everything i have in me

I'm a planner. I always have been. And I always will be.

I spend so much time thinking about what will happen next. So much time wondering what I need to do to make that upcoming this actually happen. So much time deciding all the different options. Entirely too much time wondering what I will do, how I will react, how I will survive if things don't go as I planned.

When we went to church on Sunday, I heard words that I needed to hear. Words that brought tears to my eyes. Words that turned those tears into a downpour of emotions. Words that reminded me that while it's not bad to plan it is bad to plan for what I think is best for my life.

There was more to the sermon. And the rest of it spoke to me as well. But the words about living the life God has given me - right now - were exactly what I needed to hear. They are exactly what I need to remember for every day of my life from here on out.

We are in the midst of many life changes. Meeting with realtors. Putting our house up for sale (possibly - most likely). Considering where to go next - what to do next. Focusing more and more on my health and making the decision to stick to it - even when it seems impossible.

And through all of this, I know God is present. I know He has this life for us right now. It's not  necessarily the life I think I should have. But the life I think I should have is likely a life that would be full of emptiness and not a life full of struggle, strength, and growth.

And the life I want? I don't know what I really want. I just know that right now we are taking the necessary steps to truly live the life God has for us.

So, for now, I am planning when absolutely necessary. But I am living more than planning. I am trusting the process and opening myself up to other people. I'm signing up for 5k's and swimming a 50m race next Saturday. I'm trusting that God is with me every step of the way. And I'm remembering that my husband and I are in this together - for better, for worse, in sickness, and in health.

And this life God has for me is beautiful - even during the times of hardships and uncertainty.

(title from "the best thing" by relient k)


with hopes that you'll understand

My first alarm went off at 4:02am. I made it to the bathroom and then yelled at the dogs to come inside before falling back into bed. My alarm sounded a total of three more times - calling me to the gym. Instead, I snuggled deeper into the covers and cuddled closer to the dogs.

There are days when all you can do is sleep. Mornings when a sweaty session at the gym is simply not in the cards. That was this morning, and while I don't feel as accomplished this morning, I do feel much more rested.

I had a lot going through my mind yesterday when I got home from work and even more following Community Group. Thoughts about what I needed to do over the remainder of the week, thoughts about my weight loss journey and why I haven't given up, thoughts about what all I want to do with my life, and thoughts about destiny. Thinking that much wore me out, and I needed time to process it all in my REM cycle.

I still don't know what to do with a lot of it. But I do know that I am here, in this moment, for a very specific reason. I'm trying to be patient while I wait for understanding - even though I am just ready to get it so I can move on.

I'm ready to be done with this weight loss journey, too. At least with the losing 100 pounds part of it. There's still lifelong maintenance after that, but I'd prefer maintenance over the frustration of standing on the scale and seeing a little loss, if any at all.

There is a reason I haven't lost all 100 pounds yet. It's a combination of eating right, drinking lots of water, sweating in the gym, and the fact that I need to push myself to do better with the combination. And that I need to not give up when I do all the right things and still don't see that loss - which happens to be the first thing I want to do every time I see the number stay the same or increase even when I do everything according to plan.

So I will take the mornings spent skipping the gym. I will sleep in when I need to and then work out harder in the afternoon. I will do this (whatever this happens to be at that moment) because I am ready now.

(title from "our battles" by maria mena)


i can see now

Five, sometimes six, days a week my husband is out of bed and on the road by 4:30am. There was a time when I got up with him every single day. I'd kiss him goodbye, hand him the coffee I made, and then collapse back into bed. That time is now long gone, and I usually don't even realize he's out the door and on his way to work.

Every now and then, though, our paths cross in the morning. I told him on Sunday night that he might need to be responsible for ensuring that I got out of bed and into the gym in the morning. He told me that he didn't mind making sure I was awake but that the responsibility would fall on me, not him.

Monday morning, I got up when he did, but once I choraled the dogs back inside, I collapsed in bed and stayed there for an extra thirty minutes. Then, sufficiently rested (or as sufficiently rested as I could be), I stumbled out the door and into the gym. Forty-five sweaty minutes later, I was ready to face the day.

It wasn't the best work-out I've ever had, but it also wasn't the worst. And as tired as I was when I first woke up, I loved the feeling of accomplishment I started the day with.

That feeling of accomplishment followed me throughout the rest of the day. And a feeling of healthiness and energy joined it as the day wore on. By the time I ended the first part of my work day, I was ready to get back into the gym, so I did just that and squeezed in 15 minutes of walking/jogging and 25 minutes of strength training.

The only problem with working out so much is how hungry I am. I know it's a phase and that it will pass once my body adjusts to the amount of exercise. But it's hard to say no to healthy food even when I know the calories will just continue to add up and up.

I really don't know how people restrict calories to the extreme and then burn every single calorie, and then some, at the gym. I need fuel. I simply can't survive the day-to-day matters, let alone a sweaty workout, without that fuel. It's probably a good thing, really. I want to do this the right way. History has taught me that f I don't do it the right way, or for the right reasons, that I will inevitably fail. Maybe not right away. But eventually and inevitably I will.

Doing it the right way means I can't beat myself up for the amount of pizza I ate, again, from The Wedge. Because I ate it slowly and allowed myself time to digest. I waited before reaching for another piece. And I can't beat myself up for it because there's a huge difference between eating all natural ingredients and eating a greasy few pieces of pizza from Papa John's.

Doing it the right way means I need to have goals. Goals of ways to reward myself. And also goals to reach. My focus currently is on the goals to reach - specifically fitness goals.

I signed up to swim a 50m race last week. It's for a work event called Corporate Challenge. I'm not sure how seriously most people take it. I only know that I am using it to my advantage and committing myself to do the absolute best that I can.

Years ago, I was an athlete. I was a swimmer. I loved being in the water and racing. I was never the fastest swimmer but I always tried. At least I always tried until one day I stopped trying. I want to return to the days of being a swimmer and of always trying. The first real try will be on June 2nd. The days leading up to June 2nd will be days of preparation - starting with an early morning swim today.

And I want to be a runner. Each time I see someone running outside or on the treadmill, I feel something rise up in me and say I want that. So I'm going to give it a try and start following the Couch to 5K program because there is just no way I could suddenly start running. And I am going to find a race to run.

No matter how hard it is to jump into the cold pool or how tired I get, feet pounding on the pavement, I refuse to give up. Now is the time to push myself. Now is the time to rid myself of all excuses. Now is the time to have my path cross with my husband's in the morning - him going to work and me going to the gym. Now is the time to hold onto the feeling of accomplishment. Now is the time to do the work and then see real results.

(title from "maybe" by everly)


this road is anything but simple

Our plan for Sunday included the late morning church service, grabbing sandwiches for lunch, and then spending the majority of the day at home cleaning and preparing for the week. When 10:00am rolled around, we found ourselves still in pajamas and not yet ready to face the day.

We then spent the day together - running errands, talking about the upcoming week, discussing our future,  and mentally preparing for the week. It was nowhere close to the day we had planned, but even the planner in me understands that sometimes you need to completely do away with plans.

And I did well all day. I chose a grilled chicken sandwich, no mayonnaise or cheese, with avocado and mustard for lunch with a side salad, no cheese or croutons, with dressing on the side instead of my beloved french fries. I would have much rather ordered a cheeseburger, or at least stolen a few of my husband's fried onions, but I stuck to what I knew would work for my body.

I felt rather satisfied after lunch, though the hunger set in after a day full of shopping at the Outlet Mall as well as Kohl's and Target.

Shopping is one of the things I love most. But I know I have to be careful because I need to not work 60-70 hours a week in order to shop. I need to work 60-70 hours a week to save money and occasionally purchase a few things for myself.

I stuck to the more essential items on this specific shopping trip. Like new running shoes. A pair of completely comfortable Reebok Zigs. They weren't my first choice because they make my already large feet look even bigger. But the comfort I felt when I slipped them on was enough to push aside my own personal issues with having large feet.

It feels good to have two pairs of comfortable shoes - even if they are competing brands, and I still love the Nike Cross Trainers I bought several months ago. Having new shoes, a little something to keep me going, increases my excitement of heading to the gym early in the morning. The fact that they were on sale and that we got my husband a pair of shoes for 50% off helped as well.

When we first went into the store, I joked that I could purchase two pairs of shoes as it was buy one, get one 50% off. And I did try on different Reeboks but none were worth the extra purchase. My husband decided he is interested in running, and will hopefully join me at the gym in the future. He isn't on a weight loss journey but is interested in becoming more fit and healthy. If we can spend quality time sweating together, I'm all for it.

My other purchases were of food and a Bobble Filtered Water Bottle. It's no secret - to anyone who reads the blog or knows me in real life - that my two biggest struggles during this journey have been eating and drinking water. Add in a hectic, busy work schedule and not having access to water all the time, and those struggles are amplified.

So, to go along with my commitment, I bought groceries for the week. I may still eat most of my lunches out due to constantly being on the road, but now I have dinners that I can toss in my purse before leaving the house and not worry about them going bad.

There's a mixture of items - tuna fish with crackers, ravioli, and a couple kinds of soup. I'm hopeful that the small variety will help from boredom setting in and me turning to the foods that will do nothing to aid my weight loss (like Chik-Fil-A's waffle fries).

And, amazingly enough, it's quite a bit cheaper to purchase food at the grocery store rather than at the drive-thru. Plus - if today is any indication - I'll be feeling even better the less fast food I eat. Amazingly enough.

And the Bobble Filtered Water Bottle is something I'm excited about because now I don't have to lug several water bottles to work each morning. I can simply put it under the tap anywhere I am at and then enjoy filtered water. My hope is that by drinking so much water I can rid myself (once again) of my diet coke and diet dr. pepper addiction.

I've seen so many people take the 100 oz. water challenge, but I haven't allowed myself to attempt the challenge because I knew that I would fail. Now, though, I might just have to take the challenge. Having the Bobble gets rid of every single excuse I could make regarding why I haven't included water in my daily diet.

With a small dent in our checking account, and a husband who was more than ready to finish shopping, we headed home and I enjoyed a quick 200-calorie snack of pita bread and spinach artichoke dip. Dinner followed just a few hours, and we enjoyed flat bread, kalmata olive tapenade, roasted artichokes, red pepper hummus, and finally a few pieces of delicious pizza (a piece of margherita and a piece of the truffle shuffle {truffle oil, sage, crimini mushrooms, spinach, roasted chicken, parmesan, mozzarella}) for me  from The Wedge.

It was a perfect Sunday. I didn't make it to the gym, but I stayed under my allotted calories for the day. And I'm all set for an early morning work-out in the morning as well as for keeping my commitment to myself and moving forward on my journey.

(title from "lift me up" by kate voegele)


this is not where it ends

Time. It's one of those things that there is either not enough of or too much of. For the past three months, there hasn't been enough of it.  At least there hasn't been enough of it during the moments I want it most.

I spent my time last weekend with my best friend. I bid farewell to OKC a bit before 3:00pm and arrived at our hotel a little after 6:30pm. I enjoyed the solitude of the hotel room and then the solitude of the hotel gym. She arrived close to 10:00pm, and we immediately jumped into quality time - starting with an amazing bottle of wine and a delicious cheeseburger.

A little over 36 hours together, and we fit in nearly 48 hours worth of talking, shopping, and laughing. It wasn't nearly enough, but it was what we had so we enjoyed it as much as we could.

This morning my alarm went off at 7:37am, and after cleaning the kitchen a little, I settled outside on the porch and watched our dogs chase squirrels. I can't remember the last time I took the time I had and just sat, outside with the dogs. My mind wandered as it often does, and I prayed about all the worries that seem to creep into the moments of silence and free time.

Generally, we go to church at 9:00am, but I just can't pull myself together enough to shower, fix my hair, and get dressed. I need more time to sit, more time to pray, more time to just simply be. So I am taking that time right now.

It's funny, though, because six months ago I had a lot of time and I spent most of it doing nothing. I would sit on the couch, catch up on my favorite TV shows, and procrastinate on productivity. I thought about writing and considered my novel, but I very rarely opened up my MacBook with the intention of putting thoughts and consideration to the page.

Now that I'm so stretched for time, I would give anything to have that free time. To know where writing fit in. To keep my house clean. To cook dinner on a nightly basis. To do all those things I used to do (some of the time) but often took for granted.

Yet I know having all the free time in the world wouldn't amount to much. I'd still need to make the decision, every hour and every minute, on how I would spend that time. And I know that I would quickly fall into the trap of wasting the time away on the couch.

It's important to take a few minutes, and sometimes hours, to simply relax and not rush. I need those moments for my own sanity. But as a way of life, it's not the best.

So now I am busy. Working 60-70 hours a week. Doing my best to squeeze in four or five workouts a week. Spending time with my husband and our friends and my two dogs on the weekend. Breathing on Saturdays and Sundays, napping if I am lucky, and getting ready to do it all over again.

Being so busy I am more aware of my time and how I spend it. I'm still seeking the balance of resting and remaining focused. I'm still learning how my body reacts to sleep and lack of sleep. I'm discovering that certain things, like work-outs, need to be done first thing in the morning no matter how exhausted I feel. Because that work-out will rejuvenate me and fuel the rest of my day.

I miss writing the most. Putting my thoughts out there for the Internet to read. I miss my novel, too. I have so many vivid moments in mind for that story, and the story calls to me most every day. I miss working out twice a day. I love the feeling of sweat pooling at my temples. I love how out of breath I get when I run and then how accomplished I feel when I look down and see I burned an average of 10 calories a minute.

I could sit here and say I don't have enough time to do any of those things. That I am too busy and there are simply not enough hours in the day. It certainly feels that way most days. But truly, I do have the time. I simply need to make the choice on how to spend the time and remain committed to it.

So that's where I am right now. Needing to make the commitment and then needing to stick to it. Making the commitment is the easy part. Sticking with it is a different story.

Here is my commitment. I'm going to use MyFitnessPal daily. I'm going to make the right choices for food. I'm going to get up in the mornings and make it to the gym. And I'm going to report on all of it daily here.

I want to tell that story. Or continue to tell it really. I want this space to reflect where I am right now at almost 40 pounds lost and another 60 or so to go. I want to stop making excuses and start making choices.

I want to take the time I have and know that it is more than enough.

(title from "see you again" by carrie underwood)


i dreamed your dream for you

The past few weeks have been good and also difficult. Most weeks are just that. I would like to say I know exactly what to do to make every week good and not so difficult, but I'm aware that right now, in this moment, the weeks will continue to be good and also difficult.

I'm stretched so thin these days. There are many times when I think I just can't do all this anymore. And there are times when I stop doing much of it - when I give into the exhaustion and the frustrations and I allow myself to stop working quite so hard. But then I can't stay that way, so I go back to early morning work-outs of squeezing a 30-minute work-out in between jobs.

I have yet to figure out the balancing act. Or the act of eating healthy. It's so hard to say no to a juicy cheeseburger than costs $3.50 at a local diner and say yes to a $8 salad that looks nowhere near as appetizing. And usually I say yes to the cheeseburger and no to the salad - even when I've spent the entire morning (and the night before) preparing myself for the task of ordering a salad.

I've spent a lot of time focusing on the things I haven't done. A lot of time trying to understand what my relationship with food really is and why it is that I go back to the foods that are not good for me. I've also spent a lot of time focusing on just how busy I am and realizing how important my diet is right now when I don't have the time or the energy to spend two hours in the gym every day.

And I am spending a lot of time focusing on where I am in life. On what I am doing every day and the impact it is having. Because every day I am surrounded by need. The need of medical care, the need of parents who care, the need of attention and of structure, the need of an understanding ear, the need of help even when you don't want to ask for help.

Seeing that need all around me is exhausting. It tugs on my heartstrings and makes me wish that I could do more and be more. When something happens and I feel like I didn't do this or that right, it impacts my entire day and then usually the day after that. So I do what only I can and I pray for some sort of guidance. Because I am human and I fail daily. I fail myself and my fight for health. I fail the children I work with. I just fail.

Even with the failure, there is success. There are moments, like last night, where I cuddle a sick child at 10:00pm and press a wet washcloth against their forehead that I am overcome with a sense of purpose. where I am reminded that it is okay to fail because there is always the next day. There are moments when I dance like a crazy person in the middle of the living room with children who don't speak fluent English and for that moment it doesn't matter that I hardly remember how to count to ten in Spanish or how to say the colors. Because the children's laughter and smiles overcomes any boundaries that exist.

And it is because of those moments that I am reminded to continue to fight for myself. It is those moments that allow me the grace to forgive myself for my failures in weight loss and healthy living. Because I remember that I need to be healthy so that I can be there for those late nights of dancing and pressing a washcloth to the forehead of a child sick with fever.

I still don't know how to do it, though. How do I say no to the easy drive-thru meal and instead make something healthy to eat when I spend the free 30 minutes I have at the gym or stuck in traffic. And when I am spending the money to eat out, why is it so hard to spend a few extra dollars on the salad instead of getting a crispy chicken sandwich or cheeseburger?

If I ever get the answers to those questions, I'll pass on the information. Because it is something I will need to hold onto. I need to be forever reminded of how to do this whole living healthy thing.

I never feel great after I eat french fries with my chicken sandwich instead of a side salad. And I always say that next time I will get a salad. But then that next time comes around and again I order french fries instead of the salad.

With each passing week, I feel like I am closer to understanding and closer to a breakthrough. But it is a process and I need to allow that process to happen so that when that breakthrough happens, it will stick and not just fade in a matter of days.

And I need to continue on with where I am. Serving the needs of the people I work with. Recognizing that God has placed me in these positions for a reason. Remembering that one day I won't always have to work so hard. Being thankful for the blessings that are coming from these opportunities - like spending a weekend in the Plano/Frisco area with one of my best friends and like upcoming trips and plans with my husband. And also having the chance to make that difference in a child's life.

(title from "romeo and juliet" by edwin mccain)


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