I saw a blog prompt that said to talk about a time you were left totally alone in something, and how you dealt with it.
A few examples came to my mind, but I settled on a work example.
It was only my second week at my current job. I was still in the training process, and didn't know many people at all. We had this big meeting to reveal the new name of our company, since two were merging together. I was working with people who originally came from a small, local company, bought out by a huge, technology centered corporation. It was a stressful time for everyone, because they were learning how to do all documentation on their PDA's and tablets and starting to get rid of anything that used paper. People were getting laid off. This reveal meeting was not only giving us our new name, but also new uniforms, company colors, symbol, mission, etc. It was a big freaking deal.
After the meeting, we had to go back to our office to pass out new name badges. To eliminate confusion and lag time, everyone was asked to do this, so that we could all be united as a new company. I was the first one back to the office, and the only "office staff member" there for a while, and people were anxious to get back out to see their patients. It was mass chaos. People were coming in, talking about the meeting, confused about uniforms, and needing their badges. I found the envelope and had to sit and pass them out, but I still didn't know everyone's name. They would look at me and I had to ask "um sorry, what is your name again?". I felt so stupid. And some of the pictures on the badges were really old, so some people didn't even look the same. It was a terrifying experience for someone with an anxiety disorder. My hands shook as I handed out badges and crossed names off the list. One person thought I was from "the new company" and asked if I was the uniform police. Gulping, I nervously answered "no, um, I'm the volunteer coordinator". I felt a panic attack coming on, I really did. I wanted to cry.
I was finally at ease when one of the nurses, Carol, came in to get her badge. I had never met her before. She smiled, introduced herself, and said "Welcome! Hey, you passing out badges is smart! Now you can meet everyone!". She totally changed my perspective. Instead of shaking I began smiling, introducing myself, and starting up conversations. It really did end up working out well, because I began talking to people about my plans as the new volunteer coordinator, and I immediately connected with some of them.
The next week, Carol came in for our team meeting. It was the first meeting where everyone was using a computer instead of paper to do documentation. Because I was one of the only ones fully trained on "the system", since I was trained during my orientation, they had me teaching a lot of the staff on how to use it. (To this day, I am still the go to tech person!). Carol had never used a computer for nursing, and she was pretty nervous. I sat next to her for her entire meeting and helped her type. She kept looking over and saying "thank you for doing this!" and at one point yelled out "gosh this is like 'Driving Miss Daisy!". That is when Carol and I became pals. She didn't know that I was helping her because of how much she had helped me. I mean, I would have helped anyways, but I definitely felt like I was giving back what she had given me- compassion.
So, even though I was left on my own, and even though I was terrified to be handing out those badges to strangers, it worked out. Carol still works here, we are still good friends. She is the sweetest person I've ever known in my entire life. I cannot say enough good things about her. I don't think she'll ever really know how much she helped me on that "reveal day", and continues to help me.
The other example is the time I did a 1/2 Marathon. I wouldn't say I was "left alone", totally. My friends Babz and Holly were doing it with me, but both much faster than I. Holly and I actually did walk together for about 3 miles, but at one point she stopped to pet a dog, I stopped to take off my sweatshirt, and we got separated in the crowd. I didn't see her again until the finish line. It wasn't her fault, it just kind of happened. I knew I'd never be able to find her and catch up, I had to do this thing with me, myself, and I. I also knew if I stopped, I wouldn't be able to keep going. So I just kept walking. Several times, I thought about stopping. I thought about sitting down right there, waiting for the paramedics to pick me up and drive me to the finish line. It was hot, and although I had trained for months, I was not prepared for the affect the course change between sand and concrete would have on my feet. I could tell my feet were bleeding. On about mile 10, the course is totally uphill, for the next 2-2.5 miles. I really didn't think I could make it. By this time it was really hot, the sun in my face, my feet throbbing. I stopped at one point to get water and ice, and a little girl wearing a Taylor Swift t-shirt handed me my bag of ice. I told her I liked her shirt, and she smiled and said "thanks- keep going!". She gave me the motivation to push. And then I noticed a walker next to me, who had been keeping a similar pace. I decided to walk with her. I introduced myself, and both of us, sweating, huffing and puffing, made it up that hill. I honestly am not sure I would have made it without her. She was my motivation for the last few miles- we were going to finish it! I told her I wanted to jog in, but she was too tired to join me. I rounded the corner and began running, and heard her cheering and screaming my name behind me. That made me run faster. And when I crossed the finish line, my cousin Bonny, who I had not seen in years, was standing there, waiting for me. I had no idea if she was actually going to come, or if we'd be able to find each other if she did. But she was there and gave me a big hug. And that's when I realized I wasn't alone at all. I had my friends, that little girl, my walker buddy, and my cousin, all there for me/with me.
I guess my point in sharing these stories is that sometimes being on your own in something can be scary, overwhelming, and exhausting. But there's a silver lining. You'll learn a lesson, gain strength and confidence, and surprise yourself at what you can accomplish. Maybe someone unexpected will pop in to help, or maybe you really will do it all on your own. But take it all in. It's happening for a reason. Nothing is a coincidence. And, there is a finish line. More than likely, you have people cheering you on, even if you can't see them at the current moment. Just keep going.
Wednesday, December 4, 2013
Monday, December 2, 2013
This blog is long overdue for an inspiration post!
Meet Desi. Desi is...well...alright I'll just say this. I know Desi because of American Idol. We really don't need to go into that whole story again but basically, Desi and I met, didn't really get along, went through the same experience with a guy, reunited over our angst, and became friends. She's one of my "idol friends" that I actually met in person before becoming pals via Internet, so yes I am sure she's not a psycho killer ( none of my idol friends are). We once spent an entire afternoon in Cleveland watching True Life. We have very similar emotions, life changes and overall personalities.
Desi used to live in Michigan, too, so we would see each other at shows a lot. She lives in Virginia now, so I haven't seen her in over a year but we still talk via twitter and Facebook.
So friends, meet Desi! Here is her set of before and after pictures.
Can you tell us a little about yourself? I'm 27 and now I'm a runner but for most of my life, I hated working out. Through high school and college, most of my exercise consisted only of marching band rehearsal. I wouldn't say I was ever totally unhappy with how I looked after I graduated from college. I've always been bigger and I thought it was just genetics. Other than running and working out, I love music, travelling, and Michigan beer.
What moment or event started your weight loss journey. I went through a really horrible break up two weeks after moving thirteen hours from home, and the only thing that would make my mind stop was being in the gym, because instead of thinking about him, I'd think about how much I hated whatever I was doing. I'd swim for a few hours and then put myself on ellipticals or treadmills (and watch Dog the Bounty Hunter) for hours a day.What was your starting weight?What weight are you at now? If you don't want to giv your weight, just tell us how much you've lost Started. around 230, currently hovering between 190-195. I've started gaining back when I started focusing on more weight training. I don't pay very much attention to my actual weight, though (mostly for that reason)
What would you say is the most important factor in your weight loss? Changed eating habits? Exercise? Changed thinking? Something else?Exercise because I don't really eat any differently then I ever had before. I know I'd drop weight faster if I focused in it more, but my work/life schedule is so crazy that if I eat two full meals in one sitting per day, no matter how "bad" they are, I consider it a success.What’s your favorite exercise? Other than running, I love Les Mills BodySTEP and BodyPUMP classes. I'm also a fan of Pure Barre and kettlebells.
Are there any obstacles you had to overcome to begin exercising / keep exercising? I work in college basketball, and during the season (November-March) it's definitely a challenge to balance work, sleep, and running. My arena also hosts concerts throughout the whole year, and sometimes when we have two games and three shows in a seven-day period, the gym is the last thing on my mind. It's give and take. I know I will get sick if I don't rest enough, but I also know that it's easy for me to get out of the habit of working out if I'm not doing it every day. This is the same reason that rest days are hard for me to incorporate. I've also had a couple injuries along the way, and coming back from them have been slow and sure.
How do you deal with boredom in your exercise program? Mix it up. Try new classes, new exercises, or read new blogs. The Les Mills series has totally changed how I felt and thought about lifting weights, something I thought I'd never like, but I like my BodyPUMP classes even more than running now.What are 3 of your best eating or dieting tips you would like to share? Change your mindset. If you continually tell yourself working out isn't fun, of course it won't be. If you tell yourself you don't have time to make healthy foods, you won't. / Premake meals. When I can, I try to do a meal prep day to divide up lunches for the week and try to throw something healthy in the crock pot for dinners. / Not really food focused, but still important: reward yourself. I tried to hold off on buying new clothes for as long as I could (until I was at my mysterious goal weight I guess?) but it's not worth it. Dress your new body along the way, whether it's a splurge on cute workout gear or new work pants.
Any final words of advice? If you're low on inspiration or not sure where to start, start googling. There are so many great health-focused blogs out there that there's no reason someone can't start training in their own home for almost no money out front. It's also really helpful when you're in a plateau or not feeling the forward movement - everyone goes through that. And always remember you can do more than you think you can! I never thought I'd finish one half marathon, let alone two with three more currently on the schedule and be planning for a full marathon next fall.
Saturday, November 30, 2013
Last year I wrote a post about how I was having a terrible time getting in the Christmas spirit.
This year, I'm like an elf on crack. I can't stop talking about Christmas or looking at Christmas stuff. I bought all my gifts and have started on the homemade ones. I already want to wrap my presents and put them under the tree. I can't wait to hand them out. My office has adopted a family and I've created flyers about it to post in the office. I'm planning on writing out my Christmas cards this evening while Sam and I watch a Christmas movie. And ladies and gents, as we speak, I am watching a holiday cooking show and TAKING NOTES. I don't even watch the cooking channel! Like ever! Next thing you know I'll be rolling around in Christmas lights singing Mariah Carey.
I can't be tamed, and I don't know what has gotten into me. I usually refer to myself as Scrooge. Not this year, Charles Dickens! I'm a regular Tiny Tim!
I have been sitting here trying to figure out exactly what the difference is. I think it's pretty simple: I'm happy. And no, it not all because of Tom/being in a relationship. I'm sure that has a lot to do with it, but I was dating someone during the holidays last year as well. Tom is 100000 times better, but I still don't think he gets all the credit ;) (no offense, dear).
This year - heck- these last few months have taught me how truly special our relationships with others are and that we should cherish them. With that in mind, I want to truly bring out the holiday spirit in everyone around me, and try to make people smile. I really can't afford many gifts, and am only buying for a few people, but I am going to spread as much holiday cheer as possible, and make a conscious effort to make the people around me feel loved.
The priest at Mass today talked about preparing for Jesus, focusing on advent and letting ourselves fully emerge in the true spirit of the holiday. I found myself smiling. I want that. The presents and cards I mentioned above are exciting, but even more exciting is celebrating Jesus! I am taking the priests suggestion and reading the daily readings from now until Christmas. Perhaps I'll learn some things along the way.
Happy Christmas/Advent Spirit, every one!
November seemed to take forever to fly by! I kept thinking to myself... Isn't it time to write Ryan a letter? But I had to wait until today. You just turned 1 a month ago but it feels like a very long time ago that we watched you stick your hands in your cake!
So let's see. Now you're OVER a year old. You are babbling and giggling to standing up on your own. You're not quite Walking yet, and when you try you kind of look like Forrest Gump. (When you are 13 I will have you watch that movie with me. It's amazing. I will be 38 by then! Holy smokes!) you are growing and doing new things every time I see you.
We just celebrated thanksgiving. It was your first thanksgiving with the big family celebration. Everyone adored you and said you look like your mama. You ate lots of sweet potatoes and made a mess on the tablecloth. Your mom told everyone you were thankful for your puppy And milk, which is pretty accurate but I would add your parents, grandparents, and aunts and uncles to that list too! After dinner everyone went outside to play football and you were all dressed in warm clotheS, so much that you couldn't move!
Last month, right after your birthday, we took family photos. A really nice lady named Anne took them and they turned out beautifully. I am sure you will see them through the years. And I'm sure there will be more photos to come! The day we took those pictures was one of my favorite days of the year so far.
It is the Christmas season and I have just finished buying all my gifts. I got a few things for you, little guy. But more importantly I want to tell you about a family that I am helping this year. They haven't had very good luck and they need some extra help to make their Christmas special. They won't be able to have a nice Cheistmas meal or give eac other presents. My coworkers and I are all coming together to help. We want them to have a good Chrismtas, too. Ryan, sweetheart, this is the true meaning of Christmas, to give to others. Especially the people who need a lot of help. When you get a little older I want to take you with me to serve meals to people who can't buy food or who don't have a home. You will see how good it feels to help someone else.
I love you so much Ryan! See you soon.
Thursday, November 28, 2013
Howdy, kids. Are your tummies full of delicious food and your hearts full of love? I certainly hope so. That is my Thanksgiving wish for each of you.
I have a lot, and I mean a lot, to be thankful for this year.
First and foremost I am thankful to the medical team at Beaumont. They successfully removed the tumors from my daddy's brain and continue to research and fight the lung tumor. Every single doctor, nurse, and staff member we've come in contact with have been gracious and kind and totally dedicated to helping my dad beat this thing.
I am also thankful for my family. I fully believe that I have the greatest family in the world, and I dare you to try to tell me otherwise. I do not know how I got so lucky but the bond we all have is one that will never be broken. They are incredible people and each do fantastic things in their own lives, and touch mine in a way I can't ever properly express.
I am thankful for my friends and coworkers who help distract me from life's craziness by making me laugh, going on dinner dates and letting me vent. I am thankful for Melinda's backups, who , six years later, continue to support and love me, encourage me and pray for me.
I am thankful for the incredible St Hugo community who have totally overwhelmed me with their constant flow of love and support. Those are some very special people, people with hearts of gold and determined minds to help others, and my family is on the receiving end of those gifts right now. Every message, email, hug, prayer means the absolute world to me and keeps me going when I'm not sure I can. So many of the Hugo moms are inspirations to me, role models. Especially Martha.
I am thankful for Paula and my parents for pushing me to do something about my health and for encouraging me every step of the way. I am thankful for Sola Life and Fitness for the support, tools and resources they have provided for me to lose the weight so far and to continue to push on.
I am thankful for Tom, my wonderful boyfriend who has been there for me every step of the way through everything with my dad and my weight loss journey. He's the sweetest guy I've ever known and I am so lucky that he puts up with me and cares about me. He is a gift and I cannot wait to see where else our relationship with go from here.
I am thankful for God and for my relationship with Him. For the unconditional love that He gives me and the blessings He puts in my life. Without Him, none of this would be possible.
There is more, but I will stop there. I am going to enjoy what's rest of Thanksgiving on the couch at my parents house, sipping tea and nursing my sore muscles from our flag football game.
Monday, November 25, 2013
I had a beautiful weekend. I use that word a lot. But I have no other way to describe it. All around me I saw beauty.
Saturday was my typical workout, errands, and nap kind of morning. Then Sam, Tom, and I went to see Catching Fire. No spoilers, but damn. What a good movie. I meant to re read the book (my favorite in the series) but I never got time. Now I'm kinda glad I didn't. I had forgotten some things and found myself getting incredibly invested and emotional. It was glorious.
On Sunday morning Tom accompanied me to 8am mass. As someone who wasn't raised with any sort of religion, I am both touched and proud that he is willing to go to church with me. It's actually helping me, too, because I am finding myself paying more attention so I can help him understand. After Mass we grabbed breakfast and then headed downtown to the Lions game. We got there early enough to score a good Parking spot and walk around the stadium, even participating in all those cheesy games they have set up like "guess how many footballs are in the net" and the 50/50 raffle. We found our seats, right in the end zone. Took an obligatory "selfie", which was later displayed up on the big screen! We had a ton of fun cheering on the lions and taking in the atmosphere, it's just a shame the lions had to lose.
We headed back to my house where Sam and Lauren were cooking. Tom and I joined in, preparing for our first annual Friendsgiving. A while ago I invited some of our friends over for a potluck dinner to celebrate thanksgiving. I love this holiday, and love that it's all about family, but I like to celebrate my friends too. So, some of our friends gathered in our house for food and fun. Everything was freaking delicious, and we laughed hard playing our favorite game. It was so nice to be surrounded by my friends for an evening. I am hoping to make this an annual thing. To me it doesn't matter who comes, it's just important to celebrate friendships and be grateful for our blessings.
Now it's the week of Thanksgiving and it's a roller coaster of emotions this week for me. I'm excited for a day of family time, but sad because a friend of ours passed away over the weekend and I'll be attending her funeral Wednesday. Plus I have to work Friday and be in a meeting all day, when i would much rather be in sweat pants on the couch watching tv with my mom and dad.
I do wish you all a beautiful week, hope it's nothing but happy for you. Cheers!
Saturday, November 23, 2013
My friends at work can tell you I'm really careful at parties and luncheons. I don't totally starve myself but I don't overdo it.
But Thanksgiving is tomorrow and that day is pretty much centered around food. And while I'd like to tell you I'm not worried about it, I'm worried About it. So that has forced me to come up with a plan.
First of all, I'm going to work out in the morning. My gym is closed but my parents have a treadmill so I'm going to do that. And do some core work. Maybe.
I'm also going to eat my normal breakfast . I don't believe in starving myself all day and then binging for the meal. I'll eat some oatmeal and fruit in the am to get my metabolism going!
I will eat a snack of raw veggies before we leave. I'll also have some waiting for me when we come home.
I'm going to drink a ton of water. Like, a ton.
I will do my best to avoid hor d'ourves, or at least the dangerous ones.
For the meal I we serve myself a hefty slice of turkey and green beans. I will take small amounts of the rest.
I will participate in the flag football game and maybe actually even try to break a sweat. Usually I just kind of stand there.
That's my plan, kids. We will see how it goes. I plan on having a glass of wine or two so I really do need to be careful on my calorie watch.
In other news, I DID finally beat my weight loss plateau and am now down a total of 27lbs. I also saw my doctor and my blood pressure was the lowest it's been in over a year. She was really excited about that! And, my clothes are falling off. Like literally. All of these things are excellent reminders that I'm on my way to reaching my goal.
When I hit 50lbs I think I'll have a party to celebrate. You're all invited.
Happy thanksgiving, I am off to enjoy thanksgiving eve by having sushi with my boyfriend and then head to my parents house for the night so we can drive together tomorrow. I will be posting tomorrow, but in the meantime go hug your family and enjoy your time with them!