Geocaching 101: If You Hide It, We Will Hunt!

By Cammi Woodall

I hunt for Tupperware in the woods. How do you spend your weekends?

No, I am not careless or forgetful of where I put my belongings. My family and I are part of a growing group of ‘treasure hunters’ who participate in an exciting hobby called geocaching.

So what is geocaching? Well, it is basically what happens when nerds go outside to play. A person takes a container, hides it somewhere outside such as in the woods or in a city, marks the coordinates with their GPS, and logs that information onto a website. Our favorite is the free site geocaching.com. Indiana Jones wanna-be’s then log those coordinates into their GPS systems and head out to search. When you get to the correct coordinates, put your GPS on Pedestrian Mode and start to hunt! Once you find the cache, you sign a log book provided, and register your find on the website. Caches can be anywhere – city streets, local parks, scenic byways, bridges, cemeteries, even underwater! They can be tucked under rocks, in hollow logs, in magnetic holders on anything metal (like a tank – no joke!), or hanging from a tree branch. Harder caches can even require scuba gear or rappelling equipment.

Geocaching got its start in 2000 in Beaver Creek, Oregon. To test the accuracy of his GPS unit, a man named David Ulmer took a small plastic box and filled it with goodies like books and CD’s. He hid it alongside a popular nature trail and logged the plotted coordinates on his website. He invited readers to try and find his hidden stash to test the accuracy of their own units and his.

Within three days, two people had found it and responded back. They loved it! Slowly the activity caught on and was featured on an online tech magazine, in the New York Post, and on CNN. This media attention drew seekers from around the world. The website geocaching.com was born and the hunt was on!

But there were only 75 known caches in the world. Chances were a caching newbie was not close to one. So if you couldn’t find caches, why not hide one for someone else to find? Thus started the geo version of “Field of Dreams” – if you hide it, they will hunt. So they hid it and we hunted. We are still hunting. From its humble beginnings, geocaching.com has grown to over two million caches sought after by more than five million seekers. Caches have been placed on every continent, even Antarctica (my bucket list geocaching destination)! There is a good chance you are within walking distance of a cache right now, or at least a short drive.

You are in nature so be aware of dangers. So far we haven’t been chased by a large boulder “Temple of Doom” style, but we have encountered several snakes, dogs, ticks, and stinging bugs. My sister was chased by a buffalo once! Well, the buffalo was safely behind a fence a long distance away from her and she was never in any danger, but we still laugh about that. (My parents and I do, my sister not so much.)

Why Tupperware? Because it lives up to its reputation for keeping contents fresh! All caches are not stored in the iconic containers, but it is certainly popular. Caches are susceptible to weather, so you need good containers that will protect the contents. They can range in size from micro (a small metal tube half the size of your pinkie finger) to large (about the size of a five-gallon bucket). There are even a few caches the size of telephone booths.

I’ve had several people ask, “But what do you get?” Many people hear ‘cache’ and thinks ‘cash’. This is not a get-rich-quick scheme. The treasure you find will be stickers, small toys, beads, pencils… anything that will fit in your cache container. The smallest containers will only have the logbook.

So what do you get? Well, you get the rush of searching for a lost container, the satisfaction of finding the capsule and signing your name with the others who came before you. You get the thrill of discovery as you visit new places. You get a sense of community when you meet fellow cachers also out for that elusive treasure. You get that thrill of competition when you find the cache before the people with you. You get time spent with family and friends.

My hearty recommendation is to try it at least once. Grab some bug spray, pack a picnic, pick some easy caches nearby, and start hunting! I just checked geocaching.com and there are 22 caches within ten miles of me. There were only 18 the last time I checked. Excuse me, but I need to grab my GPS and start looking for some Tupperware! Hope to see you out there!

Click to tweet: Geocaching 101: If You Hide It, We Will Hunt! Article at the Inspired Prompt blog. Have you tried geocaching? #geocache #amwriting

Writing prompt: Darla drew near the large oak that stood in the middle of the park. Had she finally found…

A Healthy New Year – It has NOTHING to do with the scale…

by Cari Schaeffer20140428_144615

I find the cliché of New Years resolutions to ring hollow for most. They are made with the best of intentions and typically focus solely on weight loss as The Path to define oneself as “healthy”. Well, let me tweak your perspective just a little.

What is health? It is defined as “soundness of body or mind; freedom from disease or ailment.” Hmmmm…is that the first thing that comes to your mind when you hear the word health? Or is your focus narrow and solely limited to one’s pant size? To be healthy should mean that our life is balanced in every aspect. Whether it’s financial, spiritual, physical, mental, social, or relational – strive for balance which will lead to health.

I can assure you – there are plenty of skinny people who are not healthy. The scale does not measure one’s health, only one’s weight. Rather than allow the scale to dictate my self-image, I base that on how I feel in my own skin and how my clothes fit my body. I choose not to obsess over the scale, so I only weigh myself maybe twice a year. Yes, you read that right. I am an American woman and I don’t weigh myself every day. I DO exist and I walk among you…bathroom scales

When determining your level of Whole Health, start with your finances. Debt equals slavery. Don’t fall into the trap. Being financially healthy is very simple – spend less than you make and save some of what you earn for unforeseen emergencies because they WILL happen. Do this on a regular basis and you’ll be fine. How much do you have saved for an emergency? How well do you stick to a budget? If you don’t have a budget, now is the time to make one. There are numerous resources for that – one that I highly recommend is http://www.gailvazoxlade.com/ . There are a lot of free resources that are exceptionally user-friendly on her site. Her tools will help you get on the right path to living a financially healthy lifestyle.

How spiritually healthy are you? How often do you spend time in prayer, in God’s Word, or in God’s house? This is an area none of us will ever be perfect in, but striving for excellence is certainly attainable. Determine to go to church each week, have a conversation with God every day, read at least a chapter in the Bible every day and then…do it.

Physical health starts with physical activity. You don’t have to train for a marathon or do intense cardio for an hour six days a week in order to attain health. How about starting with parking as far out as you can rather than waiting for the nearest spot to open up the next time you shop? Even at the gym, have you ever noticed all of the closest parking spots are taken? Personally, it makes me snicker – that is a true contradiction. Besides, parking farther out will lessen the chance of getting dents in your car doors. Take the stairs instead of the elevator, drink two more glasses of water today than you did yesterday, and say no to soda. They’re small steps, but steps in the right direction. It’s something to build on.

Mental, social, and relational health are intertwined, in my opinion. If you are healthy mentally, you are more likely to be healthy socially and have healthy relationships with those around you. I am sure you have an idea of what it means to be healthy mentally. You know when a friendship is not working or a habit/pattern you follow is unhealthy. I find, for women, at least – it’s difficult to say one little word to others, but not to ourselves. That word is “no”. It is all right to say no, even if what you say no to is a GOOD thing. Not every good thing is YOUR good thing. Remember, balance is the key.

Keep your priorities straight and in the proper order. Free time is a GOOD thing. Your schedule does not need to be packed in order to be fruitful. Jesus Himself said no and also took time out to re-charge. Shouldn’t we follow His example? The answer to that question is YES! There are actually squares on my calendar that are blank…and they’ll stay that way.

I sincerely hope that all of you have a Happy New Year filled with health and balance!

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing prompt: Write a paragraph about this photo.summer

A Healthy Month of January-Revisited

By Jennifer Hallmark.

It’s been almost abathroom scales month since I posted about my effort to experience better health in 2015. I’d decided to take a month at a time and make adjustments and see what worked and what didn’t. I looked at each area of health: physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. It’s been an interesting time and now for the results…

Physical

Exercise I decided to try working out five days a week, 3 days of low-impact aerobics and two days of riding the exercise bike.

Positive-I stuck to the plan and feel better physically.

Negative-The bike riding bothered my back a little. I’m going to try one more month to see if it continues.

Diet I decided to cut back on sugar and follow a plan of eating healthy.

Positive-I’ve traded sweet tea for hot tea with honey.

Negative-I thought I knew enough about healthy food to just try to eat healthy. I drew up no written plan. The month was extremely stressful and I tend to eat when stressed. So predictably, I failed to eat healthy and lost no weight.

Mental

I would try a four-day work week and take more time to rest.

Positive-I made more time for myself and stuck somewhat to a four-day work week. I feel more rested.

Negative-I still have trouble unwinding at times and use work as a stress relief, which leads to me being tired.

puzzleEmotional

I would try four things for emotional health: Read a feel-good book or watch an inspirational movie; work a jigsaw puzzle; be accountable to a friend; and get out of the house more.

Positive-I’ve read a good bit and watched a couple of movies. I set up my jigsaw puzzle. I talked a couple of times to a friend about a couple of stressful situations I’m dealing with.

Negative-It’s cold and I haven’t gotten out of the house more. I need to relax when I am out and enjoy myself.

Spiritual

I would continue my daily devotion time, listen to music and journal, fellowship with other Christians, be a blessing, and enjoy nature.

Postive-I love my devotion time. Music and journaling are good for me. I’ve tried to be a blessing to family and friends.

Negative-I could still use more fellowship with Christians. It’s cold and I haven’t been out much.

question mark

So how does this all add up? How will I approach February?

(1) I’m going to follow a written plan for healthy eating.

(2) I need to turn to God in my stress and fellowship more with my family and friends.

(3) I need to realize it’s going to be cold in winter and just make myself get out more anyway. 🙂

How about you? Do you have any suggestions to help me out as I approach February?

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments.

Writing Prompt: I couldn’t believe my eyes. The scales screamed the same number as when I’d started a month ago. How could it? My clothes fit better. I picked up the scale and…

 

 

 

A Healthy New Year means…Exercise!

Age-Appropriate Exercise for a Writer by Holly Michael

10477885_2449505157705_5786971314081009657_n“Can you find my old rollerblades?” Jake, my twenty-five year old son asked, during a recent visit home with fiancé, Emma. (Jake is a professional athlete, an NFL player. Emma is a coach/personal trainer/fitness blogger-that’s Jake and Emma in the photo)

I retreated to the basement and dug out Jake’s size fourteen rollerblades that I had special ordered when he was in the fifth grade. (Yeah, he was a big boy then, too).

I also found my old rollerblades and wondered…if I could sell them on eBay. Hey, at my age, my rollerblading days were long over. But, back in the day, I’d slip on those wheels nearly every day and race the kids on their bikes and scooters around the neighborhood.

Hanging out with my athletic cutie-pies over the holidays, including daughter Betsy (grad student) and son Nick (tight end with the Ragin Cajuns) inspired me to exercise more in the new year. (Not rollerblading).

IMG_7740But, as a full-time writer, excuses ran through my head. I must write books! No time to exercise!

The scale argued back.

So…starting out in the new year, I settled on age-appropriate exercise that would fit with my busy schedule.

This is what works: I set my timer for one hour and do nothing but write. No Facebook. No Twitter. No Pinterest. Then when the timer goes off, I leave my writing and spend five to ten minutes at some form of cardio exercise—treadmill, fast walk around the block, run up and down stairs. Then, repeat.

It works for me! If you would like more intense exercise and fitness tips from Emma, in the picture at the top, check out her fitness blog.

I’m certainly not as fit as my kids, but I’m determined to write more and be healthy in 2015.

Writing Prompt:

Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments

file0001574547398In a dim corner of the basement, Katy spied her rollerblades under branches of an old fake Christmas tree and tangled non-working lights. She tugged the blades, then fell backwards landing on her bottom.

Unwrapping strands of lights from around her arms and neck, she sighed. “I’m too old and too clutzy to rollerblade.” It’d been almost two decades since she jammed to “I Like to Move it” at Hot Wheel Skating Rink.

Katy stood, unhurt. While the extra pounds she’d gained over the holidays had provided extra cushion, they had to go. She dusted herself off and carried the blades upstairs.

In the living room, Frank looked up from the football game. His eyebrows formed a deep V. “Honey, are you sure you want to put those one? It’s been awhile.”

“Yes, I’m sure.” Katy huffed and ventured out the front door. She sat on the porch and strapped on her blades. She pushed off, then looked up and… 

(photo of rollerblades courtesy of morgue file)

The Naturo-path to Better Health

by Betty Thomason Owens

Right around this time, every year…

Everyone starts talking about choosing healthier lifestyles by going to the gym, or making better food choices. The gyms do a raging good business in the month of January. And we really do plan to keep our new regimen going throughout the year. We want to lose those extra pounds and firm up those flabby midsections.

file8471259606314I have an exercise plan in place throughout the year. I walk three to four miles per day, outdoors, five or six days a week (weather permitting). I work at home and for me, the freedom of being outside in the open—especially when there’s sunshine—is worth the time and effort.

I wish I could tell you I’m in perfect health with no extra weight. I wish. But I am in moderately good health, seldom sick. I do have some stubborn pounds hanging on. I wish I could charge them rent. I’d be rich by now. Truth is, I’d love to find a way to get rid of the excess.

Extra weight can adversely affect your health. Most of us know that. But if you exercise and eat healthy, you may just be looking at your body type. In that case, be happy with thyself. But if you do have health issues, perhaps you do need to make some changes.

A couple of years ago, I made my first visit to a certified health professional—a naturopath. I had known him for years and saw him make some very positive changes in his own life that convinced me he knew what he was talking about. So I made an appointment. A very simple twofold test (urine and saliva) told him what he needed to know about what’s happening in my life.

Turns out, I was much older than I should have been. What does that mean? Because of some bad choices on my part, my body was suffering. My bad choices consisted of sleep deprivation, dehydration, and … I wasn’t breathing enough. What? How can you not breathe enough?

I remember doing breathing exercises in chorus and choir practice. “Breathe from the di-a-phragm!—All together now—breathe!” Physical exercise helps with the breathing issue. The consistent outdoor walking began, and now, I’m pretty much up to par with the breathing. Sleep better, too, because I get outside and get the blood flowing and the oxygen processing.

But I’d still be coming up short if I didn’t hydrate. I push myself to drink more water. Sometimes it’s herbal tea, or flavored water. I got rid of the sweetened drinks. And yes, I still drink coffee. Hey, I love the stuff, but I try to counter it by matching each ounce of coffee with an ounce of water later in the day. Consistency, this is the key.

But you’ll still need a good, healthful diet. Cut out sugar. I hear your screams. Did I do this? No. I cut back on sugar. And, according to our naturopathic physician, you should populate your diet with living foods. No, he doesn’t advocate eating live animals. Get that picture out of your head.

cuyBvv1uSo what are living foods? Think raw veggies, or gently cooked veggies. Especially garden-fresh, that were in the ground hours ago, sucking up nutrients. If you’re a gardener or farmer, it’s easy. If not, you might want to join a co-op or find a good green grocer, farm, or farmer’s market.

According to my guy, frozen is a good second-best, and canned is okay, when you just can’t get fresh. The less it’s processed, the better.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’re probably already somewhat familiar with these principles. Live vegetables are a good way to eat right, increase fiber in your diet, and multiply the nutrients, without starving yourself.

Here’s an interesting and friendly website for beginners. Her veggie chili looks really good. http://livingveggie.blogspot.com/

You can find plenty of information dealing with eating healthy—my favorite go-to is Pinterest, of course. I just enter whatever I’m craving and voila! I’ve got several recipes to choose from.

So, am I going to finally drop those extra pounds? I’d like that, but even more, I hope to reverse the aging process a little. So far, I have seen real improvement, because I’m getting exercise, drinking more water, resting better, and I’m breathing!

If you’re interested in finding a Naturopathic doctor in your area, do your homework. Check them out thoroughly before you go. We were fortunate to have a long-standing relationship with ours. But a good place to get recommendations is through your local chiropractic office.

Whatever you choose to work on this year, I wish you great success. Now, inhale—push out the diaphragm—hold—exhale—crunch that carrot!


Complete the prompt below for an extra entry in our quarterly drawings! Submit your completed writing prompt via Comments–

saturday 184_peWriting Prompt:

“Is this a living carrot?” Carol Anne Pendergast asked Jacob Bauer, owner of her local farmer’s market. “My naturopathic doctor told me to only eat living vegetables.”

Jacob’s bushy brows blended as his forehead creased. “All my vegetables are alive. Those carrots were plucked from the ground this very morning.”

“No need to get huffy about it,” Carol Anne said. “I was just asking.” She picked up a beautiful brown egg, her gaze cutting back to Jacob’s. Her mouth opened, but before she could ask the question poised on the tip of her tongue, he propped his fists on his hips and said, …

 

(Photos courtesy of MorgueFile)