Weekend with the Family

This weekend was a busy, but super enjoyable one.  My grandmother turned 84 Friday.  I drove down to spend the weekend with her.  I got there Friday night, and my mom also came to stay the night, since my dad was fishing out of town for the weekend.  We had a nice visit.  Spending that much time with both my mother and my grandmother is so few and far between, it made me feel good to get to do it.

Saturday the family surprised my grandmother with a birthday party.  You cannot slip anything past her, so the fact that I was with her for a solid day before, and she never even suspected it, was a definite win.  I was so happy we pulled it off.  I have some of my favorite photos to share with you guys.  I am a picture feign, so I am constantly clicking away.  I think photographs are the only memories we will have of certain moments, and those should be captured.

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This is my granny, she deserves her own blog.

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This is my nephew Everett with his dad, Dennis.  (I call my cousin’s babies my nieces and nephews.  It’s just what I do.)

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This is my adorable little niece Lea,  she loves cake!

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This is me with Owen, Lea’s little brother.  This is a monumental moment, because he actually came to me, and we chilled.

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This is a picture of my two cousin’s, Melissa and Ann, and my Aunt Polly. (Melissa is Owen and Lea’s mom, and Ann is Everett’s.

As you can see, we had a house full, and tons of babies around.  My cousins have somehow miraculously been able to produce the cutest kids EVER.  Don’t you agree?

Also, I get my crazy dog lady personality from my family.  Before I had Maci, I adopted Bailey.  She was a baby, and a rescue, and adorable.  I asked my grandmother to babysit while I was out of town one weekend, and she bonded with Bailey like I never thought possible.  My grandmother, who I have never seen cry, was at the edge of tears when I was packing up Bailey’s toybag.  Needless to say, Bailey is the best decision I ever made, because she is my granny’s baby.  She is my baby too, but my granny was taken with her, and 10 years later they are inseparable.

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This is my and my little Bailey Bug.

I have been super nostalgic today, and though the best way to just be in my feelings was to write about them.  Share the photographs, my family, and my happiness with the small community of people who read and keep up with my blog.

Thanks for visiting and sharing with me my awesome weekend.

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Repurpose

It has been a while since I last updated the masses on the happenings in my world, so what better time than the beginning of a new year.  Happy 2016, everyone!

I am always happy to see a New Year come bursting forth with the fireworks, ball drops, and drunken people into the streets; however, this year, I was PUMPED!  2015 started out pretty rough as far as dealing with some sickness and work stress, but it took a turn, and ended really well.

I got a new job, one that I have been wanting for a while, it happened at just the right time.  I am loving my new job, and so blessed to have it.  I feel like a completely different person, full of life and happiness.  I do not dread getting up and going to work.  I enjoy getting dressed and seeing what my day will hold for me.  I am happy to have found a place and a job that allows me the freedom of doing what I love, and a company that I feel is just as amazing as the job itself.  I am really blessed.

The BF and I , (more like the BF, and I help), took the adventure of getting a puppy in January of 2015, and she is now a year old.  Her name is Maci, and anyone that knows me well, knows she is the love of my life.  She is a furball of happiness and surprises every day.  She makes me world a happy place, and reminds me that there is always happiness  in the simple things.  I could ramble about her all day and all night, because I love her so much, but I will spare you and just leave you with the cutest photo of her EVER!

 

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See what I mean?! Adorable and fluffy and pure love.

Two of my cousins had babies in 2015, both boys, and a month a half a part.  I have enjoyed watching the two boys grow.  I cannot wait until they are older and actually causing mischief together.  I’m sure they will be raising all kinds of hell in their future.  I will enjoy all of it, and their parents’ faces when the stories come out!

I also completed three 5K’s in 2015.  I had a goal of completing a 5K when I was 30.  I didn’t meet that goal, but I did complete three of them in my 32nd year, and I am completely okay with that.  I feel like this past year has really allowed me to get to know myself.  I feel like with everything that has been going on over the past few years, I have lost a bit of myself and my way.

In 2015, I found myself, and was reminded of who and what I am.  I am happy with me, work in progress that I am.  I have learned some valuable lessons in life and in love.  I am so very lucky to have found a man that I am completely head over heels for, and that has shown me what it’s like to “grow up”.  I know this sounds crazy, but everyone has parts of their life they are not proud of, and they need to work on.  I am okay with admitting my problem areas for the first time in a long time, and I am working on them.  Slow and steady wins the race.

The year of 2015 was a recovery and rediscovering period for me, and 2016 will be the regrowth year.  I am ready!  I have decided to focus on my faith, finances, and my relationships.  This really is the year of growth and regrowth for me.  I hope this year is a year of joy and blessings for all of you, as well!

Past, Present, Future

I was driving from my city life, to my old country life on Sunday.  I exited the interstate, turned on to a country road and saw the signs, “Come Enjoy Easter Sunday at the Cowboy Church!”  I knew there was a cowboy church not far on the left, and it made me smile as I got closer and saw all of the cars and people in the parking lot.  They were fellowshipping and talking, most wearing jeans and cowboy hats, then I spotted them; two regal cowboys mounted on their horses by the drive. They looked like statues, sitting still, and serious, rugged lines across their faces, one holding an American flag and the other holding the Christian flag.  It took my breath away.  I forgot to breathe just for a second, as I continued on down the windy road toward my own family.

I spent the day loving on my cousins’ new babies. I played with Lea, the spitfire of a little girl, who never sits still.  She hunted eggs more times that I can count.  I ate more than I like to admit, and I visited, which made me realize I do not get to go it enough.

The family was there, most of us anyway.  We were missing a few who live farther away and could not make it.  We did get to see their Easter pictures online after lunch, and laughed and talked about how much we missed them and how fast times seems to go.  We were a little nostalgic at the Easter’s past.  We remembered how we had prize eggs.  How my cousin Heather always seemed to find said prize egg, and how my grandpa always painted that prize egg.

We talked about our relatives present and past.  We smiled at the memories and laughed at some of them.  Some of them were a little more sad than others, due to we were missing so many people who have passed.  I know for me, I miss my grandpa the most at Easter, due to said prize egg painting and daffodils blooming.  The wind always brings the fresh scent of Spring with it, and a little twinge of sadness.

As I drove home from my Easter Sunday spent with my family, I passed a tractor cutting a field, getting it ready for planting.  I thought of the cowboys again, sitting regally on their horses.  They were messengers of God that day.  To me, they reminded me of all of the things I am thankful for.  I am thankful for all of the farmers in our nation, who provide us with the food we eat daily.  They are not really cowboys, but farmers, but those cowboys symbolized so much to me.

They symbolized the past, of country weekends and nights, the present, of being both country and city, and the future, something I have yet to see.  The country disappeared behind me as I veered onto the interstate, and drove toward my present and future with a little sadness.  Even though I have lived in the city for over 10 years now, I will never lose that part of me that loves dirt roads, fishing holes, four wheelers, trucks, and animals.  I will always want goats and chickens, maybe one day I will have them, but for now, my city life is my life, and I will live in and enjoy the present.

Who Knew?!

I have been feeling pretty low about my career situation lately.  I went to school for this amazing degree, that I love everything about it.  I love literature, I love criticism, I love discussion, and I love analyzing.  I LOVE MY DEGREE!  I worked so hard for it, and I feel like it just sits on the shelf gathering dust, as the diploma that came with it. I have been asking myself, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” a lot lately. The answer is still a teacher, a helper, and a motivator.  Not a coordinator.

For once in my life, I can say I am happy with everything else.  I am happy with my relationship.  I am happy with my friends. I am happy with my hobbies, let me rephrase, I have found hobbies, and I am in love with them.  I am completely head over heels for Maci, the new fur baby in my life.  As well as her daddy, which is a good thing, considering we are coming up on two years.  He definitely has my heart like no other ever has.

I feel like I am getting my creative juices flowing again, writing, painting, creating, and getting the energy out.  Also, I started focusing on my health.  My workout regimen is on point, and I miss it if I miss a morning, and feel weird until I do it.  I have learned to listen to my body, rest when I need it, and push it a little farther each day.  I have registered for a 5K on April 4, and I am stoked!  I have never been excited about doing anything healthy.  It is a new lifestyle and I love this life.

Tonight, I was invited in on an opportunity which I think is amazing, and feel so blessed to have been asked to be a part of.  I have worked hard at finding out who I am over the past few years.  You tend to lose yourself, or really not know who you are until after college.  You are so caught up in working and going to school, and doing what everyone else wants you to do, that you forget to find out what you want to do, or like to do.

After school, I could not even tell people what my hobbies were.  I had not had enough free time to even know what I enjoyed anymore.  I loved to read before, but not the sight of a book made me cringe.  It took me almost two years to pick up a book and read it for fun.  I had read so much throughout my undergrad and my graduate studies that I just wanted to go blank and stare at a TV for hours.  Now, I am finding me, and have spent a good while convincing myself it is okay to put me first for once.

I have been posting a lot of “self-discovery” blogs lately, but I just want people to know that it is okay to put yourself first.   Women tend to put others first, always and forget that they have to take care of themselves as well.  In my plus-sized support group, most of the women are in their 40s and 50s, stating they have forgotten to care for themselves through marriages, children, jobs and so forth.  They are just now realizing how unhealthy they are.  Health is not the only thing that can go to the wayside, happiness, life, and just enjoying the small things tend to be forgotten, and then before you know it, POOF, you realize you lost yourself somewhere along the way.

I am 31, almost 32, single and childless.  I am very thankful for this time in my life.  It is allowing me to focus on me, whereas a few years ago, I was upset and felt like a failure because I ended the relationship I thought was going to be the forever happily ever after.  I fell into a deep depression, I rarely left the house, I slept all of the time, and I was miserable.  Slowly, I came out of my fog, and started venturing out on my own, and realized there is still a life to live.  Even though I hate my job, at the moment, I am blessed to have it.  However, I am so glad I started my journey to fit, because without it, I would not be where I am today.  I have a great group of ladies that I get to communicate, encourage, and see their struggles daily.

Today, I am a happier, healthier me.  I am blessed, and this group, and lifestyle change has opened so many doors for me.  I honestly can say that I have never been happier with myself or with my progress.  I just hope I can motivate, help, and hold hands with other women like myself, that need a little pick me up, or soundboard at some point in their lives.  Women should encourage other women, not put them down.  We are all struggling with our demons, why not help someone through theirs, instead of a *tsk tsk*and a head shake in disappointment or sorrow for them.  Offer a hand to lift them up.  Do not look down on someone unless you are lifting them up.

Reality Check

As most of you know, I have been working on the 21 Day Fix, with Beach Body.  I have enjoyed it so much, as well as all of the ladies I have been working with, that I decided to become a coach.  This does not mean I am in the gym every day, or pushing my program on people, I am merely sharing.  Now, if you are interested in finding out more about the program, or trying it, let me know though, ok? J

I have found that this choice to make a change in my physical lifestyle has helped me in so many ways.  I know exercise is a natural mood elevator, I just did not realize it was this awesome.  I have battled with depression for a few years now, I would say the better part of 10 years.  I know some of you may know this; however, a lot of you do not even have a clue as to how bad it is.

There have been weeks where I have isolated myself in my house, not leaving for anything, except to gather necessities.  If you have ever seen me out on one of these hunting and gathering experiences, more than likely, my hair was not washed, and had not been for days.  I may have had a shower, or may not have.  I usually always shower, because I just have to.  Washing hair?  Not so much.  I never wear make-up out in these instances, and I usually have on a pair of yoga pants and a sweatshirt that is three sizes too big.

I do not share my depression with people. I do not talk about it much.  There are a few people that know how bad it has really gotten, but most do not.  Unless you have suffered from severe depression, there is no way to explain it.  There were weeks I would see my therapist two or three times.  Every day would be the same.  We would sit in her office; I would drink my coffee and cry.  She would nod and ask me questions.

A person can look completely normal and suffer from depression.  I am usually a really joyful person.  I talk to everyone, I laugh, I smile, and I am genuinely nice to everyone.  When I have an episode, I stop talking to people, I sleep or do not sleep, and my diet sucks.  There have been days where I have slept 20 hours out of the 24, and then there are days where I sleep four hours, out of the 24.  People who do not suffer from depression cannot understand what it is like.  They may see you somewhere, or wonder where you have been, but they never really understand.

There is such negativity surrounding depression.  So many people think it is a “fake” disease.  People use it as an excuse to not have to live life.  This is not true.  There is nothing more a depressed person wants to do.  They want to live life, they want to go out and not feel like they are about to burst into tears if someone asks them how they are doing.  They really, really want to live.  It is just harder some days.  Some days, they just cannot make yourself do it.

I am sharing this, because I have found that even though I still have days where it is physically hard to get out of bed and live my life, the change in my physical life has really helped.  I know this is not the case for everyone. There are still days that I have to make myself get out of bed, make myself workout, make myself shower, and make myself leave my house.  Some days I make myself look nice, so I will hopefully feel nice.  It does not always work.

I think sharing this about myself is part of my journey.  My journey to fit is also my journey to love myself, and my life.  It is important to stop hiding things from people, and share who I am.  This is important for me to embrace myself, as I am.  There are private things in life, but depression is not one you should be ashamed of.  I have been for a very long time, and it makes me feel like I am not always sharing the real me with people.  Throughout the years, I find the people that truly love me will love me anyway.  They will love me through my non-hair washing funk, and they will love me after.

The Daffodil

The sunlight hit my face, warming it while the chilly late winter breeze blew through my hair, and nipped my nose.  My nose is cold, it is always cold, but I am bundled up with my scarf, my hat, and my late winter, spring wear.  I am ready for spring.  My favorite season, the season of renewal and of birth.  This year, I will be renewed and reborn.

I have been working on a project of me.  I have taken the focus off of everything else in my life, and focused on me.  I am focusing on my health, my finances, my diet, and my career.  I am in a good place in life.  It is March 7.  The fact hits me hard.  So hard, it knocks the air right out of my lungs.  Tears sting my shaded eyes.

Today is his birthday.  Today, we would be celebrating 82 years.  Today, we are not celebrating.  I get in my car, turn down the radio and reflect.  I call my grandmother.  We chat and talk and even bring him up.  We bring up his love of warm milk on sleepless nights.  I share a story of him making me warm milk in the middle of the night a few times.  Apparently, she never knew.  It was like we still had little secrets that were just between us.  I laughed saying, he was probably sleepy and wanted me to go to sleep, so he gave me milk so he could.  She laughed too.

We end our conversation, not mentioning it is his birthday.  I continue driving to my boyfriend’s house.  I do not listen to the radio on the way.  I drive in silence, surrounded by memories of birthdays past.  Mine, his, Mom’s, Granny’s, Heather’s, everyone really.  They have always been big days in our family.  They are the day you were born.  You came into this world, all new and shiny.  You had yet to be tainted with the world and it’s harsh realities.

Birthdays are good days.  Today’s birthday is always bittersweet to me.  I smile and think of all of the happy times, and funny times, and good times.  I wipe away a tear at lost memories that were never had.  I wonder what he would think of me now.  I am 31 years old.  I live alone.  I have a job that I find mediocre.  I have a degree that I love, but never use.  What would he say?  What would his advice be?  Would he be proud of me?  Would he be disappointed in me?

I pull up to the curb, and start to unload my stuff.  I know that inside there will be a happy home, filled with puppy love, and snuggles from my love.  I know that we will relax and enjoy each other’s company.  I know that we will discuss our lives and important details, like what is for dinner.  We will discuss our parenting with the new puppy in our lives.  We will be happy.  We will be content, and both completely in love with our new little furball.

I glance around, squinting against the sun and see it.  There is only one, but it is there.  Earlier than normal, but never too early for me.  A daffodil.  There it is.  Alone.  On the edge of a neighbor’s yard.  I smile, tearing up again.  Many memories were lost, but he is still there to say hello, and remind me he is there for me, even now. Under my breathe I tell him I love him and I miss him so much.  I take a moment to just stare at the flower, loving it; treasuring it.  I walk inside with a small smile on my lips.

Me? Me? Or me?

I have struggled with depression for most of my adult life.  I am sure I struggled with it as a teen too, but never really thought twice about it.  I sucked it up and moved on. As an adult, it has been much harder.  I think as we grow up, we realize that life does not always get better, there are hardships that we face, we lose loved ones, we lose loves, we lose friends, and we ever lose ourselves.

I lost myself.  Once you lose yourself, it is so hard to find “you” again.  The you that was lost is never the you that is found.  For me, the me I found was so much different than the one I lost.  I went from the girl who sought constant approval from everyone to the woman who did not care if you approved.  I realize that I am the only one that has to be happy with my decisions.  Coming from my family, that is hard to realize and accomplish.  My grandmother’s favorite phrase is: “If I was you…” (Yes, I know that is incorrect grammar.)

So in the “If I was you” world, it is hard to decide for yourself. I have my grandmother telling me what is best, my mother telling me what is best, and me telling me what I want. Of course, Granny and Mom are always right, but sometimes the decisions that they would make, are not the decisions that would benefit me.  I am creative.  I am sensitive.  I am loving.  I am considerate.  I am constantly thinking ahead and over-analyzing everything.  Not all of these traits are good traits, but they are mine.

My traits make me, me.  Plain and simple.  I  think everyone likes to look at themselves as breaking the mold of whatever mold they feel stuck in; I know I do.  My mold is this:  overweight my entire life, band geek, good at school (not so good at life), loves reading, introvert that loves to talk, opinionated, animal lover (more so than people lover), and sensitive. (Oh, did I mention sensitive?)  These things make up me.

The overweight part of me has made me sensitive in a lot of areas that I do not think other people are.  I never really thought a lot about my weight growing up, because I was not really picked on because of it.  I am from a small town, and it is just the way I always was.  Everyone accepted me, loved me, friended me, and included me.  I always wanted to play volleyball.  I never did. I could not run like the rest of my friends, I joined the band.  The worst part of band camp – running the ONE lap around the football field.  Yes, I said one.  I hated it, I dreaded it, and it almost gave me anxiety to think about it.  Literally, I wanted to call in sick to band camp for this reason; however, there was no calling in sick to band camp.  I sucked it up and finished last every day.

When I went away to college, this is where I started noticing the difference.  People did not really comment, at least the people I knew.  I would get rude remarks walking into a store or out of a restaurant.  I would just ignore them and act like I had not heard them.  I did hear them, and they hurt.  I knew I was a “big” girl, but I was still a girl.  This is where dating comes in.  I never really dated in high school, because all of the boys were like brothers.  I knew them from age 5 to now.  We knew everything about each other, and I did not want to date that.  I am sure they did not want to date me either.

In college I met and dated quite a few guys.  One specifically sticks with me, because he was a chubby lover.  The bigger the girl, the more he liked it.  I found this out very soon after we started dating.  It always made me feel uncomfortable, and never good about myself.  I just felt like a side show of sorts.  We dated for almost two years.  Why?  Because he liked me and was there.

As the years went on, I dated lots of men who were more like boys, and I really never had a connection with.  I never really felt like any of them knew me, because I would not let them know me.  I was proud of my education (because I was good at it), and this bothered some of them.  (Strong woman, strong mind – scared little boy.)  I did not care that it bothered them, I dumbed it down so they would not feel threatened.  I felt like I needed to do this, for them.

Along the way, and through the years, I lost myself.  I lost who I was.  I stopped putting myself first.  I put school, work, and whatever boyfriend I had at the time first.  My mother never encouraged this, please do not misunderstand this.  My mother always preached independence and not letting a man take care of you.  A woman need to be able to take care of herself in any situation.  I learned from an awesome mother, who was single for a part of my childhood, and did everything by herself.  She was amazing, and tried to instill that in me as well.  It just took longer for me to realize it.

Fast forward a few years, I have graduated, I have moved, and I have started a new job.  I also have a new boyfriend.  This one was a complete game changer for me.  He knew me.  He understood me.  He got me.  He loved me.  The last thing is important, because in spite of knowing every little secret and thought I had, he loved me.  I loved him for this reason.  He helped me find a part of myself again.  He helped me realize that I am worth more than I thought.  I have more to offer than just a fancy education, and that I am amazing all on my own.  Granted, we are not together anymore, but he gave me something no one else can.  He gave me the ability and confidence to find myself again.

I have found myself.  I am by no means comfortable in my own skin, and I kind of lost sight of me for a bit.  It was a hard journey out of the depressed state I was in, but I found the light that is me and within me again.  I realized while in my challenge group, that all of the ladies with me have also been through some sort of self-discovery all on their own.  They are an amazing group of women, who inspire me to be even better than my best self as of today.  I have a family and friends who are supporting me so very much.  I have an excellent, understanding and so very considerate boyfriend that I adore more and more every day.  I have a job with excellent co-workers.  I have goals.  It is good to have me back again!