Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tracking Santa

I'm tracking Santa right now at www.noradsanta.org

Right now he is in Chicago Illinois. Ahhhhh. I must go outside and look for him. This is fun!!

Have a Merry Christmas Everyone. Enjoy time with your family and if the holidays are hard for you I will be praying for you as I understand. My mom died 12 years ago tomorrow morning at 7am. I know how hard the holidays can be for some. Hang in there.

Merry Christmas everyone and remember that the birth of Jesus is the reason for the season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Never Enough Lights

To check out cool light displays and videos of people's Christmas lights set to music go to NEVER ENOUGH LIGHTS! Enjoy!!

Did I break a habit this month?

At the end of November my good blog friend GO MOM GO put a challenge up on her blog. She said starting December 1st she was going to try and break a habit. Hers was to work out everyday. She encouraged us to try and break a habit too. Experts say that it only takes 21 days to break a habit. Well, I took her challenge and decided that I was going to stop biting my nails. In recent months they have been chewed to little nubs and I decided it was time to stop. I used to suck my thumb and this January 1st is 5 years since stopping sucking my thumb, so I knew that I could stop biting my little nubby nails.

Yesterday was the 21st, so 21 days has passed and I am happy to say. . .

I HAVE STOPPED BITING MY NAILS!! WAHOOOOO!

Thanks GO MOM GO for putting this challenge out there. I am thankful you did.

Maybe now I can go after the Guiness World Record and beat this lady!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Weight Watchers Update!!




I just got back from Weight Watchers and have great news. . .

I lost 2.2 pounds. Good-bye 290's, Hello 280's. It feels so good.

I now weigh 288.6

That means I've lost 17.6 since starting and 8.8 of it in the last 6 weeks with my personal trainer.

My next goal is to get to 276.2. That is 30 pounds lighter from my starting weight and that is my 10% goal at Weight Watchers. At that point I will have lost 10% of my Starting weight. I can do it. That is my next goal.

I'm so proud of myself.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Blind Ironman

Some Holiday Eating Tips

1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare.. You cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. if something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. as for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple , Pumpkin , Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day ?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Have a great Christmas Season and for those of you worried about me after reading this do not worry. I'm fine!! I just thought these were really funny. I do not need emails worrying about if I've fallen off the wagon. :-)

I CAN'T BELIEVE IT!!

I cannot believe that this is happening. I just found out this morning and you all know what a HUGE Disney fan I am. Sorry It can't be you too. You can come with me though.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Weight Watchers Update!!


I lost another pound today. Wahooo!!
I've lost 15 since starting, 6.8 of it in the last 5 weeks since starting with Matt. It feels so good to have lost 15 pounds. Yeah. I now weigh 290.8. I'm looking forward to next week because I want to be in the 280's and I know that I can do it. Go Me!!

No matter what journey you are on keep at it and it will come. I'm living proof of that.

Thanks everyone for your support, but the glory goes all to God.

Thank you Lord for helping me get to where I am today in my healthy lifestyle journey. Continue to help me go in the right direction and help me never forget that you are here with me and helping me each step of the way. Amen!!

Friday, December 12, 2008

My nephew Luke cracking himself up!!

I babysat Luke the other day and we got my laptop out and played with the photo booth. What you are about to see is a video of Luke cracking himself up. What you see is what he saw on the screen. Too funny and too cute. Gotta love kids. Enjoy!! video

Frosty Gets Caught

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Booker T. Washington Quote


I am reading two short readings by Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Du Bois. Both of them were great men who did a lot to help the black race after the Civil War.

I found a great quote from the writing, Up From Slavery Chapter XIV THe Atlanta Exposition Address.

This is Booker T. Washington speaking,

"In my contact with people I find that, as a rule, it is only the little, narrow people who live for themselves, who never read good books, who do not travel, who never open up their souls in a way to permit them to come into contact with other souls-- with the great outside world. No man whose vision is bounded by colour can come into contact with what is highest and best in the world. I have found that the happiest people are those who do the most for others; the most miserable are those who do the least. I have also found that few things, if any, are capable of making one so blind and narrow as race prejudice."

Living Advent Calendar


December 8th- wrote my niece a card and sent her stickers for no reason at all.

December 9th-Thanked my daughter's friend's mom for giving Tricia a ride home yesterday in a blizzard. It took her FOREVER and she didn't even hesitate when I called and asked her. I'm very appreciative of all they do and am in the midst of planning a super thank you dinner for them.

December 10th- Got a cart ready to go for a lady that was coming in after me at the grocery store. Offered to carry another ladies groceries to her car. She declined, but appreciated the offer. Took cookies to my son's school for a teacher luncheon.

Only 15 days until Christmas. Let's take the materialism out of Christmas and put meaning back into it. Give of yourself today and make a little peace on earth.

Made It!

I made it to personal training yesterday.
I worked out.
I'm happy I went.
My left calf muscle was hurting a little before I went.
Now it is killing me.
I can barely walk, but I made it to personal training. :-)
I really am changing because in the past there is no way I would have gone and if I didn't have a trainer yesterday I would have stayed in bed, so I am really proud of myself because I've come a long way. Still have a ways to go, but I'm getting there.

I'll head to the gym today and just walk on the treadmill today if my calf will allow me.

My first workout today is getting outside to snow blow my driveway. It never fails that when Keith is gone on a business trip it snows.

Have a blessed Wednesday!!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Keepin' it real

I'm just keep it real here.

I do not want to go to personal training today.

I woke up with my back killing me and pain shooting down my right leg. Now that I've been up awhile I feel better.

Going to personal training entails going out in the snow and driving on the ice.

I'm going to go, but do not want to.

This is the kind of day that if I didn't have a personal trainer I would stay in bed all day and do nothing.

I guess it's these days that really will show me if I am dedicated or not.

I was so ready to pick up the phone and reschedule, but I didn't and I will leave early so I get there in plenty of time.

Sigh!!

Did I mention that I don't want to go to personal training today?

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Living Advent Calendar

As I count down the days until Christmas I am trying to do something little for people everyday. I'm trying to go outside my comfort zone a little bit everyday. As I have mentioned before I am not doing this toot my own horn, but to encourage you to get out there and give of yourself a little everyday. It will make a difference.

December 4th- Volunteered at my son's school. I love encouraging those kids that always look like they are having a rough time. There is one little boy that lights up every time I volunteer. This is when I cannot wait to be a teacher. I love kids so much and cannot wait to make them smile everyday.

December 5th- Babysat my 2 year old nephew spur of the moment for my brother and sis-n-law, so they could go out and run a few errands without him. This was a little selfish on my part cause I haven't seen him for awhile and I love playing with him.

December 6th- smiled at everyone in Wal-mart and wished them a Merry Christmas. I stopped and helped a mom look for that one Star Wars figure that her son wanted. She found it. Went to the Star bucks I usually study at, went in, and paid for the next two cars in the drive-thru. Some of my regular employees were there and they asked me why I would do that and I told them I wanted to bless some people in this hurried time of year. They are all very young, so I hope it sticks with them and maybe they will reach out to someone. Stopped at an Alternative Behavorial Treatment Center in my hometown. I have driven by it for 5 years and always thought I should stop in. I found out they have 40 young men there ages 15-21. I'm not sure what I will be doing, but the Lord just had me stop, so we'll see.

December 7th- My husband won some Chicago Bears tickets for this Thursday night and we knew we did not want to sit in the cold watching them, so we were able to bless a family at church who has a Jr. High boy who LOVES the Bears. They were very grateful. I'm studying at Caribou Coffee and bought someone their coffee. They did not know it was me and I got to see their reaction. They said, "Wow, who hears of something like this these days?" His friend said, "Someone still has the Christmas spirit."

Only 18 days until Christmas. What can you do to touch someone's life? Smile, make eye contact, drive a little less crazy, give up that close parking spot, let someone go in front of you in line, hold a door open, buy a coffee, leave cookies on an elderly person's doorstep (just make sure they don't trip), etc. etc. Make a difference in the life of someone today. It will make your Christmas season so much brighter.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Mother Letter Project


I found this awesome blog called Mother Letter Project. This husband and wife and their extended family decided not to buy each other gifts this year for Christmas and instead will be giving the money they would have spent to a charity. They can make gifts, so he came up with the idea to have people write letters to a mother and he is compiling them into a book for his wife. Please visit his blog and write your own letter. If you submit a letter before Christmas he will send you a finished product via email. Writing this letter ended up being very therapeutic for me as I wrote my deceased mother. This Christmas morning at 7am she will have been gone for 12 years. I'm having a very hard time this year. I don't know why, but it feels like she just died last year. I figured out that there are things in this letter that have never been verbalized in the 12 years that she has been gone. Below is the letter. It's long, but if you feel so inclined please read and take a peek into my heart about my dear, sweet mother, my best friend.

December 2008
Dear Mother,

I’m really missing you this Christmas. Christmas morning celebrates twelve years since you died, passed away, were taken to be the Lord. However you want to say it, you are gone and I miss you. Sometimes it feels like it was just last year. You were only fifty-three when you died. 53. You were not very old. You were young. You were supposed to live a long time. You were supposed to die before me, but not before we shared a long life together. You were supposed to help me with my children, be their grandma, but you aren’t. You died. You left me. God decided that you had served your purpose here on earth and he was ready to call you home. I wasn’t ready to let you go.

You served Him most of your life. We still hear from people how you touched their lives. I know that there are people in Heaven because of you, but why did you have to leave us at 53? I love the Lord with all my heart, but sometimes I do not get Him. You could have done so much more for His kingdom. You could have touched so many more lives, but you were called home.

I remember as a child your sweet face, your embrace, your smell (Avon deodorant) your smile, and your willingness to help anyone. You always put others first no matter what and if there was a child around you would have been the first person to help them. You took a child that was not your own to church every Sunday for years. You didn’t have to do that. I’m sure that sometimes it was hard with your schedule, but that child’s relationship with the Lord was more important than anything you could have ever scheduled.

You bought us things for Christmas and made our birthdays unforgettable even when we lived almost in poverty. Mom, I never even knew when we were poor because I knew I had a home to come to and parents who loved me. I remember fun vacations in our trailer, your antique businesses, you being my AWANA leader at church, you singing to me, making up stories with me, loving me no matter what. When I told you I wanted to work with kids at church when I was older you encouraged me do it then. You believed in me and I have worked with kids, mom, 24 years now.

Speaking of that mom, I went back to college. You would be so proud of me. I’m graduating with my Elementary Education degree. I’m going to be a teacher mom, a teacher. I graduate in May and the hardest thing about that is you will not be sitting in the audience to see it, but don’t worry, Aunt Linda is coming and I am dedicating my diploma to you. I could have never done it without you mom. You were there with me.

I really miss you mom and you know what, even though I think that it is a shame you are not here to continue to touch peoples lives I figured out something. You are still touching people’s lives. You passed on your creativity to me. I love kids like you did. I am very giving like you were. I sing to my kids and make up stories. I have been their leader at church. I always look for ways to help others sometimes even above myself. You have passed all these wonderful traits on to me and I am passing them on to my kids, so mom, you are still touching many people’s lives. Thank you for all the wonderful things you taught me. I will always be grateful.

Mom, I don’t know if you know that I got pregnant a month after you died, pregnant with your granddaughter. We named her Patricia Eilene. Yup, she’s named after you mom. Even though you were called Patti, we decided to call her Tricia. You would love her. She’s 11 now. She looks just like me mom. She is very creative. She’s very artistic. She loves kids. She’s played the violin and now takes guitar lessons. She’s a tomboy and hates the color pink. She loves the outdoors and wants to be an architect when she grows up, for now anyway. She wants a real pygmy goat and a snowboard for Christmas. I’m scared she’s going to break a bone on her snowboard and we’ve said no to the pygmy goat even though she has done her research and emailed us, so who knows what she is going to get this year. Mom, I got to lead her to the Lord when she was just three years old. I’m sure you danced with the angels that day and had a huge party. She reminds me so much of you. It breaks my heart that you don’t get to know her. I can only imagine the AWESOME things you would do together and how much you would have taught her. I do not like being a mommy without having a mommy. Excuse the term, but it sucks.

On Tricia’s first birthday I knew I was pregnant again. I even told some of my friends at her party. We found we were having a baby boy, your grandson. Oh mom, you would adore him. He was the cutest baby. He laid in my womb funny and came out with a stiff neck. His head was bent to one side and he had to have physical therapy. We do not know if this is what caused his lazy eye or not. He has had glasses since he was two. He will have to wear them the rest of his life, but boy is he cute. He’s 9 now. He’s got the best sense of humor. He still hugs and kisses me in public, holds my hand in front of his friends, and kisses me all the time. He can sing like a lark. He is taking voice lessons and loves musical theater. He was just cast as a gosling in Charlotte’s Web. They did 11 shows and he was awesome and in the spring musical coming up at church he got a solo. He sang a solo last year at Christmas time at his voice teacher’s church. There was a full band and back up singers. He takes Kung Fu and only needs one more stripe to get his next belt. He just started playing clarinet in band at school. He’s getting really good. You can always here him singing or talking about his latest video game. He is so kind spirited, very sensitive, very creative, and is kind to everyone he meets and boy does he love to read. If you can’t find him he’s likely somewhere in the house with his nose stuck in the latest Manga magazine or a good book. Oh, and guess what? I led him to the Lord when he was just three also. I’m so happy you guys party up there when someone comes to the Lord. I just hope God let you know that the party was for your grandkids. I can just imagine you up there bragging to all your angel friends. You would love him so much. You would be so proud of him. I wish you could see him in his shows. It’s hard not having you in their lives. I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like. They would be your buddies. You would want to hang with them all the time. I think I would have to fight for my mommy time, but you know what? I wouldn’t mind having you hear to fight with.

Mom, I’ve had some trouble in my life. Nothing major, but I’ve gained over 100 pounds since you died. I’ve been very disorganized in my home, and procrastinate all the time. I have hired a personal trainer to help me get healthy. I’m on my way to getting my house in order, and I’m finishing school which is a big hurdle in my procrastination battle. I’m not proud of these shortcomings, but I know that with the Lord’s help I will overcome them.

By the time I turn 40 I will have lost 130 pounds, competed in an Ironman, graduated from college, and just become a better person all around. I want you to know that I am doing this because you said something to me on your deathbed and it came back to me recently. You had become very thin because of your cancer. You had told me that you had told God that you would do whatever it took to get thin and that it wasn’t long after that you were diagnosed with cancer. You had me come close to you and you said, “Melissa, do not tell God you will do anything to get thin. I don’t want you to get cancer. Please get healthy now.” Well, I haven’t yet, but don’t you worry I am now. It’s been twelve years since you died and I haven’t done much to get healthy. I need to do it now and I need to keep the weight off. Then I will live the life that you had envisioned for me since you held me as a baby.

I may never understand why God took you away from me so early, but I do not want to have my kids go through the same thing. That is why I’m doing something now to better my life. Thank you for all your examples in my life. Thank you for all the traits that you have passed on to me. Thank you for loving me unconditionally no matter what I did as a kid or teen. Thank you for always being a hard worker and helping to provide for us kids. Thanks for standing by my dad through thick and thin. Thank you for loving my husband. Thank you for teaching me about the Lord. Thank you for the fun stories and songs. Thanks for letting me help when you taught preschool. Thank you for believing in me even when I didn’t believe in myself. Thanks for being my biggest cheerleader. Thanks for showing me what a mother should be. I pray that I will be half the mother you were to me. I love you so much.

Love your daughter,
Melissa Joy


Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Living Advent Calendar


Tuesday- December 2- smiled at and encouraged an older woman on a recumbent bike next to me at the gym. She seemed to appreciate it.

Wednesday-December 3- Took the time in the snow to talk to my neighbor to see how he is doing. He is having a hard time and it was good to catch up and see how he and his boys were doing. My toes were numb when I went back in.

Also, in the snow, took the time to see if a family needed my help who was having problems with a car door in the school parking lot. The dad didn't want my help, but I sat in my car awhile with my headlights on their door so they could see better.

I'm not reporting these to you to get a pat on the back just letting you know, so I can encourage you to reach out of your comfort zone, take a few extra minutes in your busy day, smile and make eye contact with a stranger. It will make your day go better.

Only 22 days till Christmas. What can you do to better the life of others this Christmas Season.

I celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of my Lord and Savior. While he walked on earth he showed compassion, love, and care for everyone and continues to do so. I hope that I can be Jesus to someone that needs it this Christmas season and beyond.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Giving something everyday-Living Advent Calendar


My friend Commodore had a great post about giving something of yourself everyday leading up to Christmas and I am going to start that today. It's like a living advent calendar.

Here are some ideas I have:

-bringing in my neighbors trashcans on a cold day
-when I study at Starbucks buy one person in the drive thru their coffee.
-Snow blow or shovel (depending on the amount of snow) the neighbors driveway before he gets up for work (single dad)
-Send some random notes snail mail to people and I'm not just talking about Christmas Cards
-Find some people that don't have anywhere to go for the holidays and invite them over for Christmas Eve
-Leave notes for my hubby and kids
-Like commodore said make eye contact with a stranger, shake a hand a little more firmly, or really tell someone that they did a good job, but tell them why.
-make an effort to meet someone new at church, maybe not sit in the same seat week after week.
-work at a food pantry
-Send 7 kids that I know in one family some little gifts to make their Christmas even brighter
-hold the door for someone while I'm out shopping
-Smile while working out at the gym
-Offer someone to go in front of me in line at a store.
-Let that car go in front of me even if it means losing the closer parking spot.
-finding a culture that is different than mine and learning one of their traditions
-encouraging others while I am working out.


These are just some ideas that popped in my head right away. If you do this please leave a comment and let me know what you did. I would love to know.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Weight Watchers Update


I forgot with everything going on with Zoe, Thanksgiving, and life I forgot to update my weight loss. I weighed in the Saturday after Thanksgiving and had a whole whopping .2 weight loss. Yeah me. The scale is still heading in the right direction.