Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Weekend in Review: Memorial Day

While the sun is almost blinding in its intensity this morning, it has been conspicuously absent all weekend. Memorial Day weekend has typically found us wringing out from a deluge, and this year was no different. I don't know just how much rain we got from Thursday through Monday, but it was over 5 inches. We were blessed to not have to be out in it, or near any of the streams or rivers that swelled way beyond their banks.

While the skies wept, we were snug and comfy in our house. My hip bothered me all weekend, so most of the projects I had hoped to see accomplished went undone, but we did manage to clean up the mess in the garden room and plant the flowers Elizabeth gave me for Mother's Day. Elizabeth came over for a few hours on Sunday and worked on her shawl.

Saturday and Sunday Ornery watched a bunch of webinars and I read, caught up on my correspondence, worked some puzzles and made washi tape note cards. Monday I did all the laundry while he went in to work. He said it was quiet and he was very productive--always a nice feeling.

His mom came over to work a jigsaw puzzle with me in the afternoon, but she scared herself driving in the heavy rain on Friday and was hesitant to stay late for fear she would be caught in it again. I asked her how her house was coming after the neighbor's huge tree had landed on it, and she said that due to all the rain they hadn't been able to do anything other than remove the tree and put a tarp on the roof. The tarp has not kept the rain from dripping inside, so she has huge fans on the carpets, and is still living in a local motel awaiting the repairs. Those repairs are pretty extensive, since the tree crushed the upstairs guest room and did damage to the master bedroom below.

Last night as soon as they finished unloading the moving truck, Ryan came over to pick up the van and we had a nice visit. He starts his new job today.

We are both really happy with the results we are seeing from the supplements we are taking--plenty of energy, reduced appetite, and noticeable weight loss. I got on the scales for the first time today, so I don't know exactly how many pounds I have lost, but my clothes are getting pretty loose, and Ornery's jeans are hanging on him. He has been weighing from the first, and has taken off 4-5 lbs. in the week he has been on the product.

As usual, we spent hours and hours discussing all sorts of things and I am always sad to see him leave after the weekend to go back to work. Here we are in the last week of the month, closing in on the half-way mark for the year. So far it has been exciting and a lot of work, but we are both really encouraged by the prospects, and in one of our discussions this weekend we both agreed that at the end of 2015 we will have seen some significant changes rather than reflecting on a year that was ending the same as the previous one, five, ten or twenty. That feels really good!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Health and Weight Stuff

As you may or may not know I have struggled with my weight my entire adult life.  I have tried so many products, programs, plans—some with great temporary success, others with little to no results. I’ve never been a huge fan of exercise, but for a period of time (about 2 years several years ago) I was very faithful to workout daily. While I had marginal success with it, I also had a lot of joint pain in my hip that finally drove me from it.

The last serious weight loss program I did was injecting hCG combined with a very low calorie diet (VLCD). I lost weight—over 100 lbs—but the program required on for 6 weeks, off for 6, then on again for six and off again for 12, with each interim period doubling from the previous.  During the interim periods, carb and fat intake was strictly limited, and frankly, after only eating 500 calories for six weeks, I was not all that excited about continuing on that path. I did several cycles of the injections/VLCD, with less and less loss each round and eventually was only managing to take off the weight during the injection period that I piled back on in the interim.

It wasn’t a sustainable lifestyle for me.  It was costly, difficult to maintain (the food choices were so limited that eating out or socializing around food was impossible), and required a lot of other lifestyle changes. I did not cheat during the program, but in the interim I couldn’t seem to follow the plan. I was really weak when I was eating so little, and that was a new experience for me. In addition to the issues with the weight gain between rounds, I had severe muscle cramps in my legs and passed out twice from them, and it messed up my hormones.

I decided I didn’t want to be thin badly enough to put my body through that kind of torture, so I gave up. And when I gave up, I mean I really lost hope. The next couple of years the weight piled on. At my lowest weight I was around 225 lbs. I almost doubled that over the next three years. I could hardly walk from one end of the house to the other, had no energy, my ankles practically disappeared from the swelling, and I became a recluse. I quit driving and Dave took over all the grocery shopping and errands I had done for years.

Dave, who had also lost a fair amount of weight on hCG/VLCD, piled on the pounds, mostly around his middle—the place they say is the most dangerous. He made desultory attempts to lose various times, but he hit an all-time high for his body (225 lbs.) around the same time I hit my high. He was aggravated with himself for allowing his body to get into that state, but I was sinking fast into a deepening state of depression.  Many days I just prayed for God to take me home.

In October of 2013 I told Dave I was done. I didn’t care if I lived or not, but what I was doing was NOT living, merely existing. We had a heart-to-heart discussion about the situation and decided to try once again with the chiropractor/applied kenisiologist we had worked with successfully before. It was an expensive option, around $400 per month including visits, adjustments and supplements, and not covered under health insurance. The only option really covered was surgery, which I knew was not an option for me.

Dave took time off from work to drive me to the appointments, and really helped me a lot to overcome that sense of hopelessness.  I made slight progress, but the doctor wanted me to give up sugar, dairy, yeast, nightshades, and at various times other foods as well. He joked that it may come to the point where I could have ice cubes and toothpicks. I didn’t laugh.  I could sustain that limited diet for a few weeks, but not long term. If it had been one or two foods at a time, I would have had no problem, but soon I sensed that the doctor was frustrated with me, and I was not happy either.  I had made enough progress, however, to move beyond my deep despair, and began to get interested in life again.

I joined a swap group online, got interested in doing art and writing letters to pen pals, and slowly came out of my emotional slump.

After almost exactly a year, I quit going to the chiropractor, and haven’t been back since last October. I found sources online to order the supplements he had me taking, and on the last visit he prescribed something for my hip that really helped a lot. With the pain lessened, I was able to do more activities, not a lot, but more than I had done. Week by week I have made some small improvements (I even drove a couple of times this month!), but still no weight loss.

In March of this year, we decided to take wheat out of our diet.  Dave lost a pound or two; I didn’t lose much if any. However, we both felt better not eating it, and decided it wasn’t anything we really missed. We had purchased a used recumbent exercise bike we hadn’t really used much, but decided to incorporate some exercise into our days. Again, Dave lost a pound or so, but I didn’t have the stamina to stick with it long enough to make any difference for me.

It sounds like we just didn’t want it badly enough, doesn’t it? That may be part of it, but after trying so many things with limited or no success, I had once again decided I was destined to live the rest of my days in this massive body, embarrassed to be in public, refusing to have my photo taken, and limited to staying close to home.

In April, one of the pen pals I met last year posted pictures of herself on her Instagram account showing some pretty remarkable weight loss in just two weeks using a product someone at her church had shown her.  I asked her about it, and after a couple of weeks decided to try it. She didn’t give much information on her post, but I did a Google search and found some more information. The product is by a company called TruVision Health.

I researched a bit about the ingredients in the products, looked at the videos on their site for results, and was really encouraged by what I saw.  Rather than primarily address the weight loss issue like most diet products, these supplements are designed to work on rebuilding health, to balance blood chemistry and detoxify the organs, which in turn creates an optimal environment for the body to get rid of the fat on its own. My new friend added me to a secret Facebook group, and I saw a lot more information about how the products work, the results people were getting, and how great the support system is.

I ordered a 7½ day sample pack from her for $25.00 + $3.00 for shipping. I began taking them the day after they arrived. Two pills, twice a day. I kept taking my other supplements for a few days but then dropped those to see what this would do alone. Today I finished my first week sample pack and this is what I have noticed:
Increased energy
Better sleep
Decreased appetite
No cravings—in fact the sweet stuff has really not even tempted me
Clear mind
Less back and joint pain
More flexibility
One of the product ingredients is something I have not been able to take in the past so I was really skeptical at first which was why it took me a couple weeks to order the sample, but I have not had jitters, racing heart, or any of the other side effects I was anticipating.  The energy is not hyper energy, just enough that I want to move more. I am sleeping more soundly, but I wake up refreshed and energized in the morning, and don’t feel the overwhelming desire to take a nap every afternoon like I had been. I have not weighed, and won’t measure again until the weekend. I can already tell I have lost some fat around my stomach/buttocks area, though.

So, I talked Dave into trying it. He began Tuesday, and today is Thursday. In two days he has lost three pounds on the scales, and enough in his stomach that it is visibly noticeable. He has never been a morning person, but he is waking up energized in the morning, and maintaining that level of energy throughout the day.  He has also noticed a decrease in his cravings for sugar and hasn’t felt the need to snack throughout the day like he had been--all these results in two days.

I don’t know if this is the ultimate answer for everyone, but I can tell you that for Dave and me it has really given some hope that we will finally be able to conquer this life-long battle of the bulge. The stories I have seen on the TruVision website as well as those in the Facebook group are nothing short of amazing. It is not a quick fix, but a long term project. The product works without diet changes or exercise programs, but because of the increased energy and loss of cravings for bad food, I am making wiser choices with what I eat, and moving more because I feel like it. The biggest lifestyle change I have had to make is to increase my water consumption, something I should have done long before. I am not saying you won't be changing your eating habits if you take this, but the products make it much easier to say no to the things your body doesn't want or need which is half or more of the battle any time we want to lose weight.

The sample pack is a one-time offer.  It is designed to give potential customers the chance to try it for a week to see how their body reacts. Some people lose weight that first week.  Others don’t lose for several weeks because of the work that must be done internally to repair organs and stabilize blood chemistry. I am always up for the things that will improve my health, and I think this is just the thing I have been looking for. As for the cost, it is less than what we were already paying for supplements, so that is a good thing.

If you would like more information, would like to try a sample pack, or want to join the Facebook group to look around just let me know. We have to be friends on Facebook for me to add you to the group, (link on the sidebar) and I would be happy to share what information I have.  Here is a link if you want to look at the website to see pricing and so on. You can’t buy a sample pack there, you will need to email (contact form above) me your paypal email and I will send an invoice from my end. Eventually I will get a cart website set up; I just didn’t want to wait any longer to let you know about this wonderful product.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Vision Boards and Defining Self

Today I am working on two projects, one (a vision board) is an assignment from my coach and the other is the result of Brendon Burchard's 6 Guiding Questions for High Performers.  I think I will begin with these three questions he asks himself everyday:

  1. Am I living my truth?
  2. What 3 words really define who I am as a person
  3. What 3 words define how I should interact with others?

1) Am I living my truth?  Well, I don't really know! I never thought much about this, just sort of drifted along with the life I had carved out for myself, or that which was the result of circumstances surrounding either my decisions or those who influenced me.  However, I would like to reconnect with that and truly live my truth--that is, who I want to be based on a conscious decision.

So, who exactly am I? It would be easy to jump in and say what I do... I am a homemaker, or I am a wife, mom, etc.  But I don't think that what I do, or my position in a company really defines my nature, which is I believe the purpose of the exercise.

Ornery and I have gained a great deal of insight through the messages of Dr. Jim Richards, and one of the things he often says is that we should get our sense of self-worth by agreeing with what the scriptures tell us who God says we are in Christ. We have already been given everything we need for life and godliness, (2 Peter 1:3) and we are created in His image (Genesis 1:27) so we have attributes of His nature.  Among other attributes, His nature is love, (I John 4:8) and His grace is ever expanding our capacity (2 Cor. 12:9) to receive the good things He has already provided for us (2 Cor 1:20)

2) So now I think I have the three words that define Tracy:

  • First, as a child of God, I believe my nature is love. That would encompass just about any other thing I would want to be, but for the sake of the exercise, I will add two more words that define myself as I want to be known.  
  • Second, I would say I am creative. Whether with my art or solving a problem, I seem to be able to step outside the expected box and view life from a different perspective. 
  • And finally, I would say I am encouraging, which could certainly be an aspect of love, but I think it needs to have its own bullet point. :)
3) So, the three words that define how I should interact with others need also to align with the truth of who I am.  I interact with others:
  • loving- genuinely caring about others rather than being concerned with how they feel about me.
  • vibrant- bringing creative energy into the relationship or conversation so they leave feeling energized and open to new and bigger things than they imagined
  • encouraging- building up their confidence and helping them to see the good in their situation, life, etc. by sharing encouragement and genuine concern for their well being and ways to express gratitude. 

Am I living my truth?  Most days I don't have much interaction with other people, but I try to live out these defining words in my life whenever I can. In the past I was more judgmental than loving, and didn't realize how important that characteristic was, or maybe rather I didn't understand just how to go about doing that--being that. But now I DO know how important it is, and I am a work in progress for the learning how to do that in every situation. But I'm getting there.

Before I go tackle the vision board, I want to say that was a good exercise!  Have you thought about the 3 words that define you? or the 3 words you want to have define the way you interact with others?  Please share!

Monday, May 18, 2015

Weekend in Review: Anniversary Celebration

Tomorrow is our 36th wedding anniversary! Yes, Ornery has stuck it out for all those years and even says he still loves me! :)  I know that I am more in love with him every day, and our lives seem to be just getting richer and fuller as the days pass.

So, this weekend we celebrated.  We went out to Panera for breakfast on Saturday morning, then to lunch at a Mexican restaurant for a late lunch/early supper. We have been eating much cleaner and I started on some new supplements designed to detoxify and balance my system, (more on that another time) so the different foods did not set well with me and I ended up feeling pretty raunchy all morning on Sunday.  But, we did do something over the weekend that we have been talking about for a couple of weeks, and at the encouragement of Ali Brown via her free e-book, 100 Ways to Elevate your Success, we reworked our office space to make it more business-like for both of us.

We purchased another chair mat and two magnetic white boards, and replaced our old ceiling light fixture with a new ceiling fan.  The old light only had two bulbs and didn't give much light, so the new one with four lights, even at only 40W each, is still brighter.  The fan is nice, too, since the huge picture window lets a lot of heat in during the morning hours.   Ornery rearranged the furniture we already had in there to accommodate a space for me to work so I could separate my art from my business tasks. I'll be taking my chair back and forth between the two rooms until we buy me another chair, but it works for now. We also spent some more time refining our goals then working with each other to get past some hurdles.

Ornery often struggles with articulating his feelings; in fact sometimes even feeling things.  So I helped him with some visualizing and walked him through a few feelings, hopefully which he will be able to replicate later. He helped me to set a realistic schedule for my writing, household tasks, and webcasts. I tend to plow through lots of stuff on Monday, then by Wednesday I am burned out because I didn't take any time for myself.  He encouraged me to build in some "me-time" which I did.  Then, once I have accomplished all my goals for the week, I am scheduled to take a whole day--no cooking, cleaning or any work, just play.  I can tell you that is a challenge for me! However, today went like clockwork and the accomplishments are energizing.

Learning how to care for myself, not just the basics of eat and sleep, but also how to be kind to myself in other ways is something I am really working on right now. Elizabeth and I were visiting about this during her morning coffee time, and I said, "I make a huge list of 732 things to do, and rather than celebrating that I accomplished 700 of those things, I lament the 32 I didn't get done."  So, I am changing that and celebrating each and every victory!  I'm sure my coaches will be pleased to hear that! :)

I am super excited about my writing this week.  I have several blocks of time built into my schedule to work on my memoirs, but I also have some open times and I hope to flesh out a second book --an idea that came to me as a result of conversations Ornery and I had this weekend about feelings.  I have a list of thoughts already written down, and I am really excited about where this could go. So, while I hope to move forward with my memoirs, I am not just focusing on that.

I signed up for a writing Boot Camp that begins tomorrow; I think it is just one video per week, but is to cover all aspects of self-publishing and writing a book. Since I have paid for the subscription to take it, I am hoping I will utilize it fully, and capitalize on all the pointers, hints and ideas that I am given. I am also enjoying Brendon Burchard's High Performance Academy videos, and am learning all sorts of things about myself in the process.  For a young whipper-snapper he seems to be pretty on the ball. :)

I guess that's about all I have to say about our weekend. It was nice to be with my beloved the whole time, and it was a bonus to see him so excited about the office makeover.  I don't think I realized how much I have missed being in there with him, and evidently he has missed it, too.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Weekend in Review: Stuttering

You know how it is; you get all excited about things--new ideas, goals, projects-- just changes in general--and the next thing you know all the wind disappears from your sails and you are stalled. Becalmed. I am calling it a stutter. It's not that I have completely lost momentum, just that I took a break, and will have to refresh my memory of things I have learned before launching once again.

Ornery left on Thursday for a site trip in Clovis, NM. It has rained practically the entire time he has been gone with hardly any sunshine to speak of, either literally or metaphorically.  I don't like that I am so dependent on his presence to pursue my path, but apparently I am. I got a lot done on Thursday, but the next three days were a bust and I have gotten nothing done. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

To add insult to injury, the Fiverr book cover designer I hired couldn't come up with any ideas for my book cover and asked to be released from her contract.  So I even lost ground on that front. Where I thought I would have all this time to write and practice my homework for the courses I am taking, I really haven't accomplished a thing. Here it is Monday, and I am finding slightly more motivation, but I am so disappointed in myself. :(

Mother's Day was nice. Ryan called and we had a nice visit. Elizabeth came by and worked on her latest shawl. She is trying some new ideas, and if she wasn't trying to add additional fibers throughout the shawl, she could have been done.  The fringe is on, and this shawl is stunning. I would photograph it, but I haven't been able to get a good light on it to show the colors. It is so far my favorite of the ones she has made.

The rain has finally cleared out for a couple of days, and left behind an unseasonably cool day, but at least the sun is out! I have already had my coffee and breakfast, listened to a coaching call and visited with Elizabeth. Getting ready to talk to Ornery, and hopefully he has good news like he is coming home today, but if not it should be tomorrow.  I have another call at 1:00 and between times, I plan to do some homework. I am really not used to being so busy, and if I am brutally honest with myself, I really liked my life of leisure before I started all the courses.  However, I am determined to make some headway into changing our future, and if that means a bit of discomfort, well, so be it. I think my lack of motivation is as much laziness as anything, and I need to just kick myself in the rear and get back on track.

I can do this.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Weekend in Review: Super Dooper

Hello, poor deserted blog. Honestly, if I hadn't scheduled all my A to Z posts, I am not sure I would have posted more than a handful of times in April.  Life is zipping along.

This weekend we spent a lot of time working on the courses we signed up for at the Millionaire Mind Experience*. We are currently in two programs, one is called Master Wealth Creator and the other is Mastering the Markets*.  Both courses had already begun when we joined, so we started out behind.  This weekend we worked on getting caught up.  We updated our wills, recorded all our expenses for the month of April, and listened to all the calls for one program. I think we are mostly caught up, but it has taken a concerted effort!  There is still a lot of homework, (practicing and memorizing mostly) and we still have all the actions required and weekly calls for the two group coaching programs we were signed up for prior to Dallas.
(* Please Note: the above links take you to the sites and use our affiliate numbers to give us financial imbursement should you attend the event or sign up for the products/services.)

I also signed up for a free 7 Day Book Writing Challenge that begins today. Well, for me it will begin tomorrow, because the time slot on my new Week at a Glance planner for writing was in the morning and we haven't gotten our first assignment yet.  Ornery is at a disadvantage since he has to go to work everyday--I can work on the modules while he is gone, but he has to do the work in the evenings.  Later this week he is headed to New Mexico for his job for a few days, so that could create even more of a time crunch for him.  However, the nature of the job is that there is a considerable amount of waiting around doing nothing, so he might be able to do some studying then.

I had another emotional breakthrough this week: this one is related to my thinking and learning.  When I was in the 7th grade, my Dad was married to his second wife.  It was a stressful time for me, and even more so when I missed a week or more of school  at the end of the first semester due to illness.  I got my first ever failing marks on my report card (ironically one was in Home Economics) and I missed some key concepts and fell so far behind in math that I never really caught up.  I was in honors math at the time and we were studying algebra. From that time on I struggled with numbers, math, and anything related to them.  It was the subject I had the hardest time teaching my kids, and even the remedial math class in college was beyond my comprehension. I would look at the material and freeze.

Whether the emotional burden of having a difficult home-life was to blame or what, I don't know.  But one of the courses we are taking is for learning how to trade in the stock market (Mastering the Markets). At first I felt like I would be able to handle it, then panic set in and my conditioned mind took over. Gah!

So, yesterday I spent some time after my sauna session doing some EFT, and then later did some Heart Physics meditation to put off the fear of failure in the area of math and numbers and put on the mind of Christ.  That was before I really spent any time in the modules learning the material.  I'm not sure whether the teachers are just that good or if my mind really isn't as mathematically challenged as I have always assumed, but I actually understand everything they have presented so far, and while I will continue to review it and practice doing the work, I am relieved that I am not panicked about it anymore. In fact, I am really excited about doing the trading. :)

We got a call on Saturday (?) from our son who shared some exciting news with us that he and his family are moving back to Oklahoma as he has gotten a job in Owasso, a nearby town. We are excited that we will be able to see our grand children from time to time, although I am not going to count on that happening very often. They are moving over the Memorial Day weekend, which will be here before we know it!

I got to spend some time on Sunday playing in my studio with a few art projects and writing some letters.  Ornery also spent some time with his hobby; he cut out some more rings on his scroll saw to make the basket/bowls everyone likes so well. I cut his hair, bought groceries, cleaned up the kitchen and got the laundry done.  In all it was a very productive weekend.

It's only Tuesday, but my week has also seen a lot of productivity, and I have to say I like that a lot! I've been cooking every day, and trying some new things.  Yesterday I baked GF brownies, Saturday I made a GF pumpkin pie. Ornery says he has broken through to a "new" lower number on the scales (in the period of a couple of years.)  I haven't weighed, but I may have lost as well.  I am much more mobile this week than I was even last week, and have started taking a cane with me when I go out so I can walk for longer periods of time.  My energy/stamina is much improved, and I seem to be able to focus fairly well.  So, that's our weekend (and first part of the new week) in review! :)