Sunday, September 15, 2013

Tick Tock!

It is 6 days away.  

My to-do list has become big enough to fit on a post it.  :-).  And I can breathe!

The jeans in my closet that would only go as far as the top of my knees when I tried to get into them 18 months ago, now not only fit, but they are roomy!  And I can breathe!

My sons purchased their tickets to be here before Friday so I will be able to spend a little time with them!  And I can breathe!

A wonderful woman from church is standing in for D's mom, who can't attend, so he will have someone special to dance with!  And I can breathe!

My sister in law assures me my wonderful, two left foot brother, has learned the basic dance steps & won't step on my feet or dress!  And I can breathe!

Directions have been re-sent to my HRSJ family (some are direction-challenged - LOL).  And I can breathe!

I found my divorce decree so we can apply for a marriage license!  And I can breathe!

I decided to wear thick socks (yup) to ensure my shoes fit (no one will see the shoes or my feet!)!  And I can breathe!

I finalized the songs - Pachelbel's Cannon in D and the traditional wedding march.  And I can breathe!

I wanted Fr. Josh to be part of this day & he will be - as the emcee for the reception - a place of prominence and no Church rules broken!  And I can breathe!

I have something old (my pearls), something new (my dress), and something blue (a beautiful anklet) - so I only need to find something borrowed - which I'm sure won't be difficult.  And I can breathe!

Lately I wake for mass on Sunday & D is getting ready right besides me... he's becoming more and more comfortable with our HRSJ family.  I am blessed!  He is blessed!  And I can breathe!

And every day I thank God that I took the leap of faith to travel this road; & I thank Him for giving me all the supportive friends who helped me move forward even when I wanted to turn back because of my fear of the unknown.  

And now I Can Breathe! 

Saturday, July 27, 2013

A Long Journey... A Never Ending Journey!

When I look at the calendar and  think about when I started this weight loss journey, I realize how long it has been.  March 22, 2012 is when I decided to click on that link at work for a weight loss challenge.  After reading what you could win, I was encouraged--- but scared.  I didn't want to be in this competition & loose (which I was sure would happen since I have tried over and over again to loose weight in the last few years & failed miserably each time!)  But I read on and realized that I could use the site privately - and so my interest was piqued.  But I thought again about my failures and clicked back to my emails - I was at work after all & probably shouldn't have been spending that much time looking at a weight loss program online. 

Click, read, respond... Click, read, respond...Meeting...Click, read, respond...Meeting. That went on for a while - but something was gnawing at me...Could I really loose weight and get back into all my old clothes again?  I'd be happy with getting back into some of them! I was so tired of the stretchy clothes I had bought & while they fit, I hated what I saw in the mirror. 


I'd tried many things in life & failed at some and been successful at others.  But at least I had tried.  And so I thought some more about this weight loss thing.  And I thought about failing - and what that would feel like AGAIN... but then I thought about me.  About what I have accomplished over the last 25 years....


Single parent, raised 3 wonderful men who weren't so wonderful when they were boys (LOL), put them through private school (we ate a LOT of macaroni and cheese out of a box - Kroger brand, not even Kraft to pay tuition & make ends meet), got them into college with minimal loans- we ate potatoes & Ramen noodles to make this work! No wonder I gained so much weight! LOL. 


I excelled in my career beyond what most people thought would occur - including me -  given that I work with politicians and attorneys all day & I am neither :-).  


Probably my biggest accomplishment was that no matter how hard the prior years were, I didn't give up. 


No matter how many mistakes I made, I didn't give up. 


I just kept going.  So...


I decided that dieting was going to be the same thing.  I was just going to keep going, no matter how many times I failed, every day would be a new day.  I had overcome some significant hurdles in my life - so really, being fat should not be the one hurdle that I can't overcome - or at least put a dent in.  So on that day, with plenty of emails still to be answered and reports needing to be completed, I went back to that web page & clicked the link...My journey began.


I entered in all the requisite information.  And the next day, I began entering in food as I ate.  The first 5 pounds came off quick.  Then l came to a halt.  I was still entering information into the program, staying under the calorie goal, but that scale wasn't moving.  After a few weeks of being discouraged, I called my sister-in-law, Kitty, (an RN).  She told me to keep doing what I was doing & to give it 12 weeks.  According to her, it takes 12 weeks for your stomach to begin to shrink & for your body to adjust to the fewer calories so the weight loss can kick in consistently.  So, I gave it a try, and she was right.  The weight came off.  Not all at once, not necessarily at 1 or 2 pounds a week.  Some weeks 0 came off, other weeks 3 pounds came off!  But slowly over time, the scale moved - sometimes not in the right direction, but move it did...


And within the first year, I had lost between 47 and 54 pounds!  AND!!!!!  I could fit into about 1/2 of my closet!  This - all while going on a cruise, surviving the holidays & holiday parties!   I was thrilled - especially since we are paying for our wedding, there is no money in the budget for new clothes, even if I wanted them!


It's now July 2013 and the journey is not over... I've lost a total of 64 pounds since the beginning of this journey, give or take 3 pounds... And I feel immeasurably healthier!  Stairs aren't a challenge, I sleep better, I'm more active, and when I went for my last fitting, they had to take the wedding dress in AGAIN!...


All that said, the journey is still not over. 


I have another 29 pounds to go before I am no longer considered "overweight" by BMI standards. Since I started out firmly planted in the "morbidly obese" category, the fact that I am now in the "overweight" category is actually quite pleasing to me--- amazing what time does to perspective! 


I have another 10-15 to go before every stitch of clothes fits me - although my wearable wardrobe has increased exponentially!  I am wearing all those clothes I purchases as I was getting fatter - while telling myself, it's such a good deal, I'll get into it 'soon'.  Here I am 7 or 9 years later - hmmm.... I'm going to need to reevaluate my use of the word 'soon' LOL. 


Now, throughout the first 13 months I was patting myself on the back... but then the scale seemed to have come to a screeching halt.  And while I was discouraged, I knew this meant only one thing... I had lost as much weight as I was going to loose without exercising! 


So to help me get closer to the end of my weight loss journey I have started walking.  And while at first, I HATED it - ABSOLUTELY HATED IT!!! - Did I say I HATED IT?... Now I look forward to my walks.  I've been at this consistently for just 2 months now & while I haven't lost much weight since I started walking in earnest, I have definitely lost inches - a significant reward to me!    


SURPRISINGLY, I am enjoying this part of the journey.  I love the breeze on my face. I love hearing my Nike+ app tell me the distance and time I've walked every quarter mile.  I love WALKING through my neighborhood & admiring all the beautiful gardens that we all work so hard to create.  You miss this at 25 mph in a car.  I love putting on shorts that 11 pounds ago were just way too tight to wear out of the house - or even in the house with anyone but my honey!  Those same cotton shorts are now loose!  I love listening to the birds sing.  I love watching the new moms and dads with their toddlers.  I love running into my little neighbor who just this year has permission to ride his bike away from our court so when he sees me, his 'Hi!" is the brightest "hi" of my day!  I love watching the babies play on the swing sets as I walk past the parks.  I love seeing all the dogs being walked.  And yes, I absolutely love hearing my Nike+ App say "Congratulations!  You've reached your goal off XX miles in XX minutes and you've walked XX more than  your goal!"  Instant gratification- what's not to love? 


While I have lost inches, my weight loss has slowed & at first I was upset - but what I've come to realize is that this is the Never Ending Journey!  I will get to that ideal weight and BMI for me.  I will get into all my clothes & perhaps one day even buy some new ones - LOL.  


My journey won't end.  I will probably forever be counting calories or minutes walked or something... And that's okay.  I will have days that I eat tons of junk and days that I eat so little that my Honey keeps saying "what's wrong? You need to eat something!".  There will be days the scale goes up a few pounds (to remind me to stop eating chocolate; or that salt is not my friend!)... and there will be days the scale will go down (to reward me for carrots and the 5 mile walk).  And there will be days the scale won't move - no matter what I do... & I have no logical reason for that - it just is.  But that's how it is on a good journey - full of stops and starts, ups and downs... Variety.  And the longer the journey, the longer the variety...    


I love variety, so my journey continues... I'm so excited to see what is next!



Tuesday, February 12, 2013


After my divorce, I didn't want to get married again because I thought "FOREVER" had eluded me. 
But the last few years have taught me that FOREVER was WAITING for me!

Our hands are filled with "life lines".  The lines speak volumes. 
Marriage, children, relationships, joys and sorrows.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Prayers...   Frogs...   Prince!!! 
THIS  is the Goal...
I think we are on the right track!

Thursday, January 31, 2013


I went to pick up "The Dress" on a Saturday.  And quite naturally David's Bridal was a zoo.  As I looked around at all the brides to be, both young and old(er), I marveled in all this.  The dress, the shoes, the bridesmaid/maid of honor/ matron of honor dresses, the alternations, the this, the that and the other. 

Weddings are definitely a business.  And I must admit I am caught up in the wedding business right now.   

My list consists of: booking the wedding site, choosing & buying decorations, picking out the MOH dress; finding shoes that are cute - but won't won't hurt my feet & the list goes on.  Music for the 'first dances' -  the first dance with my husband (wow - 233 days until this he will be my husband--- but I digress go) & the first dance with my brother, his first dance with his mother.  Just like every other bride, I suppose, I want everything to be 'perfect'.  That said, since I tend more towards realism in my life - I know that not everything will be perfect.  Stuff happens.  Life happens.  

But there are a few things that I am focusing on in hopes of perfection. They are the vows; my dress; the tux; the processional music; and the favors.  Now the first 4 on this list probably strike you as normal.  But you got to the 5th one and thought "Lord, she is off her rocker.  Why try to make favors perfect?"

I have spent countless hours on-line looking at wedding favors.  I've considered: measuring spoons with cute sayings like "Love Beyond Measure" (but if you don't like to cook, this probably isn't practical) ; a candy bar with jars of red & silver candy that guests can scoop into little boxes or satchels, (but does everyone really like candy?); coffee flavoring in cute bottles and Hershey's kisses in cute little satchels (figuring the folks who love coffee will like the flavoring & those who don't like coffee will like the chocolate).  There have been so many other ideas... 

And I am going a little nutty trying to figure this out - but I'm still firmly on my rocker.  You are probably thinking "they are 'just favors'--- people won't remember them after the day is over.

But really, they aren't 'just' favors. 

They are so much more; they are an expression of my love for each and every guest.  They are my way of saying "thank you for your prayers", "thank you for believing in me", "thank you for loving the very flawed me".  

You see, these people are my family.  Some by blood, others by choice.  These are the people who believed in me when I couldn't or wouldn't believe in myself.  These are the people who believed I would be successful in business one day.  They believed that I was, & am, a good mother.  They believed I was doing my best - even when I couldn't pay the rent, or the electric bill, or the gas bill - AGAIN!    

These favors symbolize a heartfelt token for all the wonderful people who have supported me over the years.  If not for their kindness, their prayers, their listening ears and wise words, I would not be where I am today. 

These people all, at one time or another, did me a "favor".  They probably thought it was small. 

Those 'favors' over the years, especially the difficult years, were the manifestation of Jesus in everyone who chose to care for my boys and me.  

Have you heard the saying: "You may be the only Jesus someone sees today"?  

On that day when someone said a prayer for us, gave us food, mentored me so I could be promoted (to at least make ends meet), Jesus was shining through.

When someone watched my baby for free while I worked at night to buy the older boys Nike sneakers that they wanted sooooooo much.  When someone gave my children toys on Christmas when I simply couldn't.  Jesus was shining.

When someone took my sick baby ever so gently as I stood in Children's Hospital ER crying so hard, I couldn't see.  Jesus was in the arms of the stranger who hugged me & assured me my baby would live. 

I could go on and on about the 'favors' people did for me over the past 25 years, but you get the picture.  And I'm sure you understand why having the exact right wedding favors for my guests is so very important. 

Those favors should say...

"Thank you for allowing Jesus to shine through you so I could see Him through my clouds of gloom!"

Saturday, January 5, 2013

My Dress, My Life & My Alterations!

My dress is in. 


Next step: Alterations - and lots of them! Yes, this dress has to be altered to fit just right.  Nips here, tucks there, raising the hemline, creating the bustle.  

I have at least 20 more pounds to loose before getting the first alterations so I won't be starting that process  until at least June (the end of June, according to - LOL).  

I don't want the look of the dress to change, I just want it to fit me perfectly and for that to happen alterations must be made.  Kind of like my life...

I like my life.  I don't really want it to change, but I know it will be a better fit for me & for us with some alterations.  Nipping the "divorced" category from my life and tucking in "married" is what I now want - what I am ready for today that I wasn't ready for before.  Sealing our current status with a blessing & a prayer (& a piece of paper) is what I now want.

Together we can hem up the issues of our lives.  We can pull into a bustle up all those things too big to put in a hem. 

We will still have issues - after all what is life without a few issues to make it interesting? :-)  But they will be contained and dealt with rather than flying all over the place and tripping me up.  And it is easier to deal with issues when you are not dealing with them alone.  Two heads are better than one... 

Alterations ...

Going from Ms. to "Mrs."

Going from Divorced to "Married"

Going to "Mom of 3" to "Mom of 4" (no "steps" in my world)

Going from mine to "ours"

Going from baked fish to fried fish

Going from "crazy Catholics" to "hmmm... maybe there is something to this..."

Going from "I don't do church" to "sure, I'll come with you"

Going from lonely to "me time"

Going from caring for "me & mine" to caring for "us & ours"

Going from painting any color I want to listening to another's opinion and not cringing when walls AND ceiling was painted blue

Going from no hot stuff in any of the food to hot stuff in some of the food


Friday, January 4, 2013

The Annulment Process ... Really, this is what Jesus wants?

To marry in the Catholic church, if you have been married before, one must go through the annulment process.  It can be short or long and arduous.  But whether short or long, the process is a pain, and I do not see I see its' value. 

Annulments examine the processes and activities undertaken prior to the previous marriage with the goal being to determine if the first marriage was a sacrament.  This right here is a problem.  While I know some people who "should have known better than to marry ..."; most divorced people I know will tell you that they weren't abused, their former partner wasn't unfaithful prior to the marriage, that there were not real signs that the marriage was doomed to be one of the 50% of marriages that end in divorce. 

Most people I know say that they tried and tried to make it work.  They say that even when they finally got divorced, they still loved/hated (opposite sides of the same coin, if you ask me) the former spouse.  Most people I know say that they changed over the years and were genuinely unhappy with no happiness in sight at the end of the tunnel. 

To make matters worse, if you are marrying someone who isn't Catholic and who is divorced, their marriage has to be annulled as well.  Well! Try explaining that to a non-Catholic!  From a non-Catholic perspective, it is none of the churches' business what happened in their past.  And by the way, I totally agree!


Dear Catholic Church: 

Here ye, Here ye!!!  Marriage AND Divorce are hard!  From the outside looking in, it may seem easy, but it is not.  And while I frequently hear "oh, they just didn't try hard enough" or "they gave up to quickly" or (my favorite - NOT) "divorce is so easy today that people jump right into it"... I have yet to meet any divorced person who agrees with these statements.  And I know A LOT of divorced people.

Catholic Church, I love you, I know how good and great you can be, but I also know that you can be wrong and hurtful.  I am on the receiving end of the hurt right now - and really, I don't see Jesus in this process, so I have a few things to say... 

You, my beloved church have never been married, nor divorced. 

You, my beloved church do not know the pain felt when the decision is made, or thrust upon you, to end the dream that you dreamed for such a long time --- even when the dream has turned into a nightmare. 

You, my beloved church, can read all the books, listen to all the stories, hear about the joys and the sorrows, but until you have walked in my shoes, you will never know what it was like. 

You can no more "know" about marriage than you can "know" what it is like to go through child birth!

Yet, you believe that you can make a decision about people's lives based upon your formal education and training.  Let me tell you, nothing matches or beats EXPERIENCE when it comes to marriage and divorce.  NOTHING.  It is hubris that allows you to think that you have all the answers.  No one has all the answers except God.  Not you, not me, not the pastor of any parish, church, synagogue, mosque or temple.  NO ONE HAS ALL THE ANSWERS EXCEPT GOD. 

Have you not learned that the hubris you exhibit is doing damage to the people who are trying so hard to follow Jesus, to worship in the church He commissioned that we now call "Roman Catholic"? 

On the issue of annulment I believe you are blind.  How can you see the speck of dust in the people's eye when you have a timber in yours?  Do you not remember our history?  The horrible mistakes made in the distant and recent past?  The leaders of the church thought they were right at those times also.  Hubris! 

Is this really what Jesus meant you to do when he gave the keys to the kingdom to Peter?  Jesus wanted you to set up the annulment process?  Really?

Would Jesus ignore the pain of so many - self inflicted or not?  Really, you think the answer is "yes"?  Really? 

Would Jesus put up barriers to the blessing of a new marriage when the old one is legally gone and the former spouses have moved on?  Really? 

It is hard for me to believe the God of Love that I have come to believe in more and more each day would sanction this action of the Church - any more than God sanctioned The Crusades or movement of 'troublesome' priests from parish to parish.

I don't believe that a love for Jesus and your fellow human beings is at the core of the annulment process.  I believe it is yet one more error made by the leaders of the Roman Catholic Church, and while  the error won't be corrected in time for my wedding to be blessed by the Church, I have faith that one day it will be corrected.   Until that day, I will pray that we, as a church, will exchange the hubris for compassion, understanding and love. 

There is enough hubris in this world... we need not add to it.


Every Person In Pain Over This Arbitrary Process