Friday, May 28

Always walking the line....

You all know me well enough by now to realize every good “get back on dieting track” blog post means a trip to the grocery store. Today is no exception.

I dropped the kids off at school, and decided that I ought to get the groceries out of the way. I putted over to Walmart, as Matt and I are now strictly adhering to a budget, and started my journey into the land of Rollbacks.

Pushing my cart, which was filling up quicker than a 120 pound woman at the Olive Garden, I realized that I had forgotten an important thing. A VERY important thing I ALWAYS forget.

Had I been wearing black pants, I wouldn’t have cared. But I was wearing light grey sweatpants. If I had gone home first, I would have remembered to take care of this “thing.” But of course, in the throws of making every trip count to conserve my drastically reduced gas budget, I did not.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, I am somewhat of a space cadet lately. I can't seem to pull everything together. It’s not like I am forgetting important things- like feeding my family- it’s annoying stuff like putting clothes from the washer to the dryer. Or putting a pad in my purse. Or in my unders at all, as this morning’s tale proves.
Yep, I have become Forgetful Francis.

But I had already done ¾ of the grocery shopping by the time I realized I had no Always to fall back on, and I willed my uterus to shut the doors till I was done. I was not going to leave a cart brimming to the top with groceries for some poor soul to put back. I only had a few more items to get, so I did what any woman in this situation does.

I hurried.

And when I got to the line, there were about 25 shoppers, who also seemed to be in a hurry, with carts as full as mine. Of course, as Murphy’s Law would dictate, only 2 lanes were open.

So I stood. And I waited. And I panicked a little bit.

Because I knew that the light grey of my sweatpants would not hold my secret safe for long. And that’s when I saw my (well meaning) cousin behind me. He’s in his 60’s, and everytime I come to Walmart in a rush, he’s there. It’s not that I minded talking to him. He’s funny.

What I minded was that I had things on the bottom rack of my cart, and was going to have to bend over with him standing behind me.

I gracefully attempted to do a “I’m meeting the queen” curtsey with my legs crossed. Bend from the knees, Charlie, bend from the knees…

At which point, I was so worried about keeping my butt from being seen that as I qwazi bent from the knees, I cracked my head on the cart.


And then, of course, EVERYONE in Walmart was looking at me. Exactly what I needed. Better than being accused of shoplifting, I suppose, but embarrassing none the less.

I got my groceries and myself into the safety of my van, where I KNEW I had a pad stashed in the glove compartment. I hastily looked around, saw that no one was near, and I pulled the wrapper off the pad and lifted up out of the driver’s seat, to stick it in my unders. Then I wiggled and squirmed as I attempted to get the wings on. I don’t know if you have ever attempted to apply an Always in the front seat of your car while keeping your pants on and half sitting down, but I don’t advise it. Unless you are due for a Brazilian wax. Apparently I was.

And just as I got situated, I realized there was an old man in the car next to me, waiting for his wife to finish shopping. His eyes were as big as dinner plates. I am seriously hoping it was from the extreme cataracts he had. (Please, God, let him have had cataracts!)

Was the trip really worth the bananas and fruit and healthy food I got?

Not when I realized I forgot to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy on the way home.


Tuesday, May 25

Back from Break at Breakneck Speed

To say that last week was one of the toughest weeks of my life would be an understatement of epic proportions. Not only was our family dealing with my Gma Bush’s death, we were also dealing with:

1. 8 performances in 6 days of Snow White and Friends.

2. Mama here stage managing 6 performances of the 8.

3. Racy Tracy having major surgery.

4. Teaching kids about loss and death.

5. Matt and I being emotionally distraught.

6. Constantly checking on Margaret the Saint, my brothers, and other family members to make sure they were doing ok.

7. Me writing a song and a eulogy for Gma’s service.

8. Dealing with a serious throat infection and sinusitis.

9. PMS. I was due for another round of Mother Nature’s wrath during this time.

10. Trying not to fall apart at any given moment.

So it should be no surprise that my house was hit by a tornado, I have what feels like millions of emails to catch up on, and I am missing most reasonable things in my pantry that resemble respectable and proper diet food.

What I can tell you is that I received such an outpouring of love from my readers! Not one single day passed when I didn’t get an encouraging email or phone call from someone who was sending me extra love and prayers. You all kept me afloat. And that is not an exaggeration in the slightest. I cannot thank you enough for reaching out to me, even though I was unable to reach back. Your expressions of love to me were amazing, and it has done nothing but bolster my resolve.

In otherwords, we are jumping back into the dieting game.

One of the most amazing things happened this last week that changed everything. I guess losing someone you love will either break you, or make you stronger. I chose to find life in death.

I saw all the people who knew and loved my Gma come to pay their respects. They talked about how hard she worked, her work ethic, and how she didn’t make excuses. She just made the impossible happen.

Perhaps I am making a stretch here to think that something like that could be genetic. It’s probably not. But I am running on the hope that it is. I can DO THIS. I can finish losing the weight. (Which by the way, to get to my goal of 138, I need to lose 43 more pounds. I’m sitting today at 181. Emotional eating. It’s a b---h.) If nothing else, I KNOW that I can do this. Really and truly. Here’s how I know.

Last week before the funeral and visitation, as I was painting the toenails of all my female family members (and a few brave male big toes) to match Gma’s pedicure- an idea Margaret the Saint had- I realized that there was a song in me. A song about Gma that needed to be sung. And I decided to sing it. At her funeral.

If you have ever met me in person, then you are privy to a vital piece of information. I cry at the drop of a hat. Always have. When I cry, I am unable to sing. Or butcher a piano accompaniment as I usually do.

I tried to figure out a way to record the song for Gma’s service ahead of time, so I wouldn’t lose it. But every attempt failed. And I cried out to God.

“Lord, I can’t do this! I might as well forget it, because I can’t handle this. I am unable to sing this song.”

And that was when I heard that still small voice I usually ignore.

“Then you will have to lean on me and trust that I can do this for you.”

And that was the end of that. I sat on my bed in disbelief, wondering how in the world God could part the waters of my grief- and hold back the flood of tears I so desperately wanted to cry. So I prayed that God would get me through that song. And knowing that I couldn’t pray hard enough myself, I sent out an SOS to my favorite prayer warriors- the girls that pray for me at the drop of a hat. I knew that I also wanted to speak at her funeral, but I had no idea what I wanted to say. And as soon as I sent out a Facebook message to the finest prayer warriors this side of heaven, God answered my call, and the words flowed out of me onto my computer like butter.

I had my song, I had my message. I just had to get through it all without losing my mind.

So I prayed. And I practiced. And when the fan in my bedroom was blowing the music off my keyboard, causing me much frustration, and I couldn’t find the tape, I grabbed an Always out of my purse and stuck it on the top of the music and attached it to my keyboard. And it made me giggle. Because that is something Gma would have done in my situation. You make due with what you have. And I looked up to the heavens (which resembled my ceiling at that moment) at said “Jesus, I hope you let Gma look at this, because she will laugh her butt off!” and I kept right on going.

I asked my girls to pray me to Noon on Thursday- to hold back my tears till then. And you know what?

I got through the funeral. And I didn't fall apart! Then Thursday noon came and went.

And I felt peace.

Oh, I felt utter despair, but I also felt unexplainable peace. I know that’s an oxymoron- like jumbo shrimp or plastic silverware, but I felt peace amid the sorrow. And I cried a little bit, but God has sustained me. Every moment since.

Girls, as far as the dieting goes, I need to tell you that I lost that dependence on God to sustain me through to the end goal. I started acting high and mighty like I could handle this all myself.

Like if I worked hard enough, I could do it. I could get to 138 on my own.

And I am here to tell you that I was wrong. I need to ask for your forgiveness. Because if I have led you to believe that we can do this if we are determined enough, then I have sinned.

The truth is- we can’t do it.

We can have moderate success I suppose. But the reality of dieting is that it is just like every other sin we face in our lives. We need help dealing with it. Otherwise it becomes an idol to us. And God will stop it in it’s tracks. Because HE is ELOHIM. He is our Jehovah Jireah. He is our sole provider. Nothing we can do will ever be close to what He will do- if we humble ourselves and cry out to Him.

I am not trying to give you all a sermon here, but I felt it is important to share this truth with you. Because we are in this dieting business together. And we cannot do it on our own.

I know that now. He parted the waters of my grief this last week and made a way for His work to be done, despite my humanity. He came down with His mighty Right Arm and held me tight. And I’m not leaving this place anytime soon.

So I am praying my prayer once again- a prayer that I had lost 7 months ago, right about the time I stopped losing weight. And if you want, you can pray it too. It’s been tweeked a little bit, but goes a little something like this:

Heavenly Father-
I can’t do this. I cannot lose the weight. Not unless you help me. I seek your forgiveness for ever thinking I could do it on my own. I need You to make this happen. Give me wisdom to make good decisions about what I put in my mouth. I pray You would give me an attitude of humility, and guard my body against the temptations of fast food, oreos, and high fat entrees. When I am feeling weak, I ask that You would place Your hand over my mouth and keep me from blowing the day. I know I will make mistakes, but let my mistakes be minimal- let them not throw me off track very far. If I experience failure with the diet, or have a bad week, I pray that You would halt any negative self talk- no failure is a true failure if we learn from it. And hitting a plateau does not mean that WE- You and I- can’t do this together. It just means we need to work harder and draw closer to one another. As I experience success, I ask that You would remind me to give You all the glory. This is Your miracle. Not mine. And I thank you for choosing me to walk this road- I pray that I surrender in obedience, even when Food Network has me by the throat. I cannot do this on my own, and I humbly call out to You- guide me on this dieting journey. In Jesus Name- AMEN.

Monday, May 17

The Goodbye

My Gma Bush passed away yesterday morning.

I feel relief- because she is out of pain now and her body is now perfect in the arms of Jesus.

I feel sorrow- because losing someone you love will do that to you.

I feel numb- because… I don’t know why. I spent so much time crying last week I seem to be out of tears. I’m sure that will change. But for now, I’m holding my own.

I feel tired- I couldn’t sleep enough.

I feel hungry- I’m finding out just how much of an emotional eater I am. This is going to set me back a month at least. Gma would smack me upside the head if she was still here. Lucky for my head, she isn’t.

Most of all, I feel loss. The hurting kind. But Gma would be happy that she is missed so much already. She was a drama queen just like me. She loved people falling all over her. So a good amount of grief seems fitting.

I will be taking this week off from blogging. We have a lot of things to do- the girls are going to be in their first play this week. Every day during school. They will have to miss Thursday for the funeral, but other than that, they have 7 performances to get through this week. And Tim is struggling with the idea of death. Matt and I are going to do our best to support the kids through this confusing time. And Matt has a hot mess on his hands with me. Pray for him to have strength and wisdom of how to deal with his wife.

Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement through this difficult time.

Every word you have said is sincerely appreciated.

Thursday, May 13

Hot Pink Conversations

Dear Gma,

I guess it was about the summer of 2004 when I became the head honcho of your pedicure department. I remember you had just come home from the hospital where you used up what I calculate to be #6 of your 9 lives, and we were sitting in the kitchen, running our mouths as usual.

“I need my toe nails cut.”

“Want me to do that for you, Gma?”

“Sure. While you are at it, why don’t you paint them too?”

And that was how the hot pink conversations began. We determined that if we painted your toes a fun (somewhat racy for an older broad) color, that we would talk about whatever we wanted. Anything goes during hot pink time. That was also the first time I called you Ethel. (Even though your name is Winnie.)

So we did. We ran our mouths and solved all the world’s problems- but never our own- during pedicure time. And we have continued that tradition. Every year about this time, your toe nails get a hot pink infusion of life.

Last night, I learned that you are starting hospice. And that from this point on, you will no longer receive IV fluids. You don't want to eat or drink anymore, so I know that we are on the final countdown. You aren’t going to be here on this earth much longer.

Needless to say I had a stiff drink after that realization. And I went to sleep early.

When I woke up this morning, I had such an incredible peace in my heart! I knew what I had to do. I had to go give you one more pedicure.

That’s exactly what I did. You were resting so peacefully, and hardly moved at all!

(Except when I accidentally tickled your toes a little bit. Sorry ‘bout that.)

And I talked to you. Just like always. Well, I toned it down, because you have a roommate at the nursing home. I didn’t want to freak her out with our “colorful” conversations.

Cause that is something you are famous for. Not that you swear every other word, but that you put a hilarious spin on things. You make off the wall analogies, pepper in some folksy words, and 9 times out of 10, I will learn something about life I did not know before.

But today, I didn’t get lippy, per the usual. I talked quietly about the kids and what they are doing, talked about the flowers that are starting to grow, and showed off these awesome nail color pens that dry quick.

And I gave you a manicure…. Yeah, your nails now look better than mine.

And even though I couldn’t trim your toenails today, I gave you a pedi to beat the band with.

When you get to heaven in a few days, Jesus is going to tell you how good your toes look, I just know it! Not that a pedi will impress the Big Guy or anything, but He appreciates art and creativity- it’s all part of the Imago Dei.

Then I brushed your hair, because if nothing else- being hopped up on morphine is no excuse to look disheveled. And then I snapped a pic of us. You even opened your eyes for a moment!

(I think you wanted to verify that I was blubbering like a baby and there wasn’t a beached whale in your room. You may be drugged up, but we ALL KNOW that you are still micromanaging us. Trust me. We are well aware.)

As I prepared to go, I thought about all the things I wanted to make sure and tell you while we had a minute alone. Just us. (And your potentially nosey roommate a curtain away.)

And that’s when it hit me like a lead balloon.

There is nothing I want to tell you that we haven’t said already. We have spent the bulk of my adult life being frank with each other. We have always been the kinds of women that speak our minds. We don’t mince words, and we say our peace. It amused me to no end last Saturday evening, which was your last good day, and you said, “I don’t believe I talk to my granddaughter like this.” (We were talking about sex, one of our favorite topics.) I don’t believe we had that kind of a relationship either, Gma.

But I am so thankful we did.

You were the one who told me to start writing. You were the one who taught me the valuable lesson of hiding from the world every 3 or 4 days, and how that helps keep us sane. You were the one who told me “It takes more energy to cry than to laugh. Sometimes you have to cry, but you are always better off if you can laugh about it.” That, Gma, is my life motto. And let’s just say right now I have a lot of laughing to catch up on.

I walked out of the nursing home, bawling because this sucks, and I got into my crappy van. I looked in the rear view mirror, and discovered that the tissues you have in your room had exploded all over my face. I looked like I had cut my eyeballs shaving and stuck toilet paper on them. And my nose. And I looked down at my boobs and they were covered with paper wads. There was lint and tissue everywhere.

If you would have seen me at that moment, I was such a pathetic sight, you would have laughed your butt off.

I know I sure did.

Monday, May 10

Crazy on Saturday

It’s really hard when you are losing someone you love. Sometimes you just don’t know how to cope with it.

My Grandma, who is my kindred spirit, my genetic personality twin, is losing ground. Fast.

Today I sat with her at the hospital, and she curled up next to me and cried. Because it hurts. And knowing that she is in pain is tearing me up inside.

I am at that point of wishing for her sake that she would go home. Not to this home, but to heaven home. Grandma never was a Christian her entire life. But last Thursday, she became one. And we rejoiced over that! What a blessing knowing that we would see her again on the other side!

But then the reality hit me- now she is ready to go home. Am I prepared to let her go from this life?

If I was brutally honest with you, I would share that this has been a crisis of faith for me. The preacher in me is ready for her to go- to a new body, to see her loved ones, to share in the glory of Christ.

But the brat in me wants her to get better. Because she is my GMA. The one who makes me laugh and tells me how to do things better (in a loving way). The one who always swats my butt with a firm love pat.

You all may have noticed that I have been quiet lately. It’s because I don’t know what to say. I don’t know how to encourage folks. Because I don’t feel encouraged myself. I can’t share peace with you, because I am struggling to find peace. I’m not acting hopeful, because I don’t know WHAT to hope for.

What I do know, and don’t doubt for a second- is that God is in control. He has never moved. He has not left my side (or Grandma’s, for that matter) and will never leave. I must choose to see Him. I have to look until I find Him. Not because He has moved far away, but because I was the one who wandered.

This last week, I read the book PLAN B, and it revolutionized how I am thinking. If I told you I was having a bad week, it would be an understatement.

Gma is sick. The paycheck didn’t go as far as it should have. My ex-husband is causing me grief like you wouldn’t believe. And I am hitting bottom.

The good news here is that I am free to rest in the truth that God is controlling it all. Things are not necessarily going to work out in my favor with any of these situations. I would be foolish to think that the blanket of Christ’s love absolves me of any pain and suffering. In fact, that is the way He purifies me and makes me draw closer to Him.

In the book Plan B, the author Pete Wilson describes many reactions to the times in life we have gone from a Plan A situation to a Plan B. I am going to lose points on eloquence here, because I cannot describe to you the healing I experienced reading this book. I have often felt like my entire life has been a Plan B. Nothing ever works out the way I thought it would in my mind. And that fact has crushed me time and time again.

But it also introduced me to the idea that we worship our dreams. We focus on those aspects of our life and ignore all the others. Ladies, I have so many idols in my life, I could line them up on my block and would probably have to use both sides of the street. And that was a wakeup call that I needed desperately. In this season of my life, I don’t need to carry around anything but my Jesus.

I am making a commitment to honesty- and it’s not fun to admit these things. Right now, I am experiencing depression, grief, frustration, and have been turning inward for solace. Instead, I am going to lean on my own type of community. The Big Butt community. I am going to be brave and tell you that there is no shame what so ever in feeling these emotions. I can be angry, I can be hurt, I can cry. Because God experiences those emotions too. There are many passages in the Bible that describe the emotional state of God- He feels sorrow, jealousy, malice, and hurt. He dreams- God Himself is working toward His own dream of a world that is healed, a world at peace. The only emotion God does not feel is FEAR.

So as I am going through a time of considerable Plan B living, I am going to be rocked with emotions. But I will do my best to keep fear of the unknown at bay. The cross gives me license to live, the empty tomb promises that fear of tomorrow is useless. It may be the Saturday when I can’t see what is happening.

But Easter Sunday is coming. And God’s got everything under control.
Interested in learning more about the book Plan B by Pete Wilson? Check out this Promo!

Wednesday, May 5

Tuesday, May 4

Pictures of days gone by

So I have been feeling very BLAH about the whole aspect of dieting lately. This has been my diet for the past 2 weeks.

I eat very well in the morning. Late lunch, then the kids come home from school. I buzz around for the next 6 hours- making dinner, helping with homework, running to rehearsals and baseball practices/games, and the kids finally go to bed. At which point, I want something filling, tasty and fast. That usually means I load up on unhealthy stuff right before bed time.

And I wonder why I am so frustrated with my scale! (ahem, 180 yesterday morning. Yep, I am back up again.)

My mom, Margaret the saint, knows I have been in a slump. And she shared something incredible with me.

“Maybe weighing 180 pounds at the moment isn’t so bad. Look how far you’ve come!”
And then, I saw these…

For the first time, I realized how far I have really come.

Sure, there are the weight loss pics that I have looked at all the time. I am kinda used to those shots. I am immune to them. But when I saw what was on Margaret the Saint’s camera, it took me completely off guard.

All of these shots are from fall of 2008. When I was at my heaviest. And I wasn’t weighing myself anymore. When I was so filled with shame about my weight that I didn’t care what I wore. Cause it wouldn’t make any difference to how I looked.

Maybe these pics are just the wake up call that I needed. Cause I have been in a slump that has lasted forever. At least it feels like it’s been forever. I need to stop whining about what I am NOT doing, and look at what I HAVE ALREADY DONE!

I don’t have much more to share, it’s been a heck of a week already. But I am going to look at these pictures again and again, realizing that this is completely doable. I’ve done it to the halfway point. Now I gotta get it in gear and work on the last half.

What inspires YOU to change?

Monday, May 3

A Shocking Self Expose- like ants at a picnic

After 20 years of living in secret shame, I have decided that today is the day I am breaking the silence. What you are about to read is one of the most shockingly honest and brutal posts you will ever read from me. And researching this particular topic, there are no records anywhere. This has NEVER been the topic of even the juiciest girlie conversations. Instead, women have been living in secret shame with this ailment.

And I am determined to speak up about it.

I’m sure you are all waiting with baited breath to know what this topic is. But first, to set it up properly, I need to tell you about my dream last night. Trust me, I need to ease into this one.

Gotta work up my own courage.

I was at a picnic on a beautiful plot of land in Ireland. Matt and I were sitting on the quintessential checkerboard red and white picnic blanket, and we were eating what could only be described as a “French Feast”- wine, cheese, fruit, and proper baguettes. Like all good dreamy picnics, there was romance in the air. Until I felt the ants.

Funny thing was, the ants weren’t crawling just anywhere. Nope, there were only crawling down the crack of my rear. Not the blanket, not on the food, just marching up and down the hills of my rumpus. And in my dream, I scratched and scratched to make them go away. As the picnic there on that green Irish hill pressed on, I did my best to rid myself of the little boogers.

Finally, the alarm went off, and I woke up.


Period Fingers.

(I told you this was shocking.)

It looked as if my finger had spent the entire night participating in Fight Club- it was crusty and yucky with dried mess that does not just wash off with soap and water. No ma’am, you have to take a toothbrush to the corners of your fingernails, entirely cut away the cuticle, and then soak your finger in peroxide to remove the remains of your problem.
Period fingers are an epidemic.

And to my knowledge, I have never heard another woman discuss, address, or even ADMIT that it happens to her.

But after 20 years of waking up with it- sometimes on my left hand, sometimes on my right, never more than 2 fingers at a time- I figure this is kinda like belly button hair.

SURELY I am not the only one out there who deals with this.

In my quest to talk about all things women contend with in secret, bringing unity to women everywhere, I feel that this is a momentous day for all of us. To bring such a secret topic to the light, and face it together.

I will be the first to admit that I love a good French manicure. But when it’s time for Mother Nature, I grab the closest bottle of dark nail polish I can find knowing full well that period fingers is going to occur. I still wash and scrub my hands, but for some reason, the “product” of that time of the month seems to stain only things I don’t want it too. Like my mattress, or the one pair of white cotton unders I own that are not previously stained. (And let’s face it. Nothing will bring a period faster than a brand new pair of drawers.) And for some reason, the light pretty colors of nail polish I like seem to turn a little yellow after an episode of period fingers. Therefore, I have a hefty collection of blues, browns and garnet reds. They are worn for a week at a time.

I know, this is totally disgusting. But it is a topic that has bothered me for years. And I don’t want my daughters growing up with the same self inflicted trauma that I have dealt with. I want them to know that this is completely normal. But I can’t get ANYONE to talk about it.

So now is your opportunity. If you deal with period fingers too, let me know. I won’t be bothered if you put a comment on here under the anonymous setting. I understand. This is pretty taboo. But I think we could all stand to speak up about this. Mostly so I don’t get irritated when I have to deal with it yet again tomorrow morning.

And before some well meaning woman suggests that I wear a tampon at night, I grew up old school- you don’t wear tampons to bed if you can help it. And having known a few girls who have had TSS, I take tampon (and even Diva Cup) safety very seriously. And frankly, you should too.

So- am I the ONLY ONE?

Saturday, May 1

Graduated steps

This morning I watched my big brother walk across a stage and graduate from college. He just has one test left to pass and he will officially be a nurse.

And although it was hectic getting to the graduation on time for me (I thought it was at 11am, but it was at 10:30- I discovered that at 10:12 while still in my jammies) I am so glad I didn’t miss this important day in his life.

Jason has been working on graduating from college for a long time. He has taken breaks to be deployed in the US Army in places like Iraq and Kosovo, he spent time in Germany, and has been sent to places here in the states when disasters strike. He has worked at going to school through the birth of 3 children, the adoption of 1, and making sure his little sister didn’t jump off the deep end. :) With all the distractions and life changes going on around him, he studied and wrote and worked towards graduation.

And as I watched him walk across that stage, and heard him get the loudest applause of anyone else graduating, (which he completely deserved, by the way) I realized something important.

It is not that we hit our goals quickly. It is that we always keep the end goal in mind.

If Jason had stopped and looked at all the crazy stuff going on around him, graduating might have looked impossible. He has a learning disability, and while he knows EVERYTHING there is to know about medicine (and he does. Just ask him, and you will get more gory details than you bargained for!!!) he has a hard time translating the things he knows into writing. And when you are a college student, trouble with writing makes things doubly difficult. Throw on top of that a healthy case of A.D.H.D., and you can imagine how tough learning could be for him. But anyone who has ever met Jason knows how smart he is, and how he cares about people. I have never met anyone who loves getting to know other folks as much as Jason does. He has this knack for being- what some might consider- the loveable underdog. And you can’t help but root for him to succeed. Maybe this process of graduating took him longer than it would others who didn’t have a career that takes you far from home 16 months at a time, or someone without 4 kids may have done it faster, and you could say that someone without any difficulty in learning might have breezed right through this program.

But walking across that stage today, he wore the same cap and gown (or “dress” as his son Trace put it) as everyone else. The end result was exactly the same. AND, even though we (my two brothers and I) still tease and give each other crap like we are kids, I know that there was not a prouder sister sitting in that auditorium full of people today. Jason not only reached his goal, but he has more life experience than anyone who received their diploma today.

I know that I get frustrated about my own goal. There is this part of me that wants to be thin now. I want to have lost 100 pounds today. But I think I need to take a lesson from my big brother on this one. Life is going to interrupt the best of plans. There are going to be celebrations with cake, and picnics with potato salad. There are going to be moments on the journey that I don’t want to miss. As I continue on this process of losing weight that seems to be taking forever, I look back over the last few months and see the things that I have accomplished. There is nothing I would change. And although I wasn’t losing weight, or getting closer to my goal at that moment, I was LIVING. I need to stop apologizing that this is taking longer than I anticipated, and learn to enjoy the ride a little bit more. I need to be more like Jason.

I can count calories and walk myself across this town and back until I can’t see straight. Or I can try to be better about incorporating healthy decisions in the moment. I can take walks with our daughters and talk. Sure, I may not get 3 miles in. But our daughters will remember those times that we were able to connect. I can play baseball with our son, and end up not getting a workout at all. But when he is older, he will know that Mom made time for him with the things that were important to him.

I have always had this mindset about dieting- you deny yourself and work hard. But today, I am here to tell you that I was wrong. It is not about that at all.

It’s about learning to weave it all together- life, food, exercise- and keep working at it till you hit your goal. Never forgetting the end game, but learning to play somewhere in the middle.

Jason, I am so very proud of you. You worked at your goal, and you got there. I didn't realize till today how much I look up to you. And how amazing you looked in that navy blue dress.

I love you, Bro- and you DID IT!

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