Thursday, October 31, 2013

I don't know what I don't know...

I love this phrase: "I don't know what I don't know until I know what I didn't know." I find it very clever and cute and so very true. There are so many aspects of my life I can apply this to. It happens almost daily at work. When you work with people, things are always popping up and changing. In regards to my weight loss, there have been so many surprises along the way - amazing things that took me off guard because I simply didn't know. And this has also been true in relationships. How often is there unintentional conflict because we are operating off assumptions or past experiences? I would say, often. And we make assumptions and project the past into our relationships because we simply don't know, until we do. It then becomes this sort of epiphany, we are in awe, pleasantly surprised, and often this light bulb goes off for us. It always makes me happy when I learn something that I didn't know that I didn't know because it makes me less ignorant, allows me to be more intentional, makes my life richer.

There's a song,  "Turning Page" by Sleeping at Last that reminds me of this saying. Here are the lyrics:
I've waited a hundred years.
But I'd wait a million more for you.
Nothing prepared me for
What the privilege of being yours would do.
If I had only felt the warmth within your touch,
If I had only seen how you smile when you blush,
Or how you curl your lip when you concentrate enough,
I would have known what I was living for all along.
What I've been living for.
Your love is my turning page,
Where only the sweetest words remain.
Every kiss is a cursive line,
Every touch is a redefining phrase.
I surrender who I've been for who you are,
For nothing makes me stronger than your fragile heart.
If I had only felt how it feels to be yours,
Well, I would have known what I've been living for all along.
What I've been living for.
Though we're tethered to the story we must tell,
When I saw you, well, I knew we'd tell it well.
With a whisper, we will tame the vicious seas.
Like a feather bringing kingdoms to their knees.
This song does something to me internally every time I hear it. It just rings so true to me and my life right now. (I have wanted to write about my new relationship for a long time, but haven't until now because I wanted his permission first.) I have been dating my boyfriend, Dave, for a little over three months now. Most of you know that I haven't had the best track record when it comes to dating and love and relationships. Up until now, I've seemed to always find guys who were jerks or emotionally unavailable or just not the right guy or selfish or any combination of them. I've always loved harder and longer. And in the end was broken hearted and left wondering if I was ever going to find someone who would make me feel the way I knew I was meant to feel in a relationship - loved, cherished, special, beautiful. And after my last relationship ended, I really was left feeling like I was never going to find someone who really saw me. In May, I decided to give it one last try and joined to see what was out there. I met a few guys, but fairly quickly discovered that they were not the right guy for me. Then in July I received an email from a guy named Dave. I was really excited about the potential from the beginning (after reading his profile and seeing his pictures). And as we communicated with each other, I got even more excited. And then we met. This is always such a crap shoot with online dating because you never really know if the person you're going to meet is really who they say they are online. And lucky for me, he was exactly who he said he was, and then some :). I won't bore you with all of the details from that first date until now, but I will say it's been such a lovely adventure so far. I have been so surprised in so many ways.

When I think of this song, I think of Dave and all the ways I have been surprised by him, our relationship, and the way he makes me feel.  My favorite line of the song is, "Nothing prepared me for what the privilege of being yours would do." To me, that line sums up how I feel about my relationship with Dave. Again, I don't know what I don't know until I know what I didn't know. I had no idea. He makes me feel so lucky and blessed to know him. I feel cherished and cared for and special and treasured and beautiful. It's in the way he looks at me and smiles with his eyes. It's in the way he reaches for my hand when we walk down the street. It's in the way values my intelligence, personality and passions. It's in the way he brushes my hair out of my face. The way he has been so open and honest with me from the beginning. The way we laugh together. The way he allows me to do things for him. I really didn't think I could ever feel this way. I am so glad I was wrong. He and I make a great team and I'm so very excited to see what the future holds for us. We make each other better, and to me, that's what relationships are about.

I am a blessed woman. A happy woman. A richer woman. All because I now know what I didn't know I didn't know :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

The Difference A Pound Makes

WARNING: This is an unfiltered post. I normally write out my posts on paper and sensor and edit myself a little bit before I post to this lovely little blog. But I'm feeling like I just need to get some things off my chest to reduce the anxiety I'm feeling today. So please read with caution and understand that these are my authentic feelings in this particular moment. This is my current truth (my current truth changes all of the time! lol).

I haven't lost weight in four weeks. FOUR weeks. And I know my Facebook status today said that I'm frustrated but okay with that. But if I'm being honest, I'm so not okay with that. And I'm not okay with that for so many reasons. I bust my ass in the gym and out on the streets. I run hard, even when I don't want to! I ran more than twenty miles last week. I ran a nine minute mile last week! I've been pushing myself harder and longer than ever before. My eating hasn't been 100%, but I've been good. I eat salad instead of fries. I drink a shake instead of pizza when all my co-workers order pizza. I don't eat after 8:00pm. I am doing what I should be doing. And yet the fucking scale doesn't move! It continues to flash 200 in my face and laugh. It's so frustrating. I want so badly to be in the 100's. I don't know if there are words to describe how much I desire to no longer weigh two-hundred something.

There's something that seems to freeing to me about being in the 100's. I honestly can't think of the last time I weighted less than 200 pounds. Probably fourth or fifth grade (about 25 years ago!). And I get that this journey is SOOOOO much more than about the number on the scale. I do. But this is a milestone I've been desperate to achieve for so very long. And for someone who's never been in the 200's, I'm sure this sounds crazy, irrational even. But there has been so much attached to being over 200 pounds. For me, there's been so much embarrassment and shame attached to that number. It's something that has caused people to judge me and make assumptions about me and my lifestyle. For years, I allowed that number to define me and restrict the way I lived my life. I couldn't be an athlete at that weight. I couldn't ride roller coasters. Fly on an airplane. Go skydiving or zip lining. Do jumping jacks or lots of other exercises for that matter. Wear certain types of clothing comfortably. Buy fashionable clothes that don't cost a lot of money. I've allowed my weight to restrict my world, but the world has naturally done some of that restricting itself. And I know that when I am finally in the 100's, it won't be like magic. I know it won't cure my insecurities or peoples judgments about me. But what it will do is give me a huge boost in my self-worth. I know I will hold my head higher, swish my hips a little harder, laugh a little louder, be a little bolder. And it will just be an outward symbol of all the hard work I've been putting in. It's like a built in reward.

And I really do appreciate everyone's encouragement and kind words. I really do. Often, those words help me feel supported and accounted for. There are times though, where I feel frustrated with people's words. I understand that muscle weighs more than fat. I understand I have lost inches and that it's not just about the pounds. I get that I need to change up my exercises and eat the right number of calories a day. I get it AND I'm still super frustrated and disappointed that the scale isn't moving. And I'm not trying so sound ungrateful at all. People's support means a lot to me. It just sometimes feels like I'm not allowed to have a bad day or ill feelings about this process. And unfortunately, I'm human and that means I'm not perfect and I'm going to have bad days where I feel like I still weigh 269 pounds and feel gross and don't like myself. Those days don't happen often, but they do happen.

Most days I feel pretty. I look in the mirror and am happy/proud of what I see. I use the word sexy to describe myself - something I've never done in all of my life. I love my legs and my neck line and my wrists. I love that my dimples pop more. I love that I can shop in the "normal" sized sections at stores. I love that most days I'm confident in my skin. And most of all, I love that when the man in my life compliments me, I believe him! That is something I've never been able to do, ever. And for the sake of our relationship and it's future, I'm so very glad I can honestly say that I believe him when he says I'm beautiful or that he loves my body exactly the way it is.

All of this to say - I'm having a bad day. I feel sad, angry, frustrated, disappointed, discouraged as a result of this morning's weigh-in. But that's just how I feel in this moment. Tomorrow is a new day.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Happy Anniversary

Today marks one year since I started Operation Healthy Stacie. It has been a ride, that's for sure. I can't believe it was 365 days ago that this journey began. On day one, I weighted 269 pounds (twenty pounds lighter than my heaviest weight in 2006). On day one I was lost, broken, afraid and full of doubt. But somewhere in me there was this tiny glimmer of hope - hope for something more, different, new in my life. And so I began this journey believing that it was going to be about losing weight and being healthy. (See the youtube video I posted on day one: I had the goal to lost 89 pounds in one year so that I could be a healthy mom some day and to meet my husband (believing no man could love me at 269).

The first six months of my journey were quite exciting. The weight seemed to melt off and I hit every goal I set before I needed to. This gave me confidence in myself and helped me to push myself to do more in the gym. I lost fifty pounds in the first six months! There was a huge tragedy in my life just two months into my journey however. My friend, my brother, Jim passed away from cancer. This was devastating and still is difficult at times. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of him. I miss his laughter and joy in my life. And I know he would be so proud of me and would say, "Oh, Stacie Brown! You so skinny!" And we would both proceed to crack up. His passing was a huge challenge for me to walk the walk of what I was learning about having a healthy relationship with food. And I realized that even though I am an emotional person, food had been a way of numbing and coping for me. And to not use food in that way and to truly grieve, was one of the most difficult and most freeing things.

Then in May of this year my grandfather passed away, losing his battle with cancer. My grandpa was the hardest working man I've ever known. He was stubborn and funny and a great grandpa. I was the only granddaughter for a long time and I will always cherish that he never treated me differently than the boys. Every time I see a pair of bibs or suspenders or a pipe or a clematis flower or a western shirt, I will think of my grandpa and miss him. This loss has been more difficult than I imagined. And I relapsed a bit. I used food and alcohol to cope, to numb myself, to deal with the fact that I will never hear another dirty joke from my grandpa, that he will never see me marry, my children will never know him. I had a rough couple months with food and gave myself a free pass to just eat crap. And I realized that I can get better at this whole emotional eating thing, but I will never be delivered from it. It's always going to be a challenge for me.

The second half of my journey was much more challenging than the first. The weight did not come off the way it did the first half. I only lost eighteen pounds the second six months of my journey. And if I were to look at it from strictly a weight loss stand point, I would be very disappointed and discouraged. BUT, the weight loss isn't the only thing that has happened this past year. This past year I have learned how much my body is capable of. I have learned that I am strong! I'm actually a beast :)! I dead lifted 190 pounds. I ran a half marathon in 2 hours 54 minutes. I ran an eleven minute mile for the first time ever. I am learning to push myself past the point of discomfort, to not listen to the voices in my head that say "this is too hard, you can't." I have dealt with a lot of inner demons that I had been stuffing for a long time or that I had been allowing to define me. I let them go, forgave and found freedom. I've learned to be confident in who I am, to embrace my uniqueness and to be proud of who I am. I'm discovering who I really am more and more each day - sassy, fun, bold, strong. And probably the biggest thing I have learned this past year is that I am beautiful. I have always been the girl with a pretty face. But I truly now believe that I am beautiful - all of me - flaws and all. Sure, I wish my stomach were smaller and that the skin on my thighs and upper arms wasn't so loose and jiggly. But those things are just proof of my hard work this past year. I love my shoulders and chest and that I can see my collar bone. I love my legs and how muscular and strong they are. I feel sexy - something I never would have said a year ago. I find myself walking taller, dressing to be noticed, speaking my mind more, feeling like I deserve true happiness and the desires of my heart. And I can honestly say I love myself.

My biggest take aways from this past year are that no one can place limits on me unless I allow them to. I will always be stronger, more beautiful and more amazing than I think I am. I am not alone in my journey. I have inspired others (who knew?!). I get to be whoever I want to be. I will never be perfect and that's okay. There is nothing more freeing than forgiving yourself. A lot can happen in one year. I am worth it.

So what's next? A new year of Operation Healthy Stacie begins tomorrow. I have twenty-one more pounds to lose to reach my goal weight. I want to be able to run a ten minute mile. I want to run the Borgess Half again and beat my time. And I am committed to falling more in love with myself every day!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Riding The Struggle Bus

Hi. My name is Stacie Brown and I am an emotional eater. For the past forty-six weeks I have been working toward Operation Healthy Stacie. For forty-six weeks I have been counting calories, working out, running, running and running some more. I have been battling internal demons, working on my relationship with food and my relationship with myself.

I have had great successes along the way. I met my first two goals in the first six months before I was suppose to meet them. I trained for and completed a half marathon and beat my goal time by four minutes. I cleaned out my closet because I can't wear most of my clothes anymore and got rid of over 100 articles of clothing. I've gotten stronger, more toned, built up my endurance. I can do things with my body that I've never been able to do before. I like myself more and am happier more often than I ever was before. I have felt sexy for the first time in my life. I fit into a size large for the first time.

I've also had some real lows. My friend and brother from another mother, Jim passed away. I fell in love and then had my heart ripped out and stomped on. My grandfather passed away. I suffered from seasonal depression this winter. My hair stylist moved away. My Little Sister, Toniesha, whom I've mentored for four years moved to Florida. Our Executive Director, Deb (most amazing boss I've ever worked for) left our agency suddenly. My friend and trainer, Erin, left the fitness center very abruptly. This has been a year of great loss and grief. And for the past four months my weight loss has been a real struggle. I'll go down and up and down and up and down and up and down and up. And it's so very frustrating. I'm working so hard and making sacrifices to get to my goal and I feel stuck. I'm so close to being in the 100's - a place I haven't been since maybe fifth grade! I long to be there and will cry tears of joy when it finally happens.

These last several months have been a big eye opener for me. Because just like an alcoholic will never be cured from their disease and will have temptations and slips along the way, I, as an emotional eater, will do the same. All of this loss and grief has been hard and I've reverted to my old ways - comforting myself, soothing myself with food. I've been going to celebrations and eating food that isn't in the plan. I've been going out for drinks and drinking more calories than I should. I've been using food as a friend. I've been feeling so lonely lately - lost/abandoned - but food is always there. So I've slipped. Now I haven't slipped in ways that I use to slip. Old Stacie would eat an entire pizza and order of bread sticks. I'd make a pan of brownies with frosting and eat the whole thing in two days or consume an entire tub of ice cream. I'm not doing those things, so in that sense, I've made progress, which is great. I just need to continue to make progress when it comes to my relationship with food.

The two things that have probably shaken me the most are two things that I haven't really talked to too many people about because they're so deeply painful. The first is my heartache. About a year ago I reconnected with someone I grew up with. We always liked each other as kids, but I was too shy to "go out with him." We both moved away and never saw each other again. Well, thanks to technology, we reconnected through Facebook. And we hit it off, talking every day and just connecting on every possible level. He made me feel like a million bucks, saying things I've never heard any man say to me ever in my life. He desired me, appreciated me, cared for me, valued my thoughts and opinions, pursued me fiercely - something no man had ever done before (or since). And for the second time in my life, I fell in love. Hard. I shared pieces of myself with him that I've never ever shared with anyone in my thirty-four years of life. I trusted him completely. I saw a future with him. I felt like he was my husband and that our reconnecting was in God's timing....well, without going into details in order to not drag him through the mud, he broke my heart. And when I say he broke my heart I mean that he captured my heart, seduced my heart, stole my heart, and then he crushed my heart into powder, he broke it into unrecognizable pieces. Now I've had my heart broken many times in my life, so you would think I would be a pro at this, but I'm not. And the way he broke my heart was more painful than any heartache I've ever experienced in my life. I wouldn't wish the pain, sorrow, depression, anger, self-loathing that it created on my worst enemy. For a moment in time, he ruined me. I am slowly recovering and my heart is healing. The loss of this relationship has effected me for life. I have learned so much about myself and am forever changed because of it.

The other thing that has had a lasting impact on me these past few months is the loss of my trainer and friend, Erin. She has been on this journey with me for YEARS. She was with me in 2010 when I ran my first half marathon, running every step with me. She believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. We've been through highs and lows together. She's seen me at my best and at my worst. I've shared things with her about myself, my past, my wounds that I've never told another living soul (and probably never will). And in the gym she pushed me and pushed me hard. She pushed me to do things I NEVER thought I would ever do. With her encouragement I ran a half marathon, I pushed and pulled a sled, I did box jumps, assisted pull-ups, burpees, towel pushes, dead lifted almost 200 pounds. She has helped me see that my only barrier when it comes to fitness is my mind and my belief in myself (or lack there of). She has shown me that all it takes is the belief that I can do it to actually do it. I have lost the weight I've lost so far because of her help. I have become as fit and strong as I am because she helped me get there. She helped me find the athlete in me. And so when she told me she was leaving the gym, I was devastated. How could I do this without her? She's been a part of Operation Healthy Stacie since the beginning. There's no way I can do this on my own. I can't push myself as hard as she pushes me. And I'll be honest, the last five or six weeks have been difficult. It's hard to get used to a different trainer and their style. And they don't know me, where I've been, what I've overcome, what my abilities are - so they can't push me. And as much as this sucks, and I feel like it has a little to do with the poor results I've been seeing on the scale, it's teaching me too. I'm learning that I need to be the one to push myself, that I can't always rely on others to motivate me and to push me and see my full potential. I need to do that for myself. And as much as I miss Erin, I really miss her a lot....I am taking this as a new challenge. And it's my goal to be my own motivator. To see beyond my limits. To push myself to run harder, to lift more weight, to do more burpees, to hear the voice in my head that says "this hurts, so I need to quit" and keep going anyway. I need to honor the athlete that I am and believe that I can do anything with the body I have.

So yes, I am currently on the struggle bus. I am in a rough patch. I have not lost the weight at this point in my journey that I've wanted to lose. I need to pull myself out of the mire and go again....

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Not Good For You

Have you ever done something or wanted something you just knew wasn't good for you? You see it and just know deep down that it's bad for you and is going to hurt you, but you do it anyway because in the immediate it feels good and meeting a need in your life that is lacking? No?!?! Well, me either! Just kidding. This is something I struggle with all the time, EVERY day. Whether it's eating or drinking something I know I shouldn't or sleeping in instead of going to the gym or watching TV shows instead of reading or praying or journaling or doing something active. Or talking to someone I shouldn't be. Or giving my heart to a man who has no business having it in the first place....

And I wonder what it is about me that I do this so often. Why haven't I learned my lesson? Why do I have this struggle? How many times will I have to have regret for doing something I knew was a bad choice from the start? Because even before I do it, my head tells me I shouldn't. My logic kicks in and tells me it's a bad idea and that there will be consequences if I proceed. BUT MY HEART....Damn my heart!!! My heart has other ideas. My hear rationalizes it and tells me it will make me feel better, that I deserve it, that will power doesn't exist, that I can because I exercised, that it won't hurt me, that I need to live on the edge a little and not be so cautious, that I better take what I can get because there may not be a better offer.

I'm not sure I have an answer as to why I do this to myself or why my heart leads me astray. I think it probably has a lot to do with my self worth and how I see myself and value myself. And I think because I often struggle with loving myself well I sabotage myself and make choices I know are not good for me because I think I'm going to fail anyway or that I deserve to be unhappy. And it makes me sad that I do that to myself. I know in my head that I am beautiful and amazing and strong and that I deserve the best and deserve joy and happiness. But it's one thing to know that in your head and it's another thing to believe it with your heart. And I'm not there yet...But I'm working on it.

I did something really big and scary for me a couple weeks ago. And in order to protect the other person involved, I can't and won't go into details. I will say that eight months ago I gave my heart to a man I had no business giving it away to. He is not God's best for me. He is not someone who is in a position to love me well. But I gave him my heart because he made me feel special, beautiful, valued. And I thought that he was as good as it was ever going to get for me, that I needed to take what I could get when I could get it because this may be all I was going to be given. So I dove right in and loved him and loved him hard. And loving him only caused me pain and heartache in the end. And it took me eight months to realize that I am worth so much more than what he could give me. So a couple weeks ago, I mustered up every ounce of courage I had and I ended it. I said goodbye and I took my heart back from him. And man, that was rough and the last few weeks have been rough. I miss him. He hurt me and my heart is left with some scars that need to heal.

I feel sad that I allowed this to happen. But also thankful for the experience at the same time because I now know that I deserve more than that. I deserve God's best. And I saw what happens when I compromise myself and settle for something less than what He has promised me. And I may have to wait a hell of a lot longer than I want to (already have) for God's perfect timing. But the pain of waiting is nothing compared to the pain of regret when I settle and choose something that is not His best for me. So as I move forward, I am hopeful that God's promise for me is on the horizon and I am worth NOTHING LESS than His best!!!

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fat Stacie

Well, I’ve made it to the six month mark in Operation Healthy Stacie. Six months! I can’t believe it’s been six months already! Most of the time it feels like I just started this journey. Though there are occasional days where I feel like I’ve been working at this forever!

My goal was to lose forty-five pounds by February 1st (halfway). Well, I lost that PLUS five more pounds! I have lost fifty pounds in six months! That is crazy to me! And after doing my all over measurements, I have lost a total of forty inches! For the first time I can ever remember, I’m in the 210’s. I really have no idea the last time I was this light – middle school maybe? For the first time I can wear tall, sexy boots (my calves were too big before). I went out and bought my first pair of skinny jeans. Ha! I never thought that would happen. And I’m starting to finally see the changes in my body. I’ve felt more energized and stronger for many months. But I haven’t been able to notice my body getting smaller until recently. And I’m noticing the small changes. Others see big changes, but because I stare at my body every day in the mirror (an exercise I started forcing myself to do about a year ago) I don’t see what everyone else sees.

If I’m being honest, I’ve been very frustrated and disappointed with the lack of change in my body. I feel like after fifty pounds and all the ass busting I’ve been doing, my body should look transformed. I should be in a totally different size. And I’m not. Sure my pants are all a bit too big, but they aren’t falling off of me or anything. And this scares me. What if I get to my goal (179) and still feel like I felt at 269? What if my body doesn’t feel different to me? What if I still hate looking at myself naked in the mirror?

My main motivations for doing all of this are: To fall in love with myself and become who I was created to be. To be healthy so I can become a mom someday. Which leads into the third reason, to meet and marry my husband. And right now, I’m really just scared that none of those are going to happen for me. I’m afraid that I’m going to lose all this weight and I’m still not going to love myself. I’m still going to feel lost about who I am. And as a result, I won’t find love or become a mom. And the thought of that is terrifying.

I’ve also been struggling with being noticed. People (women) are commenting on my changing body – in a positive way – and it’s unsettling. I’ve never had people take positive notice of my body. It’s very strange. And I’m not doing all of this to be noticed or anything like that, so it feels strange to get that sort of attention. And it also makes me question what people thought about me and my body fifty pounds ago. And it makes me think that I really don’t want to know what they thought…

There’s also a strange grieving that comes along with this whole journey. Grief of the person I was when I was heavier. Grief of the mask that the extra pounds created. I have been “Fat Stacie” my ENTIRE life. Being fat has been such a huge part of my identity and my life’s journey. And it’s really sad and scary to lose a part of that. And yes, I’m still fat, but I’m changing. I’m more confident, more outspoken, laugh more freely and am walking taller. And yes, these are good changes, I know that. But I have always been able to hide behind my weight. I’ve used it as a reason to not do things. I’ve used it as an excuse for so many things. I’ve believed that being “Fat Stacie” is the reason I’m single. And so as I become less fat, I’m afraid that once I’m just Stacie, all the things I have blamed on being fat will still be issues. And what then?!?! I just feel very exposed as I lose weight – naked, vulnerable. And that’s scary. I knew this was going to be an emotional journey but I didn’t realize the depth of how much this would really rock me to the core. To make me question who I am and what I believe about myself and life.

I really am excited about this journey and where it’s going to take me. I’m just at a place where the process it’s messy and scary. And I’m choosing to believe that out of the messy parts, something beautiful and freeing will come in the end!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Good, The Bad & The Ugly of 2012

Well, 2012 has come to a close. It has been a year of really wonderful peaks and very dark and sad valleys. This year was very challenging for me both personally and professionally. I’ve been more stressed and depressed in the past twelve months than I ever have been in my life. I have had moments where I have lost hope in everything, moments where I couldn’t get out of bed, moments where the only thing I knew to do was cry…I’ve had moments of joy, pride and celebration. I’ve done and said things this year that I never thought possible. I’ve built relationships with some amazing people. I’ve pushed myself beyond what I thought I was capable of….I decided to make a list of the good, bad and ugly of 2012.

·         Celebrated my fifth year at BBBS and worked with hundreds of amazing kids & volunteers
·         Lost FORTY pounds
·         Started to LIVE my life
·         Reconnected with an old friend after sixteen years
·         Made new friends (Lindsey, Mel, Jeni, Megyn)
·         Got tattoo #4 – an anchor on my left foot to symbolize hope in the midst of life’s storms
·         Had final touch-ups done on my phoenix – I love her more every day
·         Ran Borgess 5K with Marykay
·         Cheered Jeni and Megyn on in their first half marathon
·         Started to discover how physically strong my body is
·         Got a raise at work
·         Cut my hair into a Mohawk
·         Felt sexy for the first time ever
·         My old boss returned to BBBS and much of my stress left
·         Joined the Hope Project Leadership at The River & made new friends (Tierra, Sheila, Sean, Chris, Deonna & Naomi)
·         My friend Keith had a heart attack in May, had quadruple bypass, and has made a FULL recovery
·         Became Brad’s “beard” :)
·         My Little Sister, Toniesha, graduated from fifth grade
·         Spent a lot of time at the pool with my niece and nephew this summer
·         Deepened my friendship with Linda Marie
·         Was kissed for the first time since 1997
·         Lacey & Sam got engaged and I was asked to be Lacey’s Maid of Honor
·         Auditioned for The Biggest Loser with Kati
·         Made new work friends (Emilie & Lauren)
·         Got to be the instructor for our Cardio Sculpt class at the gym twice
·         Learning to love myself a little bit more every day

·         My dear friend Jim was diagnosed with liver cancer in April
·         Jim passed away on September 9th
·         Cindy and the kids moved to California in October
·         Stopped wearing acrylic nails after thirteen years because I just can’t bring myself to walk into another nail salon
·         Joined eharmony for six months. Went on two dates and talked to a handful of other guys. Many interesting stories to tell now. Decided that’s not how I’m meant to meet my husband
·         Celebrated the holidays as a single woman again
·         I’m officially the only single cousin on my dad’s side of the family – that makes for fun conversations at the holidays :/
·         My heart grew bitter toward God
·         Started training for the half marathon, but was injured the first week of training and was down at out for six weeks.
·         Lost my best friend of nineteen years due to a misunderstanding
·         Almost quit my job a half dozen times
·         My dog, Goldie, passed away
·         Got stomach flu twice this year and a sinus infection. Called in sick for the first time in over a decade
·         Lost two awesome co-workers (Keesha & Tammy)
·         My heart breaks a little more every day that I am not a wife and mother

·         Reach goal weight of 180 by August 1st
·         Travel to Ireland for my 35th birthday
·         Train for and run the Borgess half marathon in May
·         Heal my relationship with God
·         Meet & start dating my future husband
·         Be more adventurous/spontaneous
·         Get an eye exam
·         Get a physical/find a doctor
·         Buy a new car

Before I started this list, I was SURE that the bad and ugly would outweigh the good, but the good list is almost twice as long! It’s amazing what we choose to focus on, what I choose to focus on. I think for me, the bad and ugly this year was deeply devastating and shook me at my core, so it was easier to focus on the pain I was left with instead of focusing on all the little amazing things that were going on around me. So I hope that as I move into 2013, I will remember this and will make a conscious choice to live in the moment and focus on what’s in front of me. To cherish the good, to grieve the bad and ugly and then to let it go and move forward knowing I am stronger.