Just a Thought…

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I saw this on Pinterest today and it made me smile. Straight and to the point. If you want something different in your life, take the initiative to make it happen.

Easier said than done. The first steps are the hardest.

Since I had surgery on my foot early March, I’ve had a hard time getting back into exercising on a regular basis. I eat pretty healthy, but I’ve let that slide too. Sometimes it’s so difficult to get motivated. It’s easy to fall into the trap of being lazy.

Last week I finally took control. I weighed myself one morning and promised myself to get back to a consistent healthy lifestyle. I’d like to lose a few pounds, but it really isn’t about that for me. I just want to feel healthier. Stronger, inside and out.

I don’t follow a strict plan, I basically go by this motto: Eat Less, Move More.

I’ve been exercising every day. Sometimes it’s just for fifteen minutes, sometimes over an hour. Every little bit makes a difference. I go for walks and hikes, ride my stationery bike at home, or go on the treadmill. The next step is to get to the gym.

When I exercise, I tend to eat healthier. I love summer fruits, so this time of year is great. My favorite breakfast is Greek yogurt and granola with a ton of strawberries, blueberries and peaches. I’m trying to eat less bread and sweets (I love carbs!) and more veggies. I don’t deprive myself (especially if I want dark chocolate), but I eat in moderation.

I didn’t like where I was, so I took the steps to change.

I’m not a tree.

Image courtesy of here

 

Big Changes

Four years ago, my husband and I took our youngest daughter Talee to college. Time has flown. This weekend we’ll watch her graduate.

I clearly remember moving her in to the freshman dorm. Walking up three flights of stairs multiple times on a hot September day, our arms filled with everything she could possibly need: clothes, shoes, school supplies, toiletries, bedding, and decorations to make it homey. She was excited to meet her two roommates. I hoped and prayed they’d have a great year.

It was difficult for me to believe my little girl was going to live away from me for the first time. Talee had severe separation anxiety in preschool. Growing up, she’d been painfully shy. In fourth grade, she had anxiety and so many panic attacks that she missed several weeks of school.

Talee matured into a strong, smart, and confident young woman. She was still nervous about starting college and living on her own, but knew she was ready.

It was bittersweet. I was proud of her and happy she was beginning an amazing adventure. But I didn’t know how I was going to manage without her at home. It was hard enough when our oldest daughter, Mackenzie, moved out. Now both girls would be gone.

On that freshman move-in day, I tried not to dwell on my status as an empty nester. I focused on organizing Talee’s new  space. It seemed an impossible task to fit three girls and all their stuff into a tiny room. Somehow we managed.

By late afternoon it was time for the welcome celebration in the football stadium. Excitement and nervous energy filled the air. Students, anticipating living the college dream. Parents, anticipating life without their children at home.

The band played, the president of the university spoke, and cheerleaders helped rally the crowd.

The speech that impacted me the most was given by Paul Wesselmann, The Ripples Guy, a motivational speaker. I’ll never forget what he said. This isn’t word for word, but it’s the basic idea of what he told us:

Parents, I need you to really listen. Your children are beginning a new adventure, adjusting to life without you close by. They’ll have successes, but there will be missteps along the way. Let them know you love them. Be patient. Be kind.”

And then he said this:

Students, I need you to really listen. Your parents are beginning a new adventure, adjusting to life without you close by. They’ll have successes, but there will be missteps along the way. Let them know you love them. Be patient. Be kind.”

The woman in front of me couldn’t stop crying. I choked back tears. The end of the ceremony came too fast. In a whirlwind, my husband and I gave Talee huge hugs, kisses, and told her she’d do great.

Talee learned a lot about life in the past four years. College was everything she’d hoped it would be — and much, much more. It’s going to be so hard for her to say goodbye.

Huge changes are coming. She was hired at a wonderful company and will be working in the city. She’ll commute from home for at least a few months. Working in the real world (at a “big girl job,” as she calls it), will be challenging for her to get used to. She’ll miss her friends, sorority sisters, classes, and of course, her boyfriend.

It’s going to be an adjustment for my husband and me as well. We’re thrilled she’s moving back home, we love having her and Mackenzie around. But it’ll be different.

Life is changing. I know it’ll all work out. Right now, I’m looking forward to the graduation ceremony this weekend.

Once again, we’ll head into the football stadium where it began. We’ll watch Talee walk in her cap and gown while Pomp and Circumstance plays. We’ll listen to speeches and cheer as the graduates toss their caps high into the air.

When I’m sitting in the stands, I’ll think about how far Talee has come. From a shy little girl with anxiety and panic attacks, to a confident college graduate with a bright future ahead. A shining example of hope.

One season of life is ending. Another is about to begin.

First image courtesy of here

Paul Wesselmann’s website is here

Second image courtesy of here

Just a Reminder…

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I love bunnies, so when I saw this on @psychologythings Instagram account, it made me smile.

Sometimes we need this little reminder.

Be kind to yourself. Believe in yourself.

You are amazing and you’re going to be great today!

Have a wonderful weekend,

Jenny

Pay Attention

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Yesterday my husband and I went to lunch at a casual Mexican restaurant. There was a family of four sitting next to us — mom, dad, and two boys, around ten to twelve years old.

I sat next to the mom. She was looking at her phone. No big deal, I figured she needed to check a few things before she ate and chatted with her family.

Five minutes later, I was enjoying my burrito, chips, and guacamole, and laughing with my husband. I looked over. The dad and boys were quiet, concentrating on their food. Mom was eating and staring at her phone.

I couldn’t help but notice that the family was barely conversing. The boys talked a little. The dad ate and looked up once in awhile. Mom’s eyes never left her phone. I didn’t want to judge. Maybe she had an urgent work issue or an ill relative. I get it. That’s happened to me.

But she didn’t appear the least bit upset or bothered. I could easily see her phone from where I sat, and it looked like she was playing a game or checking social media. She was zoned out, lost in a fantasy world.

The family didn’t look like they were fighting. Just into their own thoughts — and phone.

By this time I was annoyed. So was my husband. I wanted to say, “Look at each other! Talk to each other! Why did you even bother going to lunch together? TALK to your kids, they’re sitting right there. Ask them questions, tell them something interesting or funny that happened to you. Laugh with them.”

A few minutes later, the dad got on his phone. Both parents sat with their heads down, sometimes smiling a little, probably at something on Facebook or Instagram. The boys looked uninterested and simply ate.

I got the feeling that was normal for them. Sad.

A man walked by, looked at the family, stared for a second, and shook his head in disgust. I felt the same way.

It had been about half an hour since we first sat down. My husband and I had cleaned our plates and were sipping our drinks. The parent’s faces were still buried in their phones. The boys sat there, detached and bored. I hadn’t heard the woman speak the entire time.

Eating out isn’t just to fill our bodies with nutrition. It’s an excellent opportunity to talk, laugh, and bond. Those parents wasted precious time with their kids.

Of course it wasn’t my place to tell them that. Even though I felt like grabbing their phones and yelling, “Pay attention!”

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

Just a Thought…

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I’ve never been much of a risk taker, so I totally identify with this. Sometimes it’s hard to get out of my comfort zone. I’m comfortable there!

But when I try something new, branch out, and reach higher than I thought I could, life can be so much more rewarding.

Sure, there’s a chance of failure. But if I don’t try, I’ll never know. If I don’t climb the mountain, I’ll never see the stunning view.

My husband and I have tried to teach this lesson to our daughters. When Mackenzie and Talee were little, we encouraged them to try new foods, make new friends, and play different sports.

Now that they’re older, we support the girls in their decisions to travel and experience the world. We’ve always tried to instill a sense of adventure and a zest for life. That happens when they push the limits and go beyond their boundaries.

It’s not just about participating in a new activity or eating a dish they’ve never tasted. It’s also about speaking up for themselves and not backing away from what they believe in.  That can be really hard to do.

It’s scary to roam and test unfamiliar waters. There will be times when we fail, but that’s okay. We need to allow ourselves to stumble and fall, and then get up and try again.

Because that’s when we find out that we can do it.

Image courtesy of here

 

 

 

In Need of Motivation

Two weeks ago, my husband and I went to the gym. It was momentous because we hadn’t been since early March, before my surgery. See my post about recuperating here. It felt really good to go, even though I’m definitely out of shape. I rode the bike for about 25 minutes, did stretching and abdomen exercises, and that was it. I was tired and energized at the same time.

I told Alex, “I’m so glad we went. We’re back at it, yay for us!”

We haven’t been back since. Uh oh.

I walk every day, so it’s not like I’m not doing any exercise. It just isn’t enough, I know that. Here’s one excuse: our dog is getting older and can’t walk nearly what he did before. So I take him around the block, which is plenty for him. Not for me. I often tell myself I’ll go home and ride the stationary bike. But I get busy with other things and don’t do it. No excuses, the bike is in our house, right downstairs!

I don’t need to lose weight (well, it’d be nice to lose five pounds). But I do need to tone my muscles and more important than that, I want to feel better and stronger. When I work out, I tend to eat healthier. Exercise is good for my mental health, not just my physical health.

Okay, so I know what I need to do. Get off my computer chair and get on the bike. Or take a longer walk. Or go to the gym.

Every day I have good intentions of doing those things, but the day slips by and before I know it, I’m making dinner. By then I have zero desire to exercise. Last night we were eating fajitas and I was complaining about not going to the gym. Alex said, “Let’s go after dinner.” What? No! That was the last thing I wanted to do.

I need to get out of this rut. Which makes me wonder how I can get motivated. I wonder what motivates other people.

I always think of the Nike ad, “Just Do It.” That’s exactly the advice I need to follow. I’m starting to talk myself into it.

Maybe this afternoon…

First image courtesy of here

Second image courtesy of here

 

 

But I Want to Go Outside!

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This past weekend the weather was warmer. The sun was shining, there was a slight breeze, and it was gorgeous. I had a ton of computer work to get caught up on, bills to pay, and laundry and cleaning to do. But inside was the last place I wanted to be.

I love to garden. I wanted to be in the yard, pulling weeds and dead-heading flowers. I wanted to clean up the area where I’ll soon plant tomatoes and veggies. I wanted my hands in the dirt and to feel the sun’s warmth sink into my skin.

There was no reason I couldn’t do my work and also go outside. I just had to manage my time well, balance my priorities. It’s like a see-saw, with work on one side and play on the other. If I focus on just one of them, I’m lopsided. I’m either stuck in the air with no way to get down. Or I’m planted on the ground, without ever having the joy of swinging upwards.

Life is all about balance.

Some days I do a better job at this than other days. I’m super busy with work, both business and personal. The chores must get done. But it’s also important for me to decompress.

I often remind myself that being productive doesn’t always mean checking things off my never-ending to-do list. Being productive can also mean carving out “me-time” — without feeling guilty about it. Activities that benefit me both mentally and physically.

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Take a walk and get closer to my goal of 10,000 steps per day.
  • Hike in the mountains with my husband and dog.
  • Go to lunch with my mom or friends.
  • Take a bubble bath.
  • Watch TV.
  • Call my sisters.
  • Sit and have a cup of coffee or tea.
  • Read a book or magazine.
  • Exercise. Walk, ride the stationary bike, do yoga or stretching, even if it’s for just fifteen minutes.
  • Brush and pet my dog.
  • Sit in a quiet room and meditate. Breathe in deep and slowly exhale, counting my breaths as I go along.
  • Go outside and listen to the birds while watching clouds float by.
  • Write.

One of the best ways for me to unplug and recharge is to be outside and dig in the earth. Which is exactly what I’m going to do.

The bills and piles of laundry can wait.

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