Weigh In Wednesday

Just putting this out here as an attempt of accountability.

I have been dealing with sciatic nerve pain in my right leg since pulling my back this past April. If you have ever had sciatica, then you can relate to the level of discomfort.

I thought I would find relief by applying ice and taking it easy ~ but my attempt at self-care eventually led me to visiting our family doctor which led to an x-ray (bulging disk and a little arthritis) which then led to some physical therapy (I was not impressed with the facility and eventually quit going) which led to an MRI (my first) which then led to my receiving a sacroiliac joint injection. (Not as painful as it might sound).

The good news is I am now feeling about 98% better. The bad news is – due to cutting back on movement and not cutting back on eating – I gained about 8 – 10 pounds!!! I have never gained so much weight in such a short period of time in my life (other than being pregnant) and I am disgusted with my lack of self-discipline!!!

So, today I have set a weight loss goal and hope to achieve my goal by mid to late September. By putting this out there for you to see I hope it provides the motivation to succeed rather than humiliate myself! I am not going post about my weekly progress, but Wednesdays will be my weigh in day. I mainly wrote this post for me but if you have managed to read this far – thanks for your support! 😊💛 😊

Metaphorically Speaking – Portaging (a new word for me)

I had never heard this word until my book club read “Orphan Train” by Christina Baker Kline. In one of the chapters, one of the main characters, Molly, is learning about the Wabanaki Indians. This tribe often had to migrate across water in canoes. Travelling across the water was doable, but once they reached the shore, they had to carry the canoes, so the additional items they brought with them had to be manageable. They simply could not take everything with them when they moved so they had to determine what was important to bring in the canoe and what they needed to leave behind.

We have all had to (metaphorically) portage – it is just the way life goes – and we have to decide what is important to keep and what is important to let go. Portaging can occur when we leave or enter into relationships with others. Portaging can occur when we make a move to a new home or new job. Portaging can occur during a renewed spiritual journey or the struggle with maintaining faith. Portaging is whatever we decide to take with us and what we decide to leave behind when we encounter transition times of our lives and can have a profound effect on the quality of our life.

I have had several significant times in my life, where portaging has been necessary ~ although I did not realize this is what I was doing. Through much trial and error, I began to realize I had to weed out the emotions and/or circumstance that could weigh me down making it difficult to move forward or…. from completely sinking. Determining what to put in the “canoe” differed with each journey/transition. I wound up discovering, however, there are three common things I always carry in my canoe:

  1. Support: In order for me to progress I need to put my ego aside and ask for help. I thankfully receive a lot of love and support from my family and my circle of friends during these times. The various moves from one state to another, the new babies that grew into the challenging teenager years, the ups and downs of marriage, divorce, and death of loved ones become a lighter load when I ask for help.
  2. I had to decide if these transitions were going to make or break me: When I was newlywed my husband and I moved 800 miles away to southeast Texas. During two full days of driving two separate cars – one of them towing a trailer with everything we owned – we headed towards a destination I knew nothing about. While driving alone, all I could think about was leaving my close family ties and friendships – it was very daunting to say the least. Once we settled, I could have very easily given into my feelings of loneliness. I chose to make the best of it and forced myself to step out of my comfort zone. Eventually I wound up attaining a Bachelor of Science in education at the nearby university and got involved with a women’s club where I met and made some terrific life-long friends. We eventually wound up moving back to our home state after spending ten years in Texas – with intermittent short-term transfers to Baton Rouge, LA and Niantic, CT.  I can say with confidence I returned a better person than when I left. I did some much-needed growing up, made life-long friends, and created some incredible memories.
  3. Faith: I relied on my faith and the power of prayer to guide and help me through these transitions. I will share that there was a time during one of these transitions when I was extremely frustrated, worried, and felt so helpless. It seemed as if God was too busy to hear my prayer, so I became frustrated and discouraged and decided to step away from my prayer life. Please understand, I never lost my faith; I just had to step away for a while until I could make sense of it all. The thing is, I never have made sense of that situation and I never fully understood the how and why of that transition; but I eventually came to realize ~ through the grace of God ~ how much that particular transition provided a positive influence in my tolerance of others, empathy for those struggling, and a surprisingly deeper faith.  In times of joy and sorrow I still rely heavily on my faith and although it is number three in this post, it is and will always be the number one thing I put in my canoe.

As the new chapters of my life unfold, I am certain there will be more canoes to carry. I am grateful that I have, so far, arrived at each destination with more courage, resilience, and compassion than I ever thought I could.

As I look toward the unknowns of the future, asking for help, deciding on whether I will allow this transition to make or break me, and relying on my faith will always go into my canoe.

What do you include in your canoe?

Checkout Weekend Coffee Share by clicking on this link: https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/2022/07/22/5-notable-lighthouses-in-newfoundland/

Today is the Day

I’m done. Our relationship is getting out of control – and it has to end. Although my husband has not said anything, I think he notices the changes that have taken place in me. How can he not?

You have been in and out of my life for years. You wooed me with your charm until you finally got me under your control.

You demand my place is in the kitchen searching through cookbooks for the perfect recipe, slaving over a hot stove or mixing up delectable sweets. Your badgering is relentless, and I give in just to make you stop. We often meet at the grocery store or Costco where we blend in – unnoticed by others. Once I get home, the memory of your sweetness tempts me to the point that all I want to do is devour Every. Single. Part of you.

I admit, there are many occasions when you bring me total joy and bring a smile to my face while I moan in ecstasy. There are no boundaries, no limits, no end to the pleasure. But honestly, sneaking around to enjoy the mid-morning, mid-afternoon and/or pre-bedtime indulgences has got to stop – not to mention the midnight rendezvous! You have recently given me an ultimatum forcing me to decide between choosing you or choosing something else that is actually better for my life. 

I want this to stop, but this may not be the best time to end this relationship since the holiday season is fast approaching. (Don’t believe me? Just wander down the aisles in Hobby Lobby.) You beg for more time. You try to convince me we could have so much fun together as the holidays approach.

Well, it has been fun, lots of fun, but (this is not as hard to say as I thought it would be) it is time for you to go. It won’t be easy, but I figure I have three to four months to get you out of my system.  At that time, I know you will try one last trick to tempt me back into a relationship with you ~ one last fling before the holidays.

In all honesty, the way things have been going between us lately, just looking at you makes me feel disgusted and provides plenty of self-motivation. Waiting to break up after the new year is just not an option.

You are toxic. There I said it.

The choice is mine – GOODBYE…time for some changes.

Since Turning Sixty….

“To tell you the truth, I didn’t feel any different. I don’t think you ever do. I think one day you just become sixty or seventy, and it must be a shock to be so old because it’s still the same you on the inside; it’s just that all the outside of you has got wrinkled from the weather.” – Martine Murray

Six years ago today, I was five months away from turning sixty. At the time, sixty sounded like the gateway to old age. In my mind, I had reached the top of the ladder and my only choice was to slide down towards eternity. Gloomy right? No wonder I felt a bit wary.

As the big 60th birthday approached, my concerns about becoming invisible, my concerns about no longer having a purpose and my concerns about experiencing loneliness began to sneak into my thoughts. I really did not mind the actual age number going up, but I was having a difficult time wrapping my head around the fact that this decade (and beyond) was going to be all about the unwanted changes I had observed in other people as they aged.

My biggest worry, however, was the thought of slowing down – mentally as well as physically. Being active each and every day was part of my identity. For 40 years or so I had raised a very active family while also pursuing my career as an elementary school teacher – each vocation provided the opportunity for visibility, purpose, and lots of activity.

I have been rereading my posts from those earlier days – I now keep them in a notebook – and I can’t help but notice how naive those concerns were and what a gift I have been given to have lived this long.

Have I actually slowed down mentally and physically? Maybe a little, but I am consciously making an effort to get in some amount of exercise daily and doing my best to stay mentally aware and alert. Yes, I have a few more aches and pains, but I try not to let them be a burden to not only myself but to anyone around me.

I have successfully taught myself to savor every special moment and will often stop while “in the moment” and make a conscious effort to breathe it all in. In reality, not every day is a happy day – some days are sad, some are lonely, and some are just plain hard and leave me feeling a bit empty. That’s just life – we all have those days – no matter how old we are. Some of us choose to deal with these difficult days and keep moving forward and some of us let these days get the better of us.

As far as having a purpose – I am as busy as I choose – exploring new options, nurturing others – all while taking time to relax and enjoy the experience, the people, the blessings. I no longer care if I am invisible or if you like me or not and this is so empowering!

None of us is guaranteed tomorrow nor can we expect that life will never throw us a curve ball. I do know that as I continue to age – I never want to take anything or anyone for granted – I always want to maintain and nurture an appreciation of the gift of life. When and if another curve ball comes my way, I plan to take that swing and deal with the result even if the result leaves me breathless.

To put it all together – In five months when the birthday candles are once again aflame, I will give thanks for the white hair on my head, the wrinkles on my face, the gift of small adventures, meaningful moments and most of all I will give thanks to God for the opportunity to grow old.

Earth Elements – Terri Webster Schrandt’s Photo Challenge – Sunday Stills – Jan. 30th

This is my first time posting for Terri’s photo challenge and I thought it might be fun to try. The Sunday Stills topic for this week is Elements – water, fire, earth, and air/wind.

My first set of photos is water. One of the photos was taken at a lovely golf community we love to visit about an hour north of us. The other photo is one of our grandsons sitting along the shoreline of Calibogue Sound in Sea Pines at Hilton Head, SC. I wonder what he is thinking?

The next set of photos is fire. The first photo is our fire pit in the backyard. We have so much fun gathering around it while roasting marshmallows, sipping a hot drink or an adult beverage while we enjoy lively conversation or stare quietly at the flames. The other photo is an advent wreath that we like to light during the Christmas season. We did not continue this tradition this past year and we really missed it. I am on the search for a new wreath for next year.

The next set is Earth. Both photos were taken in my backyard. I just loved how the rays of sun were shining through the trees during the late summer afternoon. The other shows the clouds at sunset on a cold winter twilight.

The last set of photos is wind. This was a little more challenging to find this element. The first photo is the flag on a sunset cruise. The other is a sailboat we spotted in Calibogue Sound. We took both of these photos while staying in Sea Pines in Hilton Head, SC.