“That which does not kill us…”

This Wisdom Wednesday is also National Trauma Survivors Day.  I couldn’t think of a more appropriate quote.

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Because I Said I Would

Some days it is very easy to get my blog post done.  Everything goes as planned.  I’m not too busy.  The stars are aligned just right.  I am feeling creative and the words just flow into the text box.

Other days it seems nothing plays out the way I imagined it would.  I have way too many things on my plate.  My horoscope hints of impending doom.  My cursor blinks, like the patting of a foot, awaiting the formulation of a thought.

Although today isn’t quite the latter scenario, it certainly isn’t the former either.  But the bottom line is that I have made a commitment to myself.  And one of the things I am working on is honoring my word.  So tonight, at the end of a busy day, without a lot to say, I am writing this post… not because I have some wisdom to impart or because something bad will happen if I don’t, but because I said I would.

 

Reflection Time (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

 

Reflection Time

Taken with my iPhone 5S, using Tonal filter.  Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge, Week 3: Black & White.  I think Black & White is one of my favorite weeks of the challenge.  I love the way shiny things looks in black and white, so I thought I would capture my watch and earrings on my mirrored tray to see what I would get.  I am pleased with the way it turned out, especially the way the light just kisses the edges of things.

Human Touch

A friend who attends my spiritual center brought her mother with her for the first time today.  At the end of our service, we all hold hands and sing It’s In Every One Of Us, and many folks get the whole Kum Ba Yah sway going.  My daughter and her husband also brought a friend today, and he had the typical reaction that I’ve seen many have to holding hands and singing with strangers… it weirded him out a little.  But back to my friend…

As we were leaving, I saw my friend and her mother.  She was beaming.  I asked her what she thought and she gave an atypical response to the one I often hear.  She said it had been so long since she had held someone’s hand and she talked about how good it felt.  She even talked about holding her daughter’s hand, which made me realize how fortunate I am that I have a “touchy-feely” family.  My parents always hugged us and kissed us, as I do my children.  Even my youngest son with mild Autism likes hugs and kisses from people he loves.

At the end of my arthritis class at the YMCA, the instructor has participants hold hands for a prayer.  For arthritis sufferers, some of those folks (many of which are 20 years my senior) have a serious grip!

My in-laws are huggers and kissers, as is my husband.  It is one of the good things he attributes to his ex-wife.  My husband still holds my hand when we are in the car, or out in public… or when we’ve just watched a touching scene in a movie.

We know that babies can die from lack of physical attention.  Our skin is our largest organ and full of nerve endings whose stimulation can give us a sense of well being.  Have you ever been to a nursing home where many of the elderly have few visitors?  The first thing many of them do is reach out and grab your hand.

Human touch is critically important.  I encourage you to grab your spouse’s hand, hug your kids, or give your mom and dad a kiss.  Obviously, you have to be discerning, but there are people out there in the world that could use a hug or a hand on their shoulder too.

Fighting for Air and Finishing

Fighting for Air
Fighting for Air

Many of the people I love, and some of those I’ve lost, have tried to quit smoking.  Some have been successful.  Others have not.  I support the Fight for Air Walk because the American Lung Association does help people quit smoking.  My first walk was about the grieving process after losing my dad.  This year’s walk was different.  This was Daddies’ Girls third year walking and after my accident in November, I wasn’t sure I would be able to begin the walk, much less finish it.  As it turns out, I was able to begin and I even finished.  (My left hip is not happy with me.)  Thank goodness for Ibuprofen!

Finished!
Finished!

 

Ladies’ Night

I belong to a ladies’ group that gets together once a month for dinner and to share what is going on in our lives.  I know it sounds like the scenario from a “chick flick.”  And honestly, I don’t even like those types of movies and have seen very few of them.  In real life, however, this group has been very important in my growth.  

The regular women in this group range in age from their thirties to late seventies.  My daughter occasionally attends and she is only in her early twenties.  These women are from all walks of life, occupations, and religious backgrounds.  The thing we have in common is that we have a desire to work on ourselves.  

The group has been getting together for about fifteen years.  I have personally been a part of the group for about eight years.  In those eight years, I have seen women get married, divorced, have babies, get new jobs, quit jobs, start their own businesses, and sadly pass from this life.  

Since I have been in the group, I have been divorced, remarried, taken college courses, had kids drop out of school and kids graduate (some almost… see yesterday’s post).  I have changed congregations, changed jobs, started several businesses, began singing in public, lost and gained weight, survived a traumatic injury, and began blogging.      

I say all of this to say that the ladies in this group have shared their lives with each other in a deep and meaningful way.  We have dinner at a restaurant or at one of the members’ homes.  When we are finished we each take a turn sharing what is going on with us.  It is interesting how we can be so different and yet have so much to share.  Ultimately, we find that we are not so different after all.  

So as I wind this up, I am going to go finish getting ready to go have dinner at a Japanese steakhouse (only veggies for me, since I am still on the Daniel Fast), and share with the ladies who know most everything about me and love me anyway.  We will laugh together, console each other, and simply enjoy each other’s company.  What a great way to end the week! 

Almost Graduation

Cake for my son and his girlfriend's "completed 13 years of school party."
Cake for my son and his girlfriend’s “completed 13 years of school party.”

My son and his girlfriend would have graduated from high school today except that they both are going to have to make up some credits.  My son failed Algebra II, which he will be taking this summer.  His girlfriend moved from another state with different graduation requirements, so she will be completing a PE requirement  as well as a History credit.

The line on top of the cake, “Look out world, here they come!” was my idea (in lieu of “Congratulations Grads!”).  The books with the stumbling block subjects on the binding was her mother’s idea.  (My aren’t we a clever pair?)  We still wanted to mark this occasion, since she had no control over the situation, and he struggled to get through high school at all.  We wanted to celebrate our soon-to-be grads.  So we did!

 

Good timber…

More bathroom graffiti.
More bathroom graffiti.  The “artist” did not know that the words are a line from Douglas Malloch’s poem, Good Timber.

Here I am with more “positive” bathroom graffiti.  While I don’t condone writing on other people’s property, the black sharpie on the white exposed area and the black paint… well, I couldn’t resist capturing this Wisdom Wednesday worthy quote.

 

 

 

 

 

7 Steps to a Successful Daniel Fast

How Did I Do It?

Today I am on day 13 of the Daniel Fast.  With 8 days left, I want to share some of the things that have helped me be successful.  But first I want to share a little story about it.  I was at dinner with a couple of women who are also doing the fast.  One of them commented to another friend who wanted to know about it that I was the person she needed to talk to because I have so much willpower.  It made me think about why I had been so successful.  (I’ve lost seven pounds and a couple of inches off my waist and hips… and it has been pretty painless.)  These 7 steps are what have helped me get through this far, and I know they are what will carry me through the next 8 days.

Step 1:  Research – When I was asked to join a group of 21 women doing a 21 day “fast” I was curious, so I began researching what the fast entailed.  I also looked at different resources to see what the commonalities were.

Step 2: Count the Cost – Before I ever agreed to do the fast, I decided whether I was willing to pay the cost.  I looked at what social events were coming up, thought about the fact that I would still be cooking “regular” food for the family, and thought about the foods I must do without for three weeks.

Step 3:  Commit – I made the decision to do it, and when I say I am going to do something… I do it (99.9% of the time).  In The Four Agreements, Don Miguel Ruiz says, “Be impeccable with your word.”

Step 4:  Clarify Your “Why” – Once I was committed, I thought about why I was doing it, so that when times were tough, I could go back to my “why” for motivation.  For me, I wanted to detox from all the drugs I have had to take since my accident, to get off the weight loss plateau on which I had been, and to support the woman who asked me to participate (as well as the other women in the group).

Step 5:  Prepare – I downloaded shopping lists, devotional materials, and other paperwork related to the fast.  I shopped for vegan food, so that on Day 1 I would have the fruits and veggies I needed.

Step 6: Enlist Support – In this case, the support was already in place in the form of a group of women who have a conference call once per week, and a group facilitator that is available via email.  I am also involved in other groups that use Facebook groups, email, and conference calls for support.  I can’t tell you how important this step is.  I voluntarily posted my waist and hip measurements to a private group I belong to (called The Big Push) on Facebook… pretty scary, huh?  Without support, it is too easy to slip… and eventually fall altogether.

Step 7:  Visualize the Desired End Result (with Feeling) – Every day I visualize myself looking the way I want to look when I get to my goal.  I won’t reach my goal before the end of the fast, because I have  an aggressive goal, but I still use my desired end result as my motivation.  I see myself as I ultimately want to be… healthy, fit, and a size 6.  An important component to this visualization is feeling the emotion you will feel when you achieve your goal.  I feel how light, excited, and vibrant I am going to feel.  It may take you a little bit to get into the feeling, but take the time because the payoff is so worth it.  It will propel you forward like rocket fuel.

Tips:

Be Intentionally Flexible – This is not cheating.  This is saying, “My body really needs more protein, so I am going to include eggs.”  This is meant to help it work for you, not to give you an “out.”

Remember It Is Temporary – When you are on a detox program it is meant to be temporary.  On days that you really want to quit, tell yourself, “I can do anything for 21 days (or however any days you have left)!”  And you can.

Be Willing to Make Part of It Permanent and/or To Do It Periodically – I have never considered going vegan until I saw that it isn’t so painful.  If I do go back to eating meat,  it won’t be nearly as much as I was eating before.  I have never been a huge dairy person and I will continue that, I’m sure.  I have also had the thought that I will probably do the fast quarterly.  I have done much more aggressive cleanses, but got no better results.  So I think I will put this on my calendar for August and do it again.

If you have had an experience with the Daniel Fast you would like to share, please feel free to do so.  If you have questions about my experience, feel free to ask.

Bedtime Routine (Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge)

Tubing on my son's Waterpik.
Tubing on my son’s Waterpik.

This challenge has got me seeing everything as a potential subject.  After struggling with some shots of some textured toothbrush handles, I opted for this one of my son’s Waterpik, another part of his bedtime routine.  I took some others as well, but after careful consideration this one made the cut.  Taken with my iPhone 5S.  Phoneography and Non-SLR Digital Devices Photo Challenge, Week 2: Macro.