Sunday, July 15, 2018

Soar...

I feel like this is a year of growth and exploration for me.   I guess when it starts as awful as it did, there truly is no where to go but up.  At least not for me.

I'm branching out and exploring things that I never considered before, or maybe considered, but truly never had the courage to act on.  I am deepening my relationship with myself.

I guess I am healing.

In that process of healing I am also prioritizing like I haven't done in... well I started to say decades, but I am not sure that I have ever done it.

I've always been willing to let others take control over my life journey.  Kind of drifting along and moving at whatever pace someone else set for me.  Whether it was frantic or relaxed.  I've never made me and my wants, needs and dreams a priority.

My trip to LA at the beginning of the summer was a bit spontaneous for me.  I usually do not take trips on short notice.  I don't do much on the spur of the moment.  I weigh and measure every action.


But sitting here at my kitchen island, while the cobblers I am baking for family and friends fill my house with an aroma that is beyond yummy.  Sipping my lukewarm coffee, because I've been distracted, and getting ready to leave as soon as they are out of the oven, I am reflecting and thinking about yesterday's adventure.

The day started as a sweat bath.  Literally!  Hubs and I were being so clever!  We were going to Eckert's to pick our week of fresh from the farm veggies and fruit.  We'll go early I thought.  Beat the brutal heat of the mid-west... I was sure of it.  Sure the thermometer read 88 at 9 am, but is that really hot?  Well if you live in the mid-west, off of a major river... the answer is yes. It's not only hot its disgustingly hot if you are in a field picking vegetables!


As we walked up and down the rows, my basket getting heavier by the moment, searching for the best looking cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, onions, eggplants, zucchini's and more we were slowly melting.

The heat was absolutely ridiculous.   I've never sweat so much that my contact was threatening to float out of my eye.  Unreal!  But as I washed those veggies this morning and loaded my fridge for a week of nutritious and health filled meals. It felt worth it. Not to mention that I was really loving the extra steps that I managed to squeeze into my schedule.

There is a reason that our forefathers weren't always fighting against obesity.  Picking and hauling vegetables is hard work.  And I LOVED it!  It makes me miss my own garden so much.  There are veggies that I miss having fresh from the earth.  The crispness of a fresh picked radish is unbelievable.


We never made it to picking our own peaches, because as engaging and entertaining as our grandson was as we stopped on the ride back for all those eager peach pickers to get off the wagon, nothing could convince Hubs or I to get off that wagon.  Even the beautiful peach he was demonstrating to everyone was not enough to make us stay to even visit with him.  It was just too HOT! And we knew the farm store would have plenty of beautiful peaches for a fraction more. For a change, my cheap heart was thankful!


After lunch with our girls, my mom and my sister and her family who had arrived early for our niece's wedding today, a few of us decided to go to an event that I have always wanted to attend, but never make the time.  Hubs isn't a fan and I usually decide to blow it off.  But I really wanted to go and have a psychic reading.  So did my youngest niece.  Game on!

While Hubs went home to work, my sis and party went for manicures, my girls, mom, niece and I descended on the physic fair.  I've never had a Tarot Reading.  And the sheer number of styles and readers there was a bit overwhelming.  In my panic or confusion - who knows what it was, I was simply overwhelmed - I picked the first time available.  It was a native american reading.  It was quite an interesting experience.  I am very fluid in my beliefs and my faith in God never waivers, but I also find strength in things like astrology, spirit guides, psychics and much more. Pretty sure Hubs wonders what kind of a lunatic he's hitched his life to at times.

I find strength and power in connecting with the earth, in wandering through forests and being one with nature.  In my personal opinion too many of our problems today are due to the fact that we have wandered to far away from our connections to our earth, to nature, to the basics.  But that is something for another time.

As I'd never experienced a Tarot reading before I was definitely intrigued and had no idea what to expect or what was expected of me.

I'm still processing the experience.  It was odd in that without telling this person anything at all about me, what I have been experiencing, and where I need my support.  She told me many things about my journey this year, many things that I have shared here, and many of the things that I had determined for myself. Maybe I'm more in touch with my spirit guides that I realize?  Who knows.

I almost laughed out loud when she told me that the "story teller" was a prominent card for me and that I should consider taking up writing.  I don't usually share with people this little hobby of mine.  If you find it... I'm happy to know you are there.  If you don't, I am truly okay that you do not realize I exist.  It's just where I sort out my thoughts, fears, hopes and dreams.

Hubs thinks I'm silly for believing in things like Tarot, psychics and spirit guides, but he will never deter me from chasing things that make me happy.


As we sneak up on our 15th wedding anniversary (ha and people said it wouldn't last!) I realize that he has been encouraging his "hippie wife that doesn't do drugs" to simply be herself for a very long time.  He has always encouraged and supported my scattered directions and need to find myself.  I am blessed.  I didn't need a Tarot reading to know that, but it never hurts to be reminded that your true north is often right in front of you. You simply need to open your eyes, mind and heart.

And then Soar!

She said an eagle (the east wind) is leading me right now, it is keeping me both grounded with it's talons and soaring high above the clouds to see the path I am following.  And that my over arching protection and strength is ironically coming from the bear (the west wind) - ironically my sweet Hubs has always been my bear - guess I should pay attention!

Let's go SOAR!

Friday, July 13, 2018

diabetes...

Just over two years ago Hubs and I embarked on a journey that was important to him.  I was not impressed, in fact I was a bit upset.  I am definitely not a joiner - and he insisted I become a joiner.  It was a small group.  An intimate setting and a calm environment.  It was not something I wanted to do, but out of love for him and because I'd just received the results of my annual physical and been diagnosed as pre-diabetic (something I am not even sure I shared with hubs) I agreed.

Initially we did fantastic, then things like Hubs hurting his back, me taking on a huge task at my Y (I mean if you consider closing a 93 year old Y and opening a new one a huge task.  I might just be being a wimp). But for 6 months we were hitting all of our bench marks, we lost that first initial 7% in no time at all.  Between the two of us we'd lost in excess of 70 pounds, both of us were in a much better place physically.

Then life happened.  In the hustle and bustle of living we lost the energy and focus.  We'd gone back to survival mode and the standard American diet (SAD - how ironic).  It was easier in our state of exhaustion to ignore all those hard earned lessons, settle down with a pizza and beer and relax after a hard day of work.

Fast forward...

That's how we've been living life.  Deep down knowing what needs to happen, ignoring it.  I had wanted so badly to share my new found knowledge, becoming a lifestyle coach and helping other's just like me over come bad habits was something burning deep in my soul.  Unfortunately, the training was all happening at the time that work was particularly overwhelming.  I was a brand new exec with a LOT to learn just in my new role, top that off with opening a new Y... yep you guessed it pure chaos, unrelenting stress and no time for anything! In the midst of all of it that burning fire, became an ember always there, but kind of shuffled down deep.

It was still a goal, but it had to wait.  There was time.

Then January came... and Dad started the final few months of his life.  I'm not going to dig back through it, it's too painful and I am not strong enough to walk through each moment again. The jagged edges of the memories are still too sharp.

My Dad was a diabetic.  It isn't directly what killed him.  His heart tearing is what did that. But the diabetes made it that much harder to treat him, heal him, save him.  And we all know they weren't able to save him.  I wish I could say that physically the last almost decade of my Dad's life was easy and enjoyable.  It wasn't. He died way too early.  No the smoking didn't help, and the stroke was definitely not conducive to a healthy life.  But that damn diabetes is truly what stole him from us. 

Every day he had to stick himself multiple times.  Things he enjoyed were stolen from him.  He suffered from many of the ailments that diabetes brings. 

He suffered.

He had type 2 Diabetes.  Who knows if he was predisposed to getting it or if a lifetime of choices led him there.  I'm not a doctor, nor was I intimately aware of his medical state. 

As I started to come out of my shock of losing him, if that is something you can truly come out of. Or maybe it was just coming to terms with it.  I realized that I was pushing myself back into that same dark hole I'd struggled to crawl out of almost two years earlier.

In the hurt and disbelief I quit caring if dinner involved high fat, highly processed food and a bottle of wine.  Sugar became my friend again.  I simply didn't have the energy or the desire to care. I was heading down a path of destruction.

Hubs had stopped walking before I did and had sadly gained back enough of what he'd lost that he is once again fighting a bulging/herniated disk. Pain shooting down his legs.  Me?  My knee was failing again, my clothes were getting snug, my energy level was almost non-existent and I was getting dangerously depressed.

As I was sliding down this hill, praying for guidance and hope, things kept popping up to shore me up.  Some I saw and ignored, some I saved and ignored.  I wasn't ready to face any of it.  It was easier to ignore it. To plaster a smile on my face and pretend.

Shortly after Daddy's service and the arrival of my ring, two things that dearly changed my life, I felt the fog start to lift. 

I started wanting to join humanity again.

I got an email asking if I had any staff that would be interested in coaching the YMCA Diabetes Prevention Program... duh... me!  I reached out again to ask if I could possibly get certified.  It's not a a position that execs usually strive for.... YES! The sweetest word I could imagine was the reply.

I was a nervous wreck.  Yes I run a Y, of course I don't take or make time to take care of myself, and I am not a health and wellness professional - those are the people I hire.  I am the business manager.  Plain and simple. And I had gained almost 25 pounds since the beginning of the year.  Seriously?  What on earth was I thinking??

I completed all my pre-reqs, took the course, felt like the odd duck in the room.  I'm not young, fit, nor am I a nutrition specialist.  The youngsters in the room were damn intimidating! In fact when it came time to present - I seriously thought I was going to either pass out or throw up.  And of course I drew the last straw - literally.  I was the final presenter.  Figured. Nothing like having the entire day to worry about failing!!

Over lunch I remember giving myself a serious talking to.  I remember spending a bit of time focusing.  Realizing that what I lacked in book smarts and poise I more than made up for in true life experiences.  And most importantly - it mattered deeply to me.  On a very personal level.

Even now as I look at my ring that contains my Dad's ashes - the one that is on my finger when I am awake, I know that I made the perfect choice. The other day I was looking through my emails, catching up from being on vacation.  Buried in the update folder was one from Y-USA.  I am officially certified as a YDPP lifestyle coach.  I did it! 

I've been processing it for a few days. Holding it in my heart like a treasure.  Because the first thing that happened was that it made me cry.  The second thing that happened is that it scared me all over again.  I am sure the first class will terrify me!  I hate being unsure of myself. But deep inside I know that I can help someone else - myself included - not suffer the fate my Dad did.

Hubs and I have started our own health journey over again.  Almost 2 years to the day.  He's doing better than I am - darn men!  But we've both already made huge strides.  He also watched diabetes take his father from him. Pain is a strong motivator for change. Mental and physical.



I'm able to do more working out than he is.  That back is still wearing him down.  I walk again.  Not as much as I'd love to, I definitely took advantage of the beautiful weather and paths in California and I am trying to be intentional about it again now that I am home.  The heat and humidity in this state have me LONGING for the temperate climate of California.  And I am taking advantage of being the leader at the most modern Y in the city and finally making time to participate.  We are transitioning to a very whole food plant based diet.  It's helping us both.

I don't want to lose any more to diabetes.  I want to stop that devil. 

I know that pride is one of the seven deadly sins.  But I am proud of myself for overcoming my own fears, for taking the chance.  I wasn't alone.  My Dad was with me.  Each time I felt like I would rather just go back to my branch and do my own job, I could almost hear him, "you done good baby".  I could hear the last time that he'd told me how proud he was of me and all I had accomplished. Not even a year ago...

My journey is changing daily.  My focus is still scattered.  I feel torn in a million directions.  In fact I feel shattered.  And like some silly kaleidoscope I think my pieces are coming back together in a completely different, but still uniquely beautiful design.


Hugging my son last week, laughing with my daughter and grands, having my amazing husband to share my life with... accomplishing one of my goals and stepping more frequently out of my comfort zone.  These things are solidifying my journey...


Now to get back to working on developing the courage for the next steps...

Wednesday, July 4, 2018

up, up and away...

36,000 feet above the earth. 

The view is breathtaking and terrifying at the same time. 

I definitely try to not be a white knuckle flyer.  Note I said try.  The fact that I am able to lose myself in my blog is probably going to make this a much easier trip. In just short of three hours I will be landing at LAX.  Off for a summer adventure with the kids in LA.  It's been over two years and I have missed them so much.  I know they were just home for Christmas.  But I haven't had the chance to be out there and enjoy being a part of his world.

I know I've been a bit silent lately.  I've been working on getting my balance back.  It's been a tough journey. And each time I feel like I am feeling centered, I get reminded that I am not. The little things that shouldn't unbalance me, do.  The major things that should tend to just make me shut down.  This journey is not at all what my mind had scripted for me.

Yesterday wasn't scheduled to be a vacation day for me.  Hubs was off, we were trying to get our remaining vacation time in sync so we could spend it together.  We were hoping to... then on Friday we got the call that one of Hub's oldest friends, one of the dearest women I have ever been blessed to know passed away.  It seems like all we have done this year is say goodbyes.  Lots of goodbyes.  Family and friends.  It's been a brutal year!

So we took off yesterday morning for Clarksville, Tennessee. Four and a half hours each direction.  Broken up only by a few sad hours.  Laughing with friends at silly memories and realizing that a very bright light had left us. I keep telling Hubs that if I pass before him, I definitely DO NOT want any of that.  I get the memorial service is for the living, but I have yet to understand the healing part of it.  If anyone wants to remember me at that point, go to dinner, have some drinks and laugh and celebrate my life and legacy.  But don't gather everyone around pictures, an urn or heaven forbid my body and cry.  I will find a way to haunt everyone.

I fear it is just that this year has been so filled with loss.  I'm feeling hard and calloused because of it. 


I will miss not being with Hubs this holiday.  Finding fireworks - or not - because honestly we usually skip them.  Spending time with him and cooking him a good and healthy meal is important to me.  But more than that right now, I need to see my baby.  I haven't seen him since this year of loss has started.  In fact, he's the only one I haven't held in my arms and reassured myself that he is okay.  Heck, I even saw his father on the day my Daddy went to heaven.  I need to reconnect. 


I am not so sure we have big plans.  In fact we will probably just enjoy being together.  I can't wait to cook for him.  I guess that is how I show love, by taking care of my family. It makes me happy.  It fills my bucket.

Speaking of filling buckets and getting back on an even keel, Hubs and I have been walking together again!  He's still in a lot of pain and not doing as much as I am.  We thought that his back would only need 2 shots, but it is appearing it will take a third.  I know they are so painful for him, but much better than the pain of the bulging disk.



I've been doing a lot of research lately.  I recently got certified to teach the Y Diabetes Prevention Program.  Hubs and I did so great on that before the drama of opening a Y, taking on new roles in our careers and losing my Dad.  We both took some major steps backwards on our health journey's.


We needed to get some weight off his back and the bad habits we had fallen back into had caused my knee to start giving me fits.  Almost a solid month of it swollen and painful was enough to make me start cracking books and sorting through what was needed.  Because we all know I am going to fight like a wild cat to avoid that knee surgery - and I am absolutely not a fan of getting shots in my knee.  There had to be some holistic path to take... for both of us.

Ya know, I always assumed that the old adage of you are what you eat was a marketing ploy designed to sell diet books and the like.  Each time I read something new I felt like I was peeling off the layers of an onion.  And each time we've tried something new that I have learned we feel better, healthier. 


I haven't watched all of the video's against eating meat.  I am sure they are gruesome and heart-wrenching.  That isn't the reason for the journey.  But we are working on transitioning to a vegetarian lifestyle, that will ultimately end up as vegan I am guessing.  Because it is making us feel better physically.  I never thought I could walk away from cheese, I love it.  Meat, that's always been a take it or leave it proposition for me - Hubs - well, he truly is a bit of a carnivore.  But this journey is teaching us that our bodies do best without either dairy or meat.  We'll see.  If it isn't right, we will change it again.  I just want us to be the best that we personally can be.  Hubs is doing fabulous and dropped in the neighborhood of 20 pounds in June.  His back and blood pressure are definitely thanking him.  I have managed to drop about 11, but most importantly, my knee is almost normal and I didn't need a shot!  I'm sure a lot of that is the what we are eating, as well as the weight training that I started.  Almost 53 and I have decided to weight train.  Seriously?


It's all part of balancing.  It's all part of planning for the future.  Hubs and I have been trying to make more time for us.  More time for what is important.  I've been losing myself in Ancestry.  Losing Dad has made the need to find the past more important to me.  The connection to roots more vital.  Oddly it was a 3rd cousin of Hubs' that found him through me that lead us to start looking through it again.  Who knows what all we will find.



We've been making time to go visit family graves and leave flowers and tear drops, I never leave without my ring.  In fact... Dad is sure doing a lot of traveling lately.  Motorcycle rides, veggie picking with the grands when they are in town. Family dinners and far more time simply enjoy simply things like sitting on the floor loving on my boys. 


I am still here, I'm just in a place of transition.


And today, I definitely have my head in the clouds!!! I'm already somewhere over Albuquerque N.M. Maybe by tonight I will have my toes in the sand, while watching fireworks with the kids. I'm celebrating life!

my tribe...

The fireplace is dark, the house is silent.  Hubs hasn't stirred yet, but his phone alerts woke me up over an hour ago.  It was all th...