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Emerging like a butterfly!

Monday, October 18, 2010

I was inspired to write today's blog by one of my spark friends, Tempest272002!

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately as I'm viewing my Spark journey as a lifestyle makeover and not just one for my physical body. Like alot of you, I was never big as a child or as a teenager. In fact, I was fairly active and loved doing things outdoors. I was never one to have an exercise routine but would work off calories by shovelling snow, raking leaves, mowing lawns, walking and riding my bike.

Things started changing in my life during a major depressive episode about 20 years ago. I didn't want to do anything and thus quickly got caught up in the endless circle I've been living ever since. It started with the mindset that "I'm too depressed to exercise" but that quickly changed to "I'm too fat to exercise" . Everybody told me that I would feel better if I moved my body a bit everyday but after a few futile attempts at walking which left me sweating and tired I soon gave up.

Now, with the right medication and the right attitude I'm finally in a place mentally that I can deal with my physical issues. I now longer feel sorry for myself for being fat. I used to think, I know I'm fat but the effort to change that is simply too much for me to bother with at the moment.

The first thing for me to admit was "I'm technically obese" at 222 pounds and standing at 5.6. I could no longer enjoy a simple stroll without breaking out in sweat in places I never knew sweat before.

The second thing to admit was "this is it. There is no second change and this is not a dress rehearsal...this if my life". I always thought I'd get myself in shape one of those days but never did much about it.

The third thing for me to admit was " I am in control". I cannot blame my weight on anybody or anything. Yes, the depression doesn't help but I can't use it as an excuse. I used to say "the anti-depressants were making me fat" when I knew full well that most anti-depressants will only cause minimal weight gain in some people.

Over the summer we adopted our second dog and her energy was contagious! I did my best to persuade my husband to walk both of our dogs and sometimes I would go along and scuff my feet in an attempt to say "I tried".

This September, my husband returned to college which means he is gone from 6:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. At first, I tried to get the dogs out in the garden but I soon realized they really enjoyed their walks/runs in the woods. Before I knew it, I was taking them and would walk further and further each time. I didn't see it as exercising but rather spending time with the dogs and getting them out.

Now, about 6 weeks after joining Spark, if I don't get them out in the afternoons for a long walk, I'm the one who really misses it. I feel a sense of contentment I've never felt before and it is true...exercise does help you mentally, but only if you let it!

Although, I'm still in the moth stage of my journey, I can feel my wings developing underneath my cocoon of body fat. I'm changing one day at a time and I feel good!

Again, thanks for reading! I hope you are all having a wonderful day!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:



Glad to know your dogs are helping you with your journey.

I like you was not overweight at all when I was younger, menopause did the trick for me and a look in a shop window shocked me into doing something about it.

It's great that you have gone from strength to strength with each blog you write, it helps to get it out there instead of bottling it up inside.

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LCARYL 10/18/2010 11:12PM

    It's amazing how much of a difference those doggies make in our lives -- in so many ways. Your blog reminded me of how much I love to walk my dogs during the holidays. There is something so peaceful about walking through the neighborhood at night and looking at all of the Christmas lights and decorations. My dogs love it as much as I do.

Thanks for sharing and keep up the great work! emoticon

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BELLALUCIA 10/18/2010 10:04PM

    Glad you're doing better.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 10/18/2010 9:58PM

    I've sensed a lift from your first blogs to your blogs of the last week or so. I'm glad to see it. I find my walks a very spiritual, contemplative time. They benefit me in greater ways than just the cardiovascular effect. Keep it up Susan. I think great things are in store for you.

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JLITT62 10/18/2010 6:09PM

    I wasn't big as a child, but started putting on weight as a teenager. Not truly sure why to this day, and have struggled on & off every since. And oddly enough, I gained a lot of weight when I adopted Chester 5 yrs ago! You're supposed to lose weight when you get a dog!

For me, I thought walking him was enough exercise. I now know that's not the case.

Good for you for making walks a part of your dogs' daily lives. Too many people never walk their dogs.

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TEMPEST272002 10/18/2010 4:35PM

    I feel so honoured to have inspired this beautiful blog! Thank you.

Exercise has played a critical role in my recovery from depression. I'm happy that your dogs have inspired you to get outside. Getting outside with my dogs was always my favourite way to exercise. I sure miss them. Of course, I still borrow unruly Dooley for company when I head into the woods.

I really identified with what you said about realizing that you do have the control to make changes. Finding that I did have it within myself to change was both frightening and incredibly empowering.

You truly are emerging like a butterfly! emoticon

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JHADZHIA 10/18/2010 4:11PM

    Good for you Susan!! There is actually no better workout buddy than a dog. They are ready to go any time, anywhere and will follow you to the ends of the earth. You can't ever ignore them because they can't take themselves out.
Its so wonderful to hear how you have changed your life around.
Keep up the great work!!
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LESLIES537 10/18/2010 4:08PM

    I'm SO proud of you! You've made some fabulous changes so far and have learned so much about yourself. You are doing great!

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LAURITA. 10/18/2010 3:31PM


Acquiring an enjoyment and appreciation for exercise is a major milestone in your journey to wellness. Way to go!

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New coat and purse....thanks Mom!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

My wonderful mother asked me to take her out shopping today during which time she bought me a pretty winter coat and matching purse. I wasn't sure about it at first but her logic was it would help brighten me up during the cold winter months when I needed a boost! How thoughtful! She knows I am trying to lose weight but it fits so well now and it is an extra-large! I'm usually wearing plus-sizes so fitting into an extra-large is great!

I'll take a picture eventually....

P.S. I don't know why I wrote a blog about this but something about buying a blue coat (I don't really like blue on me!) felt like a step in the right direction! I'm trying to step outside of my comfort zone a bit and this coat sort of calls attention to me as opposed to the earth tones I usually wear.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIES537 10/18/2010 12:28PM

    Yay for mommies! Good job on stepping out of your comfort zone and trying some color. I'm sure it looks fabulous! And WOO HOO on the XL size! emoticon

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JHADZHIA 10/17/2010 3:58PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon
Well done getting into an XL!! Interesting, you could have been talking about me. I too, prefer earthy tones, and especially black (the old reliable slimming color) Wearing anything bright would have mortified me. Now I am more relaxed and even wear (*gasp*) patterns!! Here is to living a healthy lifestyle that changes us both mentally and physically into healthier people!!
PS: Sounds like you have a special Mom, just like me!!
Enjoy your Sunday!

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RIMAJO 10/17/2010 11:37AM

    Your Mom sounds like a very kind & thoughtful woman. How great for you to receive such 'warm' gifts. Now, thats LOVE in action! Got to love it, no matter the color - although I suspect, blue is going to look great on you - especially with your skin & hair coloring.

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Blue isn't really my colour either, but everytime I wear it, it always seems to look good. Go figure.

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APIRLRAIN888 10/17/2010 6:17AM

    how sweet.

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SUZIEGREY 10/17/2010 4:26AM

    What a wonderful gift from your Mum. Wear it with pride at your new size.

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TEMPEST272002 10/16/2010 11:34PM

    What a loving thing for your mum to do! Every time you put on that coat, you'll feel her love for you. Woo hoo on the XL. Feels great, doesn't it?!

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S3XYDIVASMOM 10/16/2010 11:11PM

    Blue IS a much cheerier color than earth brown. I think your mom is right. But then moms usually are. LOL

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KAYDE53 10/16/2010 9:31PM

    It always fun to do something unexpected & fun like that!! How sweet of your mom!! What a great surprise for you too; I'll bet it made your day!! emoticon emoticon

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LINDAGRAVEL 10/16/2010 9:30PM

    Very thoughtful of mom,wear it with pleasure

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 10/16/2010 9:14PM

    What a very thoughtful mother you have. Wear it and think of her for sure!!!

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Maddy's Miracle

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hi! I was out of town today taking part in a rescue involving a 6 year old Yorkie who has been bred to death's doorstep! Please remember little Moto in your thoughts and prayers. I will be fostering her for a few weeks starting this weekend.

Now, for Maddy's story! Maddy was with us for about two months when Itook them on a rarely used woods road on a snowy, January day. A white van appeared and Maddy gave chase and ended up completely pinned by the front tire. The entire weight of that tire was on his tummy (he was lying spread-eagled) and the tire stopped an inch or so from his head.

The man who hit him was in almost as much shock as I was but he managed to jump back in his van and backed off of Maddy's body.

I immediately picked Maddy up and he didn't wince or cry and laid him in the backseat of the car. My dog Peaches (who was 15 at the time fainted when she heard Maddy's screech) had to be revived and my Mom (who was with me) thought she was having a heart attack. I sped off towards home (we were about 30 minutes out of town) and called the clinic.

As soon as Maddy was put on the examination table, he freaked out. They had to subdue him to do x-rays. Initially, it was good news...no internal injuries nor broken bones. In fact, the clinic had a hard time believing he was pinned by the way I described.

About a week later, he went downhill. They had to remove his fur and much of his skin from his neck to his tail. We were told this wasn't painful and kept him sedated everyday. I took a month off of work and slept beside him on our living room floor. He had to be wrapped in baby's receiving blankets and they treated his open back with a dressing of honey.

We were warned that it might not work and we told the vet to put him to sleep if he was in misery. But he was stoic, and didn't mind having his bandages changed every second day for two or three months.

The clinic staff documented every visit with pictures because they had never seen a dog recover like this. I cooked Maddy a chicken breast every day and my husband and I did everything we could to keep him infection free and comfortable.

In June we were given the all-clear. He has a bald spot across his back just above his tail.

I know you are thinking, ah, what a nice story but that is not the miracle I am talking about! What I'm about to tell you is true....

My father (who was my best friend) was diagnosed and treated for cancer back in the fall of 2005. Dad and I spent several months living 5 hours away from home and often we would go to a pet store that sold puppies. One particular time, I refused to look at the puppies because it upset me so much (I'm a firm believer in getting a puppy from a reputable breeder or a shelter but not from puppymills). Dad insisted that I see this little white pomeranian puppy. I went with Dad to have a look and I can remember arguing with him that a) it was a male dog (up until then I had only had females), b) it was a Pom (I figured they were yappy) and c) it was white (and I believed Poms should be red).

Anyway, Dad finished his treatments the next day and we drove in silence back home. We were halfway home when Dad pipes up, "I can't get that puppy out of my mind". I told him the treatments must have affected his mind because they wanted $1300 for the puppy. Anyway, he kept talking about it so Mom and I actually called out and it was sold!

Six months later and Dad was on his deathbed. I was lying beside him and I told him how much I was going to miss him. He leaned over and put his hand on my heart and said, I'll always be a part of you.

It was then that I promised that one day I would own a white Pomeranian in his memory. I told him that I would even consider getting a male and that I loved the name Maddy but felt I couldn't name a dog that as my dog-hating mother-in-law's name is Madeline. I also told him I would not pay for a dog as there were so many little ones needing homes.

Dad passed away in his sleep in July 2006 and while I remembered my promise, I had not intention of acting on it..at least not then.

Fast forward to the fall of 2008 when I got this call (out of the blue) from the mother of a girl I went to school with. She had rescued a little dog and needed somebody to dogsit due to a family emergency. This dog was only new to her and wasn't settling and because it didn't have its needles couldn't be put in a shelter. I said yes,and imagine my surprise when she dropped off .... a white, male Pomeranian named Maddy!!!! It was love at first sight and within weeks he was ours. She actually did take him back initially but he wouldn't eat or drink for 48 hours so we officially adopted him!

See, remember, miracles do happen! P.S He wasn't "free"...we paid $1 to adopt him and$3000.00 to save him! I love him with all of my heart

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MOMMA_BEAR_69 10/16/2010 9:10PM

    Thank you for sharing your miracle story of Maddie with us. You have been blessed. Praying for little Moto...

Comment edited on: 10/16/2010 9:11:28 PM

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POOH_BEAR_69 10/16/2010 3:16PM

    Wow! What an amazing story... Miracles really do happen... In their own time and way!

Congrats on having the little guy bless your life!

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NANSGREYS 10/15/2010 7:52PM


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OLDERDANDRT 10/15/2010 10:52AM

    Aaawwww. I'm so sorry you lost your dad, honey. But what a great story. Maddy was destined to be yours. God bless you for all you've done for and with Maddy and I know your dad is looking down on you from Heaven and smiling and enjoying watching you and Maddy.

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LESLIES537 10/15/2010 10:42AM

    Wow!! What a cool story! I just love when FATE happens!!

You are such a kind hearted, sweet and caring person! God Bless you for caring for those sweet animals! You are their angel! emoticon

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PCOH051610 10/15/2010 7:40AM

    Thanks to everybody who responded to this story! I didn't set out to tell it on my blog, but once I got started I couldn't stop! Thanks again for all of your very kind comments!

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SUZIEGREY 10/15/2010 5:00AM

    Susan, what a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing it. You are a special person and you and Maddy are meant to be together.

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APIRLRAIN888 10/15/2010 4:18AM

    what a great story, thx for sharing

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S3XYDIVASMOM 10/14/2010 10:26PM

    This sounds like a match made in heaven.

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JHADZHIA 10/14/2010 8:28PM

    Wow Susan, loved to hear how all this turned out for these precious dogs. You are an angel of mercy for dogs..
I like also the ethic you have of only getting rescue dogs or reputable breeder's dogs, couldn't agree more on that..

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RIMAJO 10/14/2010 7:59PM

    What a GREAT story Susan, thanks so much for sharing it!! I believe in miracles & do believe Maddy is one of them.. what a joy!

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SHAYNARAINE 10/14/2010 6:52PM

    Susan... all I can say is wow.... what an amazing and beautiful story. In tears here. I believe miracles happen every single day all around us.

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Week 3 - Halloween Challenge - My Successes

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hi! As part of our ongoing Halloween Challenge, we are each supposed to write a blog about our successes.

I'm going to break my successes down into concrete ones and those that really can't be measured.

First for the concrete ones: One month ago, today, I got my husband to take my first set of measurements. In that time, I've lost:
1 inch from my waist,
3 inches from my hips,
.5 inch from my neck,
2 inches from my thighs,
.5 inch from my calves,
.25 inches from my upper arms
.25 inches from my bust.

So, those inches combined with the 11 pounds I've lost since I weighed in on August 30th are part of my concrete successes.

As for the stuff that is hard to measure:
I feel better about myself
I actually look forward to my daily walks
I'm sleeping better
A couple of friends say they notice a difference in my mood (yeah!)
And I'm starting to feel more and more that I can do this!

When I started the regular naysayers kept saying "oh, you're meant to be a big girl" or "don't get too excited over the first pounds...everybody loses them quickly" or "you're fine just the way you are" made me feel really depressed. Was I doomed? When I'm walking I play those conversations over in my head and argue back with them.

No, I'm not meant to be this big of a girl, yes, the inital weight does come off easy but that doesn't mean I'm giving up and no, I'm not happy the way I am.

So, as I reflect over the past weeks I think I have a lot to be proud of! I'm learning who I am, I'm making and maintaining some fantastic friendships, and I'm feeling better about who I am supposed to be!

Thanks for reading!



  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

OLDERDANDRT 10/14/2010 2:53PM

    Fabulous accomplishments!!!!! You go girl!! Naysayers are just that....nay...... maybe they're related to horses????(neigh)??? hehe
No really, I am super proud of you!!! Keep up the great work!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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RIMAJO 10/14/2010 10:29AM

    WOW Susan! You're really doing great, good for you!! Both your tangible & intangible successes speak of a woman on a mission & that makes me very happy for you! It says you care about yourself, you want something better for your life & that your health is more important to you than some folks in your circle tend to realize. I don't think they mean any harm in their words, they just haven't given it a great deal of deep thought.. you on the other hand, have - and are doing something about it. WAY TO GO!

Love the numbers, again GREAT JOB!! Feel proud, you've earned it!
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This is really great. That is quite an accomplishment over a month. You should be very proud

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SUZIEGREY 10/14/2010 6:02AM

    You have so much to be proud about. Don't let others put you off being a happy, healthy person.

Congratulations on all your achievements, both in inches and pounds off, and healthier lifestyle.

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S3XYDIVASMOM 10/13/2010 11:05PM

    You have every right to be proud. Keep up the good work.

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JHADZHIA 10/13/2010 10:09PM

    Wow Susan! That is fantastic!! Losing that much on the hips, waist and thighs is incredible for a woman -that was the hardest place for me to lose, when I first started out I lost far more from my bustline then anywhere else :( I am down 2 1/2 bra sizes, but still have a 'pot' on my waist :( even though I am at goal weight.
Don't EVER let anyone tell you what you should be. Only you, and your body know that.
You ARE doing great! Keep up the momentum, you are kicking this program!!
emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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LESLIES537 10/13/2010 5:56PM

    You definitely have MANY accomplishments to be proud of!! Wow, all that in just over a month?!! Good job!! You're doing amazing!

A big CONGRATS on your 11 lb loss and your 7 1/2 inch lost!! You are kickin some booty! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Chilean Mine Workers Please unite in prayer

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Although I am not really religious I am spiritual and my request today is that whoever reads this message will say a prayer that the mine workers in Chile will be brought to safety without incident.

I've been following this story with great interest for their story is among the best I've ever heard. Despite being trapped underground since August 5th there is no animosity, no anarchy, no defiance or struggle to be "first".

They are a band of "brothers" whose only wish that someone else be rescued first. They are all willing to be the last one out!

How many of us would be that brave? I doubt that I would have lasted this long and would be scratching and clawing to be out first. I hope that I wouldn't be like that be nobody really knows until they've been in a similar situation.

So, today, I plead with you to take a minute out of your busy lives to think of these Chilean mine workers. Pray for them if you believe in the power of prayer!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

LESLIES537 10/13/2010 10:04AM

    I was JUST talking about this very thing with my coworkers and then I come across your blog. Small world. Yes, indeed I will send some prayers of for these brave miners. emoticon

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I too watched this today. It reminded me of the two Aussies that were trapped in a mine in Tasmania. I'm so glad they have been coming out safe and hopefully sound.

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SHAYNARAINE 10/13/2010 6:59AM

    I, too, have continued to watch this story with much interest, and these men, and their families inspire me so much, the way they have banded together with courage and hope. Prayers from me have been said, and will continue to be, prayers of thankfulness, prayers of courage and hope, prayers for healing and restoration for each of them, and their families.

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SUZIEGREY 10/13/2010 6:48AM

    At the moment things seem to be going smoothly. I pray that the miners and their families are able to be reunited soon and start to return to normality.

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JANETELIZABETH1 10/13/2010 3:38AM

    I have just watched and saw that two are already out....oh we thank God for their safety and all their rescue workers that never gave up.

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GOSPELCLOWN 10/13/2010 1:30AM

    I'm watching the rescue right now. I'll say a prayer for the entire opperation!

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 10/13/2010 1:11AM

    They have been in my thoughts and prayers and will continue to be. They will need our prayers for a very long time. But I will also be praising God when they are all safely above ground again.

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4DOGNIGHT 10/12/2010 4:43PM

    I would have gone bonkers by now being cooped up like that with no sunshine and no shower. Hope they are all okay but I imagine some will have mental problems and flashbacks for the rest of their lives.

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RIMAJO 10/12/2010 3:37PM

    I don't imagine I could live happy in such confined quarters for so long.. that they have been able to do this, and to keep their humor & good will intact tells me that God must be with them.. and that their faith is strong. This selflessness that they are showing the world is a lesson for us all, to learn & grow from.. May God be with them always.

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CBEVNOW 10/12/2010 12:41PM

    I am a christian and will, and have, been praying for these men. I also do not know how they have managed to hang in there, but with Gods help they have. My daddy was a coal miner, in W.VA. I was born in W.Va but moved to Ohio when i was 11 years old. My daddy was crushed by slate falling on him and was in a body cast for over a year. I could never work under ground as these brave men have done Blessings to all who are involved.

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GODZDESIGN95 10/12/2010 11:50AM

    I have watched with my breath held. I do not like tight spaces. I am praying for them and will watching and waiting. Prayers for a safe rescue.

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NORASPAT 10/12/2010 11:07AM

    I can not imagine what they have been through, hopefully they will all be back with their loved ones. Pat in Maine.

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FURBALLDTH 10/12/2010 10:19AM

    It's amazing they are still alive. They could start pulling them out as soon as tonight.

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KITTYF54 10/12/2010 9:27AM

    I've been interested particularly since we have a lot of coal mines around here, even had a similar situation here in 2001 when the miners were trapped, but they were rescued in days not months.

the same company, owned by the son of my husband's school chum, supplied the drill bit for both rescues. We always are concerned and praying when miners are trapped. thanks for the reminder that it isn't over yet. Kitty

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PROPMAN1 10/12/2010 9:12AM

  I have to agree that none of us know how we'll react in a serious situation. Should make us all stop and take stock of how we behave with others. I think on these guys daily. Peace.

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