Thursday, September 30
Wednesday, September 29
Monday, September 27
Thursday, September 23
Wednesday, September 22
I hustled back up, grabbed the new bottle of soap, then headed back down. I added the soap, then looked at the clothes I had added. I realized I had switched bags upstairs, so I was washing UN-uniforms. I ran back upstairs, got the correct bag (this is why you should never do laundry in the middle of the night when you are sleep deprived) and went back downstairs to add those clothes into the washer.
Sure, not so bad on the outside, till I looked inside the shorts.
Yep, a pink crayon in the pocket. I should know by now that life is never as easy as it sounds. Especially after 8 bazillion trips up and down the steps in the middle of the night.
When will I learn??? That's not rhetorical, folks. I really need to know, so I can write it on my calendar and have the official "Charlie's gonna figure it out" countdown.
Needless to say, I don't dare weigh myself until tomorrow. I've had enough adventure for one morning. Check back tomorrow for an update on the weight.
But I can show you a silver lining to all this. I'm officially announced as a speaker at FitBloggin' 11!!! Take a look!!! (I even have a new button up at the top of the ol' bloggy! I'm so excited!)
Monday, September 20
Pete exclaimed, “It’s a Monday, and you didn’t gain weight over the weekend! Congrats, Charlie- 177.4 looks great on you!”
“Aw, thanks, Pete!” said Charlie.
Repeat piped up, “I’m not sure about this. Seems like we have been right here lots of times before. It’s like Déjà vu.”
Pete cried out in defense, “C’mon, Repeat! She’s doing really good! Overcoming the weekend weight gain was a huge hurdle for her! Let’s stay positive.”
Charlie said quietly, “Repeat does have a point, Pete.”
Repeat exclaimed, “Even she can see it, Pete! We go back and forth, week after week. It’s always up and down and excuse after excuse. I know this is good, cause 177.4 is the lowest she’s been for a while, but I remember when we were a lot lower than that. I recall on day last year when she was 169!”
Charlie said “I should have taken a picture of that weight for Racy Tracy. Shoot.”
Pete began yelling up with passion in his big toey voice. “What does 169 matter? Ok, granted, it’s a pretty fun number, and I know Racy Tracy would have laughed at that. But let’s not focus on what we did before! Right now, it’s time to concentrate on what we are doing today! So we bounced back up this summer. SO WHAT??? Life happens, seasons change, and now you have to think about today. What are you doing today to make healthy choices, Charlie?”
“Well…” Charlie stammered nervously, “…I ordered pizza for the kids and didn’t eat a bite.”
“Good! What else?” asked Pete.
“I am really excited about meeting Jack Sh*t next May, because we are both speaking at FitBloggin’ 11, and Dietgirl is going to be there too, so I’m working really hard to get to my goal. I guess that pizza today doesn’t seem like a good cheat for me right now. I’m focusing on letting lots of small changes add up to a smaller me.”
(DID YOU ALL CATCH THAT? I’M SPEAKING AT FITBLOGGIN’!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
Repeat, always one to voice his opinion (apparently I have male big toes. That would explain the hair…) started getting heated. “BUT we have been here before! How do you explain that? What makes you think this time is going to be any different?”
Pete said quietly, “Charlie, I will admit- you are pretty good at inspirational speeches. Why IS this time different?”
Charlie looked down at Pete and Repeat, with that number of 177.4 staring back up at her between her toes. She considered for a moment of all the reasons she had: for her health, for herself, for her looks, so the doctor would never again write OBESE on her medical chart. But none of those reasons seemed to matter at that moment.
“Guys, I don’t know what is different this time. I’m not even sure if it is different this time. What I do know is that if I set my mind to this, I can do it. I know I can, cause I’ve done it before. All I can do is keep trying. So maybe it won’t be different this time. Maybe I’ll fall flat on my face. But what I do know is that it won’ be for lack of trying.”
Pete and Repeat looked thoughtfully at one another.
“She has a point, Pete.”
“That she does, Repeat!”
“So what are we waiting for?” cried Repeat, suddenly excited at the future of doing nothing but trying.
“I’m waiting till I have to pee again,” said Charlie. “That just might get us to 176 today!”
Thursday, September 16
So I am really really REALLY behind on my blog reading. In fact, with all this crazy strike business going on, I have no idea where to begin! Can you do me a favor? On the comments, post the BEST of your blog posts this week with a link, and I will read it and comment on it. That way, I read the most important thing to you! That would make me feel better about being behind as I am. Seriously, I worry about things like that!
And speaking of behinds, I am soooooo excited to tell you that I am at 177!!!!!! Finally I have pushed through the plateau and am thrilled to be safely in the land of the 170's once again. Now, I can obsess and stress about getting to the land of 160s for the next month or so!!!
Tuesday, September 14
Yep. I did it. And I am unashamed to show my pride. Teachers deserve better than what they are getting right now. And I have a voice, and use it loud and clear.
Something happened along the way of all this dieting business. (By the way, still sitting pretty at 180.2, just waiting to hit the land of 170s again...)
Maybe it was all the times I walked into a clothing store for "normal sized" girls and had the salesgirls give me looks, or suggest I shop at the plus sized store. Or maybe it was the times I learned to overcome my own desires and not cheat on the junk food.
Whenever it happened, I'm glad it did. I learned to speak up for the underdogs.
And teachers are the underdogs of our society. They spend all day in a classroom with kids who aren't taught respect or kindness at home. They come home, hearts wrought with frustration about how to help students that communities have already written off. They talk to kids who's parents are too busy to talk themselves. They give advice, they nurture and they care. Teachers are my kind of people.
I wrote an article and submitted it to the local paper. It has not been printed as of yet, but I feel the message itself needs to be printed. Luckily, I have a personal blog where I can voice my opinions freely. So I am sharing this article with you here.
I encourage you to support your children's teachers however you can. Give them stickers, bring them coffee mugs, heck- most teachers I know spend incredible amounts of money on pencils for their students. Bring them pencils and pens and loose leaf paper! Do whatever you can to make their day. They won't forget your generosity, I promise.
And now, I'm pleased to present to you:
Charlie's Take on the Strike
5th grade was a miserable year for me. I was one of those awkward kids- pudgy, nerdy and unable to keep my mouth from running at any given time. (Not so different from the awkward adult I currently am..) I was not good at math or science, so I never dreamed of being a doctor. I was too emotional to become a decent lawyer. I was looking for my niche in life in the halls of a school in Danville District 118.
I still remember when I found that niche, over 20 years ago. It was the day I read a creative writing assignment in front of my class, about the 10 things I would take with me if I became deserted on an island. I made the statement “I will bring Tums.”
Judy Rudnicke, the 3rd grade teacher who was running the creative writing program, looked at me with big twinkling eyes.
“Why would you take tums?”
“To keep the heartburn away. Because in my story I am 7 months pregnant with twins. I’m gonna give birth to them later in the story.”
“That’s quite a story, Charlyn.”
“Yes, it is. And it gets good.”
“I’ll bet it does.”
From that moment on, I knew I was meant to be a writer. So did Judy. She always encouraged me in the hallways, asking if I’d written any stories lately, and could she read them. As an awkward 5th grader in the throws of puberty, desperate to fit in- Judy gave me a place to call home- with a pencil, some paper, and a whole world of adventures at my disposal.
During my years at North Ridge, I experienced trauma and duress in grades 6-8, as many jr high kids do. There is something especially trying about that age. (If you are a parent who has survived a child going through that time, I tip my hat to you. I’m close with 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders in the house, and dreading the middle school experience.) The only constant through those years was being in Paula Hurst’s class.
I loved her class. She allowed us to encounter grammar and literature like no other teacher I have had, by bringing a passion to and for the written word. I remember the year she assigned reports about “The Pig Man” by Paul Zindel. For my project, I decided to paint a picture that incorporated the things in the book I most related too. And Paula loved it. It was in that classroom where I learned art carrying symbolism can be a powerful tool. It challenges both the artist and the spectator. A lesson I have brought with me into adult hood. Nothing is ever as it seems at first glance. Paula taught me the importance of looking deeper for the truth in books, wisdom, and life in general.
I could go on and on about how more teachers made me the person I am today- that when I win my first Tony award, it will be dedicated to Jan and Larry Voorhees. Or that I can argue in French with the best of them thanks to Miss Schofield. So many teachers have formed my life, one classroom, one assignment at a time. I owe a lot to my former teachers. Because as it turns out, they were right about me. I seem to have a knack for the arts. Writing, music, painting… but I never would have known that if I hadn’t sat at their desks and been molded by their passion for education.
I still keep in touch with the teachers that changed my life for the better. It wasn’t a classroom that was formed in the midst of my education, or a GPA, or a diploma on a wall.
What formed was a family I lean on to this day.
So often our teachers are the unsung heroes of this community. District 118 teachers have produced doctors, lawyers, TV producers, and humble writers like myself. They have produced managers and CEOs, business moguls and entrepreneurs. Computer programmers and scientists. Educators and principals and composers and musicians. (I know this for a fact because I am on Facebook avoiding laundry and keeping tabs on former school mates.)
Our city has turned out productive members of society by the thousands because of our teachers.
Right now, the same teachers who we owe our community to, are in a rough spot. Negotiating contracts. And it’s not going well.
In the spirit of fairness, I understand the District Administration is worried about the economy. I know they are worried that money is tight. It’s tight everywhere. We feel the sting as much in our home budgets as they do with the district budget. We feel it writing out checks for school lunch and buying shoes for feet that won’t stop growing. Buying backpacks and groceries. It is no different in our homes than it is in our schools. In that sense, I understand the position of the board.
However, our teachers are standing up for the little guys. And little gals. They are fighting to make sure that the children of our community get those “moments” of wonder just like their parents did. Working so education provides the chance to become something better and brighter for kids of all economic levels. Asking for smaller classroom sizes so teachers can encourage each child to be their best at whatever they love most. A worthy cause? Indeed. There is nothing more noble.
The teachers are not asking for much. Far less than what is fair. Unfortunately, what they are asking for is being denied, and we are now in the throws of a strike.
As a former student and current parent in and of District 118, I stand united with the teachers. I believe that their demands won’t break the bank, and they deserve what they are asking for. Because if we don’t invest in our future today, the future won’t be able to invest in our tomorrow.
I plead with the Board to think about the faces of our future. They are in our schools right now. Our children- our Timmys and Briannas and Sarahs and Jacobs- each face is ready to receive their future. They deserve to have the same opportunities we were given:
For our teachers to hand them a world where anything is possible.
Even being deserted on an island 7 months pregnant with twins…
Monday, September 13
This last weekend was the of the anniversary of the death of Matt's twins. He was in a relationship back before we met, she got pregnant, and the twins didn't make it to full term and passed away the same day they were born. We always remember the kids, and have visited their grave several times.
Also, on September 11th of 2001, I discovered I was pregnant with Tim. Later that morning the whole world fell apart when the attacks on the towers came to pass. It was the last time I realized I was pregnant, so it has been burned into my memory as both a joyous day and a day of sorrow.
So when mother nature came at me on Friday- in full force- I was something you might want to call DISAPPOINTED. Because the thing about me is I know that odds can be defied. I know that miracles happen right when you think your heart is going to bust. If the miracle doesn't happen then, it means your heart is stronger than you thought.
This weekend, I was determined to lean on the fact I was stronger than I thought. Strength is something you don't know you have till it's tested. Instead of spending the weekend moping around, as you might expect to happen, we decided to laugh.
What I can say is that the most wonderful thing happened. Matt and I reconnected in such a deep way that our relationship is forever changed for the better.
It started when we were going to take a walk to the store. We got ready, and decided that we needed more than a few items than we could carry on a walk. Plus, some of the items we needed to get were at Walmart. So we hopped in the car and went.
There is something magical about 2 parents with no kids cruising Walmart like teenagers. We looked at things we don't normally have time to look at (kitchen small appliances- BLISS!) and even tried on sunglasses like dorky people. We held hands in the aisles, and we talked. Not just about the kids, but about our dreams and desires for our life together. We got some McDonald's (I got a grilled southwest salad, Matt got a crazy sized burger and fries- I tasted neither of his items) and we came home and watched Date Night. (Very funny movie, if you haven't seen it.)
The couple in the movie was so dorky and uncomfortable, it reminded us of US. And we loved at the ending. We laughed our way through the movie, and giggled like girls at a sleepover the rest of the night. Laughing until our sides hurt. Laughing till we cried. Laughing until the pain of the weekend was far behind us.
I didn't exercise quite like I wanted too, but I wouldn't trade that intimately close time with my husband for the world. Times like that make us better parents. Better people. Better humans in general. No amount of weight loss could have made me happier than that time with him.
Because when it all comes down to the end, as I lay on my proverbial death bed, I'm not going to wish I had spent more time in isolation exercising and dieting. I'm not going to wish I had given up months in misery to be a few pounds lighter.
I'm going to remember the times I spent time with my family. When we laughed instead of crying. When we drew closer to one another in times of need and supported one another. When we found our cups overflowing with joy.
If you strip away the labels of fat and water aerobics and calories, you will discover that "dieter" is not WHO you are. It's WHAT you are. Dieting is not supposed to be something that keeps you from being WHO you are. It's helping change WHAT you are. Deep down inside, we are people. People with faults and issues and hurts. People who are doing our best to live in a world where we need food to live. It's not something we can ever escape. All we can do is make as many good choices as we can.
I love the story of "How the grinch stole Christmas" by Dr. Seuss. It shows that when all the Christmas trees and lights and gifts are gone, the spirit of Christmas still remains. The residents of Whoville can't have their joy taken away. No matter how much the grinch takes, he can't break the residents of Whoville.
When it comes to dieting, we all have a choice. We can be like the grinch and take away everything on the outside. We can remove the calories and temptations and do our best to "break" our own will. Or we can realize that WHO we are deep inside isn't changed by twinkle lights on the scale. In fact, if we lose the scale, we find that life is still worth living right at that moment. No matter what size we are.
I am so happy to tell you that this weekend was a big break through for me, personally. I realized that the thing that is most important to me is spending time with my family. Showing them that although I act some days as though I am a slave to the diet, THEY are more important to me. The moments with my kids, sharing oreos and milk and talking, are worth the hit I will take on the scale tomorrow. Because tomorrow will always be there, ready for me to have a dieting fresh start. But those precious moments with my kids and husband? They may not be there tomorrow.
So my unsolicited advice about the diet? I know we want to lose weight. It's important to us all. But don't miss the small moments of wonder. Don't be your own diet grinch and make your life unbearable. There is ALWAYS room to celebrate who you really are.
Take it from the residents of Whoville.
Friday, September 10
Wednesday, September 8
I walked 4 miles, biked 2 miles and did water aerobics.
Today, I am taking a day of rest. Wednesdays are my Sundays, and today is My Sabbath.
Because tonight, I am leading worship at my church for the first time in a long while. And I need to be at my physical best to do it well.
Last year, I stopped being in the “limelight” of my church and attended elsewhere for a while. I needed a chance to grow on my own. I was raised in the same church I had been going too. And you all probably know that people who have known you the longest have a hard time letting you grow up.
I had to learn about what I thought was important in my walk with God, the best way to participate in ministry, and had to get a grasp on my body image.
What does body image have to do with anything church related?
A lot. When I used to lead worship, I was very excited about the things God was doing while I was singing with the congregation in front of me from the stage. I watched Him move in powerful ways among the people. And I gave Him thanks for that.
But once I got OFF the stage, I craved the approval of others. I wanted the members to tell me how great I had done, how good it was to see me leading worship. I know it sounds terrible, but it’s the truth.
For a long time in my life, I thought the only real talent I had was singing and leading worship. It was my identity, and everything revolved around that. Especially when I was at my heaviest. I had no personal pride other than my music. I would present power point presentations with special music or songs I had written so people would look at the slides and not think about how fat I was. I never wanted my physical state to alter the message of the music. So I hid as best as I could.
And yet, it became an issue for me, ego wise. Because it was all I felt I had, I craved the attention of others when the music stopped. And it put me in a position where I was being the glory hog instead of giving God the glory.
So, I stopped doing leading worship and took a break. And I worked on getting my outside to a place so I could deal with the inside. And visa-versa. Which doesn’t seem like such a big deal to some people. But for me, it was a very very big deal.
Here’s what I found out on my journey so far.
God created me to be unique. I will never be like anyone else in the world. I have attributes and faults that are all my own. And God’s OK with that. I should be too.
I should remember that no one can do exactly what I do, and the most interesting people I have met were never normal. God’s ok with that, and I should be too.
My body, no matter what I think of it, is a blessing. I’m still breathing, and that makes this a good day. So I should not hide behind plants and power point presentation. God is OK with me, and I should be too.
Self shame, fear and insecurities are nothing more than distractions to take my eyes off God. Nothing my body can do- past, present and possibly skinnyfied future- makes God less important than He is right at this moment. Especially if He is touching the heart of someone sitting in the audience or congregation. It should never be about me. If it is for a brief moment, the underlying message should be about Him. He’s OK with that.
The fact I have come this far along in my journey is testimony. Not self affirmation, not self sacrifice, but the story of how I, by the mere seat of my plus size pants, have fallen into His overwhelming grace. And I am ok with that.
So today is my Sabbath. And tonight I am leading worship. Not karaoke about Jesus, not a choir that is merely singing along to songs we have sung 1000s of times…
But falling into worship of a King who loves unconditionally the way I am presently knit together, stretch marks and all. A God who is willing to go the distance with a girl who still trembles at the grocery store at the cookie and cracker aisle. A God who holds me in His lap and comforts me while I am exhausted from working too hard yesterday and just want to rest. Little distractions may try to come up, but He will not put me down for a second. He will hold me close in His arms and let me rest.
Just like this…
Tuesday, September 7
Due to hormonal strain-
A weekend that begged for some chocolate
Has left me with 3 pounds of gain.
At 183 point something or other
Is where this girl starts her week.
Cause the internal needs of her body
Won out and have left me so meek.
I’m not too upset by this setback.
I knew it was going to hit.
And I’m not about to let this add-on
Turn my dieting week into crap. ;)
I’m focused on tasks set before me
Of fitting into a size eight.
I’ll water aerobic and bike ride
And do what I must do to lose weight.
Because setbacks and gains are no biggy
As long as you still see the goal.
And I won’t think that I’m a failure
For M&M’s down the pie hole.
I’m just gonna keep eating bacon
And stick to ignoring the bread.
Cause dieting’s far more than eating.
I’m sure that it’s all in my head.
Saturday, September 4
Totally inspired by BitchCakes, who is a supercool blogger that met her goal by using weight watchers and riding her bike. Plus, she's one of those rare vintage hardcore lovers like me. She looks fantastic. My bike isn't nearly as cool as hers, but still...
I was going to start riding my bike from my house and go to Office Max, which is exactly 6 miles from my house. But bikes aren't as easy to ride as I remembered. In fact, it was so tough I only made it half a mile and turned around to come home.
Not to mention the sun was close to setting. I wasn't riding as fast as I thought I would. But being the artsy person I am, I thought I would tape my flip video camera onto the front of the bike and let you see.
I didn't think the camera tripod would keep slipping and making my camera fall to view the ground. So I wound up holding the camera upright until I had to use both hands to turn. At which point it would fall to the ground.
Then I found a song from my new favorite band- The Dollyrots. And I made a video just for you!!!
Happy Labor Day weekend, everyone!!!!
Friday, September 3
After 5 days on the low carb, I am sitting pretty at 180.4 lbs.
Don't get too excited people. We have been here before. A lot.
But today is a reason to celebrate! Not only is it my friend Hillary's BIRTHDAY (check out her blog, cause she's giving away tons of goodies) but there has been a change in the Crystal Light front.
If you didn't see it on facebook, you will see it here.
My commercial made the top 3. Which means I am in the running for a cool 7 Gs. (7000 smackeroonies. A down payment for a big house. We have the perfect one in mind, too!)
What was so fun about this commercial in particular is that it is a product I actually enjoy! And you can too. Cause it's sugar free AND delicious. Win win win, folks. Win win win for us all. (we call it being a weiner in this house.)
So here's my commercial for your viewing pleasure. It's worth watching again. (I can say that since I already won $500. Yeah, I did. Yesterday. Just for making it to the final 3. I LOVE making commercials for Poptent!) Wait till you see what I have up my sleeve for the next commercial I am working on!
So here's to a wonderful weekend for us all. We are going to see family on Saturday, then after that, we are going to lay around the house being lazy. What are your plans for Labor day?
Thursday, September 2
I know you miss my online orders. I miss them too. Cause for a while, all I could think about was my Mac and cheese sauced pasta breadbowl with onions, bacon, more cheese and slathered in garlic butter. I was "Fatal Attraction" obsessed.
Here’s the thing, Dominos. I am still eating the bacon and onions and cheese. Just not with your pasta and breadbowl. Cause I’m doing this new low carb thing, and it’s actually working. In fact, yesterday I fit into a pair of jeans my friend Beth gave me that I haven’t fit into all summer. They are cut like a small 14, and I wasn’t able to button them 3 months ago when you and I were hooking up every few nights. (And for the record, Matt knew I was cheating. He could smell it a mile away. He just turned a blind eye to my food lust. He was trying to keep our marriage together and not let your breadbowls steal me away.)
Back to the jeans. So last night, a mere moment before leaving for church, I tried those jeans on, out of sheer lunacy. And you know what? Just a week after starting the low carb thing, THE JEANS FIT. And although I still am a bit chubby in the belly area, they made my butt look great.
YOU never made my butt look like that! In fact, my butt always looked worse after a night with you! Plus, I felt so guilty the next morning, sometimes it was unbearable. Because cheating on the diet was something I never intended to do. It just kinda happened. Probably because you were so intoxicating. I know it was wrong, but I will admit you were quite delicious to look at.
Maybe it was the sermon at church last night that got to me. We talked about wanting God more and more in our lives. And I remember that a long time ago, God told me the weight couldn’t go where He was wanting to take me. That was about the time you rolled off the prep line. And I fell for you- hook line and stinker. You were a great temptation to me, Breadbowl pasta.
But NO MORE.
I don’t want a life on the sidelines. I don’t want to be a fat wallflower anymore. I wanna be in the front row of the action. And you have to be thinny to push to the front of where I want to be. And becoming thinny takes sacrifice. Lots of lots of sacrifice. (And in the case of my low carb challenge, it takes bacon. Sweet glorious bacon…)
So I have to say goodbye. I almost wrote with a heavy heart I have to say goodbye, but my heart isn’t that heavy. In fact, it is starting to get excited about the changes I am seeing after only 4 days. It’s the jump start my body was begging for. The switch I so desperately needed flipped. It has happened. And when that switch has been flipped, it is easy to say no to you.
Goodbye, dear breadbowl pasta. I know we had lots of fun nights on the couch together. But now, I’m takin my bacon to hang out at the gym. And for long, sweat filled walks of passion. And the bacon thinks I look crazy good in my up to the neck swimsuit (to keep my 3 foot long boobs from floating to the surface. I’ve had enough floaters to last me for a while).
You can delete my number from your database. We are officially through.
Enjoy your future without me, and I hope your store doesn’t go bankrupt from my departure-
Wednesday, September 1
I made it to water aerobics and got my butt handed to me. And you’ll be happy to know I didn’t dare pass gas in the water. Too risky.
I wish to high heavens I had a funny story to tell you. But I really don’t. Believe it or not, crazy girls like me have normal nonchalant days. Not many, but they do happen occasionally!
What I can tell you is if you are a blogger who is looking to network and connect with other fitness minded bloggers (at EVERY stage of fitness, not just the skinnies) then you need to check out Fit Bloggin’ and sign up. It’s a conference that brings all the dieting bloggers together in one room! (Which means I am going to have to meet real people, like DietGirl and maybe my new buddy Charlie Hills face to face. Hopefully I will act better than I did when I met Christabel and the Jons!)
If you haven’t figured it out yet, I have decided I’m going. It’s in May of 2011 in Baltimore MD. (Dear sweet baby Jesus, keep me from breaking down the doors of Charm City Cakes while I am there. Amen.) And that gives me exactly 8 months to get cracking on this diet business. I needed a big goal, and I think meeting the blogger giants (wait, I’m not saying they themselves are huge. Their BLOGS are huge.) is exactly what I needed to get me doing jumping jacks.
Not to mention they are going to have a 5K run/walk for all the attendees. I will not pretend that I am a runner, but I would like to learn how to run a little bit. Maybe a half mile without passing out. Cause that would be poor form. No one wants to fall flat on the pavement in front of their diety heroes. No one.
So that’s the news for today. I am adjusting to back-up evil scale, but I’m withholding any information till next Monday. Just so you will come back to see how I did. (PLEASE COME BACK!!!! PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!)
So that’s the word, bird! I hope you all have had a great Wednesday, and remember, tomorrow is Meet Up Thursday. As of this moment, I have NO personal stories lined up, so if you want to promote your dieting/personal blog, here’s your chance! Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with a picture and the story of your journey thus far, plus a blog link. Then I will share you with my readers. Simple as pie!