Wednesday, May 27, 2009
For the longest, Lisa and I had this kooky birthday tradition. On our birthdays (we were born eight days apart) the other would see who could call and wake up the birthday girl the earliest then begin to sing what we called "The Birthday Medley." We'd sing a few lines from the traditional birthday song, then mix in Stevie Wonder's birthday tribute to Dr. King, then we'd throw in a few Vegas lounge song-type versions, of course we had to rap it (beat boxing and scratching included) followed with a unique version that we heard one time when were having dinner at a Chinese Buffet and then we end it with an "OH YEAAAAH!" By the time we got to the end we would be so tickled with ourselves (her husband was so patient!).
We had so many fun memories, so this year I promised myself that I would not spend my birthday in tears like last year, but instead I would celebrate the gift of life and loved ones. And what better way to celebrate than get my cardio on and DANCE DANCE DANCE!!!
So although my birthday was yesterday (5/26) the fun began on Friday night (5/22).
I talked Mama into going out with me and we had a blast!!! But I believe that I was having too much fun, around 2:30 am she was ready to go home, but yours truly was still on the dance floor. Thankfully, I ran into one of my old friends from High School and she agreed to take me home. The next thing I knew, Mama was in my SUV and peeling out of the parking lot!!!
Then on Saturday, my Homegirl LOVABLELULU joined me on Dance Fest Night Two. I was so pumped because I was able to fit back in my Nine West capris and I even had some room. We went to two different clubs and we danced the night away. Okay, Lucy danced maybe seven or eight songs...but I danced the night away (LOL). In two inch heels mind you...and stopped logging my cardio minutes once I crossed the four hour mark! But we too had a blast...although I believe I saw her peel out of the parking lot in her mini-van on two wheels! Hmmmm...
So Sunday, Mama and my Sister took me to dinner at a Japanese Steak House. I wanted to go there for THREE reasons. ONE I like watching how they prepare the food--such a show. TWO the food was great and I liked the little pineapple boat that's their version of a birthday cake and THREE, the Happy Birthday song that they sung reminded me of the one that Lisa and I heard the time we were at the buffet...which brought a smile to my face.
Then later that evening, although I told my sister it would be a waste of her time and money, she bought me a birthday cake. Which I didn't eat one single bite. My sister understood and was not offended...she already knew that I WAS ON THE WALL and could not come down. Not even for my birthday.
Now was I being extreme, would one bite or one slice have hurt me??? YES!!! Especially since I have no sense of control or discipline when it comes to birthday cake. Plus, that was no ordinary birthday cake it was covered in fluffy, sugary KRYPTONITE a/k/a icing.
While watching my family enjoy the cake, I drank my green tea and I was unaffected by the "cake fumes" . It was then that I realized just how DONE I was...and I kept saying to myself, "I'm about 15 lbs. away from my final goal...nothing tastes as good as reaching my own slim will feel... KRYPTONITE I'M DONE DONE DONE!!!"
Sunday night, we had a slumber party at Mama's house (I couldn't bribe anyone to go out dancing with me again...I wonder why???).
The next morning, while I was Sparking and updating my nutrition trackers my sister flipped through my manual nutrition tracker and started asking me questions about types of cardio she could do, meal planning and nutrition labels. She then promised to get back "On the WALL" with me. This was a prayer answered as I have been so concerned about her health. I quickly reminded myself of my promise...no tears on my birthday.
Then before I knew it Wednesday, May 26th arrived. I woke up bright and early, although I was not greeted with an Early Bird Call from Lisa singing "The Birthday Medley", I did wake up feeling an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Considering that the majority of my years was spent leading a life full of unhealthy habits at age 38 I felt better than I ever had before. Plus, thankfully and by the grace of God I have been able to maintain this positive lifestyle change AND motivate those who I love to lead a life full of healthy habits (two of my three goals from the Profile section of my Spark Page).
Later that morning my godkids made an attempt to call me before they went to school to tell me Happy Birthday (darn cell-phone signal issues), then Lisa's sister-in-law called me at work and sung to me. She said that the kids repeatedly reminded her the day before to call me and wish me a happy birthday. She promised that she would and that she would even sing. When she said that, Lisa's husband told her about our Birthday Medley tradition. She let me know that she wasn't trying to replace Lisa, but she just wanted me to know that she loved me and wanted me to have a happy birthday (she almost got me...thank goodness I had already promised myself not to cry).
During the day, I was FLOODED with Happy Birthday wishes in the form of Spark Mails, Spark Goodies, comments, text messages, IMs, emails phone calls , eCards and birthday cards from my family, classmates, church members, co-workers, the CC's, good friends from all over including Facebook and of course the infamous DONE girls!!!
Later in the afternoon, I was pleasantly surprised to receive what I call a REAL non-birthday cake!! My sister had an Edible Arrangement delivered to me at work and she even asked that they hold the chocolate!!!
Only one word described it...YUM!
Well, just when I thought my birthday couldn't get any better...it did. Yesterday evening, Lisa's husband brought the kids over to Mama's house and they both leaped out of the car and greeted me with Happy Birthday wishes, hugs and kisses.
What a blessing to be physically, spiritually and electronically surrounded by people who love me!
Friday, May 08, 2009
"Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders REJECTED, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes..." Matthew 21:42 KJV
This past Sunday (5/3/09), my pastor preached a sermon entitled "The Cornerstone Conspiracy" which is part of series that he's doing called "In Awe of the Ordinary" this particular sermon focused on how to deal with rejection. When I read his focal scripture (Matthew 21:42), I was immediately moved being that the second part of this scripture is the scripture in my Spark signature line on the threads/team posts. It is also my testimony scripture of how God has been with me not only through my journey from the "Land of 407 Pounds" but through every one of life's experiences.
As Pastor preached he talked about how "rejection is being told that you are not needed, wanted or necessary." I began to remember specific situations in life when I had felt that I was not needed wanted or necessary because of my weight.
Like when I was in middle school I had a crush on this guy and thought I was head over heels in love. He had no issue with OUT and OUT rejecting me. Once he told me that I was cute, but just too fat and that he was being nice to me hoping to get close to my friend who was cute and skinny. I now see him almost every Sunday and my heart no longer beats for him but instead it breaks for him. He's gained so much weight and you can clearly see the misery on his face.
I also thought about one of my journalism professors from my sophomore year in college. I received a full journalism scholarship to the college that I attended and planned to graduate with my degree in Public Relations. One afternoon this professor approached me and said, "Deondra you need to think about changing your major. People in PR are the FACE of the company--you are too fat and no one will ever have you representing their company." Now that's what I called UNSOLICITED REJECTION. I cried so hard all the way back to my dorm room--I couldn't hardly see where I was walking. Of course after sharing the story with Lisa she cheered me up and had me laughing. She also reminded me of my capabilities and God-given gifts, so I decided not to change my major.
Much later, as a matter of fact it was my senior year-- I was further encouraged when I was approached by one of my communication professors. He indicated that he was impressed with my oratory skills and recommended that I change my major to Corporate and Organizational Communication. He said that PR would pigeonhole me and I should choose a major that would allow me to do whatever I wanted professionally. I followed his advice and changed my major even though it was my senior year. I'm so glad that I listened to him. The communication concepts that I learned from that program has helped me as I have been the FACE of various companies that I have worked for including in my current employer.
So by the time Rev. Cosby reached the final point of his sermon, the "solutions to rejection" the glue holding my fake eyelashes was losing the fight against my tears. He used the story of the rejected stone to remind us that "self-image sets the boundaries of individual accomplishment" and that we should REJECT REJECTION, because the stone that had been rejected by the builders in the end became the focal point of the structure.
This message was so timely....and let me tell you why. The events listed below are what motivated me to write this blog.
During the week that I initiated my "Back to Basics Plan", I was contacted by the editors of a national magazine. They were working on a cover story highlighting one of the main programs that I have used and still use that has been an important part of my weight loss progress and it was recommended that they talk to me regarding the success that I had experienced with the program. I was so thrilled and excited to have the opportunity to tell people...yes this program works and no matter what, don't give up even when you fall off the wagon. If I can do it you can too!!! I was only expecting to be quoted but later learned that there was a *possibility* that I would be pictured in the article.
My first interview just so happened to be the Monday after my first Back to Basics weigh-in. I was wearing some jeans that I had not been able to fit in for months . One of the strategies that I used in my Back to Basics plan helped me to lose "as much as a full jean size in a single week" and I had lost "16 pounds in a single week" (these are some very familiar generalized quotes from the article). www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Within days a professional photoshoot was scheduled at my home. This is the picture that Mama took of me before the photographer arrived.
After she took the picture I looked at it and began to doubt myself..."I don't look like the typical person that this particular magazine usually has pictured...how could my 'traditional build' (as Jill Scott positively refers to her size in HBO's 'The #1 Ladies' Detective Agency') be a motivation to someone???"
Then I looked at Mama and said to myself that the DEVIL IS A LIAR!!! There sat a woman who has lost almost 100 pounds by following the nutrition and fitness plan that I had designed for her. She was even dressed in her gym clothes and had her workout bag in tow, because she was planning to go workout at the conclusion of the shoot.
Well, let's fast forward to this past Wednesday (5/6/09). I had not received any feedback from any of the folks from the magazine that I had spoke with, so I decided to send an inquiry to the Cover Editor for an update. Well, bless her heart she profusely apologized for not notifying me sooner BUT the story was so big that "at the last minute [my] photo was cut due to there just not being enough room in the story." She congratulated me on my continued success then mentioned that she heard I was on Spark . She wanted to know what else I had focused on during my weight loss and that "perhaps" they could use me somewhere else along the line. Hmmm interesting, "perhaps they could use me..."???
Now they were able to use my quotes...well they generalized them...yet they ran out of room for anything else. WOW!
A part of the Deondra from middle school and my sophomore year of college wondered if they "ran out of room" because by mainstream standards I'm a big girl and technically considered obese and having someone like me pictured in a weight loss story might adversely affect sales. If that is the case...that is understandable and I am REJECTING REJECTION.
I am thankful and proud of how God has brought me from 407 lbs. and I know that he will see me to 217. So whether I can encourage someone through a magazine or not...I will continue to do what's listed as one of my goals on my Spark Page. And that is to motivate those who I love to lead a life full of healthy habits.
In another sermon that my Pastor has preached in the past, he talked about when people kick you--sometimes they don't realize it but they're kicking you forward. Often times you need those kicks to motivate you to either make changes or do something that you need to do. He said instead of the situation making you BITTER you have the choice to allow it to make you BETTER and that you should send them a thank you card for the kick.
Well, there are two groups of people that I need to send thank you cards to ASAP!!!
The first thank you card would go to the producers of a nationally syndicated show. Thanks to some of the interactions that I've had with them since last September I am still OBSESSED with the dress...with the exception of one change. I no longer want the dress that I've been talking about for months. Instead, I'm using it as an inspiration for a dress that I AM DESIGNING and am planning to wear at my goal weight on 10/3/09 to my 20-year class reunion.
I also need to send a thank you note to the editorial team of that magazine. I applaud the writers on such a well-written article on a program that has indeed helped me to "melt off 16 lbs. [in] a week!" It is my hope and prayer that their readers will try this program and experience extraordinary success as well.
But my thank you note would not be about complimenting them on writing such a good story. My thanks is for the the kick that I needed to start working on a vision that the Lord placed on my heart to do about a month ago and that some of my fellow Spark friends further confirmed without even realizing it. No one can tell my testimony or my story about this lifestyle change thing like I can.
When I first started losing weight my pastor encouraged me to constantly take pictures to chronicle the weight loss changes that were taking place. He went on to say that someday I would be able to use those pictures and my story to motivate someone else on this weight loss journey.
With that being said, I have a meeting tomorrow afternoon to discuss what I need to do start working on my first book. So what could have been a disappointing situation, God has turned it into good (Genesis 50:20).
This indeed is the Lord's doing and it is SOOOOOO marvellous in my eyes!!!!
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