Day of Gratitude

Gratitude is something I was taught from a very young age. It was taken very seriously in my home. If you were ungrateful you lost privileges or socks (ask my brother about that one). Lately life has been tough and so I have started doing a mental list of all the things I am grateful for (You know you don’t have to wait until November to be thankful? Wink)

 

I woke up with morning and I was grateful for the comfortable bed I have to sleep in. I opened my eyes and was so grateful I could see. I sat up and could smell coffee Bill was brewing and I was grateful I can smell and that I have an amazing husband that makes me coffee. I stood up and was grateful I can walk and have all my important body parts. I was also glad that when I stood up there was no water on my floor (thanks to Melissa for that one). I turned on the light and was grateful for electricity that allows me to do so many things every day.

I walked to the bathroom and was grateful for indoor plumbing. Indoor plumbing is something I am consciously grateful for almost every single day. Every time I use a porta-potty or a trough toilet at a park it is a reminder that I must be grateful for indoor plumbing. I turned on the water to wash my hands and I was grateful I have clean running water. I picked up my toothbrush and was grateful I have teeth to brush that have cost me a lot of money but are still strong and allow me to eat the things that need chewing.

I went to my office and sat down at my computer and was grateful for the internet and a computer that works. Even on days when it doesn’t work the way I want it to I am still grateful that I have access to such an amazing piece of technology. I opened my email and began to work. I am grateful for all the people that hire me to do work on their homes and stores. It allows me to pay my bills and makes my world a better place. I am grateful to the Small Business Assoc. for all the help they gave me to set up my business. I am ever so grateful to my tech, Gene. Without him my dream of owning this company would be impossible. He is my partner and my friend and my work husband. I am so very lucky to have him as part of my company and my life.

I got up and got dressed to go out on a job. I am grateful I have all the clothes I could need. I have clothes for warm days and cold days and multiple pairs of shoes to choose from. I got into my car that I can afford to own and even pay for repairs when it needs them and gas to fuel it. I drove on roads that are paved and generally easy to drive on and was grateful even when I got stuck in traffic. I got to my job and got paid to change lightbulbs and repair holes in walls and that makes me crazy grateful to have a job I enjoy that is something new almost every day and pays money that allows me to afford trips to places like Disney or road trips to beautiful National Parks.

At this point I think we all get the point. There are just so many things I take for granted every day that I need to stop and see all these things are luxuries. Switching your way of thinking to be grateful changes so much. I want for next to nothing. I need to stop and see all the things I need to be grateful for because really a life without indoor plumbing would just be crap. LOL

PS: I had no idea my last post was last November and talked about gratitude as well. LOL

Month of Gratitude

Thankful

I have been trying to stay off Facebook more than not for my mental health. So it is difficult for me to do 30 days of gratitude day by day so here it goes for the month. In no particular order:

1 Bill. I am so gateful to have him in my life to teach me how to be stronger than I have ever had to be and to teach me what “In sickness and in health” really means. LOL

Wedding hats

2 My home. It is small and doesn’t stay warm well in winter but it has taken me on so many adventures.

Fresh Clean Serenity

Fresh Clean Serenity

3 Sunny aka the big yellow taxi (the jeep) closing in on 200,000 miles and more memories than I can count.

Sunny in the trees and by the water

Sunny in the trees and by the water

4 Isabella the niece I always wanted and had no clue I needed. She is my favorite little girl in the whole world and she makes me smile with her love and laugh with her diva.

NuggetAndNieceling

Nugget And Nieceling

5 Harrison he had my heart the moment our eyes met. He loves his big sister in such an amazing way and I love watching him as he grows.

6 Michael – my older brother who always has an ear to me to chatter into and has never given up on me and my ridiculous ways.

7 John – my “little” brother who is an amazing father and shows me what true love is when he looks at his wife and kids.

8 Eunice the sister I always wanted and Johnny was kind enough to provide for me.

9 Sparkle Skirts – When I started running I didn’t want everything I owned to be black. As a larger women it was nearly impossible to find running clothes that fit and looked good. Now I am far from a fashionista as most of you should know but Sparkle skirts has given me something I love to wear and helped with so many costumes.

2014 Dopey Half - Donald and Daisy Ready for a Little Run

2014 Dopey Half – Donald and Daisy Ready for a Little Run

10 Disney- It brings me so much happiness I cannot begin to express the many memories.

11 Dr Fortune from Celebration Hospital without you Bill might not be here or could have dropped at any point and died. You helped discover the 95% blockage that no stress test or other test had shown and since Bill had no symptoms the only other way we would have known about it would have been when he died.

12 Dr Zivin with Swedish Seattle for taking the time to listen and do further tests that helped us know that it isn’t an electrical issue and gave us more security in what happened and what to do in the future. (and to all your staff that have been amazing)

13 Dr Seike from Swedish Edmonds for helping us through the tests and listening to our concerns. (and to all your staff that have been amazing)

14 Priceline for refunding my money on part of my trip that had to be cancelled.

15 That I have the money to plan and take vacations even when sometimes things don’t work as planned.

16 For ALL the amazing vacations I have had where no one got hurt or had to go to the hospital or even got sick.

Cape Cod National Seashore

Cape Cod National Seashore

17 The 3 people on vacation back in September that stepped in to help a stranger and saved Bill’s life.

18 The creators of Halter Monitors – who knew such a thing existed that could track your heart rate and rhythm and send the info back to your doctor instantaneously. Thank you for having the will to discover something new that help so many people.

19 The creators of mindless games like Candy Crush that helped me distract my brain from the nightmare I was living through in several situations. Yes they can be distracting from good things but they were the big thing that got me through all the waiting in the hospital.

20 Dave Asprey for making Bulletproof Coffee. Nothing has helped my depression and my brain fog like his brain octane. It has cleared the cobwebs

21 The makers of Gluten Free mac n cheese. Yeah I know this might seem dumb but sometimes you just HAVE to have some comfort food and it’s nice to have the option for something that tastes like what I am looking for without the painful side effects of the gluten.

22 iphones I remember how boring it was to sit in a hospital room for hours on end without access to the information I wanted. Listening to doctors say things that meant nothing without access to the information in laymans terms.

23 Along with the above the internet. Everyone says “Don’t google a diagnosis” and for some that is wise but for me knowledge is power. I was able to ask the right questions and be more knowledgeable about what was happening because of the information I was able to find. You can easily go down the rabbit hole and end up overwhelmed if you aren’t careful but if you know where to look and what to read you can get lots of great information.

24 Cypress Pointe Resort in Orlando – For having big sunken bathtubs for me to soak in each night to help me cope.

25 Walgreens for being available everywhere so I can get prescriptions filled and still have access to them when I get home from “vacation”.

26 All of you for your thoughts and prayers over the several years my life has been falling to pieces. I look forward to someday when I can truly be myself again without the mass of overwhelming stress that has befallen me the last few years.

27 Facebook because it makes my life easier when I need to communicate things to people around the world and because it allows me to follow my friends and their lives so much easier. Even if we don’t talk a lot I can still know that your kids are growing or your new puppy has gotten into something funny.

28 Youtube where else can you go to watch videos of animals doing ridiculous things, kids being surprised with trips to Disney or puppies, hamsters eating broccoli, all manner of things to make you smile or laugh when you think its impossible to smile or laugh.

29 Washer and drier because really laundry would be a pain in the butt if we didn’t have them. There are so many conveniences in life that we take for granite every day that make our lives so much easier.

30 Life the thing we take for granite the most. We just assume every day that we will have tomorrow or that our spouse or loved one has tomorrow but you can’t know that. Love life and tell people you love that you love them. You may assume they know but you might be surprised how much they need to hear it. Love each other too. Even if you don’t know someone try and love them because the world right now isn’t guaranteed to be a nice place so we each need to take a moment to do what we personally can to make the world a nicer place.

If you read this whole thing I am impressed. LOL Thank you for being here.

Life Lesson: Always carry a needle to stick in the elephants butt

Let’s talk about weight loss/gain. This is one of those painful subjects people don’t like to talk about because most people feel like they need to lose a few or a lot and the other side some people would even like to gain a few. In my life long history I don’t know that I have met more then a very small handful of people that are happy with their bodies. Weight Journeys are always filled with ups and downs but you may have learned a lesson in the process that is important.

The Ultimate Before Picture

The Ultimate Before Picture

I was thin when I was a small child. Around the age of 10 I started packing on the pounds. My diet hadn’t changed and I didn’t start eating more than I was in prior years. Much later in life I would discover some of the causes. When I was 24 I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) one of the symptoms is near puberty someone with the disease their body begins to change. My hormones started pounding through like a freight train and my sugar levels went haywire. Oh goody. It took 14 more years for the diagnoses to come through. In addition to my body creating an uphill battle I would fight for years to come, my parents decided at the age of 12 to rip me from my home and family and friends in Florida and moved us to the unknown world of Massachusetts. This added immense amounts of stress to my already developing issues which I have discovered stress wins over all other attempts to do anything about how my body processes things.

 

I went on my first diet at the tender age of 11. Weight watchers put me on a low fat, low carb, high tasteless foods diet. I did fine on this diet for a short time until my mother started bringing Swiss Cake Rolls and other tasty treats into the house for the members of the family NOT on a “Diet”. I spent so much time longing for the treats because I felt so deprived on my “Diet” that I began hiding food and sneaking things I knew I “shouldn’t” have. I would sneak out at 2am and eat entire boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls and hide the evidence because if I tried to eat one when people were around I was shamed. (Yeah so there’s future issues developing.)

I was put on diet after diet throughout my teenage years but because I had my own forms of income through babysitting no one could actually do anything about what I would eat in private. I generally had stashes of junk food hidden like a drug addict hides drugs. I hid candy bars in outlets. I hid entire boxes of Oreos and Chips Ahoy in under-ware drawers. I become an astonishingly good liar.

The one message that came through loud and clear on each and every “diet” I attempted was “Diets” don’t work and only contain tasteless horrible foods.

By now you will notice my use of quotes when I use the word “Diet” when referencing a strict form of eating that is meant to cause weight loss over a short period of time but which is not truly sustainable in the long term. The reason for this is because that is an utter bastardization of the true meaning of the word. A persons DIET is what they eat and should not mean only a restriction. When scientists or archeologists talk about the DIET of a people they are researching they are NOT referring to Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or Grapefruit. They are referring to the all encompassing of the foods they eat. So the only way I use the word diet is with the scientific meaning. If I am talking about food restriction I simply call it food restrictions or in this case I will use “diet” as so many readers will understand and expect that usage.

So many of you may have followed my weight loss over the last few years and so many of you cheered me on as I found a lifelong changes to my diet. Things went well for a long time and I rarely ever felt restricted at all. I was eating flavorful foods and enjoying food completely. There were things I missed and I would have them occasionally (i.e.: donuts because really who can live forever without a donut or two?). I was doing fabulously all around. I was happy, life was good. It was something I truly felt I could sustain long term.

Before and Progess 8-months

and then…

A number of things happened. I found out there is a possibility I may have sensitivity to nightshades. I also started to have increased levels of stress because of various external factors. I began trying to remove some of the foods I love most in the world from my already somewhat restricted diet. Tomatoes, potatoes, and bell peppers were a part of more than half the meals I love. From chili, to spaghetti sauce, salsa, pretty much anything Mexican and most Italian meals I make. We won’t even talk about the ways I use Paprika, chili powder, jalapeno peppers, cayenne, green chillis etc!

External factors including my brother Mike moving away, my oldest brother Wayne finally succumbing to cancer, my father who has been on and off sick for years taking the loss of his son so horribly and being diagnosed with cancer again, the loss of my grandmother, hearing about someone I cared about many years ago in school falling victim to Leukemia, and my unemployment and realization that now at 40 it is not as easy to find work just overloaded my entire being. With so many losses and so much stress my body stopped doing the things it is supposed to do. My digestion is always the first to go during stressful times. Then my willingness to create meals that tasted good left. Then my willingness to get out of bed some days escaped me. Depression took over everything in me.

Miss you Forever!

Miss you Forever!

 

I got to the point where I was eating only when Bill would make food and generally only one meal a day because I didn’t want him to know just how bad I was (not knowing he was fully aware of most of it). I went down to 300-500 calories a day and this amazing thing happened. I started gaining weight. Hold on to your horses folks! Calories out/calories in deficit to lose weight is BS. You can eat FAR less than your body needs and still gain weight! I know shocking right? You wanna talk about screwed up well there you are.

I started eating only what I could open a package and eat instantly. I didn’t care about anything and even food was no comfort. I literally sustained life for about 3 months on Ruffles. Ruffles is one of those things that I missed drastically when I cut out junk foods. I would have them rarely but once life didn’t matter anymore well Ruffles it is. Then I started drinking soda again and quickly it was just a downhill spiral. I even got to the point where I was eating gluten several times a week in spite of the havoc it reeked on my system. I would be in tears in pain from the gluten cramping but hey at least I knew I was alive right? I guess that is how a cutter feels?

When the world tilts and spins out of control sometimes you just go along with it no matter how unwilling you are to do so. Sometimes you just lay down and don’t get up because you don’t have the strength to deal.

Now people that don’t know anything about depression may be thinking, “Just think of the good things in your life.” “You are so blessed, just think of the blessings”, “Well you should just get up and move on”, “When you have responsibilities you can’t just CHOOSE to stay in bed”. To those well-meaning people I would like to say, “I love you but you should probably stop talking because I didn’t CHOOSE any of this.” I didn’t HAVE a choice. The chemicals in my brain were so messed up I couldn’t see anything. Thinking of the good things in my life only made me feel GUILTY for not being able to get up and do what needed to be done. Then the guilt would make me feel like the worst person ever and there you go, downward spiral again and then there was the brain fog that made it nearly impossible to even think straight which made everything else even more difficult.

Telling someone in the depths of depression to “Get over it and move on” is like a knife in the gut. Do you really think I am ENJOYING this? Do you not think I would get up and get over it if I could? Seriously!

So in the course of 2 of the most difficult years of my life my loving husband finally said enough. He made me make an appointment with my therapist. Talking to someone outside the situation who can give you a different perspective is sometimes the only thing that can help some people. I had to have an outside perspective. I needed someone that didn’t love me to say “you need to stop beating yourself up.” I needed someone outside to make recommendations on actions I could take to move on. Ways to remember my lost loved ones without becoming lost with them.

Yeah yeah I seem to have gone off on a tangent but I really haven’t. What does depression have with weight loss? Well it is all about the journey right? With too many people everything is about the destination. People just want to be there and with my long term diet and lifestyle changes I would LOVE to just be there but that is not how these things work. You have to go through the journey or you never appreciate the destination. As an RVer you would think the journey is the destination in all things but sometimes I need a reminder.

In the process of my depression I seem to have hit the weight goal reset button but the thing about weight goal progress is that sometimes even gaining weight is a very important progress in your journey.

What have I learned? In everything I go through I try to sit and think about what is the lesson I need to learn to move forward in life. I have lost and gained weight but each time I do I learn something else that didn’t work. Thomas Edison tried 1000 ways to make a light bulb that didn’t work but then he found the way that did work. Oprah Winfried was fired and told she wasn’t made for television. Walt Disney himself was fired and was told he wasn’t creative enough. The one thing that each of them did that is different from so many of us is they NEVER GAVE UP. So here I am starting over again but with life lessons under my belt to give me strength.

So what have I learned from this experience?

Compassion for people with depression that I never had before but also a willingness and eagerness to help friends with depression pull themselves out.

You may never get back to your former “normal” but you can find a new “normal” that may even be better than the normal you had before because you understand so much more.

I have also learned that when times get tough the worst thing you can do is just lay down. That sometimes all you can do is just lay down but that you have to know how important it is to get back up as soon as you can get that darned elephant off your chest. To always carry a needle to stick in the elephants rear to get him off your chest or have a friend that has a needle you can borrow.

That half of the people you think are true friends won’t be when you don’t have anything to give them and will disappear like snakes in the grass after biting you with poison that will make it even harder to get back up.

Your true friends are even more rare than you know but that some people you may not consider a true friend may surprise you in the good way and become lifelong holders of your heart.

The road to where you think you want to be may not exist. You may find a new road or you may forge your own road but whatever you do it is a constant uphill battle.

People inherently are selfish but you are people and sometimes you have to be selfish in order to survive.

Fat is a bitch. It is clingy and causes you pain and is sometimes seems impossible to get rid of but if you try hard enough you might be able to smother her in her sleep. LOL

That I am beautiful from within. Also to all the nasties in the world, I may be fat but you are ugly inside and I can lose weight.

Before you judge someone that is overweight stop for a minute and consider you may not know their story. You may not know how difficult their life is and unless you a perfect back the F off. This should actually go for judging in general just don’t.

So here I am preparing to begin another chapter in my life (again). Will I be perfect? Nope Perfect is overrated. Will I be successful?  Who the hell knows but if I don’t try I won’t ever be successful so if it comes to trying I will just keep trying. Do I have any answers for anyone? Nope but I have a lot of good advise and I’d probably better start taking some of it.

Life is full of uncertainty and I think that’s some of the fun even if it can be stressful. Find the people you can count on. Make a plan for your life and then grab life by the balls because if you don’t it won’t wait for you it will just pass you by.

Here is to new beginnings.

New beginnings

New beginnings

***Subnote: I do not assume people with extra weight are not healthy or cannot be happy. I know my weight is actually killing me. With the health issues I have I NEED to lose weight. There are many healthy people with extra weight on their bodies and I say more power to you. If you are happy in your skin go for it. I just want to be my happiest and healthiest self. That doesn’t mean skinny or the worlds idea of healthy it means I can do the things I want to do without being held back by the weight that is breaking down my knees, feet, and body. It means getting my PCOS under control so I can move into my middle age and older years gracefully. ***

Escape Puzzle Room

On Thursday this week my Toastmasters group had an outing to get to know each other better. Our organizer decided we should go to one of the Escape Room places. It is a place where you go into a room and have to solve puzzles in order to get out. You have 60 minutes to complete the puzzles.

Many of you know I am a puzzle fanatic. I had subscriptions to Games magazine for well over a decade when I was a kid and I’ve always loved puzzle games so I was more than excited. I read the website and even watched a couple youtube videos to try and figure out what I might be up against. Luckily there really isn’t any information so you go in knowing nothing about it.

When people think puzzles they often assume its going to be trivia questions or memory things which I am generally horrible at but I had hoped for something more like what it really was.

I don’t want to really do a walk through because I feel like not knowing what you are getting into is so much more fun but I will say there was trivia questions or horrible riddles that make you want to pull your hair out.

I feel bad now after the fact because I feel like I totally went in and ran over some of my friends. My focus was so hard on finding the answer that I wasn’t really paying attention often and I feel like I totally just plowed through.

All in all I thought it was a ton of fun and I would not hesitate doing it again. It did make me realize how long its been since I had to work as a team with other people on anything. Working from home has not enhanced these skills. LOL

A great man gone

David Gilland was my uncle. He was an amazingly strong and stubborn man so much like my grandfather. As a young kid I didn’t get to spend much time with him because he was in the military stationed overseas and to me as a young kid he was a man of the world. When I was 12 years old he and his family moved back to the US after it was discovered he had a tumor growing in his chest. They ran hundreds of tests on him and gave him only a few days to live. This was scary to me and I know it was scarier to the rest of my family. We would pray for him every day and even our church prayed for him every Sunday.

He went in for treatments and the tumor shrank. While he was going in for all of his treatments he had gotten a price on how much it would cost for someone to come and dig a hole for a pool in the backyard of his house and he was so outraged by the cost he picked up a shovel and a bucket and each day would go out and dig the hole. Eventually it was the size of a pool. Unfortunately the tumor had gotten so big it damaged his heart and lungs and caused him a great deal of pain.

He continued on through life and created a company to sell his crafts around the country at craft fairs and flea markets. He made handmade baskets and puppets. I remember going to their house and he helped me hand make a couple baskets to keep as my own.

He was alive to welcome all of his grandkids into the world and loved them all so dearly. He was a great father and even better grandfather and I got to know him better over the years. He was an amazing baker and even made my wedding cake for my first wedding. I remember coming home the night before the wedding and he was putting the final layer of icing on the cake and I sat and chatted with him and helped with some of the final touches before finally going to bed.

Last week we lost him. He was able to conquer the cancer and live another 27 years beyond. We are so glad we got the extra time but as is often said it was never enough.

Sending prayers and condolences to my family. Another great man has moved on to whatever is beyond this life.