Obstacle Solving

Obstacle Solving – Like problem solving but tackling potential roadblocks.

Ready my arsenal.

    HDMI cable for the TV: No more dvd workout excuses. I’ll plug it into my laptop and play DVDs that way and as a plus stream youtube fitness routines I love. The DVD player  I had at my apartment doesn’t work here and plays black and white.

✓    New workout pants: The kind that don’t make me feel sloppy or make me wonder if my cottage cheese thighs are showing. Pairs that rise high and are opaque enough to give me confidence to bend over, dance, and jump without constantly worrying I’m gonna expose my belly or backside.

✓   Vitality Corner: A visual meditative center and reminder for me since that is the sense I am most honed into. It has motivational print outs that actually mean something to me and the green and blooming vitality of plants to tell me to keep striving for my best physical and mental health.

✓    Day Planner and Lists: I’m going to log daily weight, mood, and happy thoughts in there. I also need to be true to planning so I don’t put off things that will become workout or cooking excuses.

✓    MyFitnessPal: To log in food and exercise

✓    Time: I’m saying no to new responsibilities/studies/commitments until I’ve solidified my habits. One month until race day. One and a halfish months until Bible study is done. That frees my schedule even more until I feel set to take on new things if I want to.

✓    Music: Because music is good medicine.

✓    Friends: Because friends are also good medicine and my favorite sources of encouragement and wisdom

Tonight is a workout at the gym night. I have bible study until 9pm, so I’m hoping to do a late night gym routine. 9:15-10:15. That’s a long day for me. I was up at 6am. I won’t have time to “relax” until I’m back from the gym. But once I schedule my bible study work more faithfully, I will get a chance to relax for about an hour after work and then use that to empower a more efficient routine and attitude. Little by little, I’ll get this down.

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Building Mentally Healthy Habits

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Who knew it would take my late twenties to understand the concept of self care?

I used to find purpose in myself by keeping super busy or involved in many things and that was taxing on my body, mind, and spirit. I’m ashamed to admit the little time I took for me meant sloppy tooth brushing, avoiding the 2 minutes exfoliating took, and running to bed many times when I could not keep my eyes open with a face full of the day’s makeup. These are necessary little things, right? So I just raced through all that. But it’s more than necessary, it’s ways I care for myself on a practical level.

Now I’m slowing down a bit, making even those little actions more intentional. I’m pausing for a moment to realize how important it is to not always be rushing and to take note that the minuscule things like cleansing my face and applying moisturizer every night are little ways I love the body I’ve been given. And yes, those crocodile legs are worth slathering in lotion. And I’m worth 2 extra minutes of exfoliating too.

If I can intentionally acknowledge I am worth less rushing and neglecting in my daily routines, I can finally move on to bigger things.

Keeping Quiet and Short Term Goals

I like that I have some anonymity here. Sure, I’ve got close friends that read my blog, but they are inner circle people that I don’t mind a little soul spilling to. I’ve been in a funk this month and haven’t been faithful to diet and exercise. But I feel like now that visitors and memorials and other hard things are over, I can better refocus. I know that’s a common theme here and one of my setbacks.

This time I’m keeping quiet in real life. People know I try to eat healthy. People know that I need to lose weight and WANT to lose weight. In fact, there are ladies from my previous church who have seen me at THM meetings and while they whittle their waistline, they probably wonder why I’m not improving dramatically. And that’s when shame sets in. It’s a little bit of progress comparison but mostly realizing that I’m the one that effs things up because I don’t stay focused. From the pinterest posts and fitness memes that shout YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES, to jaw dropping before and after pictures on my THM page, I feel a bit bombarded. In my head, even though they’re positive pictures, they translate to ‘YOU KEEP FAILING YOURSELF and LOOK WHERE YOU COULD BE NOW.’

So mum is the word. No one needs to know what I’m doing because they don’t understand my struggle. And I don’t need positive posts that end up tasting sour in my mouth. I’m letting my diet group go dark and keeping away from fitness posts. I’m not going to talk about weight loss journey with others for a while. I’m just going to push myself and go lalalalalala when I see some crazy 50 lb loss in 6 months or hear my mom blabber on about some new breakthrough weight loss research. I just need to listen to me.

I did something I’ve never done before – I succumbed to weight fear and paid an extra $80 to upgrade my airline seats for a trip. I was fearful, literally, fearful, that I wouldn’t fit. I thought about the shame of being told I’d need to buy another seat and how it would melt away all the self-confidence I’ve worked on building. I’m fearful because I know I’m that big. I’m the end-of-the-airline-seatbelt big. I’m hold-my-shoulders-in-so-the-flight attendant-doesn’t-bump-into-me big. Since I’m flying on a budget airline with smaller everything, I just couldn’t risk smaller than industry standard seats.

So now I have a 2 month goal. I have something to look forward to and fight for.  Sure, I still have upgraded seats, but I’m determined not to feel like I’m spilling out of it with what little time I have to work towards it. The upgraded seats are only 2″ wider. It’s not going to make a huge difference. But, I can work on toning my flabby body to help. And I can eat good on plan foods that will dramatically improve any bloat or water retention I’d have otherwise from bad eating. And feel good from diet and exercise, I can use that energy to play with my nephews and not sweat the homemade meals my friend makes that do not fit my diet.

Ideally, I’d like to aim for a 15-25 lb loss and hit the gym 5x a week until my flight. I won’t say anything outside of here though. I’ll just push myself and hope results speak for themselves one day. The race I’m helping with is late April, and I figure that even though I’m not running, since I’m helping with the event, it would be great to show up with lots of energy and endurance for a full day of running around and interacting with people who run and are fit. It’s like an armor of confidence I can wear knowing I’m working hard at my goals even though I’m not where I want to be yet.

Let’s see how far I can go. Let’s see where I am in late May from pushing myself and listening to myself.

Looking Ahead

It’s that time of year. You know, the one where Easter is around the corner and you scratch your head because it was just New Years Day.

This Saturday is my Uncle’s memorial service. It’s been rough on my aunt – she told me she is ready for the event to be over with. I think she’s wanting it to happen so she can have a final sense of closure. After all, he passed over a month ago. She’s very independent, strong, and a good kind of feisty, so it’s hard but also comforting to see her open up about her grieving. I was a blubbering mess on my Uncle’s last day, but she was as cheerful as one could be with a spouse on his deathbed. She kept things lighthearted and only paused to cry at the end. I can’t imagine how hard widowhood is. They would have celebrated 50 years in August.

The race and foster fair I am helping with is also getting very close – we’re 5 weeks away ! We’ve had a few setbacks but we’re hopeful that our 2016 event will be as strong as last year’s. Some of the little tasks I’ve taken on include calling local places for silent auction items. Talk about a stretcher. I am not a phone person. At all. I hope my awkwardness isn’t detected as strongly on the other side of the line.

In May, I’m going to visit one of my oldest friends and her family. I am so excited even though I have no idea what to expect (except humidity, ick!) How do you plan a trip to see one of the people you’re closest to and their family knowing it will probably be another three years until you see them again? Her youngest is four and I haven’t seen him since his first birthday. That breaks my heart a little since they all call me auntie and the only recollections he probably remembers of me are from Skyping. Her middle child just recently got baptized and start kindergarten this year. Her eldest was in kindergarten the last time I saw him in person! And I think the most exciting part is that her husband in the three years out there has recommitted himself to Christ. God is doing big things in their lives and I can’t wait to see it all in person.

I’ve decided to take another Bible study break after we finish 2 Thessalonians. We’re a little less than halfway through 1 Thessalonians are the moment and it has been such a rewarding inductive study. I like breaks because the studies are quite intensive and I’d feel burnt out if I went year round. I’d like to take the break to continue Bible art journaling and studying scripture on my own. I’d also like to use that time block in the evening to get more gym time in.

I feel like there are some big hills this half of the year, and who knows what the second half holds, but I’ll continue looking ahead with hope for the good things.

‘Rape Whistle’

metal Whistle

 

We met up for sushi. It was a little past noon, midday, and the place we gathered at is in a safe suburbia town. After our meal, we pulled our keys out of our purses and pockets in preparation to leave. As ladies, we all knew keys in hand meant saving a few seconds where we could possibly be distracted and targeted as prey. I know I’ve been told more than a handful of times to have them out and that the end of a key can work as a weapon of self defense if needed.

Diligently shining from all of our keychains was a whistle. Mine, the shape of a coach’s whistle with the little ball inside, all silver. Some of them had flute like whistles that were shaped more like wands in different metallic colors. We all had them. Each one of us.

“Oh hey,” a friend exclaimed, “I see you guys all have rape whistles too.”

It was funny because it was true, but it was also sobering. We were all concerned enough to equip ourselves with a device that basically shrills in case our voices fail us or don’t carry in the midst of harm. If people see a whistle on a guy’s keychain or lanyard, their first thought is that he coaches. If people see a whistle on a gal’s keychain, it’s not even a safety whistle. It’s a ‘rape whistle’.

Most people in their right mind agree that rape is wrong. Because it is. It certainly is wrong. However, even those who believe it’s wrong are divided. One extreme believes that women who may dress or act a certain way or who perhaps venture somewhere late at night are ‘asking for it.’ The other extreme types ALL CAPS flaming messages about people supporting ideas like carrying a whistle, using rape drug detecting nail polish, and locking panties, claiming it tries to shift responsibility on the victims when rape is always wrong and never the fault or lack of preparation of the victim.

There is so much division, and so many limitations are placed on women because rape exists. Whether or not ladies feel safer walking down the street with a whistle, pepper spray, or locking panties, the bottom line is we’ve advanced SO MUCH as a society, but are still dealing with inexcusable rape statistics.

It’s not just women. Men are raped too. The statistics of rape cases involving incarcerated men is shocking. People joke about butt sex in prison and guys ripping other guys a new one, but at the core of their crudeness, what they are advocating is rape. How are we still taking rape so lightly in our culture, in this day and age?

We own our own bodies. They are important, and they are ours. No one has permission to do to our bodies what we do not allow. We are to respect our own bodies and respect others’ bodies. Anything other than yes means no. These simple truths are universally permeable, yet rape still happens. I just don’t get it. I dream that one day in the near future, these simple truths will resound enough to eradicate rape.

I hope that one day, when I pull out my keys, my whistle can truly be a safety whistle, not a rape whistle.

Dad and Daughter Time

I feel like growing up, my family kind of divided stuff. I went on outings with my mom, and my brother did stuff with my dad. I was homeschooled by him for a majority of my primary education so it’s not like he wasn’t around or we weren’t close. In fact, he was the relaxed parent and so Nate and I loved spending time with Dad (and sometimes conning him into our shenanigans.) But it seems like once college hit I just kind of let our relationship coast. My brother spent a lot of time with Dad and I figured it was just like when were were growing up.

Now that Dad’s been retired for over a decade, his mannerisms are very routine and sometimes scarily robotic. Like, I could guess that this morning he had a cup of cereal mixed with a single serve container of yogurt and drank coffee black with sweetener. And that by now, he’s probably been to the weather channel to see what kind of conditions our loved ones and friends in other states are being subjected to. I can tell you that around 5pm-6pm the TV is vouched for because it’s time for him to watch the local news. I can tell you that after dinner he hunches over the computer with a pair of headphones watching an episode or two of Netflix. And sometimes, that robotic also includes his interaction or lack thereof with family members. He does his own thing almost like no one else is around. It really bothered me when I moved out. I expected my family to pay some dang attention to me when I was over and made the time to be present, but usually my mom was chatting on the phone or busy cooking and my dad would say hi and go back to his regularly scheduled program.  I know he isn’t aware of this, but for years, I just decided it wasn’t worth it to change anything. Until a few years ago when I realized time is precious. And this year, when my uncle who is only months older passed away.

I feel like this is an area I fail a lot. Sometimes I am cruel to my dad. I hate to say that but it’s true. I don’t know if I feel mentally superior or entitled or that he doesn’t understand me…but it’s not good. Just this past week, in a rush to work, I told him it was worthless for him to wake up and make coffee 15 minutes before I run to work because 70% of the time I’m already about to run out of the door and he’s in my way. What the hell. That was not okay. But it came out. And this week after I made that poor comment, he has slept in and there is no coffee made and no one to share breakfast with. He has poor hearing and sometimes replies yes or uh-huh without letting me know he didn’t hear me. Sometimes he doesn’t hear right and that causes issues too. So yeah, I am sometimes short fused and repeat things until I’m yelling.

Despite some short comings this week, I willed to spend more intentional time with him because my mom was out of town. I proposed a dad and daughter date. We went out to dinner on Wednesday and I felt like what I was able to say was just small talk and felt awkward. But I could tell like all loving parents he was so happy to have me instigate a dad and daughter date. I asked him if he wanted to grab dinner and watch something in theaters. I let him pick the restaurant and movie. By the time I opened the door that afternoon he was ready to go and reminded me several times of the time in anticipation to start our night out. Even though we only small talked it was still nice and he enjoyed both the dinner and the movie we went to see.

Yesterday we also had dinner together and watched it while his 6pm news segment was on. Plates in hand in the living room, watching channel 5 news. We didn’t say much but he enjoyed the food and complimented it several times and was smiling.

I think I’ve learned two things this week. Maybe three. First of all, this intentional relationship thing is harder than I thought and I kind of stink at it. But, two, my dad enjoyed it and saw that I was trying. I think I need to accept that I’m a complex thinker and a very different and sensitive personality type and my dad is not. He’s a very simple, enjoy life and the small things kind of guy. He’s practical and on the range of emotional empathy scores very average while I over analyze everything. If I can remember this and not try to expect too many social cues and responses I think it’ll help me. My mom is more like me, more complex, very sensitive to others reactions and emotions, and reacts more to compliments and general comments. I’ve spent a lot of time appreciating that and not enough time appreciating the benefits of my dad’s personality and personhood. It’s that personality that still got excited for a dad and daughter date the day after his daughter complained about his small act of love of getting up earlier than he likes to make coffee for both of us. The personality who said nothing in response though he has the right to as I ran out the door. The one who selflessly tried several times to let me pick the dinner spot and movie because he wanted me to enjoy it. The one who smiled ear to ear as I walked in after work on Wednesday knowing he’d be spending the whole afternoon with me. ❤

Vitality Corner

I’ve done a few big projects to make my room a sanctuary and here’s a project I’d like to complete next: a vitality corner of encouraging quotes and pictures and many plants.

plant-leaves

I would call it a vitality shrine but some would take offense to that because of the religious connotations people assume with the word ‘shrine.’ It’s not religious in an idolatrous way, but it is reflective and meditative.

I want to use green plants as a reminder of all the things I want to be: 

– I want to bloom as I prepare myself emotionally, financially, and physically for mid-life. 

– I want to reach new heights.

– I want to seek the light even if I must bend and outstretch in one direction towards it. 

– I want to nourish my body with good healthy food and kindness so that my radiant outside reflects a well fed and cared inside. 

– I want to be growing in Christ. I feel tingling in my roots and hope to know and experience even more foundational truths about my God and our relationship. I need to be reminded that what I soak up in my roots helps me react to the world around me and feeds me substance.

– I want to prune and throw away the bad parts so that I can focus on what’s important and not feel inhibited. 

– I want to remember as I’m tending them that people who love me are tending me and to love them back fiercely with that devotion. 

– Like photosynthesis, I want to use good energy to fuel me and have that process produce beneficial things for my environment. 

– My assortment of plants may all look different and need different types of tending and soil environments for best performance, but they all work together to be beautiful although they are diverse. Similarly, I want to see my strengths and weaknesses more bigger picture and know that what I have works together to do even more good collectively.  I want to remember not to judge someone for not having similar outlooks, interests, faith, or personalities, but find ways to admire them and encourage our growth and relationships.

– Like potted plants, I want to accept help when I can’t get what I need from my limited resources. Plants need fertilizer, and I need other people’s wisdom, encouragement, and experiences to help feed me. I may need coaching, programs, and therapy to help me reach my potential at different times in my life and shouldn’t be afraid of needing these resources.

I think just a few years ago I would have thought this notion was silly, but perhaps that is a sign I’ve grown. I can’t wait to see how it turns out.

KonMari Tips for the Plus Sized

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As many of you know, I’m still in the process of tidying. I did fairly well for my last space but moved and now need to find that ‘ah-ha!’ for my smaller space.

I have inquired about tips for plus sized but haven’t heard back officially unless Marie Kondo has touched on this subject in Spark Joy which I’m nearly halfway through.

There are a few hiccups for doing the KonMari method with plus sized clothing…

1. Our clothes tend to be wider and longer
2. Our clothes are more bulky in general
3. Our folding method articles often stand too “tall” to stand in an average dresser drawer
4. Some of us have more cover-up or modesty pieces (personal choice)
5. It can be hard to Spark Joy with certain articles of clothing depending on body type notions

1. Wider Longer Clothes

Our clothes require a few extra steps to fit our drawers better. I like to overlap the sleeves over each other more. This keeps the folded piece from being too long. A size L or XL person may not not have as much difficulty with width, but may need help with length. For length, take your finger and make imaginary lines or actually press into the garment where you would fold it until it’s short enough to fit the depth of your drawer.

File side to side, not front to back. This will help you fit more clothes and see everything in your drawer.

2. Bulky Items

Heavy winter pieces and outerwear DO NOT take up less space for us when folded. They take up whole drawers. Kondo suggests not hiding your clothes or storing them elsewhere lest you neglect the item. Here’s my suggestion:

Put your heavy sweaters, robes, and outerwear all in your coat closet (if you have one). Make sure you don’t keep ANY of them in your bedroom or other closets or you’ll be breaking the KonMari principal of all of one thing in one place. Or, use vacuum bags to suck up the air (individual bags per coat/sweater) and hang them in your closet on pant clips. Marie speaks of considering each piece and treating it with care, but unfortunately, your snow jacket will eat a good portion of closet space if you just hang it. Keep it loved by folding it and only using one garment per vacuum bag. Think of it as a case to display not to confine. It helps keep other clothes from getting lost in its bulk.

Do fold: slinky crochet sweaters, thin knit cardigans, lightweight sweaters, raglans, long sleeves, items that don’t wrinkle easily

Do Hang: jersey knit open sweaters, thicker cardigans, heavy but not bulky sweaters, embellished sweaters, raincoats, trenchcoats, heavy wool items, silky slippery materials

3. Items Stand Too Tall for Your Drawer

This isn’t just a problem for plus size people. Perhaps you are a standard or petite size but own some tunics that you wear with leggings or as short dresses and need to work them into a drawer. Or perhaps your significant other or son aren’t large in the weight sense but are just very tall and buy extra long clothes.

Remember how many folds you used and try adding one to two more folds to get it smaller. Remember to taper the folds a bit to help it “stand.” Draw an imaginary line or gently press down to crease where you would fold until you find that number. Remember how many folds you need for that type and they should fit.

4. More Layering Items

Just to clarify, this isn’t a problem for everyone. This is something I’ve noticed for me, though. Being overweight, I find I personally have more undershirts to smoothe my silhouette or to make low cut or thin tops more modest. I am busty and while I understand some cleavage is bound to happen, I don’t like being self conscious about shirts revealing more than I like if I bend over or slouch or cross my arms. Clingy shirts tend to show my rolls and so I use undershirts to make them less visible or have the shirt hang better. I also like to add cover ups like boleros and cardigans and open jersey knit sweaters to cover my arms and keep perpetually cold me comfortable temperature wise. They don’t all spark joy because of how they look, but they spark joy for the extra comfort they give me. If you feel guilty about keeping a lot of layering pieces, you may feel like I do. That they help you feel more comfortable and help you wear your clothes better. Don’t feel bad.

Don’t keep everything, though. Be honest. Maybe you have some white undershirts or tanks that are em…not truly white anymore. They’re now yellowing from regular wear and are so off white you can’t show them under deep v’s and scoops so you hide them under thin tops. That’s when I’d say it’s time to thank it and let it go. Or maybe you have 10 black undershirts and really only need 4 to rotate through. Find which ones flatter you most and thank the others and donate the rest. Same with the layering pieces. If you find that you are just trying to hide stuff, maybe it’s time to say goodbye to those tops or dresses and find more flattering pieces. If that outerwear isn’t versatile enough to wear with other pieces from your closet, maybe that top/dress and that outerwear piece both need to go into the donate pile.

 5. Body Types and Being Uniquely You

Whether you enjoy/are comfortable being plus size or are struggling with it, remember clothing is a way we get to express ourselves. We are all unique. Some people struggle with being super slim, other people struggle with carrying extra weight. Others easily embrace their size. Wherever you are, don’t let your unique shape be a negative. Part of the KonMari process is to learn more about yourself and where you want to be. Do you need to make body peace? Do you need new clothes that express who you are? Do you need to let go of smaller sizes that rob your joy for the pieces that fit you currently?

Perhaps you carry it all in hips. Or all in your belly. Or you feel disproportionate. I guarantee you that you’re not alone in these feelings. Get rid of articles of clothing that bring you down. Allow yourself to only buy clothes that spark joy so you don’t have negative energy in your closet. Or remember that you have that piece of clothing because it’s functional and meets a need. Create a sense of style that helps you shine and displays more than the physical appearance of you. Something that defines you as a whole – body, spirit, and mind.

Maybe you’re placing all that focus into clothes when it’s accessories that will bring that expressive factor. Bright scarves? Dainty earrings? Loud statement necklaces? Soft and sweet hairstyles and hairbands? Nerdy pins on your purse or sweater that proclaim your fandom or smarts? If you can’t communicate who you are to the world with your clothes, go for that wow factor with accessories. Whether you gain more weight or lose weight in the future, these pieces aren’t defined by your size. They exist to help you show who you are, at any size. Let them add joy.

I hope these tidbits help you! Please give me some KonMari tips too, I am all ears!