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You are Beautiful. YOU. And Me.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

We all know that famous celebrities, models, politicians...virutally everyone is being photoshopped nowadays. We have to look perfect. We have to look beautiful. Beauty is defined in our society by what other people think of us. And it's not right. Having two daughters, one who just turned 5, but when she was 4 in preschool feeling pressured ALREADY to wear makeup and that she wasn't pretty enough..well, this is a subject that is close to my heart, to say the least.

But.

I have a confession to make.

I photoshop myself.

Before you feel like I have misrepresented myself, hear me out.

It isn't every photo. It isn't any photo on Facebook, for my FB friends.

I don't make myself look thinner, or whiten my teeth.

It's just some photos that get close up and personal.

Because I suffer from psoriasis and have for over 20 years.

See, it's just parts of my skin that I "fix". I use a handy tool in Photoshop that is called the "healing brush". Isn't that a nice word? Healing.

This confession has been coming for a while now...earlier this week I was talking to my dear friend Blaize about my skin disease (yes, psoriasis is a disease but it isn't catching), and I felt the need to come clean about how I hide it in some of my photos since she could never tell.

For those Spark friends who have met me, you probably couldn't tell either.

I'm "lucky"...I have it in places that are easily hidden....and for the places on my face I use lots of coverup. However, lets just say that nude modeling is NOT in my future. My body is at times 80% covered with lesions.

But I'm coming out from the shadows...I feel sick about this and I at the time, earlier in the week, I felt this, too, and I didn't really know why. Blaize understood and knows about psoriasis and the self-esteem issues it causes, she has family members who suffer from it.

But still. I am a very honest person....and this was kind of my "dirty little secret".

Today I read my daughter Lucy the book "You are Special" by Max Lucado. In it there is a woodworker named Eli who represents God. The wooden puppets that he makes have a system where they put a star on those who are beautiful or talented, and a dot on those that aren't. Well one poor puppet named Punchinello got bombarded with dots because he was different. He was ugly. He had no talent. He meets a girl named Lucia who had no dots or stars. It turns out that because she didn't care what the others said, and only cared what God thought of her that their stars and dots didn't stick to her. It's one of my favorite stories to read the girls.

As I was reading that this nagging thought kept chipping away at my brain....about MY values and why I cared what the Spark community might think of my very real psoriasis dots.

Then I was directed to this website by a new Sparkie in the Chicago team and it touched something so deep inside of me....about beauty and how sometimes we don't find ourselves beautiful....how I don't find MYSELF beautiful.

stophatingyourbody.tumblr.com/

I realized that I don't love my body....in fact I hate my psoriasis and how it alters my body and makes others look at me strange. Over the years I've heard some terrible things from mostly strangers, not my friends or family. But still...it hurts. I've been asked if I was burned in a terrible fire, or if I had AIDS and just last week a guy in my running group asked if I was attacked by a dog.

It's these comments that made me look for a solution (other than the very real drugs, doctors, naturalists, hypnosis, etc. that I've had over the years). I could just use the "healing brush". It started maybe about a year back, when I started to lose enough weight that you could tell the difference. I would actually have a picture that I LIKED. Wow! It was a new feeling. And then I would see my psoriasis...ruining the entire photo...until I discovered the "healing brush", of course. That changed it all. I could look beautiful to me and to others!

Well, the thrill is gone. It hurts me to realize that I don't honestly think I AM beautiful. That I need to hide behind a facade. I am crying now writing this because I feel I have lied to you all...let you down....

What would my daughters think...that Momma's a fake? I'm telling them to love themselves as they are. Just as they are. But I'm not doing that.

I've removed all touched up photos from my Spark page. I apologize for any misrepresentation. From now on what you will see is me.

The real me.


Left, my original photo. Right, my touched up version.

I know that the difference here is subtle...you may not notice my face, the spot on my collar bone or by my breasts. But I do....and I felt a need to hide it.


Me today, no makeup. No touchup. (taken on cell phone)


Me today.





Other resources:

operationbeautiful.com/

Lyrics from the song "You Are Beautiful" by Mercy Me

You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are made for so much more than all of this
You're beautiful, You're beautiful
You are treasured, you are sacred, you are His
You're beautiful

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SKINNYMINTY 8/30/2011 8:47AM

    Thank you for the reminder :)

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JENJESS48 7/20/2011 4:41PM

    Oh honey, it's okay. I agree with Jenn: nobody's angry or disappointed that you touched up your photos. And we certainly don't feel like you've been lying to us.

My former roommate had psoriasis, mostly on her scalp. It was really painful because she had long hair that she always tried to keep done nicely, partly to cover up the psoriasis. It's no fun and no one can blame you for wanting it to go away.

Always remember: you ARE beautiful. No matter what.

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TABIKATZZ 7/19/2011 11:24AM

    Girlfriend, YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL! Inside and out. Your daughters are blessed to have such a stong, beautiful mother to guide them and teach them that beauty begins on the inside.

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STARLIGHT615 7/19/2011 9:02AM

    You are beautiful!! No matter what! You are who you are and people who cant see that are not worth your time!! XOXO

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CHICAT63 7/19/2011 9:01AM

    You are beautiful:) Our daughthers help us realize things, makes us grown as women that's for sure ! It is a disease and there is no need to hide, as for the comment from the guy in your running group DUH, unaware of skin conditions for sure.

As for your last photos, I see a radiant Mama, sexy & sassy who is wearing a hot pink or red tube top sundress - Woohoo, HOT MAMA.


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TEDDYBEARGIRL 7/19/2011 2:02AM

    God made you beautiful!!!!!!!

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ROEANDGO 7/19/2011 1:32AM

    You know....I take about 30 digital photos to get one "postable" shot to put on facebook or Spark People (my "dirty little secret")! And why? Same reason as you. I don't love the body I have. I love ME but not all of me. I love the wonderful, internal woman I am but not the external. You've inspired me to STOP and love the person I am...both inside and out! Thank you!!

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TEMPEST272002 7/18/2011 11:47PM

    I don't want you to feel bad for one moment for touching up your photos. We are not obliged to share everything about ourselves. At the same time, I'm glad you shared this with us. It was weighing on your mind. These things lose their power when they're brought into the light.

I don't want to trivialize the psoriasis and the way it's impacted your life. I understand that people can be cruel & those words hurt for a long time. But when I look at your untouched photos, I noticed the psoriasis AFTER I thought about how pretty your smile is & after I felt a pang of jealousy over your lovely shoulders. You are such a pretty woman!

As I'm typing, the image of your two girls, under the "Of course I can do anything" is smiling out at me. I'm glad that you've realized the connection between what you're telling your girls and what you are telling yourself. I needed to hear it today too.







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KITHKINCAID 7/18/2011 6:23PM

    You know - I knew you had it from the couple of times that we've met and hung out, but who cares? Doesn't make you any less of a beautiful person - inside AND out. It's a tough and terrible affliction to have, but none of us are disappointed at you for touching up pictures. Everyone deserves to have beautiful photos of themselves that they can be proud of - and you have so many. I say show 'em and let your beauty shine out!

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ROCKINMOM77 7/18/2011 12:00PM

    You are Beautiful Sparkfriend!! emoticon emoticon

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STRONGASTHUNDER 7/17/2011 10:06PM

    I am really glad that the blog I linked had such a positive effect on you! StopHatingYourBody was also the blog that really changed how I saw myself and my outlook on life. It's wonderful to see that you are able to love yourself and see that you are beautiful, without photoshop! emoticon

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CANNOTFATHOM 7/17/2011 4:46PM

    Kathy,

Since I am new to the group I haven't had the pleasure of getting to know you very well, but if I could share an observation..... You strike me as a lady with style. Stylist. I don't know why I think it, I just do. When I see your various profile pics I just think you "rock it". So kudos to you for decided to be "real" and I'm a firm believer if you see the beauty...kindness.........uniquenes
s in yourself, others will see it too :)


Penny

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DAISYDIVA74 7/17/2011 3:20PM

    Thank you so much for this blog! You are absolutely beautiful just the way you are. You are a amazing person and your daughters are so blessed to have such a strong mother. Love you so much.

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REENSKI 7/17/2011 3:05PM

    I love you just the way you are!
You are such a beautiful person inside and out. I see your beautiful smile, the beautiful aura that surrounds you.
It's difficult to love yourself, thank you for coming clean and posting such a beautiful blog.

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MADE-FOR-MORE 7/17/2011 2:02PM

    Beautiful!

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TAZIAH 7/17/2011 12:46PM

    Kathy, you are so beautiful - inside and out! Honestly, when I looked at your untouched pics, I didn't even notice the psoriasis.That amazingly beautiful smile you have was the first thing that I saw! Thank you so much for this incredible blog! I also have a really hard time accepting myself, and it is something that I am still working on.

I love that you're teaching your girls to love and accept themselves as they are! I do the same with my son - he has autism and ADHD, so forming relationship for him is so very difficult. Kids are incredibly cruel. But he was made in His image, and his disabilities have given him strengths that just blow my mind! He is beautiful the way he was made! I am beautiful the way I was made! You are beautiful the way you were made! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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SKFEREBEE 7/17/2011 12:17PM

    You are being you, and you are just amazing! Very refreshing! emoticon

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FREES1 7/17/2011 12:01PM

    You are beautiful - through and through, inside and out.. we all have our imperfections, things we don't like about ourselves.. accept who you are and move on...
when peple make these comments its your opportunity to be a spokesperson, to open their eyes, enlighten them, educate them.. not always a lot of fun but an opportunity to show your daughters you are not fake (and you're not). touching up photos is nothing new and nothing that is going away...
you are one of the most honest folks I have encountered.. you do yourself proud!

and 5 year old girls do go through phases of wanting to be prettified..

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LOOZINITNOW 7/17/2011 9:14AM

    This blog brought tears to my eyes because you have such a beautiful true and honest soul. You are so beautiful inside and out. It does not matter what others may think. We all have some kind of imperfection. That's the way God made us and we are absolutely beautiful to him. Stay true to who you are and let the real you shine!

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HSMOM2FOUR 7/17/2011 7:58AM

    You ARE beautiful!
And, I thank you for your message -- because while I believe everyone else is beautiful (no matter their size/shape/skin/etc) I have a hard time thinking that of myself. Thank you! I'll work on it!


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SISTERDEAR 7/16/2011 11:18PM

    Thank you for sharing how that book by Max Lucado opened your eyes to how God sees you. I love that. And I'm sure that it will make a difference for others, too!
emoticonSue

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LMLOPEZ 7/16/2011 11:18PM

    Kathy, I am so proud of you for using the healing brush-on your attitude toward hiding your condition! As a nurse I know how hard it can be when you have a chronic condition and as a mom of a boy with cerebral palsy, I know how strangers can be. Good for you for showing your true beauty-and know that when people ask it's the perfect opportunity to educate someone who is probably not trying to be mean but unaware of the way you feel.
Hugs and good wishes to you!!! :)


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INSPIREBYNATURE 7/16/2011 11:09PM

    Oh my beautiful hunny bunny!!!!!! I am SO very proud of you for being true to yourself, for honoring you trueness. You are such a strong woman. So amazing and just....fabulous. Ok now of course you know I"m going to say it, but it's the truth. The beauty that resinates within you, that which shines through and your amazing spirit...that is what we all see. I know why you feel the way that you do but I hope that you realize you shouldn't see yourself as anything other than absolutely breathtakingly BEAUTIFUL! That's how I see you! Gosh I love you!

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KKINNEA 7/16/2011 10:31PM

    You seem like you handle this disease very well and I'm sorry you felt bad about touching up your photos. I appreciate your words and your journey - you have a wonderful spirit that shines through!

You know that some of the most "beautiful" people are so ugly inside you can barely see the outer picture. Far better to be an excellent person even if you're not "perfect".

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PEPPERLEAH 7/16/2011 10:22PM

    Kathy, what a wonderful blog! Your honesty and vulnerability at revealing this are so touching. Let me tell you something. We ALL have our hidden problems, things that we would just rather not have other people know. But the truth is, that no matter what is on the outside, it is truly the inside that matters. You have a beautiful heart, and you freely reach out to others with the love of Jesus.

You ARE a beautiful woman. Don't let anyone or anything make you think differently. After all, God made you. And you are the apple of His eye! So how dare anyone think anything other than that YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL!

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AMBER281 7/16/2011 10:19PM

    Kathy thanks so much for your honesty. There are a few people in my family that have psoriasis as well. I have been lucky so far *knock on wood*, so far I only get patches on my scalp and occasionaly in my eye brows. But my one cousin who is my age as them all over her body as well. She has gone through many of the same questions and looks that you have gotten, so please know that you are not alone.
As far as what the spark community might think most probably would not have noticed and if they did it would not change their opinion of you...it just part of who you are. We are more critical of ourselves then we are of others.
You ARE beautiful inside and out!!!
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DETERMINEDJANET 7/16/2011 10:02PM

    And you are just that...beautiful! I love that book by Max Lucado so I'm thankful God used it today with you so that you could feel His care and know that you are beautiful because you are His creation!

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RONOSOF 7/16/2011 9:40PM

    I have the same autoimmune disease. We are beautiful.

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WHITNEY0814 7/16/2011 9:37PM

    Please don't feel as if you have betrayed us... no one is mad or angry or disappointed in you. We understand that it could be hard, we all have something we don't like about ourselves. But you're beautiful... Touch up or not. I've always thought you were beautiful.
BTW you are so strong and brave to face your fears by putting up these pictures
I love you!!
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THEADMIRAL 7/16/2011 9:34PM

    All I see is that fabulous, beautiful smile of yours...and your amazing bravery, wisdom and commitment to be a good model for your children. emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MISSROCKABILLY 7/16/2011 9:31PM

    You are so beautiful Kathy, just as you are. What a powerful blog you've posted here, thank you so much for sharing your feelings with us all so honestly. I'm proud of you!

I have eczema, and I definitely know what it is like to not like the way your skin looks in the mirror or photos. The thing is, you are beautiful, inside and out, and that shines through all the time!

Love you!
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SGTSUNNY 7/16/2011 8:34PM

    I know we all have things about the way we look that we wish we could change or touch up, but I have always looked for inner beauty and I found it in you! My hubby has psoriasis and my daughter is getting it as well. I think it is harder on women to deal with. Hugs, this was very brave of you! And as far as what the Sparks might think of your skin, I think it is something most will not even notice or care as they see a motivator with a great heart, strong communication and writing skills who is a strong leader and caring friend. I could go on forever listing your many wonderful traits and hope it will erase the thing you do not like about yourself!

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UNICORN212 7/16/2011 8:29PM

    We love you. And it does not matter - as the Bible says, you are wonderfully made.

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BLOSSOM2344 7/16/2011 7:49PM

    It's much more noticeable to you than to any of us. No one gets through this life without scars. And NO ONE is going to hold this against you!
Congratulations on taking the next step in your journey of self acceptance!
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HEATHERDIAN 7/16/2011 7:36PM

    You are beautiful. Thank you for sharing your honesty and courage.

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GOGOMAMA 7/16/2011 7:18PM

    I admire your honesty and genuineness!!! It makes you even more special to me!! My husband also suffers from this and so I understand how frustrating it can be! I love that you are teaching your daughters that beauty is more than skin deep! You are beautiful inside and out! Hugs!

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SEWINGMAMACDS 7/16/2011 7:04PM

    You ARE Beautiful. God made you. May God Bless you with emotional healing for your honest blog.
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FANCY-PANTS 7/16/2011 6:44PM

    I admire your bravery for coming clean. If we're all honest, I bet each one of has has hidden something...I know once in aw hile I omit something in my food tracker. IDK, it's hard to be brutally honest all of the time. But I love your spirit and you are beautiful. Hoping that one day you 100% believe it without a doubt. emoticon emoticon

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What I Did on my Summer Vacation...

Monday, July 11, 2011

Remember those essays you had to write in school after returning from summer break? Well, here's what I did on my Summer Vacation...

emoticonI woke up with the sun and did yoga

emoticonI took my vitamins

emoticonI tracked my food, writing it all down on paper (no Internet connection at the cottage)

emoticonI drank only 2 glasses of wine per day, if at all.

emoticonI walked 2 miiles with Leslie.

emoticonI ran 2 miles on a rural road, admiring the blueberry fields.

emoticonI walked countless miles with my dogs.

emoticonI swam across the lake and back.

emoticonI paddleboated across the lake and back.

emoticonI ate carrots with hummus vs. chips and dip.

emoticonI made a healthy pb&j before eating a processed snack.

emoticonI did yoga when the sun went down.

emoticonI got my Dad and hubby to walk a mile with Leslie (no small feat!)

emoticonI took my dog on a walk with my bathing suit on and felt fine.

emoticonI did strength training.

emoticonI held the twins when my sister needed a break and changed them, and rocked them, and sang to them.

emoticonI biked 6 miles to the local grocery store to get baby wipes vs. my hubby driving to Wal-Mart.

emoticonI played with my girls in the sand, running up the hill, dancing with them.

emoticonI also played countless games of Scrabble, devoured books, relaxed in the sun and enjoyed a nice glass of wine now and then.

emoticonI also fully enjoyed eating all the wrong things 20% (ok, sometimes 30%) of the time.

But I felt AMAZING.

SKINNY.

STRONG.

HEALTHY.

And when I got home and saw that I had gained 3 lbs. while on my vacation do you know what I did?

I LAUGHED.

Those 3 lbs. are such a joke that I am not going to let them defeat me or define me. I know that they, like my vacation, won't last long. They are HISTORY.

Because, and this is sortof funny (and sort of frustrating)....when I was figuring my 80/20 plan, I forgot one small thing...

My body doesn't DO well on 20% bad. My body craves goodness 100% of the time. And yes, that stinks....BUT I am not perfect and don't strive to be. I am just going to take those 3 lbs. and kindly tell them to get off at the next stop.

I had a great time, and wouldn't have changed a thing.

OK, maybe I would have turned down the pork rinds, but hey, a girl has to satisfy that oh-so-wrong craving once in a while, doesn't she?

I hope you all had wonderful holiday weekends as well!


A picture I snapped on the trail after realizing I was in my bathing suit on a semi-public road and didn't care (untouched).

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BRAVACHASER 7/14/2011 1:42PM

    That sounds like an awesome vacation! I'm glad you enjoyed yourself. Keep laughing at that scale...it's a real clown!

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KITHKINCAID 7/14/2011 12:00AM

    You know - I am SO lucky that I don't even like pork rinds. Awesome vacation though Kathy :) So proud of you. And only 3 pounds? PSHHHH! I gained more than that in one weekend away, so WELL DONE! That is totally awesome, and TOTALLY manageable. Since I'm so late posting to your blog, they're probably already gone.

Glad you're back! I missed you!

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TEMPEST272002 7/13/2011 10:18AM

    What a great vacation! I love all the healthy choices - and the perspective on the unhealthy ones aka pork rinds. Laughing at the scale counts, by itself, as a major victory.

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ROEANDGO 7/12/2011 5:34PM

    Whoooo Hoooooo!!! I love, Love, LOVE this!! I love that you laughed at that 3 pounds!!

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JOANOFSPARK 7/12/2011 11:00AM

    emoticonSounds like an awesome vacation to me.....and love your new pic of your walking your dog in your bathing suit....hey, I don't blame you.....you are looking great...:) emoticon Love your attitude.... and I definitely am going to have to adopt your 80/20% strategy when I go on vacation with my sister and her husband in September...to Vegas and Grand Canyon... emoticon

love your background and vision board as well......it is fantastic!!

Comment edited on: 7/12/2011 11:01:43 AM

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ASIAMORA 7/12/2011 10:39AM

    Awesome choices on your vacation!!!!

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UNICORN212 7/11/2011 11:01PM

    Uh huh! It was the pork rinds! I knew there was a reason for the 3 pounds! emoticon

You are looking so awesome! Congrats on the bathing suit! (I don't even think I still own one!)

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SGTSUNNY 7/11/2011 10:52PM

    Wow you had a great time! You were so active and relaxed. I hope my next vacation is just like yours!

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CARILOUIE 7/11/2011 5:54PM

    Your vacation sounds WONDERFUL!

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KSGROTHE 7/11/2011 5:46PM

    Great job on getting in all that physical activity on your vacation! emoticon
emoticon on not worrying about wearing your swimsuit in public and on laughing at that 3-lb weight gain! You've got a great attitude!

- Karen

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CHICAGOHEALTHY 7/11/2011 5:12PM

    What a GREAT vacation! Love your post vacation report. Being re-energized getting away, relaxing, being with family, all the activity you did is a much bigger gain for the health of your mind and body, than a measly 3 lbs is a loss. Sometimes the scale plays games with me and changes 3 lbs a day. You'll emoticon those lbs to the curb in no time. The time you had with family will be cherished for a lifetime!

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RUNTRILAUGH 7/11/2011 4:14PM

    All these make me smile!

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JENJESS48 7/11/2011 3:30PM

    HAWT new pic!!! Btw, you're totally my inspiration: Pat and I are going on vacation this week (Vegas, baby!) and I'm going to stick to 80/20 as well. And what happens in Vegas will stay in Vegas...hopefully not come home in the form of fat. But if it does, I will also embrace your attitude and laugh at it.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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RED_WRITINGHOOD 7/11/2011 3:09PM

    Looks like you had a wonderful time and got in a bunch of healthy living!

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SKFEREBEE 7/11/2011 3:07PM

    Sounds like a fun, healthy vacation to me! I'd like to see a comparison to what vacation time used to be like for you. I'm sure those 3 pounds are all sodium and muscle! Great pic, too!

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PRESBESS 7/11/2011 2:37PM

    You are "girlpower strong"! I'm glad you had a fantastic time on your vacation and that you strolled down the road in your bathing suit! Woo-Hoo! I agree with you... tell those three pounds to back off - they're messing with the wrong chick!

Get'em girl!
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TEDDYBEARGIRL 7/11/2011 2:25PM

    emoticon

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TAZIAH 7/11/2011 1:46PM

    You look emoticon and that attitude of yours is contagious! That sounds like a fantastic vacation, and I certainly wouldn't be regretting those 3 lbs either! You were active, you made memories to last a life time and you allowed yourself to relax and enjoy your vacation! emoticon emoticon

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SEATTLESIMS 7/11/2011 12:40PM

    GREAT vacation!! sounds simply wonderful!
hope the rest of your summer is just as wonderful!

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CHICAT63 7/11/2011 12:35PM

    Oh, wait ....What is that sound I hear....Roaring laughter as 3 pounds is being flushed down the toilet - MOUA !!!! It will be gone in no time. By the sounds of it you had a GREAT holiday, bring on the Sassy, Sexy Summer !!!!

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FREES1 7/11/2011 12:10PM

    sounds a fantastic time!!! and you did great!!! cool not to get upset over 3 pounds gained - our weights fluctuate so much naturally anyways 3 pounds is no big deal in the long run!!!
glad you had such a wonderful time!

welcome home!

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HEATHIELAUREN 7/11/2011 12:08PM

    So awesome!!! Glad you had a wonderful trip!

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TREASURINGLIFE 7/11/2011 12:05PM

    AWESOME!!!! :) You did great, girl!

- Michelle

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INSPIREBYNATURE 7/11/2011 12:02PM

    Oh my gosh you did so great! I am so proud of you!!!!!!! You are so damn beautiful!

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LOOZINITNOW 7/11/2011 11:57AM

    You look absolutely fabulous! Love the attitude! emoticon

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AMBER281 7/11/2011 11:50AM

    You look great!!! Glad to hear that you had a wonderful vacation and don't worry about those pesky 3 lbs they will be gone in no time!!!!

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GOGOMAMA 7/11/2011 11:46AM

    You look beautiful!!! What a lovely vacation and I love that you found a cool balance between working it hard and enjoying yourself!!

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STARPESCADO 7/11/2011 11:46AM

    You look so happy : )

Sounds like you had a great time!

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MARCH_ 7/11/2011 11:37AM

    You look fabulous! I can't imagine walking the dog in my bathing suit, you have found such freedom! That's the freedom I'm looking for!

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My Secret Weapon....

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Starting Friday I'm off work for a week and we're going to our cottage in Michigan for most of it, then returning to the area for a Staycation and spending time together as a family and doing things we normally can't because I'm working. Navy Pier, the Arboretum. We are going to have FUN.

My dear bestie Blaize will also be on vacation and we both wanted to have fun during our time away, but also to try to stay on track and not gain a ton of weight. My goal is not only to maintain, but to lose weight while on vacation.

I suggested that we try applying the Pareto 80/20 principal to our weight loss while on vacation.



The rules are simple. 80% of the time we will make healthy choices. The other 20% of the time we can do whatever we want, and no one has to know about it. We're going to text each other every day and be accountable for that 80% - the good choices. All the bad stuff? It's like Vegas, baby. What happens during that 20% stays there.

I figure if you approach a vacation like a reckless abandonment of all of your healthy lifestyle changes, and 80% of the time you make not the best choices, and 20% of the time you are "good"...well, honey, that's gonna show up on the scale. 'Nuf said.

BUT if you turn it around, and ALLOW yourself that little devilish "bad" side 20% of the time, give yourself that freedom (but not too much freedom)...and make healthy choices the rest of the 80% of the time, well the scale will even out, or even show a loss.

Factor in exercise to this equation (my goal to move in some way, shape or form every day). And a loss is pretty much guaranteed. Reach for the stars, right?

As part of this challenge we are to write about our motivation...this will help us stay on track for that 80% of the time. Now I have two main motivations -- other than losing weight and being healthy of course.



1. I am SO close to Onederland and losing 100 lbs. that I can SMELL it. I have 4 lbs. to go to be in Onederland. 5 lbs. to reaching 100 lbs. lost. That is a huge motivation for me. When I crave another glass of wine, or a big hunk of cheese what will be more important to me? Satisfying that craving (and probably feeling worse as a result?) or seeing those magical numbers on the scale. If you guessed the second option, Ding, Ding, Ding! Get that girl a prize, Vanna.



2. Now here's my super secret motivation...a desire so deeply ingrained in me that part of me feels I can't attain it...(but aren't those the best kind of goals?). My sister gave me a kick-butt running skirt that is a size Large. It fits me and it looks amazing. BUT. At present, the back of my thighs don't do it the justice it deserves. This skirt is a bit shorter than the new running skirt I bought, and it doesn't cover my imperfections. My goal is to run, walk, go up hills, go down hills, get enough ST in that the backs of my legs ROCK and are something I will be proud to strike the trail with.

SO. There you go. My two reasons I'm going to rock it out this vacation, baby. Wish me luck. No, strike that. Wish me STRENGTH.


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

HEATHIELAUREN 7/1/2011 2:16AM

    I'm so excited for you!!!!! 5 lbs away from Onderland..... Oh! Motivation for vacation baby! You can do this! I believe in you! emoticon

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SGTSUNNY 6/30/2011 4:50PM

    Have a wonderful vacation! See you soon in Onderland!!! Wow and you will feel amazing when you hit the 100 lb lost! Love ya, lets do this! You are amazing!

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GETFIT2LIVE 6/30/2011 4:32PM

    Positively perfect plan--hope you have an awesome vacation and come back rested and stronger than ever!

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BOOKRUNNER 6/30/2011 2:39PM

    What a brilliant plan! Thanks for sharing.

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FREES1 6/30/2011 12:46PM

    good plan you and your friend have hatched...

good luck and tons of strength to you!!!!

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TAZIAH 6/29/2011 5:13PM

    Wishing you tons of strength!! You're awesome and you have a fantastic goal set in place. You've totally got this!!! emoticon

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CANNOTFATHOM 6/29/2011 4:26PM

    Great blog! You given me lots of really good pointers :) I'm going to Belgium in October with my sister and I don't want to derail all my good work. I like your idea :)


Penny

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PRESBESS 6/29/2011 4:15PM

    emoticon Here's to wishing you strength! I like your vacation attack mindset. You are armed with the right stuff... your bestie, your plan, your motivation and your attitude! You go girl!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CHICAT63 6/29/2011 3:54PM

    You can SO DO THIS, love the 80/20 rule. I have always worked out on holidays, people think I am loco *lol*. Woohoo, Onderland is looming and will be in no time with your dedication, determination and desire. Have fun !

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KITHKINCAID 6/29/2011 3:47PM

    RRRAAAAAWWWWWWRRRRRR! (That's me wishing you strength...tiger-style).

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LMLOPEZ 6/29/2011 2:29PM

    You go, girl. Wear that skirt with pride, even if it's shorter. You'll be liking the improvements in no time.
I just did the 80/20 rule for my vacation as well. It was a good eye opener for how to have fun but still enjoy. Have a blast on your vaca-you should text me if you're headed to Morton arboretum, I'm there with the kids often as I have membership. :)

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ROEANDGO 6/29/2011 2:20PM

    I wish you STRENGTH!! What a wonderful idea and I KNOW Blaize and you will do well on vacation. Great job!!

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KKINNEA 6/29/2011 2:19PM

    Love it, you're going to rock it. I love that the 20% is like Vegas!

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MARCH_ 6/29/2011 2:08PM

    It's easier to lose weight on vacation because there's no boredom.
I'm more likely to jump up and go for a walk (on vaca it's called "exploring"), then when I'm at home and it's the same ol' stretch. Enjoy!

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LOOZINITNOW 6/29/2011 1:52PM

    You are definitely ready for vacation! You have an awesome plan in place! I love your enthusiasm!

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KSGROTHE 6/29/2011 1:50PM

    Great plan and great motivation! emoticon

- Karen

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JENJESS48 6/29/2011 1:45PM

    Awesome plan! You are sure to both enjoy yourself and keep the scale at bay! You rock, honey!

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STARPESCADO 6/29/2011 12:59PM

    Awesome!

Love your 80/20 rule : )

Hope U enjoy your vacation and I am sure that skirt looks kickin' on U!



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THENEWDARLENE 6/29/2011 12:54PM

    I know you can do it! This sounds like a great plan for a healthy vacation. I bet you will return home healthier and leaner than ever! I may just have to borrow this 80/20 idea for my own upcoming vacation. Thanks for all the motivation! I hope you have an AWESOME time with your family.

emoticon emoticon

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REENSKI 6/29/2011 12:50PM

    Go Kathy! Go Kathy! Go Kathy!
You are so going to rock that skirt.

I love you weapon, and its true. Do you keep track of the 80%? I guess i"m going to have to start making sure I stay in there. My scale knows all. Thank you for the motivation!

Go Kathy! Go Kathy! Go Kathy!
emoticon

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INSPIREBYNATURE 6/29/2011 12:41PM

    WOOHOOO! YOu are amazing!!!!! BEAUTIFUL pictures! YOu've got this!!!!!!!!!!!

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SEWINGMAMACDS 6/29/2011 12:40PM

    emoticon and have a great time!

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TABIKATZZ 6/29/2011 12:38PM

    Great motivators!! I will be on vacation in a week and a half and my sister and I have already decided that we will spend time in the pool at the hotel exercising every day, and use the fitness room, and walk a ton during the day because of all the wonderful food we will be eating! You can do it!

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AMBER281 6/29/2011 12:34PM

    You can do it!! You have a wonderful plan and lots of determination!!
Have a great holiday!!! Can't wait to hear the stories when you get back.

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TREASURINGLIFE 6/29/2011 12:30PM

    YOU CAN DO IT!!!!!! Enjoy your vacation and I can't wait to hear how well you did when you get back! :)

- Michelle

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Inspirational Quote # 7

Saturday, June 25, 2011

*****DISCLAIMER: THIS IS ABOUT GOD.*****

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me."

~ Philippians 4:13

I was born again in 2008. That is when my journey, and spark journey, truly began. I usually don't preach, or try not to, in my blogs but for this inspiration week it would be a lie if God didn't show up in there somewhere. I am a God Chick a Jesus Freak, a Born Again and I love that I am all of these things. I also respect those of my Spark friends who aren't, and who have other views. But for me, Jesus has been my savior (and is) and I have discovered that nothing is too big - or small - for Him, including my weight loss (which on the scale of the world is very tiny, I know).

I was overweight since the third grade. I was the person you didn't want to sit next to at the lunch table and always the person picked last for teams during P.E. class. I was the weirdo. Then in H.S. I decided I didn't want to be that person and took control in my own hands and starved myself. I got down to a very scary weight and looked sick. But people loved me! They discovered that I was funny, smart, kind...all of the things I always was, but they couldn't see beyond the layers of fat (walls I had also created out of my own power to protect myself).

In college I stopped the starving and started the partying. I gained back much of my weight. Then I met my husband and after we were married add about a hundred pounds to that weight gain. To sum it up in one word, I was SAD. I felt helpless.

I tried. I tried so many weight loss diets, plans and schemes. I've tried them all...some twice. Nothing, and I repeat Nothing worked. I felt destined for a life of fathood.

I found Spark in 2007 and diddled around, tracked some food then stopped...see I didn't have the strength of my own to follow through on any program.

In 2008 I gave my life over the Christ - a life that had been Godless for so long, and I was led to Him through other issues in my life, not my weight loss. To me, weight loss wasn't "important" enough to give over to God. I mean, really? Doesn't He have more important things to do?

But one day, I did. I just let it go and prayed that God help me to lose the weight so that I could be the mother He intended me to be, the wife I could be, the PERSON that I was truly meant to be, because I couldn't believe that this was it. I know many overweight people say they are happy and content, and they don't need to lose weight, they are healthy -- and that is fine for those people. But for ME. I was SAD. The pictures tell the story. I couldn't smile if you paid me.

So, I slowly started trusting God with my food. Sounds weird, I know. But I asked Him to show me when I was full, when I was hungry...and that started working. For me, it's nothing short of a miracle. Then I asked God for strength in other areas of my life...I began walking, then running. And to go from the girl who was never picked in gym class to the girl who is training for a 10K is just amazing to me. And I'm not gloating. I'm giving all of the glory to God because I know that He is my true strength. I couldn't do any of this on my own.

He is the reason I smile and have lightness inside of me now. He is the reason I can be patient on this journey that sometimes seems so long, because I know that through Him I will reach my goals. I know that God has much bigger plans in store for me than even I know.

And I'm good with that :)


Me before Christ


After

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FITFUNKYMAMA1 6/29/2011 1:11PM

    This is so awesome!!!
It is so great that you discovered your dependence on God early on in your relationship with Him.Me? i've been a believer since high school and have just now come to the realization that I can't do this without His help :)
Great blog!!!

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FREES1 6/28/2011 1:07PM

    beautifully written - I commend you on your faith, which also is beautiful...

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TEDDYBEARGIRL 6/28/2011 1:24AM

    Amen!!!!! beautifully written sister in christ!

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KITHKINCAID 6/26/2011 6:02PM

    Even though I don't share your incredible faith in God - I know how important He is to you and this journey and I love and respect that you have found yourself and your beliefs through Him. You are a glowing example of how people can believe in whatever or whoever they want and yet still love and accept other people and their own beliefs (or lack thereof). So many congrats on getting to where you are now.

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INSPIREBYNATURE 6/25/2011 8:39PM

    You are beautiful!

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KSGROTHE 6/25/2011 5:01PM

    emoticon quote and blog!

- Karen

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TEMPEST272002 6/25/2011 4:53PM

    So sad in the one photo & so vibrant and alive and shining in the 2nd. There is no denying the transformation inside & out. I'm glad you found your faith & your path.

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GOGOMAMA 6/25/2011 3:52PM

    Awesome blog!!! I love how you shine God's work in you! I thank God for his daily strength and for you!!!

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LOOZINITNOW 6/25/2011 10:40AM

    So inspirational and beautiful!!! emoticon

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JENJESS48 6/25/2011 10:23AM

    Your before and after pics pretty much sum it up, don't they? It's amazing how much impact a single thing can have on our lives. You're such an inspiration and good example, Kathy.

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THEADMIRAL 6/25/2011 8:29AM

    Beautiful! God is the Source for our contentment, victory over our demons, and our Peace through Jesus. We are his Temple and submit to Him to honor it and give testimony to His power. emoticon emoticon

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ROCKINMOM77 6/25/2011 8:27AM

    emoticon Loved todays blog!! emoticon

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Change of Plans

Friday, June 24, 2011

Make big plans, but change your plans as time changes.óMarchant

The best laid schemes o' mice an' men
gang aft a-gley.--Robert Burns ("To a Mouse")
[Popularly misquoted as: The best laid plans of mice and men often go astray, or The best laid plans of mice and men go oft astray.]



Last night I had a Plan. My husband and girls were going to have a Daddy play date with a neighbor Dad and his two girls. I was going to get out of the house and run. I wanted to get one more outside run in before my running group tomorrow morning. I planned to get 4 miles in, because I know the running coach will push us to get 5 miles in tomorrow outside. I wanted to get out there in the night air and just go with it and get Ďer done.

Had I known that plans would fall through and the Daddy play date wasnít going to happen I would have gotten my run in at lunch. As much as the dreadmill doesnít inspire me, I would have done it. BUT I didnít know.

So I get home, and instead of having the night to myself, I have two eager girls and a hungry husband. I am not the happy camper. I am, in a word, annoyed.

The bonus was that I would get to make the BBQ Chicken recipe I wanted to try out. The bad part was trying to actually cook with a soon to be 2 yr. old toddler grabbing my legs from behind and trying to wrestle me to the floor, and my 4 yr. old (soon to be 5 yr. old) asking me question after question about life. Not just simple questions, but questions about why lightning bugs donít have brains, and why glass can break.

I hustle to get my pizza in the oven and make mini pizzas for the girls on tortillas, knowing they probably wonít eat them anyway (favorite foods of late are mac& cheese and hot dogs and any attempt on my part to inject them with veggies are thwarted).

By this time itís already 6:30. A late dinner. Did I mention in the process of cooking dinner I stepped on a nail that was in a board that Marlo kicked off the kitchen cabinet earlier and I hadnít had a chance to pick up yet?

Once the foot is disinfected, bandaged and everyone is fed, I look at my running shoes in the corner with a nostalgic feeling. I wanted to be on the road. I wanted to run before it got too dark out and I got scared again by a neighbor welding in his driveway looking like something out of the Texas Chainsaw Massacre. I didnít want to be in the house, with my familyÖ.I feltÖterrible. Like an awful mother. But darn it, this wasnít my plan! I have a great plan tonight to spend quality girl time with both of them, but that was not Tonight. Tonight was my nightÖ.(do I sound selfish yet?)

So now I go from annoyed to irritated and I half-heartedly color with Lucy, thinking about running the whole time and wishing she would just fall asleep. I sing and read stories to Marlo, thinking of how I will feel after my run instead of how she is holding my hand and putting her head on my shoulder, wrapping her hair around her finger like she doesÖ.

I start to become aware that Iím not being present and as a working mom, these moments are precious. I give myself a silent guilt trip in my head about how I should pay more attention. Then I stop thinking about running and put my Momma hat on.

45 minutes later and I look at my watch. 8:30. Itís getting quite dark out. I know if I donít go now, I never will. I kiss Lucy and tell her I need to get running before itís too dark (she has taken a nap this day so gets a later bedtime of 9). She seems OK with it, and is focused on her coloring. I cuddle Marlo and sing her one last song, and then I hit the pavement.

And Iím off!

ButÖ.I see that the recent storms caused much damage and there are downed trees everywhere. I try to go my normal route but canít, itís a busy road and I donít run in the street on that road, and after hurdling two large trees on the sidewalk, I decide to take a different route. I turn the corner and there are more trees. And more. I turn left and now I smell something like fire mixed with something else, something plastic, and I see a downed electrical wire. Iím only a mile in. I realize that I need to turn around. I canít run in this, it was too dangerous and also frustrating to keep trying to find a clear route. Oh, and the YMCA is closed due to their power still being out, so the dreadmill or indoor track wasn't an option either.

As I turn around, I see something else besides the devastation caused by the storm Ė fireflies. Lucy has been talking about fireflies since Spring and they are only out for about two weeks. They are lighting up the now pitch dark sky. I know sheís still awake. I have time.

I get home and look at my Garmin. 2 miles. Not what I wanted to do, but it is what it is.

I get Lucy and her net, flashlight and mosquito repellent. We take a walk to an empty field and the fireflies are exploding like fireworks. It is amazing. I try to take a video w/ my camera phone but it is too dark to capture that beauty. But I know I will always remember it. After much trying, Lucy catches the very first firefly of her life. She holds the net close to her chest as we walk home, she desperately wants to keep it as a pet.

Once home we get the firefly into itís home (a dome Lucy catches spiders in that has holes for breathing). I tuck her in. I feelÖgood. As I go to bed that night I check in on her one last time. She has moved the firefly house from her bookshelf to the corner of her bed so that the firefly can sleep with her. How precious is that?

I went to bed and thanked God for the day He had given me, and for changed plans. I had the best night and realized I had fought through most of it, when maybe next time I should just accept that plans change and embrace it. I got that by the end of the night though, and I fell asleep satisfied and happy. And I have a memory I will keep in my heart forever.


(From the movie "Grave of the Fireflies")

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

INSPIREBYNATURE 6/25/2011 12:53AM

    awwwwww! i just cried! You are such a wonderful mommy! This is a fabulous quote for the day and oh so true about life right? things change...especially when you are a mom! And I am so proud of you for having such a beautiful evening! You are such a gorgeous spirit!

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UNICORN212 6/25/2011 12:04AM

    And a lifetime memory is created....

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TEMPEST272002 6/24/2011 7:44PM

    This is such a well-written blog. I remember when my son was small & I was a working mum. That pull between all the responsibilities you have... and the things you'd like to do... and then these little people wanting your attention. I'm glad you finally gave in to your change of plans. What a magical night with the fireflies!

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KITHKINCAID 6/24/2011 6:29PM

    Wow. So beautiful. Good on you mama for remembering to cherish those moments even when you need to get some "you time" in. I think you did a beautiful job balancing both.

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CELEBRATELIFE1 6/24/2011 2:55PM

    I love this story. Thanks for sharing.

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KSGROTHE 6/24/2011 2:51PM

    emoticon on getting in a short run and realizing that your day was lovely despite having to change your plans!
emoticon quotes!

- Karen

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ROCKINMOM77 6/24/2011 1:46PM

    What a Great Mommy emoticon

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BLUESKY_321 6/24/2011 1:07PM

    Kudos to you for having the grace to embrace the whims of life!


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RUNTRILAUGH 6/24/2011 12:50PM

    Those are the moments that make life such a wonderful journey!

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AMBER281 6/24/2011 12:03PM

    That is a great blog and a great story!!!
While your night was not as planned it sounds like a great memory!

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BRAVACHASER 6/24/2011 11:55AM

    This is wonderful! I got a bit choked up about the firefly thing. I'm sure it will be a wonderful childhood memory for your daughter as well! I love your blogs.

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SKFEREBEE 6/24/2011 11:55AM

    Sometimes just going with the flow is the best (and most rewarding) thing. You just have to sit still and listen to what the universe is trying to tell (and teach) you. emoticon

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JENJESS48 6/24/2011 11:54AM

    First of all, I love that you quoted the original Burns.

I also don't always deal well when plans go astray. It's frustrating. And it sounds like your night started off just awful. But you didn't just salvage it, it ended up being lovely. And you are right to celebrate that. emoticon

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