Sunday, December 20, 2009
I will continue on this SparkBreak for a few months, friends. Continuing with work and the need to stay focused on it for the time being. Very little spare time and sparking as I can. I plan to take a real break for a week in January – can hardly wait!
A couple of timesavers have been: online Christmas shopping and, for cards, Hallmark.com who even mails them out for me! The only way I can get those things done or I’d be feeling panicky right now!
In my status, I mentioned the holiday emotion wanting to take control so I will share a bit about that. Before SparkPeople, and occasionally still, the “hungry emotions” plead to be fed! Memories of not-so-happy times break through the happiness and it’s such a challenge to leave it in the past and live in the moment. The legitimate grief I have felt over my inability to stand up for myself and for what I know to be right and just, the death of hopes, dreams, several pets, a few very special friends, and, our son ten years ago, and just hard life experiences that I was ill-prepared to face, as well as, not knowing where to turn or who to trust for help, was killing my spirit. I felt like I was disappearing, dissolving into someone else’s idea of who I should be! I had put away, out of sight, all of my dreams and hopes for the things I loved to do, what I could be, and who I could become by using my strengths, talents, and education.
I let other people, who were louder and stronger, make the choices and define who I am. Oh, yes, I fought it for a time, and then just became plain-old tired, giving up.
Christmas memories are full of unhappy times that outweigh the happy moments. My own family, far away on another continent, was involved in the lives of the up-close relatives. And why would I ever want to burden them with things that they could not do anything to resolve or fix? So I always focused on my children and the lives of the children in my Sunday School class, children who had so much less in this world than we had. For me, that brought brightness to our own celebration.
I fought within myself over the idea that something was wrong with me and with my thinking. I tried so hard to fix myself and the battle within was killing me. You see, I did not realize that I was trying my best to change something that cannot and should not be changed. What I succeeded in doing, however, was to put on a mask to keep the critical ones from hurting me even more and, because I became convinced that the problem was with me, in embarrassment, I hid what was happening from others. I was actually fighting a battle that is not mine to fight! The critical people are fighting battles within themselves, not me, although, in order to avoid correcting their own behavior, they think and say that I am the problem! Once I quit socializing with them and allowing them into my life, they found others to criticize. They are still miserable!
Now, I realize that this is one side of the picture and I do not expect anyone to take sides. It has been refreshing – like a deep sigh – that several have seen what I see and have encouraged me as I have taken control of my own life and work towards improving my self image, outlook, and improve healthy habits. It also has been wonderful that what I felt within for so long is true – and that I can trust my own judgment and intuition.
I am moving on and in the new freedom that I am so reluctant to embrace, I am finding that sweet girl I once was and still am. I am discovering, gratefully, that I am NOT who they say that I am! I do want to let go of all those awful experiences, and yet, I realize that they, too, have made me who I am today – a mature, wise, sensitive, fun-loving, caring, creative woman. And I also know that having these difficult experiences gives me an understanding of what others with similar experiences face. And I am learning to feed the "hungry emotions" by soothing them instead of doing the impossible by shewing them away or stuffing them with food. Taking time for relaxation, funny DVDs, music, exercise, praying, meditating, enjoying my pets, reading, planning my strategies, deep breathing, and rewarding my consistency, all contribute to calming them down and giving me peacefulness and ease of spirit.
I have SparkPeople to thank for continuing the process of opening my eyes to the how-to of becoming healthier. I have myself and God to thank for the courage, the persistence, and the determination to walk in the direction of becoming the best person I am! And, although far away from my children this year and many of my dear friends and loved ones, I am not alone.
Because I stopped staying in the shadows with my mouth shut, an amazing number of encouragers have joined me in my walk. I can no longer count them all even on my two hands! Several friends, including one who is a SparkSister, girlfriend and co-worker, are giving me reasons to delight in the holiday celebrations. My children and family are well and seem to be happy. I am making new pleasant memories that one day will outweigh the sad times. After all, this is MY Life!
8 Ways To Ease Your Worries
Jingle Bells in Samba – instrumental
And wishing you the best memory-making end of the year celebrations ever!
Sunday, December 13, 2009
I´m busy at research for my latest project, so will continue taking a SparkBreak and checking in occasionally to keep accountable. I am definitely attached to Spark People!
At the grocery store this week, I noticed a new and improved toilet paper! Now, here in Brazil, in recent years, the toilet paper choices have improved a LOT! Used to be bad, rough, kinda like the looks and feel of rolls of tissue paper used for streamers. Awful stuff. Absorbent, squeezably soft, bathroom accessorized, NOT!!!! That kind is still around and in most of the public restrooms. Oh, and did I say - it is not easy to tear?!!!
Anyway, the new improved is called compact t.p. (in Portuguese - "papel higiênico compacto"). It is squeezed to flatten the inner tube so that, so says the manufacturer, it is easier to fit in the plastic grocery bag. Well, for years, because of smashed t.p. that I am obligated to purchase cuz, hey, they are almost all squashed! I have been threatening to make my own inner roll from hard plastic tubing. I hate it when the roll doesn´t turn smoothly on the holder! Our holders are like this one -
Hey! AND, while I´m on the subject of annoying things, not to make an issue out of it or anything, I just want to bring up that other problem -
I won´t make any of this an issue, just want to let you know what´s happening in life these days - that is, besides the norm! This is MY Life, after all!
Here´s an interesting article: Exploring a Low-Acid Diet for Bone Health
I shared this on the Thanksgiving Community, in response to another Sparker.
Here´s our team link -
With the prompting of a SparkFriend ( I did change a couple of words), I want to share it here to encourage others who might be facing or have been challenged by the BIG D - Depression.
Sometimes we overlook this just because we are trying our best to improve our outlook and stay away from the challenges of the darker side of our thoughts and lives. Perhaps it will be an encouragement.
We all have our difficult times which challenge us to keep on choosing life over death. There are many kinds of death that we face, not just the death of our bodies. Looking at others and sometimes by the advice given to a depressed person, it seems like it is easier for them to see the sunny side of things.
I lived with depression for many years (perhaps 25!) and most of my days were dark with very few moments of levity and light-ness. Now that I am out of that, it is easier to tell the diff. between depression and grief. When I am down now, I often fear that the shadows will stay and wonder if I will fall back into depression. Once there (depression), I think it is an easy thing to fall back into those habits that kept me a prisoner for so long.
Phew! I look at those years now as learning-years because I learned so much from them. What I discovered was the bottom-line for my chains was the fear of many different things. A persistent choosing to live and to get away from people who continually pull me down has made a big diff. in how I handle life in general. It took a very long time and it has not been an easy thing to do, esp. not finding a therapist to help me (for various reasons - bad match, not knowing who to trust, finances and stigmas of those around me).
Two things seem to be what helped the most - the hope that one day I would find a way out AND simply choosing to live every day in spite of how I feel inside. I say "simple" only because it is not a complex issue, however, it is often an intensely difficult thing to do!
I don´t think the purpose of our team is to ignore the harsh side of life. It is meant to give us hope and to help us look for light in the dark path we sometimes face. Perhaps it is to help us recognize that because others have found a way to delight in life, we also can if we keep on searching for it.
When I began looking for things for which I could be thankful, it was not easy - it was a challenge. I started small with the obvious, like food and shelter. With the practice, it did get a bit easier.
I do still have days when all seems black. Not so often anymore. What I see more often now is that the darkness contrasts with the light and I can see more clearly NOW, at this point in my life, BECAUSE I know the darkness and how intense it is at times.
AND, today is my sweet girl´s birthday, so I want to share a few thoughts with you about today. (Also mentioned in a few other places this morning.)
This morning, I woke up happily remembering where I was on this day 23 years ago. I am thankful for the life and love we continue to share . I am thankful that God spared my life to care for hers. I am grateful for the good friend who drove me to the hospital and stayed until I was in the clear. I am grateful for the sweet young lady who watched over my other two children until their daddy arrived from the bush country. I am thankful for the sweet missionary ladies who were there to take care of me even before I was conscious of them. I am thankful that I had a capable doctor, was in the best hospital in town, and my babe was in good hands. I love the two sons that love their sister and have carefully helped, nurtured and guarded her over the years. I am glad that she has a loving earthly father who does his best to counsel and guide her along the way. And, most of all, I am thrilled to be a part of the life and loving of the wonderful woman she is and for every little detail of her self that she has shared and continues to share with me!
Friday, December 04, 2009
It is rare for me to get up in the night and do anything on the computer. Tonight (or should I say this morning - 4 a.m. after tossing and turning for several hours, again!), I haven’t been able to sleep and decided I really need to get this off my mind. I keep having the same thought: Life is getting in the way of my fun!
I have a few deadlines that I may not be able to meet unless I set aside everything else and focus on them. Really, I take full responsibility for putting them off and not scheduling a little bit at a time to get more done by now. Because I haven’t, I am taking a SparkBreak before I get even further behind and panicky. I know you, my SparkFriends, will understand and forgive me for not taking time to thank you for all your wonderful attention and encouragement, goodies and feedback.
The plan is to meet the deadlines by the end of January and then come back here full force once again. I will pop in once in awhile, and continue to track my nutrition and fitness.
I will miss the constant interaction, peeps. Just know that I will be thinking aboutcha. AND I will be back!
I want to wish you a holiday season filled with inner joy and peace, as well as, challenge you (and ME) to keep on making healthy and positive choices all the way. It is a matter of choice, after all. And THIS is MY Life, isn’t it?!
"The deeper that sorrow carves into your being the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter's oven?" -Kahlil Gibran
"Enjoy yourself. These are the good old days you're going to miss in the years ahead." - Author Unknown
"Greet everyone you meet with a warm smile. No matter how busy you are, don't rush enounters with co-workers, family and friends. Speak softly. Listen attentively. Act as if every conversation you have is the most important thing on your mind today. Look your children and your partner in the eyes when they talk to you. Stroke the cat, caress the dog. Lavish love on every living being you meet. See how different you feel at the end of the day." - Sarah Ban Breathnach (from 'Simple Abundance : A Daybook of Comfort and Joy')
I Hope You Dance with lyrics
Sunday, November 29, 2009
I need constant reminders of my commitment, so the following one is inspired today by the Motivational article by Coach Dean, Behavioral Psychology Expert, "Write Your Own Contract for Success - A Simple Way to Make Yourself More Accountable".
I, TAZMOMSGOL, hereby agree and commit to continuing to take the following steps to improve my accountability to myself and increase my chances for weight loss success:
(1) Return as often as I can to SparkPeople to read and use the tools.
(2) Use the Message Boards and encourage others.
(3) Daily recognize the things and people for which I am grateful.
(4) When I exercise, challenge myself to do a little more, a little harder, a little longer, a little newer and differently, and a little better.
(5) At the moment that I realize that I am being negative, I choose to think, act, and be positive.
(6) No longer agree to do something for anyone when I am being pressured - it needs to be MY choice.
(7) Spend more time doing things that I enjoy and consider using my strengths.
(8) Reread my SparkPeople Membership Pledge often - that´s why I keep it right by my computer screen!
(9) Only purchase foods and snacks that I know will work in my plan and within my calorie limits.
(10) Never, never, never allow someone else to push me into eating or doing something I know I should not!
I will not let one small slip-up convince me that I'm stupid, worthless, or a lost cause. I will respect myself by refusing to engage in verbal and mental self-abuse, and I will find positive ways to comfort and support myself when I am having a hard time. Specifically, I will:
(1) Realize that everyone has an off-day once in awhile.
(2) Give myself a break!
(3) Rest a bit or do something different for awhile.
(4) Find a pet to snuggle or brush.
(5) Have tea in the garden.
(6) Call a friend who I know will encourage me.
(7) Do some self-soothing.
(8) Watch a great movie or play a computer game for an hour.
(9) Write down my thoughts in my journal or blog.
(10) And if all else fails, go buy myself a reward (that is not edible!) at the mall!
I will not sacrifice my own needs to make other people happy, or do for them what they can and should be doing for themselves. When there is a conflict between my exercise and eating plans and what other people want me to do, I will tell them that I need to think it over and get back to them. Then I will take time to evaluate whether or not what they are asking me to do:
(1) Goes along with my goals.
(2) Is a reasonable request.
(3) Fits into my fitness schedule.
(4) Fits into my calorie limits.
(5) Is affordable to me.
(6) Is something that I want.
(7) Does not distract me from my goals.
(8) Is not something I will regret later.
(9) Enhances my strengths.
(10) Is not spur-of-the-moment and done without thinking carefully how it affects my life and what I know I need to do to be healthy.
I choose to be in charge of my own decisions and behavior. I will not talk, think, or act as if my friend, child, spouse, cravings, or subconscious made me do it. I will ask myself what is most important to me at that moment and make my decision. If I don’t like the consequences, I will try something different the next time realizing that I am now better equipt to make my own wise choice.
How Surfing the Web Helps Your Brain
I AM CHANGING - Jennifer Hudson (lyrics on the right under more info)
Sunday, November 22, 2009
This is a true story except names have not been changed to protect the not-so-innocent!
17+ years ago, our stereo was plugged into a 220V socket (we live in Brazil) and it was fried – too old to repair broken parts. So we put away the old vinyl discs and missed our music. I got a bright idea to start putting money away in a secret hiding place. It was and still is very difficult to set aside anything extra because (1) DH is THE boss in ALL financial matters, (2) Although I have tried repeatedly to have my own checking acct, have an allowance, or set aside pennies, he has shut them down, and (3) I give up way too easily to the nagging!
Well, so, with a lot of inner fortitude and prayer, I began to hide little bits of change and some payments I rec´d on the side for tiny jobs I did for others. Finally, we were travelling back to the U.S. for one of our furloughs. What to do with the dough? Well, the safest place I could find was in my old worn-out tennies, under the inner sole. I divided it. And just knew no thief would ever look inside an old stinky pair of tennies for money!
I asked my oldest son to help me find the best deal and we searched high and low finally finding exactly what I wanted at a BJ´s. So I counted my stash. I had enough, except the two twenties that were on the outside of each bundle, were rubbed away from friction – who’d a guessed THAT would happen?! I cried and prayed wondering what could be done. It took me a LONG time to gather that money and I would be short for purchasing the unit I had found.
On a day that the kids were in school and I had the car, I dropped by the bank and sheepishly took my two twenties to the counter. Almost crying, I asked the cashier if my two defaced bills were any good. She looked them over carefully, to my surprise, said that since the serial numbers were still legible, they were good! She traded them for me and I took off flying to BJ´s – quick before anything else happens to my little wad!
Oh yes, DH was in shock for a few days when he realized that his little wifey had sneakily hidden cash from him – he got over it and even helped me pick some CDs over the next several months. He carefully packed the player and speakers too. Little did I realize what was going through his mind though.
We returned to Brazil and the stereo went into the most logical place – the office. At that time, I occasionally got to use DH´s desk for paperwork and enjoyed listening to my music on MY stereo. Then he bought ME a desk as a surprise which didn’t fit in THE office. And the stereo remained. It didn’t fit anywhere else in the house. I spent most of my time with the kids – in the kitchen or family/school room and was asked, insistently and politely, of course, to keep the kids out from under foot, including their toys, and out of THE office, where DH was studying or counseling others. I couldn’t find time for just enjoying my music any more.
Fast forward 17 years, the kids are gone. I have my own office in a corner of the guest room and I REALLY want access to MY stereo! I asked and DH went into pouting – “Well, what will I listen to?” Hmmm….
Why would I share this story with you on SparkPeople? I just want you all to know that SP has affected ME in many ways, not just in regard to eating better. Along with making healthy and positive choices for oneself, comes exactly THAT! I needed to make a healthy AND positive choice in this super-stretched-out personal matter!
I gave it a bit more time – hey, what are a few more months after 17+ years, anyways?! I wanted to be absolutely certain that I would be firm and fair! My dearest friends and those SparkPeeps who’ve been walking alongside on this journey to wellness and well-being know that I have made countless leaps in the challenging areas of MY Life during these 3+ years as a SparkPerson. So here’s how it went –
I told DH I was taking my stereo in two weeks. I suggested he purchase his own ASAP. I told him he had gotten the best part of the deal and had no reason to complain. (I had decided to stop listening if he did!) Once that was done, I decided exactly where I wanted it and we went out to buy a new bookshelf for it. And now, I am in heaven – well, not quite, but you know what I mean!
This is MY Life, after all!
“Real freedom is creative, proactive, and will take me into new territories. I am not free if my freedom is predicated on reacting to my past.” - Kenny Loggins
“A life based on reactive decisions, made out of fear and limited options, is never going to be our path to our best life... but that's what many of us do.
If we want amazing then we need to do, decide and create (be proactive).”
“Being proactive usually means dealing with discomfort, lack of support, fear and even resistance from others.”
“Okay, here are my simple, let's-not-make-it-too-tricky suggestions for moving from a reactive to proactive existence.
(1) Think... but not too much... (you'll end up doing nothing).
(2) Consider (and visualise) the cost and the consequences of a life-time of reacting.
(3) Create a to-do list right now and start ticking boxes today.
(4) Deal with your fears.
(5) Stop looking for, wanting or needing... the approval of others.
(6) Have your goals and dreams wrapped around a realistic, practical plan.
(7) Set yourself dead-lines.. "I will do... by... "
(8) Get stuff done early in the day (when possible)... it helps get your head in the right place.
(9) Use an accountability partner (friend, coach, mentor) to help keep you on track.
(10) Have an opinion, get off the fence... stop being a spectator.
Okay.... now, ready... set... go.”
- Craig Harper: Learning to be Proactive not Reactive www.selfgrowth.com/articles/Learning
If No One Will Listen, with lyrics - Kelly Clarkson
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