When Life Throws a GIANT Curve Ball…

I’m sure we can all agree that 2020 is the year for the books for the most trying year in our generation. There have been worldwide concerns/pandemics/movements, on top of many personal trials for, pretty much, everyone. When the ball dropped, and we welcomed 2020 in the New Year with open arms, we just did not know what exactly the year had in store for us.

Let me tell you about my personal 2020 began…

I was excited for a new year. I was already a bit sad that I did not get to see my mother over Christmas because she had been sick with pneumonia. One thing I find crazy is that this year, as a teacher, I have been hearing about more pneumonia cases among the students than I ever had before. The kids were dropping like flies. It was crazy. Then my mom got it shortly after her knee surgery, about 1-2 months. I tried to go visit her, but she did not want use around and potentially get my boys sick, which I understood. However, she ended up in the ER for severe lung pain right before New Year’s Eve. I felt helpless.

After being monitored and drugged for a few days the doctors decided she needed her left lung drained. They ended up draining half a liter of fluid from ONE lung. Her boyfriend was keeping my updated throughout the whole procedure and hospital stay. They said she ended up coughing a good bit because her lung was expanding and finally able to take in some air. We thought, perhaps, she might be on her way out of the woods after that.

That was not the case…

After a couple more days of observations, the doctors noticed her lung was trying to fill with fluid again. They then decided they needed to do surgery to scrape out the bacteria from her lung. The doctors mentioned it was actually a fairly routine surgery and common among pneumonia patients. I had never heard of this before, but then again, I’ve never had pneumonia.

Her surgery was scheduled for January 6th. I was at work and just waiting for text updates and try to respond when I could. She texted me about 2 hours before her surgery. That was the las time I would hear from her.

I waited all day to hear something. It seemed it was taking way too long. Her boyfriend was letting me know he was also waiting to hear from the doctors after surgery. I was getting a little concerned.

That night we were doing our normal family stuff, dinner, watching some TV, and then I was falling asleep on the couch. Then I suddenly woke up to my phone vibrating. It was mom’s boyfriend. I answer, hoping to hear everything was good. He was distraught. He was frantic and telling they are trying to revive her. I jumped up so fast and told Jon what was happening. We were grateful to have neighbors who could take the kids while we rush to the hospital to figure out what was going on. By the time we got there she was already gone. I couldn’t believe it. I hadn’t seen my mom since Thanksgiving, and now she was gone. I had to call my sister, my mom’s brother, and had help contacting the rest of the family to let them know what happened. The doctors had put on her death certificate that she had died from pneumonia, empyema, and post operative cardiac arrest. She basically had a heart attack in recovery, even thought the surgery itself went great. Mom’s boyfriend informed us that they also removed a piece of dead lung that was about the size of a quarter.

That week was going to be so hard.

I was so grateful my husband helped so much with the phone calls and such to try to get some of the affairs in order. It was hard to function. I was stressed. My sister was trying to come down from Ohio with her family as fast as they could. We ended up scheduling a celebration of life service that Friday. It was going to take longer to get mom’s ashes back.

Her celebration of life service was beautiful. So many from her work showed up and shared stories of how she was always smiling and positive and lifted others up. Friends we haven’t seen in years showed up for support and to offer their condolences. It was beautiful to see the amount of people who came to remember my mom. Family came, and even my own employers, colleagues, and former employers showed up. It was a lovely service.

Unfortunately right after the service I ended up getting sick. I’d imagine my immune system was compromised from all the stress from losing my mom. I had the worst case of bacterial tonsillitis or strep I had seen in a long time. I had to miss another week of school because of it.

All of this happened right after I was planning to get my life more together, losing weight, growing my faith, etc. It’s a good reminder that satan will try anything to use whatever he can to bring you down when you’re doing things right and for God’s glory.

At the new year I had already made the decision to be the year I dig deeper in to Scripture and begin studying Hebrew so I could gain deeper Biblical knowledge and wisdom. January 30 was my birthday and the day I would begin the Hebrew class my aunt teaches out of her home. So I begin, and I become more vigilant in attending church in person, as well as going Wednesday nights. I was determined to develop new and better habits with the family. Micah, my oldest, had already given his life to Christ back in August. We were trying to find a weekend to get him baptized in the church, not realizing our church now requires a class before doing so. We were finally going to get that ball rolling…and then COVID hit. Middle of March, right at spring break, it was like the whole world stopped turning.

It all seemed so surreal that this was even happening. schools were closing, stores and restaurants closed….everything just stopped. My aunt had to pause her Hebrew classes. We had to go back to watching church online…a setback to our attempt to building better habits.

I, as with everyone else, was scrambling to find this new work-life balance between preparing and presenting lessons to my students and making sure my oldest does his school work. It was not easy. Many people lost their jobs because businesses were dying from the pandemic.

On the plus side we were getting many home projects done that we wouldn’t have as much time to do on a normal schedule. While this whole ordeal has been nothing to laugh at, or take lightly, it also gave me some time to reflect. It made me realize how much time I was NOT spending with my family and with God. I could no longer use busyness as an excuse. I have come to feel that God wants us to use this horrific time as a tool to get closer to Him and with our families.

There have been other national events taking place that have been “waking” people up. And along with that I ended up needing to resign my teaching position for reasons I will not disclose here.

Between all the crazy that Satan wants to use to set us back, I have been finding my positives. I have been working to surround myself with better people. People who are genuine. People who matter most. People who can help mentor me and help me grow spiritually. Because of this my anxiety (which I have been medicated for) has been reduced greatly. Reading Scripture more consistently has also had a big factor in it.

I’ve lost a lot this year, along with many others, however I have been able gain something much more significant. People are waking up, but my question is, are they falling to their knees in prayer? It’s still a work in progress for me, but I’m in a better place than I was even 6 months ago, when it all began. More time with family, more time with God, more time to reflect. Time can only be spent once. Once it passes it’s gone. How are you spending your time? Are you using this time as a tool for something positive? Or are you wasting it because you cannot seem to get away from a negative mindset? How you spend your time is up to you, but understand how crucial it is to make the best of it because you cannot get it back. Prayer is important. Scripture is life changing. Prayer changes things-changes the atmosphere. Scripture will speak to you if you prayerfully allow it. It is no doubt that most, if not all of us, will come out stronger because of the trials we had to endure in 2020. These are trying times. Let’s use it to help us grow and grow stronger.

Being Exactly Where I’m Supposed to Be. Answering My Calling.

I have been doing a lot of reflecting and contemplating in my mind, and some praying, as far as what the next step is for me lately. Part of me has felt maybe I’m giving up too soon, and the other part maybe I just need to be content and continue where I am now. When I lost my teaching position in 2011, after 3 years of teaching, due to budget cuts, I was angry, bitter, upset, and wondered what in the world I did wrong, or felt I wasn’t good enough, even though my bosses tried to instill in me that I was a good teacher and would do well in other schools, especially magnet type schools (which surprised me). But it stuck back in my mind for the longest time (and even sometimes to this day) that I wasn’t good enough. And to top it off it happened right before I miscarried my first baby and right after I entered graduate school to earn my M.Ed. (which I graduated with a 4.0, an accomplishment I was able to achieve for myself). I knew, or I had weighed in, that I would love to be a stay at home mom when we were financially able to do so. Teaching was my dream career since the age of 4. I wanted the decision to be a stay at home mom to be mine when I felt was the right time to make it. In 2011 I felt I was stripped of my dream job prematurely. I wasn’t ready, and we weren’t financially able to do it well. My entire world turned upside down, leading me into a depression, in which graduate school was about the only thing that kept me going. I was withdrawn from everyone, even my family. I gained a lot of weight that summer. It was one of the darkest periods of my life. 

During that time we were fortunate to have the support of the friends, family and church which surrounded us to help us survive that remaining year and beyond. It was difficult to get past my pride and accept donations when we needed it because losing my job caused a $33, 000 deficit to us for the year, plus cheaper insurance. That August we found out I was pregnant again. It was bittersweet. It brought a lot of fear and joy at the same time. It forced us to be even more courageous and have faith that God was going to take care of us in our situation, and He did. 

Now pregnant and still no job, we had to reformulate and cut our expenses as much as possible until something came along. We moved into a smaller place closer to my husband’s job to help cut cost of rent and gas. It did help quite a bit. In April we had a healthy baby boy. I was determined to nurse, but that did not go as planned, and we ended up with the drastic expense of formula. But we managed to survive because God took care of us. In that time I have since decided to start working from home with a company that specializes in helping other families, which I enjoy. The income has helped, even though I’m not quite where I want to be just yet. But I have enjoyed making my own hours and making that job work around my family. Off and on I have continued to search for a teaching position, determined that that was my ultimate calling. That I was meant to be in the classroom. When I would see my teacher friends post stuff about school and their little blessings they receive from their students I would become envious, even though I was happy for them, but that bitterness would return with the thought that “It should be me. I should still be in that classroom making a difference.”

Now that it’s been almost 3 years, and I have yet to find a teaching position, I have slowly begun to embrace and being content with the role of being a stay at home mom in this time. Things are beginning to come together, as my husband continues to advance in his job. My son is now almost 2 years old, and  I realize that being at home with him, even though stressful at times, has allowed me to capture so many more moments with him than I would ever dream of if I was working full time and he was in child care. I enjoy that I can capture some of those moments and send them to my husband at work, hoping it will help brighten his day.

I have been weighing heavily on whether or not to sell my classroom supplies. I believe I have decided to take the plunge and get rid of it, or most of it, to have that as the next step of accepting my role as a stay at home mom. I have been reluctant due to the thought of “what if I find a job soon”, but now I’m not sure I even want to search anymore. Part of me feels like that I wasted money on my college and graduate degrees with that decision, but the other part tries to remind myself that everything happens for a reason, and maybe I am right where I am supposed to be, according to God’s will, and even though I’m no longer using my degrees, I did not waste money.  I was able to develop friendships and life lessons, as well as legitimate salvation during and at college. I probably wouldn’t have met my husband if I wasn’t in college. It wasn’t my timing to lose my job, but maybe it was God’s. I am now enjoying the freedom to do things with my son and go places when I want and enjoy the time with him. I’m making my own schedule without worrying about working around holidays, testing, and breaks. I can almost do what I want when I want, and the thought is rather liberating. I also need to remind myself that being a mom to this boy is the most important job, more important than teaching, and I can still make a difference…with him. He’s 22 months tomorrow, and he can count to 10, knows his alphabet, and most of his colors and a few shapes. He even has some books memorized (mainly Dr. Seuss). He’s healthy and thriving and quite happy and well mannered. I must be doing something right. The bitterness and frustration have been slowly waning over the years, but now I am in a period of beginning to be more accepting and have more confidence of the circumstances which have been given to us.  We will be moving again soon to help further cut expenses and continue to get our feet back on the ground. I am doing my best to trust God in that things will happen when and how they are supposed to.

I Have to Keep Trucking

I came very very close to earning my FitBit Flex. I actually thought I had it, but circumstances happened out of my control. I was very upset at this news because I felt the FitBit would really help me in my weight loss goals to more accurately track everything. So, my plan B is to somehow find a way to save enough money to purchase one because I want one that bad. I feel like I need it. However, at least in the process I was able to help more families to create a healthier home for themselves. I received some words of encouragement, and I just need to move on and keep trucking. The Melaleuca weight loss challenge began on Saturday, and the Gold’s Gym 12 week challenge began today. I did gain about 3 lbs over the last few days in the midst of celebrating my 30th birthday and hosting a Super Bowl Party. I did make several items from the Lose Weight by Eating site to help create a healthier selection for myself and everyone around me without sacrificing flavor. My husband approved of everything, which is a big deal. Even though most items were pretty healthy, I still over ate and now I need to work it off. This morning I did a group fitness class at Gold’s Gym. I felt like jelly afterward, but I made it through, and even though I could really feel the burn, and I wanted to give up in the moment, I look forward to the next class, because these classes are helping me change my life. With being a single car family, I am still trying to workout a workout schedule. Probably the best thing for me is to have a Plan A and Plan B in place for each day. Plan A in hopes of having the car, and then Plan B for when I don’t. I just have to keep thinking about what motivates me to be and do my best to win these challenges. The biggest reward is my life change, however the monetary rewards are pretty motivating as well because let’s face it, I need the money. Don’t most people? However I do hope I am able to inspire and motivate others along the way. 

Ready, Set, Go!

This past weekend I finally met with a trainer for my free session I get for buying a Gold’s Gym membership. I had learned some interesting things I’ve never heard before in my 12 years of researching health and wellness. He showed me some pretty good workouts to challenge my muscles. Then the next day I went in for my weigh in and measurements, as well as my “before” picture, to partake in the 12 Week Challenge. So far, I have lost 2 lbs this week, which is awesome. Hopefully this is the beginning of a beautiful relationship with my food and fitness/gym. I know there will be days I will hate it, and I will resist, however I know I must PERSIST. My only fear is not pushing myself properly. I’m not entirely sure how to push/challenge myself anymore. At least with the 12 Week Challenge, there will be workshops and a coach to help me through. So, I’m sure I will get much use from those services as well as reap some awesome benefits, of course as long as I PERSIST. After a couple of weeks of going to the gym at least 3 times per week, I’m already feeling better, more confident, though. My moods are better, and my energy is improving. It is getting easier to wake up at 5:00/5:30 am when my alarm goes off. It’s amazing how much a difference it quickly makes. My sleep is beginning to improve some, as long as my toddler stays in his own bed all night. I am very much looking forward to increased improvements in my overall health as I continue this journey. Melaleuca is helping as well, with their shakes and exercise bars to help me endure my workouts longer and better, as well as keeping my blood sugar level throughout the day. I’m still working to earn my FitBit Flex for free to help me through this. If you would like to know how you can earn a FitBit Flex at no extra cost ($100 value) and join me on this journey to better health, then let me know. I would love to show you. I know the FitBit will make a world of difference in keeping track with calories and sleep. If you already have a FitBit, please share your experiences with it. How has it helped you?

Challenge Accepted

It’s been over a week since my last post. Last week I had a pretty good start on achieving my health and wellness goals. Then, by the weekend, I was feeling cruddy. I felt cruddy until yesterday evening, in which the cruddiness hindered my newly developing workout routine. But I decided to make today a new day. I haven’t lost any weight yet. I’m still figuring out some food stuff while I get anything artificial out of my home. But today, I made sure I did something better. I went to my local Gold’s Gym and attended a group fitness session called Body Pump. I was a bit intimidated at first because it had been a long while since I last attended a group fitness class. I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be, and I was in much better shape in the last group fitness I attended. I’m starting over. I did really well at first, but then it did get difficult in toward the end, but I pushed through, doing what I could. I know if I continue I will get stronger. It’s all about being persistent. Then I was presented an opportunity to participate in the Gold’s Gym 12 week challenge. I was able to get some info on it and decided this is what I need to help get me through. This challenge allows me the chance to win up to $75,000. The money would be amazing, but I know I could never put a price on the results I will personally get in the end.  But the money is a huge motivator. While receiving some information I met a nutritionist who will be doing a few workshops there and a trainer who will do an evaluation on me. My weigh-in and measurements are to take place this Sunday, January 26. I was so pleased with how invested in my goals these people/employees were after talking to them. The nutritionist actually asked what my history was, and I shared. I honestly was so appreciative of her help, insight, advice I almost burst in to tears. It’s been a long time since I’ve had someone to be THAT helpful to me. And to be surrounded by so much support there. And as I type this tears are welling up now, and maybe it’s because my life is really about to change. Maybe, in my deep subconscious, I know this is it. So, being transparent, here I am at 239 lbs currently. My goal weight is 145 lbs. But in 12 weeks, I want a big transformation. I am claiming it. 

A New Beginning: Picking Up Where I Left Off

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Yes. I am back. Once again. Hopefully for good this time. Last year I managed to lose a total of 27 pounds before I allowed life get in the way of me achieving my goal of losing 100 pounds by my 30th birthday. Well, it’s January again, and I will be 30 in a couple of weeks. On the 30th actually. SO I decided to change the title of this category to “Fighting for 100”. I felt it was more appropriate at this point. I need to buckle down and stay committed. Part of my motivation this year is that I need to lose at least 50 pounds before we decide to have another baby. I want to be at a reasonable weight for pregnancy to reduce any risk of complications. I have started following a blog called Lose Weight by Eating!, created by Audrey Johns, who lost 150 pounds in less than a year just by cutting out processed junk. That’s inspiring! I am going to take a stab at her meal planner and using most, if not all, of her recipes (some depends on the husband). I’m also taking another stab at following Melaleuca’s weight loss plan, mainly for the shakes to help with blood sugar support (which I need), and the fiber (to keep things moving and clean). I also enjoy their Access bars because they really do make a difference in my workouts.  This is probably the most difficult thing to face, doing it a second, third, tenth time. I don’t know how many times I’ve started and stopped. I just know I’ve been successful once, and I need to do it again. I will do my best to track my food using My Fitness Pal on my iPhone. I am also working toward earning a FitBit Flex for free through the company I have partnered with so I can keep even better track of my calorie intake, burn, and my sleep patterns. I just need to enroll 3 customers and it’s mine! I know it is something I can really benefit from. I love a company who helps me because I helped other families toward a healthier lifestyle and home!  I am nervous about continuing this journey, yet excited at the same time. I know if I keep at it and NOT QUIT I will get there, sooner or later. I appreciate any and all support to get me through this. Who else will join the fight with me?

15 Pounds down (month 2)- 100 to 30

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Oh, my! I can’t believe it’s been a month since my last entry! I apologize for the long wait! Anyway, you can see I am making progress. I have dropped 15 pounds so far. I am using much of the Melaleuca products to help. However, I have taken more than a week off from vigorous workouts, partly because I was getting bored with the Biggest Loser Kinect, partly because I felt I needed a break, and other part is because the last workout killed me, and I hate getting up at 5 am. I enjoy early mornings…but 6:00 am is where I like to draw the line. I just don’t like getting up while it’s still dark. But, I know if I want it bad enough, I’ll put on my big girl panties and keep at it. A work out it a work out. Even though my desire is to go to the gym so I have more variety and choices (going by my mood), I just can’t afford it right now, and this is my only option for the time being. I gotta suck it up. At least I am eating healthier more consistently, taking my Oligo vitamins, which help a lot. And now that my son is crawling, I am definitely using some energy in chasing him around the house to make sure he doesn’t hurt himself (baby proofing is in the near future when we get the funds). 

As far as the weight loss goes…I’m not sure if 15 lbs is enough to make a marked difference in my physical appearance to most people. I feel like I can see a difference in the mirror. A couple of people told me the can tell…however to put things in perspective, 15 lbs may not seem like much to many, but a friend asked me if I’ve ever seen a 15 lb bag of potatoes. Uuuhhh…Whoa! That’s a lot of potatoes! So, that really made my day! I hope to those who read this and are on the same journey as I, that this helps to boost your confidence. Even though I’ve slacked in my workouts (even trying to get a walk in has been difficult due to weather) at least keeping healthy food choices is still a step forward. Most of your weight loss is in what you consume. What you burn just helps to speed the process and tone your body. It’s all about the calorie differential. It doesn’t matter what you do, something is always better than nothing 🙂

Week 3, Day 2

I can confidently say I am making progress. I have lost another 2 lbs so far, making a total of 8 lbs. I was finally able to begin the Melaleuca weight loss plan the other day, and I am very pleased with the way I am feeling throughout the day, as well as the energy I have. I have had a little difficulty getting up early the past couple of mornings, but part of that was staying up a little too late. I am working on adjusting my sleep schedule so that I go to bed at a decent time to assure adequate sleep to maintain energy and so forth throughout the day. 

I was able to get up this morning and perform quite a work out with The Biggest Loser on Kinect. Jillian kicked my butt in a few areas. I couldn’t do the full move on a few sets, but I did manage to modify to do what I could. I burned over 400 calories with the workout routine, plus the challenge for the day. I enjoy the variety The Biggest Loser gives you throughout the week so that you are not doing the same thing all the time. That gets old very quickly. 

Even though my progress has slowed some in the last week, I know I started well, and hope to do better this week, and the weeks to come. I know there will be ups and downs, but I am prepared to continue to do my best each day to continue to journey toward my goals. Each day is a step forward, closer to my goal. 

It’s also been really helpful to have a team of friends who are with me every step of the way. They have been encouraging, comforting, and knowledgeable to help me achieve my goals. Something as big as what I’m doing is very difficult to do by yourself. So, I really appreciate the accountability with the small sense of competition involved. I am a very competitive person, so that does keep me motivated to keep going. This is just the beginning of the third week, but I can already tell my body is getting stronger and healthier. If I keep this up, I’ll be back to running in no time, something I very much look forward to in the near future. I’ve had a goal to run the 1/2 Country Music Marathon by the time I was 30…well..I’ll be 30 in a year. I can still achieve that goal. I have time. But I am hoping to at least be able to do some 5Ks this fall. That’s one accomplishment I have been trying to get to for a few years now. Daggommit I’m determined to actually do it this time!

100 to 30: Week 2, Day 3

6 lbs gone in week 1
6 lbs gone in week 1

So far I have lost 6 lbs into my new journey. I am feeling pretty good so far. I know I probably pushed myself a little too hard in the first week, but I did get some results. I did take 3 days rest, without intention, but I was able to continue to watch what I ate in the process. Maybe it’s in my head, but I feel my body changing already. Maybe it is in actuality. With this being my second week, I am finding some difficulty in decided how many times a week or day I should work out. I know I should start out lighter and build up so that I don’t burn out too easily. However, I want to be sure I am pushing my body to its fullest potential in performance. I have worked out Monday and Tuesday this week, getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning. It is really the best time I know I can fit in an exercise routine. However this morning, even though my alarm did go off, I was debating whether or not to take a rest day and start again tomorrow. I ended up not working out this morning. I had the intention of taking the car today to run errands, but time got away from us, so my husband has the car, and I stayed at home. I may still have the opportunity to go for a brisk walk this afternoon, weather permitting. I know I need to work on some chores around the house, and that counts as activity.

I really try to listen to my body, but it’s not always the easiest task to accomplish. I know right now I’m feeling my glutes from the past 2 days with The Biggest Loser on Kinect. 

On another note, I was finally able to order the Weight Loss Core Pack from Melaleuca, a great and green company I shop with. I am so excited to begin this program officially and see what results I endure in 10 weeks’ time. It’s a pretty easy and specific plan to follow, and most of it is common sense. I will receive the package, probably tomorrow afternoon, as my orders do come quickly, which is a great perk with this company. In the meantime I did renew my subscription to emeals.com, utilizing their “Clean Eating Plan” to save at the grocery as well as continue to eat healthy and clean with a variety of recipes offered. It does get old eating the same things over and over again. I knew I had better results eating clean than anything else I’ve tried. I am getting rid of artificial sweeteners, margarines, etc. and sticking with the real stuff. My body just cannot properly process and digest all these chemically processed and enhanced foods. It wasn’t meant to. I’ll be so glad to detox my body as I continue to gradually change out my pantry.

So, as far as today goes, I guess I am just playing it by ear. I don’t know what all I’ll end up doing. My original plans went down the chute, and we’ll see what ends up happening. I know I’ll get some cleaning and organizing done, as well as some playing with my 8 1/2 month old son. He’s at a really fun age right now.  But as far as an actual work out, we’ll see. It’s not me giving up or being lazy, I don’t think. This is just me trying to be smart. Am I?

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Melaleuca Weight Loss Challenge

I have decided to enter Melaleuca’s 10 week weight loss challenge. I am so excited. I can’t wait to get their weight loss core pack to really get going. I need to lose at least 10% of my weight to qualify to win. That means I need to lose at least 26 pounds. I think that’s doable in 10 or more weeks. I know that the final results need to be submitted no later than April 15. That’s PLENTY of timeSo, in that regard I will need to do another “before picture right away”, which I have included in this blog. Then I’ll need to do an “after” picture at the end of the 10 weeks and see the difference in my body. Pray for me on continued strength and success on this amazing journey 🙂 What a great way to add to my 100 to 30 project.

Again, nothing has really changed from the last photos in a previous post, other than I added a few pounds. I’m excited to see my results 🙂

Taken January 9, 2012
Taken January 9, 2012