I love you in so many ways I will never have the words for. I miss you daily. It is my sincere prayer that one day we live in the same area, close enough to hang out, have dinner parties, exercise together… You will forever be the person I owe so much inspiration to, you are the driving force behind my blogging and, honestly, the reason I write even when I don’t feel it. You are my favorite part of childhood, I love you.
And so, with all the eats in the world finally done and over, one if faced with where do I go from here? I myself have decided on two things. One, a Thanksgiving to New Years recovery running streak! Two, thirty minute a day workouts four-five days a week. (I have also implemented a clean eating diet, however we ran out of drinkable water and things went haywire. I will be doing that anew today!)
I also joined the gym! Yep, I officially belong to a gym again! I am really happy about that, even though it’s nothing fancy it is a place I can go and get me back!
Before we finalized plans for Thanksgiving Day I had told my wife we would do a turkey in her oil-less fryer and have a little Thanksgiving Day at home. When plans changes I still had a turkey in my fridge and she still had the desire to play with her fryer! We decided to have a second “mini” Thanksgiving dinner on Friday. I jokingly referred to it as “TD2″ and the name just stuck! All day the kids and my wife and I made plans – everyone making sure that their favorite dish would be on the TD2 table.
In the end TD2 was an absolute success! With left over dishes from the day before and a fresh turkey we all sat down to a great evening of eating and visiting. My wife and I both agreed that we will do mini feast for our little family on all the holidays, no longer chasing down a big group or trying to force something to happen.
We have already planned our Christmas menu: Duck a l’Orange, Cornish hens for the girls (because they don’t like the idea of eating Daffy,) dressing, cranberry sauce, candied sweet potatoes and my wife has decided she is going to attempt a peach cobbler COMPLETELY from scratch! (I have pies in the deep freeze if something goes wrong!) lol
It’s cold and I wish that I had a ranch with warm farm houses that could be home to dozens of cold little pups, a world of pits and puppies! Only I don’t and it’s still cold. So, in honor of my girl Paisley who I love and couldn’t imagine my life without – I took the kids to Villalobos Rescue Center in New Orleans (like a seven minute drive from my house) to donate blankets. I think it is really important that kids learn about giving, about good pet ownership, about how to treat animals and how to safely be with animals, I think it’s important that they learn about not judging a book by its cover and the dangers of allowing what you hear or read make up you mind. Pit Bulls have facilitated all of this.
They love Paisley and they want the best for her, they know she came from a rough start, they have learned their role in interacting to ensure that they and she remain safe and happy. They have learned that this isn’t just for “mean” dogs or “mean” breeds – this is for all animals of all sizes. They have learned all about the lies and judgments passed on dogs like Paisley and that it is not fair or true. On this day they came with me to buy all the blankets we could and to give them to the center.
I was blown away by the love these dogs have, most of them pressing up to the kennel walls to be scratched and rubbed. I was happy when as we left my Lou ♥ smiled and said, “I feel like we made a little difference.” I can’t take any home right now and that makes me sad because I connected we several! (But my heart is with Paisley and we already have a full house!) I will be figuring out how to work volunteering into our week. I am not sure how old the kids need to be, but we can at least do laundry for them. All of these and plenty more are available for adoption and you should totally go to their website if you are looking for a friend, also if you want to give this Christmas season or fall in love and want to help take care of a certain dog you can do that there as well!
Sure, you could change her life. Only, the truth is, she will change yours!!! I am heart broken when I see pups needing love and needing a home, all I can think about is that my dogs were out there. They were thrown away and left to become a number and somehow I was blessed enough to get them first!!!
At some point you realize that your family is not the people you were born to, your family is made up of the people who love you, who think of you, who want you to be the best you and are not threatened by your growth, evolution or success! At that point in life you think, “What am I doing?” It’s the holidays and if people make you wish you were spending them alone, then you shouldn’t be spending them with those people – even if they share your DNA.
This Thanksgiving I struggled with the decision not to spend it with family. I chose instead to spend it with friends from church. We had a beautiful day!
I had a blast getting my dishes together!
The boys really did an amazing job with food and decor!!!
(If you are reading from outside the USofA – then have a great day!)
There are so many things I am thankful for each day, however I wanted to talk about something a little different. This will be a brief post, as I am getting ready to walk out the door! Just, quickly, think of the people who you sit next to everyday at work or on Sundays in church. Did you ask them what their plans are? Did you invite them for Thanksgiving dinner? A lot of us happy, bright and shinny people don’t have somewhere to go. Things are happening in life and in families, that may make the holidays close to unbearable. Maybe your invite could change a life.
Last night Lou ♥, my oldest daughter, came and sat next to me. She was in deep thought. She stared at the ground ahead of her and spoke lightly, “I know I brought this up a few days ago and the topic got changed, but what is your opinion on Santa Claus?”
She had brought this up, and the topic had been changed – by me. I stayed as calm as I could and checked her facial expression with a quick side-eye. BUSTED! She was sizing me up with her own smooth side-eye! Once our side-eyes met a small smile spread across her face and I was done. “What do you think?”
“I think,” she started cautiously, as if she knew that this might break my heart, “that it’s a little, um, silly. I am still going to pretend, you know, for Mavis, darling!”
“Thank you.” We sat together, feeling the change and adjusting. Then I looked at her and smiled.
“Wait, so that time…” She began a series of questions and I began a series of explanations. The hows and whys and whens and wheres of being a secret Santa, the stress and the happy endings. We went through the years that she remembered and her smile grew as she realized that all those magic moments were mom! It was neat. I would never had brought them up, scared I would ruin her memories. However, the way that it happened was gentle and fun and a bonding moment. After, I asked her if she felt like, you know, lied to. I asked if she would have rather us have raised her with the truth. (I have a friend who chose to go that way, and while I was like all against it when my own daughter was little as she got older and the thought of disappointing her became real I started to see their point.) Lou ♥ thought about this and I mean seriously gave it thought. In the end the verdict was this: “No, I am glad I grew up with Santa. It was nice and I think kids should have that for a while.” Yay!
She seemed fine, which I guess I should take as a compliment. We have raised a well adjusted young lady who can roll with the punches, even if the punches kill off Santa. I, on the other hand, was still a little raw this morning. My oldest child officially no longer believes in Santa Claus to the point that we have discussed it.
Today on the way to donate some items to Goodwill (I am still so happy we have a local Goodwill) the subject of the girl’s Christmas lists came up and I said, “You better get that done, Santa needs time to get it all together.” Mavis, darling! nodded in agreement, but Lou ♥ shot me this sneaky, little we-have-an-inside-secret look. My heart, who was aching the loss of my baby’s childhood, suddenly exploded with the excitement of this new phase. We can relate, and talk, and laugh together in new ways. She is growing up, and while that means things change, it also means they can evolve into something beautiful and altogether fun!
Fibromyalgia – it’s sad, and hard, and very – very real. There are days when I hurt like a full body bruise, and I feel as if i have rusted into place. I am tired after making coffee, I have to sit every few moments, all I want to do it go back to bed and wait for it to pass. (Though going to bed can often cause it to get worse and to linger as not moving helps you rust more…) There are days when my mind seems just lost, I can feel the right word just out of reach and I can’t seem to keep any thought from sliding away.
Migraines – are scary, and intense, and very – very unpredictable. I never know when they are going to hit, and when they do it can be incredibly frightening. My migraines come on with blurred vision, doubled and tunneled and blacking out. My stomach twist and nausea sweeps over me. Dizzy and often breathless I get to the closes couch, bed, chair and many times when it hit in the shower I simple balled up right in the floor of the shower. They steal my days, having to hide from light and noise. Migraines made it impossible to work, when the flair up I can have them for days. Driving the thirty minute drive was dangerous, how can you drive home when one hits – and worse, what about when they hit in traffic.
“But, you run.”
Yep, I am a runner. I am a mother, a wife, a teacher. Thankfully I am on my own schedule, so when I need to take extra Advil and nap in the middle of the day I can. Still, this house has to run. Kids need feeding and teaching, my wife deserves a hot dinner when she gets home. The dogs must go out and I must hold classes. Fitness is also a must. There is a new kind of balancing act you have to learn if you have Fibromyalgia. Too little and you are hurting yourself, giving into the pain allows the depression. It’s hard to stay happy when you can’t be a part of the world. Too much and you will burn yourself out, hurting and crumbling. It’s all about finding that place – just outside of comfortable – just before too hard. On this road of learning I have over done it, having a great day of workouts and runs and then BAM the wall is hit and I am like a zombie with the flu for a week just trying to get back to livable.
With the migraines, thankfully, I can feel them coming and I do not work out on the street (no running, or biking, or walking far from the house.) When they get so bad I can’t even deal I usually set the kids up on school projects they can handle and then lay on the couch in the next room with the lights dim and a compress on my head. I am available if they need me. I still cook for them and check their work. I keep them on pace and check in, but stay as vertical as possible.
I try not to talk about these things, they are not my life – my life is God, family, fitness and art. Still, on occasion I feel like it is important to bring this up. Why? Lately, if I have been feeling inappropriately happy. Bills are still scary, my wife still works too many hours, my teeth need a lot of work, my kids need new clothes, life is happening to me and on top of it I am constantly balancing my health – STILL – all I feel is JOY! I am thankful, and constantly being given more reasons to be happy and thankful. I am so satisfied with my relationships and the work I am doing here in our family and my life.
I bring it up because I know that people seem to be surprised that I can relate to them when they say they have Fibro or arthritis. They seem to think I am different, but I am not. I choose to smile, it makes me happy and my children happy. I choose to smile, it changes my day and the day of people around me. I choose to smile, it is the first step in living a better life. A life free from the constrictions of “being sick.” It may hurt to do the things someone else does with no effort, it may take longer for me to clean my house or wash my dogs, it may be hard for me to make plans and I may not be as reliable as someone who doesn’t deal with a chronic illness – but I can. I may have to take a day in a dimly lit room, but I will not let that day turn into a month.
The choice to smile is a small one, but it is the first one in a line of happy choices. Smile, find thankfulness, get moving, live out loud.
Changing your life is hard. You look at where you are, and you squint into the far off to see where you want to be. If you can even see it, it is so very far away with no clear road and tons of obstacles.If you could only take your eyes off that far away place and look down at where you are. If you could forget for a moment that it is a long journey and – here it is, the time has come – I am about to glitter bomb you with a dumb sayings that actually do apply – realize that the journey of 1,000 miles starts with just one step. Thing about all that clutter in the way, all those obstacles is this – it disappears when you are concentrating on only the next step. (Obstacles are what you see when you lose sight of your goal.)
Focused on what you can do and when you look up the next time you will be blown away by how far you have gotten. You might even pass your original goal when you aren’t looking. Weight Watcher’s uses this in their weight goals – 5% and then 10% and then your next 10% and so on. The only thing I don’t agree with them on is that they will often fuss someone for setting a “big” goal upfront. When I started I was very verbal about wanting to lose 100 pounds. They often would give me that, “That’s so sweet.” look and then tell me something like start small. I was starting small. (Or big in this case.) I had told myself it could take years, .25-.5 pounds a week was my goal. All I wanted was progress no matter how small – but I also knew where I was going. I wasn’t going to get swept into this, 50 pounds is enough, I was on a journey and I needed a destination. You need a destination, you just don’t need to get caught up in the route to it!
Does that make sense?