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Finding Gratitude....

Friday, November 04, 2011

Gratitude is not the same as giving thanks. I think gratitude comes from a deeper place, a place that knows the story could have ended differently and often it does.

Gratitude is surviving the worst thing you can imagine and realizing you are still standing.

I am grateful for the love and support of friends as I anxiously awaited tests and sighed relief when the results showed no signs of cancer...for now.

Gratitude is knowing I have all the tools I need, right here at Spark People, to help me create a healthier lifestyle.

There have been many people that have crossed my life's path, some mentoring me to be the person I am today.

During troubling times of my youth, it was Maurine Hanson that showed me how to recognize the gifts that I possess. How to look past the weaknesses and focus on my strengths and build from there.

I'm also deeply grateful of my maternal grandmother, Gran, for directing me towards leaving this world a better place than you found it. And for also teaching me that "I can do anything I make up my mind to do".

I think it's quite comforting knowing that I will be laid to rest next to Gran - a woman I so admired!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

FUTUREHOPE49 11/15/2011 7:34PM

    So glad everything is fine! And it will be in the future!
Take care dear friend!

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SAMI199 11/9/2011 12:14AM

    You are always such an inspirartion- Good news about your tests. I agree with the others-you have alot of living to do.

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GRAYGRANNY 11/8/2011 8:34PM

    So happy for you that the test came back good..........HUGS!!!

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SUSIEPH1 11/5/2011 11:16PM

    loved that your test came back good!!
you havea lot of living to do yes before you take your place beside your GrandMother!!
Hugs !! emoticon

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THISISIT-PA 11/4/2011 5:55PM

    Your Gran was a very wise woman. She gave excellent advice.

I'm glad your test came back with good results! emoticon

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ALMMOM 11/4/2011 10:30AM

    Nice tribute!!! I heard a while back, gratitude is an attitude. Good thing to develop.

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COLEENCOLE 11/4/2011 9:35AM

    Very nice blog. Thanks. emoticon

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DIFROMWYOMING 11/4/2011 9:13AM

    Well the place saved beside her has to wait, you have a lot left to do here first!
Hope you're feeling better Annie, I know your voice is out so hope you can take care of yourself and feel better soon! Hugs, Di

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's no secret...I am struggling with chronic physical pain. Since April, I was able to put on my big girl panties (daily), be upbeat and continue onward. I would acknowledge the pain but wasn't willing to give in to it. There were even days that I pushed myself to accomplish a task, which I would pay for several days later. Yet it still felt like I had completed a task and allowed me to focus on future challenges.

It's also no secret that my Lymphedema is out-of-control. While physical therapy feels good while it's being done, the wrapping and the exercises were usually filled with painful moments. It's a never-ending task that needs to be performed daily to retain some sense of normalcy in the life of a "lympher".

I remember back when I was a small child ~ I would sit upon my daddys foot and hang onto his leg as he "danced" me around the room. That's the same heaviness I feel in my lymphatic leg - like a child is clinging on and I can't release it's grasp.

Back in 2007, the doctor estimated that my left leg (only) weighed 150#. That was before the Lymphedema moved into my thigh. Since my thigh has gained about seven inches, I would imagine the reality is more likely to be about 175# - which is 41 percent of my current body weight.

It's no wonder that my constant companions are chronic pain, loneliness and boredom.

Yesterday, I was visited by two other companions...the twins, "give up and give in". It would have been so easy to be swayed into going with them. But I held steadfast and struggled to move onward.

Now, I'm not the most religious person in the world...but I frequently talk to the big guy upstairs and as I sat upon my bed last night, I simply stated that I hoped for a better day tomorrow than I had that day.

Early this morning I was inclined to open my Bible and look for passages about feeling lost. I opened the book to Hebrews 12, it talks about how God is our father, training us and correcting us (as most fathers do).

But it was verses 11 thru 13 that really caught my eye: "But afterwards we can see the result, a quiet growth in grace and character. So take a new grip with your tired hands, stand firm on your shaky legs, and mark out a straight, smooth path for your feet so that those who follow you, though weak and lame, will not fall and hurt themselves, but become strong."

Today, I tried taking a 'new grip" on my life and my circumstances. The road won't be all that straight or smooth....but for now, I will continue onward. For today, a new companion came to help me along.....her name is HOPE.....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GRAYGRANNY 11/8/2011 8:38PM

    Hang in there Annie!!!

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4THELOVEOFDOLLS 10/28/2011 6:25PM

    I pray you will find strength in the Lord and your friends on Sparks people. Thank you for your comment on my biog. you are an inspiration emoticon

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MOMMA_BEAR_69 10/20/2011 5:55PM

    I can not believe that in the days of modern medicine there isn't much that can be done for those who have lymphedema. I know as my DH suffers from this also. You are doing great...Keep your faith and never give up. There has to be answers and cures coming in the future. May the Lord continue to bless you and encourage you.

There are challenging times in our lives, there are dark times, there may be times when you feel hopeless, and there are always happy times. During all of those times we should stop and take a moment to count our blessings. If it is a difficult time you will find by reflecting on the blessings you do have will help your attitude in dealing with the situation you are in. Many times our own attitude will determine how we see our world. When we are in a happy time we see the world very differently than if we are in a more challenging time. The secret is to always count your blessings; it truly does make life easier.
I am here for you. Let me know if I can help you at any time.
Hugs and prayers,

Comment edited on: 10/20/2011 5:57:18 PM

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GCHUNG 10/16/2011 9:02AM

    In today's modern medical achievements its so sad they have not found any relief for you. I hope someday soon that will change. In the meantime - as you find inspiration in the Bible others find inspiration in you.

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HICKOK-HALEY 10/16/2011 5:58AM

    I love reading the Bible for strength as well. The Lord is always by our side. I hope your pain and swelling get better in time. emoticon

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FUTUREHOPE49 10/16/2011 3:12AM

    Your blog touched my heart! I am going to copy it and give it to my friend who has very swollen legs! She has been told its Lymphedema and she can hardly walk and can only walk very very slowly! She was on the verge of giving up! I told her about you and your marching on the spot to get your legs moving and it gave her new hope! She has lost over 56lb and her top part is looking much slimmer, but her legs are very swollen, I don't think its reached her hips yet! She is in a lot of pain and can't stand for too long. I think you have a wonderful attitude to life and I think it will hekp her!
I hope it will get better for you soon! I had forgotten about the bible I used to do as you did in my hour of need and it helped! Start again with baby steps!
Keep on fighting! emoticon

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SAMI199 10/16/2011 1:24AM

    You have me,too. I really love those verses.Annie,hang on tight & don't ever give up.

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NOMORESTALLING 10/16/2011 12:17AM

    emoticon And with that hope comes strength to endure which you've had all along. So now you have two companions.
they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.Isaiah 40:31

Comment edited on: 10/16/2011 12:18:56 AM

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Friday, September 23, 2011

Mount Kinabalu is a prominent moutain on the island of Boreneo, located in East Malaysia.

My quilt ~ Kinabalu is like the Malaysian mountain for which it's named, this quilt has an unmistakable richness of color and form.

I often refer to the similarities between quilting & weight-loss. Just like in weight-loss, us quilters have tools ~ a mat to lay our fabrics on, a ruler to measure our strips and a cutting tool to obtain the desired widths.

When I started this quilt pattern, I broke it down into smaller - more attainable steps. I cut the center squares and strips one and two, then stitched them together. Each day I would tackle a few more strips until I completed thirty-six Log Cabin blocks.

One of the magical touches of this quilt are the fussy cut triangles.

These triangles are cut from a 'signature border print' designed by Jinny Beyer. They really add an unexpected touch to that classic simple block.

Some days I was more anxious to see results and I pushed myself a bit more than the day before. This is so true, even with my healthy journey ~ the more effort I put forth, the better the results I obtain each week.

One morning, I started my day out on a positive note ~ I took the plunge and whacked four corners, attached my triangles and then stitched the center blocks together. It's like those light-bulb moments we have...when we realize with a bit of effort, we CAN accomplish and be surprised by the outcome.

While some days....it's hard to stay focused on the task at hand. I make some progress towards the desired results.

I remember reading on someone else's Spark page ~ there is no TRY in this journey, either to DO or you DONT. This really hit home with me and is helping me stay focused with both my healthy journey and in creating quilts.

Here's a preview of border #one....

As for the rest of the quilt....you will have to be patient, the best is yet to come.....

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

COLEENCOLE 12/3/2011 8:10AM

    I must have missed this blog. A great analogy. And back to the quilt. Did you appliqué the diagonal of the triangle?

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MEOWMAMA3 9/27/2011 6:27PM

    Gorgeous quilt and interesting analogies! I'm so impressed by your work. I've been fascinated by quilts and quilt patterns since I was a kid. Since moving to PA I've been to Amish country many times and I'm always amazed by the brilliance of their work, in such stark contrast to the drab colors they wear. Can't wait to see the end product!

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GEORGIA_KAY 9/27/2011 8:37AM

    Oh, Annie--all your quilts are lovely, but this one is breathtaking! You truly are gifted!
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SUNBEAMJANEAL 9/25/2011 10:35PM

    It is so beautiful all ready. Thank you for sharing your progress with us...and your journey! Can't wait to see the finished product.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 9/25/2011 3:17PM

    That is so stunning, and I loved the parallels to our health journey. Would you mind if I copy your idea? I never pictured something so fancy looking would be so basic to construct. I just went to a "Jelly Roll Race" on Friday night. If you haven't heard of these, there are videos on you tube. I used the Bali Pop Set called "Sangria" and I loved the results. The woman next to me had batiks from India that were so different and stunning, with larger scale motifs. Well, I am stalling...I am supposed to be mounting a quilt on my frame. Keep us posted with the quilt pictures!!

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DIFROMWYOMING 9/24/2011 8:43PM

    I can't imagine the patience of creating such a lovely piece of art, you are amazing, Annie!

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ELSEEBEE 9/24/2011 10:37AM

    Log cabins are my passion and this is the most beautiful one I've ever seen! Can't wait to see the finished product! You are one very talented quilter!

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GCHUNG 9/23/2011 11:19PM

    Wow I love the addition of the corner - it really changes the entire design. I've heard the term fussy cut before but never really knew what it meant. The results are stunning.

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4DOGNIGHT 9/23/2011 10:17PM

    That is very beautiful! I love the log cabin offset like that with that square border pattern! Lovely!

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    Um excuse me but that belongs on MY bed LOL Beautiful work QB!

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SAMI199 9/23/2011 8:15PM

    That is absolutly beautiful & a real work of art! You are very talented,my friend.

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Monday, August 22, 2011

I'm having many food frustrations of late....

Since I'm high-risk for Osteoporosis - I get yearly exams for bone density. The nurses always emphasize that the foods that are good for bone health are dairy products and your dark leafy greens.

Dairy products have slowly gone by the wayside, as I have gotten older I've become intolerant to these products.

The Nutritionist has a huge list of foods to help me on this healthy journey, like: dark leafy greens (spinach, swiss chard, kale, collard greens, turnip greens, parsley, romaine lettuce), broccoli, cauliflower, green peas, carrots, etc.

Then we interject Lymphedema ~ an incurable disease. I have problems getting rid of the protein enriched fluid in my legs. It can be managed, but lately it's more "out of control" than it is managed. I belong to a Lymphedema Support group and posed the question about what is healthy for us "Lymphers". A low carb, high protein and low salt diet is best.

I was surprised to find out they thought Chicken was not the best choice and that tomatoes could cause inflammation. Of course, the Omega-3's topped the list with Salmon, mackeral and tuna. Once again it was suggested your dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, blueberries, blackberries, pineapple, cherries, brown rice, barley, bulgar, Brazil nuts and a few others that I can't remember. LOL

Then to really screw things up ~ because I've had past complications with blood clots, I will always be on Coumadin (an anti-coagulant medication). And the foods that you should avoid..........you guessed it, dark leafy greens, broccoli, cauliflower, avocado, kiwi, grapes, green peas, carrots, cranberries, etc. All those healthy foods that I have once again learned to love & appreciate.

I'm beginning to question everything that comes out of the mouths of the medical professionals. And after they remove all the foods that are high in Vitamin K...what's left over? Fish & rice??? Ohhhh.....yummy.........NOT!!

So, we Eat healthy, we exercise...And still none of us will make it out alive...........LOL

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

SAMI199 8/25/2011 7:55PM

    I hear you...you are doing your best.I didn't know there is a diet for the Lymphedema-I'm heading over to see what I missed.


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STLOUISWOMAN 8/23/2011 10:14AM

    Hi Annie. I don’t blame you at all for being frustrated. Sometimes dealing with medical professionals can make you wonder if they know any more than we do…………….and that’s not much. I don’t really have any advice for you………..just friendship and support…………..any time you need it.


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NETTIEDEE 8/22/2011 7:18PM

    OMG HOW FRUSTRATING! I am so sorry that things are so complicated.

Regarding getting calcium, have you tried low-fat raw milk? The process of pasteurizing and homogenizing the milk changes the chemical composition of the milk. They increase the "stuff" (love my technical terms? LOL) that are hard to digest and decrease the stuff that helps you digest the hard-to-digest stuff. A few of my friends who were "lactose intolerant" have found that they were "processed-milk-intolerant" instead! Raw milk gives them no troubles.

Every state regulates raw milk differently. In CA, where I live, you can get it from authorized dairies or if you own a cow (as in a co-op, which some people buy into in order to get raw milk). Perhaps you can do a bit of research to see if this is a good option for you? I'd start with


and go from there.

Best of luck with everything!

Comment edited on: 8/22/2011 7:22:20 PM

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COLEENCOLE 8/22/2011 12:08PM

    I hear you. How frustrating.

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GCHUNG 8/22/2011 11:53AM

    Man - sounds like a vicious circle - and you're getting different answers. I hope you find someone who will give you advice you can ACT on.

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EACHDAYAGIFT 8/22/2011 11:52AM

    That last line really cracked me up. Keep that sense of humor!

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4DOGNIGHT 8/22/2011 11:49AM

    Does present a problem doesn't it? The whole premise is if you could lose weight a lot of your problems would go away. So how to lose weight. Eat lose and eat more of the stuff you aren't supposed to eat? Walk more and eat less. That is the key I guess. Protein shakes?

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Emotional over-eating.......

Monday, July 04, 2011


Trust me, this is NOT just about the negativity in life. It's also about celebrating the good things that life throws your way.

Think about this....

How many 'work meetings' have you attended where they did NOT provide food or drink?

How often do you gather with friends or family and your time together is NOT centered around "what shall we eat"?

My negative emotional eating blocked my pain, sadness, abuse, discomfort, boredom, loneliness and insulting comments.

But I also dealt with positive emotions, like: celebrating a raise, getting a promotion, starting a new job, having another birthday, reaching a milestone, the sun shined, the wind blew, I received a compliment....

I think you get the point I'm trying to make ~ I ate and I didn't know how to stop!!

While home-bound this past winter, my best friend was bringing me groceries. He never questioned what was on my list, until that one day when he noticed the bag of cereal I had ordered from the previous week had been consumed.

He commented, "that bag had 15 servings and it's gone?"

I replied, "you've known me for over 30 years and you never knew that I was an emotional over-eater?"

OMG ~ what did I just declare? Not only had I acknowledged my problem, but I said it OUT LOUD???

It truly was a baby step forward onto my healthy journey. I recognized my fault, acknowledged it and then shouted it from the roof-top!!

Let the healing begin....

At that moment I realized I didn't have the temptations involved with grocery shopping ~ you know those little tidbits that always manage to jump into your cart, but are never on your shopping list.

I seized the opportunity and the next list did NOT contain: crackers, pizza, or sugar-coated cereal. Gradually the list grew to include: fresh fruit, fresh veggies, and healthy meat like chicken and fish.

On one delivery he even mentioned "how proud he was of me" and I didn't automatically shove food in my mouth. I just blushed and said, "Thank you!"

FEELING EMOTIONS ~ what a new concept!!!

I have no tricks up my sleeve or any magical tips in over-coming this emotional side of eating. There are many times that I reach for food ~ especially when I experience mindless eating.

A big part of my success ~ I don't set myself up for failure. I don't have the temptations that I know I cannot resist. If I'm going to shove food in, to comfort an emotion, my choices are apples, pears, nectarines, cantaloupe, carrots, green beans, pea pods, fish or chicken.

I still get bored, am lonely, am happy and will always be challenged with mobility issues. But I'm also seeking other ways of dealing with those emotions ~ like volunteering my time.

Genealogy and quilting are a BIG part of my life! Through quilting, I'm providing quilts for children with cancer and newborns in need.

With my genealogy, I've been volunteering my time with Familysearch.org in providing new resources ~ the current project: 1940 Federal Census - will be available in 2012.

I will often help others with their family trees ~ I just LOVE the hunt & search!!

Now I sometimes get so wrapped up in an activity that I forget to eat ~ too bad THAT scenario didn't happen more in my lifetime!! LOL

I'm not certain I will ever be cured from emotional eating.

But each time I can "fill the need" with another activity, the hurdle becomes less challenging and I look forward to the day when it is just a bump in the road...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KATIE2U2 1/17/2012 9:08AM

    Great blog. I am also working on not eating emotionally & also not eating for several hours at night watching tv. They are hard not to do when you have done them all your life. It does help not to have the "junk" foods around to tempt us all the time.

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4DOGNIGHT 7/9/2011 10:07AM

    Very good blog!

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STLOUISWOMAN 7/7/2011 8:04AM

    Annie, sounds like you just took a major step forward. I'm so glad that you have a best friend that cares so much about you. I also want to thank you for making the quilts for the children with cancer & the newborns in need. That's an amazing substitute for 'mindless eating.' I also appreciate your genealogy skills, having been someone who benefited from them.

Thanks for all you do.


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_KATHY 7/5/2011 12:18PM

    Great job getting to know yourself Annie. I'm finding all those things to be true for myself as well. Feeling your feelings has got to be a major reason for not having to eat over those feelings. What is the worse that can happen if we just allow ourselves to "feel". We won't break. So, instead of piling that particular feeling on top of other unfelt feelings, we just feel it and let it go. Then we go back and take a stored feeling and deal with it and let that go. The mountain of feelings (for which we overeat) diminish one by one. Well, that's how I look at it anyway :) Actually, that's a Genene Roth teaching.

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SRHALLIN 7/5/2011 11:51AM

    Ah, yes. The bane of many a day. Emotional eating/over-eating is a frequent cause of obesity. But, there are alternatives; and I think you're onto them with the quilting.

I took up sketching, inking, painting, photography, dance, stand-up comedy - anything and everything that I could think of to turn the urge to eat into something creative and beautiful to share with others.

And, you've chosen such wonderful beneficiaries of your loving labors. You have much to be proud of, and I know that you will find new and ever-more inventive and appreciable ways to redirect the urge to eat.

Pain, joy, boredom - these can all be transferred into a creative and kind outlet to make ourselves and the lives of those around us better. So, please, continue to choose healthy alternatives when the urge is too great - and to pursue quilting and any other artisitic endeavor that will help you to turn those feelings inside of you into a source of joy and happiness for you and for others.

well done. And, of course, best wishes.

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COLEENCOLE 7/4/2011 11:43AM

    Great blog. Awesome insight. I am also an emotional eater. I am slowly becoming a former emotional eater.

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DIFROMWYOMING 7/4/2011 11:20AM

    I know my own struggle with emotional eating is that when certain things happen that really leave me unhappy or distressed I still choose food because I can't seem to find anything else that works yet...I love your idea to allow those times to be what they are, but to choose healthier choices instead of the usual bad ones. Thanks, Annie!

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EACHDAYAGIFT 7/4/2011 9:37AM

    My take away from this blog is the "fill the need with another ACTIVITY". I've been thinking that I shouldn't need to divert myself from my emotions and telling myself I need to stop. Well, I am 56 and have been doing this all my life. Maybe instead of telling myself I need to stop, it will be more productive and fruitful for me to acknowledge that this is my knee jerk response, that I personally need a little help to calm myself when things get intense, for good or bad. And then focus on the activities I enjoy and substitute one for frantic eating. Get moving, get busy, get immersed in something that feels "safe". Food for thought...oh, it always comes back to food for me, LOL!

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    Great blog! I'm so happy for you. The more you do it, the better you will get at it, the more automatic it will become. Keeping temptation away is key for me. I get angry at my roommate when she puts sugary cereal in the cabinet. I tell her to keep it in her room. lol. I can really empathize with you on feeling your emotions. It is usually painful for me, even good emotions.

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JLEE123 7/4/2011 5:19AM

    Like how you are using grocery lists to control your environment. Can't eat what ya don't have? Got the waist on your trousers tightened or buying new? J

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MYCUTEGIZMO 7/4/2011 12:28AM

  I am too..so controlling my emotions is the key to controlling my eating..

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SAMI199 7/4/2011 12:19AM

    You are taking all the right steps & not one of them is easy!!
I share your struggle & I know that this is something we have to do every single day-it is a battle-no doubt about it-BUT it is worth the fight! We can do this!!!!!!

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