Anxiety, Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, cats, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, Food Addiction, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, setting goals, weight loss journal, Wisdom, Writing

Snowy Sunday

We’re under yet another winter storm warning, but I’m not complaining.  I think my husband and I need a day to relax. I’ve realized, since my weight loss, that I’ve become quite accustomed to my days being filled with a constant flurry (no pun intended towards the falling snow outside my window) of activities.

In fact, with my birthday being a month away, I was mentally comparing my life now to a year ago:

  • Nearly a year ago today, I was excited to be wearing a brand new pair of size 18, skinny, jeans to my birthday party.  This was a welcome change from the size 24 pants that I’d worn to my first weigh in at the bariatric center.
  • As only a  three-month veteran of my weight loss program, I cautiously approached every sip, or bite, of food that I ingested and monitored every calorie I burned at the gym.
  • My self-confidence was a newly burgeoning entity experiencing so much for the first time.
  • My main goal was to get healthy and stay that way.

Now, my life is vastly different.  As a fit and healthy person, I look at life through new eyes, seeing every bright possibility.  It’s not just because my body is fit, it’s because my mind is clear and my soul is free of the baggage of anxiety and food addiction. I love my life and the people in it so much.  I quite honestly never imagined being so happy.

I think the secret to life is as simple and pure as the snow gently drifting in my driveway; see life as a series of possibilities and believe that the odds are in your favor, because they are. Take care of yourself. Feed and exercise each part of your body, mind, and spirit with good things, because that’s exactly what you deserve.  Practice kindness, caring, patience, and love daily. It just feels right, and you’ll mostly always get each in return.

Deep thoughts on a snowy Sunday! 🙂

Hope everyone is having a phenomenal day! 🙂

My kitty says, "It's time to relax!"  (Photo by me)
My kitty says, “It’s time to relax!” (Photo by me)
Appreciation, beach, blogging, Exercise, Having fun, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, marriage, weight loss journal, Writing

I’m Back!

We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)
We saw this little guy right before we left the house for the last time. (photo by me)

Last night, my husband and I arrived home from the land of swaying palm trees, menacing alligators, lounging lizards, magical Spanish moss, and good, old fashioned Southern hospitality.  Unfortunately, as mentioned in my previous post, we were in Hilton Head, South Carolina taking care of things after the death of my father-in-law.

In spite of the dreary task of clearing out, cleaning, and preparing the home for sale, we managed, during our long work days, to seek out the good.  In fact, everything we set out to accomplish was completed, not only with the best of intentions, but with fate placing the best of people in our paths.  Here are some of the highlights–not in any particular order:

  • Spending one on one time with my husband, and confirming how well we get along and work together.
  • Unexpectedly ending up with the nicest, quietest room in the hotel we stayed at.
  • Our hotel being located right beside of the Okatie Ale House–they have the best food in town with lots of healthy choices (even though I didn’t always make the healthiest of choices)!
  • Picking and eating the last orange on the backyard tree.  Delish!
Right from the tree to our tummies!  Yum!! (photo by me)
Right from the tree to our tummies! Yum!! (photo by me)
  • Meeting, and getting to know, the new neighbors who lived beside of my father-in-law.
  • Finding the many letters and family pictures that my in-laws had saved. (Oh, my goodness, my husband was a cute baby!)
  • Visiting Beaufort, SC in between appointments, on our last day in SC.  What a quaint, artsy, beautiful city!
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter?  The Spanish moss makes you feel like you're in a fairytale! (photo by me)
Could Beaufort, SC be any cuter? The Spanish moss makes you feel like you’re in a fairytale! (photo by me)
  • Finally getting a picture of one of the alligators residing in the neighborhood lagoon.
  • Seeing two anoles on the day we said goodbye to the house.
  • Getting lots of meaningful exercise while cleaning, climbing ladders and lifting boxes.
  • Eating ice cream at least 10 times while away and not gaining ANY weight!!
  • Discovering that everyone in Hilton Head dresses up and finding amazingly great sales at White House/Black Market (I’m talking $100 dress pants for $14.99!).  (I’d packed very quickly, and completely wrong, for the weather and area–now I won’t have to shop for Spring!)
  • Encountering lots of interesting, fun, quirky, and extremely polite people everywhere we went.
  • Coming home to my gorgeous family and sweet kitties!

Now, I’m off to finish unpacking and organizing the things we brought home.  We decided to each choose a special thing to keep from the house as a memory.  My husband chose some wooden carvings of sea creatures that were in his home from childhood.  I picked my mother-in-law’s everyday dishes (I’m not a fine China kinda girl!).  I’ve always loved them, and they certainly make me think of family dinners and good times at the beach.

I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws.  (Photo by me)
I thought these would be a nice memento of good times shared with my in-laws. (Photo by me)

 

I hope everyone is doing well.  Thank you for your kind messages and well-wishes while we were away. 🙂

Finally, a shot of that elusive gator!  Can you see how well he blends in to the environment?  (photo by me)
Finally, a shot of that elusive gator! This is the smallest one.Can you see how well he blends in to the environment? (photo by me)

 

 

Appreciation, love, marriage, memories, Writing

Why the Disappearing Woman Disappeared

My father-in-law’s sudden passing has caused us to be temporarily situated in a golf and beach community in South Carolina.  I’d love to share that we’ve been gallivanting about, via  golf cart, wearing funny pants, and attempting to be under par, but we’ve not. I’d, also, like to tell you about sand between my toes and shells in my beach pail, but I can’t write about that either.  We’ve been doing the sad task that many 50-somethings must do after their last parent passes; settling an estate.

My husband is the only surviving sibling, so the two of us have been handling all arrangements, attending to all legal matters, and sorting through the home that is proving to be a time machine into my husband’s past. I’ve seen has birth announcement, hand written by my mother-in-law 58 years ago.  I’ve read a letter from his sixth grade teacher, telling of his kindness and brilliance.  I’ve held the picture that won him a beautiful baby contest; a story my mother-in-law often referenced when bragging about how good looking her son was–and still is!

Though this task is in its beginning stages, I’ve sorted through what feels like a million papers and boxed up a plethora of things for donations, sale, and haul away.  In spite of the sadness, there’s been a measure of  joy in getting to know another side of my in-laws.  I’ve read ancient letters from friends, throughout the years, who complimented their ability to laugh and find fun in nearly every situation.  I’ve viewed photos of them in their late teens through their early 80s, taken at the various homes they lived in and  places all around the world that they visited. No matter the scenery, their smile and their loving gaze was a constant. I’ve shuffled through business plans and product prototypes to discover that they were brave risk-takers.  I’ve held my mother-in-law’s wild costume jewelry earrings from the sixties up to my own ears and tried to imagine the crazy parties that she may have wore them to in her younger years.

Oddly, there is a healing in this unavoidable process and a deeper wisdom. In the end, there are things that remain that will tell our stories; most are simple pieces of paper with words or pictures marking milestones, successes, failures, events and memories.  There are other things, silly things, like favorite sweaters and worn-out slippers, or eye glasses near a favorite book, or even half eaten bags of potato chips that remind us that we’re all so damned human and habitual.

Love the people you’re blessed to have in your life and reach out to those around you.

We may be down here for another week or so, tying up loose ends before we head back to the cold weather of West Virginia.  One of the many silver linings of this entire trip has been enjoying weather in the 70s in February.  I wish I could ship some of the sunshine to my northeastern blogging buddies!

As for my disappearance from WP lately, please don’t give up on me!  I plan to reappear as things settle down.  Hope everyone is doing well. 🙂

 

 

 

Appreciation, blogging, Building self-confidence, enjoying family, Exercise, fitness, food and family celebrations, Having fun, learning, losing weight, love, Maintaining Weight Loss, Medical Weight Loss Program, memories, optifast, Thankfulness, weight loss journal, Writing

I’d Fight a Zombie for You

 

Last year, on December 16th, I attended an informational meeting about Optifast at our hospital’s bariatric center.  I was nearly 230 pounds and physically miserable.  My health was on a downward spiral of pre-diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma, sleep apnea, depression, and limited mobility.   My spirit was in even worse shape.  In fact, shortly before my first bariatric visit, a silly family conversation about the Zombie Apocalypse* turned pretty serious as each family member was discussing their special skill in defeating the undead.  My husband’s years in the Army have given him amazing survival skills, coupled with a sniper-like aim with any weapon available.  My younger daughter is super fast, fearless, and strong. Her fiancé is resourceful and also an expert in survival and weaponry.  My oldest daughter is cunning, has expert medical skills, and extremely resilient, and her husband is wily, quick and strong.  After talking out a few scenarios that slayed more than a slew of zombies, my family turned to me,

“What would you do Mom?” my oldest asked.

“I’m fat,”  I replied, “I’d be your diversion.”

With that, their happy conversation ceased and I spent the next hour, promising them that I would get healthy.

Fast forward to yesterday.  My oldest I were happily dancing around the kitchen to holiday music with a few twerking songs thrown in, when she reminded me of last year’s Zombie Apocalypse conversation.

“What would you do now, Mom?” she questioned **

I answered with a high, karate-style kick that finished just inches from her head.

“I’d kick their asses!,” I replied with a smile.

With just one year of extremely hard work, I’ve gone from a Zombie’s holiday meal, to the undead’s worst enemy.  I’m nearly 100 pounds lighter, am no longer pre-diabetic, no longer have sleep apnea, depression, or high blood pressure.  My asthma medication has been cut in half, and I’m physically fit. I’ve met new, wonderful people through my gym and this blog.  I don’t fear life anymore, and I’m certainly not afraid of a few zombies!

I feel so immensely blessed this wonderful holiday season. I’m thankful for the love of my friends and family, for my health, and for all of the caring, sweet people that I’ve met here on WordPress.  I feel like I know all of you as friends and wish you all the happiest and healthiest of holidays! ❤ ❤ ❤


 

*Something that people who have years of advanced education tend to do, along with lengthy discussions of Star Wars, Star Trek, and other various super cool subjects!

**Once again, her extreme coolness coming out.

 

Appreciation, beach, Having fun, Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel, Prize winner, Thankfulness, vacations, Writing

I’m a Winner! (For real!!)

 

I'll be lounging right here this summer with my brand new beach towel!!!! YAY!
I’ll be lounging right here this summer with my brand new beach towel!!!! YAY!

Lucky me!  I just found out that I’ve won a gorgeous Lifeventure SoftFibre Trek Towel from the wonderful Le and David at their fabulous blog Wise Monkeys Abroad. I encourage you to check out their blog; they’ve traveled to so many wonderful places and share amazing pictures and stories from their trips.

It’s funny, earlier today, my eldest daughter and I were discussing our annual trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  The beaches there hold so many special memories for our family.  It’s a nifty coincidence that I would win a beach towel on the same day that I was so reminiscing about the sunny shore!  I can’t wait to take some great pictures of my new towel on the beach this summer.

Thank you so much Le & David!

Appreciation, blogging, Having fun, Thankfulness, Writing

Thankful to be up to my elbows in Mr. Clean!

Is it the smooth, perfectly shaped head, or his piercing blue eyes that make me love him?  Could it be his self-assured smile, or the mystery of why he wears that earring that keeps him on my mind?
Is it the smooth, perfectly shaped head, or his piercing blue eyes that make me love him? Could it be his self-assured smile, or the mystery of why he wears that earring that keeps him on my mind?

Yesterday, I overheard two ladies in the checkout line at Target lamenting their holiday to-do list. With Thanksgiving Day fast approaching, I’ve been up with the roosters (not that I actually have roosters in my suburban sprawl) cleaning like a little maniac today. Am I complaining?  Heck, no!  This is my favorite time of year.  Not only do I adore the actual holiday of sitting down to drink wine and pig out with friends and family, I thoroughly enjoy the days leading up to the actual holiday.  I’m a planner, a list maker, and a checker-offer.  Placing a well-deserved check-mark next to “launder kitchen and bathroom rugs,” or “scrub living room floor,” is almost as satisfying as taking that first bite of perfectly roasted turkey.

So today, I’ll be up to my elbows in the lemony scent of Mr. Clean, enjoying the smell of freshly washed throw rugs, and savoring the sight of a spotless home.  Tomorrow, I’ll be shopping and Wednesday, I’ll be ironing table clothes, baking, and prepping everything that I can, so I can best spend time with my guests on Thursday.

I promise, as I turn up my speakers, so I can hear every mellow note of Bing Crosby’s Christmas album, that there’s a smile on my face and not a single grumble in my heart.  I’m truly thankful for the process and the busy moments that lead up to our holiday celebrations.  I could go on and on about it, but my old buddy, Mr. Clean is reminding me that my coffee break is over!

Are you like me and enjoy the preparation as much as the event?  If you celebrate Thanksgiving this Thursday, what are your plans?

Appreciation, Friendship, Having fun, love, memories, Thankfulness, weight loss journal, Writing

A Day of Gifts

I was given a  series of sweet gifts this past Friday. I’d gladly show you a picture, but it’s absolutely impossible for an amateur like me to  photograph the collection of intangible, heart-brimming experiences that I had. I can only paint a picture with my words, and even they may not be bright enough to express my feelings.

Friday afternoon, I went shoe shopping.   Now, before you roll your eyes and think that this flat-footed fifty-year-old is going to share with you a shallow tale of Manolo Blahnik’s or Louboutin’s ripe for the picking, think again.  It wasn’t what I found in the store that made my heart sing and my eyes well with tears, it was who I was with and the circumstances of our shopping.   I helped my best friend take her elderly mother shopping for winter shoes. While that may sound tedious to some, it was a new experience for me and I held it with an elevated wonder.

I’ve known my best friend’s mom, “Carole*,” since I was 18.  She was once a very independent widow who raised five children on her own while serving tirelessly in her profession as an obstetric nurse. She’s now in her late 70s and suffers from dementia.  Though this dysfunction  has robbed her of her short term memory, and causes her to be easily confused, it hasn’t taken away the essence of her personality.  Her keen sense of humor is boldly intact, as is her kind and grateful nature.

I was a bit anxious taking the both of them.  Between my best friend’s traumatic brain injury,  her mom’s dementia, and my  terrible sense of direction when it comes to navigating in the city, things could have easily gotten chaotic.  I called the shoe store ahead of time to inquire about parking (I didn’t want Carole to have to walk far in the cold) and restrooms (essential for young and old). I also consulted Siri to guide me on the best route.  My fears were quickly put to rest, as our drive was smooth, with even the serendipitous occasion of a truck blocking oncoming traffic as I helped Carole out of the car and onto a safe sidewalk.  A dear associate named Dana carefully measured Carole’s feet and patiently guided her in finding everyday leather shoes, sneakers, snow boots and slippers.  All the while it was evident by her wide smile and glistening eyes that Carole was thoroughly enjoying being pampered and fussed over.   Repeatedly she told us all, “You all are really spoiling me!”

After shoe shopping, there was lunch.  An offer was made for a fancy Italian place, but Carole insisted that she wanted a chicken sandwich from a fast food establishment.  Fortunately, there were healthy salads for my friend and I. After lunch, we drove back to my friend’s house for some cozy fire-side viewing of old episodes of “Murder She Wrote.”  When it was evident that Carole was getting sleepy, we headed back to her house.  My friend prepared her dinner and we sat with her as she ate and waited for her evening caregiver to arrive.

As I drove back to my house in the early twilight, tears welled in my eyes as I mentally listed all of the little blessings that  I’d encountered. while shoe shopping.

  • The store we visited was where my own mother and I had  shopped throughout my childhood, Everything from my first pair of baby shoes to the Bass penny loafers that I went off to college in, were purchased there.
  • The gift of the truck that held up traffic long enough for me to get Carole out of the car safely.
  • A dog named Molly who  greeted me as we exited the shoe store (Molly was the name of the last dog we had when I still lived at home.)
  •  My best friend’s face bright with love and contentment as she cared for her mother.
  • Carole enjoying being “spoiled” and listening to her gratefully praise my best friend throughout the day.
  • The sleepy warmth of the fireplace and the nostalgia of an old TV show that I’d long ago watched with my own mother.
  • My best friend sharing her mother with me for the day; giving me a glimpse of the  pleasure associated with caring for the person who had once so tirelessly cared for her.
  • Feeling the glow of my own mom’s spirit so near to mine.

All in all it was a perfect day; a shoe shopping trip that was a little less about the fabulous finds on the store shelves and a lot more about the awesome discoveries in my heart.

When  have you found unexpected joy in a simple event?  Tell me about it! 🙂

* Names have been changed.