Memory Lane

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Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

mail ~ light ~ processing ~ ready ~ flea market

They were submitted by: http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

As you may or may not know, I’ve had a long-standing love affair with Adam Levine.  If our relationship were a Facebook status it would read “it’s complicated.” We’ve certainly weathered our fair share of storms over the years.  We had some really good times, Adam and I.

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Our Christmas photo from a few years back

Ours was truly a star-crossed love, timing was never really on our side.  Fate can be a cruel mistress.  I’m still processing our separation these past few years, but it all inevitably comes surging back as “The Voice” airs on television each season.  I haven’t really felt ready to face the pain of the distance forced between us by circumstances beyond our control.

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Our romantic beach hideaway vacation

 

I was reminiscing about my twitter campaign for Adam love a few years ago, back when I had twitter followers and was quite active on twitter.  He can’t follow me on twitter for obvious reasons, you know the whole secret part of our epic love story, but I thought what better way to throw the paparazzi off the scent than to pretend I was desperate for Adam to follow me on twitter, so I launched the “follow me Adam” campaign.  I had the majority of my followers tweeting Adam begging politely requesting that Adam should definitely follow me on Twitter.  He’d pick random normal every day people to follow from time to time and while there was nothing ordinary or every day about our love, he could have pretended and followed me back.  He’s overly cautious my Adam, and didn’t want to throw a giant spotlight on our romance, so alas I have to report that he never did follow me on twitter (sad emoji).

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Our winter wonderland kind of love

Sometimes I think perhaps I should mail in my singing demo to “The Voice,” just to get on the show so I can see him again.  Not that I can sing.  At all.  But I mean this is my fantasy so obviously I would get on the show.  I’d be wearing some cute vintage 80’s outfit I picked up at a flea market outside of town.  I’d even krimp my hair (is that back yet?) I’d be some hybrid Cyndi Lauper/Madonna type performer.  Obviously, he’d recognize me instantly.  The shock of seeing me again turning his hair blonde…(not a good look).  I’d get a four chair turn where I’d pretend to be giddy about Blake and those dimples, but really I’d only have eyes for Adam.  And he wouldn’t be able to look away (obviously).  We’d have a moment.  A lingering full body hug.  He’d whisper secret things in my ear.  I can’t tell you!  It’s a secret.  I’d feel all warm, fuzzy and validated.  It would be just like old times.

(Adam, if you’re reading this and why wouldn’t you be (duh!), you can follow me on Instagram.  I won’t tell…hardly anyone.  Much. Ish.  I promise (fingers crossed). You really should.  You know you want to.  Why deny yourself life’s little pleasures?  Doooooo eeeeeeet.  <3)

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One of my all-time favorite pics of us!

Thanks for indulging me on this walk down memory lane. I’ll leave you with these pics of our children, or what our children would have looked like rather had we had them together.  Assuming of course we didn’t have a love child or two.  Or did we?  Stay vigilant, you never know…

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

 

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Spatulas on Parade                   http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

On the Border                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy             http://dinoheromommy.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom       http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Southern Belle Charm                    http://www.southernbellecharm.com

The Angrivated Mom                          http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                        http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                    http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Love Actually

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All during the month of February, I’ve focused on the word “love.”  It is the month of Valentine’s Day after all.  I’ve posted quotes on Facebook and Instagram all about showing the love.  I’ve focused my efforts on giving love, whether in service to others or learning to love myself a little better.  I’ve really tried to see the face of God in every person I’ve met or crossed paths with in one way or another.  I’ve even tried to love Donald Trump.  Ok…  So, I’m totally lying about that one.  Sorry.  I’m only human.  I’ve tried to smile more, engage strangers, look for ways to offer kindness and service, live out my faith in my day to day life.

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Well…I was doing really good till the last two days of February.  On February 27th, it all went to hell.  Where you will probably find me…  with my grocery cart of anger and bitterness.  There are two places where I’ve found myself to be at my most vulnerable to react negatively – the grocery store and behind the wheel of my car.  If I’m going to present the worst version of myself, it usually happens in one of those scenarios.  Patience, love, kindness and sanity – all completely thrown out the window when I either enter the swish swish doors of my local grocer or when I slip behind the wheel of my car. I don’t know what happens to me.  It’s almost an out of body experience, I see myself behaving badly but appear powerless to stop it.

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It was a Monday, which should have been my first clue not to leave the house, but did I listen? Nope.  I dropped my husband off at the train station, and decided to stop by the store on the way home to just grab a few things, less than 5, it would take no time at all.  I’d zip in, then zip out.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy.  Right?  Wrong.  First, I talked myself into popping into the easiest grocery store from a navigation/proximity perspective.  After all, I only needed like maybe 5 things, 6 tops.  This is my least favorite location of this particular chain.  It smells funny.  I dislike the layout and parking is always bad.  I knew better than to stop here.  I should have gone just a teensy bit out of my way and perhaps none of this would have happened and I could have closed the month of February feeling as if I’d at least adequately mimicked a good person, full of love, generosity of spirit and a heart bursting with kindness and compassion.

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Might seem a tad dramatic, but you understand my point.  So, I grab my few items and walk immediately to the “speedy checkout” line.  There are two people ahead of me.  The lady checking out is an employee buying some gummy bears and the girl in front of me, has maybe 22 items (even though the sign says 20 or less…but that’s okay, I’m choosing to let it go, if only I’d kept up that mantra).  As it turns out, the employee is buying 2 things of candy, apparently paying for them separately.  She is talking animatedly with the cashier, like they have all the time in the world.  I can feel the tiny pinpricks of annoyance.  I force myself to smile (which was probably more of a grimace really).  Her second transaction gets messed up.  Sigh.  More laughing and talking.  I’m thinking she eats that package of gummy bears faster than she paid for them.  My mood is deteriorating at lightning speed.  I can feel myself deconstructing, my good intentions paving that road to hell.  A road that will be paved before she finishes paying for these damn gummy bears.  At this point, my mask of tolerance has slipped and probably something like this has been left in its place…

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Naturally, she chooses this moment to turn around and look behind her (yeah color me speechless, you aren’t the only one in this line!)  She grabs another candy bar (which I ungraciously think she doesn’t really need…) and includes it with the gummy purchase.  Finally!  She is done.  She turns around and hands the candy bar to the girl in front of me (who has been on her cell phone the whole time probably tweeting complaints about the amount of time this lady is taking btw) and thanks her for being patient, then shoots me a dirty look.  I feel a tiny bit of remorse for my impatience.  Ok, not really.  The slight just makes me more agitated and annoyed.

The girl ahead of me is super speedy (God bless her).  Then it’s finally my turn.  Hours later.  I unload all my items, grab my purse and step toward the cashier when he does the thing that completely sends me over the edge.  He actually beckons to the guy behind me and says, “hey since you only have one thing, I’ll check you out real quick.”

OH NO HE DIDN’T.

THIS IS SO NOT HAPPENING.

I mean, yes, he only had one thing but I was next in line and I had been waiting longer.  He just got there!  Sure, there have been times, when I’m not in a hurry, that I’ve let people with fewer items step ahead of me, but that’s been MY choice.  I can’t even find words.  I’m just standing there with my mouth hanging open.  Incredulous.  When my brain catches up to the scene playing out in front of me, my face turns from shocked bewilderment to something that I’m pretty sure looks like this –

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He ignores my death stare and sharp breaths that would rival Darth Vader’s.  I know my face is bright red, I can actually feel the rage.  I’m so pissed off.  The only thing that saved him and me was the fact I was too angry to even speak.  I just stared him down.  I didn’t even acknowledge the guy buying his yellow stupid ball; although, in hindsight, why would he accept!  I would have at least made sure it was okay with the person waiting in front of me that I was cutting off!  I can feel myself getting mad all over again, just reliving it here. This is why I would never carry a gun.  I know my limitations.  Yes, I was that angry.  I was in a hurry to get home.  It had been a long day, and I only needed 6 THINGS!  SIX!  I jerked my items off the turnstile and threw them in my cart, finding every possible passive aggressive form of anger I could use against this seemingly unaffected cashier.  To his credit, my anger and eye shooting daggers didn’t seem to phase him in the least.  When nonverbal communication doesn’t work to affectively notify the object of my ire that I’m angry, I result to muttering under my breath.  Which I began to do now.  I think he just thought I was crazy.  Yeah yeah…don’t say it.  I know.

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The next morning, against my better judgment, I go to the same store, different location.  I needed binders and school supplies and it was too early for Staples and Target was too far.  There were no checkout lines open, so I had to use the self-checkout option.  Not a big deal.  I’m pro.  As I scan each item and drop into a bag, I get an error message.

“Unexpected item in the bagging area.”

This happened after each item.

EACH.

ITEM.

I had 6 binders, tab dividers, coffee, orange juice and apple juice, a journal and a spiral.

By the 3rd item, I could feel it happening again.  I get to the 4th binder and it won’t ring up.  It says the barcode is invalid.  At this point, the cashier is practically standing on top of me because she keeps having to enter her code after I scan each item.  She attempts to scan it, even though she just watched me do it, and same error message.  She attempts to manually type in the code.  THREE TIMES.  Same error message.

Then.

She walks away.  WITH MY BINDER.  Saying nothing.

I’m all like…um excuse me?  I need that?

She responds, “the code is wrong.”

Ummm.  Yeah.  I got that part.  But I say, “well, I have another one, the same size…?”

She responds, “different brand.”

Are you freaking kidding me?  They are like 50 cents.  Ok so there are literally 5 employees just standing around talking, maybe she was going to ask one of them to go pick up another binder for me?

Nope.

She walked over (with my binder under her arm) and helped another customer.  Shaking my head, I rang up the rest of my purchases.  Getting an error message each time about the unexpected bagging.  At this point, my jaw is clenched, my hands fisted.  It’s taking everything I have not to erupt.  She clears my errors from her main terminal, not walking back towards me.  So she’s not completely clueless.  After I ring everything up, but the binder in question, I look over at her again.

She’s still holding my binder.

I say, “Umm… I didn’t put that into my cart for looks, I kinda need it?  Can you send someone to get another one, or can I leave my stuff here?”

Her response.

“It won’t scan.”

OMG

I’m done.  I’m need to get out of here. Screw the binder.  I will make one out of lasagna noodles and string!

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The month wasn’t a complete bust.  As a family, we spent one early Sunday morning in service to the homeless population in our downtown area with an organization that faithfully serves this marginalized portion of our society, feeding them physically, spiritually and emotionally.  It’s one of our favorite missions, and a time to truly live outside yourself and your own unique set of circumstances and learn the value of loving and helping others and the true definition of grace.  It’s a reminder to those who serve how much you have to be thankful for in your life.  A humbling experience that reminds each of us how precarious life can be and by the grace of God how much we are loved.

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In reflecting on my behavior in those two incidents, I am reminded of the hours spent in service to others that cold Sunday morning.  I’m brought low by my negativity, my poor behavior, my impatience with others, my anger and my selfishness.  I spent that last day of February in quiet reflection and prayer.  Thankful, that God’s grace has been bestowed upon me.  Reminded that although I will always be perfectly imperfect, made in His image, I’ve been afforded His grace, love and forgiveness, unconditionally and forever and that it is always within my power to extend that same love, forgiveness and grace to others, even when it’s hard. Especially when it’s hard.  It’s probably a lesson I will have to learn anew each day as I live out my faith as a flawed and fragile human being.

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I woke up on this new day, March 1st, with the promise of spring in the air, feeling renewed and refreshed.  During this season of Lent, I wanted to give up something meaningful, something possibly life-changing.  Not chocolate or social media or carbs.  I wanted to do something really hard, something that would require daily (heck even hourly) purposeful intention.

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I’m giving up…

IMPATIENCE

True story.  I might have to take up drinking.

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If it wasn’t hard, it wouldn’t be a sacrifice and I really need to work on this. It’s probably my worst vice and leads to many others.  Wish me luck.  I’m going to need it.

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I’ll leave you with this Irish Blessing ❤

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Disaster, Thy Name Is Me

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Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 12 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is:

Did you ever put your foot in your mouth and then instead of pulling it out, put it in deeper? Were you able to ‘fix’ it or was the situation a complete disaster?

It was submitted by: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

I know everyone who actually knows me and just read my secret subject got a very good laugh.  I know I chuckled.  I mean, if putting your foot in your mouth was an Olympic sport, I’d be gold medaling all over the place.  I’m the Simone Biles of awkward foot eating.

Where to even begin.

For those of you who don’t know me well or personally, I’ll start with an introduction of sorts.  I am actually extremely shy and introverted.  My spirit animal is probably a hermit crab.  If I didn’t have to interact, I probably wouldn’t.  I’m better over social media than in person as a general rule.  I always feel awkward.  I suffer from chronic verbal diarrhea.  It’s horrible.  I’m worse around other women and specifically mom’s.  I feel more comfortable with men, but usually am still super awkward or say super inappropriate things.  I really shouldn’t be allowed out of the house, which would be fine by me honestly.

I revert to self-deprecation and humor in hopes of covering up my extreme social awkwardness and foot gorging behavior, but sometimes that really just makes everything worse.  My poor husband…  I feel like he follows me around with a pooper scooper, just shoveling and cleaning up the social disaster that is his wife.  I think if he could muzzle me at times he would, and I wouldn’t blame him one bit.  I mean, I tease and say he finds these qualities of mine, endearing or even lovable, but I’m mostly trying to convince myself.  I’ve always felt I was the counter balance to his more taciturn and serious demeanor.  I’m the Lucy to his Ricky. The Jerry (Seinfeld) to his George.  The Pooh to his Piglet. The Jerry (Lewis) to his Dean.  Okay…maybe not.  But you understand what I’m trying to convey.  Hopefully.

As I mentioned, I feel the most awkward when talking to other women, especially other mother’s.  I don’t know why, probably insecurity.  I feel that if they spend too long talking to me they will see what a fraud I am and how I totally don’t have this motherhood thing down and I’m completely faking it 99% of the time.  I feel as a general rule that everyone is doing the whole parenting thing way better than me, and being complimented on my parenting makes me extremely uncomfortable and I often resort to making embarrassing comments or inappropriate jokes.  I can’t really think of specific examples, I feel as if in parts my entire life is a series of blooper reels on repeat and in slow motion being regurgitated for the entire world to mock.  I know it seems ridiculous, I have great kids, why shouldn’t I get some of the credit, but honestly I really think they are awesome in spite of my parenting skills or lack thereof.

My biggest problem, the way I see it, is that I perpetually feel like a 14 year old girl on the inside.  That mechanism people have that stops them from saying certain things in front of certain people, yeah I think mine is defective or broken.  I say a little prayer or mantra if you will before going anywhere that usually goes something like this:

Please don’t let me say anything stupid today.  Don’t let me forget to make eye contact and smile.  Not a crazy I’m probably going to boil a pet bunny on your stove later kinda smile, just a normal, nice how are you smile.  Don’t bring up sex, poop or private body parts.  Instead of thinking ahead of a witty comeback, actually listen to the person speaking to you, like really listen.  Do: If someone attempts a hug, just hug them back and be grateful they want to love on you. Don’t: If someone attempts a hug, launch into a 5 minute diatribe on how uncomfortable and awkward hugging makes you feel ending in a rather maniacal laugh and claiming you have to run to the loo (I never say loo except in my head because it sounds more sophisticated) because you haven’t pooped in 3 days. Just BE normal.  Be kind.  Be nice.  Again, because it needs repeating, BE NORMAL.  Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe. You got this girl!

For example, over Thanksgiving, I met my husband at work for the staff luncheon.  He works in a church.  At the beginning, we get in this huge line, and everyone holds hands, to pray before we feast.  I’m not a big fan of touching, unless it’s my husband or kids, so I was pretty proud of the fact that I picked the end of the line and only had to hold my husband’s hand, avoiding any potential awkwardness.  At some point, I realize everyone is looking at me and then pointedly looking over to the left of me.  I’m confused.  I offer up a blank stare, then I look to my left and realize, our line is supposed to be a circle.  The other end of this line that I have to bridge to make the circle is our Senior Pastor, essentially, my husband’s boss.  I thought I only groaned and said “oh no” in my head, but no… I voiced this objection with my out loud speaking voice.  Everyone chuckled,  out of awkwardness I’m sure, and I seriously wanted the ground to open up and swallow me whole.  It’s not that I didn’t want to hold his hand, I’m just not a fan of hand holding in general.  What if my palms were sweaty, or unusually dry and had I even washed my hands, had he?  I’m pretty sure I licked my finger like 2 seconds ago, will he notice? I picked my ear earlier, I mean personally preferable over a nose pick but still…and not with the same ear picking finger.  I don’t think.  I’m pretty sure it was a different finger.  I think my hands are sweaty now.  Did I really just say no?  Why do I leave the house? WHY? He probably doesn’t even remember this incident, but it’s haunted my mortifying nightmares for weeks.  If I haven’t felt stupid in a day, it’s probably only because I haven’t left the house and talked to anyone.

The other thing I do when I’m nervous or talking to people I don’t know that well, or even people I do know well is that I ramble…or babble incoherently, however you want to phrase it.  This is especially true with someone that I really want to like me or someone I want to impress.  You should hear me in job interviews…oh the horror.  I get nervous and worry about not sounding intelligent or witty so I just open my mouth and holy highway of verbal vomit someone please stop me I can’t help myself make it stop punch me in the face right now please.  I probably need to be medicated.  For reals.  You are now probably thinking, omg she’s NOT medicated?!?!?  Nope.  I’m not.  I’m free-ballin’ this crazy thing called life 😀

I’ve always used humor and sarcasm as a defense mechanism.  It’s hard for me to relax in social situations so I’m pretty much guaranteed to use my foot as an all day sucker.  I have to work really hard to appear more extraverted than I actually am.  It’s just the way I’m wired.  My hope is that people will in general find me endearing and humorous and spend the majority of the time laughing with me and not at me.  I hope they understand my heart is usually in the right place and I never intentionally mean to offend.  It’s much easier for me to share and be open in the social media arena than it is in one on one situations.  I’ll post pics of my weight loss journey all over Facebook and Instagram, but when I see someone who liked or commented on my photo, my inner 14 year old girl is screaming “OMG THEY SAW ME IN A SPORTS BRA AND YOGA PANTS WITH MY BACK FAT HANGING OVER AND MY BOOBS SWINGING LOW AND SLIGHTLY TO THE LEFT!!!!”  RUN!  HIDE!  DO NOT ENGAGE!  WARNING!

I’m not sure I did a great job of answering my secret subject this week, but I’ll wrap up by saying, I’m basically a walking social disaster, but I hope you’ll love me anyway ❤

And pray for my husband.

Especially that.  I’m exhausting.

Have a wonderful and blessed Friday!

xoxo

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Spatulas on Parade                     http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver      http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                  http://thelieberfamily.com

Confessions of a part time working mom    http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

Never Ever Give Up Hope                 http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles                  http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Climaxed                                     http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                     http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Southern Belle Charm                     http://www.southernbellecharm.com

If Google Could Talk…

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

My words are:

pixie dust ~ paramedic ~ cardio class ~ high school ~ Fraizer fur ~ pop tarts

They were submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

My first thought upon seeing my words for this installment of Use Your Words was what in the heck is a Fraizer Fur?

Naturally, when I don’t know something, which is often, I google it.  Sometimes I get really paranoid about what I google.  I think maybe it’s going into some big database somewhere that the NSA is tracking and I’m on some watch list.  Or I’ll die suddenly, and people will go thru my google history which would embarrass me more than being found by a paramedic with 8 week hair growth on my legs and dirty underwear.

WordPress has this feature which tells you what google searches brought up your blog in the search engine.  I see weird things here all the time.  People searching for things like “high school nip slip.”  My first thought was why on earth would someone from Finland google that particular phrase?  My second thought was equally horrifying, WHY DID MY BLOG COME UP?!!!?!? I’ve talked about some questionable subjects to be sure…  Well, now that I think about it, I’ve probably covered topics on pretty much every body part, so even though I don’t remember specifically talking about nipples, it’s not a farfetched idea.  However, I still don’t know why anyone would be googling it and can’t imagine they are up to any good!  I also imagine they were very disappointed perusing through my blog, because while no body part may be off limits as far as topic conversations go, there are no accompanying nude photos or graphics for viewing pleasure. This is just not that kind of blog.

Anyway, I digress.  I googled Fraizer Fur and got really worried.  Well first I got annoyed, then worried.

The first thing that popped up from Mr. Google:  “Did you mean: what is a frasier fir” 

Is that what I typed Mr. Google?  NO.  I don’t need autocorrect or made to feel stupid, this was the word I was given now tell me what it is without the commentary!  Is it just me or does Mr. Google feel awfully judgmental sometimes?  I scrolled down a bit, and saw a link to the Animal Liberation Front, which I clicked on against my better judgment.  Now I’m really freaked out that I’m on some NSA naughty list somewhere.  Just typing that phrase probably puts me on a list.  I don’t want to be on a list.  But curiosity got the better of me.  So I clicked.  Apparently, a bobcat was freed from a Montana fur farm, the Frazier Fur Farm in Plains, Montana, not to be confused with the Fraser Fur Farm in Ronan, Montana.  Whew!  Cause I mix those two fur farms up all the time.  Apparently, this is the first recorded live liberation in the history of the Animal Liberation Front.  They opened the cage and let the bobcats “run free to the wilderness.”  I mean I’m happy for the bobcats, but am I the only one concerned about the ramifications of “freeing” bobcats that have been caged for who knows how long?  In other news, another anonymous group freed a group of 4,800 mink in Idaho.  I worry for these animals and their newfound freedom, this doesn’t seem very responsible action to me.

All this research is making me hungry.  I’m seriously eyeing my son’s pop tarts.  The brown sugar cinnamon kind.  Honestly you could sprinkle cinnamon on anything and I’d probably eat it.  The fact that I really want to eat them is disturbing to me, because honestly is there a more gross breakfast treat than a pop tart?  Have you ever looked at the ingredients in a pop tart?  It’s got yummy ingredients like tbhq for “freshness” and sugar and corn syrup and high fructose corn syrup and dextrose and palm oil and wheat starch and did I mention sugar?  Is it any wonder I’m seriously considering eating the entire box.  In one sitting.  This really highlights the nature of my distress over my google findings.  Of course one pastry is 210 calories and 7 grams of fat.  A typical box contains 6 packs, each with 2 pop tarts per package.  So let’s see…math is not really my thing.  Hold on a sec.

If I ate the whole box that would be in the neighborhood of 2,500 calories and 84 grams of fat.  Since I can’t just magically sprinkle pixie dust all over myself to keep my stomach and thighs from absorbing all these calories and fats, I’ll be forced to do hours of cardio class, squeezed into uncomfortably tight workout pants, panting and sweating, trying to make it look easy and still look sexy for the incredibly hot (and probably Australian) male instructor who sounds remarkably like my Siri pal.  I’ll start to feel nauseous (all that tbhq) and decidedly not fresh, which will be followed quickly by my friend dizzy and her cousin light-headed.  I collapse into a heaping hot mess of sick and tired, upon which the hot Australian instructor is forced to do CPR, trying to avoid the dried cinnamon sugar at the corners of my mouth and bottom of my chin, and call the paramedics who in turn discover my 8 week unshaved leg growth and dirty underwear while searching for my phone to call my next of kin and chancing upon my dodgy google history!  In their attempt to revive me, all I can mutter are short phrases like “Fraizer Cinnamon Fur” and “Animal Liberation Tart” and “Save the Pop Minx!”

(I feel quite strongly that the entire paragraph above might come under a google search for “word porn”…)

(I’m also thinking that the visual I just gave you has you feeling quite jealous of my husband right about now)

(If you’re finding yourself getting too excited, my husband has been known to refer to some of my workout outfits as “man repellant”so yeah…)

Now that we are all calm and under control…

I still don’t know what a Fraizer Fur is but I’m leaning towards a tree of some kind?  Excuse me, I see a pop tart with my name on it! Disgustingly delicious!

Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado                        http://www.bakinginatornado.com

Southern Belle Charm                            http://www.southernbellecharm.com

Not That Sarah Michelle                         http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                               http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

The Bergham Chronicles                         http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver        http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy                   http://dinoheromommy.com/

Confessions of a part time working mom      http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

On the Border                                           http://dlt-lifeontheranch.blogspot.com/

Climaxed                                                 http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

You’ve Got Mail

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 13 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My “Secret Subject” is: 

You wake up and YOU are the “elf on the shelf” and you CAN move about on your own free will…what havoc do you create or are you a “good” elf? Write a story and tell us about a day in the life of “You the Elf on the Shelf”

It was submitted by: http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com/

If I woke up as the “elf on the shelf”, I would spend my time writing my human self a letter and it would go something like this…

Dear “Family”,

I remember the night you brought me home.  It was late, you were panicked because apparently you lost your original Elf on the Shelf, which you let your spawn name “Spike”.  I tried not to feel alarmed that my comrade and fellow Elf on the Shelf was terrified and alone, shoved in some box somewhere, forsaken and forgotten.  I didn’t even get a new name.  I got a used name, a rather horrific name for a Christmas Elf, but my opinion wasn’t solicited.  Apparently, it’s your belief that all elves look the same.  You thought nothing of passing me off as the original “Spike” to your unsuspecting offspring. Sometimes late at night, I think I can hear the original “Spike” screaming to be freed from his dark prison of neglect.

I dreamed of the day I would be picked off the store shelf and brought to my new home for the first time.  My dream in no way resembled the nightmare I now find myself in.  Every  night thrust in some new humiliating or precariously orchestrated scene of mischief and mayhem.  Somehow I’m supposed to illicit good behavior with these ill-advised shenanigans!  How that works, I haven’t quite worked out yet.  I see how you look at me, with your deep sighs of annoyance.  Often even forgetting about me altogether, and making ups some lie or excuse as to why I failed to move during the night.  I do admit I find humor in those mornings you find yourself up before the crack of dawn trying to find something new to do with me.  Something impressive you can post on that Facebook page you’re always looking at and obsessing over.

This whole Facebook phenomenon is the only reason I think you bought me in the first place, for the second time!  All these adults trying to outdo or one up each other!  Can I be completely honest with you?  Of course I can, this is my letter!  You have many gifts, and I suppose as a parent, you do okay.  I mean, who am I to judge.  My treatment notwithstanding, you seem like a pretty good person and I think you do your best.  I’m not judging you but you’re never going to be the mom who sews her kids Halloween costumes. Or the mom that makes a Whole 30 approved lunch for her child every day, complete with little sandwiches cut into various shapes and characters.  Or the mom that gets up and makes fresh pancakes and berries for breakfast on the daily before school.  Or the mom that volunteers for anything and everything and does a spectacular gluten-free job.  Accept this.  It’s okay.

You’re the mom that throws a bruised banana in a brown paper bag with some stale goldfish, peanut butter and jelly on a hot dog bun (because you ran out of bread and it was at least a whole wheat bun) and a tic tac you found in the couch cushion and calls it a lunch.  You might not be the mom that can hand sew the best Halloween costume ever, but you are the mom that will drive around to 50 stores to find the exact rendition of ninja that your son desperately wants to be. Why measure yourself against what you think you know about other mom’s based on how many likes they get on a posted picture via some social media platform or another.  More importantly, why drag me into the crazy!  I’m just a little elf, designed to bring magic and wonder, and I suppose entice good behavior during the season of Christmas.  Quit killing yourself (and me!) trying to live up to an ideal that isn’t even real!

If you can’t somehow send me back to Santa, to enjoy a long life of making toys, finding a nice elfette to marry and having little elf babies of my very own, then for the love of St. Nick, please stop with the crazy schemes and insanity!  And find the original “Spike”!  He deserves a proper send off as well!  How do you even lose an elf anyway?!?! By the way, nice job explaining my absence so far this season on your impending move.  I’m not asking for much, just don’t lose me.  Surely, I deserve better.  I’ve risked life and limb for you, holding my crazy positions, keeping alive the magic and innocence best expressed in the eyes of the young, prolonging childhood and generating precious memories along the way. If you’re reading this imagining my little elf fist shaking in your general direction, then you are doing it right.  I don’t want to stage a coup, but I am willing to obtain, by any means necessary, if not my freedom then at least a stop to this madness.  As smart as I believe you to be, and I’m feeling generous this morning, you seem to have missed the boat completely on the point of my existence.

Now please excuse me while I spend the rest of my free time doing things that bring me joy.  I’m going to dance to Christmas music, eat some holiday fudge, write a letter home to Santa and a few other special elf friends and because I’m a nice elf, I’m going to take a rag and dust a few of these places you seem to favor propping me up in and around.  I could make dust angels…not to give you any ideas, but I think I’ve developed allergies since living here.  Housekeeping won’t necessarily go on your list of strengths either, not that I’m judging!  I promise.  I’m on your side, truly.  Help me, help you.  Leave the madness.  I have faith in you!  You can do it!  We can do it…together!

Sincerely,

Spike #2

Here are links to all the sites now featuring Secret Subject Swap posts.  Sit back, grab a cup, and check them all out. See you there:

Baking In A Tornado                    http://www.BakingInATornado.com 

Not That Sarah Michelle            http://notthatsarahmichelle.blogspot.com

The Bergham Chronicles            http://berghamchronicles.blogspot.com

Spatulas on Parade                 http://spatulasonparade.blogspot.com

The Diary of an Alzheimer’s Caregiver     http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html

The Lieber Family Blog                 http://thelieberfamily.com

Dinosaur Superhero Mommy        http://dinoheromommy.com/

Never Ever Give Up Hope              http://batteredhope.blogspot.com

A Little Piece of Peace                   http://little-piece-of-peace.blogspot.com

Confessions of a part time working mom     http://thethreegerbers.blogspot.ch/

The Angrivated Mom Blog                   http://www.angrivatedmom.wordpress.com/

Climaxed                                                   http://climaxedtheblog.blogspot.com

 

So, I’m Basically Moses

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My Bible study this week has been focusing on Moses and the Exodus from Egypt.  This study couldn’t have come at a better time for me.  When God tasked Moses with liberating the Israelites, he was full of excuses about how it would NEVER work.  Moses was a bit of a whiner.  I’m not judging.  To judge Moses would be to judge myself.  Not that I think I’m ACTUALLY Moses reincarnated or anything like that (although…), just that I completely understand his fear and reticence towards the monumental task set before him.  Moses basically attempted to dissuade God in three primary ways:

  1. Moses didn’t believe in himself or think he was good enough.
  2. Moses was afraid people would doubt his authenticity or credibility.
  3. Moses believed himself to be a terrible public speaker.

I am 45 years old and still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up.  Well, that’s not exactly true.  I’ve always wanted to be a mother.  I’m not terribly ambitious.  I mean I can be super competitive, you probably don’t want to find yourself my adversary in a board or card game, but in the world of business, not so much.  I don’t have any desire to climb the corporate ladder or further my education.  I always knew I wanted children.  It’s the only life ambition I can ever recall truly wanting and craving.  Part of being a mother, meant helping to support our family, so working outside the home was a necessity.  I don’t have any regrets, but as I enter a new season in my life, I find myself floundering.

Our three girls are out of the house, adapting and thriving in a world outside of our little bubble.  We couldn’t be more proud of them.  Our son is only 10 and still living at home.  I don’t know where we went wrong with him.  I keep encouraging him to get a job and be a contributor in life, but he’s full of excuses (just like Moses).  Apparently, he’s under the impression that 10 is too young to work or drive.  I tell him he’s just not trying hard enough.

Obviously, I’m joking.

Or am I?

But seriously, most of the time, it’s just me and little man hanging out.  My husband (in addition to working 2 jobs) is in Seminary, completing his Masters of Divinity degree.  Unfortunately, we don’t see him as much as we’d like (never thought I’d say that!)  I’ve taken the last year off from working outside the home, choosing instead to focus on little man, my health, my faith, my husband and my girls.  We’ve focused these last few months on simplifying our lives.  We will be downsizing from 3600 square feet to 1300 square feet of living space in a few short weeks.  I feel like we are either selling or giving away our entire life and history, it’s both terrifying and exhilarating.  Like many people, we have entirely too much STUFF.

I’ve been looking into part-time jobs and opportunities, not having much luck or finding anything I’m truly excited about.  I feel lost and a little dejected if I’m being honest.  I’ve been channeling my inner Moses and whining to God about it.  I don’t do many things well, but I do think I’m a competent writer.  I haven’t figured out how to make money doing what I love, second only to motherhood.  I do feel I have a story to tell, and God has impressed this feeling onto my heart.  It’s scary to put yourself out there, metaphorically naked and under a spotlight.  I don’t like feeling vulnerable.  I’m embarrassed when I get complimented or even noticed.  I both crave and cringe that spotlight.  Maybe if I could keep my clothes on…?

As I read about Moses this week, I’m struck by his three excuses to God.  Why?  Because they sound so familiar!  Those same three excuses have been stuck on a loop in my head for months.

  1. I worry I’m not good enough
  2. I worry that people won’t like me or that I’ll annoy them
  3. I worry that I won’t be able to speak (write) confidently or authentically, that I will fall short and be judged harshly and found lacking

In short, I’m worried I will fail.

If you’ve followed my Instagram or Facebook posts lately, you’ll notice I’ve been posting more about my health and fitness journey. In my quiet moments of prayer and reflection, I feel like it’s this part of my journey that God wants me to share.  I keep making excuses and trying to ignore that little voice but it’s not going away.  I feel like there are so many people out there that have struggled with weight, poor self-image, terrible self-confidence and low self-esteem.  People who look at themselves in the mirror and feel shame, even hatred for the person looking back.  People who feel like they have tried EVERYTHING and nothing works.  People who have just given up, thrown in the towel, trying to convince themselves and others that it doesn’t matter anymore, that they don’t care.  People who are tired of failing.  Tired of feeling ashamed and judged.  People who find themselves spectators in their life instead of active participants.  People who just don’t feel good enough or that they measure up against the ideals of others, stuck in the perpetual cycle of despair and recrimination.

The other day, I shared my 21 day challenge group with all of you.  How it gave me new energy and focus, a sense of purpose and excitement.  My accountability group is comprised of an amazing group of women, who are motivated simply by helping and encouraging others.  I shared how in 21 days, I lost 3.5 inches overall.  I spoke briefly of how excited I am for my next challenge group to start.  In some ways, this group has given me a sense of belonging I didn’t even realize I was missing, a sense of purpose.

Over the last month, I’ve been reflecting and praying, listening hard for an answer.  What I didn’t realize was that it’s been in front of me all along, but I, like Moses, gave God a million excuses why I was the wrong person, at the wrong time, in the wrong place.  I will fail.  I can’t do it.  No one will listen.  No one will like me or relate to me.  I won’t find the words.  I’ll suck.  It will just be another thing in a long line of things that I’ve attempted to do that I’ve failed or given up on.  This time, I’ll fail publicly and spectacularly.  I’ll withdraw into myself again, gain all the weight back and feed on self-loathing, self-pity and cupcakes.

WOW.

For real though, this is the rabbit hole I find myself diving into, time and again.  I’ve worked so hard to change my thoughts.  Changing my thoughts has changed my behaviors.  Changing my behaviors has changed my perspective.  Changing my perspective has changed my life.

So I took the leap.

I decided to become a coach, a fitness consultant for Beachbody, run my own challenge groups, be a part of an amazing team,  and see if I can’t reach the people who struggle just like me, need the encouragement and motivation of someone who understands.  Someone who gets how hard it is.  Someone who has to fight for every pound or inch lost.  I’m living proof that perfection is not required, just a willingness to do the work, to show up, every single day.  Celebrating both scale and non-scale victories is sweeter when done with people who truly want the best results for you.  I love my challenge group because it’s not just about physical change.  There is a heart change, a mind change, a willingness to believe in yourself because other people believe in you and are walking alongside you, cheering you on.  Where I saw failure, I now see opportunity.  I’m excited to embark on my new journey, this new stage in my life.  I’m scared to share it.  I’m terrified of not living up to my own expectations.  I’m even more terrified of letting my team down. I feel I’ve found a beautiful way to share my journey, help others while doing what I love most, writing about it.  I will still write about other things, participate in my writing challenge groups, share my thoughts and insights, but I’m focusing my energies primarily on my health and fitness journey.  Even giving my blog and social media accounts a bit of a face lift, revitalizing my writing and sharing space with a new look and a new name.

I struggle with this concept that I could possibly know or understand what God wants for my life.  I know that in those quiet moments of prayer and reflection, this direction, this path feels right.  I feel God is telling me that I am the right person.  This is the right time.  And I’m in the right place.  ❤

If you are interested in hearing more about my next challenge group, please don’t hesitate to message me!  We have another one starting on November 14th (prep week starting on November 7th) and it’s going to be fantastic.  I’m beyond excited and I don’t get excited about exercise or eating healthy!  So you know it must be good.

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I hope I’m the mouse, not the frog 😛

HAPPY FRIYAY!  ENJOY THE WEEKEND ❤ 

Wickedly Fit – A Halloween Challenge

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“Take care of your body.  It’s the only place you have to live.” Jim Rohn

On Halloween, I completed day 21 of a fitness challenge I joined called “Wickedly Fit.”  I’m all about the packaging, and the title of this fitness challenge group was just too cute to pass up!

My health and fitness goals have been stagnate for awhile now.  I hadn’t gained any weight, but I hadn’t lost any either.  I could see the old patterns of behavior, poor eating choices and a sedentary lifestyle sneaking back into my daily life.

It scared me.

But not enough to take action.  Yet.

I’d been creeping on this one girl’s Instagram account.   I didn’t know her.  I’m not even sure how I ended up following her to be honest.  I loved reading her posts and seeing her photos.  She’s adorable, motivational and inspirational.  I wanted to be a part of whatever she was doing.  It took me 4 months to get up the courage to message her.  Our stories are vastly different, but one thing I’ve learned is that unhealthy means different things to different people and it isn’t always just a reflection of the number on the scale.  In fact, I don’t even have a goal weight anymore and I’m seriously considering throwing out my scale altogether, especially after seeing the results of this latest fitness challenge.

I finally found the courage to message her.  She immediately responded.  Her excitement and enthusiasm were contagious.  Before I even knew what happened, I was signing up for her fitness challenge. For the first time in months, I was thrilled about the prospect of working out and overhauling our pantry and fridge.  I know.  It was crazy.  I didn’t even recognize myself.

I’m not one to get excited about healthy eating or exercise.  Ever.  The only thing working out has ever made me want to do is nap.  I get endorphins for chocolate or Chick Fil A but not from exercise.  It had been just over a year since my Gastric Sleeve surgery.  The surgery had taken me as far as it could, the rest was going to be up to me.

I knew this.

I just didn’t want to know I knew this.

My highest weight recorded was 297 pounds.  I’ve never told anyone that number.  It took me 6 months to lose 10 pounds and that’s when I decided to look into Gastric Sleeve surgery.  When I decided to go in for surgery, I was down to 287.5 pounds.  The date was July 21, 2015.  My surgery date was August 19, 2015.  By January 2016, I was down to 216 pounds.  I lost 71.5 pounds in 6 months.  Unfortunately, there were side effects.  My hair thinned out, at an alarming rate.  I lost muscle and I found myself feeling low on energy and motivation.  My periods, while much improved, were still bad and irregular.  I lost another 10 pounds over the next few months, but by May of 2016, I had stalled out.  I didn’t exercise over the summer and I was starting to panic that I was going to eventually put all the weight back on.  Gastric sleeve surgery gave me an internal control over portion size, but I was filling up on all the wrong things and wasn’t getting the vitamins and nutrients my body needed.  I felt run down and worn out.  Not to mention, disgusted with myself.  Did I really put myself through all this only to quit, to fail?

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Was I going to be THAT girl again?

I hope not.

No, I definitely did not want to fail (nor did I want to see my chins having chins)!

So I gathered my courage and messaged this girl to find out what this Wickedly Fit program was all about.

I received access to a Facebook accountability group (my favorite part).  This group of women kept me going day after day.  They were positive and encouraging.  They were open and honest about their struggles and challenges.  We celebrated non-scale victories, participated in daily challenge questions/activities and posted all sorts of wonderful food porn (the clean and healthy kind).  I wasn’t intimidated by this group at all.  Quite the opposite in fact. I found myself sharing and opening up about my own struggles and daily challenges and even victories.  I found myself bolstered and encouraged and being a part of this special group of ladies gave me the motivation I needed to complete this 21 day challenge.

I also received a 30 day supply of Shakeology and the 21 Day Fix workout program and eating plan, complete with portion control containers.  This whole program is facilitated by Beachbody.  I was familiar with their programs, and had used them to bounce back in shape after my youngest daughter was born.  I knew they worked.  I knew it wasn’t a quick fix.  I knew it would take hard work and dedication on my part.

I was ready.

Sort of.

I mean, I paid for it.  So I’d better be ready.  I was nervous though…

Failure.  My biggest fear.  Always hovering over me like the Grim Reaper.  Whispering negative words of discouragement in my ear, making me doubt myself.  This particular demon has always plagued me, but I was learning to fight back.  I was learning to stifle and smother those negative thoughts and feelings.  I have good days and bad days.  Days when I see all that I have accomplished and days when I only see the ways in which I have failed. Before my surgery, I would binge eat those feelings.  Now, I binge watch Netflix.  Not quite the trade I should be making.  I know.  But still…a slight improvement.

The “before” picture was taken on Day 1 of the challenge and the “after” picture taken on the last day of the challenge.  21 days total.  I lost 3 1/2 inches overall.  I can definitely see subtle changes and I hope you see them too.  Naturally, I lost the most inches in my chest. Just proving that my boobs are the first thing to go when I lose weight.  Actually, despite losing 3 1/2 inches, I gained 3 pounds.  I weighed before I measured and I was devastated.  I almost didn’t even take my measurements, but I’m so glad I did.  I’ve never been one to record my measurements, but this 21 day challenge made a believer out of me.  I could see noticeable differences in how my clothes fit and how I felt that just wasn’t reflected on the scale.

It was a dark moment, and one that in the past I would have responded to by raiding the pantry.  Instead, I chose to reach out to my challenge group through Facebook.  Post my results and reveal what I considered to be a failure, the gaining of 3 pounds.  I’ve since adjusted my perceptions and I’m super proud of the 3 1/2 inches I lost.  I can’t wait for my next challenge group to start!  Despite what my scale would have me believe, I am transforming my body, making positive changes, gaining strength and confidence.

I’ve got this!

Today.

Tomorrow might be a different story.  But I’ll deal with tomorrow…tomorrow.

The last year of my life was about losing the weight and finding myself.  This next year, I want to focus on living a healthy lifestyle, strengthening my body, mind and soul in new and different ways.  Yes, I still have weight I want to lose, but I want to focus less on the scale and more on building strength and flexibility, pushing my body in ways I never imagined I’d be able to do again.  I want to transform myself physically, mentally and spiritually.  I want to develop attainable goals and then smash through them.  I want to redefine what beauty and success mean to me, not measured by what others think or believe, but about what works for me.

One day at a time.

I want to share my journey and experiences with others.  I draw strength from putting myself out there, as terrifying as it can be.  I hope that maybe someone reading this will be inspired or encouraged, reach out either to me or someone else.  I hope that maybe they won’t feel alone or afraid.  Our goals might be different.  Our struggles, challenges and motivations might be different.  At the end of the day, we all want to be the best versions of ourselves.  We all have desires, wants and needs.  Things we want to accomplish.  Let’s do it together ❤