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Vitamins

Problems with Swallowing Capsules

Problems with Swallowing Capsules is a challenge I find in many of my clients.  They get to a certain age and seem no longer able to swallow capsules or larger tablets without pain. This affliction has people shying away from good vitamins and minerals in lieu of chewable options like babies use.  What the chewable companies don’t tell you is that, even though their products may contain a certain amount of vitamins, the saliva and digestive acids in the stomach destroy most of the vitamins before they enter Pill Man 1 75 x 1 75 300  copyyour system!  So chew all you want on those gummy like substitutes, but don’t do it for nutritional value!

After much research, I have found a few solutions that help!  One is to realize that you swallow food each day without problems, so swallowing a pill is not harder.  It seems when we look at a tablet or capsule, we think it is going to be difficult, so it is.  Our thoughts make it hard.  Decide you can swallow those supplements and it will be easier.

Another thing adults do is to take a big gulp of air as they are trying to swallow vitamins or medicine.  This gulp of air gets caught in the esophagus, causing pain and then some burping.  You don’t take big gulps of air when you eat food, so why do that when you take a vitamin?  Humans!

Some friends eat a few bits of popcorn or a little cracker as they are taking their supplements and medications.  The chewing and swallowing of food mixed with the mock chewing and swallowing of capsules aids in the success of the getting your vitamins down without problems!

Now I don’t like to take a handful of vitamins myself as some of my friends do.  I take my supplements one or two at a time with my Shaklee 180 Smoothee or a glass of water.  Put the capsules in your mouth, and gently make a chewing motion with your mouth.  Now, don’t bite the capsule, just pretend to chew.  This will signal the brain that something larger than water is about to be swallowed and the throat will naturally open wider.  After a few mock chews, swallow the capsule or tablet.  If you need to add a little water, you can do that when you put the capsule in your mouth.  But not too much!

And don’t gulp air.  Air in the wrong place hurts!  It is not the capsule hurting, it is the air trying to escape that hurts.  And you did it to yourself.Vitalizer New Stacked Boxes 2011 3 x 5 100  copy

Shaklee Corporation has worked over the many years to create tablets and capsules that are easy to swallow, which is one of the reasons I use Shaklee products each day.  Shaklee Micronutrient Advanced Release Technology™ is knows as S.M.A.R.T.™Shaklee Vitalizer is the only multinutrient supplement pack in the marketplace with S.M.A.R.T.™, a patent-pending delivery system designed to dramatically improve absorption of key nutrients.  Getting the right nutrients to the right place at the right time, your body can make the most of their nutritional benefits.   12 patents and 2 patents pending on the S.M.A.R.T.™ delivery system means you can’t find it anywhere else!

Happy Swallowing!  Stay well and give you the kid’s candies for better health.

 

 

Just One Pound a Week

How often do we make New Year’s Resolutions concerning our weight, deciding to lose 40 pounds by Valentine’s Day?  Yeah, right.  Not happening.  We get so caught up in all the commercial hype of the “weight loss” craze, that we forget how we got those extra pounds in the first place!

Cake & Berries 3 4 x 3  72Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving meals & desserts and all those holiday parties that follow through New Years day and the following Bowl Games, all we do is EAT!  We eat and eat. Everything tastes wonderful since we have not has some of these food favorites for a year, so we eat an extra piece or two, or three.  As the weeks go by from the end of October through the first few days of January, we are slowly but surely adding pounds.

Slowly but surely adding pounds….did you see that?  Not that we went to a Halloween party and added 10 pounds in one night.  No, we slowly added those pounds over an 8 to 10 week period.  Hummm?  Now if we added them slowly, does it not make sense that we can take them off slowly?  Why YES it dose make sense to take those unwanted pounds off slowly so they will stay off.

Elise_InsertOld_4x4_72WebThat is one of the differences between successful weight management and yo-yo dieting:  Taking the weight off as slowly as you added it!  I have used the Shaklee 180 Weight Management Program for over 6 months, slowly loosing the weight I had added back in 2005/2006.   While using the Shaklee 180 Weight Management Program, I have lost over 22 pounds and over 12 inches.  I have increased my physical activity and modified my intake of desserts (my weakness).  I have lost about One Pound a week!  The same way it went on is the same way it is going off.

Now is the time to do something different with your weight loss plan.  You have tried everything else, now do what works, Shaklee 180!  Take your Shape in a Whole New Direction!  Go from before to after with clinically tested weight loss products—and a program designed to burn fat, not muscle. 

Join me in losing ONE POUND a WEEK!  That’s 52 Pounds in a year—and with Shaklee 180, those pounds can stay away!  Join in on my Shaklee 180 Journey.  Visit my website for more information and special offers   Elise.ShopShaklee180.com180_independent_Web_banner

How is Your Bone Health?

Information sourced from Shaklee’s Health Sciences newsletter from July 2013.

Just what do you know about your bones?  

 Most people think that bones are hard, lifeless parts of their bodies. Actually bones are living organs full of blood and cells that are an active part of our overall health. Far from static, our bones are constantly rebuilding themselves and growing stronger or weaker depending on how active we are and how well we are supplying the nutrients they need.Bones

 It is a fact of life that our bones lose minerals as we age. Bone loss starts around 30 years old. If left unchecked, bone loss can lead to osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones lose minerals such as calcium until they become fragile and break easily.

 What are your challenges?

•  There are many risk factors for osteoporosis:

•  The amount of bone mass you start with has a big impact on your risk of osteoporosis. If you are female, petite, white, Asian, or have a family history of osteoporosis, then you have a greater risk.

•  Research suggests that tobacco, heavy alcohol use, and low physical activity can all reduce bone mass.

•  Gastric bypass, low testosterone, high thyroid, and certain medications (such as steroids or thyroid) can all increase risk.

•  It is estimated that there are 10 million Americans affected by osteoporosis and at least 80% are women.

•  Bone loss rapidly accelerates after menopause; women can lose up to half their bone mass in the 5-10 years following the end of menses.

•  More than 1.5 million fractures occur every year because of osteoporosis. It is estimated that one half of women and up to one in four men age 50 and older will break a bone because of osteoporosis.

•  One in five people over the age of 65 who break a hip end up in nursing home within a year, and they are three times more likely to die within three months.

 What can You do?

 The good news is that you can begin making changes today that will improve your bone health.   Here is your action plan:

Start early: Remember that bone loss starts around 30 years old. While it is best to start taking care of your bones when you are young, it is also never too late to start nourishing your bones.

healthy-couple-exerciseInclude weight-bearing exercises in your routine: Weight-bearing activity increases the density of your bones because bones become stronger when put under pressure; that is why weight-bearing exercises work to build bones and slow bone loss. Consider weight lifting, walking, running, hiking, dancing, and tennis.

Make healthy choices: Don’t smoke, limit alcohol use, and maintain a healthy weight.

Include plenty of calcium: Calcium is the most abundant mineral in our bones.

•  Your diet should include high-calcium foods such as milk and other dairy foods, leafy green vegetables, and soybeans.

•  If you’re one of the many who aren’t getting enough from your diet, supplementation is key. 1000 milligrams of calcium a day in food or supplements is the recommended amount to help maintain bones for most adults; that amount increases to 1200-1500 mg per day for women who are post menopausal and men over 70.

Vitamin D is essential for the proper absorption of calcium from the digestive tract.b21214

•  Even though vitamin D is the “sunshine” vitamin, most people aren’t getting enough because of the use of sunscreens, where you live, time of year, if you are overweight or simply not spending much time outdoors.

•  A new study links vitamin D deficiency to accelerated bone aging. If you don’t have enough vitamin D, it could lead to reduced bone density, reduced bone quality, and increase the aging of bones.

•  The best approach for determining the proper amount to take is to have your blood levels checked and then supplement to achieve your optimum levels. Most health practitioners suggest around 1000-2Vitalizer New Stacked Boxes 2011 3 x 5 100  copy000 IU a day.

Magnesium is the second most abundant mineral in bones and getting around 400 mg a day is essential for good bone building.

 Vitamin K is less well known than other vitamins, but just as essential for bone building. For good bone maintenance, use between 40-80 mcg a day

 Start taking care of your bones today, all it takes is a little effort to have a huge payoff later in life.  I take the Shaklee Vitalizer each day along with extra VitaD3 and other supplements to keep strong as I age.  Remember, aging is not for the weak!  Stay well.

 

 

 

 

Astaxanthin — A Powerful Anti-Oxidant

Recently a friend asked me if I knew anything about Astaxanthin. I thought for a moment since it sounded familiar, but nothing really came to mind. So I told my friend I would do some research. I enjoy researching natural nutrients, I went to my sources and began reading. This is one anti-oxidant you will want to start taking!  WOW.

What is Astaxanthin?
Commonly found in algae and phytoplankton, astaxanthin is an important carotenoid with superior antioxidant properties. Independent scientific studies have proven that astaxanthin exhibits strong free radical-scavenging activity and protects against oxidative damage of LDL-cholesterol.* And its unique properties are continuing to draw the interest of the science and medical communities. Astaxanthin contains numerous antioxidant benefits, including protection against the oxidative damage of LDL cholesterol. It has also been associated with additional health benefits related to immune function and cardiovascular health. 

Astaxanthin improves skin elasticity, smoothness and more.  It has also been linked to eye health and cell health!  Best of all it helps reduce pain and inflammation as well as helping with fatigue.  Good for your overall health and well being.

Most interesting for me was the discovery was that I was taking Astaxanthin already and did not know it! Turns out that since 2004, Astaxanthin has been one of the natural ingredients in Shaklee’s CarotoMax®.

CarotoMax® is a rare blend of alpha-carotene, astaxanthin, beta-carotene, lutein, lycopene, and zeaxanthin delivering of a broad spectrum of carotenoids. These are fat-soluble carotenoids that helps maintain overall wellness and long-term health of the eyes, heart, skin, lungs, prostate, and cervix while supporting a strong immune system.*

Although Astaxanthin is commonly derived from salmon, Shaklee harvests the carotenoid astaxanthin from marine microalgae, the purest and most potent source. Shaklee harvests from Hawaii this important carotonoid. The pigment in algae and phytoplankton that gives salmon its pink color. Since most of us don’t eat salmon on a daily basis, Shaklee’s CarotoMax® is a good source of Astaxanthin!

Paired with Shaklee’s FlavoMax™ gives you a powerful anti-oxidant duo. FlavoMax™ is a comprehensive, high-powered antioxidant supplement* that guarantees delivery of six key classes of flavonoids: proanthocyanidins, anthocyanidins, flavan-3-ols, flavones, flavonols, and flavanones. Shaklee uses standardized extracts of each of these flavonoids to ensure potency and quality. Flavonoids are potent, water-soluble antioxidants that have been linked to healthy blood circulation, strong capillaries, and veins. Flavonoids also deliver antioxidant protection to blood and blood-rich tissues, such as the liver and the intestines.

So when you are thinking about trying Astaxanthin, take a look at Shaklee’s CarotoMax! Stay Well!

* These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
is Astaxanthin contains numerous
antioxidant benefits, including
protection against the oxidative
damage of LDL cholesterol. It has
also been associated with additional
health benefits related to immune
function and cardiovascular health.

Back to School…Already!

August is well underway and Back to School ads are filling the airways!  Kids of all ages are excited about new school supplies:  backpacks, fresh notebooks, pencils, laptops, new clothes and maybe even a new school.

To help your kids have a productive school year, plan for healthy starts to their days with a protein and vitamin rich breakfast.  Your mother was correct when she told you that breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  According to an article in WebMD,   “Their growing bodies and developing brains rely heavily on the regular intake of food. When kids skip breakfast, they can end up going for long periods of time without food and this period of semi-starvation can create a lot of physical, intellectual, and behavioral problems for them.”

Cost savings and those few minutes of extra sleep are excuses for skipping breakfast, but as you can see, breakfast is the most important meal of the day for kids!  So what can you do?  I suggest doing what I do each day to get my day off to strong start.  I use a variety of Shaklee 180 Smoothees andSmoothees_peaches_3x3_72 Meals-in-a-Bar!  Yummy and healthy start, with just the right amount of protein, carbs and vitamins.  Each Smoothee delivers:    24 grams of hunger fighting protein when prepared as directed,
    6 grams of fiber
    Powered by Leucine TM
    23 vitamins and minerals
    Non-GMO soy protein
    Low glycemic.
    No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
    Gluten free, lactose free.

These come in 5 flavors, the newest being Vanilla Chai, and can be enhanced with different fruit and peanut butter or such.  One of my favorites is Strawberry Smoothee blended with an organic banana and some extra Instant Protein Soy Mix instead of Soy Milk.  The Instant Protein Soy Mix is cheaper than typical soy milks, along with being an IPP certified non-GMO soy protein.

Now for those days when time is short and even making a quick Smoothee to drink in the car is not an option, grMeal_Bar_3x3_72ab one of the Shaklee 180 Meals-in-a-Bar!  Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip or Blueberry Almond Crisp.  Both are delicious, easy to eat on the go and again, provide the nutritious start to the day you and your kids deserve.  Each bar provides:  20 grams of hunger-fighting protein6 grams of fiber,  Powered by Leucine TM,  24 vitamins and minerals,  Non-GMO soy protein
Low glycemicNo artificial flavors, colors, sweeteners or preservatives added, and is Gluten free.

And for afternoon snacks, there are 4 flavors of Snacks_3x3_72Shaklee 180 Snack Bars and Crisps, providing a healthy alternative to junk food.  My new favorite is the Toffee & Chocolate Crunch Snack Bar, beyond yummy!  The bars and Crisps provide protein, fiber and best of all, flavor.  Add a glass of iced Shaklee 180 Pomegranate tea and your afternoon is refreshed. 

So start the school year with a head start on nutritious breakfasts and give your child the best breakfast on the planet, Shaklee 180 Smoothees and Meals-in-a-Bar.  Stay Well, Elise

Alternative to Juicing, Easy & Simple

vegetables natural_smallIn December, I had a fun get-together with a former co-worker.  Adrienne and I decided to meet at the beach for a much needed restful weekend.  Adrienne wanted to share with me her new juicing machine and how she was enjoying the juicing experience.

When we got to the resort, her car was filled with this huge juicing machine, a large cooler with organic fruits & vegetables, cutting boards, colander and knife. We lugged all this stuff up to our room which fortunately had a small kitchen area with a good size refrigerator.

Adrienne was excited to show me how she was making her shakes each morning.  She began cleaning and chopping fruits & veggies, adding protein powder and soy milk.  The small kitchen was a mess from preparing all the different items, then all the washing-up and drying of the machine and other tools.

As I was watching her make this shake, I was asking questions about why she was wanting to add juicing to her routine.  Adrienne said she was interested in adding more anti-oxidants to her diet, more fiber along with readily available vitamins & minerals. Made sense, but the process was too involved for me, and really for Adrienne too since she was a bit overwhelmed with the whole lengthy process.

Wanting to help Adrienne achieve her goals easier, we explored some of the Shaklee products that I use daily.  To get all the vitamins and minerals she was wanting I suggested using Shaklee’s Vitalizer, Vitalizer Gold for her since she is over 50 yrs old.  Vitalizer is the most advanced multinutrient supplement in the marketplace today with 80 bio-optimized nutrients clinically proven to create a foundation for a longer, healthier life.* Vitalizer is the powerful and convenient approach to complete supplementation providing the best spectrum of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-aging phytonutrients, omega-3 fatty acids, and probiotics*, all in one daily serving.
Custom formula created specifically for today’s healthy active adultVitalizer from Shaklee
Patent-pending delivery system designed to enhance absorption of key nutrients
Based on 12 clinical studies and a first-of-its-kind Landmark Study.

So Vitalizer met her needs for antioxidants, vitamins & minerals that were readily available and easily absorbed, plus added omega-3 fatty acids and probiotics.

Now to meet her need for protein and even more fruit, I had her use Shaklee 180 Smoothees.  She liked the Vanilla Smoothee since she can add apples with cinnamon for an apple pie flavor or add oranges for an “Orange Julius” taste. Make them to your taste for the season you are in. Great protein, easily absorbed, with the right kinds of fiber for healthy digestion.  Perfect!  

Vanilla Shaklee 180Smoothee_b2124224 grams of hunger fighting protein when Mixed in 1 cup of nonfat milk or light soymilk
6 grams of fiber
Powered by Leucine TM to signals body to retain muscles
23 vitamins and minerals
Non-GMO soy protein
Low glycemic. GI Value: 31
No artificial flavors, sweeteners, or preservatives added
Gluten free, lactose free

Now her days are filled with good protein, easily absorbed vitamins and more free time! Shaklee 180 Smoothees, fresh fruit and Shaklee Vitalizer fill the bill! Wow, “juicing” is now simple and easy for Adrienne and others who want to have a healthy start to the day without all the mess and bother.  For more information on Shaklee products mentioned here, visit my Shaklee website  Elise.MyShaklee.com    Stay well, Elise

Weight Loss Tips for 2012

So how are you doing with your 2012 Resolutions?  Had any results yet?  Started yet?  I know.  It is hard to get started on some of these crazy diets that float around this time of year!  Changing habits is hard.  We all like doing the same things since that gives us a sense of security and continuity in our lives.  Control too if we will admit it.

Take Those Measurements

However, if your goal is to loose some of those unwanted pounds, there are some things you can do to make the new habits easier.  First of all, weight and measure yourself so you have a base measurement for future comparison.  Take a photo of yourself in comfortable clothing, like a T-shirt and gym pants.  Between the measurements and the photo, you will have a good baseline.

Now, habits take a while to change.  So make only a few changes in your diet and exercise at first.  Making only a few changes will help you achieve results quicker.  Focusing on only a few changes is easier and you don’t feel out of control.  Make a short list, create a chart of those few changes and note your progress each day.

Easy Changes that Work:

1.  Add Filtered Water each day.  I have talked so much about how our bodies need quantities of filtered water so check out some of my previous posts.  I drink about 10 to 12 cups of water each day.  My skin is healthy, my body feels good and I get rid of toxins.

2.  Add Exercise each day.  Park further from the door of work or at the grocery store.  Take the stairs up a few flights instead of the elevator.  Walk the dog or the neighbor’s dog each day.   A brisk walk around your neighborhood, just move.  On really hot or really cold days, I walk in my house, listening to a learning CD, but moving for at least 45 minutes.

3.  Add Protein while cutting Carbohydrates.  I use Shaklee’s Cinch Snack bars which give me a low glycemic option each day.  They are crunchy, filling because of the fiber and have the right balance of protein to carbohydrates.  You need carbs to burn fat!  So don’t completely cut out the carbs.  But having too many carbs is bad.  So watch the balance.  Add the good Shaklee Cinch protein, clinically proven to work.

4.  Add Fiber to your diet in the form of fresh fruits and fresh vegetables.  Avoid grapes and tomatoes as they have high sugar and low fiber.  Crunchy goodness like apples give you fiber, good carbs and vitamins.

5.  Take your Measurements and weigh once a week.  If you are loosing fat and not muscle mass, the inches will drop more than the pounds at first.  Muscle mass weighs more than fat!  And building up muscle mass is important to maintaining a healthy weight.

Make slow changes, be consistent and watch that extra weight gently fall off and stay off.  Stopping the YoYo diet cycle is crucial to keeping the weight off. Cinch was created to stop the YoYo diet cycle.  For more information on Cinch, look at this siteStay well and healthy in the new year!

 

 

The HCG Controversy

Recently I was attending a meeting and heard from 2 different people that they were using the “amazing HCG diet”.  HCG is human chorionic gonadotropin.  ” Take these drops or injections (depends of the plan) and stick to a 500 calorie diet each day and you will lose about a pound a day” one person said.  Well in my experience if you are on a 500 calorie diet, you will lose weight! No surprise there.

But the people insisted that this was “the way” to get back into shape.  No hunger pains, no exercise, no real work or worry.  I would worry about taking something that the FDA has not looked favorably upon.  I would worry about cutting my food intake so much that I was burning more that fat in order to “lose weight”.  If things are too easy, most times there is something wrong with the process.  But these 2 people were sticking to the plan.

In January 2011 and an updated statement in December 2011, the FDA issued statements saying that homeopathic HCG products are illegal.  “The FDA is warning consumers that over the counter HCG products marketed as weight loss aids are unproven and illegal. Many HCG products are marketed to be taken in connection with a very low calorie diet — it’s the decrease in calories that accounts for any weight loss. There are currently no FDA-approved HCG products designed to help you lose weight. FDA and the Federal Trade Commission have jointly issued warning letters to companies illegally marketing over-the-counter HCG products labeled for weight loss.”

Letters have been sent to 7 different companies according to the FDA statement. “FDA and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) have issued seven letters to companies warning them that they are selling illegal homeopathic HCG weight-loss drugs that have not been approved by FDA, and that make unsupported claims.”

These companies are:

Nutri Fusion Systems, Inc
Natural Medical Supply, LLC DBA HCG Complete Diet
HCG Platinum, LLC
Theoriginalhcgdrogs.com
HCG Diet Direct, LLC
Hcg-miracleweightloss.com

For more information on the HCG diets and their negative side effects, visit the FDA website. 
According to the FDA site, “Living on 500 calories a day is not only unhealthy—it’s hazardous, according to FDA experts. Consumers on such restrictive diets are at increased risk for side effects that include gallstone formation, an imbalance of the electrolytes that keep the body’s muscles and nerves functioning properly, and an irregular heartbeat.

Shirley Blakely, a nutritionist at FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, echoes concerns about such restrictive diets. They can be dangerous, she says, and potentially fatal.”

Of course I am partial to the clinically proven, natural weight management system from Shaklee call Cinch Inch Loss Plan.  Loose inches, keep the muscle mass you need and loose the fat you don’t need.  Muscle mass = metabolism.  The main thing is to lose the weight safely, slowly and in a manner that breaks the “YoYo” diet cycle!  Stay well.

The Ultimate Foundation for a Healthier Life

I have been using Shaklee’s Vitalizer since it deputed and I feel great!  When something works you naturally want share that product or service with everyone you know!

Shaklee says that Vitalizer is the ultimate foundation for a longer healthier life.  Now I am all for being healthier longer.  Illness and disease control is not interesting to me.  What I like best about Shaklee’s Vitalizer is that it is easy,and I am all for easy and quick.  Since all the 80

Bio-optimized vitamins, minerals along with 77x’s more polyphenols ounce per ounce than juice and an amazing amount of anti-oxidants are all delivered in one strip, I get a great foundation for a healthier life in one easy to use strip!  How easy is that.

Feel Better in 30 Days or Your Money Back!

According to Shaklee, “Vitalizer is the most advanced multinutrient supplement pack in the marketplace today, and it features a patent-pending delivery system designed to enhance absorption of key nutrients. Vitalizer is more than just a single multivitamin—with 80 bio-optimized nutrients clinically proven to create a foundation for a longer, healthier life, it’s the only comprehensive multinutrient supplement pack you need. There’s a Vitalizer that’s right for everyone.

Backed by 55 years of nutrition science, a first-of-its-kind Landmark Study, 12 clinical trials, and with formulas that target the specific health needs of men, women, and active adults, Shaklee Vitalizer is the first step toward an optimal nutritional foundation.”

Now for the best part.  Shaklee has a new offer for you.  When you purchase any of the 4 Shaklee Vitalizer products as a new member, you will receive Free Shaklee Membership.  Not only will you save $19.95, you will also receive a 15% discount on all your future Shaklee product purchases.

So join me in feeling better, join me in having more energy, join me in filling in those nutritional gaps we all have in our diets!  Vitalizer is a great foundation to a longer healthier life, guaranteed to make you feel better in 30 days, or you get your money back.  You have nothing to loose and everything to gain.  Join me!

Now that is How to Celebrate a Birthday!

This past Friday I was planning to have a quiet weekend with a good friend of mine, Ms. D, and quietly celebrate my birthday.  Watch a little TV, work on a few things on the computer, sleep late and have a good cup of coffee.  Nothing fancy,  just quiet and casual.  Friday was lunch with 2 friends and then on to the quiet weekend.  Well, that is not quite how it went down!

When I got to Ms. D’s home late morning, I unloaded my clothes for the weekend, my laptop and my overnight bag with my Shaklee supplements (yes, I take them with me everywhere!) and was ready to head to lunch with everyone.  I checked some email and did a few things on the computer while waiting for the departure time.  Little did I realize that while I was in the bathroom, my friend was loading my clothes, overnight bag and everything else in the back of her car!

When we got ready to go, she asked to take along my laptop but was vague with the reason why.  Oh well, we have been friends for decades and when she asks a favor I comply without much resistance.  So I got the laptop ready and then I realized that the rest of my stuff was in her trunk along with her stuff.

Being curious, I asked her what was up and she said it was just a little adventure for my birthday.  I asked more questions and go nothing! Nothing.  Just lunch without our other friend who had had a last minute meeting with her boss.  As Ms. D drove up the interstate, I was trying to guess where we were going.  Always finding good deals online, I thought she had come across a bargin in a nice hotel or resort and we would have a nice night, go to a movie or something and head home on Saturday.

I even called my daughter and son-in-law to let them know that I was being  “kidnapped” by Ms. D and would not be in town if they tried to get in touch with me at her home.  My son-in-law answered and said he would let my daughter know that I was not in town.  Little did I know at that time that they were in on the “kidnapping”!

We went north, and got to Chattanooga, but did not stop where I had guessed we might.  Heading east, I thought about Knoxville and the river there.  Nice place Knoxville.  However, we then headed South!  Now we were heading toward the North Georgia Mountains, where I had spent time as a child. Asking again and again where we were going, Ms D would only say that it was just a little further away and I would see when I got there.

On we drove, winding beside the Ocoee River and Lake Ocoee.  The Whitewater events from the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta GA were held in an Olympic park that was constructed along the river.  It is near Ducktown TN.  We past that area heading deeper into the Blue Ridge Mountains and North Georgia.  I felt oddly at home with no idea of our destination.

Finally we took a turn off the main highway and started to wind our way up little mountain roads.  We  past several cabins for sale or lease.  Up we climbed, heading closer and closer to the top ridge of one of the mountains.  Ms. D still would not tell me what was happening, only that is was going to like a golf resort where we had stayed many years earlier.  I could not imagine a golf course this high on the mountain side, but who knew what developers had done!

Finally we got turn on a very narrow and steep road, one lane really.  Up we climbed past pretty cabins nestled into the side of the mountain.  Great vistas were visible in brief glimpses between the houses and trees.  Beautiful!

Finally Ms D gave me a house number to look for, but that proved to be a challenge since the cabins did not really have mail boxes.  Some numbers were on small signs along the edge of the road while others had numbers on the front porch or eaves of the house.  We went past the house the first time, turning around in a multiple-point turn to head down the mountain a few homes.

When we got to the house, I remarked that there were already cars there.  Was the owner meeting us?  No, Ms D said, there were other people sharing the house with us.  I groaned to myself quietly since I was concerned who these “people” would be and how all that would work out.  As I parked the car, Ms D suggested we see what was available in the house and then out popped some very familiar people!

On the porch of this very nice mountain home was my family!  All singing Happy Birthday to me!  Laughing and pointing fingers at everyone I was totally surprised.  I had no idea that my sister and brother-in-law were coming in from 7 hours away, as well as my niece, daughter and son-in

Rocking Chair with Blue Flowers

-law and of course, my dearest friend Ms D!   I was so happy to see everyone, the cabin and the mountains of my youth.  What a fabulous birthday present.

Munching and laughing and talking we had a great evening, headed to bed and slept well.  I was sitting on the porch the next morning drinking some of my sister’s famous french press coffee and enjoying the cool breezes and scenery when the door opened to the living room and there were my God Parents!

Now the weekend was complete.  Everyone was there and we had a wonderful weekend.  It was definitely the way to Celebrate My Birthday!  Great family, great food and beautiful location, Lots of Love! Perfect.  Stay well!

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