Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Longest Guilty 90 Minutes of My Life.

Are you a mommy? Are you gonna be a mommy? Aspire to be a mommy some day? Let me tell you something right now. The faster you can learn to separate a small part of yourself from your baby, the faster you will be able to let them fly on their own. Not literally fly. Actually, in some cases, like my Gladys, flying seems to be one of the career paths she may gravitate towards based on her lack of fear of danger and ability to put herself as high as she can even if that means making her Grandpa Neil hold her or crawling on top of her favorite Leap Frog table bought by her Uncle Geoff. Anyways, you need to know right now that you are holding your baby back by giving into their every big (small for them) desire. As you may already know, I have succumbed to the bad habits of never putting my baby down for nap time. Instead, I hold, rock, soothe, nurse, sing, read...until she falls limp in my arms where I continue to hold her through the back pain, numb arms, and piling up household chores. And then 2 hours will pass and I begin to cater to her every 'awake' desire. On this new journey, I have been learning to let go and teach her some independence while I guiltily abide by my desire for my own independence. It has not been easy. I started by finding out what her favorite play things were. I put those things in her play pens along with her favorite blankets. I slowly began the process of putting her in her play pens while I accomplished household chores. I started with 10 minutes at a time and now she will hang out in her play pens for a maximum of an hour before deciding enough is enough. So the next task was to get her to go to sleep without needing to nurse. I let daddy take on the chore and he has done very very well. Except! She still slithers under the covers and under my shirt (yes, it's true!) in the middle of the night to get her num nums. I understand that this is not healthy for either of us so I decided a few days ago to try to get her to enjoy her crib once again. She used to love her crib for day time naps until she was about 4 months old and really I think that may have been because we moved around that time. Around about that time I felt really guilty spending so much time packing, painting, cleaning, unpacking, lifting, moving, painting, painting, and painting and not enough time cuddling my baby. That's probably when she started liking the naps with me instead of in the crib and I probably encouraged it more than necessary. So anyways! Here we are a few days ago trying out the crib again. I decided my 20 minutes with Jillian would be a perfect amount of time for her to hang out in her Bellini.  Towards the end of my work out, I glanced over to see Miss G swinging her leg over the railing. Well, crap. That quickly put a damper on things for me. No way was a baby falling out of her crib on my watch. So I gave up and decided its time for a big girl bed which is on hold until we get some extra money to make that happen. I was feeling a little bit defeated this morning when, like the past few mornings, she got up earlier than I wanted her to and I didn't get my morning work out. Feeling blah, we did breakfast and a snack and playtime and I seen her rubbing her red eyes and decided to leap into action like Supermommy or something. I decided it was off to the crib, now or never! After a few screams, a few hugs, a few tears, a few kisses, she plopped down on her butt in her crib, stuck out her bottom lip, and fell over in a very defeated manner while I quickly hopped on my exercise bike and beat out 41 miles in 75 minutes. The entire time I was on my bike, I kept getting an ache in my upper back and I imagined my daughter in her crib burning a hole thru my back with her evil little stare and putty little lip. When the burning feeling got so intense I couldn't stand it, I turned to look over my shoulder to see a content sleeping little angel creating a small puddle of drool on her most favorite fleece blankie and I knew that I was doing something good, not just for myself, but for her too. She is still quietly sleeping as I am quietly blogging. This small amount of time, where I can be just me, not a mom or wife, just me, is going to be what gets me through the rest of my day and evening and this nap that Gladys is getting is the longest nap she has had for months and I know it is what she needs also, to get her through the rest of her day and evening. I know it's a win win situation but at the time it caused me to truly feel physically hurt to put my baby down. Why is it that we do this to ourselves? It's not like I am a first time mom! I know the importance of learning to nap and sleep on their own. Rhonny tried sleeping with us until she was 4! I have to keep telling myself to be diligent about this. The working out time is showing itself to be worth it and if I want my body to change as much as my life, I need to be more diligent in my efforts. I need to seek out more support. I need to surround myself with positivity and love. It is those 2 things alone that started me on this journey and I feel strongly that they are what will keep me on my path. I also know that when my Little Peanut wakes up, she will greet me with all the love and positivity she can muster up and that happiness any parent feels when their babies hug back will wash away any guilt that I may still be feeling. 

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

If you can't stand up for yourself, then who are you standing for?

As I hit play on my work out DVD with Jillian Michaels 6 week ab program, I stand tall on my own two feet and reflect on the reason for my self inflicted pain. I started this life style change for myself. I wanted to become my own leading lady. I wanted to start taking care of myself so I can better care for my own family. I started this journey with very little self esteem and very little support. I started my work out last night as a much different individual. I know who supports me. I feel it every time I step into my tennis shoes and on to the mat. I feel you when I am pushing the weights high into the air. When I log in every morning I read your encouraging thoughts and experiences. I look into my mirror and I see the person that is making the real change happen. I am unbelievably thankful for family and friends and even mere acquaintances that are standing with me, not against me. To those that have chosen the other road, I have some words for you. Jealousy. Jealousy breeds envy and envy breeds hate. You are the people that I have chosen to cut out of my life because after all, this is about me taking charge of my happiness. This doesn't mean I love you any less. This only means that I have chosen to live without any added pain. This past weekend I did something for myself. I faced a demon. I had to do it through email but never the less, I faced it. In the past, I have tried to do this over the phone and even in person, but have you ever met a selfish munipilitive person? They are the ones that hear your problems and then try to magnify their own so much so that you no longer even exist on their radar. Soon the conversation turns into all the ways they suffer and you become part of their problem somehow and they leave you standing their guilty as if you could control life before you were born. I faced this person through email so that I would be heard once and for all. The response I got was amazingly selfish. I believe she even said that there was a 'selfish reign over Red Wing' ...but anyone that knows our household would probably feel quite the opposite. Regardless of all the things that immaturely got fired back at me, I still feel amazing. I got to finally say the things we all were thinking for years. You probably know that feeling too. I think we all have been put in places in our lives where we are witness to something we don't agree with and may or may not have to bite our tongues. I was relieved to finally put the words out and to stand up for myself. I am an adult. I have a voice. I have lived 26 hard years and am finally coming out on top. The things going on in our lives currently will be some of the happiest memories we will be able to look back on. I have always felt gratitude towards my Heavenly Father but lately I have felt a deeper gratitude as I am finally reaching into my potential. I have let too many personal demons stand in the way of feeling great about life and I am finding the strength and courage to stand up on own feet and tell these personal demons that I can no longer be used as their dance floor. My life isn't your gossip session. My choices are my choices and the relationships I have with family members are my relationships to have. No one should try to stand in the way of that. No one should make you feel guilty about the bonds you may or may not share with other family members. I realize how dumb this may sound because I do have a slight reputation for taking no crap but you have to understand that I have a heart and my heart stands in the way when the people I love the most are inflicting the pain. It is incredibly hard to face the people you love and to tell them enough is enough. If you haven't been there, you are lucky. You know the saying... If you love someone, let them go? I did just that this weekend. I finally let go. I am learning to love from a distance. Sometimes the things we love aren't always the things that are good for us. My heart breaks silently but I have never felt lighter! I brought so much more power to my work out last night. When I hit that mat, my mind was focused on one thing. My strength. My core. Not just my physical core, but my mental core. I can feel my mental health soar along with my physical strength. When you realize that you are worth something that can't be priced to the people who surround themselves around you, you realize that all the others don't matter.

My challenge to you...something to think about and if courage allows, to act on... Stand up for yourself. If you must, start a list of all the things that hold you back and a list of people that stand in the way of some of the things you really want to do with your life and one by one, face them. If these people really care about you and the love you have for them, then they will be back. If these people easily turn away, they were never really there to begin I have learned recently. If you can't stand up for yourself, what are you teaching your children? If you can't face your demons, are you prepared to live with them until you die, maybe even longer? If you are not willing to make happy choices, how will you ever be truly happy? If you aren't standing up for yourself, then who is taking care of your self worth? Can you continue to let people walk all over your God-given self? Would God want you to let others treat you anything less than a child of God? and lastly,

If you can't stand up for yourself, then who are you standing for?

So my working out with Jillian has gotten to be such fun for me as I begin to see and feel more strength. I am afraid I will get bored of her 30 day shred so I went out and bought her  6 week ab dvd. My goodness! It is so painful and so much more advanced but I love it. I think I will probably alternate between the 2 dvds and see what happens. I haven't taken a day off yet and I have found I am down 15 lbs. and 9 inches. I had the goal of going down one pant size but now I am realizing that I may have the strength and conviction to get thinner than I thought possible for myself. So I think I am going to commit myself to 25 more pounds and sizes 7/8/9. I realize that this won't happen soon but it is my long term goal. I didn't think I would hit 30 days with Jillian. BUT! I did. I didn't think I could do a lot of things. BUT! I am! I have so much to feel grateful for including my ability to STAND UP!

(Sometimes, I feel like I am repeating the same things over and over. I am sorry if that is the way it seems to anyone else. Maybe it just is my way of stressing the importance of what matters in this life. Or maybe each one of these blogs is meant for a different individual and requires my thoughts to be written different several hundreds of times. I know there is purpose here somewhere.)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Get a Death Grip on Your Self Esteem!

Out of the mouth of babes comes some of the most innocent truthful facts of life. Recently, I walked downstairs sporting an outfit that I loved before Gladys entered our lives. Just a basic tank and button down shirt and a little more fitted than I have gotten myself used to. I was feeling on top of the world when I realized that I could button the shirt ALL the way up...yes, even past what Rhondalynn refers to as the mountain-y area. So I am floating downstairs where I sit on the couch to ask Rhondalynn about the latest book she's been reading when I notice a look on her face. I couldn't really decipher the look. It was someplace between wonderment and disgust. So I ask... and she says, "Mom, you look fabulous! I am so proud that you only have 3 more rolls to lose!"  So there we were. A fleeting moment in time when all that great stuff I was feeling came to a crashing end. I realize that what an 8 year old says probably shouldn't affect how I am feeling about myself but this 8 year old is almost always right in matters of 'reality'. I didn't really bother to ask 'what rolls' at the moment. I didn't really acknowledge what she said really. We began to immediately discuss the book she was reading and of course, I let the moments in life carry me past her words. I didn't give her words another thought until a few days afterwards. We were in her room checking ourselves out in the mirror before leaving the house for some shopping when I asked her what 'rolls' she was referring to. So she says, "Well mom, the rolls I was counting was the one under your chin, the one under your arm, and the one on your belly...but you know that mom! You are the one that is always looking in the mirror complaining about them to daddy."    Well, crap! She was right. I complain about those. I didn't realize she paid so close attention. In that moment, when I realized her innocence in telling me that I had only 3 rolls to lose and that she was only repeating what she had heard, I realized that once again I am being watched by hawk like eyes by the most impressionable being. So just like that, a single comment meant to be a compliment, had turned into a self esteem killer. Actually, the compliment extended past my physical appearance and to her great listening skills. Who knew she really does hear everything we say?! We, as women and mothers, are such an important example. I know that we know this but do you think of it when you are standing in front of the mirror complaining about all those things that we don't like to look at? I wonder if we think of it when we are in Walmart and grab for the fat free sour cream and say to ourselves out loud that we need the fat free because God knows we don't need anymore fat on our bodies. I wonder if we think about it when we grab the next size up and say to ourselves out loud this one is longer and will cover more fat. We can be very degrading to ourselves and our little girls are hearing it all. I have caught Rhondalynn waving at herself in the mirror and watching to see if her arms 'jiggle'. I have also caught her pinching and poking her belly and telling me that she's worried that her skin roll is going to grow so that it can fill with fat. Seriously. We should let this moment in my life be an example for anyone else with children. Don't talk about cutting calories, burning fat, getting fat, being fat....etc etc etc... in front of our babes. If so, we are telling our children to never be happy with their bodies. We are teaching them to ditch self esteem and beat yourselves up because parts of us may not be perfect. When really, we should teach them to love themselves, all of themselves, just as we love all of them, and just as our Heavenly Father loves ALL of us. Probably best to stop referring to ourselves as big butt, wide load, fat factory, or whatever else you may insult yourself with. This life is a blessing and our bodies are a gift. Yes, it is important to take care of it, to maintance it, even if it means no cookies and self inflicted pain. We should teach our children the importance of exercise and eating healthy but we should not be teaching them that we have to look a certain way to be beautiful and healthy. We should really be grabbing hold of our self esteem. Just like some of us have to work at being patient, loving, or obedient...we should also work on our self esteems. We should be developing our self esteem and letting it devour our every thought and our every action. A confident person can accomplish so much with their lives even the minor things. If you have ever crossed the path of a confident person, you can feel the strength and inner peace bursting from them and you can almost feel yourself feel uplifted in their presence. This is the person we should aspire to be. This is the person we need to be for our children. This is the person our Father in Heaven would want us to be. He wouldn't give us a gift and want us to spend all our days on Earth complaining about it. Would you like to hear your children complaining about all those Christmas gifts you just spent your hard earned dollars on? Probably not. This is something that should be on our minds when we look in the mirror. And if you really can't find something to love than only you have the power to change it. Only you have the power!!! It's your life. It's your free agency. What we do with it affects not just ourselves, but everyone around us. So get up off the couch and start one day at a time. Feel blessed to be given a body and then, like any other gift, cherish it and take care of it. Once you find that inner self esteem buried under all that garbage talk, hold on to it! Don't let go! And go to your Father in prayer and He WILL help carry you through. I know that in my life, He sees me sweating, panting, and quietly begging for my efforts to pay off, and I know that He has helped to gain the will power to excel and to not give up. Without my faith in Him, I am positive that I would not have the constraint to avoid the things I know are bad for me. He sees that I am trying and I see that He is present in my life. I have acknowledged that this body is not my own and I know that He has acknowledged that I can't live this life on my own. Parenting has and will always be a struggle and a learning experience but I am grateful that we have the example of our Heavenly Father and His Son to lead the way. So ever onward we go with our self esteems tucked safely in our big butt pockets.... 

By the way, day #24 of the 'shred' started off with 33 miles on my bike. I am now working on Level 3 of the dvd and I intend to stick with it until I get bored and then I will start all over again with Level 1 only pushing myself to do the harder variations of the work outs. For now, Level 3 is kicking my butt! and I think it shows! I thank everyone that has sent me messages and encouraging words. I love hearing about everyones experiences. I need to hear it. You are driving me forward. I go to those messages when I lack the motivation or inspiration. I believe that God has sent every one of you into my life for that purpose. Thank You!!!  

PS Sometimes I feel like writing and find it hard to know what to write about so if you have a suggestion or something you would like to hear me rant or rave or discuss, please feel free to send me your ideas!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

This is MY Life!

"This is my life. It is my one time to be me. I want to experience every good thing." ---Maya Angelou

2 years ago. That was about the time that I gave up on myself. I wasn't getting pregnant. I wasn't getting any thinner. I wasn't getting any prettier. I just looked at myself and said I can't and therefore, I won't. I realize now that may have been the moment that God decided to walk a little closer and may have even carried me when I didn't bother to ask. I just don't know how else I would have gotten to this point. As I approached my treadmill this morning after I did my 20 minutes with Jillian, I took a moment to read the above quote that is hanging on my wall. I was deeply touched and let my mind wander back to that 'giving up' point in my life and began to walk...walk...and soon I was jogging. I was washed over with emotion thinking that I have come so far in so little time. I think I finally have a grip on what it is to be a mother and most importantly, a woman. I was blessed with a baby a year after I decided that I was 'giving up'. In fact, I was 5 months pregnant before I even knew I was pregnant because my 'giving up' mode had built up a great deal of denial. Seriously. I had very little time to prepare for baby. I had very little time to prepare myself mentally. I sorta got myself stuck in 'giving up' mode even after we found out we were pregnant. I was stuck and I didn't want out. I thought maybe this was just life and I was going to let life carry me. I will give you the exact moment that I decided that it was time to pick and choose my experiences and to take back some control... I was in labor. January 22nd. Around 1 a.m. I managed to set my mind very straight and get it clear enough to bring Gladys into this world without the use of pain medications. I focused on my husband. I focused on her. I focused on the joy that she would bring into my life. I focused on the true blessing that moment was. I focused on my Savior. I focused on having bragging rights! So many give in to the pain and medicate themselves to the point of not remembering the birth of their baby. Not me! I recall every contraction. I recall every time that I said I couldn't and every time my husband said I could. His belief in me was amazing and uplifting. In those moments, I decided that I needed to get back control of my life and enjoy it. Here we are almost a year later, and I can tell you that  it has been the most unselfish year of my life. I devoted all of myself to my baby G. I gave her everything I had to give and along the way I forgot me. I forgot what this journey is suppose to be about. Although, I have enjoyed and cherished all the milestones and all the laughter and even all the tears, I forgot to enjoy me. I had the super human strength to bring a baby into this world. I had that strength and no one did it for me. I am not sure what or who I was waiting for this past year. I should have known it has to be about me. Without me, many things would not be possible and just now I am starting to understand that. Our Father has given us the gift of life! He only gave us one life to live. There are no do overs. What we do in this life determines what kind of life we will have when we leave this Earth. Do we really want to think back on the times we spent on the couch? Do we really want to think back on all the cookies we ate? The tears we cried? The anger we felt? This is MY life. When I leave this life, I want my daughters to remember the experiences I left behind. I want them to remember all the good I did. I want them to feel the very essence of life when they think of me. As I was jogging my 2.5 miles this morning, I cried briefly and smiled to the point that I couldn't stop. I am taking back my life. I think I have been hard enough on myself.

So there I was on my treadmill, sweating it out to some 80's music. With every stride, I felt lighter and freer. I was completely satisfied with the pain in my calves. I was enjoying the fact that my entire body was on my fire. What a difference 2 weeks can make when you are willing to let change happen. I hope to continue this journey with exercise. I hope that it continues to clear my mind. In my clarity, I am finding my life. The only life I have.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I am Woman, Hear Me Meow?

Ok, so I don't think it would be fair to say that I am ready to ROAR just yet. I mean, I CAN roar when I am tired and need to get, (excuse my language but!) shit done. I CAN roar when my children are not cooperating. I CAN roar when I wake up to find my husband has left 3 loads of laundry for me to put away. I CAN roar when the roads suck and I just wanted to get out and breath some non country air and bask in retail therapy even if it's just for a gallon of milk. You notice how all that roaring I just did was all centered around the negatives one might encounter in their lives? Notice how men act when someone mentions a woman yelling, nagging, bitching, moaning, whining, groaning, get the point. Why do we do this to ourselves? Ladies, we don't need to scream to be heard. We don't need to take the men's approach either. Staying quiet only gets you as far as sleeping on the couch or stuck in the garage. I am finding out that I am really a loud person in comparison to others I know. I don't mean that I scream all the time. I just mean that I have an extra excitement over life, love, family and the standards that one should have as a decent HUMAN! I step on toes and I find that the ones that scream out in pain are the ones that are guilty of being something other than they actually want to be. I use to be the person who could silently protest when someone is acting dumb. Now it seems when I see a hint of stupidity it's like someone sounded an alarm within that provokes me to pounce. I read an ad recently that sounded like an awesome deal. So I called to get in on the deal only to find out that the business was running a slight scam on technicalities that were no where listed anywhere in their advertisements. I had been a loyal consumer for nearly 5 years and was deeply disturbed by their lack of integrity. Do you think I could just let it go? Heck no. I didn't. I called. I emailed. I made very sure that I was heard and understood. Sadly, I can no longer be their loyal customer by way of their response.... "Sorry, Ma'am, but most people aren't really smart enough to ask those questions or notice the slight difference in price."   Really? You are going to run a business this way.... Needless to say, if you plan on tanning, I DON'T suggest that brightly colored building centered in Red Wing. You might be wondering right now, what does this have to do with anything!?  Well, when I heard this person's response I was so shocked I had no response. It also made me wonder how many of us women are standing face to face with being taken advantage of and how many of us notice or are in too big of a hurry to care or just don't feel like standing up for ourselves? I think that is important to note that when we allow ourselves to be 'taken', aren't we just telling the 'taker' that it's okay to keep 'taking'? Aren't we allowing the 'taker' to 'take' from some other woman by allowing the 'taker' to believe he/she has gotten away with 'taking' from us? Women in general get the stereotype for being yelling, nagging, screaming hags but yet many of us don't do anything when the situation actually might call for it. I am challenging myself to no longer stand by. I have stood by and watched others destroy me. I am sure you are nodding your head right now and reflecting back on your experiences. We have all been there. Whether it an older sibling...being an older sibling. Or maybe it's that co-worker that insists that they can do your job better than you but yet they sit in the corner doing nothing all day. Or maybe that church member that insists on giving you dirty looks as if to say I am talking about you and talking about you and you can't stop me because you are 'holy'. No matter who it is, the hurt is just the same. The words, the looks, the all goes to the same place and if it's family it goes deeper. For me, if it's family, I tend to do nothing but will spend hours sobbing to my husband about how it's so unfair to hurt so bad and go so unnoticed. It's not healthy to hold so much bitterness inside. I challenge myself and anyone reading, that when you are exercising, to let out some of this inner rage. Picture these people in your mind and sweat until they are cleared from your thoughts. Sweat so hard it feels like they are actually leaving through your pores. Sweating feels so much better than letting these things fester in your soul. A happier person is a healthier person. Let this be another step for all of us to becoming the healthier people we want to be.

So my workout journey last night was quite possibly another hard realization. I decided I was feeling the strength of an ox, remember? Well, up to Level 2 I went and down to the floor I fell. It hurt. I mean, it was like first day hurt all over again. I was feeling empowered for the first 2 minutes and then slowly felt my self esteem crumble to bits around me. I can barely do a push up. Don't laugh. I have boobs. It makes anything to do with upper body an interesting experience and because I always feel like they are in the way I might always get my upper body worked out the way I should. So basically, my push up skills are suffering. Most of Level 2 require you to be in push up position. I was dripping in sweat but I maintained my trying attitude for the full 20 minutes and spent my cool down quietly weeping. I still managed to do 5.5 miles on my bike afterwards only because I felt guilty that I had to stop so many times during my work out to wipe the sweat (tears) away. The greatest inspiration I could possibly have had was staring at me from the corner of my eye from behind her baby gate with her big sister looking on with panicked eyes. It was beyond glorious to see my 11 month old doing squats right along with me. She was even panting like me. I love that she mimics me, but let's hope she keeps that one for when we are home....alone. When I was really getting into my movements, she was offering joyous claps and squeals of delight while big sister was rolling on the floor in laughter. I am still trying to figure out who she was really laughing at. Last nights work out will be one I will remember while I am working out on Level 1. I know just how much harder I have to work to progress further. In the mean time, I am seeing glorious results. I know that not everyone will have the same results. Please don't lose hope. Remember it is better to be healthy and active. Think of the blessings you are receiving by taking care of the greatest gift we could be given, our bodies. Treat it as you would treat a temple and I know that the Lord will bless you in your lives and in your health. When I laid down last night, I was convinced I would need to take today off from exercise. God had other plans. As usual, I pray in the mornings for God to give me the wisdom and patience to be a good mother to my stubbornly adorable Gladys and my 'I can't hear you la la la la' Rhondalynn and asked for the strength to continue this journey while thanking Him for the many simple blessings I have discovered along the way. Like always, I grabbed my book and snuggled in after Rhonny was off to school and Glad was still sleeping but this time I couldn't concentrate on a single sentence. I had to reread the page 4 times before giving up. I set it down and looked up at my most prized exercise bike. It seemed so appealing to me this morning that I just HAD to get on. So I grabbed the book and started my journey. 5 chapters....33 minutes later...16 miles done, I looked up and realized I was dripping sweat and my legs were on fire. I did a brief cool down. Jumped off. And did a quiet happy dance. Looked in the mirror and seen myself transforming into the person I said I couldn't be... I am grateful that I had the courage to follow quiet promptings and to not listen to the aches and pains (and hurt feelings). I am grateful that I could start my day knowing that my Heavenly Father cares for me and loves me unconditionally and He desires me to do good. Yes, even if that good is for me, myself, and I. Meow.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Dirty Secrets of a Human Yo-Yo?

I am going to lay it all out there and stress the importance of self motivation and seeking out other forms of motivation. You could call this my dirty laundry. You might even think it scandulous that I even mention any part of what I am about to type. If you find yourself thinking 'how dare she' at any point of this blog, I would suggest you find yourself a back button or a little square box with an 'x' in the corner of your screen. There is a good chance that the people who will be reading this are people that love me and want the best for me or you could be a innocent stand by just secretly wishing the world for BOTH of us, either way this is important to me. This is important enough that it directly corralates to this new journey. First off, let me point out that I have daughters. I have been put in charge of raising 2 children that will eventually become women. I will have to face hard realities with them in the years to come. Boys. Puberty. Boys. Drama. Boys. High School. Boys. Religion. Boys. You get the idea. As much as we all want to believe we are in charge of our own happiness, the hard fact is that most of us turn to our husbands in time of 'happiness' needing moments. As girls, we looked to daddy. As teens, we looked for boyfriends preferrably ones like daddy. (not in my case, I, in fact, made a conscious decision to find his opposite, and succeeded!) I understand that my life cannot and will not be mimiced in my home. We cannot compare apples to oranges. We cannot make the past go away but what we can do, and this is a precious gift through agency, is that we can move forward and take the past lessons and apply them to our future. Free agency was given to us and if at any point in your life you find yourself saying 'you don't have a choice' or 'I can't help it', I want you to think again. We all have free agency to choose the life we want and to choose the people that we want to become. I recently heard someone blame their bad behavior and choices on the being their 'father's daughter'. Shame on this person! If your father was that horrible, why would you repeat his process and expect others to fall at your feet? (and forgive?) If you knowingly do something that you know is bad, are you really going to be that person that expects the world to forget? Are you really going to expect your children to be any different? Careful on the person you become. One day your children will be that person. So think long and hard about the relationships you have with your family. You are teaching our future to repeat what you know may or may not be wonderful. In my case, I am a mama's girl. I work hard on continuing my bond with my mother. My daughter's will one day see the importance and the love that can come from working on a 'generation' gap. Except, my mama is pretty dang tech savvy which makes it all that more easier to keep our lines of communication open. I mean, seriously, does your mom Facebook, Skype, and text message? Ha...okay. Off subject, I still haven't revealed my dirty secret and the driving force behind my motivation that drives me to be the 'do-gooder'. 95% of men in my life, that I have either loved, love, known, friended, liked, or hated have all at one point in their lives CHEATED. Scandulous right? You may now be naming off the people you know in my life right now and trying to figure out which is which. I ask now, STOP. You should be wondering about the men in your own life. There is this saying that 'once a cheater, always a cheater.' Well since I have some great experience with this, out of the 95% that I know of, only 50% are habitual repeaters. That should tell you that 50% of the men you know in your lives have cheated once and only 5% have never. That's probably just my statistics. As you can see, I have given this great thought. I have had 26 years of trying to make some sense of this and of trying to find someone that is in that 5%. Impossible. In all my math and in all my 'trying to make sense of it', I have only one conclusion. Women are awful. The only way that men can cheat is if the one they are with says 'yes'. Women! You are awful! If you have sat in my seat, walked in my barefeet while chasing my children, you would see just how awful you are. I am not saying this is a recent turn of events in my life. It's been a few years since I have had to experience this on a personal level. I have in fact, seen several of my closest friends and family have to deal with it and I have had to try to find the words to make it right but I cannot. There is nothing right in that single act. I have somehow started to believe years ago that maybe women are to blame. Maybe we let ourselves go too much. Maybe we reveal too much. Maybe we make ourselves unattractive or unwanted. Maybe we sabotage ourselves. Maybe we settled for someone because they were second to the best or second to the greatest love of your lives. Maybe we as women are not given enough time in our social lives to know what we want so the first thing that comes along that our parents approve on, we jump, we leap, and soon we are pregnant with baby number 3 and daddy is inviting the babysitter over when no one is home. I'm just saying that maybe the social pressures and religious pressures of becoming wives and mothers leads many women to fail in the marriages. I know that my first marriage was pretty much all of that and more. I don't recall knowing who I was until I was around 22 and Rhondalynn was 4. I had to make several mistakes before I could figure out what was right for me. The social pressures are everywhere. But the religious pressures come from a much deeper place.... the home. We all know that we seek out home for comfort and answers. If you have daughters, be careful with what you teach at home. Off topic! What I am getting at with all this cheating that goes on...particularly in my own life, is that this cheating tears a woman into pieces and proceeds to scatter the pieces until the woman is no longer her former self. She becomes her own bad memory. She blames herself for years. It's a wearing experience. It's an experience that has made me who I am or maybe just a series of memories of who I am. I still find pieces of myself everywhere I go and the great thing about those pieces is that I don't have to pick them all up! Oh, sweet free agency. I have choices. No one is in control but myself. Unfortunately, I haven't made all the right choices yet. I still choose to not trust anyone. I still choose to put up a wall anytime anyone gives mention of 'how does that make you feel?'. I even struggle finding the spirt of the Gospel. I am so guarded that I find myself with no 'real' friends. It is so hard to bring back all those pieces after someone has decided your feelings don't matter.  I have to let these things go. I have to feel them out and then banish them from my life for ever. When I am working out, I picture myself turning into the person I want to be inside and out. I tell myself that I want to be so wonderful that the meaning of the word 'cheat' will escape my husband's mind and will never be found. I never want him to find a reason to cheat. I never want to let myself go. I never want to become my worst fears. I think the last 2 years has been a series of letting myself go. Not caring so much about running...even though, running has been a life long passion. Not caring so much about what I wear...even though, I used to have an infatuation with all things retro, red, and polka dotted. Not caring so much about my flower garden...even though, I used to pride myself on having the prettiest yard in the neighborhood. When I let go of all those things that I cared so much about, I let go of what was keeping me together. I gave all those things everything I had to forget all the other things going on in my life and instead, put myself on the couch so that I can sit around and remember all the things that went wrong or feel wrong in my life. I am 25 lbs heavier than my wedding day almost 4 years ago. I know that doesn't seem like a lot to you but to me that 25 lbs represents all the things I let go of because I thought if I cared less maybe someone else will care more. Feeling extremely stupid, I am facing these things head on by putting them out there. I feel more accoutable for my actions when I put them writing. I imagine people having certain expectations of me and when expectations have been set, I can't help but try to exceed them. So that's my driving force. What's yours?

So past the dirty secret and on to me being a human yo-yo. A few days ago, it was 2010 and I was ringing in the New Year 4 lbs lighter with the strength of a small newborn ox or maybe a full grown Either way, I was feeling stronger than the mouse I had become, eating crumbs out of my couch. I got so excited over the 4 lbs lost that I started obsessing with jumping on the scale. Seriously. I would weigh myself every time I would go to the bathroom. Nothing changed. Nothing changed. I sweat harder. I ride bike longer. I push a little harder. I drink more water. I sweat some more. Nothing changed and then 4 days ago, I woke up and wobbled down the stairs wincing in pain, found myself that bottle of water I swore I put by my bed the night before and drank and drank and drank. I remember thinking, SWEET! I am totally conquering this water thing. Immediately after, I go to the bathroom and what do I do when I am done? Obsessively, I jump on the scale and WAM! there is those 4 5 more. I get off. I reset the batteries. I step back on and WAM! there they are again. I may have pictured myself throwing the glass scale against the wall and seeing it shatter but then thought my luck the thing will come bouncing back like those 4 lbs I lost that decided to bring 5 more friends along for the ride. Before rage set in, I remembered something I learned a long while ago. When you drastically change your activity, the body can respond by gaining tons of muscle before shedding the weight. I also remember that when you stress your muscles they can fill up with fluid as they start to repair themselves. I slowly felt my blood pressure creep back down when I again remembered that I am in the process of Gladys weaning herself and I can easily put on a good 5 lbs in just 'milk' after a night of no nursing. I finally felt myself calm enough to recall that I took down the inches of certain body parts that I want to see diminish. So, after all those recollections, I still waited a few days (and several hundred weigh ins) until this morning when I marched my pain filled body up the stairs to do some measuring. I only measured my arms and my waist at the belly button. I optimistically recall when I took my measurements that there were some parts of me I had nothing to complain about and decided they weren't worth measuring. Anyway, I took out the tape measure and took one last breath before what I may have thought would be the last time I would do any of this again and WAM! 2 1/2 12 days? I flipped the tape measure around checking for some sort of glitch in my measuring and there again, I seen 2 1/2 inches... the waist. I took off running, ignoring the severe ache in my thighs and back, down the stairs, on the scale and WAM! all 9 of those pounds that I found were gone plus 1. I guess I didn't realize that my body was able to so quickly find its inner strength. I didn't realize that it would only take 12 days to begin unwinding 2 years of damage. Yes, in that 2 years I had a baby, but that is never an excuse for me. The process of becoming my own 'leading lady' is off on a grand start and each day I find myself feeling stronger. I will admit that the energy is depleting as I am not sleeping well. My baby G is teething again...I really truly believe that teething should be an extreme sport for both mom and baby. Last night was one of those nights I would like to forget immediately. The screaming and thrashing and no matter what I gave her, she was not giving in. I thought to myself at 2am this morning, that if she can have the stamina to whine for this long, than I will somehow find the stamina to continue to work out.... even though, I would love to use my lack of sleep as an excuse to not be able to workout but that is me, sabotaging myself. Do yourself a favor, don't find an excuse EVER. Quite simply, there is no excuse good enough. If you haven't followed me on Facebook, I have added my exercise bike in with my workout. I only do 10 minutes but I do a very fast 10 minutes that involves a lot of screaming. You may laugh, but I find Ace of Base wonderful music to bike to. Try it! A little bit of laughter while you are sweating it out doesn't hurt... in fact, I've read laughter to be one of those great hidden work outs that make a lot of good things happen. If you are lacking the funny in your life, you are welcome to join me for a day and watch all the antics my 11 month old tries. She will keep you laughing for hours. She keeps me going and going and going, making it hard to find the time and inspiration to blog. I may need to ask my family for a few more minutes of 'me-time' to be a more avid blogger. Holidays have been fantastic around here...but so has the stress! As the New Year goes on, I hope to feel the stress diminish (and the pounds too) and the exercises increase. This year should prove to be interesting as I try to find fertility, laughter, beauty, gardening, canning, self control and self esteem. Do you have a list? I'd like to hear it. 

Do yourself a favor, lose the scale. Feel empowered by your strength and will power. After all, losing weight technically just makes us less of a person. Ha. Get it?