Be Happy….even when you don’t feel like it ūüėĄ

2020 will go down in history (mine at least) as the year I lost more than I thought I could without crumbling.  The fun things in life were over for the foreseeable future due to Coronavirus.  No more movie dates, concerts, or trips. A graduation Baltic cruise for my daughter was delayed until 2021, and eventually changed to a British Isles cruise in July of 2022.  My Mom died June 16th.  The rest of the summer after that was, honestly, a blur.

I still had one thing to look forward to, a Thanksgiving celebration with my Dad and my siblings in Arizona.  The week we were to leave, my son contracted Covid and so I was unable to make the trip.  That was a huge letdown and was followed shortly afterward by the realization that my marriage was over.  I wasn’t sure I  had what it takes to keep going.  In the midst of all this, I was in the process of moving into my childhood home which I was buying from my Dad.  Our family Christmas celebration was planned for Christmas Eve at my new/old home. 

I cried more tears in November and December than I had in my entire life, but finally decided that I would do what I needed to heal and to be happy again.

I did host our Christmas Eve celebration and it was wonderful, although bittersweet without my Mom there. Having my family gathered together in the same house that has witnessed so many holidays before gave me a feeling of complete contentment and the knowledge that buying this house was the right thing to do. It will be here for me just like my family will be for years and years to come.  

My (ex)husband filed for divorce in January and by March 30th, it was final.  In February I started seeing a therapist for the first time ever.  She has been so incredibly helpful and she says I have made great progress.  The plan is for me to spread my wings and try life on my own after the first week in July.  I am confident that I can do it and do it well ūüėä 

One of my biggest takeaways from my therapy sessions is that I need to set firm and clear boundaries and that I do not need to explain myself or my choices. I have a tendency, especially when I feel threatened, to explain and defend whatever happens to be in question.  The most helpful exercise was writing a letter to my ex-husband as if he would listen and take it to heart. After my second draft, I came up with a raw and honest letter which I read to her. It was so good to get these emotions out.  I cried when I wrote it and many times afterwards as I read it and managed to get through most of it in her office without breaking down. It still makes me sad to read it, but it also makes me proud to have found the words to express my emotions and the strength to deal with them.

I am taking time now to be comfortable with just me and to rediscover what my goals and dreams are.  I do hope someday to find a special someone who will love me “warts and all”, but until I do, I will do the job of accepting and loving myself despite my flaws. ‚̧  Honestly, right now the thought of “dating” is scary.  I have set a deadline for the time being of March 30, 2022 before I dive back into the dating scene again.  I am open to any opportunities that might arrive before that, but I don’t plan to seek them out.

What I really wish for is a place where I could just connect with others as friends.  My counselor says to find things I love to do and then do them alone.  She says that way if I meet someone while doing those activities, we will already have something in common. The trouble with that is that I’m not great at just striking up conversations. What is an introvert to do?  I told her that one of my favorite things to do is to work in my flower beds and to feed and watch the birds. I don’t get too many visitors to my yard ūüėĄ. 

For the time being, I will just work on doing what brings me joy and hope that in time God will provide me with someone new or with the ability to be content on my own. I can’t control a lot of what happens to me, but I can choose my attitude and I choose to be happy. ūüėä

A Giant Snowflake that recently bloomed in my new back yard.  I took it as a sign that I am in the right place! ūüėä

If you’ve made it this far, thank you for reading! I welcome any thoughts, comments, suggestions ūüėä

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Flower of the Day Challenge

Here is my entry for the Flower of the Day Challenge.

This rosebush only blooms for a short time each year, but when it does, it is gorgeous!

Live now, believe me, wait not till tomorrow; Gather the roses of life today. – Pierre de Ronsard

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Flower of the Day Challenge

Here is my entry for the Flower of the Day Challenge. I love it when my iris start blooming. I have a variety of colors, so every day or two I get to see new blooms.

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Slow and Steady…

January 14th, 2019 I began a journey toward becoming a more fit and fabulous version of myself. This is a road I’ve traveled in the past, sometimes successfully and sometimes not so much. After seeing the ads for the “Noom” weight loss app far too many times, I finally decided to check it out. I think I had been afraid to do so because it meant I would have to change. As we know, change is NOT an easy thing, but finally I had seen far too many “unflattering” photos and was growing weary of hiding behind other people in photos or “sucking it in” and STILL not liking what I saw. I took a chance and signed up for Noom. I think the combination of snarky daily motivational messages, a personal coach and a group of other people to connect with that are on the same journey made the difference this time.

Way back when. I love this picture because I look cute and confident. I want to feel that way again!

I won’t lie and say it’s been easy.¬† It sucks feeling like nobody else has to worry aboout how many calories are left before they choose where to eat. Joining my husband for breakfast at Denney’s on Saturday morning means that I either skip lunch or eat a minimalist meal so that I can at least have a sandwich for dinner. Exercise doesn’t get me a ton of extra calories because only half of calories burned are added back into my food budget. It’s so “unfair”, but it has been working.

Progress requires setbacks; the only sure way to avoid failure is not to try. ~Henry Spencer

I started out at 154.4. It’s embarrassing admitting that, but I’m being honest. I had been moving right along and was down 20 pounds by the middle of May. Now, I’ve gone up and back down and back up a little bit and am currently at 134. This is still in the overweight category for BMI (click to visit active.com and see what yours is if you so desire) and I have 14 pounds to go until I reach my goal. 9 pounds will get me to a “normal” BMI, so that is my next mini goal.

This trip to Oatman, AZ was incredibly fun, but I am definitely not fond of the way I look in this photo with my hubby.
Making progress. The Crazy Horse Volkmarch the first weekend in June.

Never quit. It is the easiest cop-out in the world. Set a goal and don’t quit until you attain it, set another goal, and don’t quit until you reach it. Never quit. ~ Bear Bryant

While I’m sorely tempted some days to just throw in the towel, especially days when the scale creeps up or as it does lately just sits at the same number, I won’t. I’m in this for the long haul and need to be patient with myself. I still fit in the size 6 jeans I managed to squeeze back into and hopefully I can fit even more comfortably in the next month or two.

I like the above quote about setting goals and sticking with them. That is what I’m going to do. I know I can do it. I’ve come this far!!

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I don’t want my kids to have an easy life.

Before you say I am a mean and cruel mother, let me clarify. ¬†I do not wish hardships upon my children, nor do I wish problems to befall them. ¬†What I want for them, however, is not to come by what they want too easily. ¬†My sons are both working now and my daughter is anxious to start working as soon as she is able to. ¬†I do not give them money for gasoline, food or activities. ¬†I don’t feel guilty about this. ¬†I believe this gives them the message that I have faith in their ability to provide for themselves. ¬†Should an emergency arise, most definitely I will¬†do what I can to help, but I do not intend to be the first option. ¬†All three of my children know this and I have not reaped any repercussions¬†from them for my attitude and actions. ¬†I think it is perfectly fine for them to want things that they cannot currently afford. ¬†The desire for things and events is an opportunity for my kids to learn how to obtain them.

Being made to forgo one thing in order to save for another teaches self-control and patience.

Self-control, openness, the ability to engage with others, to plan and to persist Рthese are the attributes that get people in the door and on the job, and lead to productive lives.  ~ James Heckman

I truly believe that taking time to evaluate what they REALLY want, making a plan for obtaining it and putting that plan in action will give them skills they will need to survive and excel in life. ¬†Were I to just give them what they want and to require no effort on their part to get whatever that might be, the value of it would be greatly diminished BECAUSE they didn’t have to work for it. delayed gratification¬†I have witnessed far too many instances of well-meaning parents that want to provide everything and every opportunity for their children and keep them from wanting for anything. ¬†While there may be exceptions, for the most part these children learn that there will always be another ____ (fill in the blank), toy/outfit/car, so valuing and caring for the one they have is¬†unnecessary.

Delaying gratification by making the choice to forego the $5.00 toy because he or she is saving for the $15.00 one is an excellent lesson for a child to learn at an early age.  A child is much less likely to leave a bike out in the elements where it may rust or be stolen if that child worked for an entire summer mowing lawns or doing other odd jobs to earn the money to buy that bicycle.

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When it’s not earned, it’s not appreciated as much.

If the child is given bicycle after bicycle because the child is irresponsible and leaves that bicycle¬†unlocked and uncared for, the parent that continues to supply new bicycles is the one to find fault with, not the child. ¬†The message this child receives is that the parent has no faith in the child’s ability to properly care for the bicycle or obtain another should it be lost, stolen or wrecked.

My kids know that should one of their prized possessions be broken, lost or stolen, I will empathize with them, but will not replace the item. ¬†My response would be, “Oh, no. ¬†That’s terrible! What are you going to do about it?” I trust that they are capable of caring for themselves and their possessions and should they, unfortunately, happen to lose or break one of their items will figure out a way to replace it or live without it. ¬†I foresee a bright and happy life for each of my children. ¬†They may not be wealthy or have the best of everything, but they will all have the satisfaction that comes from earning their way in life.

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Solitude – WP Daily Prompt

“Cultivate solitude and quiet and a few sincere friends rather than mob merriment, noise and thousands of nodding acquaintances.” ¬†~ ¬†William Powell

“The thoughtful soul to solitude retires.” ~¬†Omar Khayyam

“Language… has created the word ‘loneliness’ to express the pain of being alone. And it has created the word ‘solitude’ to express the glory of being alone.” ~ ¬†Paul Tillich

 

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Romeo enjoys the freshly cut grass too!

As an introvert, I cherish my solitude. ¬†I dearly love my children and husband, but in order to be the best person for them, sometimes I need to spend a little time just for me. To me, solitude need not be found on a quiet mountaintop or in a beach chair listening to the sounds of the ocean. ¬†I wouldn’t pass up those opportunities, but I can enjoy the solitude I find just¬†listening¬†to the steady drone of the lawn mower as I mow my lawn. ¬†I can turn off¬†my busy mind for a little while and just enjoy the smell of the freshly cut grass and the breeze on my face as I walk back and forth across the lawn. ¬†I can slow down and allow myself to notice the new flowers blooming in my yard, the bunnies in the neighboring yard playfully hopping after one another and the freshly formed buds on my lilac bushes.

Yellow and White Iris

A beautiful iris waiting to be noticed

When I have taken time to enjoy my time alone and recharge my battery, I am ready to once again enjoy the noisier fun family activities to follow!

This post is in response to the WordPress Daily Prompt.  Check out the many other submissions at: https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/solitude/

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A Girl Who Can Climb 219 Steps to the top of a lighthouse can do anything!

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The St. Augustine Lighthouse in St. Augustine, FL – 219 steps to the top!!

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A beautiful sunset captured from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse

I remember reading a book in which the author talked about having a “can do” attitude. ¬†She stated that by taking risks and doing something she wasn’t sure she could, she was able to adopt the mantra, “A girl who can (insert amazing achievement), can do ANYTHING!”. ¬†My amazing achievement was climbing the stairs to that lighthouse! ¬†In fact, the following day I climbed the 203 steps to the top of the Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach!

The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida - 203 steps to the top!

The Ponce de Leon Lighthouse in Daytona Beach, Florida – 203 steps to the top!

My goal in¬†2016 is to keep in mind that “A girl who can climb two¬†lighthouses can do anything!!” ¬†Here I come, 2016!!

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From Fat and Frumpy to Fit and Fabulous in Fifteen Months (?)

You may wonder WHO the header of this post refers to.  Well, gentle reader, that would be ME.  After stepping on the scale a few weeks back, I have determined that I am going to get back to a better version of me.

Sure, I have plenty of excuses as to why the scale hasn’t budged (at least in the RIGHT direction) for the last few¬†years. ¬†Some of these include:

  1. I’m over 40 now and my metabolism has dropped to seemingly nothing.
  2. I’m on medications that can cause puffiness and weight gain.
  3. I do my elliptical or treadmill at least 3-4 days each week, so the extra weight is “muscle“.

BabyBeth

Ok, maybe I don’t want to go QUITE that far back in time, but I was definitely a LOT littler (and cuter) in this photo! ūüėČ

There may well be some truth to all of the above, but I’ve decided that despite my litany of reasons why¬†I don’t see the little, smaller, cuter me looking back in the mirror, I am determined that I WILL someday see her again. ūüôā

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My plan is to see THIS me (albeit with a few more wrinkles, and no doubt a bit warmer outfit) looking back in the mirror by November of 2016! ūüôā

My wonderful hubby presented me with an early birthday gift, a FitBit Charge HR. ¬†Don’t worry; he knew I had researched the various devices and really wanted to get the FitBit. ¬†He is awesome and says he loves me no matter what, so it was not a push to get me to look better. ‚̧ ¬†I want to do it for me so that I can be healthier, be around longer for my family and wear adorable outfits and even skinny jeans again.

I know I have a LONG journey ahead of me. ¬†I like food too much to restrict my calories to nearly nothing, so based on limiting my calories by about 250/day, the MyFitnessPal app which I’m using to track food and exercise, tells me that I can reach my goal and be 30.2 lbs lighter by November of 2016. ¬†YIKES!!! ¬†I know, I know, waiting 15 months to see my fitness goals realized seems like a very long time. ¬†I’m hoping that I can reach it before then, but I also know that I need to stick with a system that is easy and one in which I don’t restrict every food item that I have liked up to this point. ¬†I’m going to try the same tactic with food as I have with my belongings. ¬†If it does not or will not bring me joy, I will avoid it. ¬†This leaves me room to have the pizza, steak, pasta or desserts that I love, but as a treat that I savor and not a dish that I devour. ūüôā

By posting this on my little blog, I am taking a step toward more accountability. ¬†With the help¬†of my new FitBit¬†and¬†my MapMyWalk, MyFitnessPal and FitBit apps and encouragement from my family, friends and all of you lovely readers, I hope to be able to be happier, healthier and smokin’ hot (haha) by the finale of my fifteen month foray! ¬† ūüôā I’ve managed to stick to my 8000 steps a day goal, even though I’m sometimes walking around my house or walking in place in my bedroom to complete it! ūüėČ

If it’s gonna be, it’s up to me! ¬†(Words of wisdom from a former Weight Watchers Coach) ¬†Wish me luck!

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WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Inspiration

flowerbirds©

The beautiful photo of the two little birds encased in a frame custom-made by the artist! Such talent!

Flowerkitty©

My daughter loved this little kitty. I can’t remember what type of flower or grass the body is made from, but I remember it has rose petal leaves and collar.

When I saw this week’s WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge, I first thought of the usual “inspirational” photos, sunrises, sunsets, beautiful nature photos. When I thought a bit more, I remembered something an incredibly talented artist said to my daughter and me as we were purchasing two of her magnificent creations at the¬†recent Spearfish Art in the Park craft festival. ¬†Her space at the festival was filled with incredible pictures created with dried plants, leaves and flowers that she had, with incredibly talented hands, made into pictures of animals, simple floral bookmarks and incredibly detailed landscapes. As we were purchasing our items, my daughter asked her how long it took her to make one of the photos. ¬†The artist explained that it is a long process of selecting flowers, waiting for them to dry, creating the design and the frame and finally completing it. ¬† She said if she actually kept track of¬†the¬†hours¬†she spent,¬†she would have to charge more than most would be willing to pay. ¬†She explained to us that in many jobs, the workers are constantly watching the clock and wondering why the hours go by so slowly, while in her job she is so involved into creating and perfecting the designs that hours pass by very quickly. I commented to her that her work¬†is wonderful and that in creating these masterpieces, she shares a little piece of herself with every person who purchases them. ¬† ¬†If you are lucky enough to see Michelle Barnhart as a vendor at a craft festival, plan to spend a bit of time at her booth admiring the beautiful work she does!!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Up Close

Blue crawfish©

I love the color of this crawfish. Such a beautiful blue!

jellyfish©

I am always fascinated by jellyfish!

RaysCloseup©

I think stingrays are some of the most beautiful creatures!

ParakeetCloseup©

We delighted in being up close and personal with these cute parakeets!

I’m sliding in right at the end with an entry for the¬†WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge. ¬†This week’s theme is “Up Close”. ¬†I’m submitting some photos that I took when our family visited the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans during our family trip in June. ¬†I love seeing the details of some of these fascinating animals!

Take a little time and check out the many beautiful and creative entries to the challenge by clicking the link above ūüôā

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