women towards VICTORY!

That’s what many of the sports teams have been doing, as of late (particularly during October, the month designated for Breast Cancer Awareness). It may seem pointless to some for people to put on the color pink while playing a ball game, but Real Men are wearing pink for a powerful purpose! You see, when these gruff, tough male team members begin to dress out in this otherwise improbable choice of color for support, it sparks some level of awareness in them (and in those watching) about what others are battling on life’s field, where the impact of wins and losses is substantial.

Cancer patients know – this battle’s tough; but life has to “go on” around them. Despite the time stolen for surgeries, treatments, reconstruction, therapy…others at work, at home, in life are depending on them to be there. And I’m always amazed at how responsive they are to these demands.

Breast cancer is an especially tough diagnosis, too, maybe because it emphasizes the difficulty of life simply “going on” – not necessarily just for the patient, but for her entire family. The majority of those affected (though not all – and that, too, is important to recognize) are women, more specifically often mothers and wives. Many of these ladies are the center of their families’ universes, serving as the beautiful centerpiece around which everything else is arranged. While they visually represent the softness, the warmth, and the splendor of the household, they authentically serve as a backbone of support. More than anything, that’s the importance of bringing awareness to their battle ground and offering our own lovely pink arrangement of support to them.

I’d love to share with you how my son’s school and football team (and their opponents) participated in this effort during last week’s homecoming game. Beyond selling items (shirts, hats, etc.) where proceeds would go towards breast cancer research, beyond pink jack-o-lantern buckets being passed around at half time to gather additional proceeds, and beyond a check for previously collected money being presented to the American Cancer Society during half-time, we had an inspirational half-time show where all cancer survivors present (led by the school’s headmaster, a breast cancer survivor, herself) were invited to come onto the field and release balloons to honor their victories and the good fight fought by so many others.

I hope these photos depict the excitement of the evening and celebrate what took place on both of these fields of “battle.”

We Salute You Sassy Sisters (and all others waging war against cancer).

A Beastly Trifextra Challenge

I long for those primitive days of old.

Then, whenever I’d screech and roar my beastly best,

all went well in my world.

I’d be held,



Where did the cuddling go?


This was written in response to this weekend’s fun Trifextra 33-word challenge. What better to write about than beastly behavior, as the Hallowed Eve tries to slip upon us?

Thirty years ago, Roald Dahl published the book Dirty Beasts, a collection of poems for children about weird and wonderful animals. The last poem, however, is called The Tummy Beast about a boy who thinks there’s someone living in his belly. Your Trifextra challenge is to write 33 words on a beast in an unusual place. No swamps or forests or caves, we really want you to take your beast out of its comfort zone. – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.SSZ6TDA4.dpuf

Trifecta Writing Challenge: The Most Ghastly Phantom of All

The reason I could fall in love with so many women, so many times, was because I could fall out of it just as quickly. The concept of any permanence in a shared lifelong relationship seemed pretty mundane to me. I invented my ideal soul mate to be an unobtainable phantom of perfection I was sure I could only envision in my mind, a sensual conglomeration of all the very best traits I liked most about each of my other temporal partners, while utterly void of all their irritating annoyances. The beauty to my madness was that I knew I’d never allow myself to get strapped down to any one of them for too long – nobody except the one I was sure didn’t actually exist.

Then the day came when I was hit like a revolving door nicking my heel, causing me to trip up about the time I decided I was going to use it and then didn’t move in sync with the motion of its rhythm. She’d been right there, right in front of me, for most of my self-vexed life. She’d even stood back along the fringes of my bond-free destruction for the past handful of years, patiently waiting for me to come to my senses. Meanwhile, I’d tried every way I could to justify why she was all wrong for me. By the time I understood she was the epitome of everything I’d ever wanted, of everything right in my life, she vanished. She became every bit as intangible as I’d ever thought my phantasmal version of her was. Except…the more elusive she became, the more my desire to be with her was inflamed. As wretched as that sounds, the saddest part is, I gave up. Yep.  I was too tired from chasing my own fantastical version of her and too complacent to pursue authenticity with her. I settled, instead. Funny word. Settling. You see, when you do it, there’s nothing very settling about it at all, is there?


Now, onto this week’s prompt. We’re still not totally spooked out by you guys yet and we’re a little way from Halloween proper so get your ghoul glad rags on again this week. If there’s anyone who puts the ghoul in ghoulish, it’s you lot. Have fun and, as always, make sure you use the THIRD definition. This week we are back to entries of 33-333 words.

PHANTOM (noun)

1   a :  something apparent to sense but with no substantial existence :  APPARITION      b :  something elusive or visionary      c :  an object of continual dread or abhorrence

2 :  something existing in appearance only

3 :  a representation of something abstract, ideal, or incorporeal

 – See more at: http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/#sthash.W9dAsDpH.dpuf

For Autumn: “Oh My Pumpkin Pie” Frozen Breakfast Smoothie

Quick update for Week 6 of our campus fitness team progress: The Rampaging Regionals —

  • Only 5 lbs of weight loss for the entire group (6 lost by 1 person, 1 gained by another!) Not to worry – increased activity levels and muscle building could be part of the cause (& 1 of the members going on a biker trip to Florida could be another! haha!)
  • 2,281 minutes of physical activity logged. (On a more serious note, 1 of our team members lost someone very close to her this week, yet she tried to maintain physical activity for her mental well-being. Prayers & hugs going out to her.)

With the crisp fall weather and Halloween sneaking up on us, I thought I’d share a “warm” frozen smoothie recipe for those of you looking for ways to get good protein for workouts without sacrificing taste.

Jody’s Honey-Caramel Pumpkin/Banana Protein Shake

/or/ better known as:

Oh My! Pumpkin Pie Frozen Smoothie

Another morning pick-me-up filled with “the good stuff” – only, this time, I’m offering you a warmer taste to your frozen smoothie – Pumpkin Pie!

Pre-Warning from Redd Foxx :
“Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.”

Preparation Preface:

If you’ve ever read my previous recipe comments, you know I take the easiest route possible whenever possible in the kitchen. (So if you’re in my advanced smoothie learner group, you can just skip ahead to the Ingredients section. If not, I’ll clue you in, so you can progress from the beginner level pretty rapidly.)

I use an instant blender cup to mix this frozen fruit smoothie concoction (because I hate doing dishes & this blender cup serves a dual “serve-it-up-on-the-fly” purpose)…but you can use a full-size blender and your own fancy glass, for all I care. 😉

I have taken care to calculate the calories & grams of protein for you (according to the measurements provided & the brands I’ve used use, if specified in any place where I thought these could drastically change). Sorry – you’re on your own if you want carbs, sugars or anything else along those lines.

Hint: When the information isn’t available on a package, I can usually look up almost any ingredient (by portion) through MyFitnessPal, an application I use on my iPhone. You can also log your daily caloric intake and output through exercise here.

I use frozen yogurt for a couple of reasons. First, this is how to get the “smoothness” like pumpkin ice cream – without chunky pieces of ice (along with the frozen banana piece). Next, low-fat frozen yogurt has oodles of protein and isn’t too bad on calories.


This image contains the ingredients from “Oh My Pumpkin Pie” smoothie, including the individual blender cup example.

pp3Here is the main ingredient difference in this protein shake:

I used GNC’s Pumpkin Spice Lean Shake 25 Protein mix (This is simply the brand I’ve found for an acceptable calorie count for me. I’m not promoting particular brands or companies.)

Are you ready for this extra bit of fun info? The scent of Pumpkin Pie has been listed as one of the Top 10 Aphrodisiacs by the Science Channel. Who would’ve guessed?!

So HANDLE this one WITH CARE!!!



Protein (g)

2 oz.  Cranberry juice (organic, pure, non-sweetened)



1 Tbs ground flax meal



2 tsp L-Arginine powder (optional for pre-workout vascularization)

¾ scoop GNC Total Lean 25 shake – Pumpkin Spice flavor



1 scoop GNC Women’s Ultramega Maximum Nutrition – vanilla crème



1/3 small frozen banana (peel it & freeze it the night before- in a freezer baggie)



1 Tbs raw honey (best if gotten from a hive in your area) 60.00 0
1/4-1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup Yoplait low-fat Honey-Caramel frozen yogurt (1/4 small package)


Fill remainder of blender cup with water
(approximately 4-6 oz. if using large blender)


12 oz = 393.8 calories(8 oz.= 262.53) 22.242 g


pumpkin_smoothieProduces a 12 oz. protein shake that tastes like a delicious frozen pumpkin pie smoothie – oh, that’s because it IS a delicious frozen pumpkin (pie flavored) smoothie! 

(Color variations will occur based on the ingredients used, especially fruit coloring variations.)

…and, yes, once again, I dirtied a real glass for demonstration purposes…just for YOU! 🙂

Quick (and much abridged) health rundown of contents:

  • Pure cranberry juice helps flush out the toxins/waste products in the liver & kidneys, while providing a rich antioxidant/phytochemical (good heart) fruit source.
  • Flax seed – rich in Omega-3 (‘positive’ fat) and lignans (anti-cancer, anti-diabetes, good heart), with the addition of fiber when seed or ground meal. (Of course, you may substitute the flax meal for flax oil BUT in this case, I wouldn’t! The flax meal provides the extra benefit of a pie crust-like texture for your frozen pumpkin pie treat.)
  • L-Arginine – this is one way to get it without consuming meats that will have added fat. Great as a pre-workout for increased vascularization. (More waste product removal, high immunity and good heart.)
  • Protein helps the body to recover more quickly during workouts & rebuild its musculature after being broken down from work-outs.  Protein supplements can also replace other protein sources (e.g., meats) that would come with ‘negative fats.’ I have to go to work a few hours before workouts, so I want to start my day with a good dose of protein at this time and then add some immediately after workouts. You may need to investigate this according to your schedule & daily needs. (i.e., I use less than what many would, especially if you are male and/or a high metabolism athlete, like my teenage son. He uses a much higher caloric product with more grams of protein – and adds peanut butter, to boot. Oh, to have his metabolism – and 8 pack! J) The recommended daily intake of protein for healthy adults is ~0.75 g of protein per kilogram of body weight, or about 45 to 56 g of protein a day. (Some sources will say 1 g per pound; many will argue no more than 0.55 g/lb.)
  • Added nutrients – whether you’re swallowing pills for vitamins, adding in a power (like I do), or adding a liquid multi-nutrient, this is the easiest place to work them in (and a great way to start your day!)
  • Banana – I use the frozen variety for a couple of reasons. First, I can get them all year and store them easily. Secondly, this is how I get a frozen smoothie that’s truly “smooth” – without chunky pieces of ice! You’re already starting your day well on your food chart by adding some fruit!
  • Cinnamon – has been shown to help regulate blood sugar & lower cholesterol (good heart!), reduce flair-ups of arthritis (which athletes often develop in their joints early), and has shown some cancer-reducing and Alzheimer’s/Parkinson’s benefits. And it just smells good.
  • Raw honey – besides offering a natural sweetener to your shake, it’s packed with natural nutrients, promoting digestive health, immunity, wound & allergy healing; rich in antioxidants & enzymes, is anti-inflammatory, along with a ridiculous host of other great benefits. (Important Note: Do NOT share your shake with infants less than 1 year of age, whose immune systems cannot fight off any potential botulism that could be present in raw honey.)
  • Nonfat yogurt – rich in calcium, protein & probiotics, oh my! (as well as potassium that can help flush too much sodium out of your body) – and frozen with a little caramel just makes it yummy-delicious!
  • And speaking of flushing…I can’t think of a better way to flush out the body than with H2O.
    Adding Water helps you to control your caloric intake, balances your body fluids, energizes muscles to work out, & helps get the bad stuff flushed out. (You can add some orange juice in place of ½ the water if you want more flavoring, but never just drink OJ alone – else your blood sugar will spike – always dilute it (or chase it) with agua. Oh, and adjust your calories.)

For any changes to the above “recipe,” just remember to make any necessary caloric & protein adjustments, if you’re counting. (Remember, these amounts meet my particular protein & calorie breakfast goals.)

Also, feel free to change around your fruit or go green by throwing in some spinach leaves to add a veggie component.


Important Disclaimer: I am not a Nutritionist, nor am I representing any company. In the case where brand names have been provided, I am simply expressing to you what I am using at the moment in an attempt to fulfill my own personal dietary goal (and so you can make a comparison of caloric and/or protein amounts in any substitutions you decide to make). I also didn’t add what I consider to be negligible calories.

Here’s to your health, -jody


Ese’s Shoot & Quote Challenge: My Outdoor Appalachian Obsession

The lovely Ese has issued another Weekly Shoot & Quote Challenge:

Prompt 10 – OBSESSION

I only have one obsession – not to be boring. -M.Hazanavicius

Were I to re-quote this in my own words, I might possibly say, “I only have one obsession…not to be bored!” Haha!

And I never find the beauty in my part of the world boring. I love my mountains especially, and am blessed to have them stretching out before me from the time I’m stretching out of bed in the morning. To climb to the top of one of them is like reaching for a tiny piece of my own personal heaven. No, they’re not the sharp peaks found in other parts of the world or even other parts of my country. You can have your sharp, treacherous high sky rises. I’ll continue to be respectful of my elderly mountains – the rolling Appalachians, patiently meandering along the border of my world in an ever-inviting southern fashion.

Yesterday, I hiked to one of the highest summits we have, named Mount LeConte. It’s always amazing to me how different the experience, depending on the trail(s) selected and the time of year. This being October, it was crisp and cool and colorful. My last trip up was in January, where we ran into 12-18″ of snow as we ascended, along with a miserable, cutting wind and no visualization (and a need to reroute quickly via the cables down the icy Alum Cave trail, due to a nasty unanticipated snowstorm). Not so yesterday. The view was spectacular – at least until the Smokies decided they needed to live up to their name once more. We came out about an hour and a half after sunset this time, simply because I couldn’t bear to leave the summit once we’d arrived, knowing I wouldn’t be back for another fabulous fall season for at least another year.

Revisiting an Old Favorite: Yeats


I recast this “old favorite” of a poem on a new background this week.

As much as I love much of Yeats’ work – even going so far as to make it a key centerpiece in At the Water’s Edge – I love none more than the depth of this tenderly romantic, yet heart-breakingly vulnerable, message. To me, true love encompasses and sets itself on a tier of trust that allows the lover to open up on both of these levels. Like revealing the precious contents of one’s lifelong hope chest and seeing their use come to fruition is how I imagine making such a profession when fearfully yet reverently revealing the contents of one’s heart to another.