Climb

(This post will be best read when blocking out the world with a pair of earbuds and listening to Bon Iver-Bon Iver)

Why did life chose us? It feels like a gift…sometimes, and other times it feels like a penalty. I’m not writing this from grief, I just feel a deep connection to this life and am contemplating many things this morning.

What keeps us from living out our dreams, why do we have them and where do they come from? I wonder if it is no coincidence that out of our hearts is born a great desire. Desires that are crushed or fed, poisoned or cared for, lived or let die. I don’t want to let my dreams go and even as I sit here I am aware that they are constantly evolving.

When I was young I wanted to write and act. Then I wanted to provide for my daughter, so I went to nursing school. As a mother I desired to raise her and love her and put my strength into our little family. When I met my husband I ached for more children and a bigger family. When I had more children I wanted to bake bread and enjoy their childhood, now that they are in school I miss rocking them to sleep and crave strong memories of that time, so strong I can taste and smell them. I look at their bedrooms and how they’ve changed, the same rooms I changed diapers in they now read and play. Life moves quickly, like a freight train we are not aware we’re on. Where is the destination?

Now that my children are a more self-sufficient I can feel those dreams of my youth raising to the surface of my soul. I still enjoy being a mother, I enjoy making lunches and reading stories, but I am ready to tiptoe out into the great unknown. I start right here, writing thoughts and reading yours. I challenge myself to write from the heart or my efforts will be in vain. I only do this to cultivate my inner man, to grow and feel and be…more than I have been before.

I am not satisfied with complacency. I cannot live to pass moments. I feel like climbing. It comes from a great heartbeat deep inside me and I can’t stave the sound. Life…it beckons.

What is one thing you can do to find that forsaken dream of youth? One small way to reignite the fire deep within your soul? To forget the person or persons who put your light out, to press on toward the goal that the father of life gave you as a young woman or man. You may feel that what I am writing is nonsense but I beg you to stop where you are, desk, subway, train, grocery, park, jail, bathroom, stop and close your eyes, what did you leave behind?

I write this letter to myself, I write this letter to my friends, we cannot let dreams die because it is in those small dreams that we were really live. Let us find a way to create today, to create a path back to the piece of ourselves we lost many years ago, I think if we do we will find a welcome journey awaits.

Dear friends, stop looking for value in the beauty of your face, the value of your assets, and the goods you produce. All of these things are good things, but only if you can say that your heart is full and your dreams are deep.

Godspeed, have a wonderful day. I hope it finds you moving stones and cutting twigs, clearing the way to that path you know is alive and leads to fullness of life.

Excuse me ma’am, there are ruffles in your hair.

So Friday was a great day. I had an awesome time on the unexpected date day with hubs. We went out for lunch and then he took me home so I could nap while he went to the store. Seriously, dream date. Especially because I ate really good at Olive Garden, I mean I threw down. Grubbed. Salad, two and a half bread sticks, a bowel of zuppa toscana, and the shrimp appetizer. Oh, and the alfredo dipping sauce for the bread. I worked out that morning and vowed to eat better that  night. Well sadly, that didn’t happen. We ended up at Price Chopper and the kids wanted fried chicken and mashed potatoes for couch supper and movie night, and yours truly was obliged to partake in the festivites. I didn’t eat an entire breast, but I added some other not so good for me foods, that you’ll only be privy to if your my fitness pal fren.

Saturday morning I decided that punishment was in the air, I drank Shakeology for each meal, save the time I walked into the break room ravenous and someone had left an open huge bag of Ruffles and ranch dip there for anyone to eat. Three minutes later my charge nurse had to call for restraints. It wasn’t that bad but I mentally heard healthy me say, “STEP AWAY FROM THE CHIPS!” So I did, but I counted two servings in my fitness pal for good measure. Overall, it was a good day, I was under my calorie goal and woke up nice and hungry with no regrets, I love waking up that way.

Now, let’s talk about Insanity. I have two weeks left, two weeks before the wedding, two weeks before my goal. I’m going to push it. I have about eight pounds to lose, I don’t care if I don’t get to goal as long as I am full steam ahead in trying. I am still a little worried about it, I still hurt in my left hip flexor and down my left leg. I think it might be my sciatic nerve so I may schedule a massage this week and maybe even a chiropractor appointment or two. I have to make this first goal, or at least get very close.

I got off work a few minutes early last night, so on my way home I decided to go on a mini driving iphone shoot. It was fun. It’s amazing how much art you find in everyday life if you just open your eyes and look for it. Here are a few of my shots.

Magnetized by the Mic While I Kick my Juice …

Good morning. It’s a windy cool day here in Kansas City, Missouri and if you’ve had your air on the past few days you might want to switch back to the furnace…again. Weirdest. Weather. Ever.

There was a field trip for my sons kindergarten class that was cancelled due to the threat of bad weather, my husband opted out of a planned camping trip tonight for the same reason. I love a day that opens up but I have a hard time with unplanned events. I had plans for the day and now I do not. I have nothing extraordinary to share, so my words will be like useless chatter filling up space unless I can pull something out of my head in three, two, one…ok, juicing.

Last night my son asked me repeatedly, “Mom, can we make some juice?” My grandmother gave me her juicer to try out for a while before I buy one and it’s been sitting in the kitchen. What kind of person takes a juicer from an old woman, you ask? Well, that would be me, and besides, you don’t know my grandmother, she’s a pushy ol’ gal who gets her mind-set on something and doesn’t take no for an answer. And she never uses it, ever, ok once. It’s a dandy if I do say so myself, the Omega brand, very nice. I finally relented and told my son we could make juice on one condition, we make a green juice. He agreed, so we set to work.

I am actually glad he asked because I had a bag of fruit that desperately needed  using and the juice came out quite splendid. Here is what we added:

  • Grapes
  • Oranges
  • Lemons
  • Apples
  • Spinach, and lots of it.

The juice turned out really tasty, better than the last time I made a green that included kale and cucumber. I don’t know what’s up with that Kale I got but, Hello RANK. Yeah, to drink it was an exercise in lunacy. The juice was to drinking as dog feces is to scentsy. Ok, that was just uncalled for but really, I am not exaggerating. If anyone has ever used Kale please tell me what the secret is. I added green apple, orange, lemon, and ginger and still, it was a no go. Last night was a much different story, we all loved it and will be making it again. Now if I can get a shot of wheatgrass in there without them knowing that would just be a bonus. Here are a few pics.


A Cat Story


In high school we used hang out with some boys who always made fun of a particular cat they saw once. Real quality guys, I know. I was a bit off myself back then. But anyway…they would imitate it walking and hissing, they contorted their arms and made this odd clicking noise as they hissed and batted their arms. They’d say, “Ahhh it’s the crippled cat, the crippled cat.” By the time I met them they’d perfected this dramatization and the cat was only a distant memory, but any given night at some house party you could rest assured someone would bring out the crippled cat character and make everyone squeal with laughter.

 

I have an extraordinary cat named Louie. I found him in Atlanta when he was but a wee little feline. We took him in and quickly realized that he was a gem. He was cool, laid back, and had a mellow swagger that everyone loved. Even people who said they hated cats loved this guy. Ol’ banjo we used to call him. Well he’s about fifteen years old now and a few weeks ago he was sunning on our front porch when a new dog in the neighborhood got off leash and made a beeline for Louie. When I saw him attacking Louie I could tell he meant to kill. It was awful. Worse yet, I froze. I couldn’t do anything but scream, thank God my daughter rescued him and beat down the dog. $2000 later, I have my Louie back, my very own crippled cat. He’s only got three legs now and is adapting, but I can’t help but chuckle when I see him hopping and recall the antics of my former friends.

 

He’s a good little companion. He sleeping with me now and will probably be an indoor cat from here on out, either way, I’m glad he’s alive. Animals can teach us a lot about overcoming adversity. He is my furry, little ball of inspiration tonight.

 

Take What You Need

I feel like writing a bit more. I can tell because I am constantly churning out thoughts and sentences in my head while I do laundry, therefore I know it’s time to sit back down again. Sigh. I got some encouragement from a friend today. She wrote, “You are an inspiration!” on my fitness pal wall. You would think I’d run with that and feel elated all day. In reality though, I heard that negative old friend come right back at me. Oh yeah, you lost twenty pounds, big deal, give it time…you’ll gain it back and then some. You always go back to the food. 

Shot thru the heart. Cut to the seen when Mary leaves Loyd Dunn at the airport, he grabs his chest in pain, reaches one arm out and sings, goodbye my love.

Shaking head back and forth. I don’t know where that voice comes from. Maybe it’s me, the pessimistic, self-sabotaging girl that doesn’t think I deserve to change. Maybe it’s the devil, he’s nasty enough I guess. Whoever it is, it’s right. I have always gone back to the food. In my entire adult life I can only remember one time that I weighed under two hundred pounds. It was when I was twenty years old and just getting used to being a single mom in college. I was reading lots of good books, hanging with some good people, exercising and doing my best to make some serious changes. I think I got to about one ninety when life threw a fast ball right at my face and wham bam thank you mamn, yes I would like to upsize that please. I spiraled back into the comforting arms of food.

So here’s where the real battle begins. Twenty pounds. That’s great, but anyone, I mean anyone, can lose twenty pounds. How about ninety though? That’s what I have to lose total. It takes more than a little exercise and food changes to lose ninety pounds, it takes life change. So, am I ready for that kind of life change? Yes, I believe I am. I recognize that food is my fix. Plain and simple, it was the socially acceptable vice until I got so big I was uncomfortable. I have to allow myself some failures along the way. I won’t change overnight. I have gone back to food a few times, and each time I do I recognize it and take the necessary steps to combat it. Sometimes that means talking positive to myself, sometimes I get on here, sometimes I call a friend, each time, I pray.

I will fail, I will take a few steps back every now and then, but I am on a journey. A journey that doesn’t stop ninety pounds from now. A life long endeavor that seeks to find different ways to cope with problems other than scooby-dooing an entire bag of lays. I’m learning to breathe and be comfortable with an empty feeling in my stomach, I even welcome it sometimes. I’ve had some tough stuff come my way this past few weeks and quite honestly I didn’t know if I would make it. The anxiety, the fear and the sadness crept in and I immediately wanted comfort from the place I knew I could find it the quickest. By the grace of God I held my ground and asked what He was trying to teach me. Dependance, utter dependence on God for everything I need, so easy to type, so hard to put into action.

I still can’t quite picture my life without the food. I am still in a place of longing and from time to time I romanticize it. I dream of dinners with burgers and fries. And that my friends, is exactly how addicts live. I am no better than an alcoholic or drug addict except that excessive food is legal, for now. I am fully engaged in this journey though and admit I enjoy living without the morning sting of remorse for the bingeing done the night before. That is reason enough to stay the course, reason enough to continue. Besides, I owe it to myself. Goodnight.

Take What You Need

Goal Update

Good morning! So, with the somber tone of my last post I just want to update and let my friends know that I’m much better now. While I really miss my daughter, I woke up last Thursday morning overwhelmed with peace about our decision to ask her to leave. It was an emotionally draining week but I cast my cares upon him, and he cared for me 1 Peter 5:7. I haven’t spoken to her since she left, I have no idea where she is, but I am excited for her and hopeful that her confidence will begin to soar as she learns to fly on her own. Please keep her in your prayers.

Now, goal update. I’m twenty pounds down, have ten to go to hit my May 12th goal of thirty pounds. I have eighteen days to do this. Ten pounds in eighteen days, hrm, sketchy. So here’s what I’m thinking.

1) I may have to be satisfied with coming within five pounds of my goal.

2) I took a hard look at my calorie log and asked myself what I could change.

Carbs. They need to decrease. I cheat here and there and haven’t been adding my coffee creamer to my daily fitness pal. I also haven’t been drinking my water like I should. I have some weapons I can definitely pull out of the arsenal to help me achieve my goal. I would really, really like to get on this and come as close as possible.

The lower carb strategy may come in really handy especially since I am having a real struggle with the insanity workouts. I’m still going strong but it hurts. Everywhere I look there are recommendations not to do insanity unless you are already in great shape and not overweight. Well I decided to do it anyway and I can feel it in my hips and knees. This second month is a killer. I’m really trying to modify the movements and still get a workout but some of the moves are just comical. In other words, I watch and am like, oh hell naw. If I have to change my workout for a bit the low carb diet will help but I really don’t want to quit. I want to finish. I have approximately three weeks left and I want to finish! I need to finish, for my own mental health. I think the sense of accomplishment will really send me strong into my next goal period.

Ok, any words of wisdom are welcome! Have a wonderful day. And if you are using My Fitness Pal please add me as friend! My username is rolandap.

Pressing ON

Oh boy, it’s time to do this. I need to update/vent/write something, anything. I’m sitting here at my computer, tears streaming down my face. Not because I have failed at my diet, not because I am feeling sorry for myself, but because we are having to use tough love with the young adult in our home. She was such a good little girl who loved art and sports and being goofy. In high-school she was a nationally recognized athlete and always competed at the state level. A few years ago things changed and without getting into all the sordid details, I’ll just say, her life changed. I remember buying a wall decal for her room in jr. high. We painted, bought new linens, and I proudly applied the decal too her wall, Little Soul Your Dreams are Waiting. UGH, a statement that really crushes me today. She hasn’t found those dreams…yet. I have to trust God, that one day, she will. But tomorrow, she will have to pack her things and leave our home, I don’t know where she will go our what she will do, but we have to stick to this. She broke some extremely important nonnegotiable for living here, and she broke them consistently.

Moving on. I am sad, that is a fact. But I must press on. I am still plugging away at Insanity, I’m currently on month two, day four. It says today is a recovery day, yeah right. If I know Shaun T, there ain’t no recovery gonna happen in my basement unless I grab a bag of chips and watch them exercise. This month is much harder than the first. Lots of plyometric exercises that I feel I have no right doing right now. I attempt them though, the best I can, and have added daily doses of Naproxen to my diet.

Easter weekend was tough. We spent a few days with family, there was a birthday, and lots and lots of food. I did…ok. Not stellar and by the time we came home I was all wrapped up in guilt over cake and ice cream and had decided to blow it the next day too. I ended up eating out for all three meals that day, broke my thirty-five day my fitness pal streak and was basically done. I started to hear those negative thoughts again and almost believed them. Through prayer and the support of friends I mustered up the courage to start anew the next day. I haven’t weighed much since then. I repeat to myself, slow and steady wins the race many times a day. I try to remember that this isn’t a contest though, I don’t ever get to just stop. Losing weight is a by-product of these decisions and one day the weight loss will stop. When that happens, the by-product will become maintenance of health. That’s all.  These are difficult concepts for me, but I am accepting them more and more each day.

I guess that’s all for now. Sorry for the somber tone of this post, I’m not crying anymore so that’s good, right? About to go get sweaty in my basement, I’ll start by pressing ON. Have a blessed day.

The Ensemble to End All Ensembles

In second grade I have this distinct memory of wanting to be fit. We lived at the back of a trailer park right by the Rio Grande river in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I lived with my mother, I was an only child, and had quite the active imagination, that helped pass the time. I was also very fat. Not freakishly fat, mind you, but just enough to make it the bane of my 7-year-old existence.  Besides being nicknamed Rolaids, being fat was not fun in elementary school. But here’s where the good laugh comes in and every time I recall this memory I smile.

I remember seeing healthy people running, walking, exercising, mostly on television. I watched a lot of television, even back then when we only had…say five channels on a good day. So one day, seven-year-old me decided it was time to get fit. I promptly outfitted myself in the appropriate attire for doing so and set out along the gravel trailer park road that lead to Ultimate Physical Fitness.  A stones throw from my front door I hear a roaring belly laugh that I cannot seem to locate. I stopped dead in my tracks and again, heard the laughter. The sixth sense is very a real sense and mine was telling me this laughter was directed at me, and it was probably coming from an open window where my neighbors lived. I couldn’t see the evil from whence it came but I had an uncanny notion, yes, this sinister laugh was  meant for me. You see, I must have been quite the sight, tight black leotard, white chubby legs, some sort of off brand tennis shoe, and to make the ensemble complete,  a large white towel draped around my neck. That was the image and picture of health I knew would help me get into the best shape of my life, but the mocking laughter sent that seven-year-old me right.  Back.  Home.

Sad as this story may seem, it cracks me up but it encourages me at the same time.  Today is Easter, the holiday I celebrate Jesus overcoming death and giving us forgiveness of our sin. I am spending the day with my family where we are at my Dad’s with my brothers and their families.  This afternoon, I decided to grab the Insanity DVD, isolate in the game room and get my workout on, for Jesus.  As I was stretching,  balancing, hopping and sweating I realized, that even at 70-80 lb. overweight, I am incredibly flexible and have great body control and balance. The thought occurred to me, I was made for this.  From a very young age I have had a desire to be active, even as a young awkward seven-year-old girl with very little fashion sense, this is what I wanted.

My workout is over, initially I did it for a piece of carrot cake tonight, but now I don’t even care.  With all the food and candy around all I can think about is keeping my eye on the prize and how a little pleasure isn’t worth the distraction.  Let me be clear, this is not a declaration of cake abstinence tonight, by no means, I’m just thought-vomiting into the blogosphere.  The cake situation remains to be seen, but for now, I think I’ll head out to Wal-Mart and grab some veggies and put my Grandmother’s juicer to good use.  I’m going to teach her how to make a mean-green taste like a treat.

Have a blessed Easter.