Thursday, October 31, 2013

Being Catholic on Halloween

My name is Megan. I'm Catholic, and I recently rediscovered my love for Halloween. Last year I wrote about how uncomfortable the holiday makes me, but that is largely in part due to parties and having attention on you for your costume and all that jazz. Things have changed in the past year.

There are a lot of stereotypes/misconceptions about being Catholic and celebrating Halloween. That we aren't supposed to celebrate it because it glorifies evil and the works of the Devil.

Yes. I believe that evil exists. I'm not going to pretend like I don't believe that.

Halloween has never, ever, been about that for me. Yes it's fun to tell spooky stories and to try to scare your roommates (oh, I have plans, Sam and Lauren!), but it's a holiday much more than that for me, now that I have gotten past the whole costume thing.

It's really about the kids. Let the kids have their candy. Let them dress up as someone else for a day, run around the neighborhood with their friends and collect their favorite candies. Let them dump out their pillowcase and trade candy with their siblings. Let them fall asleep in their costume, passed out from the sugar overdose.

Where does Catholicism tie into this? Well, for one, tomorrow we celebrate All Saints day. It is when Catholics (and other Christians) celebrate all the saints, known and unknown. It is sort of like the church version of Veteran's Day. We celebrate the ones who paved the way for us to celebrate our faith. We ask the saints to watch over us and for their guidance.

There are THOUSANDS of Saints. And there are thousands more who should be saints but are not. (Cough Catherine McAuley cough). Saint Megan is the patron saint of abused victims. There is very little information about Saint Megan, but from what I have read, she's pretty rad. I also dig St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, who established the first Catholic school in the US, and Saint Bridget, who is known for her dedication to serving the poor, and also for performing miracles (seriously, rad).

And then, on November 2nd, Catholics celebrate All Souls Day. This is where we pray for those who have died but have not been totally cleansed of their sins (aka, Purgatory). We pray for them so that they may go into Heaven. It's also a day to reflect on those who have passed on and celebrate the lives that they led.

No matter your beliefs or faith, there is no denying that this is a special time of year. Give the kids a smile as you pass out candy tonight and let yourself remember your childhood Halloween memories.

To end this post, I want to share a prayer that was sent to me form the Mercy Alumnae Office today. Happy Halloween, and enjoy your candy.
Halloween Prayer  (Adapted by a prayer from Fr. Edward Hays)

God and Father of Fools, Lord of Clowns and Smiling Saints,
We rejoice in this playful prayer
That You are a God of laughter and of tears.
Blessed are You, for You have rooted within us
The gifts of humor and lightheartedness.
With jokes and comedy, You cause our hearts to sing
As laughter is made to flow out of us.
We are grateful to Your Son, Jesus,
Who daily invites us to be fools for Your sake,
Calling us out of the hum-drumness of our daily lives
Into joy and adventure,
and freedom to live in communion with others and with You.
Help us to join in the fun and foolishness of life,
so that Your holy laughter
may ring out, through each one of us
to the edges of the universe.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday

I don't know about you....

But I....


I'm feeling....


I'm feeling 22 pounds lighter, that is. Because I have lost 22 lbs. I made it past the twenty pound mark and I feel on top of the world. When the scale gave me that result, I was smiling so big it hurt. It HURT people. But it was the best pain I've ever felt.

This is the beginning of a long journey. I still have a long way to go. But right now, I am celebrating making it this far. I have truly worked my butt off and I am so glad I can say I've made it past the 20 lb mark.

My gym is doing a weight loss challenge for the holiday's. They are going to weigh us now, 4 weeks from now, and then in another 4 weeks. It's to see how we do maintaining our weight loss during the holiday season. We get prizes if we work out at least three times a week and do not gain any weight. I think it's a great idea and I love that there is not a ton of pressure but that it will offer some accountability. I'm totally going to participate!

My biggest accomplishment recently has been my workouts on the bike. I've really pushed myself to work harder, and yesterday I did 6 miles at 14 resistance, burning 200 calories. Dayum.

A random observation I had the other day was my shoulder. I know. A shoulder. But I was trying to fall asleep and reached to rub my shoulder, and felt bone and muscle. Not fat. That was new.

So, when I was doing my mile walk yesterday I was really paying attention to the music that came on my ipod. One of those songs was Florence and the Machine's "Shake It Out". I've always loved that song. I've always related to that song. But somehow it really got me thinking when I heard it yesterday.

"It's hard to dance with the Devil on your back, so Shake him off".

I mean come on. That is some powerful stuff. If you ask me, this song is a pretty solid representation of my life. It's about coming from a dark past and shaking it off to become new again. And that is what I am doing. I had gained a ton of weight because of overeating and emotional eating. I wasn't in a state of mind where I was ready to care for myself. The weight loss journey allowed me to "shake that out" and start fresh. And that is exactly what I have done.

Edit: It's actually 23 lbs. I weighed myself again this morning, before I ate anything, and it was 23. But for catchy, let's use Taylor Swift  references purposes, let's keep feeling 22.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear Ryan....One Years Old.

Dearest Ryan,
HAPPY BIRTHDAY! You are officially a year old, my favorite little guy! October 30th is now my very favorite day of the entire year, because it is the day you came into my life and I was forever changed.

I know this sounds really cheesy, but I didn't know how much I could love someone until I held you for the first time. I love my family, and my friends, but no one compares to you, and nothing compared to seeing you for the first time. And you know what? I get that feeling right back again every single time I see you. It has not disappeared, and I know it never will.

I had a wonderful moment with you a few weeks ago. I was babysitting you, and it was time for bed. You were trying to resist. You didn't even want your milk and you barely let me put your train pj's on. But I held you close in the rocking chair and began to sing to you. It was a song I made up to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". I can't even remember the words now...but as I sang you calmed down, you stopped crying and just snuggled up. Eventually, your eyes closed and you let me put you in your crib. It was so sweet. I was overjoyed that music can calm you, because that's exactly what it does for me. We have that in common.

We celebrated your first birthday this past weekend. Your house was full of people that love you and wanted to celebrate you. You got so many toys, and even your personal little cake. I got you a piano, and your face showed me how much you liked it. I hope you keep it for a while and maybe you'll even learn to play someday. You can be our little musician.

Ryan, I'd love to leave you with some words of wisdom for your first birthday, but it's actually you that have taught me many lessons. Like, enjoy the little things. Smile at strangers. Play in the leaves. Love with all you can. Those are all things that you do, and things I am trying to do, too.

You are the most important person in our lives. You have opened our hearts to a new kind of love. You are our little king.

Happy Birthday, Ryan.

Love, Aunt Megan

Sidenote: I have been writing these letters on the 30th of each month since Ryan was born. People have asked me if I will continue them after his first birthday. I always say I'm not sure. I am going to continue. I saw in my sister's eyes how much the letters mean to her. One day Ryan will read this and who knows if he will roll his eyes or if he will love them, but I am going to take the chance that he will appreciate them. And if nothing else, they are for my sister. So yes, I will continue these letters. Even if I close this blog down someday, I will continue to write to him as long as I can on the 30th of each month. And each year, I will put them all together and give them the years worth of letters on his birthday.

The Last Person I Texted...

The last person I texted was my friend Sarah. The conversation started as me checking on her because I heard she was sick, and ended with dinner plans a few weeks from now.

It's ironic that this prompt came to me and that Sarah happened to be the person, because it's kind of a weird thing to explain.

She's my coworker, but she's also my brother in law's cousin. And I've actually known of/about her for quite some time considering my sister and brother in law were dating for 9 years before they got married, and have been married for five years. All those years meant a lot of family parties and get togethers, so I knew who Sarah was before we actually became friends.

When I was desperate for a job, we had everyone we knew on the prowl. I knew Sarah had attended WMU as well, with a similar major as me. She was one of the people my sister asked about possible job openings. One day, I got an e-mail that there was a volunteer coordinator position open at the hospice where she worked. Sarah was in the same position, but in a different office. She helped get my resume and cover letter to the right people and within a few hours, I was scheduled for an interview.

I got the job. Since Sarah was also a volunteer coordinator we worked very closely together my first few months here, she trained me and gave me all kinds of tips and tricks. I'd call her in a crisis and she would give me a solution. I'll never forget when I called her, just a few months into my job, while she was on a family vacation.There was a ton of background noise because they were at a huge family bbq, and Sarah yells to everyone "EXCUSE ME, SOMEONE COULD BE DYING HERE!". She also once told me "Don't worry. No one's going to die. Well they might, but that won't be your fault". Hospice humor, kids. We have to have it.

About 5 months after I started my position, the company had to do lay offs. At the time, there were six volunteer coordinators. But they were going to cut them down to three, and the three left would have to manage the program for two different offices. Sarah and  I knew that this meant one of us would probably get laid off, since our offices were close in distance. We didn't talk about it much, but I know we were both worried. Well, we got lucky. Sarah got moved to a different department, but still with the company, and I took over the volunteer program for both offices. This meant I actually got to see her more because I was in her office a few times a week. However, my workload was dramatically increased and I spent a year and a 1/2 balancing two huge offices.

Eventually, the company was in a place where they could hire someone to take over one office for me, and I went back full time to the office where I was hired in. Now I don't see Sarah, hardly at all actually. But we keep up via text and I know she's one of the most positive, friendly people around, especially at the work place. I think we are somewhat protective of each other, too. When I hear her name I perk up, and I get mad if she tells me someone gave her attitude. She's a really cool person who loves people and having a good time. She's a great friend to have and makes herself available to everyone. I'm lucky to call her a friend. We joke all the time that we are "cousins", even though we're not, but she pretty much is a part of my "inner circle" as my dad would say. Sarah, cheers to you my friend! Keep on being a light!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Posting Too Much?

Once in a while, someone tells me I post too much on the internet. It doesn't happen often, but it has happened. There are a lot of social media outlets out there, and I admit I use a lot of them. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr, and this blog. Facebook and this blog are my two mains squeezes. And that's where I've gotten some criticism.

Once someone said I post too much about my diet and my weight loss journey. And someone else said I've been posting too much about my dad.

And maybe those things are true.

But you don't have to read what I write. One of the most glorious parts of social media is that you can "unfollow" me at any time, and I really won't be offended. So instead of making it a point to tell me I post too much, just stop reading.

Listen, I don't post things for likes and comments or to get a big reaction out of anyone. That may be the motive behind a lot of posts, but not mine. I'll admit, it's nice to get them (I'm a Leo. We like that)....but it's not why I post.

I post because my main goal while am on this earth is to help other people. I've been through and seen a lot of stuff. Probably more than most people my age. I've heard a lot of stories and I've spent time with many, many different kinds of people. From juvenile delinquents to 100 year old hospice patients. And I believe that my experiences can help people. Maybe that also sounds full of myself, and if it does, I apologize. That is not my intent.

It is my hope that something I post will help someone else. That's what keeps me going and that's why I keep doing it. Not every post is going to be inspirational and sometimes I whine too much. But when I can help someone else, it makes it all worth it.

The tricky thing is mixing social media and real life.  I am a very real person. I post what I feel. I post what I do. I'm also "facebook friends" with a lot of coworkers, former students, youth group kids, family members, etc. So I'm careful. Sometimes I slip, especially when going through trauma's, but I try to be as positive and real as possible. And I guess it'd be a little more offensive if one of my real life friends "unfollowed" me. It would hurt a little more. But at the same time, if someone cannot stand by me, even if they disagree with me, then they aren't really my friend. It's a tough lesson to learn, but it's the truth. Friends are your friends no matter what. They can disagree and get upset with you, but they don't leave you, especially if they leave you when you need them the most.

I am not, nor will I ever be, a "famous blogger". That's not my intent. I just aim to bring a little love to my friends, family, and community.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

This Time Around

Another beautiful weekend for the books, kids. I am sitting here now, tired, anxious for the week ahead. But feeling so very blessed. Blessed with the most beautiful family, hilarious friends, and wonderful support.

On Saturday my family celebrated Ryan's first birthday, which is officially on Wednesday this coming week. My sisters house was full of love from our family and her friends, everyone oogling over Ryan. He was a little overwhelmed with all the attention, but his giggles, clapping and smiles made it all worth it. I was so excited to give him my gift. I had printed off all the letters I've written him and put them together in a book. I also went in with Tom and have Ryan a wooden piano. Ryan loved it, which made my heart so happy I could have ran a marathon. 

It was a wonderful celebration and I am so proud of my boyfriend Tom for surviving his first family function. 

We came home after the birthday party and changed into costumes for a Halloween party. Sam did a fantastic in decorating and preparing food for our party. 

I dressed as Winnie Sanderson from the Halloween Classic Hocus Pocus. Tom dressed as the Green Power Ranger.

We had a few friends over, including some out of town guests like Lizz, Brett, and Sarah, three of sam's good friends from home. My brother and sister in law also came by since they were in town for the birthday party. My friends Christine and Paul, who just got married last month, came as well as one of my good pals, Alex. We all shared many, many laughs and sing a longs. I love being around fun people. We woke up laughing, even. I woke up in one of the best moods ever.

Today was really special. I spent most of the day at my parents house, soaking up the family time while I could. We ate my dad's famous chilli, played with Ryan, and helped my mom check some papers. Then we all got ready and headed off to a local park for a family phot shoot. My sister had been wanting to get professional photos done for Ryan's 1st birthday party, and when my dad was diagnosed we decided to make it a family affair. One of the Hugo moms, Anne Stafford, was our photographer for the day. She does beautiful work. I will be the first to tell you I hate getting my picture taken. I don't have the highest self confidence and I always feel really awkward. So I was nervous about the whole situation . But Anne made it fun, allowing us to relax. I ended up taking a few solo shots- being the only unmarried one there, I didn't have a partner. So aside from the immediate family photos, I assumed I was mostly there to help make Ryan smile. But Anne took me to have a mini solo shoot. I was taken aback by that, but I actually did have fun doing it. I felt special.

The whole shoot was so much fun. Ryan giggling , everyone happy and together. Anne sent my mom a message later saying she could see how much love our family had for one another, and honestly that's one of the biggest compliments someone can give me.

After our shoot, I had to jet off to youth group. We had a cool meeting tonight, talking heavily about remembering those who have passed on before us and remembering their legacy, while also stressing that we can be a light to others while we have the time here on earth. We actually used the song "This Time Around" by Hanson during our service. It's one of my very favorite Hanson songs, because of the lyric "All I know is that fear has got to go, this time around". It's a lyric that inspires me and sits heavy on my heart. I was hoping the kids caught that lyric, because it's such a simple reminder of how we should be living life: without fear. Keeping in mind that nothing is promised, so we should not let fear get in the way of living our life.

I hope by reading this blog you can see how truly happy I am to be surrounded by so much love. I will admit that late Saturday night I had one I my breakdowns, resulting in tears. But somehow today I woke up with an amazing attitude, so full of love and hope. I like that feeling better. It's more fun.

Friday, October 25, 2013


On average, I train at least one new hospice volunteer a week. In that training session, we heavily discuss death, dying and grief. Throughout that discussion, I remind them that grief is not simply losing someone to death. Any loss can be grieved- loss of independence, a breakup, loss of a job, moving away.

Now, I am reminding myself of that very lesson.

Because my family has lost a sense of normalcy, and we are grieving.

Yes my dad is doing okay and yes he sailed through brain surgery and gamma knife radiation. Yes he's still working and is in great spirits. He's okay. He's fighting really hard.

But we're still grieving. And I think we need to be more compassionate to that.

This is not the life we are used to, and we did not expect this to happen. I consider that a loss.

Much like losing a loved one to death, the grief and emotion I am feeling now hits me at the most random of times. And we are all dealing with it differently. Me? I get mad. I cry. I cry at the most ridiculous things, just because all this emotion is pent up inside of me and I have to let it out somehow. When the Tigers lost? I bawled. BAWLED. I ran into someone the other night who I really never wanted to see again, and it caused me to cry my eyes out in anger and frustration. I get cranky and snap at people at random times. I am grieving.

Here are some things that I have learned on how to handle my grief. I say my grief because everyone, and I mean everyone, reacts differently. I can promise you that not one person in my family is feeling like another member of my family. We're all different. And that's something we all, as a society, have to remember in general: there is no right or wrong way to grieve.

1. It's okay to cry. Sometimes I feel awful crying, like people are going to judge me or think I'm weak. But I know that crying cannot always be controlled, and sometimes you just have to let it out.

2. Talking about it helps. At first, I was overwhelmed with talking about it. But now, I've realized it helps, and that most people I talk to are genuinely trying to help, and offer advice or prayers.

3. Your faith life holds you when everything else crumbles. I look to God now in almost everything I do. It's amazing how much you turn to Him when you need Him. It almost makes me feel guilty, but I also know He never really left my side, and He was just waiting for me to be open.

4. Embrace the mess. Sometimes it is just going to flat out be messy. And that's okay. There is no timeline on anything and no magical cure to make it all better. Embrace the red eyes, hoodie and blanket. Hold someone close and just let the mess unwind.

This is going to be a beautiful weekend, my friends. My brother and his lovely wife are coming into town. We are celebrating my nephew's 1st birthday tomorrow, and then I am having a few friends over for a Halloween party tomorrow evening. On Sunday my family and I are taking family photos, and then we have a great youth group meeting planned at my church. I plan on having my phone in hand all weekend to snap photos and I will be back Monday to post them.

Love, love, love.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Surprised by Katy Perry

Ever since Katy Perry plopped on the music scene, I've had a weird love/hate thing for her. I adore some of her songs, like "Thinking of You", "Firework", and "The One That Got Away". Others, I want to poke a pencil in my eye when I hear them, like "Last Friday Night", "California Girls" and "Roar".  Don't get me wrong, I like the message of Roar, but find the song itself totally annoying.

I knew her new album, Prism, was coming out this week but I was already a little bitter about it, before even listening. In an interview I stumbled on she went on this long explanation about the meaning behind her album title. It's almost identical to the explanation Sara Barielles gave for the title of her album "Kaleidoscope Heart" back in 2010. And since "Roar" is almost identical to Sara's "Brave", I got all mad at Katy for stealing my girl Sara's creative juices.

But then I heard the new single from Katy, "Unconditionally".  Before I go on, take a few moments out of your day to listen to it. As you listen, close your eyes, and imagine it's God talking to you, and to you specifically.

With what I told you in mind, this song feels more like a Christian worship song than a pop song. It's absolutely gorgeous. I truly hope that others can get the same meaning from the song that I did, because if you can listen to that and imagine God is saying those words to you, some peace will shine upon you.
There's another song on the album that really hits home for me. And really surprised me that it came from Katy. It is called "By The Grace of God". I am taking a guess that the song is directly related to Katy's divorce from Russell Brand. It's a deeply emotional tune that really allows listeners to understand the pain that Katy went through at the time, but that somehow, she made it through. The words are very powerful. I'll let you listen before I go on.
 Hearing this song gave me chills. As many of you know from reading this I have dealt with bouts of depression and anxiety for several years, and this song was a big reminder of how far I have come since those times. It pretty much exactly describes how I felt once I snapped out of it and started to heal. It is really a beautiful song.
I have never owned a Katy Perry album and don't think I've ever listened to one the entire way through. But Prism, despite my doubts, really impressed me, especially with these two songs. There are a few more I like on the album, and some I could do without, but overall it's an album worth listening to.
Let me know what you thought of the songs.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Tunes and Weight Loss Wednesday Go Hand in Hand.

I haven't done a Tuesday Tunes post in a while. And I'm not supposed to do Weight Loss Wednesday until tomorrow. But this week, they go hand in hand.

Because today, my friend and former American Idol contestant, Melinda Doolittle, released a new single. It's the first original song we have heard from her in a while (she released an amazing Christmas song last year) and so it's kind of a big deal. Melinda is an incredible vocalist and amazing person who has been in my life since I was 19. I am so proud of her and was ecstatic for this single, especially after reading her blog about the meaning of the song, which is titled "Never Giving Up". You can read the full blog here, but the snippet that hit home for me was:

Even when life takes a different path that I could have ever imagined, I will always be a big dreamer and I won’t give up until it happens. The song focuses on love, but really it’s about life. It’s about knowing myself and what I’m capable of, and not letting anything…the words people say, how hard the journey is, how delayed the winning seems…make me stop the fight. I’m so much stronger than people give me credit for and I refuse to give up on ANYTHING.

I relate those words to my weight loss journey. The weight hasn't been dropping as fast as I had hoped. I, at times, am frustrated with myself. The two weeks where I was in and out of the hospital visiting my dad plus the three weeks with bronchitis really set me back and I even thought about throwing in the towel. But I didn't, and I pushed on when I could. Because I cannot, and will not give up until I am at my goal. Melinda's song is helping me with that. I have two favorite lyrics:

"Even if the fall leaves me broken, even if you tell me it's hopeless, I'm never giving up".

"My whole life in front of me, I won't stop until I see. I'm never, I'm never giving up".

The first one is a reminder that I will have days where I slip or fall, and times where I am broken and feel like I can't do it anymore. Or others might tell me it's hopeless. But I still can't, and won't give up. The second one hits home a little harder. Because before my weight loss journey, I really didn't care enough about myself to get healthy and to live a good life. But now, I see that I have a whole life ahead of me, so many adventures waiting to happen. And I am certainly not going to let those pass me by, and I am going to be healthy enough to dive full force into those adventures.

With all of that being said, I am very happy to announce that I have lost 19.5 lbs. Can we just go ahead and call it 20? Please? Probably not but it's damn close! I am trying to lose at least 3 more lbs before my next period so I don't stress out so much when I gain 5 lbs overnight thanks to mother nature.

I am noticing definite changes now. My face, tummy, and butt are smaller. My chest is smaller, too. My arms are much stronger, my thighs are much stronger. I am faster. I have more endurance. Before the Hanson show we did a 1 mile walk for a good cause and I wasn't tired, at all.

I did want to share a recipe I made over the weekend. It's SUPER easy and fast, and cheap.

Ingredients (this is for 2 people):
2 Chicken Breasts
2 Tomato Slices
2-3 Slices Avocado
2 Slices of the cheese of your choice (I picked pepperjack, Mozzarella would be good also).
Olive Oil

Pour 1 tbsp of olive oil in a pan and cook the chicken (I season it with pepper). Once the chicken is cooked, place in a baking dish. On each piece of chicken, put 1 slice tomato, 1-2 avocado slices and 1 slice of cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 for just a few minutes, enough for the cheese to melt.

Take out of the oven and serve. I served with a side of brown rice and sautéed mushrooms.

And pictures:
Face shot. Left side is from June, right from just last week. I can def see a difference around my eyes, chin, and cheeks.

The body shots are below. Having a hard time getting them to go side by side. The first is from our girls trip in July. The second is just a few weeks ago. I can't quite get an accurate full body shot (will try to do so next week) because I rarely take those pics and the one here is with me in a long skirt, so it may not be an accurate photo. But, if you look at the tummy region, you see a big difference.
Have a good rest of the week! I'll be back sometime before the weekend, I'm sure!
Buy Melinda's Single on Itunes

Thursday, October 17, 2013

But I Will Try

I read a blog prompt today that said "use the last line of the last song you listened to".  Ironically enough, mine fit pretty well. It was from the song "Run To You" by The Rocket Summer, and the line read

But I will try.

It doesn't really matter what came before this line. The simple words but I will try have enough meaning on their own. That's all any of us can do, is try. We get into trouble when we give up, when we don't try, when we don't put our heart into it.

We don't know for sure that the pill the doctors are giving to my dad will work, but we will try.

I don't know if I'll make my goal weight by next summer, but I will try.

I don't know if I can reach my goal at work of having 5%, but I will try.

There's no saying if the Tigers will make it to the world series, but they will try.

Whatever it is you are going through or facing, I know you can't predict the future, no one can promise that it will be fixed, but you will try.

Do the best you can. Take small steps and set small goals. When you feel confident that you've crushed on goal, move on to the next. Keep trying. Keep going.

This reminds me of another one of my favorite songs, "Try" by Pink. Take a look at these lyrics

Where there is desire
There is gonna be a flame
Where there is a flame
Someone's bound to get burned
But just because it burns
Doesn't mean you're gonna die
You gotta get up and try try try

Translation: It's natural to feel let down, feel hurt, especially when you put all of your effort into something that just doesn't work. You won't go through life with everything going perfectly, things will disappoint you and you will feel like you cannot go on. But just because something doesn't go the way you imagined does not mean it's the end. There are always options. But you cannot possibly know that until you try.

Let's all try something this week. I am going to try cooking a new recipe, doing a top to bottom cleaning of my room, and jogging three full laps around the track at the gym. I'll check back next week with how I did.

You try something too. Or just keep working on whatever it s you are trying right now. Just don't give up. You got this.

If you'd like, share with me what you are trying and we can encourage one another.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 15

Monday was my first day back at the gym in a while. With my bronchitis diagnosis I was given some strict instructions to lay off the cardio and rest while my lungs and body healed.

But not working out was beginning to take a toll on me, physically and emotionally. I had to get back. So I told myself id go on Monday and take it somewhat easy.

I started by walking around the track. I graced two 8lb hand weights and began taking laps. I didn't have real plans for how far I was going to go, I figured I would just start and see what happens. By about lap 4, I decided I might as well do all 12 and get a full mile in.

I then realized I was carrying a total of 16 lbs with me, which is pretty much equivalent to what I have lost. I was carrying my own weight. Feeling 16 extra lbs made me realize how exciting this journey has been so far. While walking with those extra weights I thought about what those 16 ish lbs represent. What was I carrying around for so long that I finally got rid of?


16lbs of fear. See before I started this weight loss journey I always wanted to do something about my weight, but then id get too scared. And the whole reason I'm overweight in the first place is because I ate to hide my feelings. I ate because I was scared.

That fear is gone now. Not completely, of course, but I think a little fear is probably good. But 16lbs of it is gone. And that's a pretty hefty amount.

So when I walked my last lap on Monday I said a prayer of gratitude for all the people who have supported me and helped me to get this far.

I went back Tuesday evening and did the same routine. Beat my time by one whole minute. This time, I focused again on fear, and what those16lbs represent.

I was also feeling well enough on Tuesday to put a little more time into the bike and elliptical, giving me a good workout, a better one then I've had in a while. It felt so good. My muscles are even a little sore, a sure sign that I worked hard.

I am not allowing myself to weigh myself until the end of the month. I don't want to get obsessive and paranoid. That's not healthy. I'm just going to keep on trucking.

I'm fairly emotional as I write this. A lot has been happening and I'm in the stage of feeling overwhelmed. I love you all so much and hope you have a beautiful day.

Top 5 Blogs

I haven't been participating in the October Daily blog challenge like I had planned on doing, but things got busy. Yesterday's prompt actually really struck my fancy, so I am going to do it today. Man, I'm breaking all kinds of rules, aren't I?

Prompt: What are your Top 5 favorite posts in your blog? Don't forget to share a link so we can check it out.

5. 25 years of life lessons This was my 25th birthday post and it was fun to go back and put myself in the mindset of each year.

4. 1/2 marathon The fact that I did a 1/2 marathon still totally blows my mind. It was one of my greatest accomplishments in life.

3. things mvc taught me I have written a lot of blogs about MVC, but I thought this one summed it up nicely.

2. colors I wrote this for my friend Jena who is blind. It's one of my favorites because it was so pure/

1.laurence carolin This is giant summary of all the things Laurence represented in his last year or so of life.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday night thoughts

I went to Church today. I won't lie to you, it had been a while since I sat through a Catholic Mass. I went through a bit of a questioning period this past summer where i was trying out other faiths.

But then my dad was diagnosed with cancer, and somehow I was drawn back to St.Hugo. Maybe that makes me a bad Catholic or even selfish. But in the last few weeks I have been reminded that St. Hugo is home. And I want to be home. Plus, I feel a desire stronger than ever to be closer to God.

During the homily, the priest said "grateful people are happy. Ungrateful people cannot be happy".

I thought about this for the rest of Mass. I am not always grateful. I try to be, but sometimes I let negativity win and I forget how to be grateful. It's easier to be negative and to feel hopeless. I know those feelings well. And sometimes I let them take over. I whine and complain and push away all the good things, pretending not to see them. I full on convince myself that life sucks and it's never going to get any better.

But those are lies. Life is hard, and it throw really strange and difficulty things at you, but there's still a glimmer of hope and there's still beauty. There is always something beautiful happening, even when things seem to be falling apart.

I'm going to try my best to look for the beautiful things. I can't promise I will be 100% successful.  I can't tell you I'll hop on here every day and list every beautiful thing that happened that day. But I can promise that I will try. I'll look for them, and be grateful. Because grateful people are happy and I want to be happy.

Right now, in my seat, I see a few beautiful things. I see my best friend on the couch next to me, letting me watch the Tigers even though she doesn't really care. I see a house that I have lived in for almost two years. I see a cat who I pretend to hate but actually love. I see the Tigers winning 1-0. I see a lot of beautiful things. And I am grateful for them.

Have a good week everyone. Find the beauty.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 14

Hey, ya'll.

I was REALLY excited when I stepped on the scale Saturday because I had, in fact, lost two pounds, putting me at a total of 19 pounds. I was so excited I practically ran out of the locker room to call my mom and text my friends.

But then my monthly visitor came Sunday night, and I gained 6 lbs overnight from it.

I know it's "water weight" and I know I'll lose it when my visitor leaves, but it's frustrating as heck to see the scale hop up like that. I am now not allowed to weigh myself until next week. Last time, I lost the "extra pounds" but didn't lose any on top of that. So we'll see how it goes this month.

It's been really hard to focus on weight loss between having a bad head cold, my aunt passing away and my dad's recent cancer diagnosis. But I'm still trying. I am still making healthy choices.

As far as the alcohol thing goes, I don't know if I really lost weight faster without drinking, but I am still cutting back on my alcohol intake overall. In the long run it will just be better for me.

I did have someone approach me at the gym today to tell me how great I looked. She said you can definitely see a difference and that I should be proud of myself. She said each week she just sees me looking smaller. It was someone I don't run into all that often, so I was really glad to hear such great compliments from her.

Because of my cold my workouts this week have not been as intense. My lung capacity isn't all that strong and just 10 minutes on the elliptical totally wipes me out. I don't want this to develop into pneumonia so I have been taking it somewhat easy, working on core work and weights and doing some walking.

Oh. And I have my 5k for Gilda's Club this weekend. Between everything going on I almost forgot about it. I called today and had them switch my registration from runner to walker, because there's no way I can run that thing, especially if I'm still hacking. I'm excited about it though, it's supposed to be a beautiful day and it's for such a good cause. The mission of Gilda's Club hits home even harder now, with my dad's diagnosis. I'll be walking for him. If you wish to donate in honor of my dad, you can do so here:

I'll check back next week, hopefully with some more encouraging news and an update on how the 5k went. In the mean time, we gotta just keep on trucking along.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How Are you?

Hey people. I'm not sure what this blog post will turn out to be, but I was itching to write and so I'm writing.

I'm really tired. I could list all of the things that have happened in the past few weeks but most of you are aware of them and that wouldn't really be productive. It's just been a lot.

I am at the point now where I am numb. I don't really feel anything, I can't cry. I'm just going through the motions of life.

I am pissed that my dad has to deal with all of this because he's too young and cool and wonderful to have this deck of cards handed to him. It's not fair. And I know he's not the only one and that so many people are going through the same thing. But it's still not fair and I hate it. I wish that we could magically take this all away so he could be healthy and not have to deal with it anymore.

But he is a fighter and I know he'll kick cancers ass to the curb cuz that's just how he rolls. I just wish he wouldn't have to.

I am trying my very best to be positive, be strong. But it's hard. And I think I deserve to be pissed.

I got to the point today, after my aunts funeral, where I could truly feel emotionally drained. I felt it in every muscle of my body. I just wanted to put on a hoodie, crawl into bed and hide for a week. Instead I went to dinner with my best friend. Because hiding isn't going to do anything. I have to keep on living, as best I can.

I guess that's all any of us can do, really. Just keep living. Or we could be like Dory and just keep swimming. We can't just stop and we certainly can't give up. We can crumble at times, but then we have to dust off and keep going. Accepting that this sucks, but understanding that we have to fight.

I want you all to know that we really can feel your prayers. At least, I can. I can explain it best by saying it feels like I am being hugged by angels. Like you guys are all carrying me, not visibly but spiritually. And that, my friends, is what is keeping me going. So keep the prayers coming.

On a sidenote I have loved seeing my family these past two days. I hate that it was for a funeral for my vibrant, passionate aunt Terry but I did love hugging and laughing with them. My uncle brad who has always been a favorite of mine tugged on my ponytail and called me "Megsie" like he used to do when I was little. My sweet aunt pat gave lots of hugs. My cousin Shannon , someone I've always loved dearly, gave me sand in a jar from our family vacation spot. It was just great to see them.

I know things will be okay. And I promise I'm trying to be positive. But don't be alarmed if I just fall into someone's arms just because I need a hug.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Weight Loss Wednesday: Week 13

I am pretty proud to say: I haven't gained any weight. I haven't lost any, either, but I am more proud that I haven't gained.

Between the stress of Dad's diagnosis, not eating on my regular schedule, eating hospital food, not working out, and being in a wedding this past weekend, I am SHOCKED that I haven't gained. I tried to make as many good choices as possible, but I have spent most of the last week outside of my house, and it's harder to be good on your diet.

I am not going to give up and tomorrow I am getting myself back into my early morning workout routine. I need to get healthy now more than ever- not just for me but for my Dad. I know I am going to need to help care for him, and I can only do so much if I am not healthy myself.

Now that my dad has had his surgery, he will be able to go home in a few days and begin to recover for the radiation/chemo process. That means no more long nights in his hospital room, grabbing food when I can and skipping my workouts. That means I can go back to working a normal day, eating when I am used to eating and working out before work. I know, of course, that at any given moment things can change again, and he or my mom will need me.

This hasn't been easy, kids. As an emotional eater, all  I want to do lately is eat. The stress has made me crave sweets. I'm tired and crabby and I just want to sleep. But my dad needs me, and so I will make him proud.

You know, every single day so far people have asked me what I need, or what they can do to help. On a personal note, I need hugs. Like, lots and lots of hugs. I also need people to help me continue on my weight loss journey. Don't let me snack on the cookies and treats that are brought to us and don't let me stress eat. Encourage me to continue to work out. Just be with me.

I love you all. In addition to my dad kicking cancer's ass, I gotta kick my own ass. #carolinstrong