Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Last week I read Today's Healthy Reflections--'growing your inner garden'. It reminded me of something that I wrote about in my journal. One day I was sitting out back having my breakfast and enjoying a beautiful morning, when I noticed that one of my orchids was ready to bloom. I realized how much people are like plants. We thrive when we're cared for and shown love, and how we wither when we're neglected. Just like that orchid we need water, food, sunlight, and love. When we're given these things we thrive, and when we're not, we barely hang on and don't live up to our potential. We can't be neglected AND bloom! Some analogy!
When we're not given what we need, we don't grow. I thought about that orchid, and how I almost threw it out about 6 months ago. It had one pale, sickly looking leaf left, and was on it's last leg. But instead I moved it to a sunnier location, fed it, and made sure that it had enough water. I gave it a lot of attention and 6 months later it doesn't even look like the same plant. There are a bunch of dark green leaves, roots that are branching out of the pot, and buds that are ready to bloom!
I told my husband about my orchid analogy. I don't think that he held out much hope for that poor plant. He has called me the Dr. Kevorkian of plants from time to time! With some plants I have a green thumb, but others haven't been SO lucky, you get the idea! When we're at a garden center and I put a plant in the cart, he gives me a smile with a raised eyebrow. I know what he's thinking, that the poor plant only has about a 50 percent chance of survival. But HOW I took care of that orchid must have stuck with him, because he has brought home many orchids for me. That first orchid rewards me for my care by CONSTANTLY blooming!
I thought about how I've neglected myself, and how at times I FELT like that sickly looking plant. So I decided to put myself in a 'sunnier location' by doing everything I can to make myself feel better. To 'feed' myself good, healthy food and water, and most of all, ONLY positive thoughts that will nourish both my body and soul. And to protect myself from harsh elements and to pull out all of the negative 'weeds' in my life. To feel full of life and thrive, and branch out and live up to my potential. Above all else, to show MYSELF the love that I gave to that orchid. I WILL flourish, and in time with the proper care, I will BLOOM too!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Let me say that I REALLY hate snakes! I mean, I REALLY REALLY hate them!!! One of the joys of living in Florida, is that we share this warm climate with some less than desirable critters. So while on the phone this morning, I looked out back on the lanai (screened in pool and patio area), and was horrified to see a snake INSIDE! Our cats Dewey and Daisy were out there also. In a panic I told my friend and got off of the phone. I put my fear aside, and all I could think about was getting the cats away from the snake. Armed with a broom (no NOT the one that my MIL uses for transportation), I was ready. I headed outside to protect my kitties.
As I approached, I saw that it was a harmless black snake, but both cats were next to it. It grossed me out to even be that close to it. As I tried to use the broom to get the snake away from the cats, Daisy picked it up! I shuddered from head to toe, and let out the appropriate squeal of horror, as the coiled up snake hung out of her mouth!!! I would bet money that neighbors 1/2 mile away heard me. Yes, I will admit it, I did the whole girlie thing, yelling EWWW, waving my hands, and convulsing. I am sure that if someone saw me, they would have laughed SO hard, that they would have wet themselves.
I don't know if it was the broom or my squealing with horror, but it must have freaked Dewey out. He darted between my legs, tripping me. I took a not so graceful swan dive, and landed flat on my stomach. I looked to my left and thought it was a close call, because I missed the pool by about 1 1/2 feet. As I turned to my right, I wasn't SO lucky. Little did I know that my swan dive caused Daisy to drop the snake. You probably guessed it, I landed about 2 feet from my slithery new friend! I jumped to my feet like a spring, picked up the broom and decided that it's time to play some snake hockey! Even though I always joke that the only GOOD snake is a DEAD snake, I can't hurt them. I used the broom like a hockey stick and that snake was the puck. Every time I hit it away with the broom it would come back AT me! I intended to get it moving in the opposite direction, open the lanai door and get it OUT. After about 6 tries, it slithered out, unharmed. Both cats were okay, but I didn't fare so well. I scraped the skin on my right knee and elbow, as well as the palm of my right hand. That's okay because I faced one of my fears head on, and everyone's all right. From the surge of adrenaline I felt energized, like I just worked out. So I wondered, does snake hockey count as a form of cardio?
Thursday, September 17, 2009
I've been thinking a lot about the choices we make and how they affect our lives. My husband and I were recently talking about my sister, and how her choices impacted her life. She was first diagnosed with cancer at the age of 16. After surgery and radiation, she beat it. Then at the age of 22, she got it again. She beat it again, this time with the help of experimental chemotherapy, which damaged her heart. She was told that she HAD to walk a fine line, and take VERY good care of herself. Strict orders were given to her: NO smoking (which she did since the age of 12), NO alcohol, exercise, and a healthy diet--FOREVER! She did all of it and turned her life AND her health around. We were thrilled!
Fast forward to almost 8 years ago. She moved back to New Jersey, and started partying with old friends. She was smoking again, and drinking HEAVILY. Within 2 months, I got a call in the middle of the night that she passed away--1 WEEK short of her 38th birthday, of heart failure. She kept the fact that she was drinking again from me, because she KNEW what my reaction would be--NOT good! Since I was essentially her mother since she turned 12, she knew that I would be on a plane to NJ, and RING her neck! After she passed, I heard from people that she KNEW that something was going on with her heart, and just HOW much she was drinking and smoking. I have NO doubt that the good choices that she made in the past helped her live, and that the bad choices shortened her life.
Last night while on Spark, I came across the following quote on someone's page: CHOICE, NOT CHANCE DETERMINES ONE'S DESTINY! And it REALLY hit home for me. This morning I still had it rattling around in my head. I've realized that I have made a CHOICE over what I will or will NOT tolerate in my life! And I decided to make better choices, that will improve my life. I do realize that sometimes things happen in people's lives that are beyond their control. But I'm talking about what we CHOOSE! Every day we're faced with numerous choices, both big and small. HOW we choose determines what direction our lives will go in.
We all made a CHOICE to join Spark, to improve our health and lose weight. Every day we make a choice to follow our food plan, exercise, drink water, and make ourselves a priority. GOOD choices!! Every time we reach for a piece of fruit instead of some junky snack, we're helping ourselves move in the RIGHT direction. In the past we may have made more bad choices than good, which led us here to Spark. An occasional bad choice isn't going to derail us, but when we make them every day, they REALLY add up. Those bad choices eventually wind up on our hips, thighs, and butts!
We're not always going to be perfect in what we choose. But that's okay, it's called LIFE! If on a special occasion we want a glass of wine or that delicious dessert, have it and ENJOY it. But that's it, back on track with the NEXT meal. When things get difficult, we make a CHOICE to stick with it and NOT give up! Here at SP, we've all made a choice to support each other through the good times AND the challenging ones. But if we make MORE good choices than bad, we're making progress!
I decided that EVERY day I'm going to focus on my CHOICES. I will ask myself if what I'm choosing will help me reach my goals and improve my life, or send me in the wrong direction. Because ALL of these choices that we make daily add up to one thing--CHANGE!
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
I'm basically a happy person. I'm the type that wakes up in a good mood. I was going about my morning, feeling good, and then it happened. The phone rings and it's the first call of the day from my mother-in-law. There are days that she calls FOUR times! As she starts to unload all of her negative crap onto me, I can feel my happy mood just slipping away. She NEVER has a kind word to say about anything or anyone. She is the MOST negative, toxic, hurtful woman that I've EVER met. I've told her that I can NOT listen to her complain anymore about everyone. She can suck the joy right out of your day. She is a TOXIC VAMPIRE!
She has some very nice friends from church and a male companion, all of whom SEE her for who she is. Her friends have told me that they put up with her because they think that it is the Christian thing to do. She bad-mouths all of these people, but doesn't stop there. She even talks about the pastor's wife, who is a BEAUTIFUL woman on the inside as well as the outside. She says "what a fat ass the pastor's wife has". My husband says that her going to church doesn't MAKE her a Christian anymore than him standing in the garage makes him a car! I think that you have to LIVE it and walk the walk, so to speak. When she says these terrible things, I DO call her on it, but nothing stops her.
Even though I've dealt with this crap for over 25 years, it STILL shocks me. You can set boundaries with 'normal' people, but NOT in this case. I can tell her flat out, in a polite way, that I can NOT listen to another minute, but it doesn't change her behavior. My husband has talked to her over the years about ALL of the phone calls and her negative ways, but it never helped. So if I take the first phone call, I try to limit the time and not let her push my buttons and engage me. And she knows just how to do it, by bad-mouthing my husband. She knows that I will protect him and stop her in her tracks, but she still tries. I get off the phone as quickly as I can, and will NOT answer the phone again. I'm done for the day. She may call numerous times on the house phone, then she starts calling my cell phone, which I won't answer either. She then moves on and starts calling my husband at work, on his cell to find out WHERE I am. He tells her that I've had ENOUGH for the day, and that my whereabouts is not her concern.
One of the reasons that we moved to Florida was to put some distance between us. Well you probably guessed it--she moved HERE!!! As I'm writing this my phone is ringing--guess who! I don't use the word 'toxic' lightly. This woman actually said to me "that my husband must have women hitting on him". I said probably, but it doesn't matter because I TRUST him. She said "he may not go LOOKING for it, but if it came to him, he would NOT say no". I told her that I couldn't believe that she would say such a thing about HER son to me! I said that he loves me, and that she didn't know him at all! What type of person says such a thing to their son's wife?
When she sees that we've lost a few pounds, she tells me 'how terrific' my husband looks. Guess what she tells me, "not to get rid of my FAT clothes"! I recently had my hair cut into an inverted bob, and anyone that has read my previous blogs knows about my issue with hair loss because of my thyroid problem. I left the salon feeling good about my snazzy new hair style, and then I saw her! She looked at me and said "do you like your hair"? I said that I loved it. She replied "well, it's different". The ENTIRE time she spoke to me she had a funny look on her face. The only way to describe her expression--like she was sucking on a lemon or smelled a fart! Sorry, but that sums it up. She has tried to tear me apart from head to toe. In the past I cut ALL contact with her, but always got sucked back in when there were health issues regarding her or her late husband. Despite the fact that SHE IS OBESE, she never misses a chance of saying hurtful comments about MY weight. This may sound sick , but this woman gets PLEASURE out of hurting people. You can actually SEE it in her face. Our close friends/extended family have witnessed her in action at our house on various holidays. They call her evil, and tell me that they think that she lives to hurt me.
Part of this journey for me is about digging deep and getting to the root of my problem. I know that I have issues because I lost my mom when I was a teenager. Then add this woman into the mix, with her constant put-downs. Yes, I have a thyroid problem, but that isn't the whole story. I've written before about exposing my feelings, because I think that it's the only way for me to heal and make the positive changes in my life. The other part of the equation, is that I've used food to try and comfort myself. There were times that I literally stuffed my feeling down. In the PAST, I would get off of the phone with her and feel like I was SUFFOCATING! I would stand at the kitchen sink sobbing, and stuffing food in my face!! This is really tough to write, because I keep crying. I don't lie to other people, and I certainly don't lie to myself. This is how I USED to deal with her crap! But it only made me feel worse.
So that was then, and this is now! After I hung up the phone this morning, I felt a shift from within me. I won't be a victim! I AM going to make positive changes in my life. Even though it rained a lot this morning, I decided to go for a bike ride. I usually find joy while I ride, but not today. I didn't really notice the sights and smells that I usually do. I felt like I was DRIVEN! I rode my usual 40 minute route, in 30 minutes, riding through puddles like a fiend. When I got home I checked the Cat's Eye gizmo on my bike. Not only did I do it in 10 minutes LESS time, but I rode at 14 MPH. As I rode, I knew that it would be messy, but I didn't care. I could feel the muddy water splashing up my back and hitting me in the back of the neck! ( I need to get fenders for my bike.) I caught a glimpse of myself as I turned on the shower, and the best way to describe it--I would frighten small children! I was dripping in sweat, my hair was stuck to my head, my sneakers and socks were all splashed with mud, and the back of my shirt was a MESS! I stood there and laughed at myself. But guess what, I felt good! My happy mood was back and I did NOT use food to comfort myself, instead I used my bike! It's about control over MY life and making CHOICES that are GOOD for me. The only behavior that I can change, is my own. I have the power!
Friday, September 11, 2009
I could NOT believe my eyes as I stepped on the scale this morning. I thought no way, this can't be right. So after stepping on and off SIX times, it finally sunk in. I actually lost 6 pounds since my last weigh in almost 2 weeks ago! Oh, HAPPY DAY!!! Forget the ' Happy Dance ', I wanted to run outside and dance in the middle of the street and yell Woo Hoo! But since I was naked, I decided to spare my neighbors THAT experience! So I JUMPED FOR JOY instead.
I initially decided to only weigh myself once a month, because of the frustration I felt in the past of seeing no loss week after week. But this week something was different, I actually felt lighter. I'm really surprised by the changes in the last 2 weeks. I feel SO much better, that it's still hard for me to believe. I have enough energy to get through my day, and I wake up feeling great! The exhausted ZOMBIE is gone, and I hope that I never see that limp noodle dragging her tired butt around here again! I haven't felt this good in YEARS! And thankfully, I feel something else that I haven't felt in a LONG time -- HOPE!!!
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