Monday, August 11, 2014

Lets Pretend

I had enough of my present writing hiatus, I think. Life my be crazy, but I think I am crazier still when I don't write at least weekly for my own good. I thought I would change things up a bit and try something new. My kids like to play a game with their friends called "The Question Game" where they spend their time just asking different questions to each other to try and get to know each other better. Sometimes it makes for a good dialogue opener. So, here's my version called:
Let's Pretend
Let's pretend that in two weeks you will be leaving your present country. You will be going somewhere without phone, internet, even reliable electricity. You won't be able to have any contact with anyone back home. You will be going alone and you are not sure if you will ever make it back.

Here's my question: Who would you contact or what would you do over the next few weeks? For argument sake, I will specify that finances are the same you have now (so if flying to California isn't currently an option, it wouldn't be for this Let's Pretend, either. )

So, go ahead and reply in comments. Feel free to share with others and Follow my blog.

P.S. I'll post my answer after a few of you have posted yours!

Deb "The Questioner" Lollar

Monday, April 28, 2014

So, you want to date one of my girls...

So, you've met one of my darling girls and now you think you want to take her out on a date. Maybe even more than one. I feel I should warn you. Dating one of MY girls may be a little different than what you would expect. You should also be warned that I consider my daughter and my niece equally important to me, so before you go any further, you should really take at look at these helpful little tips.

1. Fear is good.  Ah, fear. A parent's best friend. You might already know that Mr L is a Marine. He loves all his girls very much and he is just as protective as you think he might be. He also knows how to permanently remove you from the equation, make it look like an accident, and he already has a nice, long list of places to hide a body.

2. Make sure your fear is well placed. Mr L and his specific set of skills is certainly something to keep in mind, but he's not the one you should fear, yet (unless you've already done something to hurt one of our girls.) No, the first threat you should fear is Me. I am the first line of defense against little creeps who are up to no good. If I don't like you, you don't stand a chance. I won't ever come right out and say, "You're not allowed to hang out with so-and-so," but I have lots of other ways to make my disapproval known. Believe me when I say, if I don't want you around, you will know it.

3. Trust is better. If you want to spend time with one of my girls, it will be much easier if I trust you. I have to trust that you will protect my girl from any harm from others, and also that you will not ever be the one to harm her. Trust is not something that is given easily or quickly. You will have to gain my trust slowly, over time by showing me that you always have my girl's well-being forefront in your mind. If you are serious about wanting to see one of my girls, this lengthy trust-building will not be a problem for you because you already understand about things like trust and respect.

4. Respect is best. Respect is one of those complicated things that is hard to define, but is easy to recognize. You might say it is a combination of fear and trust. You should trust that I will make you fear me if any harm should come to one of my girls. There's more to it than that, though. Treating my girl as if she is the most important thing in the world is part of it. So is making sure the world knows that you value her in the only most respected way.

5. Show the right kind of affection. PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a fast lane to either earning my respect or losing any chance of seeing my girl again. When you are together in my presence it's ok to let my girl know you like her by holding her hand, for instance. Is is NOT ok to attempt to paw her like an animal or kiss her like they do in romance movies. That doesn't show respect for her as a girl or me as her parent. Even thinking about anything else beyond the kissing is clearly a bad idea (see rule number one.)

7. Value her as a person. Your actions and words will tell me very quickly if you truly value my girl the right way or if you are the type of person that objectifies females in the wrong way. I will not suffer the latter to hang around. My girls are all super smart with lots of unique interests. If you want her to like you, be prepared to ask about one of her many hobbies. Share your own with her. If you want ME to like you, be prepared to do the same. If you think that this is unnecessary, see rule number two.

8. Value her as a female. I know she is beautiful. She knows it too because I have been telling her that since the day she was born. Reminding her of this is perfectly fine, when done in a respectful way. For example, "You look amazing!" is good. Remarks referring to "sexiness"  or how "hot" she is are decidedly not good. Also, make sure to show that you respect and value your own female family members.Your comments and attitudes about your family are usually a reflection of the way you feel about women in general.

9. Value your relationship with her. Another way you will show her (and me) whether you value her is how you treat other women in your life and in public. Being disrespectful of other girls is a red flag for mothers who want the best for their girls. Ogling and and making crude comments falls into the "disrespectful" category. Participating in actions that don't support the idea that you are 100% devoted to my girl will get you a long walk down a short driveway.

10. I don't care what you look like or what parts you have. All I care about is how you treat her. Truly. This isn't a trick. Tall, short, tattooed, pierced, dark, fair, American, foreign born, baggy pants or tailored suit - it really doesn't matter to me. If one of my girls happens to prefer girls over boys, who am I to judge? I have taught my kids that people are people, and all people are valuable. However, regardless of your gender, the same rules still apply. Be yourself and be good to her, and we will always get along great.
After all, THE most important thing to me is my girl's happiness.

Deb "The Momma" Lollar

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Wall

I haven't written ANYTHING in a month. Since losing my job, I just haven't had the motivation to do anything. I KNEW it was coming. It wasn't a surprise. You would think that I would be a little more...desensitized to getting fired by now. But no. You might also think I would have learned a better way to deal with the depression that always follows, but I haven't got that figured out either. The last six weeks have been a long string of uninteresting days followed by unremarkable nights. My brain feels like a cross between jello and oatmeal without all the interesting bits of fruit floating around. I haven't followed followed my routines hardly at all. I'm showering whenever I get around to it, getting dressed sometime during the day, going to bed later and later, and sleeping in most mornings. The weather has been cooperative so I haven't needed to get up early to drive the teenagers to school, thank goodness. Most days I let everyone walk home as well. Budgeting, meal planning, routines... whatever. Stuff just isn't getting done.

I'm sure I will get everything together and figure out what I'm going to do soon, but not today. This can't last forever, right? The very fact that I am sitting in my closet-turned-office (affectionately referred to as the Cloffice) is a sign that I am doing better. Just being in here before now has been a reminder of the fact that I used to work from here, but I don't anymore. My brain keeps wanting to beat me up for being a total failure, and so I've been doing my best to avoid anything that triggers that kind of thought.

All I can do is be so very thankful for the understanding, patience, and hard work of my husband. Since his promotion at work he's been working his tail off. Thankfully, that also means more money so my lack of job isn't as big a deal as it once was. Also, I just finished paying off my car, so that makes a huge difference as well. Things balance out.

So far, I haven't used my free time to catch up on the laundry, or scrub out the refrigerator. I've only gotten a few pieces of bead work done in the last month. The days are pretty much spent sleeping or reading or doing other things that are a complete waste of time. The evenings are better, because I have the kiddos around. I might be spending the majority of the days in bed, but the evening hours are making up for it. Still, there are so many things that really need to be done. I'm walking a fine line between feeling guilty about not doing anything, and forcing myself to do too much at once and burning myself out.

I think I might have reached a turning point tonight, though. Nothing huge happened. No major epiphany or kick in the pants has occurred. Suddenly, I just felt that I had rested enough. I'm not making any big plans for tomorrow or anything, but there is a spark in me that has finally made itself known. I guess the last six weeks or so was my time to heal and recover. Now it is time to begin to build my strength back up. I won't be back to normal for awhile, but I believe I will finally start to get better. Sure, it's almost bedtime, but that's ok. Instead of feeling like I'm wasting more time, I'm going to think of going to bed as a way to recharge for tomorrow.

Tonight, I'm going to feel proud of myself for doing as much as I can. It isn't as much as I want, but I have to be satisfied that it is all I am capable. Tomorrow will be better.
It always is.


Thursday, March 27, 2014

It happened. Again.

I managed to make it just beyond my one year anniversary at work before being canned for not showing up to work. I couldn't argue. I couldn't even be angry or upset with with my boss. He's been very understanding and has bent over backwards to try and keep me on as long as possible. I've only got myself to blame.

Maybe I could have drug myself out of bed just a bit earlier. Perhaps I wasn't in THAT much pain. I should really have logged in and just tried to take calls. Why did I have to be such a whiny little brat about having FM? LOTS of people have it and many of them go to work FULL TIME even, and manage to keep their jobs. I couldn't even make it to work four half days a week when all I had to do was walk to my office/closet, put on my headphones, and log in? I'm pretty pathetic.

At least, that's what's been going through my mind non stop since yesterday morning. That I'm a failure. I've been canned - again - for missing work and only lazy, self-absorbed, idiots get canned for not showing up to work. Of course, that is only half my thoughts right now. The other half is this awful crazy swirling mix of fear (that we won't be able to pay bills), indignation (I'm SICK for goodness sake!), sadness (I really will miss the awesome people on my team), relief (at least I can rest and not feel guilty that I should be working), guilt (of course, it was all my fault), and a dozen other feelings all pushing and shoving to get to the front of my mind. 

I gave myself yesterday to mourn and lick my wounds, as it were. Last night was miserable, too, partially because I slept FAR too much yesterday and it made it difficult to fall asleep. Also because I had this allergy thing going on and I spent several hours coughing, gagging, and trying to vomit everything up. Yeah, I know that is TMI, but this whole blog sort of is, too, isn't it?

Anyway, DH was truly an awesome hubby because he didn't try to wake me up this morning, he just took the kids to school and let me sleep. Thank goodness the older ones can walk to the high school by themselves. I KNOW I kept him up all night with my pitiful coughing and retching noises, but this morning he was more interested in making sure I was feeling better. THAT, people, is why I love that man.

In fact, instead of of getting all pissed out my losing another job, he was the one looking on the bright side. "At least we have our weekends back. More time for pow wows and more time for beading!" How did I get so lucky to nab a guy like that?

So, now that I have more time, I can really focus on my Five Steps. Maybe I'll even get enough crafting done that I can sell a bit here and there. I'm pretty positive I won't be able to completely replace my former income, but every little bit helps.

Stay tuned to see what crazy shenanigans I'm up to next week!


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

That was pretty tough

That was a pretty difficult downward spiral to pull out of! It was so sneaky I didn't even realize it was happening. It started with a few days of feeling yucky, a few back to back headaches, and before I realized, it had been a month of me not doing ANYTHING. I kept thinking, "I need a break. Maybe just a nap." Then I would pull out my phone to read FB posts or play a game just for a minute and POOF! Hours gone. Just like that.

I could blame it on the games on my phone. It was almost exactly a month ago that I was able to upgrade my phone to a newer, cooler version. It has WAY more inboard memory than my old one so I decided I would try to download some of the games I had to delete off my old phone because of space constraints. I was specifically ignoring the fact the the OTHER reason I deleted all those games was because I started playing them all the time instead of beading, writing, house cleaning... pretty much everything else I needed to be doing.

Truly, though, I know that if it wasn't games, it would have been something else. When the Grey Monster creeps in and takes hold even the dumbest things will cause me to become distracted. I once spent THREE HOURS standing up, next to a chair because I picked up an interesting book. When I was done with the book (it was a kids novel and I am a fast reader) I realized I had been shifting from foot to foot, my back was aching, and I was starving and very thirsty. You see, I had been walking into the kitchen to grab a snack and a drink so I could take some medicine to help my back when I spied the book on the table. Once I picked it up, I was so completely engrossed that I lost all track of time and forgot why I was in the dining room to begin with.

The past month has been just like that. One minute I'm on my way to do something important, the next several hours has passed and I've not gotten it done. Even worse, I feel like I've completely wasted that time. Wastefulness makes me feel guilty. Guilt makes me beat myself up and then I feel ashamed. Shame makes me want to crawl into bed and forget about the world for awhile. Which wastes more time doing nothing and the cycle repeats. When you throw into that mix the days when I am genuinely unable to do anything because of severe body aches or migraines, you end up with a whole lot of days in a row of not spending time with the family, not being awake and productive during the day... even showering seems to be too much to handle.

You would think that if I have the presence of mind to figure this stuff out right now, I could avoid it all the next time it happens. I wish it was that easy. Looking back, I can see that I am not anything close to rational during these periods of time. It's as if all the intelligence just leaks out of my head and the only thing I am able to do is sit and wait for it to find its way home.

Over the past month, I have tried to snap myself out of this on the few occasions that I was able to think clearly. I've forced myself to go to Pow Wows even when I didn't feel like going anywhere. A few weeks ago I helped out with a crafting day that my husband was in charge of. Last night I went on a walk with some friends of ours and I actually walked more than a mile without stopping. I can say that this "bad" stretch has still been better than my "good" days used to be. But it isn't enough to make me happy about it. All I can think about are the hours of wasted time and the long list of things that never got done. This is a month of time I can never get back.

So, right now I am feeling better and I am going to do as much as I can while I can. I will try to remember to eat, drink, and rest so as not to burn myself out and start the cycle over again. And, I will start paying attention to my Five Step Plan for the year again. Today, I have written, so that's one thing checked off the list. I didn't get up, get showered, and get dressed first thing this morning, but I DID (eventually) do it, so I'll give myself that one for today, as well. I haven't lost a pound a week, but I haven't gained anything back, either, so there is another positive to count. That leaves "be creative every day" and "spend one-on-one time with each of the kids." I've already got my beading stuff out  so I'll be finishing up a lanyard this afternoon. This evening is the annual Cheerleader Parents' Meeting so I  will be spending time with the Tiny Dancer.

I guess this day hasn't been a total failure after all.


Thursday, February 20, 2014

It wasn't my fault!

I'm back. I've had computer issues and sick issues and all sorts of other issues, but I don't feel like complaining today. Just know I've missed writing and posting and I'm SO VERY GLAD to be able to do it again!

I wanted to share with all of you a very important Milestone for me in my journey to improve my health.
I have managed to lose the two most stubborn pounds ever.

I weigh 178 pounds.

I've been very reluctant to say that number out loud for everyone else to know. I'm afraid half of you will be all, "Whatever. That's not a huge deal." and the other half will be, "Holy COW You're HUGE!"

In any case, I know my body and what's right for my body should be around 120. That takes into consideration the fact that I am less than 5 foot tall, but that I am NOT a fine boned little bird. I've got curves and hips and boobs and I have no desire to get rid of them. I do, however, have a desire to feel healthy and fit.

These last two pounds have been really hard to get rid of. For some reason, breaking the 180 barrier has been impossible for the last five years. Even though it is only 2 pounds, it feels like a huge difference to me. For someone taller maybe, two pounds might not be anything to mention. But for me? My clothes are just a little bit looser. My knees hurt a little bit less. My waist is a little more defined. All of that equates to a bit more confidence and energy. THAT is the real benefit losing weight for me.

I still have a tendency to beat myself up about still being SO BIG. I mean, think about it. If just TWO pounds makes a noticeable difference, just think how much 20 pounds affects me. Or how about 80.
Yep. When I first started , I had EIGHTY pounds to lose. Now I only have 60. Or more precisely, 58.
It still seems like such a large number to fathom.

I've got plans, though. Besides just continuing to make better choices about what I eat and drink, I have a sneaky little scheme in mind. I'm working on convincing my husband to get a Resistance Trainer. It's a setup that allows racers to use their own bikes for indoor training. Basically, you prop your bike up on the spinning wheel and suddenly you can ride your bike as many miles as you want without ever leaving the garage. My husband is completely on board with this, he is just deliberating over the model and features and price. I would be happy getting the low end starter model and riding it it till it breaks, but no. HE has to pour over every little detail to get the VERY BEST ONE. You see HE is the one that was on the amateur bicycle racing circuit back in the day. HE is the one lusting after a new fancy racing bike that weighs less than 8 pounds and has space age materials in the state-of-the-art parts and accessories. HE is the one that gets up early every July so he can see the coverage of the Tour de France live instead of waiting for the recap in the evenings. And I am the one who wants to go ahead and buy the contraption in the first place.

 I tried once to go riding with him but it was a miserable experience for both of us. I am the one who still manages to fall off a bike every time I go out in public. I get hot and tired too easily to keep up with him. After a few blocks, I'm worn out and ready to head home. He has to go a mile or two just to get his legs warmed up enough for a REAL ride. So, even though I know I will never actually get out and cycle on the open road (or even the neighborhood) I DO know that cycling is one of the few aerobic activities I can do without making my knees any worse than they already are. And instead of purchasing some huge, heavy machine that will cost more than I ever want to spend and take up more space that I have to spare, I will buy a small, non-electric device that will effectively turn my bicycle into an Exercycle. Plus, I can make my bike fit me more comfortably than any gigantic machine. Besides, talking HIM into a new gadget to ride "his" bike is a lot easier than say, convincing him to purchase a treadmill.

So, wish me luck on my new purchase. If I'm lucky, I'll have it sometime later this week and I'll let y'all know how it goes! I'll have more pictures for updates next week!

Deb "Shrinking" Lollar

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Update coming soon

I'm working on a new post and it is taking me a little longer than I wanted it to. However, I said I would post once a week, so here is something pretty to look at while I keep editing.

This is a picture I took of a path through the woods that I felt was really inspiring.

There you have it! Enjoy your week and your weekend! If you like my other posts, you have permission to take a look at the archives and read about all the many hearts in my life.


Friday, January 24, 2014

Slow and steady does... somethingerother

Well, I missed my arbitrarily decided-on deadline of posting by Wednesday each week. But, I'm not about to "throw the baby out with the bathwater" or whatever that saying is. Basically, I'm not giving up on me and my Five Steps, just because I had a bad week. That's what ruins so many other people on Resolutions. All, or nothing. I'd rather just have SOMETHING.

I guess I kind of lost a pound this week. I splurged because I felt awful (everyone here had The Crud) last week, and maybe I had more than my share of cookies. I definitely drank too many colas and I sure didn't get any exercise. The Crud hit me pretty bad though, so I didn't really eat anything OTHER than cookies. I guess the calories kind of balanced out. Then, when I felt well enough to eat real food, I made the mistake of grabbing some fast food. Twice. The first time should have been enough of a warning when I nearly passed out from stomach cramps. But no, I decided to convince myself, "Maybe it was just a bad burger. I'll have the chicken strips instead. That should be fine. Right?" Yeah, not so smart.By the time I weighed myself this morning, I HAD lost about a pound. Not the way I would have liked, but a pound is a pound, right?

Because I felt yucky, I didn't feel up to beading or writing or anything at all this week. It was really just a cycle of Wake Up, Do What I Have To, Count Minutes Until I Can Gi Back To Bed.  Not a lot got done. I finally gave in yesterday and went to the doctor. Scott had to go to get a Dr's note so he could go back to work. Apparently, they were concerned he would pass around the Flu to his co workers... worry warts. I figured since he was going, I should go to since the headache that started Saturday was still hanging around after THREE separate doses of the Migraine-Be-Gone meds. So one Flu test (negative, by the way) and one Awesome Shot in the butt and I was off to Night-Night land for the next four hours. It was heaven.

Before The Crud ascended on me, I managed to have an amazingly awesome weekend. The family took a trip a few hours south and attended a Pow Wow for TIHA, one of the organizations we belong to. This was the BIG one that we have all been looking forward to. My darling eldest, Little Heart, was crowned Princess for 2014.

Yes, it looks like Little Heart has a goofy look on her face. That's actually her Normal Face.

 It is such a big honor, I can't even describe it. It's kind of like a pageant, except for this organization you usually don't have to perform to get chosen. Generally, you apply and then the members vote and that's it. For LH, there wasn't really a lot of competition, so the biggest deal about it was her getting up and volunteering.  But, the organization is not required to name a Princess, and if LH didn't want to do it, they could have found or appointed someone else, or just opted not to have one this year. She was really nervous, and isn't a girly-girl, so the idea of being a Princess wasn't all that appealing. However, the idea of doing something good for others IS her thing, so in the end, she chose to volunteer because it would make the family proud and and also because it would let her do some good for the organization.

 In any case, it IS a big honor as well as a major responsibility for LH and the rest of the family. My family is well known in the Native Community around this area and, even though we are as white as you can be, we have strong Native support from families that are Native. That makes a big difference.

We go to several Native Pow Wows every year, and this year, wherever we go, LH will be wearing the crown and sash and will be representing her Organization. Everything she does will be a little more public. Her actions will be noticed by Natives and non-Natives alike. All eyes will be on her while she is dancing. Little girls like to come up to Princesses and ask for their autographs. Heaven forbid she makes a mistake, she will have to pay for it in a very public way. (Indians have ways of handling this. Usually its with money.)

To say I am nervous is a huge understatement. I didn't grow up in this culture. Everything I know about it, I have learned from watching and asking questions. I no longer feel like an outsider the way I did 12 years ago, but I am very aware that I was not raised around the drum. It is supposed to be the Mother's and Grandmother's job to teach the girls, as it is the Father's and Grandfather's job to teach the boys. Except this Mother doesn't really know much more than my girl, and I don't have a Grandmother to go to. Not officially. I still feel like there is so much to learn, I don't even know what questions to ask. I'm half afraid of asking something and getting that look from an Elder woman that says, "Of course, water is wet."

Here is Fern, with LH on one side and DH on the other.

Thankfully, I DO have some people to go to. My husband's "adopted" Indian mother, Fern, is Comanche. Her family put him in an outfit and taught him to dance when he was a boy. They proudly claim him as Family in the way Indians do. When they say, "He is my Nephew." there are no questions about it. When they say, "He is my grandson." you had better be prepared to have them over for Thanksgiving dinner, because they are FAMILY. This woman is everything you would expect an Elder Comanche to be - stern, imposing even, but loving and kind. Her smiles are very difficult to earn, but they are well deserved when she gives them. She was there with us Saturday night as LH was crowned.Fern was right there, first on the floor after LH's first time around. "Bow here, like this. Now turn, this way. Head up, shoulders back. Now, raise your fan." It was beautiful. Now, Fern has a daughter by blood, as well as a granddaughter. But, looking at her teaching LH, you would have never known that they were anything but blood.

 The outfits that we are all wearing are made completely by DH. The larger pieces of bead work were made by some close friends of ours, but the dresses, moccasins, and all the other accessories have all been designed and created by DH. He's really good at it, as you can see.

Here is Evil Genius proudly sporting her minks in her hair. She has named them Chip and Dale.

And Tiny Dancer in her Fancy Dance outfit. The bead work came first and the rest of the outfit was based on that.

 As you can see, the whole family is part of this. My girls have the advantage of being raised in The Circle around the drum. The younger two have been kicking their legs to the beat since before they could walk. They wanted to dance before they could run. They have learned the Right Way just from being exposed to it.When they make a mistake, it is forgiven because they are children.  No matter what, I always know they are safe when we are at a Pow Wow. They are with family.

Look, I was there too! Here I am, helping the girls get ready. Again.

 So, this is how I spent my last weekend. I'll probably be spending many more weekends this year in exactly the same way. Well, maybe not exactly. I probably won't be dressing up in my regalia for most of this year. Firstly, because I have to make sure the girls are dressed and ready and that alone is enough to keep me busy. I don't usually have time to dress up myself. Secondly, I'm afraid my dress doesn't fit me too well, anymore. I've lost enough weight now that it is TOO BIG! Woo hoo! I've told DH that he can wait awhile before making me another one though. He's got enough projects on his plate with the other girls outgrowing things nearly as fast as he can make them.

I want to thank you all for reading and following along with me on my journey of ups and downs. I hope you all enjoy the peek into the craziness that is my life.
Please feel free to Like, Comment, or Share as you see fit. I always welcome questions.

Deb "Busybody" Lollar

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

I did it!

So here I am blogging again. Yay me! I'm wearing regular clothes and sneakers, another point for me. I've finally started on the finishing touches of the purse for LH (why I waited so long to start will be a discussion for a another day.) Also, I've tried sit still and really listen to the kiddos this week when they come home all full of "Guess what happened!" So I'm doing good with my five step program.The best thing this week, though?

I finally lost the first pound of 2014!

Now, the fact that I seem to lose and gain the same 2-3 pounds, makes me a little leery, but I am going to count this as a loss (and not a fluke) because exactly one week ago, the scale read one pound higher than it did today. No, I'm not quite comfortable enough to write what that weight is yet. Besides, its significance only pertains to me. The same number on me is much different than on someone of average height (you know, anyone ABOVE 5 foot tall) or any woman with an average bust size (that would be someone able to use the first three letters of the alphabet when sizing a bra.) I don't want to get into a debate with someone about "You weigh THAT? I would KILL to weigh that! You must be messed up!" I'll just keep my number to myself for now.

Anyway, this one small accomplishment makes me feel really good. I'm purposely taking things slow and only making one or two small changes at a time. I'm trying to build a healthier lifestyle, not fad-diet my way into a skinny body that will be hidden inside a much larger body before 3 months has passed. I know I'm not able to hit the gym. Frankly, I'm not sure if I will EVER be ready for that. Making small dietary changes and pushing myself for a few extra minutes of activity each day is all I can manage right now, so I'm going to be proud of that. Any major changes or extreme energy usage almost always results in a Fibro Flare Up. That is the last thing I need. I've got to go really slow.

Unfortunately, I'm really tired of waiting and being patient. In my head I'm all "Why don't you get out and walk, or maybe even jog." So, I stand up to grab my running shoes and I'm instantly reminded why I haven't gotten out before now. Because it hurts. And also because every time I give in to that voice that says, "Just do it!" I end up stuck in bed and not able to do anything else. At all. I need to exercise my patience as much as my body.

Of course, this is when the Ugly Voice tells me that I'm just being lazy. That I'm in this place because I've been too lazy for too long. That Ugly Voice is a silver-tongued viper, I tell you. Doesn't it seem like the right thing to say? Doesn't that sound like good advice? Why do I let the FM stop me from walking several miles at a time like I used to do? Why do I crawl into bed at the first sign of pain or a headache? Isn't that the very definition of laziness - not doing what I should because it is too hard? Shouldn't I be digging deep within my soul and finding the energy and motivation to just stop being so lazy?

It make sense on the surface, but I'm beginning to see the Ugly Voice for what it is. An Ugly Lie. All the most believable lies have some shred of truth to them. The difference between a lie and the truth can be very subtle. Sometimes it comes down to how this thought makes me feel. Telling myself I'm being lazy... well that's not very nice. When I think thoughts that make me feel guilty, that is the first sign that I need to stop right there. Tough love is good, but it isn't ALWAYS the right choice. Being honest with myself can sometimes BE tough, but it needs to be LOVE first.

I am truly in this place not because I'm lazy. I'm not just making fake excuses so that I can sit down and ignore the world so I don't have to deal with the hassle of it. I don't cancel plans with family and friends, miss work, or sleep all day because I am a bad person. I have a medical condition that prevents me from living life the way I used to and it isn't laziness to make accomodations today so that I can have the energy I need tomorrow.

Does it sound like I'm defending myself and my actions, as if someone is accusing me of crimes?
I'll bet it does. Because I AM. I am defending myself. And the person making these awful statements about what a horrible person, and mother, and wife I am? That's me, too. I am my own worst critic. I see my faults plainly, even when I try to hide them from others. I am much harder on myself than I would ever be to anyone else. That isn't fair, is it?

Some people believe that physical ailments are a product of how we live our lives both physically and spiritually. The idea is that certain actions, thoughts, or habits reflect on your physical being and manifest as aches, pains, or illnesses. For instance, stubbornness and a refusal to see both sides of an issue could be reflected as a stiff or painful neck. This is just one of the interesting articles I found today when looking this stuff up. Here is another good one.

Whether you hold to these beliefs or not, the idea that you can "make" yourself sick is not that far-fetched. If doctors can say that things like headaches and stomach ulcers (just to name a few) are caused by "stress", and that you can improve your health by changing your lifestyle, it just makes sense to separate yourself from negative or "stressful" things and surround yourself with positive things. Beating yourself up and calling yourself names sounds pretty negative to me. Now, I'm not going to say that the last 10 years of pain, fatigue, and depression are caused solely by my own negative thoughts. If fixing this were as easy as just "thinking HAPPY thoughts" then I'm POSITIVE I would have beaten this long before now. (see what I did there?)  I do believe, however, that the more negativity we harbor in our minds, the worse our body will feel because of it.

My goal now is not to ignore the negative, but to be mindful of the bigger picture and treat myself the way I would treat someone else that I love. I need to be HONEST and LOVING with myself. That means thinking constantly about WHY I do or do not want to do something and allowing myself the freedom to choose both my actions and my moments of rest. It means being understanding of my limitations while still striving for a more active and fulfilling lifestyle. It means forgiving myself for what I can not do as well as being proud (instead of embarrassed) about the small steps I make towards recovery.

One measly pound sounds pretty minimal compared to all the weight I still have to lose. However, it is a positive milestone for me because it has come out of positive changes in my life. Just like I have been doing for the last week, today I am choosing to eat more veggies than starch or meat and replace 2 cokes each day with iced tea or plain water.  I will decide to not hit up the cookie jar (again.)  Tomorrow, I will endeavor to make the same smart choices, and keep on making them until I'm so used to those choices that they become normal. Then I will add another change. And another and another.

Here's to sticking with my goals!

Deb "Positively" Lollar

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Still Hanging In There!

As I promised, here is a post exactly one week from my last one. That means I haven't completely failed at every New Years Resolution, yet, anyway.

How am I doing on the the others? Well lets see...

As for #1, to blog once a week? Well here I am so that's good

#2 Be artistic every day. I haven't done this EVERY day, but I have gotten some stuff done. See?

#3 Follow my Daily Routines every day. Mostly that means getting dressed to the shoes every morning and going to bed on time every night. There's more to it, but I can say, I've done really well at this. I've only slept in once and I still got up and got dressed when I woke up instead of sitting in my jammies all day. Score one more for me! I've also gotten a few places around the house decluttered (which is also part of my Routine.) I'll call this one mostly a success.

#4 Lose one pound per week. Hmm. Yeah. That didn't happen this week. I know what I did (that I shouldn't have) and what I should have done (that I didn't) but I'm not giving up. I built flex room into my plan for just this reason. I can do this. Also, here is a selfie to remind myself that I'm still pretty and loveable and I don't need to hide out from the world.

#5 Spend time with one of the kids every day. I didn't actually tell the kids about this part of my plan. I don't want them to think that I'm doing this just because I said I would. In reality, I think all five of these kids are just awesomely cool and I really WANT to hang out with them more. So, let me see... I spent a good amount of time with Monster and The Boy while driving them around on Saturday. That was pretty nice. Little Heart and I had a very serious, hour-long discussion about how she feels put upon and not respected and how life is not fair. She didn't really like what I had to say in reply to that, but I didn't say I was going to spend ONLY happy time with the kids, so it still counts. For Tiny Dancer and Evil Genius, it was more about making the most of a few moments here and there throughout the day. I'll do better with this next week, I'm sure.

After proper analyzing, I think I have done pretty well so far.

Other than sticking to my Resolutions, I've been pretty busy. Since December, I've worked every shift I've been scheduled for, without calling in sick. I'm only scheduled for three, half days a week, but I've made it every single time and even worked extra shifts on my days off. Even better, I have been ON TIME for every shift except for one. This is a really big deal because I was *this* close to losing it all in the middle of December. It was really a big misunderstanding but my history of being late and frequently missing work was not in my favor. I'm just glad that my boss is as understanding as he is. It also helped a little that when I DO work, I work well. I like what I do and I'm good at it. Even on my off days when I can't really think straight, I'm still able to hold my own. For the first time in 10 years, it looks like I will make it to my one year anniversary at the same company. February 11. It's on my calendar. It's a big deal.

The next few weeks are going to be very interesting. Sunday is a Scout banquet that I'll be attending with DH. Y'all know I'm not a huge fan of the BSA, but I AM a big fan of my husband. I mean look at him? How can you NOT love, support, and cherish this guy?

I'll support him because I love him and because Scouts has been a major part of his life since he was born. He does a lot of good for a lot of boys and I'm proud of him for it. Also, I'm rather pleased that BSA has made some very big steps towards being an inclusive organization. Allowing openly gay boys into the organization is a HUGE policy change that went into affect on January 1, 2014. It's something I've been waiting to see for a long time and I can't complain about it one bit. Ok, I can complain that they didn't make bigger changes, like lifting the ban on gay adults, too, but I feel it is only a matter of time before they do. Once they see that being gay is no big deal and it doesn't threaten anyone or anything, I feel that the leaders of this organization will see that this policy is just dumb. That's a very simple way to put it, but I'm sure you understand what I mean. It's in their best interest to lift the ban anyway, it will just take time for the leadership to change course on such a big ship.

The weekend after this is going to be HUGE. Little Heart will be crowned Princess of the TIHA organization.

So yes, technically she will become an Indian Princess. Of course, I'm bursting with pride over this. Looking at her now, at 16 years old, and remembering that we never really knew if she would ever leave the hospital... it can be overwhelming. For the next year we will go to as many Pow Wows as we can and she will wear her crown and sash and represent TIHA. More than that, she says she wants to use this opportunity to help raise awareness for CHD's and heart health. It's going to be a long year filled with a lot of hard work, but I'm looking forward to all of it. We have the support of the organization to help us out, as well as the assistance of dozens of other friends and family. As the events are scheduled, I'll keep y'all posted as to where we will be and when. These events are always open to the public and if you let me know you will be there, I'll be sure to save you a chair.

Here's the flyer for this Pow Wow, in case any of y'all can make it. The dance will only be on Saturday night and the location is about 2 hours from home, for us. We will drive down that morning and drive back that night, so no hotel this time. If anyone wants to caravan or carpool, be sure to let me know!

That's all for this week. Everyone keep warm and safe. Keep an eye on your neighbors, especially the elderly. We don't want to lose anyone to the cold weather!

Deb "Shivers" Lollar

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Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year! It's 2014

Normally, I don't do New Year's resolutions, but I think I need to this year. There are some things I need to change and I want to put myself in a frame of mind to make those changes. I know that I don't have a whole ton of readers, but maybe if I post these here there will be some sort of accountability? Who knows!

1. I want to write once a week for other people to read. I already write every day, but if I want to ever get paid for it, I should work on being more consistent and practice putting it out for people to read more often. Along with this goal goes improvements on my blog appearance and adding in cool links and features. If I work on this a little bit every day - say 15 minutes a day - I can get into the habit of being on the blog regularly and writing with an audience in mind. Truthfully, I'd like to see if I can get more readers so I can get more feedback and get better at writing in general.

2. I want to work on something artistic every day. When I say something artistic, I mean using one of the many crafting skills I have. There is a large list of items that are needed and requested this year and if I don't make myself sit down and do them every day, they simply won't get done. I've got bead work promised to people, buckets of yarn just waiting to be crocheted into something, even more buckets of fabric that have been set aside for projects and never used, and hours each and every day that are currently unspoken for. I need to be more productive and I want to see results of my productivity. Hm, maybe posting pictures of my work would be good for me and the blog, too?

3. I want to follow my normal Daily Routines every day, even when I don't feel like it. This one is going to be hard. When I hurt, or when the fatigue feels insurmountable, or when I feel like I've been kicked in the gut by the Grey Monster, I tend to curl up in bed and pray for things to pass. Except that doesn't really help. Getting up and taking a shower and getting dressed in real clothes and moving around; these things DO help. If I don't want to be in the same physical state a year from now, I have to make myself do what I don't want to do. And I have to do it every day. Which brings me to my next goal.

4. I want to be get better shape. To define "better", I want to hit my goal weight by the end of the year. I know that weight loss itself isn't the goal, it's a healthier body. However, if I do the things I need to lose the extra weight, I will enjoy the many benefits of better health. If I lose just ONE pound per week, I will reach my goal by this time next year. One pound a week isn't all that crazy, is it? And since there are more weeks in the year than pounds I need to lose, I have some flex time in there to slide and still make my goal. I'm not going to say HOW I will accomplish this goal. I think I will just take things week by week and see what I can do as it happens. On the weeks I hurt more it makes more sense to take it easy and count calories more strictly. When I hurt less and have more energy, adding in light exercise or a longer walk will be a good option. I should probably add that I need to allow more (say, monthly) pictures to be taken of me so I can keep better track of my progress.

5. I want to spend more alone time with each of the kiddos. Since "more" and "time" aren't  easily defined, I will say this: Every day I will spend 30 minutes focused one child and I will spend the time with a different kid each day. This will be easier with some kids than others, I know. However, the way these kids are growing up, I want to be able to stay connected and strengthen the connections I already have. Every single one of these kids is an awesome little person who I love to hang out with. If it makes us both happy, I should definitely be doing more of it.

So there you have - the five ways I want to change the rest of my life, starting this year.
What do you think? Are New Years Resolutions an important part of your January, or are they destined to fail simply by their nature. Let me know in the comments and feel free to share my blog if you feel like it.

Deb "Positive" Lollar