Heavy Hearted 


This comparison stopped me in my tracks yesterday, and I was saving it for #facetofacefriday on Instagram. Same picture with my beautiful cousin Maria and I…but with a three year difference and what feels like an emotional lifetime apart.

I was excited about this because rarely do I physically get to see the BIG, “100lbs lost” kinds of changes (since I see my dang self every dang day and I still have some dang weight to lose!!) but this NSV was pretty cool for me! The picture taken in 2013 was just after our family reunion that a bunch of us cousins had worked hard on for months to pull together for our huge, Italian family. It was a big deal! There were about 75 people in attendance. As excited as I was to be a part of such a wonderful family event, deep inside my heart I was mortified that all of my family members were seeing me HUGE and out of control and easily around (or slightly over) 400 pounds. 

Even though I hated having my picture taken, I posed happily with my cousin Maria in my living room as we said goodbye…not knowing when we would get the opportunity again.  

This last weekend we did! 
My whole family threw my dad a surprise 60th birthday party, and when the weekend visits and festivities were all said and done, I found myself once again in my living room saying goodbye to my cousin and her family. We took almost the same exact picture and I was curious to see the difference between the two. I dug through the archives of social media and there it was! I was so blessed to see such evidence of change in my face, and more importantly to KNOW how much my life has changed since 2013. I couldn’t wait to make a side by side to post and share the progress with you, my online “fitfam”! 

And yet today…I’ve struggled to post it. Who cares about my “face to face Friday” pic?!  With all of the bad news on the news every single day…it’s hard to imagine any of this matters.  

I’ve not wanted to be disrespectful of current events by going along with my life as if everything is ok, and act like my weight loss pictures are important.  

Nothing is ok.  

The world has gone mad.  

I was awake most of the night, restless.  

Thinking about everything on the news. Like everyone else, I’m sure. 

Awake with fear and wrestling with all the unknowns. Alert with grief for ALL of the families laying awake out there in the world with shattered hearts. Worried about what might be coming up around the next corner for us all. 

Minnesota, Louisiana, Georgia…and still the aftermath settling in Orlando, Florida. And now, what’s unfolded in Dallas, Texas? I imagine so many more people than I can imagine laid wide awake last night.  

With shattered hearts and numbing disbelief. Living a nightmare.  

Loved ones ripped away from their lives and loved ones with violence.  

I know everyone has something to “say” about this today. Everyone is making “statements” about how they feel, and I guess this is mine, and that in some way pouring out our hearts and thoughts out here is ALL we can do right now to somehow try to connect and comprehend what’s happening? I don’t know. 
There’s no way I can possibly understand the depth of the despair and fear that is growing out there. It has only grazed my life from a safe distance each time I watch the news or scroll through my social media feeds…but it is enough to make me shutter and want to board up my family in our house and never come out again.  

I’m sure that’s how a lot of people feel this morning.  

Weary and wary of other people.  

There’s a heaviness laying right on top of all of us, in every city, as we try to go about our day today.  
It’s almost enough to make you wanna give up hope…but my faith (in God who is the ultimate source of perfect LOVE) showed up in my life today in a thousand different tiny ways and restored, at least for a moment, a tiny glimmer of hope that gave me peace.

Love showed up when I kissed my husband goodbye early this morning and was reminded that I still get one more day with the guy. 
Love showed up when I got up to get my day going and realized that our automatic deposits went through over night, and we are able to pay our bills and feed our kids. Always providing for every need. 
Love showed up when I went to my gym to workout and people were still sincerely smiling at me and wishing me a good morning, despite the sadness we were all feeling.  
Love showed up in multiple, beautifully and thoughtfully written posts from friends, standing firm in love and brotherhood regardless of race, religion, sexual orientation or political affiliations. 
Love is everywhere if you stop and look for it. Even in a random little weight loss post. That’s what I’m choosing to look for today. And so, I’m going to share my “#facetofacefriday” post in name of love, because this is my corner of the world and I’m going to try and live it to the fullest while I still can.

I LOVE my life, however long I’ll get to live it, and this picture shows how hard I’ve worked to say that and really mean it. 

In the tiniest way, I hope that putting this out here in the world counteracts some of the negative…as we sift through all this bad news. May God have mercy and lead us all in a better way.  

Advertisements

When you wish upon a star


 

 “You know, any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.” – Jiminy Cricket 

When I was little, I used to look out my window and find the brightest star I could and make wishes. I was quite a dramatic kid. It makes sense now knowing that I’ve been a sensitive artist type all along, always leaning toward the whimsical and romantic. 

I used to wear my Grandmas satin nightgowns and high heels for dress up and imagine I was a princess or some fancy rich lady. I would go into her backyard, and remember feeling like it was an enchanted garden, where I was the center of everything wonderful. I used to constantly daydream and pretend.   
I’ll confess, as corny as it is to admit…I still do. I think that is why I have such an obsession with Disney, it allows me to reach into that place in my heart that still believes in magic. 
A wish is a “desire or hope for something to happen”. How many thousands of wishes have we had so far in our lives? 
How many of them have come true, unnoticed or forgotten about?
As we become adults our skeptical nature outgrew our ability to believe in wishes.  

Experience left us jaded.

Doubtful. 

Bitter.  

We learned that we must be responsible and realistic. We learn to rely on judgment and sometimes sarcasm to survive. Packaging up all of our hurts and disappointments from our childhood and carrying them around with us through life, waiting to find a place to set them down and rest.  
Some of us found a resting place in our friends, careers, and family life. Some found it in romance, accomplishment or a certain faith.  
But at some point, our little hearts grew hardened and we stopped believing. Finding that place to rest and catch our breath has become the goal of this life in some ways.  

Some of us do it well, and we find some contentment. While some of us crash and burn again and again. 

“Children are happy because they don’t have a file in their minds called “all the things that can go wrong”.”            -Marianne Williamson   

 

For me, it showed itself in my body. The bigger I got and the more I would eat to find “rest”…I lost the belief that I was special and made for any special reason.  
Even after I found my true love and got married. Even after I experienced the joy of becoming a mother. Even after I poured my whole heart into my faith and truth as I understood it, I still felt unworthy and discontent. I didn’t believe that it was possible for me to be the me that I wanted to be, and that I felt was created to be.  
I put up a front for a long time. Doing all the “right” things that I thought I was “supposed” to do, all the while believing that there was no use. I was destined to fail and live with a certain level of misery.

And then I began to believe it could be different. 

While on vacation last week at Disney World, I found myself reminded again and again of the power of what we BELIEVE.

I know, I know, it’s cheesy but I can’t help it! God speaks to us in all kinds of ways. During the fireworks performance at the Magic Kingdom, I was overwhelmed with gratitude when I heard Jiminy Cricket say, “You know any wish is possible. All it takes is a little courage to set it free.”  

Gratitude for all the ways that my life has changed from one little moment of courage. 
Gratitude is the secret path back to believing in magic.  
We are blessed beyond what we can even fathom on a day to day basis.  
The air we breathe, the water we drink, the opportunities, the compliments, the genuine friendships and relationships and ultimately the choice, again and again to choose LOVE instead of FEAR.  
Every single day of my vacation as I walked and walked and WALKED some more, I found myself saying thank you. My body was able to take me all over the place and endure the many hours of walking in the Florida heat. My body has changed for sure, but I know it had to begin in my mind. 

“Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is GOOD and pleasing and perfect.” – Romans 12:2 NLT 



http://youtu.be/cRIzFNeEMqs

 

Taking Inventory

IMG_1207


“Laziness casts into a deep sleep, And an idle man will suffer hunger.”
Proverbs 19:15

This is a scripture that I came across yesterday. It completely represents how far I’ve come spiritually on this journey.

I was constantly tired and constantly hungry. Constantly eating…but never satisfied. And sadly, deeply depressed. This was haunting to read, because it is hard to be honest with myself and admit that that was me.

Idle is a term which generally refers to a lack of motion or energy. I was an idle woman.

Self discipline is doing what needs to be done even when you don’t feel like it.

I’m still working on this virtue, but now I can honestly say that my days are filled with energy and motion!
I love it and I’m sad I waited so long to make this change. Every day I keep pushing forward and stay consistent is another day it all just becomes a normal part of my life.

And not just the gym grind, but also household work/chores and keeping commitments…being on time…being a woman of my word. Slowing down and being more intentional with my kids and following through. Planning ahead…making healthy meals. Even silly stuff like taking the actual time to do my makeup and hair on a more regular basis. I like that I’m becoming someone who takes care of her business. I like being someone who no longer wastes the time I’ve been blessed with.

The more self respect I gain, I am more comfortable shedding the tolerance for negative attitudes, vibes, relationships and habits in my life. Ain’t nobody got time for that!

I’m enjoying this snowball effect. As I continue to take care of myself, I am finding that I am taking care of all my “stuff” too. It feels amazing. 😍

Balance

For someone who is a self-realized extremist, an “all or nothing” mentality has been the way I’ve approached most things. Nothing being the most common outcome, at least as far as my health and fitness was concerned.

Its been easy to get stoked and declare big plans in the past only to fizzle out quickly. It’s just not realistic to live the rest of your life eating nuts and leaves or consuming only juiced vegetables and fruits. I am the person who watched “Fat, Sick and Nearly Dead” and immediately declared a 30 day juice fast that lasted about 9 hours. I am the guy that has tried to cut out whole entire food groups and expected miracles. I have mixed drinks and shakes and supplements of every kind, variety and flavor. Every effort was made to cut through the lengthy process that would be inevitable to reach extreme results. All attempts ending in the same way, disappointment and eventual surrender. This time feels different because it is different.

If there was one word that I had to choose to sum up what I’ve had to keep learning over and over and OVER, and repeat as a sort of mantra the past 4 months, it would be BALANCE.

“Balance” has been the hardest concept to embrace and put into practice and is probably why all of my previous attempts at a life change were fleeting. Consistency requires balance. It’s my trainer, Rachel’s favorite word. She reminds me constantly that this whole thing is all about balance. It’s the only way I survived the holidays without throwing in the towel.

There are going to be chocolate days. There are going to be stay in jammies and watch endless movie days. But now there are also work out days, and clean eating days. Cardio days and strength training days.

And this is my life now. No more going from one extreme to the other.

Just like I’m learning to eat the proper balance of macro-nutrients (fats, carbs, proteins) for the results I want, I’m also learning the proper balance between the physical effort, spiritual effort and soul effort that this journey requires. It is just as important for me to enjoy a meal cooked with love and butter and a glass of wine with friends, as it is to have a protein shake on a weekday morning. It is just as important for me to make time for writing, art and expression as it is to make time for prayer and meditation. Self-care is HUGELY important and may actually be the key to all that I’m accomplishing. And isn’t that so hard for us?? To take proper care of ourselves without feeling selfish or vain?

Every time I feel myself getting hyper about the scale not budging as quickly as I’d like it to, or the size of my pants not dropping dramatically, I am reminded that I’m learning balance and self care. It restores my focus. Even if I never lose another pound, if I can continue to practice balance, there’s no way I can lose.

2015/01/img_0753-01.png

Reining it in

I love that my hair is long enough to pull up into the perfect messy bun.  No strays or stragglers.

I love that I opened this window on my left side and a burst of warm summer wind hit me in the face like a pleasant surprise.

I love that my Pandora is playing all the songs I like so I don’t have to waste any skips.

I love that my dog always knows just when I need her to snuggle up against me and be my friend.

I love that my babies are running through my house having fun despite me yelling at them to knock it off.

I know I will miss their mess and noise someday and I only need a moment of intentional gratitude to sober me.

I love that when I stop and take notice, I am overwhelmed with things to say thank you for.

The hardest thing about being a realist is that you’re really only a pessimist in disguise.

To halt myself from traveling down the familiar gloomy tracks and force instead a stroll down a brighter path…

Well, I’m more comfortable sitting in the shade.

My disappointment hangs from my body,

heavy and always inconvenient.

Protecting me from pain but hard to ignore…and if I’m being honest it only makes it worse.

But I am told to be in the light as He is in the light…

and I was.

Spent the fullness of time feeling welcomed and alive.

Now here we are again, and back to being the last resort.

Wasn’t quite ready to come home to the norm.

I have amends to make and bridges to burn, like calories…and we all know how good I am at that.

Frames and galleries of words that crowd my heart, and the space is getting limited in these chambers.

Bolted with hardware and welded to my arteries.

This kind of blockage requires a skilled surgeon.

Blood pumping through paths I’ve carved out to survive.

A masterpiece.
A bypass of emotion.

Today is a new day that has been made for my gain,

taking a new route and a fresh way.

I will choose gratitude.

What other choice do I have?!

I love that I have mastered the art of coming full circle, even when it seems pointless.

I love that a deep breath and honest words can set my focus strait.

I love that I will turn off this computer and leave the tears behind and get back to living.

Excuse my ramblings today. I just needed to rein it in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Summer Prayer

 

If fire is honor, then we’ll stand and let it burn.

Hot and loud as it calms into a deep burning midnight.

Popping and clapping its truths.

Glowing red and warm; a blanket of appreciation.

Shadows of flames dancing on our faces as we gather around and listen.

 

If water is pure,

let us strip off these pretenses and plunge in.

Washing away all of the expectations.

Easing the heavy weight from our bones, bathing us fresh and new.

 

If the earth is nakedness,

let us run.

Let us take to the fields and carry ourselves to the edges of sight.

Let us stomp our feet in the dust,
to the sound of drums.
Dancing unashamed.

Like the children who still live hidden away
under the layers piled on our hearts.

Let us uncover these wounds and expose them to the open air for healing.

 

If the stars are mystery,

let us follow their lead.

Surrendering our proud explanations and false humility.

Gazing upon the vastness and treasuring the wonder that we are so eager to dismiss.

 

If the moon is lonely,

let us be a friend.

Let us set ourselves aside and turn our faces toward each other.

Let us see what we don’t want to see.

Let us forgive and be forgiven.

 

If the sun is victory,

let it burn brilliant and forever.

Let us turn our faces upward in unison to soak up the radiance that is promised.

Let us lift our hands together in thanks.

Like warriors,
moments away from an earned homecoming.

Finishing strong and whole.

 

 

 

Miracle Grow

20140604-104828.jpg

” And she had a will like a root; it was sometimes hidden underground, but it was there, tough and fibrous and sustaining everything she did.”

My cheeks burn as I try to stand my ground.
Speaking my mind.
Having the audacity to challenge credentials.

Hold on tight… I can feel my grip slipping.
And I realize I’m done,
done and onto the next one.

Are friendships supposed to be this hard?
Is this the easy and light yoke that was promised?
What happened to fellowship and sharpening of swords?

It feels so heavy,
but everything about me is heavy, so maybe it’s just me.
Agreeing that yes, I need to die to myself.
So I try.
And try and try and try.
And it chips away at what is left.

And with it,
the belief in grace for all.
Pardon for all.
Faith for all.
Because, it’s taken me so long to figure this thing out,
and now it’s ruined.

Guilt regulating this frigid temperature.
Nothing can grow on this plot.
Hard like a rock.
You can blame yourself.

If I’m rebellious?

Bitter?

I’m disobedient because my back straitened taller when I challenged what you said?

Am I obnoxious because my voice is raised often, and with passion?

Am I lost because I can’t fake what I don’t believe?

The little root and sprout of the woman I’m supposed to be has been curled up and hidden beneath the dark soil.

The earth is fresh and damp and warming up under the beating sun.

Soon, there will be a new thing.

A bloom.

Rooted deeply and rooted onward by the ONE who created my lungs to fill with my own words.

I feel it coming back again,
the hints of something special.
That nudge that I was made for something special.
That you are special too.

Pound the shovel down and pierce what would have died,
with freedom.

I am exactly who I’m supposed to be.

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
– 2 Corinthians 3:18

* the picture and quote I shared are from an Instagram account I follow
http://instagram.com/prettynpaleoatx *

Image

Every summer has its own story

I thought it would be fun to revisit an old post from last summer. Especially since it has a nostalgic vibe to it. Enjoy!

Mandimonologue

20130731-094023.jpg

The summer I turned sixteen seems like an exaggerated moment in time when I think of it. Summers were long and lazy when we were younger. Watching cartoons, random tv and playing in the back yard with my siblings while our parents were at work filled the daylight hours. Lots of fighting with each other and calling mom at work only to get in more trouble for having bothered her in that way. Day after day of boredom and drowsiness.

At night I pretended to be more mature than I was and I would sneak out from my bedroom window to hangout with friends or even sneak them IN to hang out with me. I’m pretty sure that was the summer I felt like I was painfully in love for the first time and spent my thought life day dreaming of ways to see him at night. The kids I…

View original post 512 more words

Image

One year of blogging and looking ahead

20140212-095633.jpg

It has officially been one year and I have the same heavy body I had last February when I started this blog.

I’m writing from the same couch. Same living room. Same house. Same warm dog lying next to me.

So much has remained the same but I know that when I stop and think, I’m at least a little older and whole lot wiser.

A lot can happen in a year.

If I’m being honest, I really thought that if I gave myself over to the honesty of writing and sacrificed myself on the alter of this blog, that somehow all of my excess weight and self doubt would magically melt away by the sheer power of humility.

I would NOT hold back and I would come out of this transformed and on my way to being a big deal. Spiritually, mentally, physically and creatively superior. Ready to impact the world with my success story.

Well, that didn’t happen.

What has happened is REAL life, and not the la-la land I was imagining where magical things unfold without any work.

One thing I’ve learned is that love hurts. Sometimes, love means turning the other way. Destructive and repetitive family cycles are agonizing to remove yourself from, but for wholistic health, it must be done!

When trying to soak up someone else’s pain only makes them sicker and you, sicker…the downward spiral deepens. Having to let go of someone you love because you can’t be their savior…walking away from their pain?
About the worst thing I’ve had to attempt and see through. Somewhere along the way I’ve believed that taking care of others is way more important than caring for myself. I’ve learned the hard way that this is just simply untrue. I have no idea how or what that looks like.
Still working it out.

Because of not knowing how to properly care for myself and my own needs, I’ve also learned that I can’t trust myself around food and REALLY can’t trust myself around a bible.

My spiritual life is connected to my tangible eating and breathing life, is connected to my creative life, is connected to my mental life is connected to my spiritual life…blah blah blah. I know that the more I struggle against my creator the worse I seem to struggle mentally, creatively and physically.

So why the struggle?

I know all the proper “theological” answers. I am a sinner who wants to be my own God…I want to captain this ship of mine on my own, and thus will suffer from these ill navigated waters until I surrender.

Boo.

That’s really not it.
I’m just desperate for an authentic faith. I reject being boxed into a “Christian-living-looks-like-this” box. As much as I try to not care and act aloof about the whole thing, at the end of the day I just want to press in and get close enough to Jesus to touch the hem of his garment. To push through the crowds and see him for REALS. Be near Him. Be healed. Without anyone telling me I’m doing it wrong, or interpreting it wrong, or questioning if my motives were biblical…or WRONG.

I’ve let my distaste for our audacious “Christian culture” and all the rights and wrongs create distance between me and the source of love and life.

It’s weeks like this past week that bring me back down onto my knees where faith and reality meet head on.

A beautiful friend of mine suddenly passed away from a violent athsma attack. She was my age. A mother of 4 young children and a wife to a husband whom she adored. Her death was shocking and heart breaking. A few days later, the news of another friend from high school, taking his own life.

No matter who you are or what you believe, when your heart is breaking you look for the goodness of God. You search to find light to chase out the darkness. To fill in the cracks of what’s been broken.

Perhaps that is why he allows us to endure hard things, so that we will put down our rubbish and shenanigans and get back to finding and staying near to the source because we certainly aren’t guaranteed tomorrow.

So, this year I will continue to do just that. Seek out He is who is the source and stay near to Him. I will continue to write and throw myself onto this blogging alter in that pursuit.

No expectations of crazy miracles or outcomes, just me, keeping it real.


*I was surprised by who was on the sidelines cheering me on at the start of this blogging journey and am equally surprised by who remains and is still here pushing me onward.

So, in honor of my one year blogging anniversary, THANK you so much for loving me despite what a maniac I am.

Image

An invalid writer is confronted with truth

I could possibly bore everyone I know with writing another unimportant blog post.
This fear has stunned me into a writing coma where I have slept for months,
waiting to feel a spark of inspiration that didn’t feel forced.

Why is it so quiet when it snows?
Is it because the cold hard truth makes you hold your breath and stand still?

Tell the truth?

Well here it is:

I want to make something meaningful.
Craft words and phrases of art.
Powerful.
Inspirational.

The point is to move souls…
Evoke motion…to see if anyone gets me?!
Really gets me?

Im just another copy cat, trying hard to lead the way.
At the end of the day, I just want to be someone important.
I want to be triumphant.
Beautiful.
Exciting.
I want an epic destiny.
I want to climb to the climax of this movie with a powerful score, and blow everyone’s minds with my tenacity.

How selfish, how selfish, how selfish.

The grip of control is tight with its counterfeit…and here I am again worried about me, me me.

My mind swirls with thoughts that are hard to package and share.
I guess thats why I’m a writer.

Lose myself to chance?
Ok.

Pen to paper spilling.
Pushing me to dig deeper.
Urging me forward and I’m forced to keep up.
Stumbling across the page with my words.

I fight against what comes naturally because that’s what good girls are taught to do.

When really, lets just get real…

I’d slice throats if I had to.
I’d steal if I thought God wouldn’t care.
My darkness is ever present.
Can’t trust my instinct because its always going to be sinful.

I’ve been paralyzed on this mat for a year.
Writhing in bitter pain and pity.
Laying here waiting for a miracle.

“Get up and walk.”

Warm light of love starting to thaw my frozen heart.

Praying that this time I’ll trust and obey,
to spring up off of this bed and be healed.


“One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, “Do you want to be healed?” The sick man answered him, “Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me.” Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.” (John 5:5-9 ESV)

Previous Older Entries

>>New adventure<<

&andshelivedhappilyeverafter

ultimatemindsettoday

A great WordPress.com site

Lipstick and Laundry

Celebrating Imperfection One Pile at a Time

WRITE TO LIVE

A collection of words to spice your existence by KAYO LOGUN

Anthony Hymn

Thoughts, Feelings, and Rhythms.

Kelsey L. Munger

writer. storyteller.

STORYTELLING REVIVAL

ORAL STORYTELLING BROUGHT BACK TO LIFE!

Pew Theology

Faith | Life | Society

KURT★BRINDLEY

writing ★ producing ★ editing

Dana's Journey

Who you are today does not determine your tomorrow.

Operation Fat Removal

Lots of Kettlebell and a Whole Lot of Motivation

Laura's 180

Turning my life around, one day at a time.

Lifting My Spirits

A lifelong dream deferred no longer- transformation from fat chick to bodybuilder after age 50.

Elan Mudrow

The Ridges of Intertextuallity