Two Traditions to Take Us Into

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Heading into 2017, I think about what I have to look forward to this year and how I want to receive this year. Since I was a little girl, we always had grapes around in the New Year. My relatives trace back to Spain and Cuba and this is a Spanish tradition. I like red grapes as they are sweeter and I equate that to having a sweet life. I normally have a “mental war” on New Years because I tend to be a person that looks back.  I have worked this year on shifting my idea of beauty- mind, body and soul, so I am actually looking forward to gathering with friends and if I’m lucky enough my children, adults now but always my children. A New Year is a time of renewing commitments.

My resolution this year and every year is to be a better woman- a better mom,wife, branch to my step family ( when possible), friend, aunt, sister, daughter, dog owner, writer and literacy advocate. Our children graduate this year, 2 from high school, 1 from college. My nephew will receive the blessing of confirmation.  My husband and I will continue to grow, with opportunities to grow before us.

A new tradition I started just last year was to keep a separate journal for my daughter and son. Whenever I am having a moment with them , good or bad, I write to them and I may put cut outs of stamps, tickets, pictures throughout. I will also write a bit about their family history, such as my grandfather had a family tree in which he traced our bloodline to Junipero Serra a controversial Saint. There was also a rumor this same grandfather had lunch with Al Capone in Miami Beach once.  I don’t write in them much, but the times I do write are significant. I just want them to know that being a mom to me was a privilege and not a burden. This was brought on by a couple of things: one a dysfunctional upbringing which many people can identify with I’m sure. Two: A woman in my neighborhood passed away in her mid 40’s of breast cancer, leaving 2 middle school ers and 1 high school er behind. I thought to myself, how terrible to loose someone so central to your life at those developing ages. They would not have their mother witness their graduations, successes, and celebrations any longer. Wouldn’t it be somewhat comforting to read on how proud  mom was because they couldn’t hear her voice any longer? Or know their ancestral stories…

So there you have it, a little of everything…two traditions to carry into the New Year and a resolution to be a better woman. I look forward to growing followers for this blog and making new friends, and sharing in the journey of aging with grace and peace. Cheers and Happy New Year to my new friends out there! Don’t forget your grapes… bring them in a cool presentation to a party. Skewers, Mock champagne glasses… I haven’t decided how I will bring mine to the party I was invited to, but I will make it fun and festive .If you have any ideas, send them on over. And hey, for those of us watching our weight, it’s a good way to keep our habits in check.

Day 208 Still hanging on under 147. But I want to eat cake!

 

No Witnesses

truffs passed out

So this is how my life was to end…on the floor of a restaurant bathroom, gagging in front of a toilet, all because I swallowed too large a piece of steak…the irony. “47 year old woman found laying next to toilet in local steakhouse at wine tasting event. She died doing what she loved most- eating out with friends and tasting wine with friends, but she died alone.”

Two of my longtime friends I had not seen in a while invited me to a five course wine tasting event.  It was a great time catching up with each other, but at one point someone came over to our table to sit with us, and I wanted to swallow my food quickly to say hello. Unfortunately it was a thick piece of sirloin. Saying hello quickly turned into a vision of throwing up in front of someone I was just introduced to. I was not gonna have it.  I was able to ” keep it together” and quietly excused myself from the table. I  walked over to the restroom with a great pain in my chest just hoping to make it to the restroom. I walked in relieved to be able to cough, burp, heave, breath deeply and found myself and the mercy of the toilet holding my hair back as clear, thick phlegm protruded out.  Do I call an ambulance? Maybe text my friend at the table? Oh no phone I left it there. So this is how it ends… alone, no witnesses, no help. This is what I get for dreading the aging process, I would die at 47.  But somehow I was able to stop the panic, and was able to breath clearly again.  I made my way to the sink, refreshed myself, and walked out with my head held high and feeling quite lucky AND YOUNG.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my successes, and set backs as I challenge myself to become a healthier woman inside and out. I call for witnesses and support from others going through a similar journey. The bulk of the blogs here are about weight loss and aging with some kind of handle on it though it’s a very slippery grip. Sometimes I wake up and reaffirm my commitment to exercise and eating right, and then other times it will only take a small moment- watching tv and having a supermodel guest appear on morning news program, or have cheerleaders host a car commercial, and I think to myself, “Why am I even trying?” Would I ever feel great about myself and say to myself ” You look good for your age.”? Blogging, jogging, logging it can be very hard to stay motivated. When I eat I’m happy, I gain weight and I’m not happy.  Then I cut food intake which does not make me happy, but I lose weight and that makes me happy. It’s a vicious cycle. But on the very bright side, Hey, I’m alive, I have healthy kids, a loving husband and two great dogs that give me a whole lot of love. So to all those women going through something like I am- let’s lighten up on ourselves. Allow your friends to witness the successes and help you through the setbacks. And most importantly keep your sense of humorand chew your food thoroughly.

Post note: I’ve lost 12.4 pounds though pic reflec

So this is how my life was to end…on the floor of a restaurant bathroom, gagging in front of a toilet, all because I swallowed too large a piece of steak…the irony. “47 year old woman found laying next to toilet in local steakhouse at wine tasting event. She died doing what she loved most- eating out with friends and tasting wine with friends, but she died alone.”

Two of my longtime friends I had not seen in a while invited me to a five course wine tasting event.  It was a great time catching up with each other, but at one point someone came over to our table to sit with us, and I wanted to swallow my food quickly to say hello. Unfortunately it was a thick piece of sirloin. Saying hello quickly turned into a vision of throwing up in front of someone I was just introduced to. I was not gonna have it.  I was able to ” keep it together” and quietly excused myself from the table. I  walked over to the restroom with a great pain in my chest just hoping to make it to the restroom. I walked in relieved to be able to cough, burp, heave, breath deeply and found myself and the mercy of the toilet holding my hair back as clear, thick phlegm protruded out.  Do I call an ambulance? Maybe text my friend at the table? Oh no phone I left it there. So this is how it ends… alone, no witnesses, no help. This is what I get for dreading the aging process, I would die at 47.  But somehow I was able to stop the panic, and was able to breath clearly again.  I made my way to the sink, refreshed myself, and walked out with my head held high and feeling quite lucky AND YOUNG.

The purpose of this blog is to chronicle my successes, and set backs as I challenge myself to become a healthier woman inside and out. I call for witnesses and support from others going through a similar journey. The bulk of the blogs here are about weight loss and aging with some kind of handle on it though it’s a very slippery grip. Sometimes I wake up and reaffirm my commitment to exercise and eating right, and then other times it will only take a small moment- watching tv and having a supermodel guest appear on morning news program, or have cheerleaders host a car commercial, and I think to myself, “Why am I even trying?” Would I ever feel great about myself and say to myself ” You look good for your age.”? Blogging, jogging, logging it can be very hard to stay motivated. When I eat I’m happy, I gain weight and I’m not happy.  Then I cut food intake which does not make me happy, but I lose weight and that makes me happy. It’s a vicious cycle. But on the very bright side, Hey, I’m alive, I have healthy kids, a loving husband and two great dogs that give me a whole lot of love. So to all those women going through something like I am- let’s lighten up on ourselves. Allow your friends to witness the successes and help you through the setbacks. And most importantly keep your sense of humorand chew your food thoroughly.

Post note: I’ve lost 12.4 pounds though pic reflects less because I started photos later.

progress

A Beautiful Connection

Image result for Bees On White Flowers

Finding Purpose

For some women who take time off to raise their kids for 15 years or so, it may be difficult to find your sense of purpose after the “birds fly from the nest.” I’ve always thought my purpose was to raise my kids to be descent adults with a work ethic. I’ve done the best I can. I say “can” rather than “could” because I still try to actively influence them. The role of parenting never ends though the activeness of the role does.  But now that they’re gone, now what?

A lot of times, this is the point in a woman’s life is where she may struggle.  I know I did.  I began teaching in 1990. Though I took leaves in between to raise my kids in their baby to toddler stages, I left the career completely in 2010. I dedicated the time at home to my husband, my children, getting my mom to her appointments, and volunteering to read with kids once a week. But somewhere in that, I lost”my person.” “Oh, you don’t work anymore, must be nice.” “What do you do all day?”  I started to feel badly about myself and believed that people were judging me somehow.  Compiled with the feeling of getting older, I felt lost.   It’s just not a good place to be.

What Changed?

In December 2015, my husband walked away from a $2 million salary because he just wasn’t happy anymore. If you met him, you would never know it.  He’s a very positive, confident and generous man. I thought to myself, how interesting we were at two very different points in our lives, but at the exact same spot. We were both trying to figure out our sense of purpose, just from different angles.

I’m blessed to own a business with my husband, and take an active role in pushing it forward, though it’s not a spa, cozy bookstore, or boutique as many women would gravitate towards.  It’s a small. independent car lot, and it’s just the two of us. What can I possibly contribute to a business I know nothing about? I surprise myself everyday. Though I’ve never owned a Facebook or twitter account, I handle the business pages for those, as well as ad managing and blogging for our site.  I take cars in from truckers and check the vehicle before accepting it on our lot. I get the cars to our local car wash to make sure they have a proper appearance. I put customers in test drives, and I help maintain the appearance of the  lot.I log costs of car upkeep in. I proudly support our local schools with a small donation from our monthly sales. I talk to families in need of a car, and try to get something that fits in their budget. I get here each day by 8:30 and leave by 4 so that I can make sure my home is being taken care of. And on top of that as recorded on my post notes, I take in exercise each day to try to feel and look good for my age. I know I’m not alone in this pattern, but I’ve only come to know it a short time ago.  So to those women that have done this all, I admire you.

I feel like I have a new purpose again.  It’s so important to feel productive and appreciated. It’s also important to have support in times when you are low.  The best thing I did was get a life coach to help direct me with some of my feelings. I could have talked to friends but sometimes it could be a burden on friends if they have to constantly listen to your struggles. And a lot of times it turns into a commiseration with no solutions in site.

Post Note Day 16

Weigh in went well. 159.4 whoo hoo! I find logging my food intake is where I’ve had most success in weight loss.  The problem is it has to become an adopted habit.  I read it takes 66 days to establish a good habit. 50 days to go!

Be sure to visit my home page for my invite to Change the way you see Beauty.

 

Beautiful People

In Awe of Kindness Among Neighbors

Living in South Florida, we Floridians know to work out in the yard either really early, or as the sun sets.  It’s wicked hot as my husband says. Recently, I chose to stay behind from boating to catch up with my neglected yard.  Owning a business is a romantic idea, but 90% of your time gets dedicated to it.  Although I started in the morning, before I knew it, noon had crept up on me.  I was trimming my calusas along the back fence.  If you know this species, they are sappy and sticky as they are cut. I was hot, with frazzled, frizzy hair escaping the border of my hat but I was determined I was gonna finish this chore.  Suddenly, my neighbor showed up in my back yard.  “Would you like some help?” I was in awe that someone would come out on a hot as Haitis day, and volunteer to do labor with me. Before I knew it, he was pulling his truck around back and loading branches to haul away. He then proceeded to take my clippers and finish the hedge, while I dragged out branches from my yard.He was drenched by the time he finished, but was smiling much of the time. If he hadn’t come out, I may have been there for two more hours. What a lovely surprise.  Now that’s a beautiful person!

Imagine if we all took the time to do a random act of kindness…What a beautiful world it would be!

Post Note- day 10- Be Careful of Which Voice to Listen to

My son had a 6:40 am flight to Washington, so we all were up early. While my husband drove him to the airport, I went out for a 5:30 jog.  I don’t use any kind of music earphones.  I take in the sounds around me and I say hello to neighbors as they walk their dogs or go off to work.  At 5:30 no humans we out and about yet, but I did count 7 bunnies. Well I wasn’t sure what the last critter was but I told myself it was a bunny. It was rather peaceful at 5:30 am and the moon was out.  My “stress thoughts” floated away with the release of endorphins and I am feeling that sense of accomplishment, as small as a 2 mile jog may be.  I had attempted jogging before many times but would stop and start and always gave in to the inner voice insisting on stopping. What a shame I listened to that voice, instead of the one I am hearing now.  It tells me, “I can do this!” and if I can do it, anyone can do it. It’s a beautiful voice.  Listen for it and be inspired to challenge yourself to a new accomplishment. “You can do this!”

Shift in Beauty Movement

This is the post excerpt.

An Invitation

I have been told that I have to “Shift my idea of what beauty is”and I would like to invite anyone that recognizes that today’s views of beauty are one-dimensional, and wants to change the way beauty is viewed, to join me on a one year journey, of changing the way I see myself and others.  I plan on sharing my daily struggles with daily exercise, moods, set backs, situations and triumphs, while shifting my view of beauty, and embrace being in my late 40s, moving into my 50’s in the most graceful way I can.  I recognize that it is a huge blessing to get older, and it’s unrealistic to strive to look like the airbrushed TV personalities of today. What I can be , is a positive “inspiration” to women who may be struggling with something similar, and draw a community of all kinds of Beauty.

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6:15 AM Weighed in on Monday at 165 LBS

I head out the door and tell myself I will not stop on this jog.  I will complete the mile and I am very proud to go past the mile marker. I am out of shape and out of breath.I will walk home to pick up my best friend, my black and white Havanese.  Her name is Truffles, and she is pure love.I come back home and it’s time to head for work.  I own a small car lot with my husband, newly opened in late february.  Yesterday I left early to get my hair done.we were meeting with our blended family, and i spend most of the week stressing on how I look.I need to shift this, I know.I reflect on how it went and I am pleased that I have made progress on accepting a compliment and joining in on pictures.  My stepson graduated firefighter.  He thanked me for coming.  That meant a lot to me.I had a bold, conservative red dress on, not a color I would have normally sported, but somehow it called to me when I was looking for possibilities in my closet.

It Has Been A Week

This morning I decided I cannot continue to jog on the streets of my neighborhood. Though I feel great that I have conquered my breathing and stamina as I jog, I cannot take the risk of my knee giving out and postponing my progress.  I spent the week icing it and got a knee brace, but it is a persistent pain.  I pack a small bag to take to the gym and decide I will start my days on a knee friendly elliptical.  It is an uncomfortable setting as I am easily embarrassed, as though people are watching my clumsy attempts to try a new machine.  I decide to snap a quick picture of myself in the entrance to the bathroom, hoping no one walks in as I do it. I have made progress in the first week.  I can feel my clothes loosening its grip on me, and the scale confirms at 162.8 that I am making the proper efforts to achieve a healthy weight. My fitbit also keeps me in line with daily activity, while MyFitnesspal helps me with accountability of nutrition.  I do not want to become obsessed, I just want to succeed. I am not ready to share pictures yet.  That would require me to be brave, and put myself completely out there, when I don’t even know how this one year journey will end.  In the meantime ,I am formulating a new “picture of the inside” of myself, shifting what beauty means to me.  It’s not just the outward appearance. It’s what shows through from the heart.  How you accept challenges around you. It’s standing out despite what’s going on in our society. It’s making a difference.  I look forward to sharing some of that as well in my future posts.