Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Opinions are like...

In college I had a good friend named Nate who often stated this quote: "Opinions are like buttholes: everybody's got one and they all stink." This quote has stuck with me as much or more than anything I learned in any classroom. 

My heart is with an old friend who is hurting right now. She feels alone. She feels scared. And unfortunately, I think she feels judged. She's in one of the toughest situations of her life and instead of just sorting through the emotions & decisions that she is facing, she is also sifting through an onslaught of opinions about her choices that leave little room to feel supported. What she needs to feel is a level of support that will make her feel confident enough to make the choices that are right for her. What she's getting though is a chorus of "you screwed up again".

Why is it such human nature to so readily give our opinions? Why is it that without thinking, we can open our mouths and think that what we have to say in any given situation is worthwhile just because it popped into our heads for 2 seconds? How is it that we all have the same desire to be loved unconditionally, especially when we're down and yet, when it's our turn to do so for others, we so readily provide judgment and opinion instead? 

I think it's time to figure out how to close our mouths & listen. Listen to the ones who are hurting. Refuse the opinions that pop into your mind while they're talking and just listen to what those who are hurting are saying. Most of the time, they're not looking for answers. They're looking for a listening ear, a safe place, ways to build the confidence they need to make the right choices.

When I took education courses we talked a lot about the notion of a "self-fulfilled prophecy." Basically it meant that if a child was told something enough about themselves they started to believe it. Tell kids they can do anything and tell it to them often, they'll approach situations as though there isn't an option but to succeed. Tell kids they won't amount to anything and most likely, they'll live up to that expectation. This idea doesn't stop with children though: it's just plain human nature and I believe this idea applies directly to our reactions to hurting people.
  • Shut the person down, tell them what they're doing wrong, don't give them a chance to believe they can make a good choice: they'll begin to believe they're not worthy of sharing, which leads to not feeling worthy of being good and making good choices, which can lead to a "what does it matter anyway?!" mindset that brings about further choices that hurt a person.
  • OR...Listen, let them talk, show them love and create an environment in which they believe they can make the best choice for themselves: they'll begin to sense a feeling of self-worth, which leads to feeling worthy of taking the steps to make wise choices, which leads to an overall healthier mindset.
We have so many opportunities to show love & grace - let's stop giving up those chances for our own moments to spout off what we believe to be right & wrong. Especially speaking to the christian sect, it's time to start counting on God to take care of the conviction and time for us to just start taking care of his people. Often times we take the few commands to hold our peers accountable as our justification for giving a rebuke but think on this: the word "love" is mentioned 508 times (697 if you also count "loves" and "loved"). The word "judgment" is mentioned 162 times and the word "accountable" is mentioned a mere 8 times. Based on those numbers alone, it's obvious to me that more often than not, we should be choosing a path that fosters love rather than judgment.

I know in my own life, I've never learned or made a great change because someone told me what to do or directed me on all I was doing wrong. It has always been in the situations where I felt supported enough to feel okay with failing that I was able to rise up to make the best choice. I assume I'm in the majority on this. When people feel loved & supported, they tend to seek out the "advice" we're so eager to give from the get-go at a later point if they truly need it. And even more importantly, when we truly listen to people, we more often than not get the chance to learn that the situation isn't all we measured it up to be at that first point. People are complex and it's rare that there are 2 situations exactly alike. In light of this, many times our "advice" ends up being a slap in the face to what they are dealing with.

Let us choose love. Let us choose grace. And let us choose the humility that our opinions oftentimes aren't worth much more than anything else we're sending down the toilet. ;)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010



That's the word that won't get out of my mind. I can't help but feel grateful and it's for a million different reasons...

♥ a sinkful of dirty dishes gone because my boyfriend just did them for me (even after doing 6 hours of maintenance on my car) ♥ a progress report that's full of C's & B's rather than C's & D's ♥ a baby that I got to see flipping back & forth on an ultrasound just days ago ♥ getting ready for our own Christmas Eve/Day with all of the kids together ♥ a God that loves us so much that he was willing to put his own son on earth here with us ♥ Christmas presents bought solely on cash for the second year in a row ♥ getting to wrap all of those presents as "prettily" as I possibly can ♥ getting to give those presents at Christmas gatherings with family this weekend (come on...get here already!!) ♥ knowing I'm with the love of my life - my soulmate ♥ a passion to continue to learn more about God as he continues to open my eyes to his possibilities ♥ a son that is finally starting to understand respect ♥ it finally being the season that I can listen to Christmas music non-stop and no one can tell me it's too early! ♥ same goes for Christmas movies ♥ a reason to celebrate this season beyond the presents, music, and movies ♥  a renewed understanding of God - one that shows his immense grace towards us ♥ a burden for those who feel hurt by "Christians" and don't want anything to do with God as a result ♥ experiencing pregnancy - I truly love every moment ♥ learning how to slow down enough to really enjoy life ♥ finding joy in every day ♥ learning to treat each day as a gift ♥

Saturday, December 11, 2010

24 Ways I See Things Differently Now

  1. Grace really is "amazing"...the song had it right all along. It's taken me a long time but I finally get it. You can tell those that have truly experienced it themselves - the petty, the trivial...they just don't matter because grace is bigger than that.
  2. I can spy the church culture in a person from a mile away.
  3. I no longer believe that the contemporary conservative white suburban church culture is the ONLY way.
  4. People different from me are not wrong; they're just different...and there's beauty in that.
  5. Grace is actually a 4-letter word to some people. 
  6. I am doing a million things the "wrong" way yet, I feel closer to God and finally understand what the bible means when it talks about having freedom in following him. 
  7. I also feel like for the first time in my life, I'm actually learning how to love as Christ intended. 
  8. Since not being so closely involved with the church, I spend less time watching TV, judging people, worrying about materialistic things and feeling like I don't measure up.
  9. Since not being so closely involved with the church, I spend more time thinking intentionally about how I treat people, being a better, calmer mom, enjoying people rather than judging them, spending time with those closest to me, feeling better about myself and learning & thinking critically about how God loves and wants me to love.
  10. Being around someone that can easily quote scripture (and does so in a nearly be-littling way) doesn't make me feel like less of a Christian anymore; now I'll just admit that it annoys me. 
  11. Thoughts only in black & white leave out sooooooo many colors. Too many people ONLY think this way and they also think their black & white thoughts are rules.
  12. God is a creative god and we diminish that every time we refuse to believe that he may do something outside of those "rules" we so adamantly believe in (nevermind argue about).
  13. Not only are things not always what they seem to be; I am cementing my belief that they are almost NEVER what they seem to be. 
  14. Just because I don't keep up with [insert local Christian station here] doesn't make me a bad person. It makes me someone who can appreciate good music. I can hear God in most any music.
  15. And for that matter, just because I don't keep up with [insert latest Christian fad here] doesn't make me a bad person either. Jesus has been reaching people well before we had The Purpose Driven Life, WWJD, The Prayer of Jabez...I can't tell you what the latest thing is b/c I've been working hard to distance myself from it. It's just a marketing technique and we Christians are the biggest suckers around. What's worse is we make each other feel badly when we hear they're not on board.
  16. I don't know that I believe in a big church anymore. I'm not sure...jury's still out on that one.
  17. When faced with "challenging" relationships, (i.e., being friends w/someone who makes "questionable" life choices according to the conservative church), I no longer feel that being friends with them means that their choices must always be up for debate. Nor do I wonder what my role should be "as a Christian" in the friendship any more. If we have been fortunate enough to form a friendship, then I only want to be concerned with that.
  18. Feeding off of the previous one, I don't believe in the "targeting" methods of current evangelism. This whole notion of taking basic sales techniques and applying it to sharing about God is nuts. In sales, what happens when the economy takes a dump?!? That's right - your sales plummet. Those techniques only work when your customers have nothing to lose. Sales skyrocket when people have a need though and you've got other people who've found something to meet that need that they truly believe in. Hmmm...could it be that simple with telling people about God?
  19. I cringe at the church's ability to blend with suburbia. A suburban mindset is ruining America and ruining our churches.
  20. I remember in high school not feeling like I fit in with any one clique. I somewhat felt part of each and every one of them but there weren't any that I truly said, "THIS is me." Knowing how very much I loved God, in my 20's I tried desperately to find that home in the church. All I've decided is that I still in many ways feel just like I did in high school. I can easily be a part of it but I don't fit in.
  21. I can't care about what other people think. This is such a "duh" statement that we hear all the time but seriously, it took me til now to get it to sink in. I cared so much of what everyone else thought of me that I gave little to no credit to what I thought of myself. No matter how lofty your aspirations, if they belong to someone else and what THEY want for YOU, you'll feel forever lost and empty; even if you've gained the world in the process.
  22. Perfectionism is ugly. People say they use it as a tool for "excellence" but really it's much more about judgment and whatever race is in the perfectionist's mind. I'm done racing. I'm ready to start living.
  23. There are people out there that you can trust. People that will love you for who you are, no matter how that looks. The key is that they're not always where you expect to find them and you sometimes have to look very hard.
  24. I've spoken in a lot of generalities and not covered for any exceptions that popped in my head. My perfectionism would've held that back before but now, I'm hoping that people see my heart and know that I know there are a lot of exceptions to nearly everything I've said. And if there are people that don't, for the first time in my life I can say I simply don't care. Actually, it's more like I can't. Too much of my life has been given to those who won't look at the hearts of people and I'm moving on.

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Miracle

It's been 8 years since I started a journey towards having a child. "Unexplained Infertility" was the diagnosis that I received. No answers. No way to explain why it wasn't happening or guarantee that it couldn't happen. A permanent limbo of sorts that created more heartache than I understood. I learned a lot in that time: how taboo the topic of infertility is, some hard-learned lessons about control & God's timing, what NOT to say to people in tough situations. In finding the emotional & spiritual health I have in the last few years, I was just starting to make peace with my body and to let go of what hold it still had on me...

And then, with all of the other new beginnings I've had recently, this little miracle has been the biggest surprise of them all! My amazing fiance and I are pregnant - due June 12th!

I couldn't be more grateful that God has blessed us with this baby! I'm enjoying every second of the pregnancy and have been so thankful for good health for us both so far. To think I was already overwhelmed with the joy I was experiencing in my life - to add this little bundle makes it that much richer!

God Loves you - Even If You're Divorced - Part 2

Disclaimer: I put this on Part 1 as well but assuming that some may not have read that one, I'll place it on here too...Apparently after my initial posting of this, some felt it was my cryptic way of telling the world "what really happened" in my own divorce and in turn, have taken it upon themselves to create drama and spread lies. the ones this applies to: don't give yourself that much credit. This was written with the intent of supporting many people who I know that are wrestling with the struggles below - NOT of spilling the sordid details of my life or to be a cryptic tell-all. This blog will never be used for that intent. I have more class than that and I have no use for those who don't. If you've come here with that intent, please don't come back.

I left off from the last post with this: "You want to worry about where the sin is? It's believing so little of how God loves us that we put His law above His grace and in turn encourage people to stay where an emotional cancer will continue to eat away at them." This gets to the heart of my next point: BELIEVE in the fact that God LOVES you beyond our American type-A, do XYZ and you'll be the perfect Christian ways. God's law is important and I am not trying to de-value it in any way. However, I do think that the current vibe in the white American, evangelical, conservative Christian church is to put the law on such a pedestal that, to me, it often-times looks no different than what the Pharisees were doing to the law in biblical times. (If you do not know what a Pharisee is or if you just want to read a thought-provoking article, I suggest this:

Some will instantaneously believe what I'm about to say is heresy but I say this from a deep devotion to loving God, believing in his word and truly loving his people. If you choose to see it otherwise, I can't change that, so here goes: Think of how long there have been people on earth and the relatively short time in comparison that those people have had the bible easily accessible to themselves. According to a brief google search, the very first printing press was invented in the 1400's. The shortest earth time spans given are somewhere between it being 6,000-10,000 years old and then of course there are scientists that believe it in being billions of years old. Let's use the shortest one as our time frame for the sake of argument. God's been in the picture all of those 6,000 years but only 10% of the time (600 years) has there been a printing press that allows for the bible, HIS WORD that we're supposed to follow to the letter, to be printed accessibly. Before the printing press, it took approximately 20 years to make ONE replication of the bible so the number of replications had to be in short supply. Not to mention that it took time for the printing press to make it's way across continents to all people and then literacy was an issue.

So for most of the history of man, God had to communicate with His people in some capacity that did NOT include the written word. I'm not saying to ignore it altogether by any stretch; we are incredibly blessed to have God's word at our fingertips and should take that responsibility seriously. But what I am saying is that just because it's in the Bible doesn't mean that God is forever bound to everything having to fall into what parameters we read out of it. People constantly disagree on what the bible means. Take lying for example: in one part of the bible it says that liars go to hell (at my conservative Christian college, this was taught so much that it was a popular catch phrase). But in another part Rahab - a prostitue - LIED to keep the Israelites safe in Jericho and is hailed as a hero. Ask any Christian if lying is okay though and they'll focus on the fact that it'll send you to hell or at the very least that it's one of the commandments not to do so. I've heard some Christians argue that there are NO exceptions, even if your life is at stake. But obviously there are exceptions to this if, just books later in the Old Testament, it tells the heroic story of Rahab. And I don't think that Rahab was the only exception of all time just because she was the ONE that was written about in the bible. Do I believe this justifies lying whenever we want to or even a majority of the time? Of course not. I do think though that there are times that God will expect us to trust his leading and his direction beyond just mindlessly following a rule, such as was the case with Rahab. If we are following the rule just for the sake of perfection, I believe that God will actually test us on this.

One of my bibles with the smallest print is 1208 thousand, two hundred and eight pages to tell EVERYTHING that God has to say over the course of ALL eternity... He created all of the earth, moon, stars, sun, EVERYTHING. He designed the human body to heal itself and to function with all of its intricacies. He made different seasons and different climates all over the world. He created so many species that more are discovered every day - our humanity can't keep up with it! But he only has 1208 pages worth of wisdom for us?!?!? Try again. Many times he talks through His word but sometimes He talks through our GUT!! I haven't even dove into the whole thought of tribal-type people who never hear of God but somehow know in their hearts that there is one; or people that learn of God from short term missionaries but only have a weekly or monthly church service to learn about Him from then on and no literacy to read the bible on their own. Do you think they worry about the mundane details of the word that we get so wrapped up in b/c we have every resource at our fingertips?!?! NO!! Sometimes, God uses common sense to get through to us but we're so "book smart" about Him, we miss the point!! How many "book-smart, common-sense dumb people do you know? It applies to Christianity too!!

All of this is to say that once you've sought out biblical advice, you've talked with people you know and trust, you've poured through the scriptures, and you've prayed with all of your heart, God will speak to you. Sometimes it will be right in line with scripture. But sometimes, it will surprise you. If we could figure out everything about God through a formula (and yes, conservative Christianity, you oftentimes boil God down to a formula), we wouldn't be serving the God that we simultaneously believe can do any & all. To truly trust God, sometimes you have to believe that what he's telling your gut - what you can't shake well after you've sought out every other possible avenue - is exactly what you need to do. I'm not justifying a whim-based decision. We all have all kinds of thoughts all the time that have nothing to do with God speaking to us. I'm talking about something that goes so deeply that you feel it's a part of you.

To those in that situation, know that it's okay to explore what you feel your gut (aka, God) is telling you. While you may decide later that it's nothing or just a brief fantasy of escaping life for a bit, it can also be something very's OKAY to believe in your gut that it just may be God saying to get out! My heart has broken many times over for those who are in relationships that have created more brokenness than love. You don't have to want a miracle. You have permission to NOT want a miracle. You are no less of a Christian b/c you don't want to see this through to the miracle. Of course there are times that God will work a miracle in a relationship. What I'm saying here isn't a suggested first course of action. But I do believe there are times that people know and believe in their gut that the miracle will never come. God CAN work miracles but that does not always mean that he DOES. Oftentimes in our humanness we make mistakes; sometimes I believe the miracle is in a restored relationship and sometimes I believe the miracle is in the grace to find emotional health otherwise. God LOVES you, LOVES you, LOVES you. This statement has application for all but I especially want to speak out to those in abusive situations: you would NEVER ask your own child keep their promise to be in an abusive situation to prove their love to wouldn't even think of it. But staying with an abusive husband because you made a vow is exactly what you are thinking that God expects of you. Keeping your wedding vow & staying in an abusive relationship to prove your love and loyalty to God. He LOVES you more than that...SO. MUCH. MORE.

Jesus himself said in Matthew 11:30: "For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” I don't believe that he is saying that all of Christianity is smooth sailing - look at what he endured on our behalf. However, I do believe that we oftentimes get so focused on finding perfection in following the law, that we completely throw grace out the window and in turn, we create an unneccesary burden on ourselves and others. I want to speak out on behalf of grace. I've been blessed enough to, for the first time in my life, truly understand what it's all about. I honestly believe it's a sin that modern Christianity treats it as something that only has to do with salvation. God loves us and wants good things for us. I think it's time we start actually believing that.

Monday, November 22, 2010

God Loves You - Even If You're Divorced - Part 1

Disclaimer: Apparently after my initial posting of this, some felt it was my cryptic way of telling the world "what really happened" in my own divorce and in turn, have taken it upon themselves to create drama and spread lies. the ones this applies to: don't give yourself that much credit. This was written with the intent of supporting many people who I know that are wrestling with the struggles below - NOT of spilling the sordid details of my life or to be a cryptic tell-all. This blog will never be used for that intent. I have more class than that and I have no use for those who don't. If you've come here with that intent, please don't come back.

The past couple years have taught me a lot. I've gone through a divorce and as someone that believes deeply in God & Jesus, this was no light task. I chose to leave. And while I know that I sought God with every fiber of my being throughout the entire process, because my ultimate decision was to leave, my faith has been questioned from every angle. Many people seemed to understand the process of questioning things but very few actually offered me a moment of grace once the decision was made. I am grateful for the few that did; for those that were willing to see that my character had not changed throughout, that offered me the grace to take the time to open up as I needed to in order to share the pains and struggles that led me to this, and that understood that I could make this decision and STILL love and follow God the same way - that I hadn't forfeited my eternity in heaven because of it. I wouldn't be where I am now - the most emotionally & spiritually healthy I feel I've ever been - if it hadn't been for those people that chose to love me before they loved the rules. The love of those people are what have inspired me to write this post...

Divorce is NOT the end of one's relationship with God.

I'm not denoucing the word of God by saying this though I know there are many that will disagree with me. I know in my own life that the grace, direction & leading of God I experienced in this journey has been undeniable. I know that I'm not the only one who has experienced this. And unfortunately, I also know that there are few who feel that they can talk about this in Christian circles. It's all been something to just wrestle with until I see someone else going through it. Suddenly, it seems time to speak up.

I went to an incredibly conservative Christian college where the mere thought of divorce seemed to be a sin, let alone actually going through one. I was impressed when it was taught in a family psychology class that adultery does not only mean when a spouse cheats on another. Adultery is, in it's truest form of the word, a deep betrayal; a latin-english dictionary says: "a breaking of a marriage". We talked specifically in that class about what other forms of betrayal can fall in this category (this list is non-inclusive): addictions that one doesn't seek help for (or consistently "says" they will seek help but never truly make a change) including porn, alcohol abuse, substance abuse, etc.; physical abuse; emotional abuse; spiritual abuse; etc. Just because a spouse does not cheat on another through sexual infidelity, it does not mean that there aren't other betrayals worthy of severing the relationship. These betrayals create a relationship of toxicity and left untreated, can act as a cancer on one's emotional being.

I get incredibly defensive with those who chose to see this otherwise. I tend to believe that these people care more about their OWN interpretation of God's word rather than seeing people in a healthy place where they can know their savior more deeply. God calls us to trials but I think that we serve a sick god if he uses an abusive marriage or a perpetually toxic relationship to test us on that. You wouldn't want that for your best friend and if it were your child, your "mama bear" instinct would be turned on so fast that you wouldn't be able to see straight.

Matthew 7:9-11:  9 “Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!

Do you really think God loves you less than you love your own children? There's no way! While I believe whole heartedly that there is a time and place to give chances, make efforts, and to work towards reconciliation, I also believe that there is a time when enough is enough. Yes, God CAN work a miracle - of course He can! But there are times that God chooses to not to and to stay in the relationship creates just as much or more damage to our relationship with Him than if we'd stayed just to follow the law. Quite frankly, anyone who disagrees with me needs to know that God loves us a million times more than they believe in. You want to worry about where the sin is? It's believing so little of how God loves us that we put His law above His grace and in turn encourage people to stay where an emotional cancer will continue to eat away at them.

Part 2 - Believe that God loves you more!! Coming soon...

Monday, October 18, 2010

Gonna Celebrate!

Well, today was the day to weigh-in. I almost "forgot" for fear that PMS would still have it's hold on the scale and that it might show a gain (at one point I was up 6 pounds!!). I could handle posting a gain had I made bad choices but I didn't. I made lots of good choices this week and I didn't want to post a "bloated" weight. But...I decided that this time was for honesty across the board so I trudged on to the scale anyway.

And guess what?!?!

A 0.8 LOSS!!! Wahooo!!!!!!!! That's 9.2 pounds I'm down officially in 3 weeks! So I decided to take it another step and do my measurments. Down 4.125 inches all over!! Love it!! Oh this is great!!

Another thing to celebrate is that my boyfriend has been so supportive of me with this. When I switched out regular cream cheese for fat-free & fruit popcicles for ice cream, he said it was a good thing. He's been willing to try every recipe and even went for the turkey pepperoni even after initially saying "no way". He takes walks with me. He's asked me about how I'm doing when I log on sparkpeople and is truly proud of the accomplishments I'm making. And now, he's even talked of setting a goal for himself for this week. I love having him on this journey with me. He is the most supportive man I've ever known and I am incredibly blessed that he's mine. ♥♥♥

Another day of feeling incredibly blessed...


Thursday, October 14, 2010

Meeting goals even if the scale and I disagree!

So I've been focusing more on working out this week while still maintaining my nutritional goals and despite that, the scale has been my enemy. Usually, I try to just weigh myself once or twice a week but when PMS kicked in last weekend and I watched my mid-week weigh-in go up on my actual weigh-in day (still a loss overall though), I can't seem to stay away from the scale. I just can't believe it - there's no way! Most days I've been well within my daily calorie range and exercising. How could I be gaining like the scale says?!? Well, I've decided I'm waging war against it and I'm going to keep doing what I know I need to be doing no matter what it says or how bezerk it is! Stupid numbers won't keep me down. I FEEL better - I'm focusing there!

So in fitness goal #1, I've been on the hunt for videos this week that are motivating for me to use for exercise. I checked out Netflix where there are TONS of videos on demand. I started with a 10 minute solution video and I love them! I love knowing that I've only got to get through those 10 minutes before it changes up. Today I did cardio, worked my abs and did yoga. I really like the mix-and-match aspect of them and there are SOOOOOOOOOOOO many of them. It'll be a while before I'd become bored with these!

The other goal I had this week is to find some type of fitness goal to work towards. I thought that a 5k was out b/c, due to my summer knee injury (I dislocated my kneecap - OUCH!!), I can't run. BUT, so many people suggested finding a 5k walk/run - what a great idea!! So I've done a hunt of 5ks in my area and I think the best one will be a 5k on November 13th in the Central Ohio area - it's a Turkey Trot for a local YMCA and sounds like it'll be a lot of fun. That gives me 30 days to prep for it. I'd love a buddy so if anyone in my area wants to join me, let me know! :)

So there, scale!


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time to up the ante

First, I have to say - I LOVE Spark People! Best website EVER for losing weight! The whole thing is so positive and encouraging and inspiring. Which leads to the blog title...

I've had times where I've lost weight before. Two significant times in my adult life where I shed quite a few pounds. One where I was eating healthy & exercising but lost steam after about a month. One where I was on Weight Watchers, not really focused much on exercising but stayed with the program about 6 months. This time, I know that if I'm going to have a lasting change on my health that exercise is not an option - it's a must. I've been SLOWLY working into it trying to build the habit: 10 minutes a day, everyday. In my first 16 days of the program, I've missed 2 but most other days I've done more than 10 minutes. I feel so good when I exercise. I know that I need to do it more.

Where sparkpeople comes in is that I feel so ENCOURAGED to do it. It doesn't feel like this "ugh...better check that to-do off the list..." feeling. It's more like, "wow - look at all she's done. If she can do that, so can I!" It also racks up your fitness minutes and I want mine to be up there - it's such an accomplished feeling! I can't believe that in 16 days where only 10 min/day was my goal, I've racked up 434 minutes! I know - doesn't sound like much to some but for me, that's huge!!

There's so many people doing a 5k and it's so cool to have that kind of a goal. I'm not a runner - my still-recovering knee injury from this summer won't allow it right now and I've never enjoyed it. But I do love to dance. I'm thinking there's got to be something I can do once my knee is stronger that I can look forward to like a 5k. Some kind of goal I can set. I just browsed Netflix and put 4 dance workouts in my instant queue - this week I'll have 2 fitness goals: 1) do all 4 of these workouts once and 2) find some kind of non-running, 5k-type goal that I can work towards with my fitness. Any SPs with ideas - I'm all for them!!

Here's, here's to a great fitness week! :)


Friday, October 8, 2010

23/24 ain't bad

Today did not exactly produce a stellar report on the ole Nutrition Tracker. Not too incredibly horrible but it did remind me of the weight watcher days and thinking - this would've been a use-the-extra-35-points day! The kicker hasn't been so much in the amount that I've eaten; it's what I ate that got to me.

I've been on such a kick with this from a nutritional standpoint and being lucky to find some really great recipes that I hadn't really realized that since I started, greasy foods nearly went off my list. Even the pizza I blogged about last week wasn't greasy b/c it was all veggie toppings! So when I had 5 chicken wings today, I knew I was taking a calorie risk. I knew I was taking a risk w/my goals of where my calories come from (carbs, fats, protein). What I didn't even think twice about was the pile of lead that it would create in the bottom of my stomach and remain there aaaaalllllllllll day. Ugh...

You know, usually between something like that and the PMS and the cramps (sorry boys), I would've given up on the day. It would've been the same thing so many of us have struggled with - "well, blew that. I'll start fresh tomorrow - bring on the ice cream!" But boy does the tracker make a difference with that! ONE - who knew how many calories were in a lil itty bitty chicken wing?!? and TWO - holy cow...I've still got a shot of staying w/in my calorie range!! I did go a bit over but not anywhere near as much had I not paid attention in the meantime. And while I hadn't yet gotten my exercise in and wasn't sure if I would, I decided that I didn't want to go to bed w/o at least that sense of accomplishment so I did that (doing exactly what every expert will tell you - it made me feel better! Lead belly's still there but I sure feel better emotionally!)

So while I still sit here w/my stomach letting me know that we're not doing fried foods like that again for a while, I'm pretty proud. I didn't let it stop me from my exercise goals. I didn't let it carry over into other meals. Really, I just had one bad hour in my day. And I'd say 23/24 ain't bad. ;)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Today, I choose HAPPY

I'm a little emotional today...okay, a lot emotional today. Case in point: I watched a mini-documentary about this guy who had to put his dog to sleep b/c of cancer and nearly lost it...full-on sobbing, cascades of tissues, a big ole weepy mess. The kicker is, I have that want-to-cry feeling so badly that it actually felt good. I had a hard time getting to sleep and woke up super early. I'm tired. I'm emotional. Though I've ignored the calendar, I'm probably hormonal too. Whatever. The point is how I feel, regardless of how it came about, is like hiding away all day and crying.

But...I have a choice.

Yes, I feel this way and there's not much I can do to change my feelings. But I can choose to make my thoughts go beyond my immediate emotions. I can choose to find good in the day beyond the emotional mess inside of me. I can choose to keep this separate from my goals to be healthy. I can choose to not let this carry over to the others around me. I can choose happiness.

So I will. Today, I choose HAPPY.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

My Reward List

Okay so I've seen a lot of people on SP have a "prize" list so to speak. It's really a reward list for meeting goals and I think it's time I've made one for myself. :) So here goes:

Lose 10 pounds: A cute, girly, very me & only mine (not just the boring stuff that's been beat up by my son) water bottle

Lose 15 pounds: A cute, girly, very me bag to use while walking (since I take the dog, I need baggies and a way to carry something for her to drink water out of; on no-pocket days which is most days, a bag is a must)

Lose 20 pounds: New outfit (hopefully to wear to Christmas parties!)

Lose 30 pounds: Plan a night out to the theater

Lose 40 pounds: Plan a creativity weekend (w/friends?) and go nuts @ JoAnn Fabrics!

Lose 50 pounds: Plan at least a 3-day trip to Nashville

Lose 60 pounds (GOAL): If it hasn't already been scheduled by other family members, schedule a family portrait; also, I'll need lotsa new clothes!

I think I'm most excited about the one I came up with for 40 pounds lost - the creativity weekend! If it's as motivating I think it will be, I may have to double it for my goal - since new clothes won't really be something I'd have much of an option about by that point! ;)


Monday, October 4, 2010

Week 1: Down 6.8 pounds!!

Oh yeah! Go me! Oh yeah! Go me! If you could see me now, you'd see me doing the goofy little dance that my son and I do whenever we're excited about something we've done. :) 6.8 pounds in week 1!!! YaHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I've done a couple diets in the past where I've lost weight so I know that this is not something to anticipate on a regular basis but I'll take it for now! I'm well on my way to my initial goal of losing 20 pounds by December. Boy, what this tells me is just how off track I was before! I must've been overeating like crazy b/c I don't really feel like I've done all that much to see this kind of weight loss.

Seriously though, for now I don't care about the ins and outs of it all b/c I lost 6.8 pounds!!  

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Believe the impossible!!

I love, love, love it. So you'd think that when I found myself with some time to write today that I'd have tons to say. Yet, there I sat, staring at a blank screen with nothing coming to mind beyond just the white noise you could read just about anywhere. Well rather than sticking with that on a day when I actually had some time to dive into this, I went looking for a little inspiration.

I instantly went to a stash of pictures I'd started pulling together for my vision collage. For non SparkPeople, it's a collection of pictures & words that help you to maintain your vision in reaching your goals. It's amazing how a simple quote or pictures can really grab your attention. There were so many that I found that I loved...I'm sure I'll be sharing all kinds of them in many blogs to come. The one that really grabbed my attention today is this quote from Alice in Wonderland:

How many times have I tried to lose weight believing deep down that 1) there's no way I'm actually going to reach my goal and 2) even if I do, there's no way it will stay that way? I'll tell you how many times: EVERY time. Why? Because it felt IMPOSSIBLE. I always knew that rather than making a life change, all I was doing was getting myself pysched up enough to make it easy and then when it got hard, I'd give up.

But this time...this time I'm sitting on the other side of some things that I once thought were impossible. Things that felt much more impossible than getting myself motivated enough to exercise! I think that's what makes this time feel so much different. It's amazing what the power of having done something you didn't think that you could gives to you. It's a dynamic strength to pull from in times of struggle.

But even when things get tough and that strength is hard to pull from, this quote gives no excuses! Because even when you feel like something is impossible like being able to lose the weight, this gives no way out - it should be a daily thing to BELIEVE the IMPOSSIBLE! I don't know about you but I LOVE that thought! How much more opportunity lies ahead in my day if I choose to believe in what I feel I can't do?!
  • On the days when I feel like there's no way I can get up early enough to do any morning exercise - because we all know that some mornings that truly feels impossible - I'll believe I can do it anyway.
  • On the days when I feel like it's an overwhelming task and I'll never reach my goal - I'll believe that I will anyway. 
  • On the days when the scale goes the opposite direction and that maintaining my focus will be impossible for the rest of the day - I'll believe I can stay focused anyway. 
  • On the days when all the motivators in the world aren't working at all, I'll believe that I can do it anyway. 
I know that it's not impossible to do what I'm trying to do. So many people have been stellar examples of being able to change their lifestyle to become healthy. I know that in the past though that I've always lost this battle in my mind well before I ever did on the scale. This time, I'm going to win that battle and if my mind is telling me it's impossible, I'm going to remember the queen of hearts and come right back that it doesn't matter because I believe in the impossible.


Thursday, September 30, 2010

♥ you ♥ blessed ♥ my ♥ heart ♥

You know, when you go through something difficult - something you know you MUST do but you are scared to death to go through it - the scariest part can be learning who your true friends are through it. I read in a blog post recently about someone who actually lost friends as they were losing weight - the closer they got to meeting their goal, the more jealous some of their friends became, offering every temptation they could to get off track. I don't think that's truly that uncommon. People act out when they feel insecure and having someone that used to make them feel secure suddenly make them feel insecure can be that way.

I've been through some tough stuff in the last few years and long story short, I felt like I'd lost a lot of friends along the way. Often I felt that my very presence created a divide. Very few that actually "turned" on me so-to-speak but there were several that I felt awkward around. I didn't want to and I don't think that they wanted to but there the uneasiness sat in the room, as if it were an invited guest. I hated that guest. Seemed for a while that he followed me everywhere...

Things have really mellowed out though over the summer. A lot of people tell me they notice a change in me - that I've got my smile back. Some people that, I think, thought that I was just jumping off the deep end have had their fears calmed as it's been over a year now and I'm still sane; I still love Jesus as much (I'd actually say more) than I did before; and it's undeniable that I'm just plain happy again. Still, I've been hesitant to be around some folks because I just never knew if that crazy guest would crash my party again.

Tonight I felt like he got the message that he's an unwanted guest - by all parties. Surrounded by some of my most favorite friends who've been in my life for a decade this month, I felt a warmth in their friendship, a depth to their smiles, such an intense was an incredibly wonderful time. It was simple, no fanfare to the evening. In fact it was just practicing a song to perform for a wedding but being able to feel "normal" around them and to not have the weight of what's happened overshadowing the moment meant the world to me.

I'm grateful for them and for all of those who have loved me through this time. I'm grateful for those who sought me out to ask the tough questions rather than making assumptions. I'm grateful for those who have had the grace to understand that God does not fit all things into a cookie-cutter plan. (Side thought - if he did, we'd probably be able to figure him out and I don't believe I serve a god that I can fathom in my very finite human mind...but that's for another blog post!) I'm grateful for those who worked through the times that I brought my unwanted guest along. I'm especially grateful for the very few that I let in deep enough to see the whole picture and who treated me with the utmost love & respect and that I've shared the deepest relationships with that I've ever known. I feel very blessed.


Good Choices - even with pizza!!

Yesterday was a GREAT day on the weight loss front! First, not only did I do my daily 10 minutes of exercises but I also broke out the Yoga & Pilates DVD - felt great! :) The second one I'm even more excited about. When trying to figure out what to do for dinner, it'd been a long day and no one felt like cooking so the "p" word came up - PIZZA. I remembered from my previous dieting days that I'd order pizza with peppers & onions, a thin crust, extra sauce & half the cheese. Our local pizza joint offers coupons that if you buy a large you get a medium for free so the boys got pepperoni on the large and I ordered my specialty on the medium.

When it came I couldn't find the nutrition info, I was hungry so I just gave up looking for it and ate what seemed a reasonable amount (about 1/4 of the pizza cut in squares; the equivalent of 2 triangle slices). I kinda wanted more but since I couldn't easily figure out the calories, thought I better stop there. After I ate, it finally dawned on me where I came up with the idea to order the pizza like that - Pizza Hut does a Fit n' Delicious menu. So I quickly search the calories on there thinking I'd probably at least gone to the top end of my calorie intake for the day if not over altogether. Well, I thought, at least it got my veggie intake up there between the sauce & the toppings.

Low and behold - I was fine!! Not only that but I still had about 200 calories to go before I'd hit the top range of my daily calories! I could've had more but by that point I'd been away from the food enough to realize I was actually full. Hmmmm...go figure! :)

Everyday there's a chance to make choices. Really every moment there is. It seems to me that the key is just getting the good to outweigh the bad. To choose the better over the good. The best over the better. Looking at it like that, out of bad, good, better and best I've got a 75% shot of picking a choice that puts me in the right direction. I like those odds. I'll shoot for best but when better & good are still chose over bad, I'll count it a success.


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A Memorable Life

It's amazing the power a little cartoon can have. It wasn't all that long ago that a memorable life seemed to be overshadowed by the day-to-day.

Reaching for whatever I wanted to acheive seemed out of the question. So many ways I felt held back. This picture would've brought me to tears not too long ago. Not only did I feel like I chose the average road in a lot of ways but that I was stuck there with no say in what was to come.

Today I look at it though and I am happy, knowing I've chosen the path to the right. No longer at a crossroads or constantly feeling like I need to jump out of the car on the other road. I've also seen that I can make a choice in this...I don't have to stay on the road that's leading me to a place of unrest. I can chose the path of peace.

Yep...right where I am, today, is good. Tomorrow is gonna be better. And the prospects of the future are endless.


I believe

I stayed within my calories yesterday!! Yahoo! I know I should really only weigh myself once a week but having done this before, I know that the first week or 2 you actually see a lot come off. Soooo...against sound advice I did a weigh-in and am down 4 pounds at this point!! I'm so excited! Which really tells me that my eating was out of control before b/c I really don't feel like I've done much. I'm certainly not exercising like a mad woman or anything. I've met my 10 minute goal each day but come on...that's no marathon or anything.

I really do believe that I can do this. In a way that I have never believed in myself before. I have a mindset that I didn't before. Before I had always felt that there were some things that were just meant to be as they are - I have no control over them or their outcomes and I really let that thinking carry over to my thoughts on weight loss. Now having made some changes that I thought I couldn't before in other areas of my life, I can see my flawed thinking more clearly. I could get on that initial "weight loss high" before and be successful but once that wore off and it became more like work, it fell apart every time. I see now that I can't go there. This has to be something that I can make a lasting change with, not the "go cold turkey" method. I'm not wired that way because once I'd slip up, it was all over. No, now I see it needs to be gradual. I read somewhere that I need to not just accept my mistakes but to enjoy them because that's what makes me me. That thought really had an impact on me. I am accountable for the good choices I make and the bad ones. And one bad mistake doesn't take away from the good choices I can make afterwards.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

D-Day is here (Down-A-Couple-Dress-Sizes Day!)

Yesterday was Day 1 for me with this healthier lifestyle. The caption I found with this picture was: Glory lies in the attempt to reach one's goal. I am determined to find glory and to reach my goal!!

I found this incredible website: to help me out and I was amazed when I went to enter in the foods I ate - all the nutritional info was calculated for me! Wahoo!! That's been my least favorite part of tracking the foods I eat in the past and here it's all done for me!

I stayed close to my goal though I did go a little bit over. Not as far over as I think I would have gone had I not been tracking all day. And I've learned that my Mickey D's sweet tea has got to go. :( If I hadn't had that and had water instead, I would've not only reached my water goal but would've reached my calorie goal for the day too.

I did stick with my 10 minutes of exercise both yesterday and today. Actually, yesterday was 15 and today I plan to get out and do some exercise later on. If the rain ever stops, it'll be an outside journey. If not, I'll break out a yoga/pilates DVD. Maybe I can get the boys to do it with me? Ha!

So all in all, I feel like it's been a good start. Here's to another beautifully lived day! :)  


Monday, September 27, 2010

Slowing down

I just read the headline of an article about the goal to curb childhood obesity by 2015. This stream of consciousness followed:
  • How do they plan to do that?
  • Probably a bunch of marketing techniques...
  • Get all of America on board with it; get everyone to stop eating fast food so much.
  • Yeah right...that'll happen; not with the stories I hear of so many people being expected to work insane hours at their jobs.
  • Til that stops, people won't stop chosing the convenience over health.
  • people used to be healthier b/c you HAD to go home and make dinner. America stopped at dinnertime.
  • You can see it in the movies. Miracle on 34th Street - great example. Mr. Macy himself is having a big meeting with his executives and one taps his watch and Mr. Macy says, "oh, yes, we all need to get home for dinner." Not today...
  • I wish our culture would swing back that way...I hate the go-go-go mindset.
In the past couple years, I've slowed down a LOT. It started out as a way to isolate myself some because of all that I was going through but once the pace lessened I realized that I really liked it. Slowing down means a lot more than what it can seem to an over-booked outsider (ah-hem, that was me). On the outside to me it looked like giving up my involvment with different groups and different people which seemed like it meant giving up friends. What I've learned is that it means giving up acquaintences - people I had previously given way too much of myself. It also means that I have gained the right to keep 3-4 of my weeknights free because I WANT to be home with my family and I don't need any more reason than that. It means that my time is free to be more available to spend time with those that truly mean the most to me. My inner circle is tighter and so much deeper as a result.

So here's to taking a little time to slow down, to free up the calendar, to just enjoy life at the pace it was taken by nearly every generation before us. And in the process we just might find a little more time to eat healthier, exercise more and sleep better.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Quick update

Today's been a weird day. It's been so long and I feel like I've done about a zillion things with nothing to show for it. The house has toys strung all over it (AGAIN), the dishes need done (AGAIN) and the kids are winning the no-sleep award (AGAIN) despite the fact that the adults are losing miserably. It's not been a bad day though; just one of those where you wonder how in the world you crammed so much in and then wonder how it can look like you did nothing. ;)

I am pretty excited about 2 things that happened today in the weight-loss front. One - I rode a bike today for the first time in YEARS! I was a little shaky (especially given my knee injury from June) but I rode it! The actual riding felt great for my knees; the putting-my-foot-down-if-I'm-getting-off-balance thing kinda hurt a lot. Might be a while before I feel confident on it but I think in time I'd really enjoy it. Either way - it got me up and moving! While the bike ride got cut short, it made it a lot easier to go take a walk to the park with the kids. So 25 min of cardio altogether - not bad for an early start!

The other thing is this great website I found called Wow! To think that I was considering spending money on a not-anywhere-close-to-comparable website for support. This site has so much stuff in it! You can track just about anything you want and there's the community support that I was looking for too. I'm so excited about it!

Well, it's late and I'm ready to crash so just a quick update for tonight. Here's to a great start this week!

♥ Meg

Friday, September 24, 2010

Beautifully Lived and Loved

In spring of 2009, I took my first trip down to Nashville, TN. I'd had friends years ago that took a family vacation there come home and tell me, "you HAVE to go there's your town!" Little did I know how incredibly spot-on they were. I've done some traveling through the years but I'd never visited a place that I felt so instantaneously at home than when I've been in Nashville. I could (and just may someday!) definitely live there which is saying a lot for this home-body girl. Something transformational took place within me when I first went and I knew that I had been forever changed.

A big part of that was my experiences at the Bluebird Cafe. It's nothing spectacular to look at but the music that happens there is so authentic. Every show is for singer/songwriters only. You're not supposed to talk during the shows, it's all acoustic, everyone's crammed together about as tight as can be on these crappy chairs & itty-bitty tables and I LOVE it!! I came across it when I was trying to decide where to go hear some good music but knowing that the bar scene just wasn't for me - especially since I was there by myself. I happened across a despription that basically said if you're looking for a place to be loud - don't bother coming! Ahhhh...the place for me! ♥

So I showed up having no clue about the reservation system and lucked out to be seated in THE best seat in the house! (Knowing how it works now, I cannot believe I got seated there without a reservation!! God knew that I needed to be there - that's the only explanation I can come up with!) The gentleman I was seated with offered for me to sit with him at the tables he'd reserved the next night as well (being alone as well, if they couldn't find another single, they'd boot him out to a different section so they could fill all the seats; but if I came, we'd both get great seats!). Of course I went. Our seats were so close to the artists that I had to watch how I crossed my legs so that I wouldn't knock over the guitar. All of the artists were friendly and genuine. They do 2 shows each night: the first one with lesser-knows songwriters and the second one with people with more "hits". Now having been to 6 nights at the Bluebird, nearly all of my favorites have been the earlier shows (though, I should say I've never seen a show that I didn't like there). I don't know...they've all just had this down-to-earth quality that made the music just that much better.

One of my favorite artists that's come out of my Bluebird experiences has been Marcia Ramirez. Her music is exactly what I love - kinda country, kinda folksy, a teensy twinge of pop. She was so genuine - like you could actually have a conversation with her. When she sang, you felt like you were in her living room rather than a cafe.I highly recommend listening to her:

One of the songs she did that night is called Beautifully Lived. You know, when you're in the midst of making some life-changing decisions and feel like the world around you is crashing, sometimes a song can hit you like a ton of bricks...there were several songs like that for me in those first few nights at the Bluebird from all of the artists. But then there are songs that catch your attention and slowly work their way into your don't even realize they're affecting you as much as they do and then one day you realize it's become your mantra. That's what this song was like for me. I heard her sing it one time and it stuck in my mind. Here's the words to the chorus:

Beautifully lived, beautifully loved
Look at my life and say, "well done"
Everyday a beautiful gift
Hoping something that I did
Made somebody's day, made somebody say,
"She had a life beautifully lived."
 As I've been working my way back to a healthier place mentally, this song rings in my mind. Wouldn't it be wonderful if everyone focused on having a life that was "beautifully lived"? With the experiences I've had in recent years to learn from, the support I have now and the much healthier mindset, I have been able to offer more grace to people, be more understanding, realize that I cannot guess or assume all facets of any situation because there is always more to it than I will ever know. It's a work in progress but it's definitely progressing - and I feel like a better person for it. I feel like I'm learning how to show more love, to be a better friend, to strive for authenticity. I'm working toward a "beautifullly lived" life.

It's not been easy. I've had to give up trying to please everyone around me in order to be able to do this. I've had to make some hard choices to be here but I'd do it 1,000 times over again to be in this place I am right now. For the first time in my life, it doesn't matter what everyone else thinks all the time. I let the approval of others rule my world - I spoke of following God (it was certainly my heart's intent) but I greatly confused that with the approval of His people. I have learned that those can oftentimes be two VERY different things. Now I try to let love rule and not worry about the rest.  Forget the details that people get so caught up in. The endless debates, the all take away from what God wants us to do the most. The two greatest commandments are to LOVE God and to LOVE people.That sounds like a life beautifully lived to me. That sounds like the life for me.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

So many changes...

Life has been full of so many big changes over the last several years. I'm at a place now where I feel more content than I have in...well, I'd say a long time but I'm not so sure I've ever felt quite like this. I know a confidence and peace that I didn't even know I was missing. Times before I thought I was strong - now I realize I just knew how to project being strong. I thought I understood what it meant to feel at peace but now I feel like I really get it. I feel like I really GET a lot of things now that I didn't before (or at least didn't get how much I was missing): love, contentment, confidence, a true relationship with God. I've got a new start and, Lord help me, I have every intention of making the most of it.

So that's what this blog is about. I'd gone incognito with my blogging the last few years b/c that's what I needed then. I never stopped writing - I just took some time to write for my eyes only. And they're still there where no one can see them - a place for me & God to talk things out without a web's worth of opinions to weigh in on them. But I've missed sharing thoughts with others. I love writing...really I just plain love being creative but it's not the same to be creative if you don't share it with others. I love this quote by Lucy MacDonald:

"Use your talent (everybody has one) any way you can. Don't keep it for yourself like a miser - spend it like a millionare!"
Isn't that a great thought?!? Whether anyone considers it a talent of mine or not, I do love writing and don't like the idea of being a miser so I'm here to spend, spend, spend!! And really, anything that feels like shopping without the loss of actual money - I'm in! :)

So why now? Well, partly the timing just seems right but it's also that I'm also using this for a little accountability. I've given the whole weight loss thing a shot a couple times before and been successful but I always gained the weight back. With this new mindset, I've realized that before I wasn't content or happy with myself before losing the weight. I always saw it as something that would bring happiness to me. When the weight came off, I'd drop jean sizes, have more energy, etc. but it didn't change the happiness level like I'd expected. What solidified this for me is that a little less than 2 years ago when I was in THE darkest moments of my life, I lost weight without thinking about it. Yet, I felt miserable.

Fast-forward to today. I'm pretty content. I feel good about myself. I feel beautiful and desirable just as I am. I have amazing people in my inner circle that have encouraged to love me for me EXACTLY as I am no matter what the scale says. And lately it's been clicking - I finally love myself. That thing I've heard people say you need to do but I could never quite get it right - I get it now! And because of that, I'm ready to get healthy for me. Not to look a certain way or have people tell me I'm looking great or to say I can fit into a size, this is because I want to take care of me. I've got too many dreams not yet acheived to do anything else.

So Monday is D-day (giving myself time to get to the grocery store!). Exercise & healthy eating - here I come!! Exercise - the goal is to do something at least 5 days per week even if it's just 10 minutes and increase as it becomes a part of my routine. Healthy eating - that's a bit more complicated. I know a lot about general nutrition from doing this before (calories, fat, etc.)but I'd really like to try to minimize the processed foods that are part of my diet. There's a LOT of processed, synthetic foods out there that come in easy 100-calorie packs. So while the goal is to get to a more whole foods, natural diet, I may fall back on some old low-cal, low-fat standbys that don't fit into that category to get me started. In the meantime, I'll be studying up on what's healthier in general so that trips to the grocery store don't have to take me hours on end! I've got a journal to keep track of what I'm doing - that was CRUCIAL each time I had any significant, healthy weight loss in the past. Complete with gem stickers to give myself for meeting my eating & exercise goals each day! They're so sparkly & fun...;)

If you're still reading this, I hope I've inspired you in some way (or at least entertained you - ha!). I'd love to know if you're keeping up with me - please sign up as a follower. :) There will be more pictures to come and some music on here as well. I'm excited to share a little bit about the title of this blog and the artist behind it that I met in Nashville but that'll have to be for another day. For now, I'm off to work.

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