55 by 55

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

forums.comicbookresources.comA year ago my daughter became engaged to a wonderful young man.  She called me to share the news, and after I hung up I was surprised at my first thought.  My first thought wasn’t “I hope I can save enough money to help them pay for the wedding,” or “I hope she is making the right choice,” or “Thats three out of four now married,”…..no, my first thought was “Crap, I need to lose some weight!”  For my whole entire life I have been overweight.  The other day there was a conversation in our office about what the ladies weighed when they got married.  One was 125 pounds, one weighed in at  135, and the other tipped the scales at 115.  They then looked at me, and I just laughed heartily and said “I beat you all…I weighed all of those numbers by the time I graduated from eighth grade!”  We all laughed because they thought I was kidding….HA!  Actually, when I got married I weighed 195 pounds, and am 5 foot 9.  My mom thought I was overweight at that time, and always encouraged me to lose a little “for my health.”  We were raised eating meat and potatoes for supper 4-5 nights a week and snacked on buttery popcorn in the evening. I didn’t stand a chance…I just loved food!

In grade school I was the one picked last for teams in PE (I just want to go on record and send up a plea to the teachers…please just count off the kids to avoid humiliating kids everywhere)  On the playground I would be on one end of the teeter totter, with 2 friends on the other end.  They loved me, so they would face each other and share the handle, even though the one without the seat had to be a little more careful, if you know what I mean.  My clothes were purchased in the “husky” section, now they call that section of the store the Pretty Plus section, so bless the kind human who thought up that name change.  If I situated myself on the outside of the Tilt-A-Whirl car, my friends could almost get whiplash from the spinning.

photo credit:amazon.comIn high school the  boys wouldn’t give me a second look when I stood next to my slim friends,but were seldom cruel to me.  We had a small high school, and these were kids I had known for my entire life, and fat was the only way they knew me.  My mom would give me a hug, wipe away my tears and tell me that they didn’t matter anyway!  She assured me that once I got into college the men would be different, and would love my personality instead.  I admit that it did happen as she predicted, and while I was still overweight, I could hold my own against the skinny-minnies.  I will admit that sometimes it is easy to hide behind the plumpness….I can flirt with the best of them, and have a lot of guy friends of all ages.  There is comfort in begin overweight because you know they wouldn’t be interested in you in a romantic nature, so you can be yourself and relax.  Of course there are drawbacks….the other night we were watching a trailer for “Pitch Perfect” and my daughter and I roared when we saw Fat Amy wearing a swimsuit just like mine.  “OMG…Fat Amy has my swimsuit on!!!!”  It was hilarious I will admit, and if a person can’t laugh at herself she will be a stick in the mud for sure.

There are the many misguided thoughts throughout the world when it comes to plump women.  Number one: No, we aren’t dirty.  Believe it or not, we take baths just like skinny people, and even put on deodorant AND perfume.  Number two:  We have no self-control or we wouldn’t be fat.  Well that one is partly true, but we must have some self-control or else we would have punched out a lot of skinny snobs who have looked down on us.  Number three:  We must not mind being fat, or else we would change that.  Again, that one for the most part is true, but I think that many overweight people have tried so many times to lose weight and failed, that it’s easier to just give up and live in shame.

The other day I went through the personal care section of Walmart and I passed the Dr. Scholls display for shoe inserts, stopping to look them over.  As a nurse I am on my feet during the day, so maybe they would be a great addition to my tennis shoes.  It instructed you to take off your shoes (right away…not a great idea to me), step on the footprints on the kiosk and push start.  Now, again, the first thing that came to mind was that a booming voice was going to yell at me from the kiosk, telling me to put down the small child in my arms….even though I was the only one around for 10 feet.  I actually laughed out loud, and thought that maybe I would pass on the inserts for now.

005This summer, I had to get off of a ride at a theme park, in front of my family, because they couldn’t bring down the bar far enough to securely hold me in.  Now, you would think with that humiliation I would do something to change my life?  I did, I went to the food stand while they enjoyed the ride, and ate a corn dog.  As I write this I am shaking my head in amazement…….I do want to go on the record as saying that even though I am overweight, I am healthy.  My blood pressure is good, cholesterol a smidge high, and blood sugars where they need to be….but when the day comes to a close,  I can say that I am unhappy with my body shape and size.

That brings me to this blog….January 1st decided that I was going to lose 55 pounds by the time I am 55 years old, which is September 24th.  So far I have gained 4 pounds 🙂 Perhaps it’s time to get serious about this! My beautiful daughter is getting married on September 21st, which is my moms birthday.  I am now going public with my top bucket list item…..and since I have readers throughout 28 countries, I will tell myself that the whole world is pulling for me.  I won’t share my weight, as I am not that nutso at this point, but I will faithfully give updates every Wednesday…good or bad.  I want to honor my daughter at her wedding, and also honor the memory of my mom on her birthday, hopefully 55 pounds lighter!  Then once I accomplish what will be the biggest hurdle of my life, I will start checking off more items on that bucket list.  Wish me luck ♥

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My Conversation with Jesus

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

photo credit: thebigquestions.comThis morning while waiting for my daughter to get ready for school, I heard a song by Thomas Rhett entitled “Beer With Jesus,” and it really got me thinking.  I know the day will come when I will meet Him face to face, and wondered just what I would say to Him?  We all have had blessings, tragedies, trials and temptations in our lives, some more than others. I was raised in the faith, as a Missouri Synod Lutheran Church member.  Anyone not familiar with this, lets just say they are a close step down from the Catholic religion, but are Lutherans.  I grew up going to church every Sunday, going to Sunday School every week until I graduated from high school, and became a confirmed member when I was in eight grade.  Our family had a bad experience with our minister when my mom died, and one by one we left the church, finding another to take its place.  It was like leaving a good friend, but that friend had disappointed us to the core, so it was time to sever the ties that I had known for my entire life.  I am now considered an Evangelical Lutheran, which is not as strict as our Missouri Synod counterparts. We also raised our children in the faith.  I just think that having a relationship with God make you more accountable for your actions.  As I said before, my moms advise to me before my first date was to not be caught in a “position” with my date that would cause me shame it Jesus appeared at that moment.  I realize what she meant now, but it was really strange advise when you are 16 years old.

So this morning I allowed my mind to reflect on what I would say if I had a conversation with Jesus.  I imagine He and I sitting around my dining room table, deep in discussion about the things that have happened in my life.  I would first apologize for the sins that I have committed, some involving the top 10.  I am not proud of that fact, as I have committed some whoppers in my life, but not without regret and embarrassment.  I want Him to know that  I knew I was veering off the right path, and always held myself responsible for my slip ups.  I won’t blame anyone else for my mistakes.  It was me, and me alone who messed up. Then I would thank  Him for the wonderful blessings He gave to me during my years on this earth.  I have 4 of the most wonderful children that a mother could ask for.  I suffered 3 miscarriages and had a son die seconds after birth, so these 4 children are truly blessings. Perhaps He would explain that these babies were specially chosen to take the “fast track” to heaven, for heaven also needed sweet tiny faces among the rest of the angels?

I would then ask him why my parents were taken away from me before all of their grandchildren were allowed to know and love them as we did?  Why do some people live into their 80’s, and some are taken away at an earlier age?  I will want to ask him how he decides who is the next person to enter heaven?  I want him to know that at times it didn’t seem fair that often times the “good” people seemed to be taken away too soon.  I am pretty sure that at this point he would look at me, shake his head and remind me that it was not my place to judge who was “bad” and who was “good,” and he would be right.

I would then respectfully inquire why I have been  fortunate enough to fall in love several times in my life, but still find myself alone at this point in my life?  Every little girl grow up thinking that she will find that special person, fall in love, have kids, and live happily ever after.  Why does that happen for some, and not for others?  Why put a person in my life, let me fall deeply in love, and then take them away for one reason or another?  Maybe He will then take my hand and tell me that perhaps the best is yet to come, and the heart breaks I suffered will make me appreciate when “the best” enters my life?

After the questions end, and the conversation comes to a close, He will remind me that He was never far from my side during the times of deep and hopeless grief.  He will remind me that during those dark days He placed the appropriated people in my life to help me over the bumps in the road.  For never in my life have I truly been alone, as I have been surrounded by angels for protection and comfort.  He will remind  me to sit quietly and listen to the voices in my head while in deep reflection…for those voices are His, and He is guiding me will surety and truth.  He may also remind me that there are no promises in my life here on earth, as it is a temporary home, and I need to make the best of it, while recognizing that each experience, good or bad, is shaping my soul and strengthening my faith.  I need to remember kindness and compassion for my fellow-man, even when they disappoint me or are cruel.  And above all I hope He will  assure me that even though my life has been fraught with sins, and times of questioning of the faith, He has forgiven my weaknesses.  He will smile and tell me that it doesn’t matter how many times my faith was challenged, but more importantly it was better that I worked it out, and  found myself on the right track again. Then He will leave me with the most wonderful sense of peace and love. With tears in my eyes, and unconditional love in my heart,  I will then thank Him for sitting at my table,  assuring  Him that I await the day I can sit at His forever ♥

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

CREME WAFER COOKIES

 1 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
2 cups all-purpose flour
( I always double the recipe)
Beat butter, add whipping cream and mix in flour.  Cover well and refrigerate about 1 hour.
Roll out 1/8 th inch thick on a lightly floured surface.
Cut out in circular shapes (I use the top from one of my McCormick short squatty spice bottles)
Coat each circle with sugar that has been placed on a plate or waxed paper.
Transfer to parchment lined cookie sheet, and pierce each one 4 times with a fork.
Bake at 350 degrees for 7-9 minutes, will be slightly puffed and feel “set” when touched.
(They are better if not allowed to get brown in color)
Cool and put 2 together with your favorite Crisco frosting.
(very pretty if you divide the frosting and tint each with yellow, green and pink)

There are lovingly referred to as the PIA cookies…yes the Pain in the A** cookies, because they involve more steps than I want to do, but they are worth the effort!

What About The Other Guy?

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

supportI just had a one hour visit with my ex-husband, the first face to face since his cancer diagnoses.  Sure, there have been phone calls and texts, but not a face to face.  He shared his fears about death, his fears about being a burden on his new wife and his family, and how he never expected to have cancer.  I am in a strange situation, on one hand we shared 27 years of ups and down, and on the other hand, he is now remarried and has a new wife and family.  Our divorce was anything but amicable, so this makes this whole situation all the harder.  Again, I am choosing to follow my heart, and will do what ever I can do to give support, and advice if asked.  He and I have now come full circle, and while we know we will never be able to live in the same house again, we can be friends.  It is funny how a life threatening event can cause many people to once again put life into perspective.  One thing I discovered when my mom, dad and sister were diagnosed with cancer, is that this diagnoses is often times harder on the loved ones.  I remember Kelly and Mom telling me that is was much easier to be the patient than to be the family member.  I shared this with Bill, and encouraged him to take time to support Mary (his new wife).  She is going through so many emotions at this time, as are all of us.  But it hits closer to home for her.  I can only imagine how she may feel cheated, in a sense, because she was alone after her divorce until she met Bill, fell in love and married.  Now a mere 6 months later they are facing one of the hardest challenges that life can throw at a couple.  Life is just so freakin unfair at time.  I can’t even begin to count the times that I have been slapped down by life.  Again, we have 2 choices in life…let it win, or beat it within an inch of its life.  It’s okay to challenge God, it’s okay to be angry, it’s okay to bargain, it’s okay to be sad, but it’s NEVER  okay to give up.  In 1968 Elizabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book about the 5 stages of death and dying, based on her work with terminally ill patients.   The steps are 1. Denial…2.Anger….3. Bargaining…..4. Depression….5. Acceptance.  That simple model has now become a reference for anyone going through a life changing events, from  breakups of relationships, to dealing with a terminal illness.  It is such a good read…and can be so inspirational to know that the feelings you are having are valid, and quite frankly okay to have.  Sometimes a person will start with one step, touching briefly on the following steps, and then ending with the last step.  Others will circle a few time, touching on a few of the steps, but hopefully landing on the last step, which is acceptance.  As person really can’t move on and be at peace until they reach that last step….even if they touch a tip of their toe on that step, and then stumble back down a few steps.

I personally went through a bad breakup a few years ago, and trust me, I stomped on every one of the 5 steps.  For 2 years I was like a child on the playground, playing  hopscotch all over those steps.  Then one day, I decided that the step proclaiming acceptance was the one I needed to land on, and stay there.  So my point here is that Bill needs to remember that while he is fighting for his life, he needs to always be aware of those around him, and support them as well.  Even if it involves reassuring that person that nothing will happen that they can’t get through together. He has been blessed with a wonderful woman, and I can assure him that she is scared to death.  There is nothing scarier than the unknown.  NOTHING!  These things can also cause you to challenge your faith in God.  Frankly, you can be pretty honked off at Him….and anyone in raised in the faith knows that is not the way to feel…but  He will wait patiently for you to work it out and come back to Him.  I strongly believe that God puts these challenges in your life, and then sits back and watches how you handle them.   I did suggest that they get into a cancer support group, and soon.  My mom, sister and I joined one when Kelly was done with her cancer treatment.  The wonderful thing is that you realize that you are not alone, your thoughts and fears are real, and that there are others out there that can help you to get over these bumps in the road.

So as I said before If God brings you to it, He will see you through it!  We just need to stand united, knowing that not one person is alone here, and it’s okay to be scared, angry or at peace.  Never be too proud to get the support you need, even if it’s through blogging, as has become my saving grace.  You are never alone ♥

Cancer…I HateThat Word

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

 “Her cancer has returned and it’s peppered throughout both of her lungs.  I’m sorry.”  Those were the words that my sisters, dad and I heard from the surgeon that beautiful July afternoon in the family conference room.   We knew that there was a slim chance that the cough that had been racking my mothers body for months was not cancer, but we always held hope.  Five years earlier we stood at the foot of her bed and heard her family doctor proclaim to us that she had a mass in her colon, and it looked to be cancerous.  My mom was still very sleepy from the colonoscopy so we were not sure she heard his proclamation.  In complete and utter shock, my youngest sister, dad and I bolted out of different doors, leaving my other sister, Kelly, at her bedside.  It was a horrible and selfish thing to do, but we needed to compose ourselves before we relayed the news to her.  She went through surgery to remove the mass, had chemotherapy and the cancer was in remission within 6 months.  We really didn’t discuss it much, because in our family you remain stoic and you “do what you have to do” in order to get the job done.  I had so much respect for this woman who gave me birth.  She went to her chemo treatments in the morning, and then went to work in the afternoon.  If there were any side effects we were unaware of it, for she never complained.  This was her private journey, and we respected that. Her only fear was that she was going to lose her hair.  I smile as I type this because she was such a beautiful and proud lady, and we were pleased that the poison coursing through her veins to kill the cancer cells, did not take her hair.  Five years had passed, with each check up bringing good news, and at the five-year mark she had won the fight.

The cough began early spring of 2001.  My sister and I are both nurses, and we tried in vain to talk her into getting a chest x-ray.  She was being treated  for asthma and bronchitis by the same family doctor that had diagnosed the colon cancer years earlier.  What was he thinking?  Could he not make the connection between the cough and a possible reoccurrence of the cancer?  Why would he not refer her for a chest x=ray?  She was in charge and while we made our concerns clear to her, I think her feeling was that if he didn’t mention it, then it wasn’t necessary.  To this day my sister still carries the guilt of not making her go for an x-ray.  I tell her repeatedly that you were not going to make her do anything, and I think she knew in her heart that her cancer had returned.  The thinking is “If they don’t tell me I have it, then I don’t!”   She is finally hospitalized with “bronchitis” which leads to a collapsed lung.  Her doctor attempts to put in a chest tube at her bedside as we rush to the hospital.  It is apparent as I enter the room that there is a problem with the chest tube placement, as her face, neck and upper chest were swollen, and her the tissue under her skin felt  like rice krispies.  We then literally bully her doctors associate to release her so we can transport her to Springfield where her care will be taken over by Dr. Hazelrigg, who had previously performed chest surgery on my dad. We had total faith in him, and at this point we would move heaven and earth to save this wonderful woman.  She is admitted and many tests, CT scans, MRI’s and consultations are completed.  It was decided that exploratory surgery would be completed and a date is set.  I can remember so clearly sitting in that waiting room, watching families go into the consultation room, only to exit the room in tears.  I said to my sister, “I pray the nurse doesn’t come out and tell us to wait for the doctor in that room!”  Shortly after the words left my mouth, the nurse came out and we were herded into that room.  The door was quietly closed leaving us in stunned silence wating for the confirmation of our fears that had plagued us all spring and summer.  Dr. Hazelrigg enters the room and the rest is a blur….”There was too much cancer to remove….”  “We just closed her up…”  “Take her home and make her comfortable….”  “I’m sorry…”  My mom was 63 years old, she was my rock,  how could I live without my mom?  We put on our brave faces and go to take her place at her bedside as she slowly wakes up from surgery…..not knowing there would only be 6 weeks left ♥

My mom in the red holding my nephew.

My aunt Lois, her sister,  next to her.

Help Me, My Hearts Broken

FOOD FOR THE SOUL

TO THOSE GOING THROUGH A BREAKUP

 My heart is broken…..it’s hurting….I don’t know what to do……I don’t know what to say….my good friend is going through a break up and I don’t know what to do.  What are the right words to say, what can I do to ease her pain?  Not too long ago I was in her position, and my heart was broken in what I felt was a million tiny pieces?  You know that feeling when there seems to be darkness surrounding you, and no matter how hard you try you can’t stop crying.  Friends and family surround you and try to make you feel better.  You pull yourself out of bed day after day thinking “today will be the day that the sun will shine on my soul.”  You pray to God to give you peace, and to let some happiness return into your life.  It is the time in your life where you start questioning God, if He is in your life.  “Why did this happen to me?”  “Why can’t I find a happy relationship like those who seem to be all around me?”  “What could I have done to make him want to stay with me?” “How could he have done this to me?”  Of course these same questions go for both sexes after a break up, but the women appear to suffer more.

After taking 2 years to recover (almost fully), I feel I am almost an expert at what to say to my friend, but she is not at a point to hear my words.  This is the point where we just need to sit and listen and let her talk.  Sometimes a person just needs to talk it out without anyone judging or adding unneeded advice.  I had such a wonderful support system that I knew I was going to be ok.   At some point she will realize that God does have a grand plan, and that this heartbreak will at some point pass and there will be someone even better put into her life.  Eventually the pain will subside and the light will again shine on her soul and her heart will begin healing.  That person who has hurt her so badly will begin to fade from her memory and she will begin to forget the pain, while remembering the good times without sadness.  Slowly that heavy weight that is pressing down on her chest will begin easing up and the smiles will come easier.    Those around her will still love her, and the day will come when Gods true plan will be revealed.  At that point we who have been hurt to our core will be able to realize that those heartbreaks were just a stepping stone to something much better.  So my friend, I am here if at any time you just need to talk.  Please realize that you deserve better, even though you may not realize it yet.  If a person disrespects you, then they need to “push on” down the road.  They are simply not worth it, and deserve no place in your life.  I had to learn to just sit quietly and do nothing….just sit quietly.  It is amazing what that does for you, because you are able to sort so many things out and put them in order.  I will admit that I went to counseling for 6 weeks after my breakup because I just couldn’t make sense of anything.  In 6 short weeks the wonderful counselor I saw was able to put things in order for me.  One of  the best thing she recommended was for me to listen to “Letting Go” by Joe Cocker.  Yes, my friend, the time will come for “letting go,” and when that time comes the sun will shine again.  Moving on can indeed be a good thing, I promise!   I love you my friend ♥