Tuesday, December 20, 2016

To Me, With Love

Dear Me,
(in a soothing, nurturing voice) Why do you keep doing this to yourself? You know numbing with food won't make you feel better.
Why do you keep eating sweets, so many sweets?
Why do you keep losing sight of your goals?
Yes, dear, it is the holiday season... but it was also during the holiday season just a few years ago that you decided to take back your life. Do you remember the night you sat down and really looked at things?
Do you remember how you sat down, so focused for hours, working on a plan to bring health back to the forefront of your life?
You worked so hard.

(in tears, with sadness) I know. I worked so hard.
I'm scared. I'm scared now.
I'm tired of feeling uncomfortable in my clothes. I'm tired of my body feeling bloated and uncomfortable all the time.
I'm tired of my clothes not fitting right, or not fitting at all.
I want to go back.
I'm just so tired all the time.

(with tenderness and compassion) I know you are. I know. You are doing your best right now. Of course you are. This is hard work. You knew this would be a lifelong battle. You can do this.

(a few tears still, but determination rising up) I can do this. I know I can. I did it before and discovered how strong I am. I can get back to where I feel good. To where I feel healthy. To where I feel strong. Vibrant. Beautiful. Alive. I want to feel alive again!
Sugar doesn't do that. Sugar makes my body hurt. Sugar makes my body uncomfortable. Sugar tastes good in the moment. It's addicting, oh so addicting.
But I'm tired of the muffin top. I'm tired of my boobs popping out of the top of my bra. I'm tired of achy knees. I'm tired of feeling gassy and bloated.

(with more confidence now, tears drying) I need reminders of the positives and negatives. What I want and what I don't like feeling. I need to break this addiction. I can do this!
What I don't want:

  • feeling gassy and bloated
  • achy joints and knees
  • feeling tired and worn out
  • muffin tops
  • breakouts on my chin
What I do want:
  • my clothes to fit right
  • energy
  • feeling healthy, vibrant, alive, beautiful
  • fitness, flexibility, freedom (not to eat anything I want but to do the things I love most)
I'm sick and tired of doing this to myself over and over and over...! I want to end this cycle. I want to pave new patterns for a healthier life, a healthier me. I want a life with self-control and freedom. I want a life with balance. 
....balance is still something I'm struggling with. I may not have it quite yet, but I'm getting there. I can do this. 

(lovingly) Oh dear, you can do this. It's not an easy road ahead of you, but you already have everything you need. (I'm sort of my own Glinda the good witch here.)

(with gratitude) Yes, I can do this. I will do this. I'm going to make a plan for tomorrow. 
Tomorrow, not to punish myself, but because I love myself, I'm going to only eat things I pack. Yogurt, fruit, and granola for breakfast. A banana for morning snack. Bean soup and clementines for lunch. And for afternoon snack some cottage cheese with fruit. And a quick dinner at home of enchilada casserole/soup. (It turned out a little runny, I'll have to ask Grandma P what I need to do differently next time.)
No pizza hot lunch for me, not because I can't, but because I know what the bread and fatty toppings will make my body feel like and I don't want that. And because I know that right now it's hard to stop at just one, so I'm not even going to start. This is an act of love towards myself.

One day at a time. One moment at a time. You got this.

I got this!


There's a saying that "hurting people hurt people." I was wounded last night. Another person's words about things people are saying about me hurt me deeply. 

But I didn't hurt other people after that. I hurt myself. By letting the negative thoughts of their words run through my mind. By eating to numb the feelings. By eating so that I felt too full in order to try to block the pain that their words caused me.

So all night last night I continued to hurt. Thoughts of these words continued through my mind, interrupting my sleep. The food that I had eaten to try to drown the thoughts of those words cause my stomach to be upset keeping me from a restful sleep. And I awoke today not wanting to go to work to face some of these people and the words that they said. The words that have hurt me. Not wanting to go to work because I didn't sleep well. And not wanting to go to work because my stomach hurts. 

But wanting to go to work because of the faces of the little children I see every day whom I love very dearly. They are the reason that I am out of bed this morning. They are the reason I will put a smile on my face despite the pain that I am feeling inside.

I'm still hurting, physically and emotionally. So if you see me eating junk, will you ask me how I'm doing? Because chances are good that I'm hurting and trying to numb the pain.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Status Quo 2016

In December of 2013 while pet-sitting for a family in Seattle, I became the Urban Hiker Girl. I had become fed up with status quo in my life. I was overweight, sedentary, and unhappy with my life. I was the heaviest I'd ever been in  my life and I knew I was going to keep getting heavier if some things didn't change.

While walking the dogs one evening I realized how easy it was to add a little more physical activity into my life. I knew that I had a lot of changes to make, but my goal was important - I wanted to be healthy mentally, physically, and emotionally - something I currently wasn't. So I set a goal, knowing that as I progressed towards it that I might tweak it, and started breaking it down into steps. In addition to my end goal, I also made a mid-year goal. Then I started breaking it down month by month into baby steps.

After I'd set my goals for weight, I set goals for physical activity to help me meet my weight goals. Realizing that healthy food choices also needed to be a part of this process, I started making food goals each month. Had I made all these changes at once, it would have felt overwhelming and unmanageable. But breaking it down into baby steps and small changes over a long period of time, it seemed more manageable and gave me time to adapt to a new life-style a little at a time.

December of 2016, and the status quo of the last few months is not ok. I've gained weight, become more sedentary, resumed some bad eating habits, and I'm unhappy with some areas of my life. I'm not the heaviest I've ever been, but I'm going to keep getting heavier if I don't change some things.

Since I now have a boyfriend who's a very significant part of my life now and my future, I've decided to include him in my planning process. What I do to take care of myself is going to affect him, so I want him to be part of the conversation.

What I do to take care of myself shouldn't be a punishment or because I'm afraid of gaining weight, but should be a celebration of myself through exercise and eating well.

I'm going to go back to my foundations. I'm going to set an end goal and date. I'm going to set a mid-way goal. And I'm going to come up with baby-steps to help me get there a little at a time.

By Valentine's Day, I want to be back into my button pants fitting comfortably. I want to weigh 165 pounds. By mid-January I want to be back to 170 pounds.

While I know cutting out sweets (processed foods and sugary snacks), it doesn't seem reasonable to completely cut them out of my life right now - it's December! Christmas cookie season! But I can set a reasonable, loving limit on the sweets that I'll eat. I'll only eat homemade sweets. (That means no more candy from the secretary's desk, but I can eat some of the sweets at the cookie exchange I'm doing with friends on Friday, as well as the birthday cake that I'm going to make for my boyfriend later this month.) And I'll limit it it to eating sweets once a week because if I eat it too many days in a row I get mood swings, body aches, and inflamed joints (the list goes on and it ain't pretty). Sweets will not be a reward - food should never be a reward - but rather a "sometimes" treat.

I'm going to increase the veggies I eat each day. Lunch and or dinner will include a side of veggies. Hmmmm... maybe I'll even make salad one of my main meals each day during the week (like lunch or dinner). Or bulk up my main entree, like soup or stew or chili, by adding lots of veggies to help fill me up without lots of calories.

And I'm going to make a more significant effort to get to the gym as often as my trainer is currently prescribing. Three days a week doing weight training and two days a week of cardio. Plus one day a week of yoga. And, of course, one night a week (at least!) of dance. All while keeping my regular Thursday night volleyball. With basketball season ending this week, it'll leave me significant more room in my schedule to do this without taking away time from other activities and quality time with my boyfriend.

I can do this. I believe in me. I am gonna rock this plan!

Sunday, December 4, 2016


It's December. The most wonderful time of the year for baking, partying, and gifting. Not so wonderful for sticking to diet, exercise, and health plans.

Had a brief chat with my boyfriend this evening about what I need to take care of my (mental) health and manage stress for the next few weeks.
1. I need to eat well.
2. I need to make sure to get in bed by 10 pm on work nights.
3. I need to exercise regularly. (We joked that my trainer would be punishing me in the gym every night this upcoming week... Maybe not so much a joke after recent events.)
4. Minimize stressors, and relieve stress by cuddling more! (One of my top two love languages is physical touch, so cuddling is super important to me!)

I need to get back to focusing on the big picture and keeping everything in balance.
1. I will get through this. I've got a 100% success rate so far for overcoming obstacles.
2. Ten pounds is only ten pounds. I'm not obese again. But I do have to work hard to get it back off.
3. I feel better when I eat better, but feeling better doesn't mean I can slack off after a few days.
4. Sugar makes me feel horrible. I repeat: Sugar makes me feel horrible! My mood, my muscles, and my knees. Stay away from sugar!
5. There is more to life than managing food and exercising at the gym. Life is about balance.
6. Track receipts and get control of my budget (I've been ignoring balance in other areas of my life besides, food and exercise).
7. Find time to at least walk or do yoga every day. My health matters.
8. Eat more homemade food and less prepared food/fast food.
9. Make time for connecting with my boyfriend every day. Relationship health is just as important as my physical and financial health.
10.  ....that's enough list.

Finding balance is hard, but possible. I can do it - starting with prayer over all things!

Father God, please help me find balance in my life. You are the Creator of all things. You have  a plan and purpose for my life. Help me to not be so busy that I don't have time for the ministry tasks you have specially equipped me for. Help me to put you at the center of it all so that I can keep it all in balance, with your help. Thank you for showing me the way. Amen!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Seven Pounds


Ok. I need a plan.

I read a Facebook friend's post about how she made a plan, focused on her goals, and in 2 weeks took off 5 pounds.

I need a plan.

I've put on 7 pounds since I started seeing my boyfriend a month ago. I'm still a healthy weight. He still thinks I am beautiful. But I don't feel comfortable in my own skin. I don't like the way my gut has been feeling or acting the last several weeks (gas, bloating, bowl problems - yuck). So I need a plan. A plan that says to my body that I love me and will care for myself with loving, not harsh, limits.

For the next two weeks I will:
Step One: Say good night to my dear boyfriend and start getting ready for bed by 9 pm on school nights. Good sleep (and enough sleep) affects not only my mood buy also my gut. *Except for Thursday night volleyball, but that will still have a reasonable bed-time, because activity and social time are important, too.
Step Two: Not drink caffeine or soft drinks (caffeine-free or otherwise). They just aren't good for me.
Step Three: Not consume processed sugars. Sugar creates gas. Gas creates discomfort in my body. Enough said.
Step Four: Only eat what is planned, therefore I must meal plan! Weekends will be spent planning meals, shopping, and preparing food.
Step Five: Make physical activity a priority again during the week by going to the gym once or twice on the weekend, and two times during the week.

Now, I need to create a physical recording system (not just electronic) because I like physically seeing this in front of me. Time to make an incentive chart for myself! What kind of cute stickers should I give myself....?

Saturday, October 15, 2016

A Set Back

Oh dear....

Dear Mr. Trainer,
Please don't be mad and yell at me. I fell off the wagon last week. I fell hard. It's time for me to refocus. Please just help me refocus.

It's caught up to me. My aching shoulders, my stiff knees, and my upset stomach are all signs/symptoms of my poor eating, lack of exercise, and decrease in regular sleep at night. I need to get back on track.

If I never eat at another fast food or have another sweet (at least for the rest of this month!) I'll be ok with that. Ugh. I'm so... what's the word for when you haven't eaten well, slept well, or exercised much.... and my brain won't shut off and let me go to sleep even though I'm tired. So I thought I'd write in my blog since it's been forever.

And maybe I'll diffuse some lavender or take a melatonin to help me sleep in a bit, but first I need to get some thoughts out here and share on my blog!

I've started dating this guy (he's great!) and I've let it throw me off track. I need to keep my good health goals in mind as I continue to explore this new relationship. I need to make sure my boyfriend and my health are priorities that aren't conflicting.

....Boundaries. I need some healthy boundaries. I need to say good night to him at a reasonable hour that allows me the sleep I need to feel good. Because when I sleep well, I will eat well (or at least not "cheat" and snack on sweets between meals). And when I eat well and feel rested I will then have energy to go workout, which will then help me sleep well, and the cycle repeats itself all over again.

Dear Mr. Boyfriend,
I really like you. And I really like me. I need to be healthy to be my best with you, so I'm going to work on setting some healthy limits for myself and our relationship so that I can take care of me and be my best for you. I need your support in making it ok to take care of me by allowing me to say good night to you a little earlier that we have in the past few weeks. And I already know you're ok with this because you love and respect and care for me. I already know you want what's best for me (and it's one of the many reasons I love you). Thank you for helping me take care of myself.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Bad Habit

Facebook reminded me of a post today that I made in this blog one year ago. (read it here) It was about being too busy. And just before I opened up Facebook, I'd been laying in bed thinking about how I am too busy lately, and I need to take stock of what I've been doing lately and evaluate what's most important to me. 

Something's gotta give and unfortunately it's been my health lately. I was commenting to my trainer that I am too mentally and physically exhausted to work out this weekend even though I'm "supposed to". Poor eating habits and lack of sleep at night so my body feels off. My digestive system has been feeling unhappy this week and I've noticed that my skin and face are lacking their usual glow. I don't like the way all of this is making me feel.

Skip ahead a few days as I revisit the start of this post. I dictated the first part into my phone's Blogger app over the weekend. Tonight, I'm sitting at home, having just watched last night's episode of Dancing With The Stars. Usually I'm out dancing at the Gallivan Center to live big band music on Tuesday nights, but tonight I listened to my body. I'm tired from not enough sleep, my knee was feeling funny as I walked upstairs to my apartment on my way home from work, and I just wasn't sure the weather was going to be nice enough for dancing outdoors (since my phone app kept giving me severe weather alerts). Bearing in mind my need to listen to my body and my desire to play volleyball tomorrow night (and possibly Thursday night), I decided that it would be in my best interest to stay home tonight and rest.

This bad habit of being too busy is hard to break (since I'm still working on it a year later), but I am working on it. Reflecting on my gratitude for listening to my body is a big step in this process. Yes, I'm sad that I missed the dance event this evening, especially because these outdoor concerts will be ending soon since fall is arriving. But I'm also grateful that I had a fun, full day today, and that I have a fun, full day to look forward to tomorrow. And I'm grateful that I had some time at home this evening to put my feet up and slow down. Hopefully by listening to my body tonight I'll be able to enjoy volleyball (and Sonic afterwards) tomorrow without my body reminding me of regrets for not listening and caring for myself.

But check on me, just in case, to make sure I'm checking in with myself and listening to my body.... it's still a habit in progress.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Northwest Adventure, day 2

I'm sure you're wondering where the post for day 1 is. There isn't one. I have done the drive from Salt Lake City to Boise several times now so it wasn't as note-worthy as these other legs of my trip will be.

So now, back to the topic at hand: day 2 of my summer roadtrip. Oregon.

Wow. Just wow.

The scenery was spectacular. I kept wishing I had more time to do the drive so I could slow down, take more pictures, take side trips down these interesting roads. Visit the wineries and distilleries I passed along the way.

And I wished I had a copilot to share the journey with. Someone to exclaim over the views with. Someone to share the driving with when I got tired. (Cause I got tired and had to stop for a nap in Bend.)

After passing several places where I loved the view and wished I had a copilot to take pictures while I drove, I finally decided to just stop and take the pictures myself. So I occasionally used some of the convenient pull outs to stop and snap a few pictures. It was addicting. I knew I'd have to limit myself or I'd never make it to grandma's house.

But of the views! The view were spectacular. And next time I hope to have a friend along for the ride.

P.S. The sound of the creek rippling over the rocks as it rolled around the curve was..... My soul was at peace. Psalm 23.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Honor God, Honor Others, Honor Myself

My friend Michael taught me to say in my prayers "what honors God, what honors others, and what honors me."

Today I woke up struggling with a situation and I was contemplating those words in prayer. I'm torn because what appears to honor the other person feels like a burden of obligation to me and therefore is not honoring of my feelings. So I continue to ponder the words "honor God, honor others, and honor me."

Yes, I should put honoring God above others and myself, but do I also put honoring others above honoring myself? At this point I'm really struggling with that idea. I spent too much time in my past putting others before me. And I grew to resent that and was too much of a people pleaser. I was not authentic. I was not myself. And so now I'm trying to find a balance between honoring others and honoring myself.

I spent some more time in prayer asking God to help me find balance in this situation, find a way to honor all involved, and give me a new perspective.

This evening I no longer feel burdened or obligated, but a peace when I think of doing what would honor the other person. Prayer changed me.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Strong and Beautiful

These last two weeks have provided me with some good reminders of things that are important to me: a good night's sleep,  healthy eating, dancing, and semi-competitive volleyball. ...though I haven't been reminded because of their presence but because of their absence.

Two weekends ago I missed my usual Friday and Saturday night dancing because of a weekend trip with a friend. We had some interesting adventures for sure, but they weren't part of my usual routine.  That's ok, but this week I really noticed their absence.

I also noticed the absence my healthy eating habits overt the weekend. Not only did it affect me physically, but also mentally. I'm not sure why I keep letting these slips happen when I know it makes me feel doubt myself and feel physically off balance.

On top of that was the irregular sleep patterns, which added to my mental stress and self doubt. I finally gave myself permission on Thursday and Friday to do what I needed to get enough sleep so that I didn't feel like I was dragging through the day. Now I need to keep up the good sleep habits.

Ahhh....and dancing and volleyball. I know I've shared this with some people before, but let me say it again: when I dance I feel beautiful, and when I play volleyball I feel powerful and strong. I love those feelings. I crave those reminders each week.

So here's to self-care and good mental and physical health.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Constant Companion

I've been bone tired since about 4 pm today. Barely functioning. I was just going to read my devotion and go to bed, though in the back of my mind have been some subtle reminders that I haven't written on my blog in a while though it's on my to do list next to my bed. I saw that on the list as I climbed into bed to do my devotions and was determined to ignore that reminder- I am  too tired to write anything.

Yet here I am. :-)

I started reading that devotion book again, Jesus Calling, wondering if what I read this evening would inspire a blog post for tomorrow or the next day. Wanting just a few peaceful words for this evening to help me sleep well.

Instead, I got a reminder that I can trust God on this journey. He will be a Companion for me. And immediately I got the chorus line "He's my constant Companion" stuck in my head from Francesca Battistelli's song, "Constant", going through my mind.

So now I've got that blog post I was wanting to write, only it came with an earworm that I won't be able to get out of my head until I've done something about it. I knew I had to get out of bed, grab the laptop, and start writing.

On my medical journey, I'm in another waiting point. Last week I found out that I don't have cancer (or at least not likely). Based on the blood test and MRI images, it looks like endometriosis, bilateral endometriosis to be precise. I have blood-filled cysts on both ovaries. The gynecologist wants to send me to an endometriosis specialist; he also recommends surgery to have the cysts removed. So the GYN gave me a referral to the specialist and now I'm waiting to hear from his office about scheduling an appointment to talk about treatment options.

I'm no longer at the fork in the road waiting to hear if it's cancer or not. I'm now on a path and will be working with professionals to determine the best course of treatment of bilateral endometriosis for myself. Through this all, He continues to be my constant Companion.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Note to Self

This song causes me to stop and think. Usually the first thing I think of is dancing; I like the strong beat and it makes me want to move. The second thing I thought of today is: what would I say?

I really agree with the part of the song about how the choices I've made are what has made me who I am today. I've pretty much always agreed with that statement. Would I want to change who I am? Of course there's some areas of life where I'd like to smooth things out so that the lessons aren't so painful, but as any teacher or parent will tell you, sometimes kids have to learn the hard way. The struggle makes us stronger if we persevere through it so I wouldn't want to take away the lessons that have shaped who I am today. There are some lesson, though, which I wish I wouldn't keep repeating, that I would learn sooner. Or lessons that I wish I had learned younger.

I was just telling a friend the other day that I wish I had done more dating when I was younger. I wasn't interested in dating until my recent adult years and there are some painful lessons I wish I would have learned at a younger age. I believe it might make it easier for me to "bounce back" as an adult, if I'd learned some of this at a younger age. But maybe that's just my personality that will always feel things deeply; since we can't go back and change the past I'll never know.

Even now there's some things I wish I could go back a few months or even a year to tell myself. But would changing or knowing that one little things affect other areas around it? Would it alter other events? I don't know. But I can give my future self some words of wisdom....

Dear Future Me:
- Don't beat myself up.
- Extend compassion and forgiveness to myself and others.
- If a man doesn't want the whole package then it's ok to move on.
- I am amazing (even if I'm the only one who sees it sometimes).
- Listen to my body and my intuition.
- Feel my feelings, but don't get stuck in them.
- Trust God. Talk to Him regularly and read His Word.

Friday, June 17, 2016

What Does This Mean?

Driving home from volleyball  at 1:30 am, I wondered if there was a blog post in me. Is there another song and Bible verse that had touched me and helped me lately? Nothing came to mind, so I decided that when I got home I would just get ready for bed and do my nightly devotion.

As I read the thoughts for June 16th in "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young, I had to keep rereading the words of the second paragraph. It was about following a path. God will take each of us on our own unique journey; what works for one person may not work for me. What works for me may not work for others, so I should not feel overly proud of my own choices and push them on others, while I also should not feel shame or regret if what works for others doesn't work for me. God has designed a unique path for each of us to take.

But then I got to the final sentence. It has the words from Micah 6:8 in it: "act justly, love mercy, walk humbly." What does that mean? (How very Lutheran of me to ask this!) How do I apply that to my journey?

See, I had just determined, while reading prior sentences, that whatever happens in this journey I'm on, whether it's endometriosis and treatable, cancer and treatable, or cancer that is untreatable, whatever lies before me, I'm going to honor God through this journey and praise Him through this. And then of course this song by Lauren Daigle came back to me. I'd thought about it earlier today as something that I might incorporate into a future blog post.

But what does it look like to honor and praise God in the midst of this, while also walking humbly, acting justly, and loving mercy? So I decided that I should look up some of those words to get a better picture of what they mean so that I can integrate this into my journey. Here's what I found on dictionary.com.

Humble: to not be proud
If I'm walking humbly through this process, I'm not honoring myself and boasting how great I am, instead I am praising God for how good He is. NO MATTER WHAT. Hmmm... I can do that. It might be hard at times to remember to praise Him when things are tough or if the diagnosis is scary, but I can definitely work on growing in that area.

Just (root of justly): righteous; guided by truth, reason, and fairness; in accordance with standards
Acting justly in this process I will be guided by God's word (truth), and doctors (experts who will tell me the truth about the situation), and my own reason about what is best for me. I will treat the diagnosis according to standards I have for my overall health and well being, while being guided by professionals.

Mercy: an act of kindness, compassion, or favor
Ahh.... this I can do! I can treat myself with compassion and kindness during this journey. Treating myself, and others, with compassion is something I have worked very hard at over the last few years and I've made great progress. Now it will be time to really put this new skill to work. I can do this.

Hmmm... these are some interesting things to ponder. Even if God chooses to not "move the mountains I'm needing Him to move", I can walk humbly, act justly, and love mercy to bring Him glory through all of this.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Under the Sea

A few days before my MRI I saw this image on facebook:

Image from AICenters

Too bad it's a children's MRI machine, not an adult-sized MRI machine. MY MRI machine was not as cute or fun, but my MRI tech (if that's what you call it) was friendly and warm which helped.

My friend Matty met me at the hospital beforehand and sat with me while I filled out paperwork. He chatted with me and kept me distracted before going in.

They called me back and I expected to see him about 45 minutes later when the procedure was finished, but knew that there was a chance that if it ran long he might have to leave for an appointment he had.

After stashing my purse and metal objects in a locker, I had to sit and wait a minute while they finished prepping the room. ...and of course my mind started to wander and a few tears came to my eyes, but didn't fall. I determined to not worry by talking to God and giving Him all my cares. I started praying and pretty much didn't stop until after the procedure. I sat up straight, took a deep breath, and talked to God.

The MRI tech came and got me. I entered the room, set my locker key on the table, slipped off my sandals, and climbed on the table. She prepped me for the IV, strapped me to the table, tucked a blanket around me, and away we went.

I closed my eyes, and started singing Christian songs in my head (since I couldn't sing them out loud because I wasn't supposed to move). I started with Psalm 23, then went to Psalm 3, and then some children's songs that I would sing at chapel with the students at school and a few hymns. And then my mind kept going to the song "Diamonds" by Hawk Nelson that I started my day with. I think I sung myself to sleep, because other than occasionally hearing her (the tech) say "this next one's going to be about 5 minutes"... then next thing I knew she was bringing me out to put in the contrast IV, sending me back in for a few more "5 minute" scans, and then out for the final time.

I retrieved my things from the locker and discovered that it was 4:20! Over an hour had passed and it really only felt like 30 minutes. My way home I kept hearing the song "Diamonds" in my mind on the way home. I couldn't focus on the radio (so I turned it off) because that song was so loud in my mind.

Thank you Jesus for sending your Spirit to bring me peace. And thank you, friends, for your prayers, warm thoughts, positive vibes, and warm wishes.

Next step is to wait for my doctor to return from his vacation and let me know what the MRI shows so we can talk about the following steps. Continued prayers, warm thoughts, positive vibes, and warm wishes are appreciated.


As I sat in bed finishing up my bible study time this morning, a couple different powerful thoughts were running through my head. The loudest one was the chorus of this song:

The other thought was God's Word to me: Draw near to me and I will draw near to you. (James 4:8 paraphrased)

As I prepare to go in for my MRI this afternoon, as another step in my journey of this new chapter in life, I am reminded by this song and this Bible verse that God will use this to make something incredible of me, and that I need to stick with Him through this. He will see me through. He will be my strength. He's already near me, I just need to open up my heart and acknowledge His presence. I need to cling to Him, like a life raft in a stormy sea - He is my hope, my help, my refuge, my shelter. He is also my peace in this storm.

So, I'm thinking that over the next days and weeks I will use song and Bible study as primary ways of doing this and that I will focus many of my future blog posts on this - sharing songs and Scripture that are encouraging to me.

Monday, June 13, 2016

It's Ok to Cry

I need a moment.

I feel tears welling up and ready to spill if I let them.

My trainer keeps telling me to find ways to manage my stress better. No eating or drinking away the stress. Reduce my stress he says.

I KNOW! Seriously, I'm not trying to seek it out. Life is happening. Events are conflicting with my plans for me. Surprises are popping up; some wanted, some not. Health issues. Relationship issues. Work issues.

Adulting is hard.

And sometimes tears are the best way for me to feel my feelings and let them wash over me so that I can move on.

Sometimes I need to do this alone. Sometimes I want to be held. But almost always I just need to feel the feelings and let the tears flow so that I can move on.

I'm gonna be ok.

I AM ok.

But in this moment this is hard. No judgment. It is what it is and that's ok.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

New Chapter

Mike Weaver, the lead singer of Big Daddy Weave, reported in an interview that they were scheduled to sing this song live at the same time his brother, part of the band, was in the hospital for a mysterious blood infection that led to a double amputation of his feet. And they weren't sure how they could sing this song during such a difficult time, but they were reminded that Jay's story isn't over. (Read more here.)
"If I told you my story
You would hear hope that wouldn't let go
If I told you my story
You would hear love that never gave up
If I told you my story
You would hear life but it wasn't mine

If I should speak then let it be

Of the grace that is greater than all my sin
Of when justice was served and where mercy wins
Of the kindness of Jesus that draws me in
To tell you my story is to tell of Him"
I read this story on Facebook, right after my morning devotion from Proverbs 31 Ministries about the importance of friendship (read it here). I was on my way to go to pick up my friend Chloe on my way to a very important doctor's appointment and I was very grateful that she was accompanying me.

Back in March at my annual physical, my doctor was doing my pelvic exam and we discovered that I was very tender. He had me scheduled an ultrasound exam for a week later. My doctor said the exam showed a cyst on my ovary, but that was normal during a menstrual cycle, so he wanted to have another ultrasound done in six weeks to see how it changed (because it's supposed to change). 

At the follow up ultrasound in May the doctor saw something that concerned him - continued growth of the cyst so he referred me to a gynecologist for further tests and treatment, which brings us to the day that I read the story on Facebook about Jay Weaver facing a double foot amputation. 

The song, the devotion, reminded me that whatever happens at the doctor's office, I am blessed to have my good friend Chloe go through this with me, and that God will use this experience as part of my story. My story is not over, no matter what the doctor diagnoses me with.

My gynecologist reviewed my primary care physician's notes and the ultrasound information and then said what he thought it might be - endometriosis or ovarian cancer. 

I took a deep breath and listened. 

He and I talked about my symptoms and the next steps. He sent me to get some blood drawn and referred me to get an MRI so he could get a better picture of what's going on inside of me. He said if it's endometriosis it might be treatable with birth control hormones, and if it's cancer he knows a great oncologist just across the street. 

The comic I read while I breathed and got my blood drawn.
And then I took another deep breath, then I went to get my blood drawn. And I kept breathing through the blood draw.

And I kept breathing on the drive home. 

And as I breathed, I reminded myself that no matter what this turns out to be my story isn't over. This is the next chapter of my story. Perhaps my story will be helpful to someone. Or perhaps someone else's story will help and encourage me. But no matter what, God's not done with me yet. This is not the end - it is a new chapter. Another beginning.

Monday, June 6, 2016

West Coast Salsa

Jan 2014, my first date with "Fred"
Two and a half years ago my interest in dancing was piqued by a man I was dating. (Let's call him Fred, like Fred Astaire....) He'd taken ballroom dance lessons in college as his PE elective and was now infected with the dancing bug. Our dates would revolved around good food (he's a foodie) and dancing. Fortunately for us, Seattle is a great place to get good food and go dancing!

At the time, I weighed about 265 pounds. I wasn't comfortable in my body and I wasn't comfortable moving my body that way. I was overweight and didn't want to be seen. I wanted to hide my size but longed to feel the freedom of moving my body gracefully, sensually across a dance floor.

As he and I dated over the course of the next six months, I was working on losing weight so I was getting smaller. We hit a patch where we broke things off for a few weeks. But since I was already bitten with the dancing bug, too, and now feeling slimmer I wanted to try dancing. I bought a Groupon and signed up for lessons at Belltown Dance Studio in Seattle.

Mine were like this,
but in black!
Fred was really getting into West Coast Swing, so that's what I tried to sign up for. I wanted to see why he was so into it. Unfortunately, I had missed the deadline for the 6-week class signup. Instead, I opted for salsa, which also looked fun and sexy.

Birthday dance at my lesson studio, June 2014
After my first salsa lesson I was hooked. I went out and bought a pair of dance shoes that cost over $100 and I forgot about West Coast Swing, or any other type of dancing. I was in love with salsa! I took lessons on Sunday afternoons and then went to the socials on Sunday nights to practice what I had learned. I also started checking out socials at other locations. By the time my birthday rolled around 3 months later I was at one of the biggest ballrooms in Seattle doing a birthday dance that took my breath away!

And then I moved to Utah.

With no car.

I had no transportation to go dancing until last February when I was dog-sitting. The owners let me use their car and so one Friday night I took myself out to a Valentine's salsa social. I was still in love with salsa! Alas, the owners came back from their vacation and I had to return their car to them, but my love for dancing was reignited. I found friends to go dancing with who would pick me up.

Fast forward to June...

Ready for birthday dancing!
I invite a few girl friends to help me celebrate my birthday by going dancing. We got there extra early and there was a ballroom dance social going on. I got pulled onto the dance floor and learned how to rumba and foxtrot! It was kind of fun, even if the crowd there is mostly older folks.

In July, my roommate went out of town and let me use her car for the whole month! I was so excited! I was able to get out and DO stuff. I start taking group dance lessons on Tuesday nights, volleyball on Wednesday nights, and ballroom AND salsa social on Friday nights. (Oh, and I bought myself a car at the end of July so that I could keep going to these events... and work in the fall!)

At the Tuesday night group lessons we learned American/ballroom tango. There I met two men who impacted my dance life in big ways. The first man introduced me to the Gallivan Center, where many of my dance classmates went after lessons for a free public concert and dancing. Through dance lessons and dancing at the Gallivan center, man number two came into my life.

My trainer and I both use dance as our cardio!
Man number two, Sage, became my East Coast Swing dance partner. (And later down the road he also becomes my friend and personal trainer.) Sage and I danced together regularly on Tuesday nights at the Gallivan Center and on Friday nights at the ballroom dance socials at Ballroom Utah.

Sage and I develop a dance connection and he introduced me Argentine Tango, his passion, in December of 2015. My deep connection to salsa is now making room for other dances, including the Argentine Tango. I love the connection and sensuality of this dance, perhaps even more than the sensuality of salsa.

Jump ahead a few months again to February of this year. My friend Chloe, who I invited to go salsa dancing with me for my birthday, is good friends with a man who enjoys many kinds of dance. One night in February he took us to a West Coast Swing social in Sandy. I was immediately reminded of Fred who was intrigued by this dance. And now I'm captivated, too!

That night we met a friendly guy named Josh who is quite good at West Coast. He had a big smile and made us feel welcome. Unfortunately, I got sick, and we didn't go back for several weeks.

But it's too late. I was bitten by the WCS bug and I'm hooked. In March I went a couple times, but by April I'm sold. I become a regular at the Saturday night socials. And in May I started going on Friday nights... at least the nights that my (East Coast Swing) dance partner can't go to the ballroom socials.

I'm addicted. I love West Coast Swing. Sorry, salsa, WCS is now my #1, but I'll be back to dance you too this summer.

Oh, and I'm much slimmer now, so I don't mind moving my body and being seen on the dance floor.

Sunday, June 5, 2016


For many years now I've longed to be a wife and mother. I want to have and be a companion and partner. A partner in life, and in crime. Someone to do life with, have adventures with, to give and receive love with.

But lately a voice in my head has been saying "what if...." What if you don't have kids? What if you never marry? Will I still be ok if these what ifs happen?

Is my dream changing?

Or is this fear creeping in? My birthday is in a few days. I'm getting older, closer to 40. And sometimes I feel afraid of what the diagnosis will be regarding the lesion and cyst the doctor found during an ultrasound. What if treatment of those means removal of my ovary or uterus?

So is my dream changing, or is this just fear?

I don't know, but as I read Psalm 37:4 as part of my evening devotion, it has brought tears and my heart is crying out to God for his peace.

And the words of a Taize song fill my heart and mouth:
O Lord hear my prayer
O Lord hear my prayer
When I call, answer me
O Lord hear my prayer
O Lord hear my prayer
Come and listen to me

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Can't Stop This Ear Worm

I can't sleep.

I had a fun night of dancing. A few particular dance partners made me feel just fabulous on the dance floor. It. Was. Amazing.

But now I've been home for over 2 hours and I can't sleep. I just want to keep dancing. And I've got this song stuck in my head. And really, it's just perfectly fitting.

My jam. My new favorite dance tune. Why fight it?

Sunday, May 22, 2016

My Shoulders Were Up To My Ears

I have been so stressed the last several days. My body filled with tension and pain. My shoulders were up to my ears and has huge, painful knots. I wasn't relaxed.  I couldn't relax. My body wouldn't let go.

I went to Westify, a west coast swing social, last night. During the lesson, my instructor kept telling me to drop my shoulders and release the tension so I would have a better connection. I couldn't.  I couldn't do it. At least not naturally. I really had to think hard about relaxing and dropping my shoulders.

And it hurt! Oh man did it hurt to drop my shoulders down. But I kept trying. I kept focusing on that part of my connection. And counting.

Connection and counting.

And guess what! A few hours later, I realized my shoulders didn't hurt and they had dropped out of my ears. I was relaxed again. Focusing on the connection and counting got me out of my head and into my body. I was able to let go of the things weighing on me. ....and to think, I almost didn't go last night! That would've been a great loss.

I need more dancing in my life!

Thank you to Bill, Kevin, Josh, Martin, Robert, Jay, Jeremy and many others for your help in my de-stressing!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

The Scale

It's up again.

It was down. Now it's up again. What is going on? I'm doing everything right. Following my trainer's guidelines. But the scale keeps creeping up.

I know it's just a number. But it's bothering me. In the back of my mind I still have this fear that I'll balloon up again.

I'm trying to balance it out with positive self-talk. Reminders of how far I've come. A few pounds back doesn't mean I've lost the war.

I check in with my body to see how it feels. *deep breaths, hands on chest and stomach to check in* I feel stressed. I can feel tension in my shoulders. Lots of tension. It's the end of the school year and this has been a rough one.

I also feel comfortable in my skin. I don't feel fat. I don't feel overweight. I don't feel bloated. I feel good. Hmmm... but my pants do feel a bit snugger. I have a bit of a muffin top. I can work on that.

So, maybe I do need to get the scale number to go down a bit, but I also need to remember that I'm stressed and stress doesn't help the scale numbers or my body look or feel good. I'm going to do my best to get through the last two weeks of school. Then we'll see where things fall when that stressor is gone. I'm doing the best that I can right now....


My birthday is coming up in a few weeks! I'll be 37... no big deal; age is just a number.

Isn't it?

This week, though, I've heard on the radio several times that around age 37/38 people claim to start feeling old. I scoffed. I don't feel like I'm old. I still feel young, vibrant, and energetic. But this radio spot that kept coming on has gotten me thinking. Hmmm....

  • I enjoy keeping things routine. Trainer workout on Monday. Volleyball followed by Rancheritos on Wednesday. Ballroom dancing on Friday. West Coast Swing dancing on Saturday. And resuming next week, Tuesday night dancing outdoors to live music in downtown.
  • I don't like staying up late anymore. (Ok, aside from the fact that I'm writing this at 1am, I am usually not awake at this hour. The only reason I'm up this late is because of the dancing. And because stress kept me awake last night, so I took a long nap this afternoon, and now I'm not ready to go to bed.) Usually, during the week I'm in bed by 10 and on the weekend.... maybe a little later, depending on dancing.
Ok, so maybe there's not a lot of overwhelming evidence. But I certainly do like my routines. But maybe it's just my way of taking care of myself.

Confession time. I've not gone to a couple friend's birthday parties recently because they conflict with dancing. And also because they revolve around food. I have been invited to birthday dinners out at restaurants. Yes, I feel some sadness about not being with my friends to celebrate these milestones in their lives. And, yes, I do wonder if they'll come to my birthday event since I didn't go to theirs. But these are the choices I'm making right now because it's how I'm taking care of me in the best way I know how to do in this moment.

Partly I haven't gone because of finances; I don't have a big budget for eating out. (I'd rather spend my entertainment money on doing, not eating.) The other reason, the big reason, is that I don't want my social life to revolve around food. Using food for entertainment is a big reason why I got overweight in the first place. I want to spend time with my friends DOING something, not EATING. *Note: only one event in my weekly routine has food attached, and that food comes after a lot of physical activity.

I guess that's why I'm not planning a big birthday party for myself. I don't want it to be about food - I want it to be about time with my friends. That's why I'm planning to continue doing my favorite activities during my birthday week, but I'm inviting my friends to join me. And there may or may not be birthday cake. What I want more is just to be around people I care about who also care about me. That's what's important to me.

So to my friend's whose birthday dinners I have missed - I'm sorry. I do love and care about you. I enjoy the time we spend together at volleyball, dancing, or other activities; however, I don't want to give up my beloved activities to spend several hours sitting and eating. I love you, but I also love me. And I love me too much to not take care of myself by not doing the physical activities I love. For too many years I put myself on the back burner. I'm taking care of me now.

My dear friends, I have some sadness about not attending your birthday dinners. You are important. I feel a tug in my heart to go. But I also feel a strong tug in my heart to go dance and enjoy the things I love - a healthy (and budget friendly) dinner at home and dancing for hours. I'm listening to my heart as it tells me what my body needs to have peace right now. Is that getting old, or is that just maturity and self-awareness....

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Keep Going

It finally shifted.

Since March I've been struggling with health issues and convalescence. During that time my weight fluctuated a lot. I did fairly well keeping the weight off while I was sick because I didn't have much of an appetite. However, afterwards, while on the road to recovery (convalescence) I started eating more again, though I didn't have the energy or strength to get back to my usual physical activities. My weight started to creep up, my waist line got softer and a little fuller. I didn't look or feel like my healthy self.

The physical stress started to lead to mental stress, and on top of that piled usual end-of-the-school-year stress at work. I felt like I was in a downward health spiral as the weight didn't go down and the stress went up. I was battling a depression because of things.

Though I felt physically better, I wasn't back to where I was before the illness and needed to remember to give myself time to get there. During my depression I struggled with feeling like I had regressed to where I was a year ago, before my running and before my months of hard work with my trainer. I kept beating myself up. I talked with my trainer and my psychotherapist to help get some perspective. I wasn't giving myself compassion and love during my recovery time.

So I took a snapshot of my weight loss journey and kept it on my phone as a reminder of how far I've come. Yes, the past few months have been a struggle, but I needed to remember how far I have come and remember that it was only a minor setback, not a total loss.

The past few weeks I've really rededicated myself to better eating and physical activity. My trainer and I have tweaked some things on my nutritional goals. I was frustrated at not seeing anything different after the first week. This week, though, something happened. After two weeks of hard work, something shifted.

I knew last night that my body was feeling different. My clothes felt different and looked different on me. And this morning the scale reflected what my body had revealed the night before. The weight is shifting. And just a small change, but it's spurring me on to not give up. I just needed to keep focused on my goals and the things that would get me there: a good night's sleep, moving more, eating well, drinking plenty of water, and lowering my stress by doing things to take care of myself. It can all be summed up by a favorite quote I've seen and shared before:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Sweet Victory

Had some good news and some tough news today. At first, I didn't want to turn to food for comfort and I was feeling proud of myself. But as the news sank in I felt the urge to teach for sweets for comfort start to rise. I resisted. I didn't give in. I remembered how good my body is finally starting to feel after being sick for a month, and remembered how bad my body would feel if I did indulge in the sweets. I resisted temptation to comfort with food. Now THAT'S the sweet taste of victory!

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Poems of the Tiger and the Dove

This man I loved was inspired to write me a poem. And something about our love inspired me to do the same. He has gone from my life, but the poems and memories remain.

April, 16-18th 2015 written by Tiger, about our first date weekend
The first time we kissed
my heart nearly missed
the pattern of its faithful beat.
To feel your lips touch mine,
sent me onto cloud nine.
I could barely stand on my own two feet.
The dances we shared, the laughter we dared,
as two kind souls learned from each other.
We took a chance on the web
and now in my head I am glad we found each other.
Until I see you again at our familiar places
and outdoor spaces,
will always have a picture of you ... making silly faces.

April 26,2015 written by Dove
"The Tiger and The Dove" 
strong, gentle, dauntless 
tender, peaceful, beloved 
matchless together 

April 27, 2015 written by Dove 
To the one I love 
To the one who has captured my heart 
I give it freely I know it is safe with you 
You are my strong protector 
My gentle love 
My encourager 
My inspiration 
I am yours

This Too Shall Pass

I'm in the best physical shape of my life.

I love my school: the staff, students, parents. Heck, I even like the school board and administrator!

I have a good circle of friends and a fairly active social life.

My spiritual life could be a little better. I don't spend enough time in personal prayer, and sometimes I've missed church. But I still have a strong faith and know God is with me.

Why do I feel so "not me"? Why don't I feel very "Becky-like"?

After spending all day yesterday horizontally, either on the couch or in bed because I'm sick, I woke up today feeling rested and feeling more like me again. (The meds helped with that, too.) So I did some more thinking about what's different.

A few days ago I thought I was in a spiritual depression because Sunday morning worship has not been feeding me for over a year. But really, the past five months I've been too tired to enjoy things I used to love: running, volleyball, and dancing. And I've had a bit more stress and not been sleeping very well.

And then it hit me....This has all been going on since about October and that's when I got two new, high energy students. And those two, combined with three other high energy kids in my class, have been draining my energy. No wonder I'm not enjoying the things I used to love - I'm too tired to do them!

my student's current motto....?
Don't get me wrong, I love all 13 of my students. They make me laugh one minute, and the next minute my jaw is on the floor and I'm scratching my head wondering "what the heck were they thinking?" One minute they are giving me hugs, telling me they love me and I'm the best teacher ever, and the next minute they are having a fit and yelling that I'm so mean and I hate them. One moment they're in rapt attention hanging on my every word, and then next minute they are so loud that they can be heard at the other end of the hallway. It's exhausting!

So I'm going to accept, without judgment, that these next couple months until school is out will be hard. I will have even less energy as the weather gets warmer and we get closer to the end of the school year because the children will be more excited and wiggly. I may have more quiet evenings and less active weekends until school is out. I'm going to love myself and those energetic kids, seek support from coworkers and parents when I need it, and remind myself that "this, too, shall pass...." (maybe not soon enough on some days!). I will treat all with compassion and without judgment.