Gratitude unlocks the fullness of life. It turns what we have into enough.
There are lots of serious subjects we could talk about this week, but I don’t feel like it. Instead, I have concocted a list of random wonderful things that I’m grateful for. I have tested and tried all of these and recommend them for your consideration. Here we go!
Dr. Teal’s Epsom Salt Soaking Solution
Epsom salt is simply magnesium sulfate. This is the same medicine we put in your IV if you have preterm labor or preeclampsia in pregnancy. But Epsom salt has been used for hundreds of years as a soaking solution for people with muscle aches. Although there is not a lot of science to prove this, a little magnesium is absorbed through the skin, easing muscle cramps and even constipation.
Dr. Teal’s salt comes in a bag with a nifty Velcro closure. I take a hot bath almost every night, and this salt makes the bathwater kind of silky and soft. I buy the lavender or eucalyptus kind, and the whole room smells heavenly! Be really careful getting in and out of the tub, and don’t make the water too hot. Otherwise, as long as it’s ok with your OB provider to take tub baths, relax and enjoy!
Man, I love to read!
Fiction, mysteries, biographies, children’s books, all kinds of things. I have always preferred real books with pages, and I was not an early adopter of electronic readers like Kindle and Nook. I used to take a heavy bag of books and magazines on vacations and business trips. I finally bought an iPad mini, and I have grown to love it for a lot of reasons. It is big enough to see the screen easily but small enough to fit into a purse. I can surf the internet, shop, play games, and make notes, but best of all, I have a ton of books on it.
Reading books on this device took some getting used to, but now I love it. I can highlight passages, bookmark pages, and take it easily everywhere I go. I read books when I eat alone, take a trip, or even stand in line.
Some of my recent favorite books
Last Stop on Market Street, by Matt de la Pena – This lovely little book follows CJ and his grandmother on a city bus trip on a Sunday. A Caldecott and Newbery honor book, this is a simple story with engaging illustrations of pleasant people. I look forward to cuddling with a child and reading it together.
Little Critter books – Speaking of great children’s books, the whole Little Critter series by Mercer Mayer has always been a favorite with my kids. Perfect for bedtime reading, Little Critter is funny and adorable. Hilarious illustrations.
One of my retired doctor friends recommended the Penn Cage mysteries by Greg Iles, starting with The Quiet Game. The protagonist, Penn Cage, is an attorney-turned-author-turned mayor of his hometown of Natchez, Mississippi. I devoured the books in rapid succession. Besides being page-turners, the books make me want to take a road trip to Natchez. Greg Iles incorporates the little town and all its colorful history into the books.
Tabata Stopwatch Pro
In a previous post, I may have made fun of Tabata exercise in a moment of frustration (honestly, it’s hard to keep up with exercise trends). But now I’m a believer.
Tabata intervals were developed in Japan by, you guessed it, Dr. Tabata. These high-intensity interval workouts incorporate short work and rest intervals. What I love about Tabata is that the whole workout can be done in 30-45 minutes, and you get challenging cardio and strength training without getting bored. I am training with a group at the gym near my house, and our trainer showed me an awesome phone app – a free Tabata timer called Tabata Stopwatch Pro.
You can program the times for your exercise and rest intervals. It tells you when to start and stop, and it counts your sets and cycles (in a cool Japanese accent!). Look on my Pinterest page for some Tabata sample workouts, modifying them if you’re pregnant or a beginner.
I always like listening to podcasts at the gym while I am on the treadmill or elliptical. I live only a mile from my office, so I don’t have much time to listen to anything during my commute. But when our practice opened a location on the other side of town, I started gobbling up podcasts and looking for new material. Here are a few great ones:
No Such Thing as a Fish – This is a weekly British podcast where researchers talk about their favorite facts that they have discovered that week. Fascinating and funny.
Radiolab – Public radio journalists Jad Abumrad and Robert Krulwich dive deep into scientific and human-interest topics in hour-long stories. The one about the female gondolier, the one about the man with the seizure disorder who developed an uncontrollable sex drive – you will be enthralled as these stories unfold.
Wonderful – This quirky little podcast is produced by Griffin and Rachel McElroy in Austin, Texas. Each week, they describe things that they think are great (in fact, they inspired my blog post this week). Nothing super-enriching here, but Rachel and Griffin are a down-to-earth couple who like each other and can be fun to listen to.
Tea is one of my very favorite things. It’s all I drink besides water.
I love iced tea (NOT sweet tea!) all year round, and hot tea in the mornings or evenings or when I just need a comforting cup to hold. Republic of Tea makes my favorite Ginger Peach tea; their Mango Ceylon and Blackberry Sage are also great. Harney and Sons make some delicious fragrant teas, including Winter White Earl Grey, Blueberry Green, and Paris. Afternoon tea is something I will never get tired of.
Teacups, silver strainers, pretty kettles, and teapots, tea sandwiches, scones, lemon curd, jam– I love everything associated with this calming ritual. Way to go, England!