Reaching new heights... at 40

This is 40, tough life.I'm not sure what I expected my life to look like at 40.  I'm not sure I ever really had a plan.  Everything just kind of happened as it did.  And before you know it, you've got the kid, the spouse, the dog, the cat, the van, and it's all good.  It's what life at 40 looks like, right?

Maybe I thought by the time I was 40 I'd be doing things like washing my face every night and using eye cream.  Or maybe I figured I'd always have a clean house, like adults do.  Or maybe, just maybe, I'd be running for a political office. Ha! None of those things have happened, and I don't foresee them happening soon.

I do know that one of the things I'd not only hoped for, but expected, is that I'd be able to handle disappointment better.  Disappointment, for me, leads to anger, negativity and sadness.  I know that's normal... but I really did expect that by the time I was this age, that I would be equipped to handle it better.  You know what I'm talking about, you get disappointing news, but just let it brush right by you and go on about your day as if nothing happened.  Maybe you go into Camel Pose on the office floor and it all just floats away, and life is suddenly good and magical and peaceful and full of rainbows and unicorns. Isn't that how most peole handle it?  That's not how it is with me. Welcome to Grumpyville I keep it all to myself, and so easily get so focused on the growing negativity.  It typically leads me into a downward spiral to the land of Grumpyville, where I remain for a while.  Things that I thought didn't even bother me anymore, start to bother me again, and I fill with never ending self-doubt.  Grumpyville is a welcoming place.

Sometimes I didn't even realize that I had any expectations.  I like to think I pretty much take each day day-to-day, always with the hope that it's going to be a good day.  But then, as I've said before, sometimes things don't always go the way you want.  Sometimes you don't get what you want. Sometimes you didn't even know what you wanted.  Sometimes, the most trivial thing disappoints you.  Sometimes, you have to hear news that breaks your heart.  Sometimes you don't even know why you let it break your heart.  Sometimes you didn't even know you had a heart, and didn't even realize how bad you wanted something.  I know it's moments like these where we grow as a person, but facing disappointment and moving on with an open heart takes strength.  Sometimes, I don't feel like I have it, and I want to remain in the land of Grumpyville forever.

Master belayer at work

Recently, I've been going to a climbing gym, for exercise.  To put it simply, it's a challenge.  I often feel like my body is not made for climbing.  That very first time I made it to the top of the small wall, I was so elated. I'm elated every single time now.

Climbing is so scary and so physically challenging for me, but I did it.  Each time we are there, I have to tell myself to go a little higher, reach a new height, even if it's only just one inch further.  It's hard, but I do it. I realized how easy it is to talk myself into trying harder while climbing, but yet also how easy it is to let myself visit Grumpyville in disappointment at other times.  Maybe I should start expecting, at 40, that I remind myself to be grateful for the how far I've come in life, where sometimes it didn't even feel like I tried.  That, disappointment is there for a reason, but Grumpyville doesn't have to always be so welcoming.

I figure I've lived about half my life, officially now reaching middle age - 40!

When your kid has watched cupcake wars too many timesI guess this means I have the next half of my life to learn how to handle disappointment better, inch by inch if that's what it takes. And maybe also, to start using eye cream.  I'm happy to have entered into this new decade of life.





Like a tree, give yourself freedom to be flexible...

There became a point, several years ago, where I realized I could no longer write about the kid.  The moments she shared with me, or I observed, were her stories to tell.  They weren't mine. They aren't mine.  When, and if, she chooses to tell them, is her choice. Nearly 10 years ago, I started the story here on the blog, and I have cherished every moment with the kid.  Now I just don't write much because all I have to write about is myself, and sometimes that story is stuck re-reading the same chapter.  Today though, I'm ready to turn the page. 

My story continues just as it always has. Just as it always will. Day to day, things pretty much seem the same. Wake, eat, work, play, sleep, and repeat.  Earlier today I realized that exactly 8 months ago today was the last time I regularly practiced yoga.  I went from 4-5 days a week, to nothing.  Sure, I've gone back occasionally, but nothing regular.  My heart hasn't been in it.  Several people have even asked me how I could go from regular practice to none, just like that.  It wasn't easy, and I'm not completely sure it was the best decision that I've ever made.  Sometimes though, a little change can help you remember why you did something in the first place. 

While there is great physical benefit from yoga, the mental benefits were unbeatable. One of the classes that I use to attended regularly was by a fabulously perfect, yet flawed instructor.  In every class she would remind us that "comparison is the thief of joy".  That quote has stuck with me now for years.  It's true, comparing yourself to others, or even to yourself sometimes, will not make you happy, at least not in the long run.  She also used to tell us, "be kind to someone today because they might need it".  I think about that daily, and always try to practice kindness. In another class she once told us, while everyone was in a particularly hot and sweaty tree pose, to "Like a tree, stay rooted to the ground.  Like a tree, give yourself the freedom to be flexible." 

While yoga helped me to become flexible in a physical sense, it also has helped me to be more flexible in life.  Things don't always go the way you want.  Sometimes, you don't get what you want. Sometimes, you have to learn to be flexible. Sometimes, you have to keep going.  We keep going because that's just what we do in life.  We keep going. We keep moving.  We keep looking for more chapters in our stories of our own to tell.

Recently, more and more, I've been feeling ready to step back into a regular yoga practice.  As I begin the next phase in my yoga journey,  I plan to be like a tree.  Strong, tall, and rooted.  But, most of all... flexible, because you never know where the story will go next. 




The day I decided to take a break from yoga

It wasn't until I compared these two pictures from 2012 and 2015, that I realized how much I actually have changed, appearance wise.  Everyone who knows me, or knows a little bit about me, has heard about my struggle with diabetes. In 2013, I was finally able to lose some weight, 45lbs to be exact, which I talked about here.  I was able to get my A1C (test to determine the amount of glucose in my blood) in check, which I talked about here and here.  Since I started this journey, I have lost over 50 pounds, I have gotten stronger, I began practicing regular yoga and I feel better.  

Now brace yourself for this next picture, because even after losing all those pounds, I have to deal with this:

I'm not vain.  In reality, I know that it doesn't matter what my body looks like, it matters what my soul looks like. But that reality sometimes is difficult to grasp. This is the part of my body that I hate the most.  Even though I will wear a bikini at the beach (I mean, why not?!?) and I have no problems changing in a locker room, I still hate this part of me... this fat roll that won't leave... (the worst of it you can't see in this photo)  I can't wear certain dresses because I feel like they look terrible. I can't do certain yoga postures without that fat getting in the way.  I struggle with body image nearly every day. Sometimes, I think it makes me feel better to show photos like these, so people understand my stuggle more...  I wrote about my struggle back in 2013, here, and in 2014 here. For goodness sakes, why does it matter? I do not look at other women and judge them by their appearance.  It just matters to me. 

I tapered myself off of my diabetes medication in 2014 since I was doing so well, only to gain weight and begin to have blood sugar issues again. After feeling like a complete failure,  I started back on the medication in late April, and began a new exercise and diet program.  (Note: that bruise on my stomach is from the shots that I give myself) Ninety days later, and I am finally reaping the benefits of the medication and exercise.  See, it's really hard to lose weight when you are diabetic.  I've lost only 5 lbs, and I still can't run fast.  I go back next week to the Doctor for my quarterly blood work.  I'm dreading going, because I don't want bad news...

Now, here's where I get to the title of this post: The day I decided to take a break from yoga... Yoga was good to me, it helped me focus, it helped me relieve stress. I had several successful 30 day challenges where yoga was involved.  I feel like I owe a lot of my success to my fight with diabetes to yoga. However, yoga kicked my butt.  Sometimes I was able to at least reach my feet in camel, sometimes I couldn't.  Sometimes I had a hard time just grabbing my ankle in standing bow, sometimes it was a breeze.  I never really got into the "setting intentions" or "just be" part of the practice.  I did it so that I could be healthy.  I did it because, hot yoga is torture.  And that torture felt good and was what I needed.  This morning, I received notice that my annual membership was expiring. Something happened that made me realize, I couldn't go back there.  I had been thinking about taking a break anyway, but I decided right then and called to let them know I'm not going to renew.  I'm going to take a break.  I think need a change of scenery.  This break might be 30 days, it might be 30 years, but I need something different right now. I'm hopeful this is the right choice.  

Sometimes, one little choice sets off a whole chain reaction for good things to come. I know I'll come back to yoga, but for now I know it will understand I need to try a different path.  I'm just hopeful it's the right path... 

Yoga, I'll see you soon.


I feel like a failure

I feel like a complete failure. 

After everything I've tried over the past several years, it seems that diabetes is winning again.  It's my fault, really.  I was so intent on getting off the medications I was taking, that I didn't even fathom something else could happen to make it all worse!  So, with that, I'm back on the medication. I'm not okay with it yet, but I will be soon.

We all spend so much time trying to be happy, and when something is difficult or wrong, it feels REALLY wrong, possibly even like a failure.  What I forget sometimes, is that being happy all the time isn't possible, and experiencing difficulty is inevitable. No matter how happy you are, you still experience difficulty, it's how you handle it that is important.  I don't always handle it well.

Right now, I'm mad, I'm sad and I feel like a failure. I worked so hard to get to where I am, only to suddenly take 3 steps back.  In the back of my mind though, I also feel a freedom. This is the moment I have the opportunity to make the choice to fix it.  Rather than running away from it, like I feel like I've been doing the past few months, I now have the opportunity to use this sadness, this anger, to fix it.  To not run from it, to fix it.

I'm back on the journey I was on a few years ago.  A journey for myself, of myself, by myself. I want to be free again.

I will be. 


All of me, loves all of me (said in a voice similar to John Legend)

ME, ME, and more ME.  That's what this post is going to be all about.  Me.   Something has been keeping me from writting anything here for months.  Months!  And, I can't quite put my finger on the reason.  I'm sure it will come to me.  Until then... you're going to have to stick with me until the end here, or this post might not come across as I intend. 

Trying to lose weight is like holding your hand over a hot fire.  It is just that painful.  Seriously.  Especially for me!  I have this friend, who I love to death... but she can do Weight Watchers for a few weeks and lose 10 lbs.  She's so obnoxious like that!  And if I didn't like her so much, I would  hate her!  I have another friend who eats everything that is within a 2 mile radius of her mouth and she never gains a pound!  So annoying!

You know, I've totally accepted what I look like.  I love and appreciate my body for what it is. There is so much annoying talk about... it's not about the weight it's about being healthy, blah blah blah.  All sizes look great, blah, blah, blah.  Your weight can't define you, blah, blah, blah. And you know what, I do firmly beleive those things except when it comes to me.  Yep, I said it.  I BELIEVE ALL THOSE THINGS WHEN IT IS ABOUT YOUR BODY, BUT NOT MINE! And it's not what my body looks, like -- I spend my time practically naked at the beach!   


Over the past year, I had completey stopped taking my medication for Diabetes.  Seriously!  AND my A1C has been in normal range the entire time.  However, during that same time period, I have gained 15 lbs.  An annoying 15 lbs.  It's annoying because I was doing so great.  Here's the thing, I was so happy and focused on stopping the medication, that I didn't even begin to consider (even though my Dr. mentioned it was a possibility) that this may have adverse effects on my body.  I did weight watchers with said friend mentioned above for months, I lost MAYBE 7 lbs the entire time that I was doing it with her, which got me to the 15 I still need to lose.  I tried exercising more, I tried eating less, I tried eating more, I tried exercising less.  It just didn't work.

About a month ago, I decided to go to a different specialist and get help. I made an appointment with the Vanderbilt Medical weight Loss group.  They have a whole team of people to help me out.  First, they determined that my metabolism WAS SLOW!  BLAH! That ALL of my blood work was perfectly healthy, no thyroid or diabetes issues, perfect blood pressure.  I have a resting heart rate of 62, which apparently means I have good fitness.  After speaking with the exercise specialist, I realized I have pretty good fitness, but I'm just not fit.  After speaking to the dietician, I realized I'm eating all the right things, except that I need to eat more protein.  After speaking with the dr. I realized my body is suffering from insulin intolerance even though my A1C is normal.  This is causing my body to GAIN weight rather than lose it.  All this to say, I'm back on the medication as of yesterday.  I'm back to giving myself shots in the stomach daily, I'm back to those little bruises all over my tummy.  Also, once my bout of allergies passes, I'm back to the exercise I was once doing.  Let's hope for the best!

A couple weeks ago, I went to the mall to look for a new Easter dress. I'm the same size as the average American woman.  I find that kind of hard to believe sometimes when I look around, becasuse I do not feel average.  After trying on several dresses, I found one that was a cross between an Easter Egg and a blooming flower and seemed to fit perfectly for the spring season. It was kind of at that  moment that I realized - I just bought a ridiculous blue flower dress, that in the fashion world is considered plus size, even though It isn't plus size, and I was cool!  I was cool with it.  Totally.

See it's not about the weight.  I know how much I weigh.  I know what I look like. I accept what I look like.  I know that I absolutely hate my flabby fat stomach and I hate any and all stretch marks from being pregnant, but I also know that I can run a mile in about 10 minutes, I know that I can finish half-marathons, I know that I can get through tortoursly awesome yoga classes, I know that I can wear a ridiculous blue dress for Easter in the average American size, I know I am beautiful.  I know all that. So, what I really want, is I want is to be healthy.  For once in my adult life, I don't want to deal with being diabetic.  I don't want to have to struggle with trying to lose weight.  I WANT to eat that thing I haven't eaten.  I don't want to eat fish, I want pasta for crying out loud!  In order to beat this insulin intolerance issue I'm fighting now, I have to lose weight, that's the only way to make it go away. And it's hard, and it's making me really grumpy!  Really, really grumpy.  So when you hear me say I'm trying to lose weight, it's not because I don't like the way I look, it's because for once, I need to be healthy. 

And right now, all I want is cake. Delicious, delicious cake.




It's time to get uncomfortable, comfort follows...

I haven't written anything in nearly two months, and I'm not sure where the time has gone, to be honest! I mean, we are already into two months of school, Halloween is upon us and it's almost day light savings time! How did this happen?!?

I realize the past few months I have not been very comfortable. Things just haven't been feeling right... The other night, I couldn't get comfortable while sleeping. I was tossing and turning... I picked up my phone to read some news, I got up and got a drink, I walked downstairs. Then, finally I got back into bed. I scooted way down and laid on my stomach. I was so far down the bed that just the tips of my toes were hanging off the end. Normally, I hate to have any part of my body hanging off of the bed, (I'm sure that stems from some childhood nightmare!) but the other night, it just felt right. I quickly fell asleep.

When I woke up the next morning, I remembered that position and rolled over into it again. I was instantly comfortable! This really made me think, I haven't been exercising, I have gained more weight than I should have this summer (stress and me don't go well together), and I was really feeling like all my hard work over the past few years was just going down the drain. But then it hit me... You have to get uncomfortable to GET comfortable again.

I realized I've been feeling so uncomfortable about things over the past few months. Finally, I realized I could start to feel comfortable again, with just a few simple shifts. If I could do that with my sleep, why couldn't I do that with other parts of my life like my exercise habits that have fallen by the wayside? I totally can!

So that's why, as I admit to the public, I will be doing my first 30 Day Challenge in a year! I'm not going to share exactly what it is yet, but it involves P90x3 and yoga AND it involves 65 days - now through December 31. Details about individual portions of the challenge might be shared soon!

I'm okay with uncomfortable, because it makes me appreciate and strive for comfort.


Labor Day Weekend

We spent every bit of it outside...




Horse camp


You don't miss it until it's gone.

Just like most things in life...I didn't miss it until it was gone.

She gave it me a couple of months ago. She made it for me, so I wore it. It was at the height of her rainbow loom phase, a custom made bracelet just for me! A few weeks ago she even stopped and said to me, "mama, thanks for wearing the bracelet I made you".

I took this picture one day a while back to show her I was still wearing it. I wore it everywhere and never took it off. I wore it to work, to yoga, to bed, while showering, and every time in between. I am not a huge fan of jewelry. I don't usually wear my wedding ring and I never wear necklaces or bracelets. I only recently started wearing earrings again, and that's only because my husband kept buying them for me.

I was sitting at my desk after lunch today and looked down at my wrist and noticed there was no longer a bracelet on my wrist... Maybe it came off while I was sleeping, maybe it fell of while I was getting coffee or walked down the hall? It doesn't really matter, I guess, because it's gone. I didn't realize how much I really kind of liked that bracelet. It was only a silly little cheap rainbow loom bracelet, but it was mine and I kind of miss it...

I guess it is true. Sometimes you don't miss something until it's gone.

PS - when I told her about this, she promptly made me another one. This one is blue, white and black.