Archive for November, 2008

Thanksgiving Gratitude

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

Thanksgiving is a great time to stop and think about what I’m grateful for. I listed a few things in my last post, and as a rule, I say a small gratitude prayer every night before I go to bed. While I am so extremely grateful for my family and friends and all the things on my list, I have to say that one of the biggest things I continue to be grateful for is my abstinence from compulsive overeating.

Yesterday was my 7th Thanksgiving in a row where I didn’t overeat. Instead, I ate exactly what was on my weighed and measured food plan just like I do on any other day. I have to tell you – it felt great. I loved being able to remain comfortable in my clothes and in my skin, and yet still be satisfied.

I love knowing that no amount of food – no matter how tempting – is worth eating when it just destroys my sanity and self-esteem.

I know if I would have indulged in any of the foods that were not on my food plan that I wouldn’t have stopped there. I would have over-indulged for the Thanksgiving meal itself and then kept on going throughout the night and probably on to the next day. In fact, I’m honestly not sure when I would have stopped. That’s my cross to bear: I can’t stop once I start eating foods that are problems for me.

I’m so extremely grateful that I’ve been given the willingness and ability to refrain from eating problem foods today. What a new way of life!

I have a weigh-in on Monday (I weigh every first of the month) and it’s barely even a blip on the radar because I don’t have the whole “holiday eating factor” to take into account. Thank you, God!!

The Flu

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

I got my first flu shot this year. Prior to getting it, I polled everyone I knew. “Should I get the flu shot? My workplace is giving them free to all employees.” With the exception of just a few, the response was overwhelming: get the shot.

Well guess what? The majority rule are a bunch of dummies. Two weeks from the day I got that shot, I came down with the flu. It’s been two weeks since I came down with the flu and I’m still recovering. It’s been a rough month.

An aggravating result of getting the flu was the setback of my physical therapy progress. My neck and shoulders are now back to the level of pain and loss of range in motion I was experiencing 6 weeks ago. It’s pretty frustrating. It’s been 3 months since my accident. I never would have thought I’d still be feeling the effects all this time later. It’s changed my quality of life without a doubt.

Anyway, this week is Thanksgiving, and I need to focus on gratitude. I do have much to be grateful for in my life and so I’ll end this post with a gratitude list – something I haven’t done nearly enough lately.

I’m grateful for:

  • the pain in my neck, shoulders, and back – for it means I’m not paralyzed
  • my physical therapist – he is great at what he does and has an engaging personality. I enjoy my visits.
  • my sponsor – she reads my lengthy emails and listens to meandering phone calls moaning about my life’s problems and responds with love and tenderness
  • the women I sponsor – they remind me on a daily basis what a gift and miracle recovery from addiction is
  • my job – it’s definitely not something anyone can take for granted in these economic times
  • Rob’s job – he went 8 long months without one, so we definitely appreciate him being employed now
  • my immediate family – I love all three of my guys so much. The boys are so funny and different from each other, and Rob is always such a loving supporter.
  • My extended family – between my parents, my siblings, my nieces & nephews, and inlaws, I’ve got a full plate that provides me with a lot of joy most of the time.
  • Facebook and the resulting rekindling of friendships from my youth
  • the Internet, TV, and books – my three main sources of entertainment
  • Music – I’m not much of a musician, but my life has always been surrounded by music in one way or another and without it – I start to wither.

I suppose I could go on for a while, but those are the things that are really present for me today. What are you grateful for?

Count Your Blessings

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

My mom used to say this to me all the time when I was growing up. “Count your blessings. You don’t realize how fortunate you are. There are starving children in Africa.”

Of course, these sentiments fell deaf on the ears of an ignorant, indulged middle-class white American girl. I honestly thought quite the opposite was true; I had to be one of the most unfortunate people in the world, didn’t I? I mean, my parents were strict and at times physically abusive, we didn’t have a lot of spare change lying around and I had to wear non-name-brand clothing a lot (gasp!). How could anyone have possibly had it worse than me? Okay. Maybe a few people could have possibly had it worse than me. But, not many – trust me!

My, how times and perspectives have changed. Today I count my blessings on a regular basis, and I still don’t think I’m grateful enough. I do frequently question the good fortune of my life, though. How is it that I was not only lucky enough to be born in America – arguably one of the greatest nations in the world – but also, born to parents who loved me unconditionally (albeit in their twisted way at times), born in modern times where I don’t have to worry about when my next bath will be, being persecuted for being a woman, or dying from the whooping cough? I’ve also never experienced racism or bigotry directed at me to a large extent because the color of my skin is white. About the only way I could have been more blessed is if I was born a male to an affluent family. Not that I consider the opposite sex better than my own, but being a female does mean I’m a minority and there are some drawbacks associated with it.

I think about the people in other nations – the women especially – who are suffering atrocities every single day: female genital mutilation, repeated rape, forced prostitution, arranged marriage, starvation – the list goes on. I could have very easily been born to a lifetime of such horror. But I wasn’t. And I need to recognize that fact on a regular basis, lest I find myself reverting to the thought processes I had as a child.

Yesterday we were given some startling and troubling news at work. The company is looking at cutting costs in a number of ways, some of which could have a negative financial impact on some employees. I understand this sucks. The whole damn economy in the US sucks right now. We’re living in precarious and unsettling times. Yet, we still remain fortunate, in my opinion.

The news yesterday was an announcement of some upcoming changes that will definitely be happening, as well as some changes they are only thinking about implementing. The company has a policy of being open with their employees, and I appreciate that, probably more than most given my history. You see, I worked for another company for 8 years whose policies resembled nothing of openness and candor. Everything was clandestine and hush-hush. If there were going to be layoffs, you heard about them as you were being escorted out the door, and those left behind were given shoddy explanations. This is why, even though the news yesterday wasn’t great, I’m still grateful. I appreciate the advance notice and the respect given to the employees here. As an employee, it increases my loyalty and faith in the company itself.

Not everyone has the benefit of walking in each others’ shoes, though, and I’m seeing evidence of that today. There’s a lot of bitterness and complaining going around. My viewpoint seems to be in the minority. I want to preach to certain people the same way my mom did to me as a young child. “You don’t know how good you have it. Count your blessings.” I won’t do that. But, it’s a good thing I have a blog. ;-)

Now go count your blessings. (And thank a veteran!)

Great Weekend

Sunday, November 9th, 2008

We had a nice family-centric weekend. I love when that happens.

Yesterday was a surprise 60th birthday party for my dad. My mom arranged for it to be held in the gymnasium of their church. Mom and I had a good time running around getting all of the stuff before the party and being as clandestine as possible. We could have done a better job at the latter, though, because my dad had a slight suspicion about the party when he drove to the church. Oh well, he had no idea up until that moment, so that was good. The party was great, and that’s all that really matters.

Here are some photos – click through to see the full set on Flickr.

Dad's Party Mosaic

Today we spent some time cleaning the inside of the house – but not too much. We spent the majority of our efforts raking and bagging leaves. All told, we ended up with 12 yard-size bags of leaves and we’ve still got two trees with quite a few leaves left on them. It’s going to be so nice to not track in 50 million leaves when we come in the house – at least for a little while.

While the kids recuperated from doing manual labor, Rob and I took Grace to a local dog park that recently opened. I’d been following the news about the park’s progress and have wanted to go for a little while now, so I was quite excited to be taking the trip. The park is about 5 miles from our house which is pretty awesome.

Grace had the best time at the park. She ran in and greeted all of the people before even acknowledging any of the dogs when we first got there. That cracked me up. It was fun to watch her interact with the other dogs once she got going, though. Turns out Grace is quite the peacemaker. Every time there was even a hint of a scuffle, Grace came running through, right smack in the middle of the crowd of dogs, tail wagging, tongue hanging, with a huge grin on her goofy face.

We’ve heard narry a peep out of Grace since coming home and it’s been over 4 hours now. She is completely wiped out. Rob and I are enjoying her tiredness; it’s like when infants and toddlers go down for a nap and parents breathe a sigh of relief. The silence and stillness is a welcome change.

And now – it’s time for some Eagles football! Kickoff is right this second. My parents are at the game, so hopefully the birds don’t disappoint.

Forget That No Shampoo Thing

Friday, November 7th, 2008

Well that didn’t last long. Four days ago, I noticed that my hair was a big, fat ball of grease by the end of the day. In addition – the wings on the side of my head were back! Oh no they ditunt. My scalp was itching and I was seeing flakes of dry skin. I knew the next day I was going to have to break out the shampoo. And so I did. And the result was having my clean, shiny, luxurious and not greasy hair back.

Yesterday I just washed my bangs and styled my hair as usual – all was well.

Today I went back to the conditioner-only routine. As I blew my hair dry, I noticed it was flat, limp, and somewhat greasy. Picking up my hair by the ear area, I saw flakes and lots of oiliness. What the heck?? I ended up washing my hair with shampoo in the sink since I was already dressed for the day.

I’m still staying away from products with silicone in them, but I don’t know about this conditioner-only thing any more. It worked so well for the first week or so! Maybe just the shock of doing something different tricked my hair? I’m not sure what the deal is. I just know that today my scalp feels oh-so-clean and my hair looks okay, too.

And so it goes.