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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ford Failures


“One who fears failure limits his activities. Failure is only the opportunity to more intelligently begin again.” -   Henry Ford

I love this quote.  For all my failures and my perceived failures, quotes like this inspire me.  I can leave my failure behind and it’s okay.

What I love more is that Henry Ford said this.  We all know about the Ford Motor Company and the giant it is today.  We all know some of his successes, but here are some other things I found out.

-         In 1915, he funded a pacifist political expedition to Norway with 170 men to seek peace during WWI, without government assistance or backing.  The war lasted 3 more years after he came back.
-         In 1918, he ran for Senator and lost in an unfair battle.  Because of the slimy practices of his opponent, the Congress now has Federal Corrupt Practices Act, of 1925.  He still didn’t ever get to serve in office.
-         He started and lost two previous auto companies before Ford Motor Company was started.  The first one was lost to bankruptcy and the second over a banking dispute.

Although the quote is two sentences long, it’s nice to know that he had a lifetime of failures – BIG ones – to back it up.  Inspirational quotes are great, but the greatest come from those with a story.

Another one I like?

“I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.” - Michael Jordan

Monday, October 26, 2009

Visualization in Sports


My brother is an athlete and has been since the day he was born.  Pretty much, if there was a season, he was playing the sport.  He not only played sports, he practiced sports, he watched sports and he dreamed about sports.  Today, he teaches Physical Education to junior high students and coaches high school girl’s volleyball, but his resume includes coaching all ages and skill levels in baseball, basketball and volleyball.

I say this because my brother taught me two huge lessons about life through his love of sports.

First, you never get where you are going without practice – even if you have a gift.  I remember the summer he wanted to increase his vertical jump.  I remember him DAILY, endlessly, even in the dark….he would stand outside and simply jump…..over and over and over.

Second, our minds are directly connected to our abilities.  The summer that he jumped, when he wasn’t jumping, he thought about jumping - quite literally.  I remember him laying on his waterbed, with his walkman loudly pumping the Hoosiers soundtrack.  He was visualizing himself (you guessed it) jumping higher.

I don’t remember the number of inches he added to his vertical in the matter of three months, but I do remember his excitement (that annoyed me at the time!).  I also remember him being able to jump over the heads of his peers in basketball. **Update: after verifying with my bro, he actually increased his vertical 6 inches in 6 weeks!!  How's THAT for encouragement**

As a coach, he now encourages his teams to visualize the outcome.  Visualize that perfect volleyball serve at each point: the feel of your knees slightly bent; the weight of the ball in your left hand; the sound of the ball connecting with your right; the sight of the ball making its perfect arc through the air; that ball landing in the sweet spot on the other side of the net….the crowd going wild.

Several studies have shown that muscles physically respond to visualizations as if the movements had actually been done.  Olympic athletes are often seen “running” the race with their eyes closed before their feet ever hit the track.  There is also evidence that shows using similar types of visualizations, athletes are healing faster after an injury.  Michael Phelps has been very public about his visualization techniques:

“There are times in my sleep when I literally dream my race from start to finish. Other nights … I visualize to the point that I know exactly what I want to do: dive, glide, stroke, flip, reach the wall, hit the split time to the hundredth, then swim back again for as many times as I need to finish.”

This technique can be helpful in achieving any type of goal, really.  In weight loss, picture yourself at your ideal weight.  See yourself working out effortlessly on the treadmill.  Watch yourself jogging the 5k instead of walking it.  Visualize eating and enjoying the taste of celery.

It works.   Just ask my brother.  But I don’t think he’ll lend anyone his Hoosiers soundtrack….I think he’s still listening to it.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

LaLa Land

I've had quite the blog hiatus! I've been in LaLa Land, quite literally.  I've been dreaming dreams - trying to figure out which ones are ones worth pursing and which ones are just nice to think about.

I went to a writing conference this weekend, close to home.  There were 250 other writers in one place for 3 days and I was in Heaven!  I learned so much, but there is one huge take-away I'd like to share.

No matter what your dream or goal, you can't attain it if you don't start.  And to start, start with the basics.  A story can only be edited after it's written.  Weight loss can only happen after a lifestyle change - even a small one at first.

So, to finish --- we must start!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

The Number One Reason Is....

While working on my list (see earlier blog post) of the reasons 'why' I want to maintain my weight loss, I found one of my biggest reasons. It’s not deep, emotional or awe-inspiring.

It’s simply because I can.

And when I succeed at maintenance and earn my Weight Watchers star for the month, I feel successful. When I feel successful, other areas of my life get more positive April energy.

So my number one reason for maintaining my weight loss is to help breed success in other areas of my life.

As a side note, I also found a new (classic) rockin’ song for my playlist from the Biggest Loser Workout - Classic Rock. Yeah, it’s Kansas, but with a little ‘m-ch m-ch’ - Carry On My Wayward Son. So, I might have danced while I was getting ready this morning while listening to it and I may be really excited to get on the elliptical with it.

Maintenance - - here I co…uh…stay!

Monday, September 14, 2009

What? Why?

The 'why' for anything we do is so important. The 'why' is what keeps us on our path. When I first started on my weight loss journey, I made a list of 10 'whats' and 'whys'. These are the things I wanted out of my journey and the reasons I decided it was worth it.

One of those reasons was my son. I wanted to be a healthy example for him and to do what I could to live longer for him. Another reason was smaller clothing sizes. It just seemed that the cutest clothes only came in small and I wanted to wear those. A few others are personal and extremely close to my heart.

What I realize now, though, as valuable as that list was at the time, I need a new list. I need to discover the 'whats' and 'whys' of maintaining a healthy weight.

Losing is one thing...it is rewarding to watch numbers fall on the scale, to buy new clothes, to listen to compliments. But maintaining...that's just...well...staying the same. It's still work. It's still watching what I eat and spending time working out. But, I'm no longer watching anything drop and I'm working to just stay in the clothes that I have.

So, I need a new list. This week, I will create that list and bring something exciting back to maintainance. Anyone have ideas on spicing it up? New cool recipe? Favorite exercise? New tunes for my workout playlist?

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Time to Make the Donuts

The past few weeks have been rough donut weeks for me. I have been eating my vegetables, drinking my water, taking my vitamins, but in all honesty, I have had no ability to avoid Top Pot.

So, I decided to really get to the root of this issue. I know I was stressing about my son starting Kindergarten, with all the changes that would take place in my family. But why would I equate stress with donuts? It took reaching way back in my memory, but I found it.

I grew up in a military home. Although we didn’t move as often as other families, it still meant we didn’t live close to grandparents. So, we were a road-trip family. We road-tripped to see Grandma and Grandpa. We road-tripped every move we made. And, this is how the road trip would play out:

My parents would gather the three of us still-sleeping children at about 3 or 4 in the morning. They would buckle us in to the van or truck and head out in the darkness. When we woke up several hours later, my mom would hand us a powdered donut wrapped in a napkin.

What those times meant for me was that, even though we were moving and my whole life was about to change, my family was constant. Our houses might change, the weather would change, my friends and school would be different, but my family was always together. And for me, donuts are the reminder of the constant.

So please tell me how you do it. How do you go into a big life change gracefully? What constants do you hang on to that bring you comfort?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Bounce

There is a commercial from the early 90s – maybe late 80s – that has been brought to mind lately. As usual, I don’t quite remember the product, but it was some dog treat. There was a Bulldog walking down the sidewalk, with a Chihuahua sidekick. The Bulldog was walking straight and determined, while the little Chihuahua was jumping back and forth over the Bulldog. The Bulldog was either silent or barely speaking while the Chihuahua was chattering away as he bounced. He made the same progress forward as the Bulldog…but just bouncier.

I often feel like the Chihuahua in that commercial. In my life, I have strong, steady and confident people, while I am sometimes just overly excited. I try to be Bulldog-ish and composed, but I often have too much excitement pinging around to stand still. I mean, I have my Bulldog moments (sometimes my rabid wolf moments), but I am a bouncer at heart.

But, when I had extra weight, I couldn’t bounce – physically, emotionally or spiritually. The weight clouded my vision of future possibilities. Every time I ate, I sank lower emotionally because I felt like I didn’t even deserve the right to eat. If I ate a salad, I would imagine what people thought as they watched the fat lady failing to be healthy.

I was so focused on how badly I felt about myself that I couldn’t see anything around me. Weight Watchers helped bring color to my black-and-white world. Everything was exciting again – I experienced joys that had been years removed from my life.

It was gradual and sporadic, though. With each small step I took, I realized I could take more. Over almost 2 years, as the snowball effect began to take place, my steps became more bouncy and I found myself again.

I understand life happens. I’ve experienced pain, loss and anger. I’ve cried great tears and my soul has groaned at times. I understand. I get it, but if we let those times out-weigh who we are, then pain, fear and depression become the theme of our lives. We have to dig our way out of those low times and live out who we truly are.

Who are you? If you're a calm and steady Bulldog, keep going! If you're an excitable and bouncy Chihuahua, then bounce, my friend, bounce!

Monday, August 17, 2009

A 4-Bandaid Owie


My son fell a couple weeks ago while skipping and trying to go up a curb. He scraped up his knee and has lots of bruises that are still healing. It was probably the worst owie he's had in his 5 years of living. He cried a lot and onlookers felt sorry for us. I sat down on the curb with him and positioned his face away from the blood running down his leg.

The daddy hero carried him to the restaurant's bathroom to clean up, then walked to a near-by gas station to buy bandaids. It took 4 of them to cover up the worst of it and contain the bleeding. My heart broke for him. It hurts to watch such pain overcome someone and even more so when he's mine.

While I wiped away tears from his face and blood from his leg, I tried to remember the last time I'd actually fallen. I've tripped tons, of course, but manage to catch myself. Then, I started thinking that I've gotten pretty good at this walking thing. I gotta say, I was feeling good about myself. I've learned something in life.

Today, though, I thought about this a bit more. Is it that I've gotten good at walking - or - because maybe I don't take chances anymore? Sure, I haven't needed those bandaids, but when was the last time I skipped to where I was going?

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Michelangelo and David

Michelangelo was 26 years old when he was commissioned to take on creating the statue David, on August 16, 1501. He was the third person who worked on the block of marble that would become David.

Two others had been commissioned to do the work, but they never completed it. They both got as far as roughing out the feet and legs, but then the marble piece sat outside for 35 years before Michelangelo came into the picture. It was exposed to winds, rain, heat, snow, bugs, mold…. for so long, in fact that the marble actually began to shrink.

Wait – is that right? Let’s review the timeline.

  • 1464 – Original contract to begin the work of David
  • 1466 – Second contract with new artist to continue David – then quickly abandoned
  • 1475 – Michelangelo was born
  • 1501 – Michelangelo commissioned to continue David
  • 1504 – David was completed

Michelangelo wasn’t even born when the block of marble was created, shipped and abandoned. It’s almost as if David was Michelangelo’s destiny, as if David were waiting for him to arrive. Other artists were consulted in 1500, including Leonardo da Vinci, but Michelangelo won the opportunity.

What if Michelangelo had followed in the footsteps of the other artists? What if he decided the project was too big or intimidating for his age? What if he was too worried about failure that he never even tried? What if, on day 489, he just got too tired of looking at that same block of marble day-in and day-out?

Did you know there are also critics of David? Yeah, I Googled it and the criticism began almost immediately. They range from he’s not proportionate to the sling is in the wrong hand.

It’s certainly easier to be the critic than to be the artist who submerged himself in the history and mind of a man facing Goliath, for over two years. Or, maybe that’s why he was able to do such an amazing job – Michelangelo was also a young man facing his giants.

“I saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” - Michelangelo

So, I’m asking myself two questions today.

  1. What destiny has been waiting for me since before I was born? Do I have the courage to face it day-in and day-out until I set it free?
  2. If even the great Michelangelo has critics, can I also go boldly forward without fear of their opinions?
Let me know if you happen to see a 13' tall piece of marble laying around. I think I have some freeing to do.

Monday, August 3, 2009

My Birthday Reflections

My paternal grandparents saved a copy of their local newspaper from the day I was born (August 5, 1976). It’s pretty cool to look at and I love the ads. Can you imagine buying jeans for $8.98? I really like the Black and White TV. It’s described as, “Portable 19-inch Diagonal TV. Front-mounted speaker, U/V antennas. Plastic. $118” I’m sold!

Today, though, as I looked through it again, I actually looked at the news articles too. The number one story on the front page? Swine Flu.

Other front page stories?

Fuel Cost Hike. “…will begin paying $1 more per month as the result of a fuel adjustment increase granted…”

Clean Air Act. “The Senate Thursday rejected attempts to speed the day when auto exhausts are much cleaner.”

Health Insurance Plan. “…health officials are pressing Congress to approve an insurance plan that would open the way for the government’s program to vaccinate all Americans against swine flu.”

Part of the Dream. “There is an urgent need for legislation that would restructure traditional mortgages to make home ownership a part of the America dream again…”

I have to admit, as I was reading these stories, I kept reassuring myself that this was not today’s paper, but one from 33 years ago.

My first thought was that things don’t ever change. We’re still discussing these same issues, arguing over what’s best for the environment, how to best structure our health care, working on the American dream….Yuck! In 33 years has ANYTHING changed? Is there honor is fighting for anything, if in 33 more years, we’re still discussing the same issues?

My answer is Yes!!! We have had progress forward and I could spend a lot of blog space discussing the progress over just my lifetime.

The real thing that hasn’t changed? The news.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Glow in the Dark

When glow-in-the-dark toys stay in the dark, they don’t glow. They can only glow when they first absorb light.

I’ve had this thought brewing for about 15 years and I’ve pulled it out on several different life occasions. Today, it resurfaced and I just can’t shake it. It’s a simple thought, so forgive me if it doesn’t create an ah-ha moment for you.

We are like those toys. We absorb the things, thoughts and attitudes that we are near. If we keep ourselves in darkness with negative thoughts, or by camping out around condemnation, we can’t ever glow, even if glowing is our true purpose.

Only after we’ve surrounded ourselves with light can we be seen in the darkness.

Today, let’s purge the negative, bask in the positive and then dance in the dark.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Dedication


In February, a 14-year-old broke the Guinness World Record for Guitar Hero and was also named the new world champion of the game. His name is Danny Johnson and you can find several videos of him playing his guitar on YouTube. Danny said that he played three hours a day (after homework and music practice) for nine months.

I’ve been thinking about Danny a lot the past few months. Not necessarily as related to Guitar Hero, but as it relates to his dedication. Three hours a day put him in the Guinness World Record category. What could I accomplish if I devoted three hours a day to one thing? I don’t have an extra three hours a day - let’s go smaller.

What could I accomplish if I devoted one hour a day to one thing? Still seems like a lot of time – let’s go even smaller.

What could I accomplish is I devoted just 30 minutes a day to one thing? I could probably find that.

30 minutes a day adds up to 182 hours a year! What could you accomplish with a 182 hour dedication to one thing?! I could get a good start on a ton of different things!

  • extend my education.
  • learn to belly dance
  • learn to play the guitar.
  • re-learn how to ride a bike.
  • learn to speak Italian.
  • write a novel.
  • become a certified electrician.
  • write a novel.
  • have a weedless yard.
  • memorize the dictionary.
  • write a novel!!

What about 30 minutes for my health? According to the Mayo Clinic, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise a day helps in weight loss, gives you more stamina, prevents illnesses, reduces health risks, strengthens your heart, helps clear your arteries, boosts your mood, keeps your mind sharp and extends your life.

There is so much we can accomplish if we focus our energy. I’ve decided that we don’t need to wait until the new year to make goals and resolutions. Goals that are born out of desire, rather than the time of the year, mean more to me.

So, what do you want from your 182 hours this year? What certificate will you earn? How much weight will you lose? How many countries will you visit? What goals do you have that could use a little extra daily attention? Write it down, plan it out and savor every minute of the journey!

Me? I’m writing that novel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Too Much of a Good Thing


Alaska is called The Land of the Midnight Sun. On June 21st, the longest day of the year, there is quite the celebration in Fairbanks. They shut down the main downtown roads for a street fair that closes at midnight. There is a baseball game that starts at 10pm and finishes without turning on the lights. There is also a Midnight Sun Run that starts at 10pm and usually has thousands of participants, some from the lower 48 that come to celebrate with the locals.

This year, the Summer Solstice in Fairbanks recorded a
sunrise time of 2:58am and
sunset at 12:48am (yes, 22 hours of light).
On the flip side, the Winter Solstice, December 21st, in Fairbanks recorded a
sunrise time of 10:59am and
sunset at 2:40pm (3 hours of light).

This winter was a tough one for me in Seattle. Lots of cold and snow for here. I wrestled with the worst spring fever I had experienced since leaving Alaska. I prayed desperately for sun, in any form. Fast forward to July and I spent a week in Fairbanks with nothing BUT sun. Sun at midnight, sun at 4am, sun to wake up my son at 1am, SUN! I was thankful for my first dark night back home.

On the same thread, I spent many Weight Watcher "good" days longing for foods I shouldn't eat - in abundance. While on vacation in Fairbanks, I enjoyed it all - in abundance. I have a mother-in-law that can really cook and I certainly didn't want to waste a single thing. I ate until I didn't feel good. I gained 9 pounds. Ouch!

My first day back at the gym yesterday felt amazing. Writing in my food journal and tracking my points felt great. I feel like myself again.

What I learned - from the Fairbanks sun and the Fairbanks food - is that TRULY, you can have too much of a good thing.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Squishy and Pink


I went to Fairbanks, Alaska to have a mini-family reunion. For the big celebration at the lake on the Fourth of July, I made a cake. I had planned for it to have the red streaks in it, using Jello and then decorating the top like a flag.

However, as plans can go, this one didn't work out. Through a few mishaps, I ended up with a squishy pink cake. With no time for a redo, it was quite upsetting, as this was for a group of 24 people. I slathered on the cream cheese frosting and prepared my fruit flag anyway. Wanna know why? My sister-in-law's no-bake cookies didn't set up, due to a few mishaps. SORRY AMIE, but it made me feel better.

I'm not sure why we take comfort when someone else is in our boat. But we do. Like seeing the skinny girl at your class reunion that gained weight too....sad bunch of humans, huh? But, really, it's just out of our need to feel normal.

Weight Watchers meetings help me in this area tremendously. It doesn't matter if my cake is squishy. Someone else there has made that same cake (maybe not THAT cake, but something like it). I'm not the only one who has food issues, who struggles with Fat Days or who just really wants to earn a Bravo sticker. I'm normal there - if no where else.

One WW meeting, I planned on skipping because I'd gone on vacation and gained 5 pounds. I went anyway, though, and faced the facts. During that meeting, a memeber shared how she had gone on vacation and gained 5 pounds the week before, but it was all gone as soon as she spent a week back on the program.

It's not just that we like other people to suffer. We like to see them win too. Because if THEY can win, WE can win. Success breeds success. Cheering someone else on will most certainly encourage you. We clap a lot for each others' successes at Weight Watchers and I will, occassionally, Woo-Hoo. It's good to do - to Woo-Hoo. You should too - you should Woo-Hoo. To a friend, a spouse, a shoe. Everyone likes a Woo-Hoo.

Just in case you were wondering, not many people ate my cake and the leftovers got really squished on the ride home. BUT, I have an amazing picture of my flag art that my son was most proud of and that made it all better.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lessons from a Frizz Head

The other night, I asked my five year old to brush his hair while it was wet, before he hopped into bed. He looked exasperated and said, “But Mommy, it will still be puffy in the morning.” I felt so bad for him at that moment, knowing that he has his entire life ahead of him, with my hair.

I have naturally, big, frizzy hair. As an adult, I have had a lifetime of learning how to control it and now have it down to a science. I can have curly-hair days or straight-hair days, but they are both time consuming and require a lot of effort.

Then, I started thinking about how my life of hair rials had given me valuable tools that even came in handy during my weight loss journey.

1. Don’t let others' opinions knock you down. When I was in junior high, my younger sister (by 5 years) and I ran into each other one night in the dark. When she saw me, she screamed. Then, she cried. My parents woke up, lights were turned on and only then did I realize that she screamed because she thought I was a monster. My self-esteem shrunk, despite the size of my hair. I now know that just because she thought I was a monster didn’t make me one.

2. Be prepared, but go with the flow. I have two different sets of products and appliances for each of my hair types. Curly hair days have to have a morning washing and about 45 minutes styling time, which involves a couple different breaks from the heat of the hair dryer (with diffuser). Straight hair days work best with night washings, about an hour styling time, and involve the hair dryer, round brush and straightener, at 180 degrees.

As much as you prepare, though, there are some things you can’t control. For my hair, it’s the weather. When it rains, I frizz. When it’s dry, I flop. I always bring along a rubber band for when the unexpected rain shower turns me into a frizz poodle.

3. Sometimes, there is just no substitute. My hair products are the tried and true that work for me, after years of searching. A couple are costly, but not all of them are. I have to use what works and this is when substitutes are not acceptable. I also have a straightener that was about $100. I’ve spent probably close to $1,000 going through the cheap ones (and breaking them) before I realized that quality mattered here.

4. Dream big, but know your limitations. The 80s were like a carnival for my hair – and I didn’t even have to tease. Banana clips were my friend, as was AquaNet. However, sometimes, you have to know your limits. If your hair is already big, there is no need to EVER pull out that crimper – NOT EVER. No matter what your friends are doing or how cool you think it might look, don’t do it! And if you experiment, I beg you, don’t go out in public!

5. Be true to yourself. I know that I have to think about my hair a LOT more than most and I really wish I could wash-n-go all the live-long day. But that’s not who I am. I was born this way for a reason. After a lifetime of fighting against my hair, I now love the fact that it allows me to be schizophrenic.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Winners Announced!

Thank you for your comments and feedback during my contest!! Remember the prizes? *initiating dream sequence*:

1. An Ecosytem made by the cutting-edge company Libby Green. This is a set of 3 reusable totes that fit inside of each other to fold flat for storage. Great for the grocery store, but useful everywhere. I own several and my world wouldn't be the same without them!

2. A $25 emailed gift certificate to Audible.com (right now, this will buy a 3 month membership).

3. A $10 emailed BarnesandNoble.com gift certificate, for online purchases.

And now for the winners (as chosen by Random.org):

1. Lisa B - you'll LOVE these totes!
2. Angela - looks like you'll get to listen to some more books!!
3. Julie - I'll get together with you on fb to get your email for your bn.com gift cert.

Thanks, again, everyone!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Kung Fu Fighting

I decided to let the lyrics of a very inspirational song be my blog tonight. This version of Kung Fu Fighting was re-written for Kung Fu Panda, to flow with the theme of the movie. It was sung by Cee-Lo and Jack Black.

I find extreme motivation in these words and often enjoy listening to this along with my morning coffee. Something about caffeine and Kung Fu...can't quite put my finger on it....but enjoy!

*edited for readability*

Everybody is Kung Fu Fighting

Your mind becomes fast as lightning
Although the future is a little bit frightening
It's the book of your life that you're writing

You're a diamond in the rough
A brilliant ball of clay
You could be a work of art
If you just go all the way

Now what would it take to break
I believe that you can bend
Not only do you have to fight
But you have got to win

You are a natural
Why is it so hard to see?
Maybe it's just because
You keep on looking at me

The journey's a lonely one
So much more than we know
But sometimes you've got to go
Go on and be your own hero

Monday, June 8, 2009

Insane in the Membrane

I’m one of those people you might wonder about at the gym. I’m the one on the elliptical machine acting crazy. You’ve seen me?! Thankfully, I never have. I’m sure I would be embarrassed.

I lip sync to my workout playlist, close my eyes and pump my arms like a maniac. I have to not care what people around me think, because I want it to be fun. I lose myself in the music and just let what happens happen.

I play only the most positive, upbeat songs I can find. My favorite right now is a dance version of “Hips Don’t Lie” by Shakira. (I find this song quite ironic, given the reason I’m listening to it) Another one of my new favorites is “Honky Tonk Badankadonk” by Trace Adkins. (Getting an idea of my problem area?)

My son loves coming to the gym with me because he can hang out with other kids and play video games, which is not allowed at our house on school days.

Recently, he was the only child there and the teacher needed to get something that was across the facility. She took him with her as a helper. They happened to walk right passed my machine and I happened to briefly open my eyes. My son was waving wildly at me and smiling.

Later, when we were on our way home, he asked me why I was dancing because he thought I was supposed to be working out. And, there it is. That’s why I act insane on the elliptical. I AM having fun – so much that, apparently, a five year old thinks I’m dancing.

So, next time you see a crazy at the gym, know that we're having a blast (and maybe rocking out to "You Sexy Thing")!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Me-But-Better

Last October, I re-reached my goal weight and was out shopping for new clothes.  While walking by a make-up counter, I decided to sit down for a consultation.  The gentleman that was “consulting” me was very confident in his abilities.  I watched the process in a hand held mirror and was quite impressed.  When he was finished, he walked me to a much larger mirror and said, “See?  It’s you….but better.”

At the time, I didn’t catch it.  Months later, those words hit me hard.  That man was saying he had made me better; that make-up made me better; that I, in myself, wasn’t good enough.

So, I started thinking…what does Me-but-better really look like?  Thankfully, Me-but-better doesn’t have anything to do with make-up, problems spots or T-zones.

My Future Self is coming and the road to Future Me could easily turn into Me-with-self-doubt or Me-without-hope.  The good news is that I am the one in control of that.  I’m determined that I want Future Me to be Me-but-better, but what does that mean?

Me-but-better is being true to myself.  It’s pursuing my dreams.  It’s filling my son with hope and giving him life tools.  It’s showing, not just telling, my husband that he’s the love of my life.  It’s deciding, every day, to find places of inspiration and motivation.  It's living out my personal mission statement: 

"The mission of my life is to appreciate simplicity; to dwell in a healthful mindset; to inspire and seek inspiration; to allow only me to create my definition of self; to relish in moments; to create where there is a void and create space where there is clutter; to seek to better my faults, but also appreciate my gifts."

Even today, I am Me-but-better than I was 3 years ago, when I started my weight loss journey.  I’m going to build my Me-but-better Disney Castle and pursue her with passion.

What does You-but-better look like?

National Donut Day


Today is National Donut Day.  It was started by the Salvation Army in 1917 to honor WWI vets and to raise money for the needy.  Rumor has it that donut shops across the country give away free donuts in exchange for donations.

I think, today, I'll find a worthy cause to donate to online - and stay away from anything related to free and donuts.

Happy Donut Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Pieces of April Contest

This is the first ever Pieces of April contest! I want something from you and I have some amazing prizes to offer in return.

To be entered in the drawing, all you have to do is leave a comment on this blog (not facebook) to answer one of the questions below. One entry per person, unless you qualify for the bonus below. There will be 3 winners, chosen at random, that I'll announce on June 18th.

First, the prizes:

1. An Ecosytem made by the cutting-edge company Libby Green. This is a set of 3 reusable totes that fit inside of each other to fold flat for storage. Great for the grocery store, but useful everywhere. I own several and my world wouldn't be the same without them!

2. A $25 emailed gift certificate to Audible.com (right now, this will buy a 3 month membership).
3. A $10 emailed BarnesandNoble.com gift certificate, for online purchases.

Second, choose a question to answer:

- If you enjoy reading, what is your favorite genre and/or author and why?

- If you don't enjoy reading, have you ever crossed a book/article/author that made the experience a little less painful?

In your comment be sure to leave an identifying name of some sort. If you want to be anonymous, be sure I have a way to announce you as a winner. Let me know your thoughts - all friends & family are welcome to participate. I appreciate everyone's feedback!

****Bonus****If you refer a friend to this contest and they mention your name (the same name you used in your comment), you get another entry!

Remember to check back on June 18th to see the winners - and instructions on claiming your prize.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Disney Castles

Did you ever want to do something that seemed impossible? Have you ever wanted to accomplish something that seemed too big - - unattainable? How about wanting to lose weight that seems to never go away? We've probably all heard the famous quote from Lao Tzu, who said, "The journey of 1,ooo miles begins with a single step." While so very true, what brings us to take the step and what helps us to keep stepping?

While reading the book Between the Trapezes by Gail Blanke, I discovered something amazing that I didn't know while I was at
Disneyland last week. Gail said that when Walt was building the theme parks, he ordered the construction crews to build the castles first. He knew that when the crews were digging and plumbing and sweating and dealing with the dirtiest parts of their jobs, they could easily look up and focus on the castle. The castle represented the vision, the dream and the magic that they were working to create.

We have to put our dreams out there. Put it some place where you can see it when things get rough. Put your goal weight on a sticky note and put it over the number on your scale. When you step on it, you see your goals achieved. Make a business card that has your desired title on it and carry it around with you. A friend of mine designed her own book cover of her unpublished (now published) book and gave it a prominent place while writing. When I was in the middle of my weight loss journey, I wrote my Success story and made it look like one out of the Weight Watchers Magazine.

What is your castle? Where is your castle? Can you see it when achieving your dreams gets frustrating and difficult? When the job offer goes to someone else? When the hoped-for baby doesn't come? When passion is the last thing on your mind? When creativity escapes you? When tears are the only thing in abundance?

Where is your castle? Imagine it, see it, build it, focus on it. Magic will come.

A few quotes from Walt that has inspired me, from a man whose dreams changed the world....

"Mickey Mouse popped out of my mind onto a drawing pad 20 years ago on a train ride from Manhattan to Hollywood at a time when business fortunes of my brother Roy and myself were at lowest ebb and disaster seemed right around the corner."

"I first saw the site for Disneyland back in 1953. In those days it was all flat land - no rivers, no mountains, no castles or rocket ships - just orange groves, and a few acres of walnut trees."

"We did it {Disneyland}, in the knowledge that most of the people I talked to thought it would be a financial disaster - closed and forgotten within the first year."

"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."

"All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them."

"If you can dream it, you can do it."

"It's kind of fun to do the impossible."

"The more you like yourself, the less you are like anyone else, which makes you unique."

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Story of FabLeeUs.

I love all of the WW members that attend the Saturday morning meetings with me, but one of my favorite people there is Gail. She had lost 100 pounds before I started going to that meeting. A tip that she got from another member helped her get to goal. That tip (that she still practices) is, first thing in the morning, she looks at herself in the mirror and, out loud, says, "You look fabulous!"

I have to be honest, while I talk to myself often, talking to myself in the mirror and being so complimentary of myself, was a bit unnerving. But I started anyway, serious bed-head, bad breath and all. I felt silly, but I figured I had nothing to lose.

Then, my 5 year old son was having a bad day (as bad as a his carefree days can get). I took him by his little shoulders and, with much conviction, said, "You. Look. Fabulous." His eyes lit up, he smiled and sheepishly said thank you. I realized that is what the self-conscience kid in me does every time I say that to her. So I began again with much more insight into what I was actually accomplishing.

Even in the best of times, though, one can get discouraged. About a week later, I was the one having a rough day. My son stopped what he was doing, walked over to me and boldly announced, "Mommy, you look FabLeeUs!" Do I even have to say that my day got a whole lot better?

So, let's be FabLeeUs together today, no matter how silly we feel!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

"I may be short, but at Starbucks I'm a Tall"

I don’t feel short. It’s funny, because I know I am. I see other people that are my height and I’m taken aback by how short they are. At work, I generally wear 3 to 4 inch heels and I love them (especially the peep-toes! I don't actually own the red Mossimo heels in the picture, but YUM!, right?). Anyway, when I happen to take them off or wear shoes without a heel to work, I feel my shortness. Most of the time, though, I walk through life, not feeling my 5'3".

I also don’t feel 32 years old. I know I am, though, because my mom told me what year I was born and I used an excel spreadsheet to calculate my age. If I were to randomly guess, I would say I am more like 22. Sometimes, when I'm talking to my siblings on the phone, I am more like 16. Some places, like the state fair, I feel about 75 (I mean, seriously, do people have to act that crazy?!)

I also don’t always feel good about myself. It’s funny how, even with 54 pounds gone, I still have “fat” days. My clothes might feel a bit tight and I feel like all is lost. I went to the store just a few months ago and, without thinking, walked right up to the size 18s. But, slowly, my perception is beginning to change. My visions of old April are fading, even though sometimes I still feel like her.

So maybe relying only on my feelings isn't a good way to direct my life? It hasn't made me taller yet, but stay tuned...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Before and After Photos


I was thinking that any blog about weight loss should include a before/after picture. I'm 5'3" and lost 54 pounds, with my start weight at 187lbs. The "after" picture was taken today and the befores were in 2004 and 2005, respectively.
It's only when I see it like this that I realize what I truly accomplished.


It's Not About the Weight

It didn't take me too long into my weight loss journey before I realized that weight wasn't the problem. How many of us diet, fail, take pills, feel sick, diet, binge, draw the line in the sand, cross the line, start, stop, give up? We blame the program, the pills, the pre-determined foods, the birthday celebrations, the "American" portion sizes. But those aren't the reasons - and weight is not the problem.

Those of us who struggle with weight WEAR our symptoms and feel worse about our stuggles because everyone can see us struggling.

What's so hard about weight loss is that it's up to me to believe I can - to KNOW I can, and to take the steps to succeed. Following a food program and working out will help, but if you can't picture the finish line with most certainty, you will not start the race (or at least not well).

What's also hard is being honest about the 'why' of our symptom. When we're sick, the doctor's goal is to treat the underlying problem, not just the cough or back ache. Losing weight without discovering the 'why' will only lead to gaining again, no matter how great the program or diet. With each step, with each bite, we have to slow down and listen to the 'why' that is echoing in our head.

It's hard because, usually, it's painful. It's becoming your 14 year old self and hearing the physical therapist say, "My, you're a big girl." Even now, I have tears in my eyes when I think of that. But now that I've called out that memory for what it is, it no longer drives me to the donuts.

So, how do you do it? You fight. This is the fight of your life - for your life. Know that success is possible, feel it in your gut and decide with each moment that there is a bigger cause at stake. Grit your teeth - draw the line - set your course for success.

Do you know why it's worth it? Because the weight isn't the problem. There's something bigger happening. Losing weight gave me courage and confidence - not just because of the change in my body, but because I dealt with those feelings that I would normally just eat away.

Some days (and some months) I forget, but for the past 3 weeks, I have been back on top. Yes, I'm losing weight again - 4 pounds in 3 weeks - but I dealt with my issue head-on. My baby would have been 8 month old a few days ago. I cried, it hurt and it wasn't pretty. But now, I don't feel the need to eat the bag of Doritos.

The weight is never just about the weight.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Check Boxes

I like lists and especially ones with checkboxes. Yes, I do. I imagine that someone could torture me, not by pulling out my fingernails, but sending me on my way with a list in which I could not check off any boxes.

I also like to track things. For example, I have an Excel spreadsheet that has every Christmas present I have purchased for everyone since 1999. Every year has its own tab and I compare things like my total dollars spent, average cost per person and major swings in the numbers.

I’m not bragging at all. One could argue on the side of insanity based on this. But I do have a point…. knowing this about myself, I decided to use it to my weight loss advantage.

First, on WeightWatchers.com, they have check boxes for when you accomplish a “good health guideline”. Every time I drink a glass of water or eat a vegetable, I get to click a blank box and it turns blue. THEN, when I check enough boxes for the day, they give me a smiley face! Oh, they soooooo have my number.

Second, I recently decided to give myself another checklist. On my wall is a large downward arrow (signifying my weight going down). In the arrow is a section for each day, with its own set of checkboxes. Tying into my long-term goals, I created some daily goals that will help me make strides towards the big goals.

Some of my daily goals are writing down everything that I put in my mouth, working out (different types depending on the day) and also just writing in general. At the top, I wrote, “Only check off these boxes on days you want to feel good.”

Sometimes I make a list of things I’ve already done, just so I can check the box. I’m not sure why these things excite and satisfy me, but they do. The thing is, I'm me for my whole life. Why not study myself and use my strengths/weaknesses to become the best me that I can?


_X__ Write a blog
_X__ Edit the blog
_X__ Post the blog
_X__ Wonder if the blog was too revealing about myself
_X__ Reread the blog
_X__ Decide maybe someone could benefit, or at least smile today
_X__ Sigh
___ Go to bed

Update/Amendment/Clarification: I feel I needed to add just a touch more to my blog. I may have misrepresented myself as a neat, organized person. Those who have either lived or worked with me (I can hear you laughing!) knows this to be completely untrue. I am more of an organized clutter. My desk at work has papers strewn about, on top of each other, in no particular order. But when I need to find one piece of paper, I can usually grab it right away. I make checklists for picking up my house on the weekend, but usually lose the checklist – and then lose myself in a book….

Monday, April 13, 2009

got hungry?

I have a Hungry on my refrigerator. He is Weight Watcher's new mascot. We're supposed to use WW tools to banish Hungry, and he's a pretty good anchor on my fridge. Today, though, I found this picture - and I'm not afraid to use it. THIS is getting printed out and put on my board at work, right next to the Top Pot Nutrition information.

I think this image of Hungry being a donut-pusher is going to be great for me!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy April Fool's Day


Tuesday, March 31, 2009

It Does Matter

I figured something out today. After being on this weight loss journey for close to 3 years, it amazes me how I so easily forget the good habits and the sneaky thoughts I don't really think rule my life.

For example, today, I slowed down my mental process just before I made a bad food choice. What I heard myself say was that it doesn't really matter. It doesn't matter what I do - I'm fat and an few extra hundred calories won't really make a difference.

So, I literally stopped walking and said to myself outloud, "It does matter. You matter." So, I changed my decision. Saying that to myself repeatedly changed my decisions for the rest of the day. After losing 54 pounds over a year and a half, I knew every bite mattered. Today, I remembered it.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Benefits and Goals

Last week's Weight Watchers meeting posed the question: What benefit is there to ___? There has to be some benefit to our actions, or else we wouldn't keep doing them. This was a new thought for me.

So, this week, I've been filling in the blank and attempting to answer the questions. As I am about to do anything, I've been asking myself what the benefit is. It has been truly enlightenin.

What benefit do I get from eating candy bars? It is a reward. I'm proud of myself for avoiding other things, so this has been my reward. The problem is, I seem to be proud a lot lately. It's also a trade-off. When I am feeling cheated or have physical pain, I feel like I should get something in return.

What benefit do I get when I avoid the gym? It means I don't have to fight the traffic and run around ragged trying to make it fit into a tight schedule.

What benefit do I get from my job? Besides the paycheck, I don't enjoy what I do right now, but I enjoy who I do it with. I am being recognized for a job well done and that is fulfilling.

What benefit do I get from this blog? It forces me to think about these things and to be honest with myself. I learn about myself and it helps me see things from a different perspective.

So today, I need to figure out and stick to non-food rewards. I also need to deal with other issues in a different way - food does not make my physical pain go away. I need to really think about my schedule and build in real time for the gym. I also need to put pen-to-paper and write down my goals. When they stay in my head, they get fuzzy and are easily changable or delayed. I need to solidify them. Anyone know of a place with fresh, wet cement?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Let Stand 1-2 Minutes

Does anyone let their frozen meal actually stand in the microwave for 1-2 minutes after it's been cooked? Does anyone really let the cookies "cool" for 5 minutes before eating? Does anyone know if the sauce actually thickens if you let a dish set a few minutes?

I bet those people are out there, but I am not one of them. I think I must feel that the food will disappear in those precious few minutes, or that I am 1-2 minutes from starvation.

Right now, my SmartOnes Traditional Lasagne with Meat Sauce (for 6 points) is sitting on my desk. I've decided to use my blog as a distraction to let it sit for 1-2 minutes. I'm going to finally determine if it really makes a difference and, bonus, I'll save my tongue from another burn.

For those who naturally are able to wait those extra few minutes - - bravo! I will be that person one day. That is now going on my life list.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Top Pot Doughnuts Nutrition Information

I've been donut free for 32 days. Not really because I've been trying, but after I broke the cycle and started working out again, I really hadn't wanted one. I WANTED ONE TODAY! I got my workout in this morning and have many points at my disposal. I decided, though, I needed real nutrition information in order to be honest with myself.

I realize it is difficult for most people to keep a straight face when using the words Nutrition and Top Pot in the same sentence. HOWEVER, those of us who cannot live without donuts must live with them, and give them the caloric respect they deserve.

If you were wondering, here it is: Top Pot Nutrition Information

After realizing that my Apple Fritter is 13 points, my Chocolate Bar is 15 and my Cinnamon-Sugar Old Fashioned is 10, I decided against it. I wanted a treat as a reward for my dedication to working out, but that was overboard. I was not willing to trade 1 donut for 3 20-min Jillian Michaels sessions and 60 minutes on the elliptical.

So, I opted for a cup of Timothy's White Hot Chocolate for a total of 2 points.

Never you fear, though, I am planning on purchasing one on Monday, but I've decided to share half with one of my coworkers (or the trash can).

Monday, March 2, 2009

Sugar, Splenda and my Addiction

Once upon a couple weeks ago, I decided to take a week and stop consuming sugar and Splenda. I thought a week couldn't hurt and my goal was to break my little habits of grabbing unhealthy snacks. Bad news: I realized a was physically addicted. Good news: I lasted a week and broke my addiction.

Day 1, my muscles ached and I found myself tightening them a lot, like I was cold. Also had a headache. Day 2, I was amazingly angry at the world and, well, my poor family.... It took until Day 3 of headaches to realize what was happening. Mentally, I was on a roller coaster and physically, I felt horrible all over. I slept a lot.

I was so surprised at my experience, so I went hunting for information. I first realized that, without really knowing it, I was consuming between 5-10 servings of Splenda. I stay away from aspertame because I found it was a direct link to my migraines. But Splenda was in most of my daily diet: yogurt, bread, english muffins, water mix-in stuff, light juices, etc. Not to mention a packet in every cup of coffee (to come: caffeine addictions - just kidding!).

Below is a link to a website I found with more information on Splenda and a blurb from the website that I found helpful. To be completely honest, I am not going to completely remove sugar from my diet, but I've decided to pretty much remove Splenda and just enjoy plain old sugar on occasion. I feel great!

Women to Women

Finding comfort in the right places

After taking a closer look at what you eat, it may also be useful for you to examine the role sweet food plays in your life. This often ties in to deep associations and emotions buried in childhood. Perhaps you always crave sugar in the mornings because you associate family, home, and security with the pancake breakfasts your mother used to make.

But just as a pancake breakfast won’t satisfy your emotional longings, fake sugar won’t feed your body’s needs — nor real sugar, for that matter. There simply are no shortcuts in that department. Facing what is really going on in our emotions, our bodies, and our lives can be challenging, and it’s tempting to take the easy out, buffeted by sugary treats and comfort food. In my experience, that path only leads back to the same place — more pain, and eventually, sickness.

So I encourage you to nourish yourself from the inside out, with healthy food, self-care, and healthy relationships. In life there is bound to be some bitterness — the secret is to restore enough balance to delight in the sweet.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Resolutions, Rewards and Restraint

In order to resolve to do something, I need a reward, but in order to reward myself, I need to exercise restraint. A piece of chocolate can’t work as a reward if I eat a box a day. I have to restrain myself until I hit my resolution.

I know that my will alone will not propel me to a goal. How do I know? The number of times I have willed myself to do something and failed. Even within my Weight Watchers journey, I have had weeks in which I just flat-out failed. Life ain’t always pretty. But when my goals and rewards were clear, I push passed the messy, vagueness of the failures. **As an aside, "failures" aren’t reason to beat ourselves up, but ways to learn about ourselves. We know this didn’t work, so what does?**

When I first hit my goal weight, I had a list of things that I did as a reward, but that meant saving those things for that special moment.

1. I got my wedding rings resized because they were too loose to wear. That meant I had several weeks that I couldn’t wear my rings at all. That was tough for me.

2. I got a new drivers’ license. I got a new picture and recorded my actual weight. It happened to be 15 pounds lighter than my fake weight before Weight Watchers.

3. I bought a brand new outfit that was not on sale. This was especially hard when I got within 2 pounds of my goal. I had my outfit picked out and my credit card warmed up. Well meaning people in my life mentioned that 2 pounds would not change the way the clothes fit. And although they were right, it was a reward I set aside for my goal weight. I had to wait the two weeks to make it worth it.

4. I added real butter back into my diet. Don’t get me wrong – spray butter has its place in this world, but I absolutely adore using real butter. I purchased the butter and it sat untouched in my fridge until the day I walked home with my goal weight obtained. It was very hard to leave it alone, but this was a big deal for me and I wanted it to be special.

So, now, I sit with my 5 pound holiday weight gain -- yes, still. I had been pretty apathetic towards losing it, but I realized it’s because I am not exercising restraint. I have nothing left to reward myself with.

I have consumed several donuts since the holiday weight gain. Last Friday, I reached my low point and ate 3 ½ donuts. To be more specific, they were Top Pot, hand-forged doughnuts (that someone else paid for!). If you are unfamiliar with Top Pot, these are the best, the largest, and most amazing donuts in existence. I had an old-fashion cinnamon-sugar, a Peppermint Snowdrift, a Raspberry-filled glazed and half of a Chocolate Bavarian Cream. I stayed away from the Apple Fritter due to the high point value. (What?!)

These are the donuts that I vowed would be used as a reward after weight loss or maintenance in my DON’Tnut blog in August. I would buy one, cut it up and have a piece of it every day. I robbed myself of my reward by treating it as commonplace.

As hard as it’s been, I’ve been Top Pot free for 7 days. I have my reward back and am motivated again. This dog won’t run if the rabbit isn’t out in front. See you at the finish line.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Jicama Fries

Jicama is called the Mexican Potato and I generally find it in the same section as jalepenos and ginger root in the produce section at the grocery store. I love jicama for several reasons.

1. It’s pronounced Heeckama, but it’s spelled cooler than that.
2. It seems to always be in season.
3. You can eat it raw, but peel it first.
4. It’s crunchy and sweet – cross between an apple and potato. For those of us allergic to apples, this is the next best thing.
5. If you cut it into little squares, it can replace croutons on your salad, but it’s a vegetable.

Of all the reasons why I love jicama, my favorite by far is what I call jicama fries.

Like with donuts, I have a problem with French fries. They are my gateway food. I can’t eat just one order of them. And, when I’ve indulged, I go back for the Quarter Pounder with (extra) Cheese because, well, why not? And then the two apple pies for $1 naturally follow. It’s a dangerous place to be. I also have a very large problem sharing fries - - *sigh* my poor husband.

BUT, I can trick myself with jicama.

I cut it up in slivers to look like french fries. Then, I add a little salt and put them on my plate next to my garden burger. It gives me the same feeling I get with french fries, but doesn’t make me want to run to McDonald’s. I know I’m eating a vegetable, but it LOOKS like a french fry and has many of the same qualities. And, I can eat a lot of it if I want to.

Shh! I am so sneaky. Just don’t tell myself, okay? I wouldn’t want to ruin the bliss.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Hidden Inspiration

Inspiration comes from the sneakiest places and I’ve recently realized that there is a TON hiding in the children’s category. I think it’s great that we want to inspire our children to dream big, but somewhere along the line, we lose the message after we’ve “grown up.” Life happens. Our innocence is lost. The dream-big message gets squashed.

Dreams are placed within us as children because of the inspirational messages and hopefully, because of inspirational adults. Where did they go? Remember the one thing you wanted to play all the time as a kid? What could you stay up all night long and talk about in high school?

The reason why the 60 year old college grad is in the news is because it’s uncommon. The reason why the fit 80 year old marathon runner is talked about is because it’s uncommon. We hang on to the words of motivational speakers, because their message is an uncommon one for adults. The uncommon thread is actually living out dreams.

With my son at five years old, I can acceptably live in the inspirational children’s world without judgement. I’d like to share a few things that have inspired me lately – Hannah Montana, Curious George and Kung Fu Panda.

Lyrics from Miley Cyrus’s song Who Said: (condensed for readability)

Who said I can't be Superman, I say that I know I can
Who said I won't be President, I say you ain't seen nothin' yet

Who said I can't be worldwide, I say time is on my side

Who said I can't be ten feet tall, I say that I can have it all

Your limitation is your imagination

I have to say, in all honesty, that I love listening to her songs, whether my son is around or not. I mean, seriously. Who said?!

Another great song is from the Curious George movie. Jack Johnson sings Upside Down and my favorite piece of that song is (again, edited for readability):

Who's to say what's impossible?
Well they forgot, this world keeps spinning
I want to turn the whole thing upside down

I'll find the things they say just can't be found

Finally, I have to pull out Kung Fu Panda. My son adores this movie. He is currently taking Karate and loves animals, so this one was a perfect fit. I have watched it about 1,000 times and don’t mind watching it again because I am inspired each time.

*****spoiler alert*****
No one thought the “flabby panda” could be the dragon warrior. There was a preconceived notion that the greatest warrior of the valley would be a fast, trim, fit and serious kung fu fighter. It was not so. The fate of the valley rested on the shoulders of the panda, who doubted his heritage, was uncomfortable in his own skin and ate when he was worried. Not one of the kung fu masters could fulfill his destiny to save the valley. It was only Po’s destiny. No one else could have lived it, even though they tried.
*****spoiler alert over*****

Through Kung Fu Panda, I learned that I am the only one who can live my life. No one can tell my story the way I can. No one can be the mom to my son that I can. No one can be April Rickard like I can. That is my destiny, no matter who I think looks better, speaks better or writes better. I can’t be intimidated out my dreams.

So, let’s get out our inspirational shovels and dig up our buried dreams! Let’s shake off the tragedies that convinced us that Hope is worthless. Let’s be proud to jam out to Hannah Montana in the car, or rate Kung Fu Panda as a five on our Netflix queue. Grab hold of the inspirational things in your life and use them – no matter how old we are! Let’s become Dorothy and force our feet down the yellow brick road. We will find friends and hope. We will get back home and, ultimately, we’ll find ourselves in the process.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

25 Random Things About Me

I did this on FaceBook and thought I would post it here too. It was a fun exercise!

1. In 2007, I lost 54 pounds and have kept it off, but still struggle with food.
2. I love that I live by water, mountains and trees, but still in a big city.
3. I prefer comedies. Too much drama overloads my compassion sensories.
4. I made up the term "compassion sensories"
5. I love to write and am writing my first novel.
6. I still have the same first job that I got after I graduated from college - 9 years ago - just got promoted a bunch.
7. I play practical jokes and view April 1st as a day set aside for me - my name is April, after all.
8. I have a red miniature longhaired dauchshund named Jasmine.
9. I am inspired by Hannah Montanta songs.
10. I wish I had more time with my son and husband during the week.
11. I am not good about cleaning my fish tank or flossing regularly.
12. I enjoy digital scrapbooking.
13. I wish I lived closer to family (most of the time!).
14. I have the pig.
15. I love the Message Bible - it's a pretty cool paraphrase that has helped me a lot.
16. I am addicted to facebook.
17. I can't park very well and can't parallel park at all.
18. My hair is very fuzzy, but nobody believes me. They are usually very shocked if they see it in it's natural state. I once scared my sister to tears at night because she thought I was a monster.
19. I have eaten a fried twinkie and was very disappointed. I'll take a box of the regulars any day - after all, they only put 10 in a box.
20. I like funny.
21. Cotton-Eyed Joe is one of the songs on my workout playlist.
22. Can't wait to see Paul Blart: Mall Cop (when it comes out on video)
23. Am madly in love with my husband and best friend, who happens to be the same person, thankfully.
24. I have an abnormally large space between my first and second toes on both feet, large enough for an extra toe.
25. My son also has the same space between his toes - I know he's mine!