Friday, December 31, 2010

Reminiscing 2010; Looking Forward to 2011

WOW.  Where has the time gone?!  It's the last day of 2010 today, as well as the conclusion of yet another decade ("And then one day you find, ten years have got behind you" ~ PF) Looking back, what a year it has been!  For me, it's been 365 days of learning, growing, regaining confidence in myself and figuring out who "I" am.  (HUGE thanks, always, to Mike, who has been my rock and my support throughout it all.)  Who knew that getting fit physically would go hand-in-hand with becoming more and more mentally and emotionally fit at the same time?!  I still have some way to go, but I've made GREAT headway throughout the year.

Big plans for 2011: Starting Jillian Michaels - 30 Day Shred tomorrow, January 1, 2011, with my sister-in-law, possibly my sister and mother, and a few people over at  With so much accountability, how could I NOT see this workout DVD through to its completion?!  I refuse to make excuses for myself any longer!

With my new running shoes and the beautiful (for December 31st!) weather we had today, I took off on a GREAT run this afternoon.  Runkeeper Pro (free until the end of the year, normally $9.99) for the iPod/iPhone is going to be a great tool for my continued run training.  I will be buying Run Coach Pro soon, to begin my half marathon training.

I am fired up and ready to forge ahead with renewed determination, confidence and audacity.  Life really is what you make of it -- hard work, dedication, no-excuses, and determination are KEY in achieving our goals.  I'm looking forward to a GREAT new year.  Together, let's ROCK 2011!!!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas 2010 Memories

Christmas 2010 turned out to be one of the BEST Christmases I've ever had, and certainly an amazing one for us as a family.  On fairly short notice, we found ourselves traveling to Las Vegas to spend Christmas with Mike's father and his side of the family.  I, having never been to Vegas, was quite excited.  Dalton was incredibly excited about flying for the first time, and Mike was absolutely grateful to be able to see family that he had not seen in several years.

We were made to feel right at home as soon as we arrived.  Christmas Eve was spent catching up with family, including my brother and his family (he is in the Air Force and just happens to be stationed in Vegas!).

Amy, Andy, Me, Evan, Mike and Dalton
Michael (Mike's father), Mike, and Shane (Mike's brother)
Christmas morning, we opened gifts, then Mike's cousin took us to Red Rock, where we hiked and took in the sights... absolutely gorgeous!

My favorite photo of Dalton
Mike and Dalton had the opportunity to bond even more throughout our vacation, and especially during our hike.  Mike gave him piggy-back rides over the streams, and they dubbed one another "Poppa Bear" and "Baby Bear".

Poppa Bear and Baby Bear
We went to Circus Circus on the Monday following Christmas Day, where Dalton rode as many indoor amusement park rides as he possibly could, we walked around taking in the sights, and Mike bought me a beautiful dress as my Christmas gift from him.  I feel GREAT in it!
My Christmas gift
We couldn't have asked for a better trip... we made so many memories and loved every second of it.  I feel SO blessed to have had the privilege of experiencing a different part of our country and meeting such great people that I have the honor of calling FAMILY!

I hope YOU had a great Holiday, too!  I would love to hear some of your Christmas/holiday memories... :)

Friday, December 17, 2010

Assisting Our Local Communities

Being very altruistic in nature, I do my best to volunteer my time, talents and skills wherever needed, as time allows me to do so.  Yes, I would LOVE more time in my day to devote to volunteering, fundraising and helping, but I feel that every little bit helps, and I no longer waste my time lamenting over "never enough time".  I do what I can, when I can, rather than doing nothing because I can only do a little.

With the holidays in full swing, who can forget the less fortunate in our local neighborhoods? Those who are barely able to afford to keep food on their families' tables, much less afford to buy nice gifts for their loved ones.  I admit that there was a time in my past when I relied on our local food bank to fill in the gaps when times got tough.  I felt such gratitude for their services, especially on behalf of my (then) infant/toddler son.

At this point in my life, I am very happy to be able to give back to the very same food bank that helped me out in the past.  I have pledged to lose 40 pounds between now and May 31, 2010, as part of the Pound for Pound Challenge*, sponsored by The Biggest Loser.  This year, for the first time, you can now create your own Pound for Pound Challenge team, and so I did just that!  Team Motivation is currently holding strong in second place in team rankings, and I'm looking to recruit more team members to help donate as much food as possible to as many local communities as possible.

If you or someone you know might find it in your/their heart to help this GREAT cause, please follow the directions below:

Go to:

Click on the "Pledge" tab, and it will give you the two options of "Join a Team" or "Pledge Pounds". 

Click on "Join A Team". 

Click on "Join Team" next to Motivation and it will open another window that will give you the option of "Change Teams" or "Continue Pledging". 

Follow the directions under "Continue Pledging" to register and pledge.

Also, join Motivation's Facebook group for support, encouragement and.. well.. motivation, of course!

Thank you SO much for considering donating your time to improving your own health while helping those less fortunate!

* For every pound you pledge to lose through May 31, 2011, the Pound For Pound Challenge will donate 11¢ to Feeding America® — enough to secure one pound of groceries on behalf of local food banks.

myLot User Profile

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Running Some Resolutions By Y'all

Having just completed a mile jog on the ole treadmill this evening, I thought I'd share a few things that crossed my mind during said jog.

One thing that popped up was resolutions for 2011 and beyond.  I'm talking fitness resolutions, or, more specifically, running resolutions.  Back in February 2010, I began a running program called Couch to 5K (C25K), which was the very start of me becoming a RUNNER.  Yeah, hard to imagine a year ago, calling myself a runner!  If interested, you can read more about my runner beginnings here.  Since then, I've run a 4 mile and two 5K races this year.

I've already decided that I'll be signing up for Fort4Fitness's half marathon to be held in September 2011.  So, beginning in January 2011, I'll begin using a half marathon training app for the iPod to prepare.  I'll also be signing up for several 5Ks and such -- maybe even a 10K or two -- along the way.  I'm SO ready for spring to get here already so I can get back to running outdoors.  The treadmill is alright, but since I began running outdoors this past spring, nothing quite compares.  The breeze, the sunlight... ahhhh...

Oh right... resolutions... So, after reviewing plans I've already made, I thought it over and I've made it my goal to participate in and finish a marathon by the end of 2012.  Yep.  Imma do it.  Because I'm determined like that.  Watch and see.

Have you any resolutions set for the upcoming new year?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Get Agitated!

So you want to make a change in your life.  What's holding you back from just forging ahead and making that change?  Wait, on second thought, don't tell me.  Why?  Because I'm sure I've made just about every excuse you're about to tell me, and then some, when I'm in "avoidance mode".

Instead, allow me to share with you what's worked for me to foster two major changes in my life.  One, I quit smoking a little over two years ago.  Two, I've lost somewhere between 30 and 50 pounds throughout 2010.  In both cases, I found something that absolutely bugged the crap out of me about the situations I wanted to change, and used that agitation not to get me down in the dumps, but to fuel the determination that I CAN and I WILL change what I want to change.

While I was smoking, I'd wake up every morning coughing my head off.  I was congested, I got sick more easily.  I finally got to the point where I was just plain OVER feeling gross.  I became absolutely irritated with always sniffling, stinking and coughing.  Of course, quitting and staying the course was in no way easy, I won't kid you, but once I was annoyed enough with just one aspect of the situation, my determination took on a life of its own.

Same with losing weight/getting fit.  One of the biggest things that I used to fuel my startup determination was the irritation and disgust I felt whenever I sat, especially at my desk at work, and the rolls of fat on my back would literally touch each other, kind of overlapping one another.  I became truly agitated about this, more and more so each and every day.  One day, I finally determined that I had two choices.  I could sit in disgust day in and day out, or I could get up and do something about it.  My previous blog post shows just which option I chose.

My suggestion to you, rather than relying on excuses, is this: Get Agitated!!  Find something, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, that just bugs the crap out of you about a situation you wish to change.  Get annoyed by it.  Enough so that it sparks the determination that, I believe, we ALL hold within ourselves.  Enough so that you say to yourself, "Enough is ENOUGH!"  And make that change!

Start small, set realistic goals, hold yourself accountable to whoever you need to, find support and encouragement from others (my inbox is always open: ctassell at inbox dot com), and just GO for it!  Good day and namaste!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Progress: June to December 2010

Documenting my progress from June 2010 to December 2010

Approximately 30lbs. lost!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

So Far, So Good

In reference to my last blog post, A Game Plan, I wanted to write a quick update.  Yesterday, I got up early, danced to Michael Jackson The Experience (Wii game) and had a fairly decent day as far as food goes.  I wanted a piece of fudge (my weeeeakness!) in the evening, but I noticed that it would put me over my calorie goal for the day.  So, I ate the fudge.  Then, I danced some more.  Fair trade, I'd say!

Today, I got up early again and hopped aboard our (oft-neglected) treadmill for twenty minutes.  Oh, and a little while ago, partly because I was cold and partly because I just plain felt like moving, I did 25 jumping jacks here at work while no one was looking.

And, since I finally found my Baron Baptiste Live - Core Power DVD (featuring background music by none other than my favorite chanter, Krishna Das), I've given some serious thought to a yoga workout after Dalton goes to bed and before The Biggest Loser comes on TV tonight.  Especially since there's more of that oh-so-tasty fudge in our refrigerator.  I've already had two pieces of it this afternoon.  This will most likely NOT stop me from wanting yet another piece this evening.

Tomorrow morning, I plan to get up early once again, early enough to complete all 50 minutes of 10 Minute Solution - Kickbox Bootcamp -- one of the workout DVDs that Netflix instantly streams.  It's intense, and just what I need for a great midweek burn.

So far, so good.  Will this trend continue?  As long as I stay determined and have Mike by my side to encourage and give me a figurative swift kick up the booty when I need it, I have every confidence that it will.  I'm SO ready to report a decent amount of weight loss over on MyFitnessPal again.  Good day and namaste!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

A Game Plan

Autumn arrived, and with it, the gradual decline of my motivation, drive and determination.  I won't bother to bore you with my laundry list of excuses.  It's all irrelevant, really.  I knew better the entire time.  Yet, I allowed excuse after excuse to keep me from what I really and truly want.  OK, so, time to stand tall once again, be tough and eradicate those wimpy, whiny excuses!  And, what better way to do so than to come up with a plan of action and then to actually follow through with it?!  I mean, I already have all the support one woman could EVER wish for, and for that I am absolutely grateful.

Speaking of support, I've been sort of hiding out from my MyFitnessPal crew lately -- mostly because of feelings of guilt and shame for not doing/being my best.  Feeling a little hypocritical even, at times.  Everyone there has always been so supportive of me throughout this journey, and I absolutely cannot stand the feeling of having let someone (or, in this case, a lot of someones!) down.

So, with that said, I felt the best way for me to get back on track would be to have a daily/weekly exercise plan at my disposal.  That way, I don't have to think about which workout I'm going to do, morning-by-morning.  Did I ever mention that I am NOT a morning person?!  ;)  I plan to streamline my morning routine as much as possible, so I stop feeling so rushed, harried and a failure.  Yep, let's change things so I can more easily change the thoughts with which I identify.  ;)

Today, I will be formulating my game plan.  A week-by-week exercise plan.  And, more importantly, STICKING to it!  Thank you, to everyone who has been supportive of me throughout EVERYTHING.  It really does mean a LOT to me.  Good day and namaste!

To Defy the Laws of Ego ~ Explaining the Blog Name Change

Having quietly changed the title of my blog a little while back, from "To Defy the Laws of Tradition" to "To Defy the Laws of Ego", I thought maybe I should take this time to explain.

Ego is identification with thoughts.  Without thoughts, there is no ego.  Eckhart Tolle explains this concept very well in this video.  I highly recommend watching/listening to it to learn more.

I am highly aware of how many, as Mr. Tolle puts it, "hostile, life-limiting entities (thoughts)" about myself that I carry around with me, and have for a very long time.  So ingrained for so many years that I have fully believed them to be absolute truth.  Never did realize, until more recently that this is only my perception; not truth, not set in stone.

So therefore, I felt this blog would serve me best by morphing into a place to document my defiance of those deeply ingrained thoughts, the biggest one being, "I'm not good enough; I'm not worthy."  Digging deep to stop deriving my identity from thoughts, or, better put, to be aware enough of what I think on a daily basis to make sure I identify with life-expanding, joyful thoughts about myself and the world in which I live.  "Transcending" the ego by being aware of and choosy about the thoughts with which I identify.

Next up, a blog containing my game plan for getting back on track with fitness, weight loss, running and being the best person I can be.  Wallowing in self-pity over things I am fully capable of changing about myself shall no longer be tolerated.  Good day and namaste!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My Homemade Cranberry Sauce Recipe

I made my very first homemade cranberry sauce last year and have since vowed to NEVER go back to the canned stuff again.  Not when it's SO easy to make.  And, Dalton absolutely LOVES it.  He requested a second batch of it this year, after the first batch was gone.  I promised him I'd make some more today, and a good friend requested the recipe; hence, this blog!

I started off with this recipe as a base and made a few modifications to put my own twist on the recipe.  This photo shows all the ingredients and equipment I used ...

12oz bag of fresh cranberries
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup orange juice
pomegranate juice (optional)

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, dissolve sugars in the orange juice.  Stir in the cranberries and squeeze the pomegranate juice into the mixture, and cook until the cranberries start to pop (about 10 minutes).  (Optional: I like to use a masher to mash up some of the cranberries, before transferring the sauce to a bowl or container.)  Remove from heat and place sauce in a bowl. The sauce will thicken as it cools.  

The easiest way I have found to "juice" the pomegranate seeds is to put them into a small or medium sized sieve and press on them with the back of a spoon.

I love eating the sauce by itself, and I've found that it tastes absolutely delicious on pumpkin bread (or, probably any bread or toast, for that matter!), much like a jam or preserve.  Dalton loves it mixed into his oatmeal for a healthy, tasty, filling breakfast.  Usually, it doesn't last long enough in our house to use it for much of anything else, but I'd imagine you could use it in baking, or to make a tasty homemade cranberry vinaigrette.  It may also make a nice additional stir-in to a yummy homemade chicken salad.  Many options!  Let me know if you try it, if you like it and what you end up using it for!

For more tasty recipes and healthy meal ideas, please check out my honey's blog, over at What's For Dinner ... Dad?!  Good day and namaste!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Remembering How Far I've Come

I'd stayed up late last night, playing Magic: The Gathering online with my best friend and life partner. I was enjoying our time together and didn't want it to end. We so cherish the time we get to spend together.

So, this morning, I started out the day in a foul mood.  One, because I was still sleepy.  Two (as a result of One), because I didn't get up in enough time to exercise.  I've still been slacking, in my eyes, on the amount of exercise I've been putting in lately.  The foul mood then extended itself and attracted other foul thoughts to add to the party.  'Tis true that misery loves company, even in thought-form.

Determined not to allow negativity to ruin my day, I began listening to a few Abraham-Hicks videos on YouTube as a way of helping me change my perspective and thoughts.  As I listened to the first video, a thought occurred to me.  Here I was, steeped in, "I should.. I would.. I ought to.. I haven't been.. I'm not doing enough.." type of thoughts. You get the idea, I'm sure.  When all of a sudden, I wake up (again) to the fact that I'm not practicing self-love by thinking these nasty thoughts about myself.  Somehow, somewhere along the way, I'd forgotten, I'd gotten it back into my head that I'm just not good enough, not worthy.  Well you know what, nice try Ego!  I'm on to you again.

I AM good enough.  I AM worthy of love, from myself and from others.  I WILL keep repeating these thoughts until they STICK!  All I have to do is look back on how far I've come, especially in the past several months, and KNOW that I'm worthy, that I have much to contribute to the world, that I don't HAVE to stick with the all-too-familiar self-defeating, self-belittling thoughts of the PAST.

Heck, I was telling my son just this morning (again) how he can at any moment change the way he thinks, feels, behaves and acts.  Not necessarily all at once, but baby steps, a little at a time.  Time to take my own advice, methinks!

Lesson:  When I find myself locked in negative, self-defeating thoughts, one key to reopening my mind and refreshing my perspective is to look back on how much progress I've made so far, how far I've come.  "You've Come a Long Way, Baby".  Good day and namaste!

Friday, November 5, 2010

YOU are the Key to Your Own Success

Within you lies all the self-love, confidence, happiness, joy and LOVE that you'll ever need to accomplish anything you set your heart to, and to see you through ANY situation, "good" or "bad".  It's simply not a matter of searching for these things outside yourself.  Within you is a never-ending well of strength, compassion (for self and others), determination and creativity.  The key to unlocking these characteristics lies within you as well.  Surround yourself with positive people, places, things, think happy, positive, joyful thoughts, and watch your entire world change around you.

One day in mid-February 2010, I came across an app for my iPod Touch (which has since been stolen - my heart holds no bitterness over this fact; I only wish that someone else benefits positively from the iPod), called Couch to 5K (or C25K, for short).  This MP3 download available on is similar: 8 Weeks to 5k Training Program.  I began using C25K shortly thereafter; my only intention at the time was to improve my own health and wellbeing.  In May 2010, I signed myself up for a 4-mile run in September and a 5K race in October.  In July 2010, I joined My Fitness Pal in order to further my goals.

At some point during all of this, I felt I wanted yet another way to keep myself motivated, accountable and determined.  So, I started a group on Facebook, simply called Motivation. to share stories, links, posts, articles, photos, quotes and the like with anyone interested in such things.  The group has since grown to nearly 700 members!  Wow!

Like I said, I didn't start out with the intention of motivating, helping, encouraging or inspiring others.  I was and still am simply following my heart, doing what I feel is best for myself and my family.  I wish to pause here and thank my heart, my rock, and my life partner, Mike, for ALL his encouragement, support and unconditional LOVE throughout this journey -- without him, I wouldn't be where I am today.  He has positively changed my life so that I may positively change the lives of others.  Ever grateful. <3

I often think back to that day in February, that very day I took the reigns to change my life, to take responsibility for my actions, my choices, my issues, and to stop blaming other people, places, things and situations for my dissatisfaction, sadness, loneliness, bitterness and anger.  I often wonder what my world would be like today if I hadn't taken those steps.  With Mike's help and encouragement, I've worked through every one of those issues, faced them, dug deep to find the source of my unpleasant feelings, and now, at this point in my life, I am the absolute happiest I've ever been.  I AM happiness.  I am finally ME.  I have learned to accept myself the way I am right now, as well as striving to be, do and have everything I have ever and will ever long for.  I finally understand the concepts covered in a book I read years ago, which opened up a whole new world to me, even then: Ask and It Is Given.  Talk about full circle!

YOU are the key to changing your life!  Right now, you can take one small step toward a more positive, happier life, just by becoming aware of your thoughts, taking hold and changing them for the better.  One of the quickest, most effective ways of doing this is to jot down a list of the many blessings in your life.  I find that whenever my mind wants to turn toward that which I do not want in my life, that which I dislike, I can halt that train right in its tracks and turn it toward what I DO want in my life, what I LOVE about my life, or WOULD like in my life.  It takes practice, but it IS possible and SO beneficial.

Before I conclude this blog, I ask that you please consider helping me EMPOWER you and others, by taking just one moment to visit this link, vote for my story, and perhaps share the link with your friends.  Through EmpowHer's 1000 Women campaign, they are recruiting 1,000 women who will then each reach out to 1,000 women to create the biggest movement for women’s health and wellness.  I would greatly appreciate your support!  Thank you, good day, and namaste!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Running a Little Under the Weather

Today was the day of my first ever 5K race, and only my second ever race (my first, a 4 mile, I completed just last month).  The River City Rat Race,  held in downtown Fort Wayne, featuring a course that just happened to go right past my mom's house.

Now, in the three weeks leading up to race-day, I started to feel a cold coming on.  I managed to fight it off at onset for the first two weeks.  I get to the beginning of this week just past, and BOOM, the cold sucker punches me right in the nose.  Commence congestion and a sore throat.  Thankfully the sore throat only lasted for a day.  The congestion, however, continues, and invited it's good friend Mr. Cough along for the duration.  Yep, two days before race day and I'm hit with a cough.  Yay.

Obviously, I was determined to run anyhow.  I only ran one time this entire week, on Wednesday morning, in preparation.  But, before this week, I'd been training regularly, so I wasn't particularly worried.

Back to race day.  Upon arrival at the starting line, I didn't find anybody I knew, so I paced through the crowd, doing a few warmup stretches and mentally preparing myself for said race.  All was fine apart from a few nerves, nothing I couldn't handle.  At the beginning of the race, I felt strong, ready to tackle this 5K with a great finish time.  The first half mile or so was easy.  I got toward the end of the first mile and that's when the stitch in my side began to show itself.  Not great, but not unmanageable.  I finished my first mile in 11:05.  As I continued on, the stitch became stronger and I found that I hadn't hit my breathing stride as I normally would well before the first mile was over.  I kept going, determined to not have to stop and walk at any point.  After starting the second mile, it became apparent that I was being affected by this cough/cold more than I'd bargained for and that this was going to be a REAL challenge for me to overcome, not being able to regulate my breath to a deeper, calmer state.  I had to stop and walk (kept it at a brisk walk) to try and rid myself of the stitch and to allow myself to catch my breath for a few moments.

I finished my second mile at 22:30, and from there on I alternated running and brisk walking so that I wouldn't end up doing myself more harm than good.  I admit I got a little frustrated with myself toward the 2 and a half or so mile mark.  I really wanted to rock this run and I was frustrated that this cold was holding me back.  Then, a girl who was herself struggling to keep going kindly offered to run together with me, to keep each other going to the end.  So kind of her. :)

I kept going and didn't stop to walk again until the end.  And now, the part everyone's been waiting for, the results:

Official finish time -- 34:35
Average mile time -- 11:11
Finished 21st in my age division (30-34) and 97th female.

This means that, despite the cold and the brisk walks, I still finished this race with a better average mile time than my Fort4Fitness 4 mile run last month (where I averaged around 12 minutes per mile)!!!  This pleased me very much and has me excited about the 5K trail race I'll be participating in along with Mike and his brother on November 20th.  I'm pumped about continuing to train, and my goal for the trail race is a 10 minute (or less mile)!  Good day and namaste. :)

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finding My Way

This blog is the result of a conversation with Mike today.  He and I met on this day two years ago.  And what an amazing two years it's been.  The two of us have been through so much together, both amazingly good and terribly bad.  And we've weathered it all, together.  We make quite the team!

So, we were driving back from my mom's house earlier and we got on the subject of further education.  My own personal experience with further education consisted of a single semester before dropping out and moving to England.  The England thing is a story for another day.  Anyhow, at the time, fresh out of high school, I had absolutely NO clue whatsoever as to what I wanted to do career-wise for the rest of my life.  I felt pressured to make a choice, so I went with elementary education.  I love children.  However, once enrolled and attending college, I .. I just knew I wasn't ready to commit to one single career path without knowing whether that was really what I wanted or not.

So commence my life as a high school graduate/college dropout.  Fast forward to the present day, a little over a month before my thirty first birthday, with a six year old son, and FINALLY in an amazing relationship with the guy I am absolutely certain I wish to marry and beside whom I would adore spending the rest of my days.  Only relatively recently have I finally discovered my knack, my niche, my path, my purpose.  I am ever thankful to Mike for being my rock and allowing me to cry on his shoulder more times than either of us can count, as I worked (and continue to work) through so many (mostly self-confidence) issues.  It's truly amazing what two people can do for one another and themselves when they're both fully committed to making things work and actually, truly caring for one another.

I have had other support as well.  Regina from Romancing Your Soul always has sage advice whenever something is bugging me.  My mother, bless her, has been by my side, supporting everything I've ever done, whether she felt it was "right" for me or not.  I believe she realized a long time ago that her children would be stronger and better off for being allowed to make their own choices as teens and young adults, thereby learning their lessons the "hard" way at times.  That's not at all to say that she didn't "care" about our choices; she just knew better than to "forbid" the very things we felt were right for us at the time. And, she's always been there to help pick up the pieces and support us when things seem to be at their bleakest!  Her husband, my stepdad -- he too is always there to listen, to help and to encourage.  So happy to have the privilege of calling him Dad. :)

It's an amazing feeling, finally knowing I'm on my heart's path, doing the right thing for myself and my family.  This is the feeling that's been missing, the one that's left such an "empty" feeling in my heart these many years past.  Now, it's a matter of believing in myself enough to be patient and allow the Universe to continue to guide me along my heart's path.  Everything is aligning beautifully and though I'm sure I'll still encounter rough patches along the way, I know that I'm worth being loved, supported and encouraged through them, onward toward fulfilling my hopes, wishes and dreams.  And, as my path seems to be leading toward helping others in a similar fashion, I know that YOU are worth being loved, supported and encouraged as well!  Good day and namaste.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October the Nineteenth.

What a day. Woke up feeling super sad, with no idea why.  Didn't hit me until I was at work, and wrote down today's date for the first time of the day.  October 19.  Memorable for not just one loss (ectopic pregnancy 2006), but a second one just last year (miscarriage).  Yep, that explains it.

After that, though, I began to feel better.  Better about everything.  As if my three little angel children were right there, supporting me, letting me know it's OK to be happy, to be confident, to be the best person I can be.  Truth is, I've been sliding lately, since I hit my first weight loss mini-goal.  Not sure why.  A number of factors all combined together is my guess.  Anyhow, yeah, I've been basically in "maintenance mode" for a week and a half, stalling my own progress.  How sneaky my own self-sabotaging ways were this time!  Suddenly afraid of taking that next step, going that little bit further.

Well, I'm happy to report that I've taken notice of how much of a hindrance I've been to myself these past few days and I'm ready to regain control, confidence and lose some more weight!  I want to ROCK Monday's weigh-in, and, just as importantly, I want to know that I gave it my very BEST at my upcoming 5K race this Sunday.  So, bright and early tomorrow morning, I'll be out there, giving it my all, in preparation for a great race.

Thank you to everyone who has supported me through this time.  Love to you all!! Good day and namaste.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day

Please consider joining me tomorrow evening in remembering all pregnancies and infants gone too soon.  For more information and beautiful memorial items for purchase, please visit the official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day website.

My candle will be lit in memory of my three angel babies:

~ October 19, 2006 ~ ectopic pregnancy ~
~ January 14, 2009 ~ miscarriage ~
~ October 19, 2009 ~ miscarriage ~

Thank you.  Good day and namaste.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Aren't We Sweet Enough Already?!

I've seen several posts on Facebook and MyFitnessPal today regarding sugar, high fructose corn syrup (HFCS, or, soon to be renamed corn sugar), artificial sweeteners and natural sweeteners.  So, I thought a blog sharing my own personal thoughts on this topic would be appropriate.  Or, perhaps more specifically, I think I'll focus on soda in particular.

Soda.  What is it about this sugary, carbonated, nutritionally-void beverage that has the average American drinking 60 gallons-worth per year?*  No, really.  I wanna know.  What's your personal take on this statistic?  I ask because I'm one of those oddballs who has never really "craved" soda - never much interested in it as a kid, parents never really had it around, never could stand to guzzle such a fizzy beverage so that it normally takes me an hour or more to get through a single can.  Oh, and too much caffeine and I have never really been the greatest of friends. *jitterzzz*

Of course I'm not going to say that I've never touched the stuff, or that I haven't had a few months here and there where I've drank more than my usual (usual = very little to none).  However, almost 100% of the time, I won't touch cola of any sort - I find it far to acidic.  It's as if I can FEEL the acids damaging my teeth & my insides, seriously.  I tend to stick with Mountain Dew or clear sodas such as 7UP or Sprite.  However, since starting my fitness journey, I've come to the point where I'm back to not touching soda at all.  And I'm all the happier for it, too, especially after having read some articles on the effects of soda on our bodies.  I've linked a few of these at the end of this blog in case you're interested in doing some research of your own.

Consuming THIS much sugar, in any form, natural or artificial, is just plain bad for our health.  Really.  What is it about the American diet that has us stuffing ourselves with so much unhealthy garbage?  And, with soda, it's not JUST the sugar that's absolutely terrible for us.  The following health problems can all be linked back to soda consumption: obesity, diabetes and tooth damage (sugar), osteoporosis (phosphoric acid), and harm to major organs such as the kidneys, liver and heart.  Even so-called "diet" soda isn't exempt from this list of ailments.  Aspartame (Equal, NutraSweet), an artificial sweetener, is a known TOXIN to our bodies.

Let's work together to break the high-sugar habit!  If you're looking to lose weight, one of the first and easiest things you can do is to give up soda.  All those empty calories can easily be replaced with healthier, and just as tasty, alternatives. 

I'd love to have some feedback on this topic, whether you agree or disagree with me.  Good day and namaste!

Other articles of interest:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Happy or Not? Your Choice!

Many people tend to view happiness as something external to them. As something that money, time, people, or things can offer.  If only they had this, that or some other thing, then they'd be happy.  OK, so these things may offer temporary happiness, once attained.  However, what tends to happen once these things are obtained, then their "newness" wears off?  Typically, we're off on yet another quest for happiness in the next thing, the next relationship, the next windfall.  Welcome to a never-ending cycle!

True, lasting happiness.  That's what I'm talking about, not just temporary, short-lived happiness.  I've found through research, reading, experience and experimentation that it does no good to place your own personal happiness and wellbeing in the hands of another person, place or thing.  Happiness MUST come from within.  Happiness despite adversity, obstacles, flaws, things going awry, etc.  Besides, what is happiness without the other side of the coin, sadness?  There would be no happiness without sadness.  Duality.  Lao Tsu goes into great detail on this subject, within the Tao Te Ching.  The point is not to have absolute perfect circumstances as a prerequisite for happiness.  The point is to practice happiness (yes, practice!) in all situations, good, bad or indifferent.  It's a personal choice, just like being angry, upset, depressed, sad or otherwise is a personal choice, believe it or not!

Just this morning, my day started off typically.  I tend to drag booty most mornings in getting out of bed.  Bed is just so comfortable!  No different this morning.  Got up, got ready for work as usual, and left for the day.  On my drive to work, typical Tuesday blues started setting in.  Thoughts start invading my mind as if they were prerecorded (which they may as well be, seeing as I've thought them into habit!): "It's only Tuesday.  I hate being away from home all day/week long.  Argh, here's to another long day at work." etc.

However, I wanted THIS Tuesday to be different.  I could feel the difference in my body, my mindset, when I started in on the prerecorded thoughts.  It just didn't feel GOOD.  So, not particularly easy for me yet, but becoming easier with practice, I began systematically changing each thought as it came up into something positive.  "It's only Tuesday." became "It's Tuesday and that means the Biggest Loser is on TV tonight. I love that show!"  "I hate being away from home all day/week long." became "I love my family SO much I just cannot wait to get home to them and have a wonderful evening together."  "Argh, here's to another long day at work." became "Wow, I get to take my brand new purse with me to work today; that was just SO nice of my aunt to think of me!" etc.

When I got to work, I decided I was in quite the reflective mood, so I put on my most "spiritual" music - Krishna Das (one of my favorites of his is Pilgrim Heart).  Later, I may switch back to A Perfect Circle (Emotive).  Music is always a HUGE mood enhancer for me.

Basically, I CHOOSE to be happy today.  I could have chosen to stick with my crappy mood.  I could have chosen to get up and be angry this morning.  But, I choose happiness.  It can take some work at times - I won't lie and say it's easy as pie (especially at first!), but with practice, it does get easier and easier.

I choose to stay as positive as possible despite the choices of others around me.  What mood do YOU choose today?  Good day and namaste!

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Obligatory Introduction :)

So, here it is.  Not my first ever blog because, of course, I've done the blog thing before, long ago by way of MySpace and, more recently, on MyFitnessPal.  However, I thought that having a place such as this to blog about whatever comes to mind (rather than needing to keep it related to fitness/exercise) sounded like a grand idea.

For those of you wondering about my choice of blog name, it's a Primus song title.  One of my favorites, ever.  It's so ME.  I've always, in one way or another, taken issue with conformity for conformity's sake, tradition just because "that's the way it's always been done", and automatically going along with something without questioning, "Why?"  I refuse to let others do my thinking for me.  I'll ask questions, research and then make up my own mind, thanks.  OK, I haven't ALWAYS followed this in EVERY aspect of my life, but more and more so as I age, learn, grow, and experience this thing we call life.  I can't justify following the crowd for the mere sake of "fitting in".  I'd rather be ME, thanks.  This reminds me of a quote I first came across back in high school: "To get nowhere, follow the crowd."  Still fitting, even today.

Anyhow, I'm open to topic suggestions, if you have something on your mind upon which you'd like to hear my ... dare I say it? ... opinion.  Other than that, I plan to blog whenever the mood strikes (and time allows!), about whatever topic pops into my head on any given day.  I suppose that's as good a way as any to start out a fresh new blog, yeah?

Any hints, tips and suggestions from more seasoned bloggers would be appreciated.  I'm all for trial and error, figuring out what works and what doesn't for me and my blog as time passes, but if you have a tried-and-true hint, tip or trick, please share.  All part of the research and experimentation process!

OK, intro complete.  Off for now to get some work done and ponder possible future blog topics.  Here's hoping you stick around with me to see what becomes of this, my own little bitty corner of the vast blog-iverse.  Good day and namaste!