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

Feel free to Like, Comment, and Share!

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