Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Destroying Obstacles

Today we got news that my dad has a new tumor growing on his lungs and that one of the older tumors is growing. What that means is that the medication he was on to control the tumor growth, Tarceva, is beginning to lose it's effect. 

This was not exactly the news we wanted to get a week before Christmas. It's not the news anyone wants to get.

It felt like a big punch in the gut, especially after everything he and we have already been through. It's not fair.

So I shed a few tears, steered clear of emotional eating, and told myself to keep the faith.

But sometimes, things like "keep the faith" and "stay positive" are easy to say but near impossible to execute. This is one of those times. But that's not due to lack of trying. Trust me, I'm trying.

For the past four of five weeks I've been battling a weight loss plateau. I've been bouncing back and forth between 88-90 lbs lost. It's been frustrating and almost led me to give up.

Today, when I got the news about my dad, it have me further fuel to not give up. My dad is going to need me. He'll have to have chemo treatments now and that may cause him to be sick and and weak at times. I have to be my strongest and best self not only for me, but for him. So my dad will be my biggest motivation. I may need to up the intensity of my workouts, and I'm not sure if I'll have time for much else, but I will do this. Just like my dad will beat cancer, I will beat this plateau and I will reach my weight loss goal. I will destroy the obstacles and my dad will destroy the tumors. 

How's that for positivity?

Monday, December 15, 2014

My brave year.

Note: This prompt is from a neat blog challenge called Reverb, which is basically a way for bloggers/writers to reflect on their year. I'm late joining the challenge, and the prompt I am using is from a few days ago...I hope to join in and the future prompts.

Prompt: My Brave Year

I thought this prompt was perfect for me, seeing as 2014 was one of my bravest years ever. I never in a million years thought that my life would take the track that it has today, but here I stand. Taller, stronger, and better than ever before.

Step one: set the timer for 5 minutes and write down as many answers as you can think of to the question: 'When and how was I brave in 2014?' Note: remember the private, intimate and small ways in which you were brave as well as the big public ways.

  • Started a new job with the American Cancer Society
  • Bought my first car
  • Spoke in front of hundreds of people
  • Ran a 5k by myself
  • Took initiative to set up meetings
  • Signed up for, and participated in, a kickboxing class for the first time
  • Held my dad's hand as he was having hallucinations, periods of unresponsiveness, and seizures for a month straight
  • Said "no" and "goodbye" to toxic relationships
  • Continued on my weight loss journey and lost a total of 90 lbs
  • Found that happiness lives within me

Step two: Choose one of more of those moments of bravery and write a letter yourself back at the beginning of 2014, letting you know how brave you are going to be that year.

Dear Megan,
You don't know it yet, but things are about to change drastically- mostly for the better. Have confidence in yourself and your ability because a door is going to open for you and the next journey is about to begin. It's going to be a little scary at first, and you are going to have to leave your comfort zone, but it's going to be worth it. You've already accomplished so much with your weight loss, and you're going to keep going. 

The new journey I speak of is one you had not imagined you would be on. And it's going to take you on a ride- it will require you to be a little more outspoken and bold, but you can do's inside of you. 2014 will challenge you and push you. But by the end of it, hundreds of people will know your name and will have been impacted by the work you did.

There is going to be a big challenge that will test your strength harder than you've ever been tested: you will watch a dear loved one suffer. You will get through it. You will rely on your faith, your family, and your support system. Take it one, tiny tip toe at a time. You're going to be braver than you ever imagined possible during this challenging time. It's a blessing that you've become so healthy, because you are going to need your health and strength to get through it. But you WILL get through it, and you will be amazed at the way you handled it.

A spotlight will be on you for a while- things you have worked so hard on will finally come to be and eyes are on you to see how you pulled it off. I know that sounds terrifying, but it's rewarding. Be you, work hard, push yourself, and enjoy it.

At the end of 2014, you'll feel proud. You just climbed over every mountain that was in front of you. You conquered it. Through all the challenges and the worries and the late nights and early mornings, you did it. 

Step three: Write yourself a short reminder to tuck into your wallet or post above your desk of just how brave you can and will be in 2015.

In 2014, you thought you couldn't, but you did.
In 2015, you know you can, and you will.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Top 10 Albums of 2014

It's that time of year again! Let the countdowns and the "best of" lists begin! I will start by sharing my 10 Favorite Albums released in 2014.

10. Phillip Phillips, Behind The Light
You probably know who Phillip Phillips is even if you think you don't know who he is. His songs are played in a couple commercials. He's a singer/songwriter who won his season of American Idol. I actually wasn't a fan of Phillip on the show (#teamjoshledet) but his post Idol music is pretty great.

Unpack Your Heart
"Your sorrow, your beauty, your war...I want it all, I want it all"

Raging Fire
"If you listen close, you'll hear the sound/Of all the ghosts that bring us down/Hold on to what makes you feel/Don't let go, it's what makes you real

"Then I turned to see it was too late to give you love/But it was too late to give you up"

9. Christina Perri, Head or Heart
In my opinion, Christina Perri was one of the most underrated artists out there right now. She writes beautiful songs and has a killer voice. You may know her songs "Jar of Hearts" or "Human". The girl can belt, and this album is fantastic.

I can take so much/'Til I've had enough/'Cause I'm only human

Burning Gold
I’m setting fire to the life that I know/Let's start a fire everywhere that we go

 I believe that the darkness reminds us where light can be
8. The Fray, Helios
I've always loved, and probably will always love, The Fray. While I can admit that a lot of their songs sound similar to one another, I still dig what they do. Solid good music.

The sun is rising, the rain is falling /I wanna give you all that's left of me /I will run. I will run into the hurricane!

Wherever This Goes (Fun fact: This song is in the running to one day be my wedding song)
Baby, you are the song that’s written on my heart/Wherever we stand, wherever we fall/It don’t matter at all, cause I will be forever yours/From this moment till the day the curtains close/Wherever this goes!

Hold My Hand
Hold my hand/I can hear the ghost calling.

7. Lady Antebellum, 747
I mean, does Lady A really need an introduction? If you're not already on board, I'm not sure what you're waiting for.

Wanna get a little lost/In the noise, in the lights

Damn You Seventeen
Well, I want to call/But I bet your number's changed a couple times/A couple towns ago, but I can't let you go

One Great Mystery
Don't know what happens when we leave this world/But I know I'll go right on loving you girl
6. Jason Mraz, YES!
Jason's music is amongst the first that I turn to when I need comfort. I fell in love with his voice when I was 16 and I'll never look back! Catchy, original and wise, his music is perfect.

Love Someone
Love is a funny thing/Whenever I give it, it comes back to me

Heartbeats rise, heartbeats fall/Will you be my constant through it all?

Best Friend
Thank you for choosing us/Thank you for all you’re about/Thank you for lifting me up/Thank you for keeping me grounded/And being here now
5. Jessie J, Sweet Talker
Are you a fan of pop music that can make you dance AND of amazing, strong voices? Then you need to listen to Jessie J. This album makes me feel powerful. I listened to it 24/7 when I was getting ready for my events in October and I seriously felt like I could do anything while I was listening to it. Listen when you need a pick me up. Even her ballads will bring out the best in you.

No I'm not a liar/Just don't know how to tell you the truth

And I, I wanna hang with the greats/Got a way to go, but it's worth the wait/No, you haven't seen the best of me/I'm still working on my masterpiece

Don't think, just speak/You hate me when I'm up/You love me when I'm down
4. Nick Thomas, Shadowars
I like to think of Nick Thomas as my first love. He was the first male artist that made me stop in my tracks. That was back when he was the lead singer of The Spill Canvas. The band split a few years ago, and this year Nick released his solo project Shadowwars. Naturally, I love it.

Oh, I am enamored at the very ground beneath your feet/I’d be so incomplete without you and your deceit.

Ghost Towns
I misplaced my hope, I left it in the foreign alleyways I roam/I care so much more than she knows.

From The Ruins
I’ll be your bravery when you’re too afraid to be.

3. Johnnyswim, Diamonds
So, I had no idea who the indie folk pop duo was until my friend Melinda Doolittle tweeted about their album release. Curious and always interested in new music, I hopped over to Spotify to listen- I became obsessed. I listened to this album more times than I can count. It's fresh, it's fun, it's powerful. Two great voices, amazing songs. It also really turned me on to the whole "pop folk" genre. I typically listen to that type of music now. So thanks Melinda, and thanks Johnnyswim. Also, be careful if you're around me when I'm listening to this album, because I tend to slam my hands on the desk or punch a wall because it gets me so happy that I can't control myself. Oh- and it was really hard for me to pick just three songs. Sure sign of a great album.

And I cant keep on giving you what might be meant for someone new/Wake me up the dream I had is over

A Million Years
In a million years tell me will they hear about us dear/Will any of these sparks we light catch a flame and burn through time

Take The World
Cause they can write stories/They can sing songs/But they don’t make fairy tales/Sweeter than ours

2. X, Ed Sheeran
Much like Lady A, I hope you all get on the Ed Sheeran train. I've been a passenger since 2011 and let me tell you, my ears have been happier ever since. Ed Sheeran is brilliant. He's a writer, a performer, a producer and a musician. What he does with his songs, both studio and live versions, is unlike any other artist out there. So get on board.

You can fit me/Inside the necklace you got when you were sixteen/Next to your heartbeat where I should be/Keep it deep within your soul

It's not like we were both on tour/We were staying on the same fucking hotel floor

Thinking Out Loud 
And I'm thinking 'bout how people fall in love in mysterious ways/Maybe just the touch of a hand/Well, me—I fall in love with you every single day

1. 1989, Taylor Swift
Taylor's had her best year ever, my friends. She made the official switch over to pop music and is taking the charts-and my heart-by storm. Basically, she's grown up. I could go and and on about how much I adore Taylor and how proud I am that she's finally happy just being herself, but that could take all night. Let's just say, Sassy Swift is here to stay and I love it. 

Blank Space
Cause darling I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream

You Are In Love
One night he wakes, strange look on his face/Pauses, then says, you're my best friend/And you knew what it was, he is in love

I Know Places 
Loose lips sink ships all the damn time/Not this time 

What were your favorite albums released this year? Share in the comments!

Friday, December 5, 2014

I Don't Fit In.

I don't fit in. And for the first time in my life, I've realized that it's okay.

At my old job, my age was what separated me from the rest of the pack. The majority of my coworkers were twice my age, and our lunch time conversations usually revolved around them telling me stories of the past, or swapping stories about raising kids and grandkids. Don't get me wrong, I loved it, and those ladies are very special to me. but with the exception of a couple of people, I was the baby of the group.

When I got my new job, I was so excited to see that there were dozens of people my age. And yet, I sometimes still find myself thinking "I really don't fit in". Socially, that is.

I'm not a girly girl, so I can talk fashion or shopping nor do I know what the latest trends are. I buy my makeup from CVS and my wardrobe is from clearance racks and resale shops.

I like sports, but I only loosely follow along. I cheer for the Lions on Sunday's and I love going to Tigers games and shouting at them on my TV, but I would fail miserably in a Fantasy Football League or March Madness.

I don't watch The Walking Dead or Mad Men or Breaking Bad or any other show that people always seem to be talking about. Family Feud? Sign me up.

I am not crafty- at all. I have no desire to look up DIY projects on Pinterest. I so appreciate the people that can whip out cute little crafts, but I can't.

And, probably the biggest thing that sets me apart from most: I'm not married, I'm not engaged, I don't have kids. I can't give wedding advice to the newly engaged girls in our office (there's usually at least 3 at a time) or talk mommy talk.

Let's be clear- I don't think there is anything wrong with "fitting in" to any of the above categories. I just don't fit.

With all of that being said, I'm usually pretty quiet in lunch time or hallway chats. And it's not because I don't care. I do care- I LOVE listening to other people share about themselves. I love hearing what gets you excited, that you stayed up all night watching the Red Wings game because you are obsessed with hockey. I love hearing about your family's secret fudge recipe. I love the stories you share about your kids. I just can't always relate or contribute- but I love to listen to it all. I get so much joy out of hearing other people get excited about something they are passionate about. I try really hard to pick pieces of what people tell me and use it for later.

I get labeled as "shy" quite often. In many cases, yes, that is true. But it's usually because instead of jumping in and talking, I am listening for clues about you that I can later use to relate to you in conversation. I save things in little files in my head.

Sometimes, I feel left out of things because I don't always fit a certain mold. But at 27 years old, I've finally realized that being- and feeling- "different" than others is okay. Because it's who I am. And if I have such a love for other people being them true selves and sharing things with me, I should love that about myself, too. I may not always have something to contribute to conversations, but that doesn't make me inadequate. My interests and hobbies may not line up with others, but they are mine, and they help make me who I am. I am no less interesting than any other person.

And so my friends, I encourage you to be yourself. Be you- because you are awesome.. If you're feeling like you don't fit in, maybe take some time to reflect on why- what is it that makes you unqie? You're not weird, you're not antisocial, you're not alone. You're just you, and you shouldn't hide who you are. And in the days where you feel like there's no one to talk to, find a person like me- the listeners. We'd love to listen.