No More Whining

Yeah, I think I’ve been a bit whiny. So…now I decided to get over it. Thankfully, for me, it is that simple (not easy…simple).

So much of my attitude and outlook is connected to feeling unsettled in some way or another. My routine has been amiss ever since I changed jobs last summer. When that job didn’t turn out as I would have liked, I moved onto another job. My routine is still not set.

As much as I like working from home and the flexibility it allows, I also dislike it for the same reason. I am a routine-oriented person. I like my schedule. When my schedule goes awry, my life goes awry, and my emotions and feelings get all screwy. If I don’t have a set way for my day/week/life, I get irritable…and hungry.

I’m in the process of righting this ship right now. I have a promising meeting today and await feedback on another that I had Wednesday. Today’s is the third and final meeting in the process. I pray for wisdom, strength and humility.

We finalized communications on a major decision impacting the children. As with everything, I worried about it far more than I needed to. I am humbled to be mother to such phenomenal kids and blessed to see how they trust us to always do what we think is the best for them long-term.

I made it to my Weight Watchers meeting yesterday and, after missing last week, was up only 1.4 pounds from two weeks ago. I’m just going to keep on chugging along, try to make good decisions where food is concerned and keep up my activity. I made it to Crossfit four days this week and they were all pretty hard workouts. I’m starting to feel more confident and comfortable in my skin again knowing that I can do the different movements and skills.

All of this has helped me brighten my outlook and see positive things and not negative. It’s also made me see how whiny I was being and, honestly, self-centered. Every time I succumb to my anxious feelings, I realize that I think far too much about myself and I stop feeling concerned for others. I get distracted from God and forget the real purpose in my life — to know, love and serve Him as a wife and mother and daughter and sister and friend. As I am coming out and realizing that perhaps I have been a little unfair, felt a little too wronged — I need to remember that life is hard for everyone and everyone is trying to do the right thing for their own families. Everyone struggles with something. I should work harder to have compassion for others and to try and lift up my own struggles and offer to God to use them to better other people in their struggles.

So…there we go. I’m done whining and I’m ready to move forward in a positive manner.

And for a little Flash Back Friday action — what about these pictures that showed up on Craig’s “memories” in Facebook?? Take a look! They all made me smile.

Four years ago…

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Seven years ago — on an Easter far far away — we had only four children…

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and the youngest was only a few months old
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The three girls would pose for pictures together.
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She’s always been such a pretty and sweet girl.
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And Helen has always loved her black olives.

 

Monday Mumbles

Well, it’s been a long time since I posted on a Monday or used this format. It isn’t even my own brainchild, but I like it anyway. So I will do it. Mondays are good for mumbles..

  1. Saturday was one of those days we ran around all day long. Well, it felt like it, but really we just had to be at a volleyball tournament really stinking early. And then hang around all day watching volleyball. That is fun, but it is very tiring. Then we headed up for my nephew’s 3rd birthday celebration. My kids always like a good birthday party.
  2. For all the running around we did on Saturday, we sat on our butts all day Sunday. We managed to get dinner made, laundry done and naps. Personally, I was all in favor of the nap I took. What would have made it better would have been taking the nap in the bed instead of the chair.
  3. Today is Vincent’s snack day. He loves that day. He gets this cute little gleam in his eye when he reminds us or we remind him that it is his snack day. Cute.
  4. Crossfit workouts are coming along. I went four times last week. Trying for five this week, if I can make it on Saturday this time. We shall see…
  5. Running, however, is not coming along. I was hoping to try and run a couple days a week, but I am just not feeling it. But…I will try to do it a couple times this week and see if I can get going again.
  6. I have been shopping the Fitbits. I think I want the Fitbit Surge — it seems to have everything I am looking for — GPS (so don’t have to take my phone on runs), sync capability with Weight Watchers stuff, tracks sleep, tracks heart rate. We’ll see if I actually pull the trigger to get it. I have a hard time buying something for myself.
  7. Sarah’s confirmation went well. She ended up being the very last one. But that made it possible to get a nice, unobstructed photo. IMG_1949[1]She also took some good photos with friends afterwards. Kids grow up fast. you know they do.
  8. I am reading Harry Potter with Dominic. We are in the middle of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I love how into the story Dominic gets.
  9. As my boys get a little bit older, I find myself enjoying immensely the brotherly love and even the annoyances. Having boys is quite different from girls. Of course, the girls are at the pick-on-each-other-constantly phase of life anyway, sigh. But the boys — rather blissful at times.

Well, I can’t think of anything else, so I’m stopping now.ūüôā

 

10. I lied. I just came up with one. What a great Monday! I got my crossfit WOD in and it was a doozy! Then I opened my e-mail to find one of my leads has decided to move forward so I am going to have a listing — that I worked and won ALL ON MY OWN.ūüôā That is a good feeling.

 

Okay, happy Monday everyone!

Praying To Let It All Go

Revelation this morning: Ask God to help me let go (of so much…)

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I can’t put the length of time together. Maybe it’s always been this way, or maybe I only started fully realizing it was this way in the past 6-8 months. More likely, is that it’s always been this way, I just go in and out of consciousness on the fact that my life is this way, in a social manner of speaking.

What do I mean “my life is this way”? I mean the fact that I only have a small number of true friends. Considering I count my siblings among that small number…outside of family, the number is scarily small. And it bothers me. I know that by the age of 42, I should not care about this, but for some reason, my consciousness has risen to the occasion in the last few months to remind me that I really don’t have all that many friends.

Perhaps my consciousness of this fact is related to big events in my life. Or maybe just small things in my life that feel big. Either way, in the past several months I have felt let down far more than I have felt built up and that’s a problem. I am searching in the wrong places for love and acceptance.

As my children continue to grow up and learn about friendship and all that comes with it, my heart zones in on my own friendships (or lack thereof). I reflect. Truth be told, my initial inclination is to blame myself — I’m not smart enough, pretty enough, rich enough, holy enough, organized enough, active enough — to garner the sort of likability that seems to accompany a wealth of friends.

What I seem to have to continue to teach myself (as I teach my children) is that I will only ever have a small amount of true friends, most likely. I have my sisters — they always have my back and will be there to build me up and provide the love and support I need. And I have one or two (maybe three) women I can count on outside of that. What wonderful women they are, too!

One of the mainstays in my life from age 8 on up is that surely someone is going to let me down. Many times it has been someone I love deeply. As an adult, I have shielded my heart for the most part, to avoid the heartache, and subsequently loved less deeply and less often. But then over time, I start to let it down…start to count on someone, start to believe “there’s no way that person would betray me” before the betrayal smacks me upside the head to put me back in my place.

My error seems to be¬†lulling myself into the false sense of security that I have¬†more of¬†them…that these extra people that I start to think are my friends — that they won’t let me down, that they won’t reject me or my children at an inopportune time. But I don’t even know if that is it. I mean…we are all human, right? It’s inevitable that humans let each other down at times, but I think it’s the way those betrayals and letdowns are handled afterward that truly helps sift out the strength of the bond. Does an acknowledgement and/or apology occur? Forgiveness is often dependent on the parties involved (I, myself, am a big forgiver — not so much a forgetter, hence the shields I put up — but I definitely don’t stay mad at people…) but if no acknowledgment or apology is offered, there’s no closure. This is the kind of thing I have trouble with.

What’s even harder to accept is that usually there is no malice intended. Since people don’t generally go around every day thinking, “hmm, how can I really hurt this other person today?” most of us have no idea that we’ve inflicted any harm. and in our society, it seems, if we didn’t intend to hurt, then the fact that someone is hurt is just a byproduct of life. When my feelings are hurt, or those of my children are, it’s difficult to resolve because if no malice was intended — often there’s no apology or acknowledgment that a hurt occurred, so we are just left to get over it and move on with life. And much of the burden in that is shouldered by the person who is hurt and quite possibly none of it affects the person who unknowingly inflicted the pain. (I’m quite certain a blogpost on forgiveness would be in order on this topic alone!)

Sadly, I teach my children to guard their hearts. Recently, I’ve had to have the middle school friends discussion (sigh)…don’t get too invested, do your own thing, the tide is beginning to turn, sometimes the people you’ve always hung out with don’t want to hang out with you anymore — people change in middle school, their friendships change. Then, while you may very well remain friends once a hurt has been overcome, it will be a changed friendship. How that hurt is overcome plays a HUGE part in where that friendship goes. I remember having this conversation three years ago, too. I would bet on having it again in a couple of years. Teaching my children to put their guards up is all I know how to do, because that is all I know how to do.

And so…I do it to myself. I remind myself to keep my guard up, no one looks out better for me than me.

So I prayed today. I asked God to remove the hurt I feel. I asked Him to fill my heart with the love of Him and for my family so that I no longer feel the sadness of exclusion (of myself or my children). I asked Him to help me forget the things I hurt over so that I can smile and be friendly. I asked Him to remove my self-doubt, to remember that He loves me and it is only His love that I need and only Him I need to serve.

Throughout my life I’ve heard the “Let Go and Let God” mantra. It has always seemed to mean something different. And maybe it should mean something different depending on what is going on in our lives. Right now, I have a burden in my heart that needs lifted. I want to stop crying every time I think of certain things. I want to be able to hear a voice or see someone and not be reminded that I don’t think I can trust.

I want to only worry about pleasing God and the rest of the world be damned. I was there once. But somewhere along the way, I lost sight of that. So, I think that is my prayer now and maybe for a long time.

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Confirmation – She’s Ready!

The first of my children is to be confirmed in her Catholic faith tonight. Sarah has been attending “prep” sessions at LifeTeen since September, but she has prepared since her Baptism for this time. I look at my young woman of a daughter and I believe she is ready.

The Catechism of the Catholic church teaches us that “Baptism, the Eucharist, and the sacrament of Confirmation together constitute the ‘sacraments of Christian initiation'” and that receiving Confirmation is “necessary for the completion of baptismal grace.” (Article 1285) This is the final step for Sarah to be fully initiated into the Church, it will give her the strength she needs to go the distance to know, serve and love our Lord. It is also a responsibility to spread and defend our faith…I think she has learned that part recently.

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I often reflect on Sarah’s baptism as a turning point in my faith life. I told her about that last summer in a letter I wrote to her for her to read while she was at Steubenville Conference. I can’t say that I’ve never made mistakes when it comes to raising her and¬†teaching her the Catholic faith, but I can say that I have always tried my best. This is the final sacrament she will receive while she continues to grow up, living with us. The next time she receives a sacrament she will be completely on her own, most likely, making her own decisions. She makes a lot of her own decisions now, but we are here to guide those. In the next few years, she will make more decisions independent of us, her parents. She seems ready for this responsibility.

It has brought joy to my heart to see Sarah continue to grow these past months as she has attended high school, continued to play volleyball, made new friends and enriched existing friendships. She has had an opportunity to express herself through writing on a couple of occasions where her strong faith and beautiful heart have shown through her words. She has also made some new friends and been unabashed in her ability to share her faith with them.

Every time I meet with teachers and/or coaches of Sarah, I am reassured that my impressions of my daughter are not just my feelings as her mother clouding my vision. Others see these actions and values in her and that is so reassuring. Many times early in the school year, new friends would ask Sarah where she had gone to school before high school and when she mentioned “Catholic school” they often followed up with questions. One of her friends enjoys talking with her about it and Sarah’s even extended invitations to LifeTeen events/retreats. She is unafraid to defend her position on core beliefs (life) and has made good, sound decisions on where to be, what to do, who to be around and talk to.

Tonight, she will be filled with the Holy Spirit! Her responsibility will extend to proclaiming “the mighty works of God” (cc 1287). She will receive the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit — wisdom, understanding, counsel, knowledge, fortitude, piety, and fear of the Lord. I can only imagine how these gifts will propel Sarah forward in her faith.

I continue to pray for her and all young adults who are receiving this Sacrament.

 

The Weight Watchers Thing

First things first. I went to my meeting today and woo-hoo! down 7 pounds. Happy Dance. I didn’t even start working out yet! Just goes to show you that tracking what you eat — paying attention to the amount and all that stuff — goes a long way on this weight management thing.

So, Weight Watchers has always been an organization open to continual improvement (evolvement?) which is why they have stayed successful in the weight loss industry for so long. One thing that I found to be true on my last turn around this track was that losing the weight — while always a challenge¬†— is not the most difficult part of the journey. Maintenance is. The idea that paying attention to food intake and staying active and attending meetings is something I have to do forever is a hard thing to grasp. When I started on my last round, I told myself: “Self…you need to commit to a meeting every week for the long haul. You know being active is the fun part for you so you need to remember that mindless eating is what got you here and tracking food, accountability weigh-ins and all that stuff is what’s going to get you out and keep you out of overweight land.”

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I listened to myself, too. I never missed meetings while I was losing. I tracked and I got really good at Crossfit and running and all those things I needed to do to be active. But then, I hit “Lifetime.” I was so happy! and for four more months, I still attended meetings and accountability weigh-ins. But somewhere along the line, I lost sight of why I was still doing that and … stopped.

Weight Watchers has evolved over the past year or so to try to be an organization that keeps ME coming to meetings and staying focused on health management even when I don’t need to lose weight. (BTW — getting Oprah on your payroll is probably the absolute BEST way to grow your market share. Well played, WW.) The tone of the meetings has changed. They are not leaving it up to members to figure out for themselves that this LIFESTYLE CHANGE is forever…they are saying it, often, every week. I’ve only been to two meetings, but I hear it over and over. and I love it. The main thing I love about it is that when I lose this weight again…there’s a chance I won’t fall off the wagon and stop going to meetings because I’m going to be getting something out of the meetings even if I’m not trying to LOSE WEIGHT. That’s fabulous to me. I need that. Sure…I don’t want to pay the fee every month, so I need to figure out what happens about that. BUT — I suppose even if there’s a fee, if there’s a benefit to the meetings once I am lifetime, I will probably be willing to pay it.

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I just don’t want to keep going through life being focused for 18 months and getting to where I feel awesome…then losing focus and 6 months later being overweight again. In today’s meeting the leader said no less than three times, “Remember…this is forever!” and one time she followed it up with, “So how are you going to cook in a healthy way, forever?” and another time she followed it up with, “So how are you going to make sure you keep your activity going forever?” (The topic this week was VARIETY.)

Oh! I almost forgot. There is a change that kind of made me do a double-take. So…last week I had 30 daily points and 42 weekly points. Today after my weigh in, I still had 30 daily points (cool…but drop a few more pounds and that is probably going to drop) but I had only 35 weekly points. Not gonna lie…I was like… W.T.F.? (sorry for you non-cussers out there) I was trying to figure out why they would go and do that sort of nonsense? I had logged my activity from this morning (22 minute run this morning — go me!!) but that shouldn’t make your weekly points go down. Well, I asked the leader and she said, “Hmmm, did you have a birthday?” No. So I offered that I had a 7.0 pound loss and she said, “Well, I have only had three other people tell me their weekly points changed and they had all had birthdays. And your drop is an even drop (42 to 35) so I would bet it had to be your loss. Good to know!” Indeed. Harrumph. Not that I use them all…but it’s just nice to see them there, lol.

Well, I guess that’s it for a weight watchers update. I”m doing this on Thursday, so the alliteration won’t work for me. Oh well, I’m not back to regularly blogging yet anyway, so it will just be a Weight Watchers update (without the Wednesday).ūüôā

Why I Stopped Facebooking

It’s a pretty big deal that I deactivated Facebook. Especially with it not being for any defined period of time, or spurred on by the beginning of Lent, or Advent or some other period of time that many¬†people stop Facebook. I’ll admit, I thought about it for a long time before I did it. Honestly, the fact that I thought about it for so long was a HUGE indicator to me that I needed to do it. Additionally, I was able to set up a way that I can still post my blog to the Facebook page without getting onto Facebook myself. That was nice to figure out.

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The main reason I deactivated my account was because it was far too invasive in my life. The invasion was self-inflicted, of course. No one FORCED me to start Facebook. But, I was so active on it. A few months ago, I started doing some self-reflection on why I was so active and how I felt about it. Who are all these people that Facebook calls “Friends”? Why am I so careful to label some of them “acquaintances” and others “close friends” and shield my posts accordingly? Why did I accept (or send) a “Friend Request” to this or that person? “Why do I worry when no one ‘likes’ or comments on something I have posted?” Or even the comparisons…constant comparisons!!

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A long time ago, a friend of mine who was on Facebook (and has since left it behind) said something I have often thought about. She said something along the lines of the following, which I paraphrase: Facebook¬†seems like an¬†invitation to peek into the windows of my home to many people I would never invite to cross the threshold of my front door. How insightful she was! The more I think about the things I shared on Facebook and the reactions I received, didn’t receive, hoped to receive…the more I realize how self-centered Facebook had made me. Some of my activity shouted — “Hey! look at me!! Look at my beautiful children! Tell me how awesome they are!” And what I’ve learned at this point is that I don’t need a bunch of people on Facebook to tell me how awesome my children are. I know it without all of that. And while I tell my children (at least daily) how awesome I think they are — THAT is enough. My children don’t care what my many “Friends” on Facebook think of them, as they shouldn’t! They just want to hear their Mommy share her love for them…WITH THEM. Sure, it’s nice to share with the world how in love with my children I am, but in the end — showing that love to my children directly is far more important.

Of course, the other things I shared — about myself, and not my children — wow, what an eye opener. I’ve written over and over about my struggle to embrace humility. Well, my historical posts on Facebook are enough to show me that I sure don’t struggle all that hard. Matter of fact, I run completely in the other direction. Holy smokes!! So…I won’t go too much into detail on this one. We’ll just suffice to say that deactivating Facebook should help me grow in humility — at least that is one of my fervent desires.

While reviewing my “Friends” list, another eye-opener. My first exercise was to trim down my “Friends” because I know that I don’t really have 500 “Friends.” I mean, even if I count all my family on Facebook…I really come nowhere close to that many honest-to-goodness friends. So, I went through the list to “unfriend” people that I would most likely never talk to (maybe not even recognize!!) if I met them on the street. As I was “unfriending,” I took note of how I became “friends” with them in the first place. There were quite a few¬†Crossfit people — people I had shared workouts with for a time. But, to be honest…some of the people I became “friends” with — rarely even spoke to me at workouts. I realized I had become “friends” on Facebook after attending one of the social events (a “Ladies Wine Night” at someone’s home). But I rarely had interactions with any of these people on Facebook and even though we’d had a fun time on that social evening, no real friendships came from it. Therefore, I “unfriended” many of them. Then there are some people from the parish/school — who rarely interact with me on Facebook or in person — that I just decided to hit the “unfriend” button for them as well. All in all, I think I got my list down to 400 or less — and at that time, I was happy to have done that.

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The few months I considered removing Facebook altogether from my life, I reflected strongly any time I would check back on something I posted to see who had liked it. I found that I would look for certain people’s names — and often not find them. Then, sometimes a mutual “friend” shared something and I would see these same names that I had searched for on my own posts (and not found) “like” or comment on that post.¬†I spent time reflecting how it made me feel and why. I realized that I am not in a healthy enough state to handle all the comparison and competition Facebook brings into my life. Especially the TYPE of comparison and competition. I don’t need it. I never did. I realized how it caused me to worry about things that are so far BEYOND anything I need to worry about in my life. I mean — don’t I worry enough about the in-person interactions (or lack thereof) that I have in my life?!? Why would I continue to add the angst that accompanies online interactions (or lack thereof) of people that are only a marginal part of my life?

Finally, much like this blog…I think that I thought Facebook was a way that I could share and help someone else. I think that’s why I was attracted to it for so long. But what I think I have discovered is that helping people face-to-face…person-to-person is far more useful, meaningful and, yes, gratifying. It’s easy to see someone’s words in a Facebook post or on a blog and click away to something that makes us feel better. When someone shares something face-to-face or over the phone in a non-public, more intimate setting, that experience stays with both parties to the interaction far longer than anything online. I do want to share experiences, loves, heartaches with others…but I want to be far more intentional about it. The blog feels a little bit different in that I do not have a wide audience. I don’t see that changing, either. I’m not a magnetic personality with a unique ability to connect online with millions of people. I can, however, connect with some through this medium and probably have enough interactions with those who read me to make me feel like I make a difference with what I share, but not feel like I’m sending out signals over the waves to a bunch of people who don’t care.

When I deactivated Facebook, I didn’t know how long I’d stay gone. A friend (who gave up Facebook for good long ago) warned me that I may feel pulled back to it for awhile. I am not sure if what I have felt is a pull. Sure, it’s crossed my mind — “Wonder what so-and-so has posted recently…” but the pull isn’t as great as I feared it would be.

I actually feel quite a bit of peace that I haven’t felt in a long time. You see, I joined Facebook in 2006. But I never posted anything — hardly viewed it at all. I posted a little more frequently in 2008, but really got active in 2009. Dominic was born in January 2009. I suffered postpartum depression with him pretty badly…his birth in the midst of winter coupled with my already stubborn Seasonal Affective Disorder (not officially diagnosed, by the way) really did a number on my psyche. So, I turned to Facebook. I wanted to see happy things, and I wanted people to talk to me. And so it began.

The past couple of weeks without Facebook have gotten me thinking about my life before high activity on Facebook and the events that happened in my life and how I dealt with them. I changed jobs at the end of 2007. My grandfather passed away suddenly on January 1, 2008. I became quite ill in February 2008 (strep and the flu) and recovery was difficult. I also began counseling in March 2008, continuing for a couple of years. The Jayhawks won the NCAA tournament in 2008 — and I remember the text conversations throughout the Final Four with my brother. We announced our pregnancy with Dominic in the summer of 2008 — a period of time that was quite¬†difficult for me because the reactions we received from some people close to us were hurtful. Our ultrasound was early that fall where we found out Dominic was a boy and we were so surprised (after three girls)! All of those things happened and the only thing I shared on Facebook was my last day at my job when I switched jobs. Quite the eye-opener when I think about all the things I have shared since becoming more active on Facebook.

Peace. Quiet. Purpose. I have peace in my mind as I am not worried about who “liked” so-and-so’s photo of her kids and never comments or “likes” mine. I feel a¬†quiet calm in my life as I don’t have my phone shoved in my face seemingly 24/7. There is quiet in my life because I reflect more on meaningful interactions that happen person-to-person. I find greater purpose in my communication with friends and with family.

I’m not saying this giving-up-Facebook stuff is something everyone should do. Only you can decide for yourself. But I am saying that I sure am happy I gave it a try and I’m not sure I’ll ever go back.

My Scale is a Broken Record

How many times have I re-focused on my health, only to have a change in my routine (pregnancy, job change, etc) undo all of my hard work? I am not going to lie, about a year ago, I thought I had beaten all of that this time around!

What is it that encourages the breakdown? Or Better yet…what is the magic formula that keeps us focused, over months of no change, to maintain the healthy habits even when the weight on the scale stays the same (or fluctuates only a couple of pounds one way or the other)?

What I am¬†trying to figure out right now is how I can work my butt off (literally!) doing Crossfit, running, tracking my food for 8 months and attain a goal of a healthy BMI and then….in a matter of months lose my grasp on all of that and end up right back where I started? A couple of years ago, I set out on a journey to a healthy new me. I never missed a Weight Watchers Meeting. I tracked my food. I checked in on this blog as an extra accountability measure. I practiced Crossfit and got good at stuff like pushups and rope climbing and got really fast at running (for me).

Then, somewhere along the line, I lost my focus where food is concerned. I stopped weighing in at Weight Watchers meetings. I stopped tracking things on my WW app. Eventually, it sounded like a good idea to stop doing Crossfit. I was tired. Changes happened in my life and I stopped feeling committed to getting up early to make sure I got it in. Over the past couple of months everything has completely unraveled.

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So…I printed out my monthly pass from signing up online this morning and I am headed out to my first Weight Watchers weigh-in once again.

Do you think I’ll learn this time? Time will tell. But either way — focusing in and getting started is half the battle. I’ll check in again next week and let you know how it goes.