Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stop Dwelling

I have to remind myself some days of how blessed I truly am.

Not just me, all of us.

If we look around and take stock of all of the good in our lives, then we should have very little time to dwell on what has been denied.

Yesterday was not an easy day for me. Not at all.
When I got off of work, I felt something stirring... something was off. As I pulled out of our driveway, I saw my church's steeple over the trees. It reminded me that it has been a while since I sat in the house of the Lord.

So I drove over there. I walked quickly from my car to the side door, already a little wet from all of the mist. As I walked in a group of Asian tourists and their American tour guide come in right behind me.

I debated leaving.

I just wanted one moment of peace, in my church, with God.

Instead, I walked over to the candles, and lit one and said a quick prayer for my family. It was the first thing that came to my mind.

My candle is the one in the center
As I was lighting my candle, I heard snap, click and witnessed a flash go off. I sort of sighed as that happened.

Then I went over to the first pew and lowered the kneeler.
I crossed myself and whispered, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit," and I bowed my head.

Again... snap - click - flash.

I was getting frustrated. I was somehow the souvenir of the Asian tourist. My faith, my time of need, my meditation was now something for people to share with their friends back home.

All I could do was say to God,

"God.. this makes me uncomfortable. Please... let them leave soon. I need a minute with you. Just you. And I need to take that minute here."

I continued to feel odd about praying with them RIGHT BEHIND ME. So, I crossed myself again and just sat there staring at the crucifix. I took a few deep breaths, and as I was exhaling slowly, the tourists left.

Just like that.

And I was alone.

In the house of the Lord. With God. With my thoughts. Sitting in front of the tabernacle.. I prayed. I laid all of my worries there. Just handing it over.

I felt a sense of peace over come me. I smiled.. and I left.

I needed a moment, or two to just be alone. This is such an interesting time in my life, and I am preparing myself for the next chapter.

When stumbling blocks present themselves, I have to remember where to turn.

And to breathe.
And to trust.
And to let go.

Luckily, my SG and I had a wonderful conversation that afternoon. He helped soothe my worries about the future, and he reminded me that everything is as it should be. He really is a gift from God.

I am responsible for so much. I am required to do so much. There are high expectations.
I'm a bit of a perfectionist, so much so, that sometimes I block my own progress.

I must relax. Stop dwelling on what has been denied over the years, and focus on all of the good that God has provided for me.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Golden Leaves and Crisp Winds

Thank heavens I live in a world where there is such a thing as Autumn. It almost feels like a we are celebrating a new year, a new promise of sorts. 

Though I had a fantastic Summer, it is always a treat to begin again, a new. 

For me, this will require a quick trip to my storage unit to pull out all of my clothes that are fall/winter. That includes the boots, the coats, maybe a few other little things here and there. Unfortunately down here, it is never a good idea to put up your summer clothes because many a Christmas I have sat around in t shirts and the a/c on. You just never know with our weather.

Life is trudging along nicely. I am incredibly busy at work! We celebrate Raggedy Ann's 100th Bday party and are about to have our next Miss Elizabeth's Tea Party. I'm still taking off down to the cabin every chance I get (which will be this coming up weekend,) and of course, spending a little time with cats and family in between.

September is almost coming to a close, and we all know how excited I am for that to happen. I guess some of the more unlucky incidents were fairly minor in some respects:
- SG's kids having an allergic reaction to something
- Getting pulled over by the GSP (verbal warning)
-Spilling coffee all over my white shirt before a speaking engagement
- Getting turned down for two important grants for the museum

As you can see... well..

Sorry but today's post is a little bland. I'm super sleepy (due to allergy meds,) and I am trying to wrap up a work day. 

Also - I'm on a diet. Ugh. 
9.4 pounds down!

Happy Fall, my friends... until next time!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Let The Magic Begin!

As I sat at my desk this morning, I was trying to center myself. I had my coffee, I checked my email, I ran through our social media feeds, then I just sat. 
Like all forgetful people juggling too much, it took just a minute for me to remember to read my little devotion. If you have been following me for a while, then you remember over the years the little book I keep on my desk, Journey to the Heart by Melody Beattie. Today's meditation spoke volumes to me, and it might do the same for you. 

I just have to share!

It started out simply with "Let the magic begin!" Of course, being the romantic/imaginative person I am, my creative little heart went aflutter. Then it got down to business, as if the author was speaking directly to me, based on where I am in my life right at this moment. She said, "At some point in the journey, we may become tired, weary, and confused. Homesick. All the mountains, scenery, the food, the people, the experiences just don't do it for us anymore. We want to go home."

I sat there staring at those words. We want to go home. Lord, knows I want to go to my home. Whatever that looks like. I am ready to just put down roots and grow. Commit to a community and make it work. I'm ready. Right now, I'm living with my sister, which is a complete help to both her and I. I am enjoying spending time with my niece, but I miss my personal space. I miss being independent. I miss my sense of family. I mourn my past marriage - not so much the incredible amount of dysfunction, but the idea of building my life with someone - for a purpose. 

The meditation went on to say: What am I doing here? we wonder. Nothing worthwhile is happening. 

The words were written as if they were plucked right from my mind. I came back "home" (which happens to be my hometown) not by choice, but because I had to. Don't get me wrong, I am glad I am here. That is what home is. But oftentimes, there is a bit of resentment festering in me when I am around our town's cheerleaders. Yes, there are WONDERFUL things happening, but on a personal level, IT. WAS. NOT. A. PART. OF. THE PLAN. 

Then the meditation said: Yet another part of us knows the truth and whispers, "Yes, something is happening, something worthwhile."

Those words reminded me that everything happens for a reason. Yes, yes.. it seems incredibly cliche, but it is true. I have accomplished so much in such a little time. I've only been back almost four years and somehow I find myself running a museum (dream job - hello?!) and right in the middle of everything that is happening. I actually get paid to do what I love - and that is write (I freelance,) and I am surrounded by family and friends. Not to mention I have a great guy in my life. But that brings me to the next part. Home. He lives almost two hours away. It's hard. We've been together almost 11 months. 

The meditation went on to say: "Feeling homesick is part of the journey. It can mean we have reached a turning point. "When we get to that place," a friend once said, "it has really begun." 

I'm there. The transformation must be happening. Everything is set in place. Everything. Now what?

"Stay present for yourself and all of your emotions. You've worked through so much. Don't stop now. Getting through this place, this point, will turn your life around."

Isn't that the truth? Many of you remember the struggles I had in Birmingham with my husband, the cultural differences, the demanding job, the extensive work travel, and being away from family. It was not easy. But I worked through it. 

"You've learn and grown, you've worked so hard healing your heart and cleansing your soul. Your spiritual growth has been profound. But until now, all the work you've done has been to prepare you for where you are going."

THIS is what struck me. I sort of had an a-ha! moment. In order for me to heal, I needed to be in a safe place, where people I have known my entire life would be by my side. I worked hard to rebuild, and I think I have done a good job. But I am just so darn antsy for the next phase. (And come on.. I know ya'll can read between the lines on this one.)

"You've seen only a little of what life has to offer. You're about to walk through a door. Now that your heart is open, you'll see, touch, and know even more of life's wonders. It's the reward for where you've been. Keep feeling your feelings and trusting your guidance.

Let the magic begin!"

I don't think a horoscope could make me any happier. It sort of said exactly what I needed to hear. I'm 42. I've had a very full life, but the best part is - The best days of my life have not even happened yet!


Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fight Like A Girl!

I'm just glad there is a name for it. Other than - Laziness. 
About 15 years ago I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. I had never heard of it, and sort of wish I never had. That was.. until this year.

You see, my doctor said there really wasn't much you could do about PCOS, and when your doc tells you something like that, you really feel like what is the point?

Then I decided to do some research, trying to understand my struggle and figure out if there was anything I could do. I did not want to accept the fact that I could not lose the weight. I refused to believe that nothing would work. So I dug a little deeper.

I read The Zone and discovered the hormone - inflammation connection. I read more about the Mediterranean Diet. I looked at the side effects and figured out that there is plenty I can do. No, it will not be very fast, but I am not completely out of the healthy girl game.

Perhaps I should back up a bit...
I was an active kid. I wasn't always the weight that I am today. Heck, I was even an active teenager and early adult. I was a dancer. A pretty good one at that. 

I would spend many nights out of the week in dance class, with even more opportunities on the weekend. Rehearsing for ballet recitals, going to theater camp and getting even more opportunities to dance there - I was on the go. I weighed 110 pounds when I graduated from high school. I maintained that weight for a few years (fluctuating between 10 - 20 pounds as the years progressed. But the point is - I was a healthy weight for 1/2 of my life. 

In college, I did adjust my lifestyle considerably, and not necessarily for the better. I drank beer. I ate a lot of carbs. I did not exercise as much, however, we did walk everywhere and went dancing during the week. 
I'm about 22 here. 
I began to notice a slight change in my weight around 22 years of age. I decided to give birth control pills a run, and in the 3 months I took them, I ended up gaining close to 20 pounds. The about two years later, my therapist put me on imipramine for Panic Attacks. In that one year, I gained 30 pounds. I came off both pills, but never lost the weight. 

Time went on, and I began working in the "real world." At this point in time, I ended up in the plus size section for my 5'1 frame. I was wearing a 12 - 14. Steadily adding 10 - 15 pounds a year, with very little change to my diet and exercise. I did not, nor do I, eat large portions. I have tons of energy and I love exercise. 

About a size 16 here

A few years later - a size 18

Finally, I had to have a hysterectomy. (Cervical Cancer Scare.) While undergoing the surgery, my gyno diagnosed me with PCOS. I had many of the tell-tale symptoms: Unexplained weight gain, hair growth in not great places, skin tags, and some discoloration of my skin under my arms, etc. Later, they did an glucose tolerance test (different from your basic fasting blood sugar test,) and I was diagnosed with Insulin Resistance (also known as Metabolic Syndrome.) Second doctor said the same thing to me, "There is not much we can do about it."
So I got mad. Madder than hell, really. Though my body was slowly transforming, I was still that thin girl inside. I took Zumba 4 nights a week. I started Weight Watchers. I worked my ass off. I lost almost 30 pounds. 

When I was exercising and doing Weight Watchers. Slowly, some of the weight was coming off. I am a size 20 here.

Then something happened. I lost my job in Birmingham. I lost the money to go to the gym. I lost my husband. I began to just lose... in general. Just not the weight. 

Highest weight ever here. 
I moved home and sort of yo-yoed my way with the dieting. Down 15, up 20. Down 6, up 8. Back and forth. I'd start... then I'd stop. 

Then I met my S.G. Someone who also is struggling with losing weight, however, his was simply lifestyle. He encouraged me to join him on a healthier lifestyle. We did a ton of research and shared with each other what we have found. I joined a gym and just started moving again. I gave WW a try, then quit. (It was more me just being lazy and sort of giving up.) But something happened a few months ago. It was a now or never sort of moment. 

I dropped a size and began making a few healthier choices. I was determined to do better.
Now I have settled on an exercise routine and back on Weight Watchers (and applying what I learned from the Low-Carb/Zone/Mediterranean Diet.) This time.. might be the one. 

I refuse to let PCOS control my life. 
I used to have the best body of most people I knew (thank you Dance!) And I KNOW I can do it again. It won't be easy. It will take time. But I have a goal, and if you know me, I'm stubborn as hell. No one is telling me what I can or cannot do. 

September is PCOS awareness month. So many women live with PCOS and have no idea. I want to change that. Maybe you struggle with your weight, have had trouble conceiving, have some of the weird symptoms I mentioned above. It is important you get a diagnosis and do something about it. PCOS leads to so many terrible chronic diseases - IF you do not slow it down. 

If you have any of the above symptoms, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor! 

I'll keep you posted on my journey. I'm determined. Man.. am I determined.
#fightlikeagirl #cysters #pcos


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