Saturday, June 27, 2015

Silver Lake Hike

Silver Lake, I assume....
So this is my 100th post on the blog and what better way to celebrate than by posting about a hike!

Heading up the trail and looking down at the lake.
A friend invited me to go hiking on a weekday morning at 8 am. Now for a teacher on summer vacation - a SINGLE teacher on summer vacation - this is kind of early, but I accepted the invitation because I enjoy hiking and I enjoy this friend's company. I had no idea where we were going or how long the hike would be, so I over-prepared by packing two water bottles and three snacks.

When my friend arrived to pick me up the morning of the hike all they said is we are going up the canyon. I had no idea how far up or where - there are two main canyons and many hiking trails along both. This was a mysterious trip. (For all I knew, they were taking me into the woods to kill me! just kidding....)

The dammed lake at the top of the trail.
We drove past several popular trailheads. Past the Silver Fork restaurant and the trailhead to one of my favorite little spots. We were going pretty much all the way to the top of the canyon at Solitude and Brighton ski areas.

Just when I thought we were either going to run out of road or start down the canyon on the other side, we pulled into a little parking area at a little visitor center that said "Solitude" and "Silver Lake" on the outside of the building.

Still some snow up here.
The hike was about 3 miles round-trip. It was fairly steep in some areas and I was breathing hard, because of the elevation and physical exertion. But the views along the way were amazing. I'm so glad I got up early on a weekday morning during my summer vacation.

Green and beautiful against a clear,
blue sky without a cloud in sight.
At the top we came to a dam and lake. There was snow on the far side of the lake. We decided to stay on our side of the lake to just sit and talk instead of wander to the other side. It was a beautiful day with clear skies, and because we'd gone up in the morning, it wasn't too hot out yet.

After sitting and talking for a while, we headed back down the trail taking some slightly different routes, but still enjoying the gorgeous scenery. The views were breath-taking.

We saw some wildlife. An unidentified rodent of some sort - a little smaller than a beaver. There were also birds and ducks and even a few chipmunks along the way. Thankfully we did not see any snakes!

And thankfully, they didn't take me out into the woods and kill me because I lived to tell you all about it in my blog. Now, I wonder how many more hikes I can get in during my next 100 posts?... TBD!
Heading back down the trail.

Back at the bottom of the trail we circle the lake again.
A momma duck and her babies swim by.

Amazing views of God's beautiful creation.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Good-bye, Pizza


I just can't do it anymore. Well, maybe just not in the quantity I did it on Sunday. Sunday was a little ridiculous.

Remember that hike I took on Saturday? The one where I finally found the waterfall at Bells Canyon? (read about the hike here) Well, according to my fitness tracker, I had about 2000 calories that I had burned and could eat. So eat them I did. I went whole hog on Sunday afternoon and ordered a medium Hawaiian pizza - with extra veggies - AND garlic bread. And by the end of the day I had eaten the whole thing. Not in one sitting, but snacking, grazing throughout the day.

Oohhhh.... man was it good. I love garlic. And who doesn't love bread?! Or pizza!?

And then Monday came...and the pizza wasn't loving me and I wasn't loving it. I felt so bloated and horrible in other ways. I weighed myself in the morning, as I do just about daily now, and I had gained about 5 pounds just from eating that pizza and garlic bread. Five pounds!! Ew!

But I put on my shorts and tshirt and laced up my running shoes, and went for my morning run. My belly felt so jiggly and I felt so slow. I did my run, but it wasn't pretty. I wasn't pretty.

And then the gas...for some this may be TMI, but you're reading MY blog, so... All day long air kept squeaking out. (I apologize to my roommate and those at the theater around me last night.) By the time 10 pm rolled around I was ready to put my jammies on and be done with the day. It was rough. And I'd brought it all upon myself by eating the pizza and bread sticks.

I woke up today hoping that having been very good with my eating yesterday, getting in a run, and the release of the gas, that the scale would have moved back down. No such luck. I'm at the same weight today that I was yesterday.

My plan? Keep being good to myself. Exercise. Drink plenty of water. Eat well....well, except for the hot dog and chips I'll have at the baseball game tonight. :-) We can't be perfect. Back on track again, though, with a minor exception this evening. The weight'll come off. I've got a good track record - I already lost 105 pounds, so I can lose 5 more (again).

Oh, and no more pizzas after a hike. Pizza only when I know I can eat only two slices and maintain control. It's do-able and reasonable.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Bells Canyon Reservoir Hike - Take 3

Another try at hiking Bells Canyon Reservoir looking for the waterfall this evening. Third - or is it the fourth? - try was the charm.

It was a lovely evening for a hike. We left for the trail around 6 pm. The temps were still in the 90s, but dropping. We were all loaded with water and Smartphones for tracking our hike and taking photos. And, as usual, I had my emergency granola bar in my hiking bag. We were bound and determined to find the waterfall this time.

It was about 5 miles round trip and took about 3 hours. We are exhausted but thought it was so worth it. Here are some photos of our journey this evening.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

The Tiger and The Dove

This is a post I wrote a few months ago but wasn't ready to publish. It's now time to share.

I was in love. The relationship ended. My heart ached for a long while because it was the first time I experienced real, unconditional love from a man; something I've longed for my whole life. And just as quickly as it came into my life, it was gone again. And there was little explanation as to why or what had happened. Sometimes I still wonder where my tiger went.

Dear Tiger,
I wish I knew what happened to make your love change. Three weeks ago you loved me and I was your dove. Now there's only silence.
You loved me from the start. It took me a little longer. I believed in your love. I believed in you. Now you're gone.
I wish I knew why. I wish I could go back and undo what I did wrong. I wish I could show you how I've changed, that I've learned from my mistakes.
But you're gone. You've disappeared like a ghost.
Now I'm left with the memory of your love, your smile, your gentle touch, shared prayers, your gentle and tender heart, your compassion and generosity, and our time together to make me smile. I'm left with distance, no reply, lack of communication, and wondering what happened which makes my heart ache and tears fall.
It seems you've left me so I'm letting you go. Good bye, my Tiger.
But I believe in second chances. I believe in a God who forgives and gives me second, third, fourth, multiple chances every time I fall and fail; He helps me back up. I believe in Love. God is love. I believe in forgiveness, learning from past mistakes, and moving on.
If you come to a place where you want a second chance...
Your Dove

You came shooting into my life
Things changed fast
You made things happen. A whirlwind. An explosion.
Our heads were spinning and hearts pumping.
Life stepped in to slow us down .
We got scared. We'd moved so fast.
We drifted apart
to nothing.
No words anymore.
Empty space. Silence. Longing. Heartache.
Good bye, my Tiger
Your Dove is wounded.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Free Advice

I was chatting with a friend yesterday who said they were hoping to get their body back; the body they had when they were 19 years old (10 years ago). What I told them is some of the things I learned to tell myself along my journey. I hope that you find these words helpful and encouraging.

1. What's your goal and is your goal realistic?
Can you really get back the body you had 10 years ago (or however long ago)? For me, the goal wasn't a size but a feeling. Actually, several feelings. Feelings of confidence, comfort (in my own skin), sexiness. I wanted to be able to run and play with my niece and nephew and students. Those goals I reached a long time before I reached a weight/size goal. Don't expect a quick fix plan (like shakes, wraps, or diet pills, etc.) to be sustainable. Find what works for your life- your REAL life.

2. How are you going to get there?
I had to stop HOPING that things would change, so I sat down and made a year-long plan. I mapped out where I wanted to be a year later, then broke down into smaller increments quarterly, then monthly of where I wanted to be. Then I made a plan for small changes to make each month to my activity level and eating. Making small changes over time has made it reasonable and helped me stick with it.

3. Don't expect perfection, just improvement.
You aren't perfect, allow yourself  forgiveness for mistakes in the past and the future. I had to tell myself this all the time. There will be plateaus. It's a good time to take stock of what's worked and where you are. Give your body a break if you've been working really hard. The body needs time to recover.

4. Don't forget to celebrate the small milestones along the way.
Every time I could tighten my belt another notch or had to buy new pants, I celebrated. I wasn't at my goal, but I was not where I had been. Now I can't even wear that belt, it's too big and there's not enough notches.

5. Don't forget your body needs rest to recover.
This kind of goes along with #3 about plateaus being a time to recover. Lifting weights and building muscle begins by tearing the muscle. It's the rebuilding of the muscle that causes it to grow. In order to rebuild and grow the muscle needs rest. Alternate body parts on weight lifting days and give yourself one or two days completely off each week. (*NOTE: I'm not an expert, but this is part of every expert's advice that I've ever heard or read. Always talk to your doctor or medical professional for what will be right for you.)

6. Mix it up.
Don't keep doing the same workout (cardio, weights) every day. Mix up your workouts just like you'll mix up your food. Don't eat the same meals every day for weeks, months on end. I mix up my weight training every month with a new routine. I added time to my cardio (walking) over several months. When I reached the 1 hour mark, I tried to increase my speed so I could go a greater distance in the same amount of time. Now I'm working on training for running a 5k with the "Couch to 5k" app.

You get what you pay for, but that's my two cents for those hoping to make a change. Don't just HOPE that it will happen- MAKE it happen.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Tummy Tale

Cruising through Facebook today, I came across a story similar to one I've been meaning to write for several weeks. The tale of tummies (read it here) is the spring board for bringing compassion to the way we interact with people.
Here's my tummy. Here's my story.

I took this picture while trying on pants for summer. I was feeling frustrated because the pants weren't fitting right. At first I was upset that I looked terrible in them, then I remembered the problem isn't my body, the problem is the pants.
I'm a teacher and aunt who loves her kids with all her heart. I have a big heart and love deeply. I'm very in tune with my feelings. I've learned that feelings are just feelings, I don't have to fear them. And I don't have to eat my feelings. I've only recently learned to love myself exactly as I am. I've amazed myself at what my body can do and the punishment I've put it through and survived. Over the years I've been fit and I've been fat. I've gained and lost weight many times. Recently, I lost over 100 pounds. My body has done amazing things. I'm learning to love my body, all parts including my belly.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Refocusing...aka- my plan to stay away from sugar!

I've had WAY too much sugar this week!

I took a nap after work because I felt exhausted. I didn't sleep well last night- because I sugar and stress yesterday. I was drained today- because of sugar and stress. I slept horribly during my nap this afternoon- because of sugar and stress.

I tossed and turned feeling anxious and having an upset stomach. I finally gave up on sleeping and had a text chat with my mom. I realized that I needed to "listen to my gut" and get away from the sugar. It was making me sick and the stress worse. And I realized that I needed to go for a run, no matter how painful it would be because of the achy joints caused by sugar.

As I ran, my playlist  again got to the songs that brought me back on Tuesday. I focused on hearing the music and feeling the joy of moving. And, I decided that I needed to make a plan.

After getting off the treadmill, I wrote my first couple steps to my plan:
1- No more sweets until my birthday. Then, one treat with my family. Then, no more sweets again.
2- Eat a good dinner tonight: filet mignon, stir fried veggies, and quinoa. (And yes, it was as awesome as it sounds.)

And now I've added a few more:
3- Drink a lot of water to flush out my system.
4- Pack lots of healthy food to take to work tomorrow so I have good options to help me avoid temptation.
5- Go to bed early and (try to) get a good night's sleep to help reduce stress.
6- Turn off the technology early to help my brain unwind so I can sleep., good night!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Hearing the Music Again

About mile 2.75
A walk is a great way to clear my mind. And since it's the last week of school with a jillion things going on, a dating relationship to ponder, and plans for vacation coming up, my mind needed clearing.

Going in, I thought this wouldn't be a great walk, but at least it would be a walk. I had sugary treats yesterday. I had another sugary treat today -despite telling myself I wouldn't. My body was feeling sluggish and achy, but I couldn't resist the lovely weather of this evening, so I threw on my workout gear - hitting the fitness center for a quick upper body and core workout- then hit the pavement for a longish, slowish walk in the evening sunshine.

The weather was lovely, but my mood not so much. I knew I was dawdling, but I told myself that was ok because at least I was moving. At least I was outside enjoying the lovely spring weather.

About mile 3.5
As often happens on my walk, I turn on some of my favorite music and just go. And also as often happens, my mind wanders, sometimes hearing the music and sometimes thinking about life. And sometimes thinking about how much I don't want to be walking because I don't feel like it.

Around mile 2.75, of 4.5, I finally got past the I don't feel like it feeling. Around mile 3.5 my mind began to wander. And around mile 4.25 I actually heard the music and started singing along. I finally felt like I was into my walk and it was less work and more enjoyment.

About mile 4.25
As I enjoyed it more, I thought about important life stuff, such as how grateful I was to myself for finally letting go of fear and stopping holding on so tightly. And I thought about how the initial infatuation has passed, but I still want to love him (not just the feeling, but the action). And I missed him. I almost cried a little; tears of some sadness, not tears of fear and despair that I had been experiencing. But I didn't cry; I breathed in and I breathed out and I let the feeling come and go. And as I let it go again, I finally heard the music, the music that brings my heart joy, the music that makes me want to sing, the music that makes me want to dance.

As I stood at the stoplight waiting for my turn to cross I started singing loud and dancing a little. First, "Evidence" by Citizen Way. Then, "Shake" by Mercy Me which kept me dancing through my stress last summer. Then a few others. And then this song came on at the end of my walk this evening. (I saw them in concert with Heather a couple months ago and they were AWESOME!) This was a great way to wrap up my evening.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Life Space

"Give him space," they said. 
"If he loves you, he'll come back," they said. 
Scrolled across these words today... perfect timing!
I know THEY all meant well, but I was too afraid to let go. I was too afraid that he wouldn't come back. I was afraid of giving up something I really wanted: a loving relationship with a Christian man. I was desperate to keep it.

What I needed to hear, and what I finally told myself this weekend, was to give MYSELF space. To live my life and give myself space to be me. I had spent so much time and energy trying to keep him that I lost myself, made myself crazy, and I'm pretty sure made him crazy and question our relationship.

The devotion that this quote is from
helped start my day right.
Go to Proverbs 31 ministries to view this devotion
and to sign up for more like this to be delivered to your inbox.
Many times I feared that I'd lost him. And some of the time I would get a quick message from him saying he loves me, but those weren't often and I found myself starving for, living for those words, anxiously awaiting any contact from him. I was driving myself nuts, and the people around me.

This weekend I gave myself permission to let go, keep going, and be present - not living for when he and I will be together again. I'm not saying I'm done with the relationship, but I am giving myself space to be present in my life. To be here for myself, for my students, and for my family. And when I gave myself that permission a huge weight lifted. I feel so much less stress, so much less tension and pain in my body, and thankfully so much less emotional.

I don't know if giving him space and myself space will make him come back, but there is great freedom in letting go of trying to control everything. I can only control myself and that is a huge blessing.

Words I needed to hear today.