Weight Loss Update – September 2012

Okay, so I am up 2 pounds total, which means a total weight loss of 23 pounds instead of 25.  Does that mean the next time I get to 25 pounds lost I can celebrate again? LOL

A lot has happened in my life since I last posted a weight loss update in April.  We had to sell our house of 19 years in a short sell, Bud graduated high school, we moved into our rental house and Art went back to school.  All of that stress means I have felt very lucky to just “maintain.”

But I am trying to get back on track.  I have eliminated almost all the snacky/desserty foods from the house and brought in lots of fresh fruits and veggies.  Boo and I are walking as many days as possible and I am building up to run/walk 5k by Thanksgiving.  I have also started strength training again.  I was very happy to find that I haven’t forgotten how to do squats!!

In addition to my beloved Sparkpeople, I am also trying out a program run by Pete Cohen, the British Weight Loss Guru.  That’s the name of his program at weightlossguru.com.  Pete has a lot of motivational videos, weekly interviews with other weight loss experts, and tons of resources on the website.  It really helped me to stay focused during all of my recent life transitions and I am looking forward to using the program to actually help me lose weight.

So I’ll check back in with you in a couple of months and let you know how things are going.

Any challenges you are facing right now?  How are you handling them?

I received a complimentary three month membership to Weight Loss Guru for the purposes of review.  All opinions are 100% my own.

The Spy Lover Book Review

spy lover book reviewThe Spy Lover

Kiana Davenport

Historical Fiction

August 2012

303 Pages

About the Book:

Thrust into the savagery of the Civil War, a Chinese immigrant serving in the Union Army, a nurse doubling as a spy for the North, and a one-armed Confederate cavalryman find their lives inextricably entwined.

Fleeing drought and famine in China, Johnny Tom arrives in America with dreams of becoming a citizen. Having survived vigilantes hunting “yellow dogs” and slave auction- blocks, Johnny is kidnapped from his Mississippi village by Confederate soldiers, taken from his wife and daughter, and forced to fight for the South. Eventually defecting to the Union side, he is promised American citizenship in exchange for his loyal services. But first Johnny must survive the butchery of battles and the cruelties inflicted on non-white soldiers.

Desperate to find Johnny, his daughter, Era, is enlisted as a spy. She agrees to work as a nurse at Confederate camps while scouting for the North. Amidst the unspeakable carnage of wounded soldiers, she finds solace in Warren Petticomb, a cavalryman who lost an arm at Shiloh. As devastation mounts in both armies, Era must choose where her loyalties lie—with her beloved father in the North, or with the man who passionately sustains her in the South.

My Review:

I am so awestruck by this story that it is hard to find words.  The tale is phenomenally well-researched, but the reader doesn’t feel overwhelmed by the facts – they are simply the backdrop for this passionate epic.  Kiana Davenport describes the brutalities of war (and life in general in the mid-1800s) in beautiful, horrible, sometimes extremely graphic detail.

Here are just two of the many things I learned about the Civil War from this book:

    • Black people were not the only slaves – Chinese and Native Americans were also kidnapped and sold into slavery.
    • Southern women grew poppies to supply opium to their troops since the Union was blocking shipments at the ports.

The Spy Lover highlights the senselessness of war, the choice of hope and courage in the face of insurmountable odds, and especially the question of what to do with the terrible things you’ve witnessed when your life goes back to normal.  Era and Warren’s mismatched romance and Johnny’s “fish out of water” experiences help to humanize a story that I had only read before in history books or Gone with the Wind. 

My rating:  I give The Spy Lover five hard-tack biscuits.  A must read!!!

I received a complimentary copy of this book through Charisma Media Book Tours.  All opinions are 100% my own.