This post is for every woman who has ever thought she has to move through this world shrinking, and not taking up space. For every woman who has thought if she were somehow some perfect small size her worth and value would increase.
Society pushes it at us.
Smaller this. Lesser that. Just ….be….less…..
I guess for years I chased that ideal.
In my youth, I had hit my height of 6’0 sometime in middle school. Not cool. Boys were a long way from appreciating long and leggy at that point in time.
I was as tall or taller than boys pretty much through high school. Did I mention how awkward and difficult that was at times ??
I longed to be like some of my friends who were 5ft something and 110lbs soaking wet. My mom would constantly remind me to stand up straight… keep my shoulders back… I wasn’t overweight by any stretch….
I just wanted to take up less space.
Once out of school in the real world I realized being tall wasn’t a liability. As I got older I appreciated it more and more.
After settling into life, marriage, and having babies I had gotten “comfortable” (which is my nice way of saying I had put on extra weight I didn’t need to have).
I was definitely… soft and fluffy.
Eight years ago I started on my health and fitness journey.
My goal at that point? Smaller. Take up less space. Shrink. Be less.
Being less meant being more, right ?
Now hear me… I knew for my health I needed to drop some pounds. I trust that you, my reading friend, know if you need to take those same steps…for your health.
And I did… I lost weight.. dropped sizes… lost inches. I got smaller. After all, isn’t that what the world tells us we should strive for ?
The scale, my judge and jury, applauded my efforts.
However, along the way, after I had lost the weight I desired and started building muscle I realized I liked having a strong, solid, powerful body and taking up some space.
I stopped thinking about numbers and what the scale said ( if you haven’t, be sure and check out my Scale Experiment post on that topic)
Until recently…. I had to start thinking about numbers and sizes and all things related as I prepared for my sons wedding.
I had found the “perfect” dress.
If I wanted to make sure it was an absolute “fit like a glove dress”, I could send them my measurements and have a dress custom made for me.
That seemed like a plan. So there I was after ( forever long) of not thinking of sizes or numbers, getting my measurements for the dress.
Ok this isn’t a blog on the perfect mother of the groom dress ( although…. 😉 I might not give any thought to what my current pant size is ( ha what is it??) or my measurements, but more about what numbers do matter to me now…..
How many miles can I run ? What pace can I push and for how long ? Riding my bike, how many miles can I get into a ride? How fast can I keep my speed? Lifting weight… what’s the heaviest dead lift I can do? How many squats will my body handle before it says “enough!” ? How many reps can I do working my core with several different exercises? How many push ups? How long can I plank ?
Those numbers matter to me now.
Ironically, so many of the exercises I’ve been doing are building me and pushing me out of certain clothes… but I’m really ok with that.
I can take up my space in this world and don’t have to make a single apology for it.
Neither do you.
Be healthy. Be strong. Take up your own space.
What do you think? Have you ever felt like you needed to be “less” to be “more”? Have you had any struggles with that? Or have you moved through a point where you comfortable with taking up your own space in the world?
Moms. If we all share one thing in common, we don’t get into this world without one. If we’re fortunate we grow up with one that we manage to use and abuse, torture, and love and share life with. Ideally, we learn from them in the ways of living life and lurch out into the world as somewhat well behaved, respectful, and productive citizens.
That’s the plan.
I remember years back during a long day that felt really demanding having this thought slam into me at the force of a F5 hurricane…..
“OMG…. I’m the mom now……”
My heart was racing and I broke out into a sweat sinking into a chair as that thought washed over me.
Well, not really, but it was definitely one of those moments. Not that I hadn’t been a “mom” already at that point it just seemed that the light bulb came on.
I was going to be the room mom, project manager for all those lovely school projects, comforter during illnesses and relationship break ups, washer of mounds of clothes, baker and chef, chauffeur, etiquette teacher, counselor & advisor, maid of a neat and clean home for them to inhabit, lunch maker and slicer of apples and crust removal…. or my favorite… I can’t create a major school project out of a few toilet paper rolls the night before it’s due because you “forgot” even though they assigned it months ago 😛 Oh gosh, the list can go on.
We take care of those creatures… meet their needs and hopefully give them stability and a good life.
BUT in the mix of offering yourself up like a sacrifice to these creatures… perhaps they get to comfy with how well we take care of them.
For example, they develop a blind eye to glops of toothpaste in the sink, and learn to skillfully and carefully balance a single piece of trash on the (obviously) overflowing trash can. I’ve watched to see how long a roll of toilet paper could be left to wander around the floor before someone might take the 1.2 seconds to pop it in place ( note… sometimes the empty roll is all that’s left 😉 An empty dishwasher is certainly an invitation to leave them on the counter…
They must believe a magical fairy lives among them providing a clean home for them to live in… 😉
Then I had this thought… maybe… it’s me. Maybe I’m the odd one. No one else seems troubled by all the things I mentioned above. Like… not at all. They move through their days seemingly oblivious to the things that make me twitch.
I did an experiment the other morning. During the night it was obvious one of the dogs had lifted some trash from their bathroom trash can… it was like… right in the walk way to get into the bathroom…. I decided I’d leave it and see if someone would pick it up… or if they would just continue to step over it…I figured if no one got picked it up it would still be there waiting for me 😉
After awhile one son mentioned it and I casually said I was doing an experiment to see if people would continue to walk around it, or actually go ahead and pick it up….
To my surprise, after awhile, I realized it was gone.
There. Is. Hope.
I do know this, that even if my kids aren’t overly worried about housekeeping at this point, they can cook and do laundry, and have a working knowledge of managing their money, they have manners and know how to be respectful and polite. They are funny and kind. They understand the importance of working and investing themselves into it. Yeah,and they really do know how to clean ’cause I’ve seen them get after it before their friends come over haha it always impresses me that they keep those cleaning skills so well hidden 😉
So yeah, it is a rather non-stop, often thankless, hard, never ending job as a mom…. but then when you see your kids turning into adults and realizing that they really are getting it, makes you realize all that work, time and frustration over heaping trash and goopy toothpaste was all worth while .
They make you laugh. They make you cry. They frustrate you to the point of no return and you have had mental images of wrapping your hands around their throat 😉
Have you had those “mom” moments? I don’t want to leave the guys out either. But have you had moments in parenting that you…really…wondered? And yet somehow you’ve managed to get your kids to adulthood and want to celebrate that fact ’cause honestly, at times, you just weren’t sure you were gonna pull it off ?
So it’s the end of the week. I can hear collective sighs of relief from all of you. No matter what we do in our lives there is something about the weekend that is an opportunity to hopefully just chill or do something a little out of the ordinary.
Can I get “preach it sister?” 😉
Anyway, out of the ordinary. I thought I’d just share some random, odd, or maybe weird facts about myself with you to give you a different look at me other than “the crazy blogger chick who loves running, veggies, and coffee” haha
Ok… in no particular order of any relevance or importance…..
I love running but only started as a middle age adult when I was about 46 or so. I have yet to hit my running prime 😉
I was not “athletic” in school but was a band geek and a twirler =)
I have lived in the same small town my entire life ( well, it’s not so small anymore but regardless, I’m still here )
I have been married to the same kind, wonderful, patient, amazing man for 31 years.
I have three sons and three daughters who were adopted, older, out of foster care.
I have 3 grandchildren.
My middle son was married in Sept so I’m a “mother in law” now 😉 Seriously, I love my new daughter.
I have a motorcycle license.
I do not like swimming under water and the idea of diving in head first really weirds me out.
Someday I might want to do a triathlon.
I have two tattoos that I love… and I want more 😉
I have a nose, eyebrow and belly piercing along with 3 sets in my ears.
I’ve never had braces.
I live on 17 acres of beautiful hill country property my mom bought the year I was born.
I’m very social and don’t meet strangers.
There’s nothing I love more than a perfect sunny day and being out in my Mustang convertible with the wind in my hair.
Music… is life. I’m a rock girl pretty through and through but enjoy other genres too. Having young adult kids I get turned on to a lot of new music which is a cool thing.
Dancing. I don’t get to do it nearly enough.
I love to read and wish I made more time for it.
Black and pink… my favorite colors.
Christmas is hands down my favorite holiday to go all out for. Baking, decorating, prettily wrapped packages, you name it, I love doing it.
Baked goods. I grew up on made from scratch goodies and it’s how I bake. I will admit to being a snob and can easily by pass store bought stuff. ( blame my grandmother and my mom 😉
I like driving fast. My youngest son teases me that I’m James Bond. I take that as a major compliment.
As I’ve gotten more fit in the last few years and built muscle, I’ve toyed with the idea of figure competitions. I don’t know if I have the strict discipline it would take to get me there. But who knows ?
I was one of 22 people selected out of over 423 entries for the December 2012 Runners World Body Edition. Most amazing experience….ever. You can read my post on it in my blog entries.
I love high heels with almost anything. At 6’0 I don’t NEED them but does that matter ?? 😉
On that topic, I love fashion and trendy stuff and anything that is distinct, different, unique, and overall non-boring. There is a future blog coming on fun fashion 😉
I adore short and fun dresses.
When it comes to jewelry, I have a major thing for bracelets.
I love to laugh… if you can make me do that… you’re definitely someone I want to be around. If you have a quirky sense of humor, even better.
I don’t take myself to seriously.
As I’ve… matured… I’ve learned to not worry about others and their opinions or if I am who they think I should be. It’s really rather freeing and liberating 😉
I love passionate people with vision and goals.. they inspire me to do more.
Nothing makes me happier than someone telling me that what I do through my health and fitness journey has inspired and motivated them to get started on their own. I wish I could describe how that really makes me feel. Amazing…..
One of my most fav things in the world is Saturday morning breakfast and coffee with my husband..
Gone With The Wind still makes me cry.
I relate to Scarlet … she was strong, passionate, determined, bold and at times a bit of a brat 😉 Uh… I don’t everrrr resemble those traits….
Some day… I might write a book. One must be still for great lengths of time for that to happen… so I don’t know…. 😉
Tell me something about you that’s interesting, fun, or different =) Don’t be shy…
When it comes to health and fitness, you know I’m pretty vocal on some subjects.
For instance, I have no use for any of the over hyped current trending “health/nutrition/weight loss” products that abound right now. I think these big multi level marketing companies prey on people who are needy and often are willing to grab onto anything that might be the “magic fix” to help them lose weight and get fit/healthy.
For the tremendous amount of money it costs, I think, it would be better spent on good food, but hey that’s just me.
I’ve read various books on health and fitness. I take from them what I find useful and move on. Again, there are lots of books on the market, everything from diets and dieting to crazy trends.
Again you know, I’m not into crazy fad or trendy diets. They just don’t flippin’ work.
What has worked for me is changing how I do things in my life. How I do things, day in, and day out. Eventually, I built some new habits and in the process of doing that, I lost weight. I was out moving more. My body started changing. I was living my life and enjoying it and not feeling deprived or left out ’cause I had to “diet”. I wasn’t the poor victim at the family BBQ sucking down celery sticks and feeling miserable. I had occasional treats when I reallllyyy needed something.
Playing by my own rules worked for me. I just plodded along letting the weight almost effortlessly come off in a slow, steady, and sane fashion. I didn’t push it. I wasn’t on a plan to get if off in “just a few weeks”. I think these tactics have worked for me…..
Now imagine my interested delight when I stumbled across a book that had shown up in my Facebook newsfeed via a fitness page I followed.
As I read previews on it I was struck with the thought… “oh my gosh. THIS is what I’ve been doing the past 8 years. I’ve built habits and have changed my life and in doing so that’s allowed me to lose weight and keep it off. Someone wrote a book on it. A very GOOD book that helps you practice new habits for successful weight loss.”
I bought the book and well, devoured it. 😉
It is based on learning and practicing 4 “core” habits….
Eat 3-4 meals a day without snacking
Master your hunger
Eating just enough
Eat mostly whole foods
it follows with 12 supporting habits ( I’m not gonna tell you those ’cause you’re gonna want to scamper out and get this book and learn them yourself)
Well, maybe I’ll share a couple I liked. She addresses dealing with emotional eating (hello?? who on plant earth hasn’t dealt with that ??) and another…being 100% aware of treats you eat.. I think that’s a huge area of struggle for many people.
The premise is you will read and get familiar with one habit at a time, practice it, and move on to the next one. Georgie does a great job laying out ways to track your habits and be accountable with practicing them.
I also loved the approach that “perfection” isn’t what is expected, but a steady forward movement of practicing these habits until they become, well, habitual 😉 thus forming a way you are living your life… easily losing weight and getting healthy and strong.
It’s making your own routine that becomes natural and comfortable to you.
No diets or trendy angles on food.
No calorie counting or restrictive diets.
Not being told what you can or cannot have and avoiding or cutting out your favorite foods.
Not being restrictive and building new habits leads to permanent and sustainable weight loss.
Another term I related to because it’s how I refer to my personal change is.….it’s not a diet, it’s a lifestyle. You will begin a lifestyle of freedom.
As you move through this book learning about building habits you will understand your relationship with food and the how’s and why’s of interacting with it.
This is a book I can get behind. I guess because I relate to so much of what is written and I know these principles can and do work.
Please hear me…. this book… it’s worth your time reading…what I like best about it is that it’s practical and doable for anyone.. and I mean anyone.
Therefore, since I’ve already stated how I feel about various health/weight loss/ diet things and I’m very particular about what I endorse and suggest to others….and you know I only hold out sane and reasonable ways to get fit and lose weight….
Not only that it’s wayyyyyy cheaper than even a single month of a “health/weight loss product” 😉
Oh, and yes, the author does look amazing. Yes, for me, those abs are a reminder to continue my personal work in progress. For you, as I’ve mentioned before, you might have different goals of what you want to achieve… don’t worry about what others set for themselves. Yours could be improved lab work, more energy, strength, confidence, better health and overall wellness etc…
Your goals. Your life. Your success.
Forget diets. Forget dieting. Learn about developing your own lean habits for permanent weight loss and a new lifestyle change =)
Motivation ~ the general desire or willingness of someone to do something.
Motivation. As I interact with people and talk with them about where they are or want to be on their health and fitness journey motivation often seems to be a missing ingredient, so they believe.
Oh, they want to do it. But there is a lack or desire to really get the ball going.
Think of it like the enthusiasm you might have for cleaning the toilets 😉 ok maybe not that bad but you get it. Things we know we need to do are often hard to just jump in and get started on.
We might think things like:
“I need to lose weight”
” I should lose weight for my health”
“I really need to start exercising”
“My clothes are tighter I really need to cut out those extra servings”
” I know I need to eat better. Guess I should belly up to more brussel sprouts”
“My doctor told me I needed to make changes to not have future problems”
Then we go off and do crazy things like this:
“Come Monday, it’s going down. I’m doing it. But before then, I better get rid of all this junk food” ( and you eat it)
“I’m going to the gym and start classes and do some lifting and then I’m gonna run 3 miles!” ( and then you hurt so bad the next day from making your body do activities it hasn’t seen in years you vow exercise will kill you before fatness and you stop)
“I’m not going to eat ( all your fav things) and I’m going on a 1200 calorie diet and I will lose that 20 lbs in a month!” ( you only last two days ’cause all you think of is the foods you told yourself you couldn’t have ’cause they were now “bad” and the to few calories have made you eyeball every moving thing as possible snack fare… eventually sending you into a binge mode… where you determine “next Monday” you’ll start again.)
“I’m going to lose 15 lbs. in 21 days! All those ads I see say it can be done” ( but you get discouraged ’cause the 5 lbs a week isn’t dropping off and you think weight loss really must not be meant for you)
So let’s stop right here.
You DO have the motivation. It’s in your mind and you have a desire… you just need to move to a place of implementing it and putting it to work for you.
The biggest reason ( I think) people have good intentions and don’t get to far is that they set far to lofty goals with a quick turn around time and get disappointed when it doesn’t happen.
Gaining all your weight doesn’t happen in 2-4 weeks.
Getting physically out of shape doesn’t occur overnight.
Transforming your body is a process that can take quite awhile, depending on your goals.
I’ve been on my health/fitness journey for 8 years this month ( go me! haha) and it has taken time to get to where I’m at. My goals (physically and aesthetically ) might look different from yours but my transformation didn’t happen in weeks, months or even a year. I’ve moved forward every single day working at better choices all through my day, getting up if I had a bad day, and moving forward. Most importantly, never giving up.
You do that long enough and stuff happens!
As I lost some weight it became easier to continue being motivated (obviously) but at the start I had to determine I was going to purposefully make better food choices, know what balanced servings were, and get my butt up and moving whether I felt like it or not. Basically, I was restructuring myself by building some new habits.
So you, my dear 1.5 readers, you have motivation but what if you just approached getting started with small, realistic goals and just…eased into it ?
Maybe it could look like this:
I’m just going to start tomorrow… it’s Thursday…but hey why not? I don’t need to wait for Monday. I’m going to just get out and start with a walk..
And you do it. And you feel successful. You begin to look at how you’re eating and adjust your servings… eating a bit less and realizing you’re just as satisfied with less and actually feel better ’cause you aren’t…stuffed….
You head out for another walk… going a bit farther next time… going easy and allowing your body to adjust to new activities..
You start looking at “treats” you allow yourself and determine … do I really need that ? Consider the definition of treat… “an event or item that is out of the ordinary and gives great pleasure” that would mean “treats” weren’t an every day or all the time occurrence.
A few days go by and you are taking those daily steps and weirdly, it’s motivating you to keep on, you’re feeling successful. Ok, that one day didn’t go so hot, but you got up the next morning and kept at it like a boss. You understand that losing weight and getting fit is a process and you’ve determined to settle in for the ride.
You will be successful. Every positive step you take will motivate you to press forward.
Let me give you an illustration from my life. When I decided I was ready to tackle my first marathon and after all my initial excitement of committing to it had settled in this thought literally descended on me….
“Holy crap! 26.2 miles! 26.2 miles! You ARE crazy…how are you going to do that? What are you thinking?”
It was THE last time those thoughts trampled through my head. If I was motivated to train for half marathons and run them, I could do a full. I took my training apart like a puzzle and mentally on my runs I thought of it as my “marathon puzzle” every mile I covered became one more piece into the puzzle. I focused on short goals without becoming overwhelmed with the entire big picture.
It CAN be daunting when you stop and ponder running 26.2 miles… or more so, the training… I personally think the training requires much more motivation and discipline to arrive at the starting line on race day ready to take on those final 26.2 miles.
So much like weight loss, don’t allow yourself to get overwhelmed at the big picture. You possess the motivation to do it. You want to take small pieces at a time, much like my training, piece by piece, building up to something bigger. When you approach it in small, realistic pieces you will see….
You are capable of accomplishing great and awesome things… really… you are.
I love to read. My entire childhood I was a classic bookworm. I’d spend summers dragging home bags of books getting lost in them. During school if there was free time in class, my face was in a book.
As an adult with kids during the summer I still loved heading off to the library this time looking for more adult books. I’d still drag as many home as the kids. The danger of getting in good ones was just camping out and losing track of time…. sigh… when you’re an adult there are adult tasks to be dealt with so I’d have to drop the book and scurry around being productive and then dash back to what I was reading.
And oh joy! If I stumbled in a series I loved. I was covered for the summer lost in the stories the author had crafted.
I also challenged myself to look for interesting biographies on people… there are some wild, cool people in this world, do you know that ?
One of my fav’s was called “Fearless” about Adam Brown a Navy Seal on Seal Team 6. I will never, ever hear them mentioned again without an amazing respect of what they have to go through to be a part of such an elite, superhuman group.
Given my love for reading it’s no wonder I just love words, right ?? haha 😉
So I just finished off a book my son gave me for my birthday. I finally grabbed it and got started reading. He thought I’d like it cause of my interest in health/fitness etc.
Based on the title, I loosely thought it was a humorous fiction book.
Actually, it turned out to be a memoir of one woman’s journey and battle with body image and self esteem. Proclaimed fat by her mother at age 11 ( when her first diet started) she chronicles a life of negative body image, constant diets ( and failing them) painful moments through school, constant struggles and self loathing, and ultimately, (yay, figuring it all out)
As I’ve shared in previous posts, I’ve had times in my life dealing with diets (yuck), wanting to lose some weight, having the “skinny” clothes, the “fatter” clothes, and the ongoing goal to get back to the “skinny” clothes ( yay, I don’t even deal with that anymore 🙂 I never felt like I had bad self esteem or wasn’t comfortable in my skin. I did know when I needed to drop a few pounds and it bugged me. Bugged me that I was at that point and bugged me ’cause it felt like it would take eternity to get it done. This was such an interesting and eye opening perspective to me helping me understand the painful and difficult struggles so many go through in a battle to be “thin”, when really, that isn’t the source of happiness nor as it turns out, is it the ultimate goal.
All that to say, reading the book, my heart broke for a young child who was already under fire by her mom for being in her words “5 lbs over weight” and how it affected her childhood years and then into adulthood. Diets, dieting, and the constant cycle became a ongoing way of life for the author.
It is well written, humorous in a way that I enjoy, straightforward and brutally honest.
The book is an easy read and I highly recommend it if you’ve struggled with body image/ self-esteem… or know someone who has. The author shares her struggles, but also her victories and shares how she overcame the constant diet rat trap and her body insecurities, to being comfortable in her own skin. It does have a nice happy ending 😛
I also enjoyed the “reading group” section at the end with various Q&A’s, and an overall “wrap up” since the book published.
Tell me… have you read anything fun or interesting lately? What types of books do you enjoy ?
This is a day late…but whatever… I never like following the rules anyway.
Yesterday was National Coffee Day so I’m going to give a nod to it and say of all beverages… doesn’t it deserve a special day of recognition ?
Those who know me, know and understand it helps operate me on a daily basis, hopefully on a high level 😉
I’m an easy to please no frills kinda girl with my coffee….I like it bold and black.
My day starts early and I am a happy camper to have a coffee pot that can be set to brew coffee before I roll outta bed. I mean really, to slowly be coming to life and smell it waiting for you ?
Ah… one of the 7th wonders of the world… glorious….
Stumble out… beady eyed… messy hair… find fav big cup… pour…. breath in…. and you begin to be infused with….life….
Once it brings me to life and my day is going, it is almost inevitable that later morning I’ll be making a stop at my fav coffee shop, Starbucks.
Now if you have issues with “the corporation” over something… don’t blow me up…. I do enjoy the coffee and since I drink it black it’s the 1) cheapest and 2) zero calories to the desserts in a cup they serve up as drinks.
I’ve been hanging out there for years now. And there is something ….soothing on a day that’s yucky and cold… or has been stressful… and grabbing a cup… and breathing it in… and all the sudden… the world feels upright 😉
But I figured out a long time ago as much as I love the coffee, I love the people who are there.
You may or may not have figured this out from me, but I’m very… social. That’s a gift, right ? haha
So over the years I’ve built friendships with people who work there and people who hang out there… the regulars if you wanna call them that… I guess I am too. One of the young girls who worked there recently caught me on her last day and hugged me and said…
“you’re our favorite regular here…” aww that made me happy =)
Ok… the baristas. Hard working, most of them youngish, often in school, and full of ideas and new dreams. I love getting to know them and make a point to connect with the new ones who show up. I love their energy and for some reason they think I’m cool. It’s a win/win thing.
I’ve had times of hanging out with some of them and having some really good conversations. Or listening to their struggles or whatever they were currently up to. They are often hard worked and sadly, can be treated badly by people. I try and bring them homemade treats at random times to let them know I appreciate them and their work. They know what I like and often have it waiting for me by the time I get in the door. I often hang out and read or write and they just let me make myself at home.
The regulars. The ones who are there predictably at the same times, in the same places. There are a group of guys who hold down one corner and they always are wanting to know about my running and what’s going on athletically. One gives me weather reports when I tell him my run days. Another is an older man who could be my dads age. He want to know if I’m over my running injury yet, or if I ran or cycled that morning. He was the one who kept asking me and encouraging me when I had confided in him I was toying with a 50K race earlier this year. He told me he was proud of me when I finally signed up. He is a sweet man who’s wife passed away a couple years ago. The entire place has kinda claimed him as “family”.
One older man has been a runner for years and has done countless marathons. I met him before I ran my first one and I shamelessly picked his brain for training ideas. None of them seem phased when I come cruising in my athletic clothes, no make up and sweaty from a long run. Many times they will offer to buy my coffee. Several of them think I’m crazy for doing what I do… but they admire me for it.
They all make an interesting group of individuals. Of course there are the friends I know and run into while I’m there OR my favorite, a total stranger that I can have an interesting conversation with.
No… I didn’t listen to my mommy when she said not to talk to strangers 😉
My favorite place is to be on the patio on a perfect day, reading or writing, and watching the world go by. It’s my favorite escape activity…. all the while enjoying coffee too….
I mean, is there a time when coffee isn’t a perfect accessory to daily activities ?
So, here’s to the designated coffee day, although I personally embrace and celebrate it each day 😉
What about you ? Are you a coffee drinker? If so, do you have habits or rituals you do with it ?
My mom passed away last year in the early morning hours of April 24, 2014. I won’t ever forget the day she quietly stepped out of this world as it was also my daughters 16th birthday.
I miss her.
I miss her sometimes in ways that crush my chest and leave me feeling breathless. There are moments I still can’t believe she isn’t with me. Grief is a weird animal and yet, another blog I have yet to write on. I think perhaps, in a way, I’m still kind of afraid to sit down and write about it. I don’t like pain but I also understand there is healing in pain too.
Ah well dear reader in another moment I will feel up to tackling that topic because I know there isn’t a person on this big planet who won’t walk through the avenue of grief at some point in time.
But for now… for this post… I’m reflecting on things my Mom taught me. Maybe in a way, some type of tribute to her for what she invested into me and my life.
Her first born and only daughter ( my brother would come along 15 months later) we shared a close bond and enjoyed many similar things. She was always proud of me and supported me in everything I did. I can’t tell you the times I’d show up at the hospital and some member of the hospital staff (whom I’d never met) would see me and say… “you’re that marathon runner, aren’t you?” My mom had pics of me running hanging in her room and she took every opportunity to tell a new victim person about my activities.
Marathon running ( and training) of course requires a tremendous amount of strength, physically and mentally. I learned a lot about being strong from my mom. I am grateful in the last few months of her life I was able to recognize that strength in her in a new way and see how I had been blessed to have that as a part of my makeup. I don’t mean strong physically, although I am, I mean the deep strength of a woman who goes through difficulties and can stand under them. One who learns to move through the storm and grow in the process. A woman who chooses to keep seeing good and joy even in the face of hardship and difficulties.
A woman who makes a choice to fight back and not curl up and die. Strength. My mom embodied that and I’m grateful to be molded in a similar way.
Moving into fall and the approaching holidays makes me miss her more acutely ( I encountered this last year) the changing of seasons and upcoming festivities reminds me how much she loved and embraced all activities from now through New Years.
I’ve missed her enthusiasm and planning of dinners and activities. The plotting of menus. The brainstorming over gift ideas. She approached the “holiday season” with a childlike enthusiasm.
So I’ll start with this… she put a love in me for all things holiday. With the first crisp of fall air pumpkins, scarecrows and her homemade pumpkin bread showed up. Thanksgiving was always accompanied with some new recipe she wanted to try and her “gifting” was to deliver pies to suit every tastes for each person who would be there. When I say they dragged like, 12 homemade pies over to my home, I’m not exaggerating. Last year her gifting was sorely missed. I bake but don’t put the spread of pies out like she loved to do.
Christmas? Oh my goodness. It was a time to bless not only her family, but anyone in need she could find. Christmas was (is) about giving, sharing and family. She baked goodies to share with everyone she had connections with. Our home was always decked out ( no wonder I’ve grown up and my home is always all dressed up. Imagine my shock when I learned not everyone went through such effort to celebrate)
Special cookies. Stockings gently used from years of being hung with care. The anticipation of Santa’s arrival. Putting cookies out. Late night Christmas eve service. The picking of just the “perfect” tree. ( to this day… I want a big one. I have 12ft ceilings so why not ??) The lights. Evergreen. The Nativity set carefully arranged honoring Christ’s birth. The old cardboard village with the ( lead!) Barclay Santa and skaters nestled around it (this is my FAVORITE Christmas display which I’ll share in another post) Every area with something tucked into it.
My kids have grown up loving it and their friends have viewed it as going to a Christmas shop at times 😉 It makes the work all worth while. There’s something magical…. and that is the thing I guess my mom ( and grandmother) gave to me and I’m glad to give it to others.
I do so many similar things… traditions. Traditions that now my grown children want to do… there is something satisfying in that. Traditions involve family and a sharing of events that have been passed along from each generation.
She taught me how to invest into my family, my husband, to cook, bake, sew, keep a home, artfully arrange flowers, and make beautiful things. To be a cheerleader and encourager. I learned a Mom keeps things spinning.
Random things were meant to be celebrated. A good report card? It was Friday? Nailed a new job ? Successful on a test or something challenging? Whatever… there were simple moments that were worth something celebratory.
She modeled loving sacrificially in marriage. She went through many difficult things with my dad, one of the biggest was his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s a few years ago. She would share some things with me about dealing with him but as a mom, I know, sheltered me. Since I’ve had the responsibility of caring for him in this last year I see some of what she dealt with and feel bad I didn’t really understand to offer her more support in the difficulty of what she dealt with.
She taught me as a mom, that a mothers love is bottomless and that no matter what she was always there. Even in her last days she was concerned about some difficulties I was currently going through and insisted I talk about it. I miss being able to share those things with her.
She taught me how to love and be loving. How to give freely and from whatever I have. To be generous and selfless. To be kind to others. I learned to be content with what I have because if you aren’t content, then you are ungrateful for all you do have. I learned about working hard for what you want and not having an attitude of expecting to have things handed to you.
She told me about God and faithfully took me to church. She put me in a place that in the years to come would allow me to move into my own relationship with Him. She taught me how to love and trust Him.
She taught me to embrace life and that every single day we are given is a pure, sweet gift. She encouraged me to see the beauty of the world around me and always pointed me to the fact we had a Creator who had fashioned all we see.
On being a woman… she taught me things that I value so much now….
How to be a lady. To act classy. To stand up straight ( in my …younger years… I hadn’t embraced or become confident in my 6’0 frame and sometimes tended to…slouch) I’m grateful I learned how to carry myself with confidence thanks to her “encouragement” 😉
She taught me to be proud of myself and my accomplishments and to always keep trying no matter what.
I was raised to be polite, courteous, and respectful. On the flip side, I was also taught to stand up for myself and take nothing off of anyone.
I learned how to use makeup so I enhanced my looks without ( in her words) “looking like a clown”. I was schooled in the wearing of high heels so I didn’t “clop along like a girl who fell off a tractor” haha (My mom always had some lovely visual illustration to use)
let me tell you… today….I can rock a pair of high heels like no ones business… thanks mom…..
She often reminded me that being a woman, wife, and mother required some time to step away for myself and that was an ok thing to do.
My mom was an amazing,strong, passionate, loving, generous and giving woman. I’m so blessed to have had her and her influence for almost 50 years of my life.
I do miss her tremendously. However, if somehow, I can carry on and share the things she taught me, her life will continue to live on as well.
And hey… if you still have your mom.. right now… call and tell her you love her and thank her for what she’s taught you.
I read in an article a month or so back how women use more words in their day than men. There were varying “tests” done, but overall showing females did use more words in a day than the guys.
Ok, I might buy into that, after all, I rarely find myself without words 😛
In fact one day I decided I’d try and text and talk like a guy… using less words… did I say a day ? I barely made it through a couple hours haha
Words. I love words.
They abound in my head, ideas leaping around and thoughts clamoring for attention and to be set free. Sometimes those words and ideas bug me during the night. Other times I’m out doing my daily schlepping through life and I get this great idea and I’m digging for something to throw it down on lest I forget later ( hey, I’m older! My brain is often scratched out on a legal note pad 😉 what’s worse is if I’m out running… I almost turn the idea into a chant to keep it in my head. Truly, it’s when I do some of my best thinking.
I get inspired from so much of the world I operate in.
People. Situations. Observations. My own thoughts ( scary, I know) Sometimes, even laughing at myself 😛
Words paint wonderful pictures. I love how you can take an idea in your head and shape it into something that people can see and “get”. Or when you have something you feel passionately about, write it, and it resonates with the people who read it.
Nothing…is more satisfying.
So imagine my frustration? Perplexity ? Shock ? When I contemplated a few weeks ago what I was going to write on and…..
Silence. Crickets chirping. Nothing. It was hard to even come up with ideas. I didn’t come up with ideas.
Well, let’s not overlook my son was getting married (that happened Sept 12 and you’ll be hearing about that 😉 and really my mind was on that constantly. Not to mention juggling some family things and life well, I guess it just left me feeling, blank.
I was semi-horrified. How does this happen?
I’m a woman. I’m loaded with words. A plethora of words on any given day. What. the. heck.
So I did what any smart woman would do. I hit up a friend of mine who is a published author ( her third book just released… look her up… Jolene Navarro)
Anyway, I asked her as an author if she ever got “empty” “wordless” left holding the bag basically. She laughed and assured me she was currently 5,000 words behind in her writing.
Ah, sympathy. Just what I needed.
I told her I loved writing on health, fitness and of course all things running, but I had all these other ideas tripping through my head and those words had stories to tell, because they’re the stories of …. life……
She nicely reminded me that my life is what makes me real and 3-D ( I kinda like that illustration) and not just flat and focused on one area. Sharing life and things that happen make me real and people can relate to that.
Ok… that all sounded good.
She then put me on mission to write a “100 idea” list of all kinds of things about me… likes, interests, thoughts, passions, whatever.
I knocked out 50 at one sitting. I tackled more today. It’s getting harder… much harder.
Almost like… “hey, I’m Cathie, I like peanut butter” haha I’m not giving up though…..
The idea being if I hit a spell where nothing is firing in my head, I go to my list to (hopefully) propel insanity creativity 😉
So I guess I’m telling you all of this to say I will be bringing you “life” things from time to time. Sometimes hard topics. Others whimsical or funny. Maybe thought provoking. If I’m successful, entertaining or inspiring.
Not for one second is my focus of bringing you health, fitness and all things running on the backburner, I just want you to experience ALL of life with me.