Monday, December 28, 2015

Exercising Demons

My mood was in the toilet when I got up this morning. I'm embarrassed to admit it, but I was ready to cuss someone, anyone, out if they got in my way.

My cat died.
My grandfather is aging and it's hard to see his decline in health. (But so grateful he's still here and I can be with him!)
I haven't been able to exercise the way I want.
I didn't pack the right kind of clothes for outdoor exercise.
I didn't pack the right kind of clothes for anything outside.
I'm stuck indoors. (For an extrovert who likes to be out doing stuff this is SO hard!)
I'm stuck with the same three other people (whom I do love, really!). (see above note- very hard!)
My butt STILL hurts from riding the exercise bike.

I've eaten way too much sugar to stuff the feelings of the things noted above, which has made my body feel awful and only adds to the stress. My joints are inflamed and my muscles are sore.

Desperate times...
or, German determination....
or, just plain stubborn!
I was in a mood, y'all! So when my mother asked if I wanted to ride along to the Post Office and check out hotels for Grandpa's birthday, I had to do some thinking. A change of scenery would be great. But I knew I was in a foul mood and didn't want to take it out on the other people around me. I said I'd go, but had second thoughts while showering. I waffled back and forth until it came time to go and I decided to go.

Glad I went. I got to see that it really wasn't so bad out. And while eating lunch on our way home from the errands, I determined that I would just layer up no matter how awkward it might be. I was going out for a walk!

And walk I did! I thought that if I just did the short loop that I had done on my first walk here last week that I would be doing pretty good. When I got to the open field, I pulled my scarf up over my nose so I wouldn't have to breathe in the frigid air, and continued on. When I got to the turning point to go home, I determined I was able and wanting to do more, so I continued on the path for the full outer loop.

Feeling good as I rounded the last corner before the turn back into the subdivision, I determined to go a little farther on. Instead of just over a mile, like the first day, I did 3.5 miles, y'all! I can't tell you how good I feel. I definitely had to push through some mental battles against the desire to get out of the cold and get warm, and the anxious thoughts about all the other things going on in my life. Just after mile two I got to the point where I was just walking, and man it felt sooooo gooooood!

I'm so glad I exercised past those demons today. I think I can be nice now - to myself and to others.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Things I Love - Yoga

Be present.
Yoga is one of my new favorite things.

I knew when I started my journey two years ago that I needed to work on flexibility. I started with just some basic stretches at home and have regained some of the movement I had lost due to inactivity and weight gain. But I need more. I still can't sit comfortably on the floor "criss-cross applesauce" (or "Indian Style" for you "old school" people). My hips, thighs, and back are tight.

And all the inflammation from too much sugar at Christmas time isn't helping. I hurt, y'all!

My trainer's instructions for my week-long vacation in Colorado was to have this be an "active recovery" week. He'd suggested I run outside; I don't run in the cold. It's too cold and hurts to breathe.

I mentioned my grandpa has an exercise bike in the basement. My trainer suggested that I ride for 40 minutes. I said my butt couldn't stay on that long, so he broke it into two 20 minute sessions. After one 20 minute session the first day that plan was foiled. I still can't sit quite right - my butt ain't built for sitting on a bicycle seat!

His other suggestion? The one that struck gold? Yoga!

I looked up yoga videos on YouTube and found a series that looked friendly, called "Yoga with Adrienne." I gave it a shot the first day and haven't tried any others. I've done a different one each day; some days I've done two shorter videos.

I love it. Yoga. It's hard because like I said before, I'm really tight in my hips, thighs, and back. It's nearly impossible or completely impossible for me to do some of the poses - for now. But even after a few consecutive days I can tell some poses are getting easier.

For today's practice I checked out her 30 Days of Yoga playlist; Day 1 of course. Now, if you've never done yoga before, or are still new, I'd recommend her intro to yoga series which teaches the poses, but if you're fairly comfortable with most basic poses, this is a good one. (Last night, I did the bedtime yoga and highly recommend that, too!)

But back to today's practice - 30 Days of Yoga, Day 1. I'm going to keep doing yoga while on vacation, but I'm going to start the 30 Days of Yoga challenge fresh in the new year and I'd like to invite you to join me. Check in with me each day on Facebook for the video link, or feel free to find it yourself on YouTube by looking up Yoga with Adrienne. And share with me, and others, in the comments on Facebook, about how your practice went for that day's video. Perhaps this can be part of your new year's resolution for better health? And really, it's only 30 days. You can do anything for 30 days if you put your mind to it, so let's do this together!


Friday, December 25, 2015

Blah Humbug!

I woke up with a plan. I was going to ride the bike for 20 minutes (even though it hurt my hiney last time, it's just too cold to walk outside), then do some yoga before getting ready for Christmas dinner with family at my grandparent's house.

That plan lasted about 45 seconds before I realized that my butt just could not stand (or sit, rather) to be on the exercise bicycle seat any more. It just hurt too much. So, I resolved to bundle up, layer my new ear muffs under my hat, and wrap my scarf around an extra time, and hope that would be warm enough. I headed outdoors for a 20-30 minute walk to be followed still by a yoga video when I got home. That lasted about half a mile before I realized it was too cold to walk any longer. I was back home at the one mile mark with a runny nose and weepy eye from the cold air.

Frustrated and freezing, I felt defeated. I didn't even want to try doing yoga because I'm so inflexible that even several beginners poses are impossible for me to do. I gave up. My great plans to take care of myself by exercising to boost my happy endorphins is defeated.

Santa's Favorite Elf
I angrily stripped off my outer layers, feeling suffocated like the boy in "The Christmas Story". Brushing my teeth and washing my face I tried to let go of my frustrations and thought perhaps I'd share them with you all.

Things don't always go as planned. Maybe I need to let go of my expectations for today and just enjoy it - in moderation, of course. Maybe, like for Mary, God has something better in store for me than I could ever imagine. Not that I'll become the mother of the Savior of the world, but you know....God can do amazing things through those humble enough to let Him use them.

Now, I'm gonna shake off this Grinch-y attitude, put on m
y elf outfit, and go have a healthy little snack before making my salad for the Christmas meal with family.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Back to the UHG's Roots - 2nd Anniversary

It's the Urban Hiker Girl's
Two Year Anniversary!

December 2013, when the journey began.
Two years ago I began this journey to better health, not knowing that I would have a blog with followers and be inspiring others. I began this journey so that they way I felt on the inside would be reflected on the outside. I began this journey to get back the person I wanted to be but had lost. I began this journey because I knew I needed to change so that I wouldn't end up with the health problems of other, older members of my family; I wanted to choose a different path.

So one night while I was dog-sitting, after getting back from a walk with Rudy and Casey, I was thinking about how easy it was to fit a little walk into my day. And I wondered why I didn't do that more often since it was so simple. Like a snowball rolling down the hill collects moment and mass, my idea transformed as I grabbed a piece of scratch paper and started a timeline.

I knew I needed to lose close to 100 pounds. I thought about 5 pounds a month sounded like a reasonable weight loss goal, so I believed I could reach my goal by the same time the next year. I drew out a timeline and marked out my end goal, and all the months between now and then. I started adding in my weight loss goals along the timeline.

But I knew I would need to do more than just want to lose the weight, I needed a plan for how to get there. And I also needed to improve some other areas of my life- flexibility and strength (because muscle helps burn fat and toning and firming will help my shape. Little by little I thought about small changes I could make to the way I ate and my physical activity each day. I had done Weight Watchers off and on since high school, taken sports medicine classes, and worked with a personal trainer in the past, so a lot of the basics I already knew - I just had to apply them.

December 2014
And so my journey began. Eating better breakfasts in January. Adding more fresh fruits and vegetables in the spring and summer. Trying new soup and stew recipes in the winter. Stretching. Yoga videos for some stretching. Wall push-ups. Then increasing the angle of the wall push-ups. Then moving to floor push-ups on my knees. Walking longer. Walking faster. Walking hillier routes. Every month I tweaked everything a little.

And the weight started to come off. I started to feel more vibrant and alive. I started to feel more my age, younger even. My shape was changing and I felt great.

When I moved to Salt Lake City a year and a half ago, the apartment complex had a fitness center I could start using. Before everything had been walking outside and body weight or 2# dumbbells. Now I could increase the weights because the fitness center had variety, and I could walk on the treadmill or use the elliptical machine. And my shape kept changing and my fitness continued to improve. I met my weight loss goal, but more importantly, I improved my quality of life because I could now do again the things I loved- chase my niece and nephew around the yard playing football at Thanksgiving, wear age-appropriate clothes that flattered my figure, and come out of my shell and get involved in my community again.

Merry Christmas and Happy 2nd Anniversary!
December 2015
This past summer, I joined a "real" gym so I could attend classes like yoga and kickboxing. And, because I had become a runner, run on a treadmill in the summer heat and winter cold. I don't like to run in extreme temperatures - yuck! I completed my first ever 5k race in July, and then two more later this summer. Setting my sights a little loftier, I completed 10k training, but haven't done a race yet (the running outside in extreme temperatures thing), and am now moving on to half-marathon training with the help of a personal trainer.

On vacation at my grandparent's house in Denver, it's too cold to run outside, so I'm back to my roots - walking outside. And a yoga video (per my trainer's instructions!). I feel vibrant, healthy, beautiful, and comfortable in my own skin. My body isn't perfect, but my body is pretty amazing. It's come so far on this journey and all the awful things I'd put it through in the past. I'm now taking better care of it and thanking it for carrying me this far. I need it for the next 60-70 years! Happy 2nd anniversary to me, the Urban Hiker Girl!

Today's yoga video (loved it!):

Sunday, December 20, 2015

An Open Letter to My Trainer

Dear Mr. Trainer,
Ok... I do need my trainer, too.
I'm really grateful for the workouts you've put me through these last few weeks. I can feel changes happening through the focused workouts you've designed. I appreciate the focus you've given on making my body stronger and feel better. I love the challenge you've given me in my fitness training.
But this diet thing with more protein.... it's causing me some stress and frustration. You want me to eat more protein and less carbs. I just don't know how to eat more protein while eating a diet that also includes enough fruits and vegetables. I think that may be why (confession time) I ate a box of cookies this morning for breakfast.
I know. I know.
I only meant to eat one or two. I should have headed the warning from the lady who said don't open it until you're prepared to eat the whole box because it's hard to stop. I should have listened to my gut that said give the cookies to someone else because I knew they would be tempting to me.
I'm sorry.
I'm apologizing to myself and to you. I know you're investing time and energy to help me transform me. I'm investing time, energy, and money in this, too. And eating a box of cookies for breakfast defeats that. I get it. I'm not trying to undo our hard work. I'm stressed. I'm an emotional eater. I know that. You know that now, too.
I know I need to make some changes if I'm going to see the results that I want and that you are trying to give me. I promise that I'm doing my best every day. I wake up with the intention of doing the best to give my best. Please don't take this personally, it's not about your skill as a trainer - you're excellent - it's about my emotional-ness right now. I resolve each day, each moment to do my best to take care of myself. Sometimes I slip. I'll forgive myself. I'd appreciate your forgiveness, too.  I'm trying, really I am. No excuses, just an explanation.
The rest of this day will be better. ...but I still need to work on figuring out that protein - fruit/veg balance.
Sincerely,
Urban Hiker Girl

Thursday, November 26, 2015

A Blessing in Disguise

Two years ago, at Christmas time, I started my better health journey. I made a plan with goals, mini-goals, and steps to help get me there. I made that goal last year and have been keeping up with things since then. 

But since earlier this year I've been struggling to find my motivation to keep going. To keep going through the motions of "exercising". I needed a new goal. And so I found one - a 5 k. I've done three 5ks and feel very proud of my accomplishments, but.... I'm struggling again. I need a new goal.

Don't forget to count your blessings this Thanksgiving.
Remember, they could be disguised!
I set a goal of a 10k. I did the training. But there aren't many 10ks available to run; and I'm picky about running outside - I don't do it in the cold. It's too hard to breathe. After completing the 10k training, I decided my next goal would be a half-marathon. Something big.

But speaking of hard to breathe....I've been sick for a month. First walking pneumonia for 3 weeks. No exercise. Rest was the doctor's orders, and a prescription. And then I was better for about a week. I played volleyball late one night. And I even did a half-hearted run on the treadmill twice before getting sick again.

Now I'm sick again, this time with a sinus infection (yuck!), and back to resting - no exercise. 

At first I was really bummed that I couldn't get back to my regular workout routines. I was afraid I would get fat again without exercise. Afraid that I wouldn't be able to control (limit) enough what I ate so I would over-consume calories without burning enough calories. 

And yes, I'll admit, at first I did go up a few pounds on the scale. But the scale also came back down. Without a run. Without a long walk. Without the elliptical machine. I did it by controlling (balancing) what I ate, with the light activity that I had the energy for (work and dancing twice a week). 

I didn't realize it until just the other morning what a blessing my sicknesses were in disguise. I learned that I could maintain a healthy weight without living at the gym, without relying on exercise calories burned to allow me to eat more. I could do it. I did it. I'm going to keep doing it. 

Because I'm amazing!

Monday, November 23, 2015

I Need(ed) a Hug

Yep, that's me.
I'm a touchy, feely person. If you know me outside this blog, in real life, then you already know that. I'm in touch with my feelings. I also value human touch. I'm a hugger.

I guess one of the perks of teaching for me, beyond the sharing knowledge, the light bulb moments when a kid "gets it", yadda, yadda, yadda, is that I get lots of hugs. I mean TONS of hugs. All the time.

Sometimes the need is this real.
So real that I cry.
And all those little hugs are great. I love those hugs. But sometimes I need a grownup hug. Someone adult to hold me and just be there. No talking necessary, just their physical presence. That hasn't happened for a while for me.

I have a friend, a dance friend, who I cuddle with. It's a dance move. It's fun. And I tease him that I like cuddling with him. I like dancing with him and it's a fun move.

But having been sick for so long, then healthy for a little while, then getting sick again. I haven't been able to get out and be around my friends. And being sick, having no energy, just feeling sorry for myself, I was craving some human contact and really wanting a hug.

So he came. He hugged me. It was so good that I cried. I felt tears come to my eyes because having that human contact, comfort, was missing for so long that it felt like a release as I relaxed into his embrace.

Thank you, my friend. Thank you for being there. We humans were made to be in contact with others. Some of us (extroverts) more than others (introverts), but we all need each other and physical contact sometimes.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Prayer For My Friend

Heavenly Father, I miss my friend. I miss them a lot. We haven't seen each other in over a month and my life feels a little emptier without them.

And lately I've really been wanting to spend time with them. And perhaps that's how you feel about me. I've been neglecting our time together, not spending enough time in conversation with you.

And I've had a few tears of longing for time with my friend. How many times have you shed tears longing for time with me? Waiting for me to come back to you.

Their absence hurts and weighs heavy on my heart. I long to just be close to my friend, to hold each other in a long embrace. No words to speak, just together. Just together.

Do you long for me, too, like that, Lord? Waiting to hold me in your embrace and just be with me?

I'm longing, Lord. Longing to feel a warm embrace. Longing to be held. Desiring to hold another and share my love. Show me who needs my love and let me feel your embrace.

Amen.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Out Of My Control

So I this week started reading a Bible study book called "Unglued" by Lisa TerKeurst, a Proverbs 31 Ministries online Bible study. I'm on chapter 2 and I'm on my second reading up the chapter. As I read I like to read once just to absorb information. The second time I read I like to underline passages and take notes.

So, today I'm on my second reading of chapter 2 entitled "I'm not a freak out woman". I've read again and again words along the lines of  "I can face things that are out of my control without acting out of control."

And yeah, sure I believe that in a lot of areas of my life. In fact, I was great at that yesterday when I was at the dealer waiting for my car that was getting recall work done. I first got a phone call from my bank saying there has been fraudulent activity on my bank card. They had to close my card and transferred me to customer service to get a new card activated, but I won't get it for a week or so. Until then I have to pay for everything with cash. And just after I got off the phone with my bank the attendant at the car station comes in and tells me that there's no oil in my car and they want to do some tests and repairs are going to cost a couple hundred dollars. I had a choice I could freak out to start stressing my brain spend a million miles a minute, or I could breathe and look at one thing at a time. I chose to calmly contact my bank and request a new card. Then, I thought through some of my options with my car and I chose to have one test done and wait for a few weeks until after the test is done to see if the other service would be needed. That reduced my expenses yesterday greatly.

But as I started writing this down in my journal, about facing things out of my control without acting out of control, and underlining the thought in my book an idea really hit hard. Am I trusting God, really trusting God, about this in my dating life? Do I really believe God is there and that he is out to do me good? Can I stop freaking out and stop trying to fix dating situations on my own? Am I ready to rest in the fact that God is in control? Even in control of my dating life?

I wasn't so good at that earlier this year. This past spring I met a man online. He came to visit and we fell in love. He became a big part of my world: we talked, texted, called, frequently. But then something happened at his job and he couldn't give me time and attention. Things were out of control and I felt out of control. I acted out of control. I stopped trusting God's plan and forgot whose side I'm on. I was the worst version of myself.

I made a new friend earlier this year. We immediately connected on facebook and also texted regularly.And we would see each other about once or twice a week sometimes. I have come to feel very close to this person. We aren't dating, we're just friends, but very good friends. They are very important to me. 

But things in their life have changed recently and it's affected our relationship. We haven't seen each other as much and haven't talked for awhile. Things in our relationship are out of my control. And I have a choice. I can freak out because things are out of control or I can choose to trust that God is in control and He is on my side and on my friend's side for our good. So I ask myself what good will it do to freak out? No good.

So, whose side are you on?

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Parent-Teacher Conferences

Last night on the way home, exhausted from a long day of teaching followed by Parent-Teacher conferences until 8:30 pm, I had a revelation: Parent-Teacher Conferences weren't scary anymore.

My first several years of teaching I always dreaded Parent-Teacher conferences. I was afraid that parents would question what I was doing and that I wouldn't be able to defend myself. I worried that I wouldn't have the answers to their questions so they would think I wasn't a good teacher. I was afraid to tell them about struggles their child was having and that they wouldn't support me, or they wouldn't agree, or they wouldn't....something. I was afraid I wasn't a good enough teacher and that they would see through my wonderful, happy teacher facade I put on.

Well, for those who have been following the blog, you know my confidence level has changed. For old and new alike, let me tell you - it was not easy to change! It took years of rewiring my brain to see myself as good enough just as I am. It took a lot of hard work to learn to be me - they can take it or leave it, but here's who I am and I like me.

I now believe in myself. I know I am a good teacher. I love my kids - first and foremost - and they know that and they love me, too. Second to that, I get to teach them about Jesus every day by my actions and my words.

I get to know my kids and how they learn best so that I can be effective in my teaching. I adapt to their needs.

I keep my room neat and organized.

I have high expectations and they rise to meet them.

I shower them with love, affection, and affirmation.

I believe in myself. I could go on about the qualities that make me a good teacher, but I don't need to. I know who I am and what I am. I am comfortable being me, and the confidence I exude shows. Parents support me. And, because I love their kids, they like me.

So, Parent-Teacher Conferences aren't so scary anymore.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Freedom

Having my own car has brought me a lot of physical freedom. I am no longer dependent on my roommate to chauffeur me around. I no longer have to limit myself to shopping at places within walking distance.

As I drive home from visiting my family and Boise, I have rediscovered another kind of freedom. A mental and emotional freedom. As I look around me at the beautiful ranch land surrounded by mountains, I feel a sense of openness, peace, and freedom. I feel emotional freedom. Free from constraints of what others may think of me. Free from trying to be what I think others want me to be. I'm free to be myself.

I have freedom. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from shame. Freedom to open up and let others see me - to be authentic. The real me. Freedom to love. Freedom to be loved. Freedom to give to others. Freedom to be powerful. Freedom to be beautiful. Freedom to be independent. Freedom to ask for what I need. Free to ask for support.

No more chains holding down.No more worries to hold me back. No fear of the future and what it might bring.

Joy to live in freedom. Freedom to enjoy the things that I have been blessed with.

I'm free to be me! And I'm pretty wonderful.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Change

This week is about change.

Change in the way I dress, sleep, eat, play, work, date. You name it, I'm evaluating it. If it ain't working, I'm making changes.

You've been warned. Now stand back and watch me become even more amazing.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Tough Choices

I don't want to be an adult today. I want to ignore responsibilities and go have fun. But no, I'm being an adult and taking care of myself.

I WANT to be at the Styx and Def Leppard concert with my friends, staying out late, and celebrating someone's birthday with cupcakes.

Instead, I am adulting. I'm CHOOSING what is right and necessary over what is fun. I'm choosing to go to the gym, eat a healthy dinner, grade papers, and go to bed early.

Being an adult stinks today.

But I'm listening to my body and I know I won't regret that. Taking care of myself always makes my body feel good.

Cinders checking things out.
I reread a meme from a previous blog post about choosing what is right vs easy (see "Patience"). I'm choosing what is right even though it's hard and not fun.

And guess what sweet surprise just walked through the door?! My roommate brought me a bouquet of my favorite flowers because she knew I was stressed out about everything going on this week; she wanted to cheer me up. I have an awesome roommate!

Maybe this adulting thing won't be so bad.... I'm off to the gym now.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Self-Care

This morning I woke up and felt so much better after getting a lot of sleep last night. And as I headed out the door to go to work, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror, and I thought to myself "I look beautiful today." Self-care is an amazing, important thing. And sadly, most of us don't do enough of it.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Ready

Last week I was frustrated with men. I thought it was perhaps because of my sugar-bingeing, but this week I've been off of processed sugar (and going for natural sugar found in foods), yet this discontent with men and dating remains. So it's not just the sugar talking, this is something really on my heart.

This morning I woke up feeling tired and dreading the days ahead. I have some fun stuff going on this week, but when I woke up this morning all I could think about was how tired I would be after doing all these fun things and wondering if I could skip some, but also not wanting to miss out on time with friends. Folks, I'm tired. I'm worn out.

It's not just physical exhaustion. It's emotional. There seems to be dating drama everywhere I go. Rumors still circulating about whether I'm dating this guy or that guy. (What a problem to have, I know, right?) This is new to me. Never have I been that girl before. Never. It's wearing on me.

I just want to go and have fun at volleyball or dancing or a concert. But when I go someone always asks if I'm dating such and such a guy.

Just to make sure we're all clear here: I'M NOT DATING ANYONE. I'M SINGLE. cue Beyonce... all the single ladies, all the single ladies put your hands up!


No one's put a ring on it, folks. I'm single. Not in a relationship. Not seeing anyone. Just hanging out and having fun... well, I was, now I'm not sure of that either. And so I woke up this morning dreading it all and wanting to crawl back under the covers.

(And just for the record, most of the guys have told me they aren't dating/won't date me. I have told only one I won't date him because he's not my type.)

This is the text conversation that ensued:
Me: Ever since you mentioned not going to volleyball last night, to have a quiet night tonight, that idea has been rattling around in my mind to maybe do the same. In fact, I wisih I could take the day off from work and have a whole day and night of quiet. But I can't do that, so maybe just a quiet night tonight or tomorrow.
Me: Ok, so that was first waking up. Now, after showering and dressing I have more thoughts. 
Me: I'm tired. Tired of being alone. Of being my own strength and support all the time. i want someone to mutually support and be supported by. I want to be held. I want to hold tightly.Me: I'm tired of being surrounded by people but still feeling alone. I want to be with someone who understands my heart. To be with people who truly see me. 
Me: Maybe this is why I feel like my dating life sucks. Because men see my outward appear but they don't see my heart. They lust after me but they don't really know me.
Friend (who finally has woken up): If you want to be held you need to have children. 
Friend: Social programming does not influence people in that direction of truly knowing someone. It's all about the physical, the visual. 
Friend: Lots in the current battle between the few and the marketing giants of the world. 
Friend: You live in one of the most screwed up social settings in the country. 
Friend: Probably the worst habitat for developing or fostering any kind of healthy relationship at any age. 
Friend: If you want to be held, if you want to hold someone so you can experience genuine love and affection that's undying, the best odds at that are to have three children, your own children. 
Me: Ah, I understand what you are saying. 
Me: I do want kids, but not on my own. Parenting is tough. You need a teammate. And kids need a mom and a dad. 
Me: Someone at work just asked how I was doing and I started crying. I'm emotionally tired.

That's the realization I had today. I'm emotionally tired.

I shared a picture of a swimming pool with a little sludge left in the bottom and debris floating, captioned "dating pool in your 30s". That's kind of how I'm feeling at the moment... dating is murky waters. Exhausting and murky.

I have a lot of love to give. I have a great big heart. I desire to share love with others. And to find someone worthy of that love who returns it. But lately I seem to keep finding men who are not worthy of that love. Or men who aren't able to give love. Why  do I keep falling for emotionally unavailable men? It's a question I keep asking myself over and over again.

I'm ready. Now where are all the good men? The ones who are looking for a relationship, emotionally available, able to give and receive love, true followers of Christ? I'm ready to love.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Outta Whack

I still feel outta whack. I feel like crying over the littlest things. And I get pissed off over the littlest things. And I'm still so tired, even thought I got plenty rested this weekend. I am definitely not my best self.

I'm feeling pissed off at a friend for not responding to me for several days. A mutual friend says this person just does that some times. I know I shouldn't take it personally, but I am right now. I'm  trying to remember to give them grace and compassion - they are doing the best that they can in their life right now. It's not about me it's about them. It's their issue. They will respond to me when they are ready and able.

And I'm just so fed up with pretty much all men right now. Ok, maybe not all me. I started to think about two that I'm not disgusted with and the list was actually quite long - you can thank my brother and most adorable nephew for swinging the vote that men aren't so bad. Maybe it is just a few men in my life that I need to look at and decide if they are worth the hassle. (And right now I'm leaning towards NOT!)

Ok, and if I'm being honest, I ate sugar yesterday and today. I can feel the tension knots starting in my shoulders. I could be achy from that or from the fact that I didn't sleep well last night which lowered my stress tolerance (which led to some emotional and mindless eating). Now I'm regretting the sugar. (But it's leaving the apartment soon!)

But still, I'm disgusted with men. A few in particular. I want to delete our text histories because I'm pissed off, but really, what good will that do other than I wouldn't have to see their faces and message history listed in my message inbox.

And I'm fed up with rumor starters. A part of me wants to skip some of my favorite activities because there are rumors I'm dating this one guy at dancing, and other rumors about two different guys I might be dating at volleyball. I'm not dating any of them. They are just friends. We sometimes flirt, but mostly we just participate in the same activity together and have fun doing so. Stop spreading rumors, people. This isn't junior high, this is my life.

Gee, I was hoping that if I wrote some of this stuff down it would help clear my mind so I could sleep. Not sure that it's helping because I'm sort of getting riled up. But a moment later I can't keep my eyes open.

I need to go to bed and give myself some grace and compassion - I'm doing the best that I can right now. And when I'm ready, I'll look at what changes I need to make in my life so these darned men are less aggravating to me.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

My Third 5k: Fallen Hero Memorial Run

Last weekend I signed up for two more 5ks to try to get my running motivation back. The first of two - my third 5k so far - was today. The Fallen Hero Memorial Run in Draper, Utah is to remember and raise money for the families of those who have lost their lives. Super hero attire was encouraged, so my friends and I all wore tshirts (some borrowed, one bought - but now I'm kind of wanting to buy my own, too). I look pretty SUPER if I do say so myself.

I have been pretty busy and very tired since school started. I was losing motivation to continue my training. My hope was that by signing up for these races I would be motivated to keep training for a 10k. With the race coming up I knew I had to get refocused on my training and other things to take care of myself. I gave myself permission to say no to some activities and yes to myself. Taking care of myself, I got more sleep and made time for running again.

I made myself go to bed early on Thursday and not stay out late dancing or playing volleyball on Friday. I also resumed  my training in order to prepare for the race today. I was feeling good this morning as we arrived at the race start.

Looking SUPER!
Last night, I met up with my friend Matty to borrow his Superman shirt for the race today. I had picked out my shorts, socks, and running shoes, with his shirt I was ready for the superhero run.

My friend Sarah and I got to the race site about 40 minutes before the start to pick up our packets and get warmed up. We found Melissa, who had invited the both of us to join her, and  got some pre-race pictures. (Melissa's husband is the head mechanic for the airmed choppers, so we were excited to see it arrive before the race.)

At the starting line we agreed to run our own pace and meet again at the finish line. I was a little unsure what my pace would be since I haven't run on the street for a while - I'd been doing treadmill runs for the last month or so. I started easy, and when my tracking app said my first mile pace was 11 minutes I knew I was doing well and could go a little faster the next two miles.

I picked up the pace on my second mile and did it in 10:30. And in the third mile I caught up to Melissa and we finished together. According to the results I was 5th in my age bracket, which I'm pretty proud of. (Melissa was 3rd in her age group, and Sarah was 4th in her age group. Nice job to all of us!)

When I got home, I made notes on my race bib and took a long, much needed nap. So glad I am getting back on track. And so glad I was able to do this race with these lovely ladies this morning.


pre-race group photo
pre-race selfie

Official result - slightly different than my apps results, but only by 5 seconds.

post-race selfie
We did it!

My bib collection, with race notes.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Living At Break Neck Speed

I have been way too busy lately. It has been one thing after another almost every night since early July. Many of the things happening late at night and then me getting up earlyish in the morning. Even earlier now that school has started.

And now life seems to be catching up with me and I am feeling overwhelmed. There are so many things in my own little private world that I have neglected and my busyness. There are relationships I have neglected. But most importantly I have neglected to listen to my body and take care of myself.

And as I get dressed this morning I feel tears welling up in my eyes because I'm sad at the way I've treated myself, the way I have treated some of my friendships, and the way I have treated things in my life. Some of these things I wish I could go back and undo but I know that I cant.

Life just needs to slow down. Starting today. What I can do to take care of myself is to spend the evening doing things for me. Things like going to the gym, eating a healthy dinner, grading papers so they aren't looming in my mind as something I need to do. I also need to knit; I have so many baby blanket that I want to make for people having babies. I need to clean and do laundry. I need to take care of myself and my space.

I need a plan. And then I need supporters. I need prayer warriors who will be on my side I need friends who will be there to listen, to offer a shoulder to cry on if needed, to celebrate with me when needed, and sometimes to just sit quietly with me.

All these things have thrown my body out of whack. I've been staying up late so I've been eating late in the evening which has been causing me some tummy troubles. I've not been getting enough sleep which is causing my body to feel tired. The tiredness and the things I've been busy doing have been putting a lot of stress on my body and my body just isn't functioning at its best. I feel stress in my body semicolon my knees hurt, my back hurts, I've been getting headaches, and I've got knots in my shoulders.

I need to slow down and take better care of my body again. If I don't slow down and listen to my body I know I could end up where I was a couple of years ago and I never want to go back to that. But my weight has been bouncing up and down mostly up for the last several weeks and I don't like that. I know what I need to do to take care of my body but I've been too busy to listen to it.

I need to slow down. I've lost some of myself in my busyness and I miss me. I need to get back to taking care of myself and doing things that are good for me and that I'm truly passionate about. I need to spend more time with true friends who are uplifting and encouraging and godly.

In December of 2013 I sat down and wrote a year-long plan changed my life forever. I think it's time for September 2015 to be the time to write the plan that will change my life again.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Worthy

Have you ever felt so alone in your hurt? Have you ever cried so hard that you drop to your knees on the floor of the bathroom while your heart is hurting? Have you ever then with someone you know you shouldn't be with and yet you did it anyway?

Why do we do things that we know will cause us pain and grief? Why do we set ourselves limits and boundaries and yet cross them anyway? Why do we do these things when we know we will only get hurt?
I've done something foolish. Something I knew I didn't want to do. I told myself for weeks that I should stay away from this person. This weekend, I let this person back into my life even though I knew they would only hurt me. I confessed to a friend what I had done and while it brought me some relief because of her loving support, she shared with me something about the person involved that has caused me more hurt yet at the same time strengthened my resolve for the need to keep that person from being too involved in my life.

So here I am crying on the bathroom floor and hurting from a self inflicted wound because I let a person in my life that I shouldn't have. And now I need a plan. A plan to protect myself from the toxicity of this person and the potential for them to hurt me again.

My resolve is strengthened. I will make a plan to keep them at a safe distance. To keep myself at a safe distance. To protect my heart from hurt. Because I am worthy of good things. I am worthy of good friends. I am worthy of having loving people in my life. I am worthy of love. And this person does not love or care for me.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Hope

Why do we open ourselves up to love after repeatedly getting hurt?

Why do we keep trying, even after we make fools of ourselves over the wrong person?

Hope.
We hope it will be different the next time.
We hope the next person will be different. We hope.
We don't give up; we keep hoping for a better future.

Something, someone gives us a glimmer of hope.

A smile. 
A song.
A meme on facebook.
A word from a friend.

No matter how much the last time hurt, we eventually try again. So, while I tell my girl friends that I'm swearing off men, I don't mean permanently. Just taking a break to give myself time to heal from hurt and reflect on what I learned from this experience.

This time around just reinforced something I previously learned. Unfortunately, I had to relearn, reinforce it, the hard, painful way. I have a big, loving heart that keeps hoping.

I'm not going to give up on love. It is still worth hoping for.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Why Do I Do This to Myself?

This afternoon I'm feeling like a busted can of biscuits.
No more cookies!
Why do I do this to myself?

I know why I do it. I know how I will feel afterwards. Yet I do it anyways.

I was bored with my plain chicken and white rice lunch. I am over-tired from two very late nights in a row. And there was a huge tray of cookies in the staff workroom. I ate 4 cookies without much hesitation. After I had two mini cupcakes this morning for a student's birthday treat.

And 30 minutes later I have a stomach ache and a headache. I'm going to feel the sugar drop a little later, so on top of my over-tiredness I'll feel really lousy from the sugar.

Why do I do this to myself?

I'd already told myself this morning that I needed to be better this weekend because I'm up a few pounds on the scale. I packed myself a lunch and morning and afternoon snacks that were things I'd normally enjoy and feel good about eating. I ate them, but I kept right on eating other things that I knew would make me feel not good.

And I'm supposed to go out with coworkers for dinner tonight. I hope.... no, not hope,... I will PLAN to do better with my choices the rest of the day. I can do this. I know what needs to be done to take care of myself and make myself feel better.

This is a process. I'm still learning to listen to my body and take care of myself. I lived the old way for 35 years. Training myself to act a different way won't happen overnight. Even a year later I'm still learning and practicing this new way of living. Changing my mindset is hard. Being present and mindful is hard. I'm tough, though, and I can do this.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Holding Space


I recently started playing volleyball with a group of individuals very different and similar to me. We have different faith backgrounds, but are still people of faith. We are all single, but for different reasons. Some have kids, some don't. 

One person from my new circle of friends is....well, there is no one word or even a few words that can sum him up. I'm learning every day that he is more than a bass-playing beach bum. He has a deep soul, and a compassionate and loving heart with great capacity to hold things. He has an easy smile and you can tell he's still a bit of a kid at heart - just wants to love and be loved, and have fun living life. I enjoy being with him and feel content to just be still or to have fun and goof around or have a serious, deep conversation. Every experience with him touches me and changes me, for the better. 

He amazed me again, and reminded me that he is more than just a California boy who loves burritos after volleyball, when he posted something heart-felt on Facebook recently. With his permission (and links to sources he borrowed from), I am sharing it here. I love the idea of "holding space" for others, with compassion and without judgment. Thank you, Matty Boles, for allowing me to share your words here.


“Holding Space”
Where much is given, much is required. These words hold more power and value than I ever imagined. 
As human beings we are born into this world with an innate capacity for giving and receiving love and joy. Over time this gift and capacity becomes exposed to the direct and indirect sorrows and pains of the world which diminishes this pure light. 
Some of us become painfully aware of this deficit in those around us at too early an age. Some fall victim to it and are consumed by it perpetuating the storm. Some are able to find a way to grasp onto and hold tight to a hope in midst of this storm of life. 
As we make our way through this journey we can develop and increase our capacities to give, to love, on so many levels and in so many ways. The opportunities are right before us in nearly each and every moment of our lives.  
In “The Longing Child” years, circumstances and conditions left deficits of love, acceptance, and belonging. Through these came an increased sensitivity to all those around me, feeling for them and through them, learning more about myself through them, and growing to understand, accept, and genuinely loving them without condition. 
These attributes and abilities would grow with me through each stage of life. Along the way creating new and often lasting friendships with many, even some of the least expected. And on into parenthood.  
In the early parenting years with the gift of children comes a brilliant awareness and understanding of Love, and the infinite dynamics of loving. A seemingly immeasurable desire and want for the best of everything for those souls entrusted to us and placed thoughtfully in our care. With this come the grand challenge of finding and creating a healthy balance in the application of time energy and space with our children, allowing or “Holding Space” for them to grow.
In some cases that space goes from a few feet to hundreds sometimes thousands of miles. A measurable physical distance to the mind, and to the heart, an incomprehensible expanse. For this Father, a constant intellectual and emotional conundrum, contemplating and ever searching for the solution…an answer. 
This morning someone shared a thought, a unique soul now in my path along my journey that only found their way in through the concerted and loving effort of another soul who in “Holding Space” in each of our regards for years allowed for timing to do its part. A brilliant article on trust, respect, empowerment and love for others and self. An answer beautifully articulated in the right way at what feels exactly the right time. The answer easing the mind, and bringing needed peace to heart and soul. 
“Holding Space” A willingness to walk alongside another person in whatever journey they’re on without judging them, making them feel inadequate, trying to fix them, or trying to impact the outcome. When we hold space for other people, we open our hearts, offer unconditional support, and let go of judgment and control.To truly support people in their own growth, transformation, grief, etc., we can’t do it by taking their power away (ie. trying to fix their problems), shaming them (ie. implying that they should know more than they do), or overwhelming them (ie. giving them more information than they’re ready for). We have to be prepared to step to the side so that they can make their own choices, offer them unconditional love and support, give gentle guidance when it’s needed, and make them feel safe even when they make mistakes. - http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/hold-space/
If we don’t care for ourselves well in this work, we’ll suffer burnout. We are not perfect, and sometimes we still make selfish decisions, but we are doing our best. No matter who or where you are, you can do the beautiful and important work of holding space for ourselves, and other people. - http://heatherplett.com/2015/03/how-to-hold-space-for-yourself-first/

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

More Than Hot

An article that came across my Facebook wall prompted me to write this. It was about the difference between women who are hot vs. beautiful. I highly encourage you to read it. I think it will speak to your heart, too.

At first, on my weight loss journey I did have some aspirations to be hot. To have a body that men would desire. To have a body that I would desire. Now, I long to be beautiful and I scoff when men tell me I'm hot.

I don't want to be (just) hot.

Hot is what is seen on the outside. I want a man to see my inner and outer beauty. Hotness fades after the music dies, the makeup comes off, the drinks wear off. Beauty radiates from within. 

Like the Bible characters of Esther, Mary, and Ruth, I don't want to be safe, nice, or sweet; I want to be a powerful, passionate woman who is a beautiful warrior. A warrior who fights in a feminine way for my family, friends, children in need, and myself. And I want a man who is drawn to my character, such as courage, faith, and bravery.

As I continue reading chapter one of "Captivating" (yes, I'm still only on chapter one), there are so many truths that jump out to me and speak to my heart. The desire to be beautiful is lifelong and has caused some women grief while others have been shamed, used, and abused for it, yet the desire still remains in a woman's heart. "And it's not just the desire for an outward beauty, but more - a desire to be captivating in the depths of who you are." A captivating woman has a soul that is alive.

I want to be seen for more than my outward beauty. I desire to be seen and appreciated for what's in my heart - my great capacity for love, my loyalty - my fierce loyalty, and my compassion. When eHarmony matches ask my three best qualities, those are what I write about. I long to be seen and admired for those things in my heart.

And here's a quote from the book that's one of my favorite's so far:

"We desire to possess a beauty that is worth pursuing, worth fighting for, a beauty that is core to who we truly are. We want beauty that can be seen; beauty that can be felt; beauty that affects others; a beauty that is all our own to unveil."

That is the kind of beauty I want. That's what I want others to see in me.

All quotes taken from:
Eldredge, John and Stasi. Captivating. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Am I Enough

I've just (finally) started reading "Captivating" by John and Stasi Eldredge. I mean really just started - I'm on page seven. And already it's speaking to me, so much so that I had to stop and write about it.

What does it really mean to be a woman? 
There are many books and people who share what expectations are placed on a woman, but as the author's write "There has been precious little wisdom offered on the path to becoming a woman". And, if we base what it means to be a godly woman by what we see at church, "you'd have to conclude that a godly woman is ...tired. And guilty."

Wow. So, the church sets a high standard and many of us tire ourselves out trying to reach it and we are left feeling bad about ourselves. Great. I kept reading, hoping that there would be hope to come. And that's when things got really personal for me. These words were like a ghost from my past. They echoed how I felt after losing my job six years ago and the years that followed where I tried to rebuild my life.

"I know I am not alone in this nagging sense of failing to measure up, a feeling of not being good enough as a woman. Every woman I've ever met feels it - something deeper than just the sense of  failing at what she does. An underlying, gut feeling of failing at who she is. I am not enough, and I am too much at the same time.... The result it shame."
We feel unseen, even by those who are closest to us. We feel unsought - that no one has the passion or the courage to pursue us, to get past our messiness to find the woman deep inside. And we feel uncertain - uncertain what it even means to be a woman; uncertain what it truly means to be feminine; uncertain if we are or ever will be."
Aware of our deep failings, we pour contempt on our own hearts for wanting more...we long for intimacy and for adventure...But the desires set deep in our hearts seem like a luxury, granted only to those women who get their acts together."
Wow. If I would have written down how I felt after leaving Fort Wayne, that's probably what I would have said. I felt like I had failed - failed at being a teacher, failed at being independent, failed at being a grown-up. I had given up my job, my home, my pets, many of my belongings, my car, and was moving home to live with my mother. I felt like everything that gave me my identity had been taken away and I was left feeling unsure of who I was but longing for more.

No one could possibly see and know all that I felt. Sure, some people had empathy for me and felt compassion because they had gone through their own circumstances that had left them feeling lost and like a failure, but no one had experienced MY circumstances.

Schools were no longer pursuing me as they had in my previous years. My name wasn't out there, or if it was, they couldn't see past the fact that my last year teaching had only been for a few months. My phone didn't ring.

I was uncertain where to go from there, what to do with my life. And it wasn't just my job that was affected. My confidence had been shattered and it affected everything I did. I became a bump on a log for a long time - sleeping, eating, reading, watching TV, and maybe some knitting. I gave up my favorite things- playing volleyball, singing, playing my guitar, being out with friends. No one understood; I was sinking into myself.

My mother finally (lovingly) pushed me hard enough to seek help. I found a wonderful Christian counselor (psychotherapist) who wouldn't let me slide by. He pushed me to dig deep and find my inner strength. I got involved in a program called "Emotional Brain Training" (EBT for short) that helped me rewire old messages that I had told myself, or been told as a child, about not being enough. With my counselor's help and through my own hard work I found my strength, the strength that God had given me, that I'd had all along.

I now see my own beauty and know that I am enough and God is enough for me, but still there is a longing for a mate, a partner, a spouse. I can't wait to see what this book helps bring to light about the heart of a woman and how to become "captivating".

Eldredge, John and Stasi. Captivating. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2010. Print

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Lake Blanche

New friends - new hike
As if a my first ever 5k race in the morning wasn't enough, when a friend texted to share about me run, he invite me on a hike that afternoon and I said ok, afterall, he'd done a 10k that morning and if he could do it so could I. I had just enough time to find and buy a hydration pack, grab some lunch, and because of a delay I even got in a power nap.

So after a quick clothing change, sunscreen reapplication, and I was ready to go on a hike. When my new dancing friend pulled up with a car-load of people, I was psyched to go to Lake Blanche, though I had no idea where it was. After a short drive up the canyon we were at the trailhead and fortunate enough to find a parking spot in the lot and not on the side of the road.
Lake Blanche

We all strapped on our hydration packs, except the guy who only brought a frozen Coke, and we hit the trail. It was a beautiful trail along a creek, though it was very narrow. We stopped occasionally to let other hikers pass by on their way down and to take in the views.

With every stop we were awed by the breath-taking views. At one stop, about 3 miles up, while we were waiting for a couple people in our group to catch up, the guy and girl I was with with decided to stop and do some dance poses on the rock outcropping we were sitting on. The background scenery was stunning and the light hit at the right moments.

The hike was not easy, but it was so worth it. Once at the top, at Lake Blanche, we thoroughly enjoyed the views as we stopped to rest and snack on trail mix.

The trip down was easier than going up, as the descent usually is, but still a workout. My legs were burning and shaking from the exertion of the day. About 7 miles and went up 2,720 feet in elevation on the hike (plus the morning 5k). But it was all worth it for these views:






We could see the Lake!
Look through the branches.

Can you see it?


Lake Blanche

The other two lakes at the top.