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Starting Over - Again

Saturday, November 09, 2013

You know what's annoying? When you type up an entire blog... click "post"... and then lose everything because your internet signal is bad. Here we go again, take two.

Starting over. Again.

I started deleting my old blog posts. When I read them, I could only see two things. I was wallowing in self-pity and excuses, or I was slapping a happy-face sticker over a terrible situation. Either way, the result is the same. Months upon months without any forward progress. My only regret is that when I delete my words, all of the comments my friends left go with it... I wish I could have preserved that wisdom, because that at least, was worth reading.

Its no secret that since the death of my mother and the birth of my daughter I've really been struggling in life. Depression has been so overwhelming at times that it has eclipsed everything. I have tried repeatedly to pull myself out of it by sheer force of will, only to find myself in the pit after only a few hours, or a few days at best. I am well aware that I probably need medication and a good therapist. But, as I am living in rural Western Kenya, where the field of mental health remains shrouded in myth and superstition - conventional medical relief is out of reach. So, I have to find alternative means to help myself.

I'm declaring another "DO OVER". But how will it be different from the last dozen attempts? Its different because I am not trying to force my way out. I'm not trying to stick a happy face over my grief or sweet my problems under the bed. Instead I have decided to embrace what is and accept what life brings. That might mean that some days I just have to sit with my sadness. It does not mean that I am giving up. My purpose, now more than ever, is to improve my life, and improve the life of my family. My goal is to work toward that every day. A dark day does not mean failure, or the END. If I can accomplish anything, even the smallest task, it becomes a step in the right direction, and a victory. As I read recently on facebook, "Any day above ground is a GOOD day."

So, there you have it. This new start is all about PROGRESS, not perfection. Embracing life in all its fullest, even the unpleasant bits. But all the while still pressing on toward a brighter future.

I guess if I'm going to make a new start, I need to take a moment to record where I am starting from. After months of being sedentary, my weight remains fairly stead at 192 lbs. However, I've lost a lot of strength and lean muscle mass. I feel squishy. I get winded and tired easily and some daily tasks have become a bit of a struggle. I still have all the extra skin from my 120+lb weight loss, and I'm prone to fungal infections under my "apron". I'm currently recovering from yet another UTI - a by-product of chronic dehydration. I don't have any detailed or specific plans yet on how I can tackle the remaining 21 lbs, just a vague idea that I will begin slowly incorperating healthy habits back into my daily routine. I began yesterday by taking out my old pen-and-paper journal and putting my thoughts in order. Today, I'm back on Spark.

Today was a good day. I remained emotionally stable.. It was cold and rainy so I stayed in the house most of the day, but I kept myself busy. I worked on some art projects. I started planning a Thanksgiving celebration with my son, Dale. I soaked my feet in a warm water bath. I washed a bucket full of dirty diapers. No I don't have any exercise minutes to log, but I am also pleased that I didn't spend a the day eating away my boredom, nor did I crawl in bed to hide from the world. It was a good start. Progress not perfection.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MSANITAL 11/12/2013 7:41AM

    One thing for sure is that you need to commend your self for writing this and reaching out and admitting that "hey there is a problem" and that my friend is the first step in healing.. I would be more concerned if you did not write this blog or make an attempt to help your self... I know that depression mild or server is something that most do not understand I have always believed that in modern medicine that most health care professionals want to prescribe a pill for this or for that. I am just speaking for my self. and yes maybe it does help people but for me it never did.. it made it worse.. it was not till I hit my bottom and decided that enough was enough and that I needed to accept my self where I was and decide that if I was going to move forward I needed to give my self time and the fact that it was not going to happen over night...well it did not happen over night not sure if it did happen well yes it has happen and it is happening everyday .. everyday when I get up and make the choice to live a healthy life style everyday when I use the tools that are out there for me to use to stay on track weather it be food tracker fitness tracker, blogs, posting, or just stopping by a Spark friends page and say Hi.. I call it getting out of my self... and I find it works..
so I commend you for "getting out of your self" and posting this and reaching out because you are moving forward everyday.. the road may be slow but your moving.. keep doing it you are stronger then you realize you are..


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MANDYLOVE_76 11/11/2013 5:24PM


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LUCKYDOGFARM 11/9/2013 6:49PM

    Hi Hope! Glad to see you are back in the swing of things! Ya know, motherhood and being a wife are pretty thankless jobs. That alone is depressing. You don't have an easy life in Africa. So I am sure that makes your jobs even more thankless.

Seeing Progress is sort a way of seeing Thanks! Even though no one says it, you know your effort was for the greater good of your family and you can see how it helps them. That is progress! One little baby step at a time. One meal at a time and one clean diaper at a time. You are doing great, whether you think so or not. You are doing things that most of us would never dream of doing.

Keep your chin up! And remember that even though we are way over here, we are here for you! Big Hugs and Lot of Love and Prayers for you and your family!

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ALLYALLYT 11/9/2013 4:49PM

    Good for you! Yes progress is the key! emoticon

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BUDRFLY31 11/9/2013 3:31PM

    Little steps, even marching in place (metaphorically and for real) is a good day in my book. Right now, think of something that you are eternally grateful for and say a thank you. It always gives me a little boost. Even just for a minute.

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New Green Veggies

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Last week I was so proud of myself for killing it with the walking. This week I didn't log a single km. Sick kids, doctors appointments, errands galore... I just couldn't seem to squeeze everything in that needed to be done. Not that I was totally inactive. I spent the last two days doing some major clean up and landscaping around the house. Raking raking and more raking, building rock borders, planting flowers... that's gotta count for something, because I'm totally pooped.

I promised awhile back that I would blog about some of the new, and amazing green vegetables I have discovered since coming to Kenya. Some of them are local veggies that I don't think can be found in America - miro, disutsa, omurere and tsisaka. (Although I think disutsa is really the leaf of the wonderberry plant... if I'm right, then that is available in the USA from specialty seed supply catalogs.) But some of the other veggies have been growing right under my nose, and I never knew they were eatible... and delicious!

Last night we ate lisebebe - that would be pumpkin leaves. Anyone ever eat pumpkin's leaves? Remove the strings, cut them up into small strips, boil them with a pinch of baking soda, then saute with onions and tomatoes. YUM!

Another one - the leaves of cowpeas or regular old beans. This one is a little strong for the American palette. My son does not like it - he says it tastes like grass. I didn't like it at first either, but its kind of grown on me.

How about the leaves of sweet potato vines? They are mild and tender and even my boys love them.

The one my boys really raved about? Radish leaves. Yep, you know the little spicy red radishes for salad? I bought some seeds from the USA just to try planting here. I didn't really expect them to grow, but they did quite well. Then I found out you can eat the tops. Huh! I never knew! They are fabulous!

Another one which is new to me... the leaves of amaranth. I didn't know you ate them. Basically, they taste like spinach.

On top of those which are new and unusual, at least to me, we have our "usuals" - cabbage, collard greens, chard, spinach, and okra. As I type this blog my son is shredding up collard greens for dinner. I will saute them in a little vegetable oil with salt, onions and tomatoes, served with ugali. Simple, nutritious, filling and tastey!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LUCKYDOGFARM 7/25/2013 12:12AM

    Most would just toss that stuff in the compost pile! Sounds like you have found a use for everything! And tasty uses at that! You are so brave to try all the new foods. Guess you don't have much choice though, huh!

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TONYATIME 7/24/2013 9:28PM

    Wow your life seems so exciting!!! I have never left this country so to imagine you going that far just blows my mind! :) Glad you are finding free foods, those are always AWESOME!!!!! Love you blog!

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TERRIJ7 7/24/2013 1:40PM

    How delightful to discover new free foods! I love to pick mustard greens in the spring around here. It serves to weed my garden and give me yummy greens for the table.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

44 kilometers. Thats how far I walked over the past seven days. 10 on Wednesday, 10 on Thursday, 12 on Friday, 12 on Monday. Thats 27.5 miles. Woot! I'm pretty impressed with myself. I had some pretty good shin splints and some other aches and pains, but I have already recovered, which also impresses me! The scales however, are not convinced. Stupid scales, who cares what you think? I continue to work in the garden almost every day, and my garden is coming beautifully, even though its the middle of the dry season.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRIJ7 7/18/2013 12:29PM

    Wow~! Very good for you!

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JANETRIS 7/18/2013 11:51AM

    WOW...that's some crazy mileage you are doing! Nice steady effort. I'm glad you are recovering nicely too! Way to keep at it Maureen. I'm with Sheila....dump the scale, and go by how you feel. emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 7/18/2013 11:30AM

    Yay Hope! Nice work on the mileage! A just toss that scale in the trash. It's not all about the number on the scale, its about how you feel. Can't let the number dictate that for you.

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GODDREAMDIVA1 7/18/2013 10:36AM


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July: New Goals and New Plans

Thursday, July 04, 2013

I was sooo ready to start a new month, but I got off to a bit of a limping start. I began July with a pretty severe UTI. I had a problem with UTI's when I lived here before. Why? Chronic dehydration. I find I can go the whole day without drinking anything aside from my morning cup of tea (which I know is a diuretic and is NOT helping.). I just don't feel thirsty, and I find the water unappealing. Its always room-tempature because we don't have refridgeration here, and it has a funny taste because it has to be boiled and filtered. But, I have to suck it up, and start sucking it down, because this latest round with the UTI was dangerously close to becoming a full-blown kidney infection. So, the first goal I have set for myself for the new month is to drink 2 liters of water a day. Yep, we're peeing now.

My husband and I are planning a trip to Malindi in mid-August to visit his kids. That gives me a lovely six-week period to work on some new goals. Aside from drinking more water, I want to lose another 10 lbs so that I am solidly UNDER 200. Additionally I am hoping to fit into the new size 18 bathing suit I bought back in March. I've never even tried it on, since I was 9 months pregnant when I bought it. When I go to Malindi I want to enjoy the sun and the sand and the warm Indian Ocean.

To accomplish my goal, I've got to make some changes to my routine around here... because not much has been happening in the scales department since I had my daughter. First off, I actually want to slow down a little. I feel like I'm a hamster running in a wheel, working myself to exhaustion every day without really accomplishing anything. I'm not really sure how I can scale down, as it seems like everything on my daily to-do list is essential and non-negotiable. I'm going to have to see what I can eliminate, what I can delegate to my kids, and how I can organize myself better. Once I've opened up some time in my day, I want to start taking a nap after lunch. Yes folks, you heard that right! I want a nap! Then after my nap, I want to make time to take a walk. I've left off walking since we came back to Imanga. There just isn't time, and there wasn't really a purpose, because I have no where to walk TO out here in the middle of nowhere! But, in fact I can walk to the river, and I can walk to the trading center in Lunza... which both serve a purpose. I can make sure we have ample fruits and veggies by making regular visits to the trading center, and I can swim in the river. My back still gives me problems with walking, but I'll bring my son along on these walking trips, and we can take turns carrying Patricia. I also want to start doing exercises to strengthen my back daily. Aside from water and exercise, I hope to improve our nutritional input as well. Due to crop failures, fresh produce has been hard to get in these interior parts. Since I haven't been walking and I don't have transportation, I've been depending on what's available, and what's shelf stable... in other words, a lot of bread and a lot of rice. I am starting to eat some of the early veggies in my garden - and have made some exciting new discoveries in green edibles. (Thats a seperate blog!) And while I'm waiting for other things to mature, I'll be buying fresh produce in Lunza when I walk. I have succeeded to reduce my sugar intake considerably since coming to Imanga - and since I reduced the sugar, that nasty infection I was getting under my "apron" has disappeared.

So, deep breath! Here's to a fantastic July!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JANETRIS 7/10/2013 6:31PM

    Beautiful baby pic!! Nice Big bright eyes!! I bet that drinking more water will have many positive effects for you....can't wait to hear of the changes!! Good luck with the plan! emoticon

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LUCKYDOGFARM 7/10/2013 1:52AM

    I'll bet that with the addition of water to your diet, you will be losing weight and have less back pain too. Have you tried yoga? It might help with your back too.
Patricia is adorable! From the couple of pics I have seen of you, I think she looks like you!

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MSANITAL 7/4/2013 4:14PM

    You are starting off July right, no worries. you here your blogging and your persistent and that is what counts..

Sorry about the infection, how about some good old fashion cranberry juice?
and water got to keep that up.. try adding some things to it such as lemon, or mint leaves or any other fruit..

keep up the good work with the waling you can do it..

Oh and your baby girl.. is sooo cute.. she sure is a blessing..

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TERRIJ7 7/4/2013 12:10PM

    Good for you for finding "a purpose" for walking! When time is at a premium, we have to use our energy to do things in combination. I am looking forward to reading about the new green edibles you alluded to. emoticon

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