Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Letter To Zoe

While on my weight loss journey I have been working on a lot mentally. I have had a lot of questions in the last year about my faith in God. I have had my ups and my downs in life. I have been trying to get this all straightened out so that I can never emotionally eat again. On January 27, 2010 I met with a new counselor to continue the mental journey I am on. We had a great session. On January 27th, 2010 a little 22 month old sweetheart named Zoe was drawing her last breath. She had Trisomy 18. I have run races in her honor. When I read on Thursday that she had passed away, my heart was crushed. I have had two days to do a lot of self reflection. I wrote Zoe a letter. Read on and see what I have learned about myself from this little one's life. Zoe, you have changed my life FOREVER. I will never forget you and never forget how God has used you in my life. I will never waste another day.

Dear Zoe Girl,

Hi Sweetie! We have never met in person, but I feel like I know you because of reading your Daddy's blog and facebook page. I loved reading about you and all of your adventures. you would always bring a smile to my face and there were days that I needed that. I am sad that I will never meet you here on earth. VERY SAD. Your Daddy and I were just talking about when I could make it to Wisconsin to meet you all in person and hang out. I look forward to meeting you in Heaven someday. I cannot wait to see you running towards me calling out my name. I think your brother, Ethan, said it best when he said you were eating cereal for breakfast, running, and doing handstands. I love picturing you doing those things.

Zoe, Have you met my mom yet? I'm sure you have. Her name is Patti, but kids call her Miss Patti. She loved kids while she was on earth and I know she's lovin' on kids in Heaven too. I'm sure she's met you and is lovin' on you Zoe girl. I like picturing her taking care of all the little children that are waiting for their reunions with their Mommys and Daddys. Don't worry she will love on you until you are reunited with your Mommy, Daddy, Brothers, and Sisters.

Sweet Zoe girl, I have a little confession to make. I've been pretty selfish lately. I've been having a pity party. I've been feeling sorry for all these things that have happened in my life. I have been very angry, very angry at God. Instead of living each day to its fullest, like you, I've been just skimming by, going through the motions. Telling myself that I could just do what I wanted, that God was just going to let me down again anyway. I would read about His miracles and get mad, really mad. I wanted to know why he chose not to save my baby sister, my mom, or kids with Trisomy like you. I started distancing myself from others, and from Team Trisomy. If I distanced myself I couldn't be hurt of let down.

In some of my darkest hours I talked to your Daddy. He told me no matter what Jesus loves me and has never let me go. He told me to just talk to God and tell Him about how I was feeling and He would meet me where I was. I started to a little here and there, started back to church. It was slow, but it was a start. I was still fighting it, still angry, and God and Satan were in an all our tug of war for my life. I knew I needed help so I called up my church and asked ot see a counselor. Guess when my first session was? January 27th 2010, the day you passed away. While you were fighting for your life, I was starting to fight for mine in a different sense.

i have had a lot happen in my life sine I was 7 years old, but my counselor was showing me the fact that God was there for me. One thing that he said to me that has changed my thinking is this, "Melissa you are not God. When tough things come your way just say, 'I am not God. I don't understand this, but He does and He's in control. Only He needs to know the Whys. I will trust HIm.' "My counselor reminded me How much Jesus loves me and that He is grieved by what's happened to me. It was the first time in years that I felt it.

Then the next morning I read that you went home to be with Jesus. I wept. I wept because I will miss you. I wept for your Mom and Dad. I wept for your brothers and sisters, but you know why I wept the most. Because I have wasted so much time in my 36 years of life. I have felt sorry for myself, I turned my back, and gave up. You never did that. Zoe, in your life and death you have taught me so much and your life was not in vain. you lived every day to the fullest. You never gave up. you were a fighter. I have just gone through this life going through the motions. When I heard you died I told God, "God, Thanks goodness Im not you and I don't have to understand why Zoe girl had to have Trisomy and why she couldn't have lived longer. Thank you for loving us and for being in control. We may not understand, but we trust you. Please tell Zoe I miss her, but I will never waste another day."

Zoe girl, today I am making a pledge to you and God. I am going to live each day to the fullest. I am going to give everything to God even if I don't like it or understand the whys. I am going to concentrate on how much He loves me and remember that no matter what He will never let go of me. I have been away from God for years and because of you, Zoe Girl, I am back and I have learned so much about God and His love for us. Because of you I no longer have my back turned on Him. The night you were drawing your last breath, I was drawing my first. Thank you so much, Zoe, for everything I am forever changed because of you. Greg, Jen, and kids, thanks for sharing Zoe with us. I am forever grateful.

Much love, Melissa Black-PROUD MEMBER OF TEAM TRISOMY. My next race is for you ZOE GIRL. HUGS and KISSES.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


I found these life instructions while googling images for the word HAPPY and realized this is soooo me. I have fun, I don't hurt, people, I no longer accept defeat, and not only am I striving to be happy I am genuinely happy.

Recently on facebook my status just read I AM HAPPY!! People were asking me what happened to make me so happy and you know what, nothing had happened. I woke up happy that day, I had a great day, and I went to bed happy. It is so hard to explain, but I am just geniunely happy now and there isn't much that can change that. As you read in my last post I had a lot happen to me on Thursday. Yes, I was frustrated for a few minutes, but you know what? I was able to turn it around in just a few minutes of reflecting on my life and my blessings and those things didn't even bother me anymore. I was happy.

My status on facebook last night read HAD A GREAT DAY. I LOVE MY HUSBAND AND MY KIDS. LIFE IS GOOD. I got an instant message that read, "So we were wondering what is behind your status? What made your day so great?" You know what, there was nothing that special about my day yesterday, but I got to go see Parker and his theater group sing a song from their show, I got to talk to him on the car ride home, I got to eat dinner (which my hubby cooked) with my whole family and sit there and laugh and tell stories. I got to look at my kids and husband all laying in bed together watching a movie and my MAC was all fixed without crashing and losing pictures of my family and friends. I was just genuinely happy and actually think I went to bed with a smile on my face, literally.

I have even noticed lately that I walk differently. I do not walk all hunched over. I walk tall, I smile at everyone I come in contact with, and I even have a bounce in my step. I never have had a bounce in my step. It's really AWESOME!!

I have a friend that had this happen to him. He would try and explain to me how happy and content he was. I really wanted that happiness and contentment in my life. He would always tell me that there was really no way to explain it, but he knew I would get there someday. I"m there and now I understand what he meant because there is really no way for me to explain it, but I wanted to try.

It feels so good to be at this place in my life. I am so happy. Does that mean I won't have those days where life is hard? Days where I will get mad at the kids or Keith? Sad or frustrated when things happen? Of course I will have those days, but those will just be a bump in my journey and I will get myself right back on the road and remember these days where I have felt so happy I could just burst at the seams.

Like I put in my status LIFE IS GOOD and I cannot wait to see what God has in store for me. I pray that you may find the same happiness in your own life and when you do it will be hard to explain to others. Have a HAPPY day and Be GREAT today. This is your day.

I want to thank my friend, Benny, for always sharing his story with me. He has been my friend for years now and has always known that this day would come for me. Thanks Benny. You were right, it is hard to explain, but it is fun to try. Have a great day Benny!!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

One of those days. . . .

Yesterday was one of those days.

I was a good mom and told my kids in the morning, "Guys,be very careful walking to the car. There is some ice at the end of the driveway, I don't want you to slip and fall." Did I listen to my own advice? NOOooo! I slipped on the ice, but didn't fall. However, it did jarr my whole body. I still went to the gym and swam a mile, but then realized after my swim that I was in pretty bad shape, so went to the chiropractor. Woke up this morning still in a lot of pain.

I have a MAC laptop. It fell last week and started making a little bit of a weird noise. I knew I had to take it in, but hadn't had the time, was going to this weekend. Guess what? It crashed last night. I haven't backed it up in awhile, so we will see what can be saved.

I stepped on the scale yesterday and it shows that I gained weight this week. I do not really know how I gained weight, but that is what it is saying.

Last night when my computer crashed I cried. It was the straw that broke the camel's back so to speak. I cried cause of possibly losing pictures, I cried because I was in pain, I cried because sometimes I get tired of all the hard work that I'm putting in to only see a gain on the scale. Then I SUCKED IT UP BUTTERCUP and realized some things.

I realized that I am so blessed to live in a wonderful house in a wonderful community. I am very happy to have a sidewalk that leads to a driveway with a new car in it. Ok, so I slipped and hurt myself. I could feel sorry for myself or I could think about the fact that I am so blessed that my husband has a job with good health insurance and because of that I was able to go to the chiropractor to get my back and neck worked on.

I am also blessed to be able to head to a gym to workout. I realize that not everyone has that opportunity and I do. My gym has all up to date equipment and a wonderful staff. There have been days this week where I thought the pool was cold, or a machine didn't work right, or a class schedule had been changed. These were all frustrating things to happen to me, but then I realized I shouldn't complain because I am so happy to have a great facility to work out in. This is a blessing to me and one that I am forever grateful for.

Another blessing that I am able to have is a coach. This is something again, that not everyone has, but I do. I talked to my coach twice yesterday. He really takes his time explaining things to me. He checked on me after I told him about my slipping on the ice because he was concerned. Again, this is not something that I take for granted. I appreciate all he does for me and again realize that not everyone has the money to hire a coach.

I have been frustated this week about Weight Watchers. The scale says that I have a gain. I know I have lost 75 pounds and that there are going to be weeks I gain weight. That is just life, it happens, but I tend to get frustrated about it. I was frustrated about it yesterday and then got to thinking about how fortuanate I am to be able to afford Weight Watchers. I am able to go every week. Because of going I have lost 75 pounds in the last 14 months. I have a great support system there, I have great friends, and the most wonderful leader. Where would I be without Weight Watchers? I would still be over 300 pounds and unhappy. So, how will I feel if I have a gain at the scale. I will feel blessed not to be that over 300 pound unhappy woman and will make the adjustments I need to make this week to have a better week.

I have a laptop that crashed last night. The main thing that I cried about was possibly losing some pictures. What I then realized is that I am very blessed to be able to do the activities and vacations and birthday celebrations that my family are able to do. I am blessed to have a digital camera and a computer to load them onto. I realize that these things are a blessing and not everyone is able to have the family vacations, events, or even birthday celebrations that we are able to have. Even if I end up losing pictures, I have the memories of those celebrations and am very thankful for those memories.

Yes, I had one of those days and I would be lying if I said that I was not bummed, frustrated, or even sad, but I have so much more to be thankful for. My blessings and thankfulness outweighs the bad, the frustration, and the sadness. After yesterday, I could say that my glass is half empty or even completely empty for that matter, but you know what? When I think about it, I realize that my glass is half full, no wait a minute, it's full, no come to think about it, my glass is overflowing and it took a hard day yesterday for me to realize it.

Think about your glass. Is it empty, half empty, half full, full, or overflowing? It all depends on how you look at it. Change your outlook and your glass will overflow.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Archery and Goals

I find myself awake this morning, not able to sleep, so I am thinking about things. I am thinking about my goals that I am trying to obtain in my life, I am thinking about my training, my diet, my life. Nothing like a little deep thinking to start my day. :)

I have been wanting to write about my goals and such for awhile now, being that it is January and most people write about that. At the end of 2009 I was actually very disappointed in not reaching a certain goal that I had in mind. It actually was eating away at me. I was ticked. I was focusing on not hitting a goal instead of what I had accomplished. My coach, Bob Mitera, had a talk with me and gave me a new way to look at my targets and my goals. I have started to use the analogy of an archer to picture what he was telling me.

We all need targets in our lives. Those BIG accomplishments that we want to hit. Those accomplishments are our targets. I would like to lose 153 pounds, and do my first Olympic Distance triathlon this summer. As an archer I have set those up as my two current targets for 2010. Now, I have to ask myself, "Self, what are you going to do to hit your targets?" My arrows are my small goals that I have set to hit my BIG targets. For my Weight loss Target I have committed to never missing a Weight Watcher meeting, tracking everything that goes into my mouth, and eating 5-6 servings of fruit and veggies everyday. If I hit all of those goals I will hit my target. For my triathlon target I have committed to working with my coach, trusting what he tells me, and doing my best to hit every single workout, logging my workouts, and working with Heart Rate Monitor in my training.

I used to do archery as a kid both with the family and at summer camp. There was never a time when I hit the bulls-eye every time on the target. NEVER. I would try. Some arrows would completely miss the target, some would hit on the edge, and some would hit the bulls-eye. It was exciting when it would hit the bulls-eye, but that was not always the case. When I would not hit the target I would have to collect my arrows, readjust my aim and take shot again at the target. Do you see where this is going?

I have goals for 2010 and beyond. I have set up my targets, I have chosen my arrows, i am taking aim, and shooting them at my targets. Will I reach 153 pounds lost total by the end of 2010? I don't know, but that is my target, but you know what? Life happens. I cannot control every aspect of my journey. If I don't hit my target, guess what? I will not be upset. I will readjust my arrows, I will take aim, and shoot again just like an archer does.

I didn't understand totally the first time Coach Bob explained it to me, but once I had archery as my visual and could see it like that, it finally clicked. Bob wrote about this on his blog at Kokua Mulitpsports. Check it out. Thanks again Bob for helping me understand this concept. It has really helped me readjust my thinking on my goals and I know that at the end of 2010 regardless of whether or not I hit my targets, I will be able to look back at my goals and know that I did everything that I could control to hit those targets.

That is just one thing I was thinking about this morning as I couldn't sleep and wanted to get my thoughts down about it. Let me know if there is anyway I can help you hit your targets this year. If you are trying to lose weight, do a race, quit smoking, organize your house, gain weight, spend more time with your family, whatever it may be, you can set those targets up and start aiming your arrows. and shooting them. Who knows maybe by the end of 2010 you will have hit your bulls-eye.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Email from a Pro Triathlete

Today I got a message on my cell phone that I had a message from Chrissie Wellington in my facebook mailbox. She is one of my favorite pro triathletes. She won the 2009 Ironman World Championship in Kona. I had sent her a friend request on facebook with an email. I told her how she inspires me and that I love how she smiles during her triathlons and took a minute to tell her about my journey. Here's the response I got form her today:

Chrissie Wellington January 19 at 2:46pm Report
thanks so much for your email melissa, it made me smile - i am so inspired by your story. a huge congrats for losing the weight, and for aiming high - can do it!
good luck with everything you do, in sport and outside
with smiles

This really made my day and really encouraged me in my journey. Whatever you want to do, dream big, and you can do it!! I"m living proof of that.

Have a great day and remember to be great today!!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Email from a facebook friend

I have been getting emails on a regular basis now asking for my advice and encouragement. I decided to start posting the emails from those people and posting my responses here. Here is the first email asking some questions:

Hi Melissa - Just wanted you to know what an inspiration you are. I have recently lost 25 lbs. and want to lose more, but sometimes lack the motivation/time factor because of working full time and kids/family. You keep me going by your posts. Just thought I would share... Do you eat specific foods in addition to excerising? How often do you workout? Just thought I would pick your brain because sometimes my weight stays the same...

Thanks again,

Hi K,

Thank you so much for sending me this email. I am so glad that my posts are keeping you going on your journey and just let me say that I am so proud of you for losing 25 pounds. Keep up the great work. I know how hard it is to even lose 5 pounds, so losing 25 is very impressive. I also know how hard it is to keep the motivation going along the way. The way that I stay motivated is to picture myself at my final goal and what I want to be doing. I ask myself, "Is this food or tv show going to help me reach my goals?" Most of the time the answer is no, so I don't even go there because reaching my goal is more important to me then eating the junk or sitting around watching TV and not being active.

I also had a mom that died, obese, at the young age of 53. She ended up getting colon cancer. She was overweight and was in pain for years and it was overlooked because of weight. By the time she was diagnosed it was too late, her cancer had spread to her liver and lymphnods. We lost her 7 months later. This is something that has motivated me greatly. I do not want to die young and leave my husband and kids early like she did. I want to live a long, happy, life and live to see my grandkids. I am well on my way to doing that.

What is the reason you want to lose weight? What has been your motivation in the past? Think of those reasons and your motivation and post it somewhere. I have before pictures on my fridge. I have pictures taped on my bathroom mirror of triathlon pictures, I have quotes written down everywhere. I constantly have visual reminders for me to read or look at to stay motivated.

I am very blessed at the moment not to be working, so as far as working out I work out quite a bit and even sometimes twice a day. I am working out as much as I can before getting a job because I know it will be harder to do once I work. I do realize this is a blessing, but at the same time there are times I have to schedule my workouts just like everyone else. I am in bed every night between 9-930pm and twice a week I am up by 4am to be at the gym by 5am to swim and be home before my kids are awake. I will do this everyday once I work to get my workouts in before heading to work. I also am a member of the YMCA and work out at 5 different Y's depending on what activitivies my kids are involved with. If Parker is at theater I go to one Y, if I am buy Tricia's school I go to the Y by her school, if they are at a church event I am at the Y by church. I am not a mom that sits on the sideline while they are at an event. If they are at swim lessons, I"m in the pool swimming laps. I do not know how old your kids are, but most YMCA's and a lot of gyms have child care options I have also heard from a lot of mom's that have young kids that there are great WORKOUTS on comcast I believe and I know my library has a bunch of workout DVD's you can check out. There always a way to workout. If you have specific scenarios feel free to let me know and I will help you schedule into your week. YOU CAN DO THIS.

You asked what do I eat? I have actively been on Weight Watchers since November 2008. I have lost 75 pounds since then. I make it a point to eat at least 4-5 servings of fruits and veggies a day if not more. I only drink water. If I need to have something else I will drink tea. I have not had soda in almost 2 years. I have pretty much given up artificial sweeteners and high fructose corn syrup. I'm not saying I don't have my days where I slip up, but I eat pretty clean now. I know what my trigger foods are and for the most part stay away from them. The key to my good eating is that I now journal EVERYTHING that goes into my mouth. That makes a huge difference. I would encourage you to do this if you do not already.

As far as your weight staying the same, make sure you are switching up your workouts and trying new foods. Your body can get used to what you are doing. If you are always doing the same workout switch it up. If you are always eating chicken and salad, try new foods. You need to surprise your body and I believe you will see your weight go down again.

I hope that this has helped you. If you have any other questions just let me know and I will be happy to get back to you.

Be great,

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Are you starting your new year resolutions?

I was at the gym today and sitting down to change my shoes.
There was a guy next to me resting and he says to me,
"So you starting your new year resolutions too?"
I told him,
" I started my new year resolutions in November (dramatic pause) of 2008."
He looked puzzled and then smiled.
I then took the opportunity to share with him that this past week I lost 3.4 pounds
and have lost 75 total.

I had Weight Watchers yesterday and hit my goal of 75 pounds lost. I'm so excited. I cried like a baby I was so happy. This is a HUGE milestone and I am thrilled that I made it. Next up 100 lost. I should reach this goal on or before March 27th. Thanks EVERYONE for your constant encouragement and love during my journey. I say it all the time, but I could not do this without you.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

MY 2010 A RACE

I just signed up for my first Olympic Triathlon EVAH!!
I will be in the Athena division in the Lake Zurich Triathlon on July 11, 2010.
If you are in the area, come race with me, come volunteer, or come cheer me on.
I'm nervous, but excited about this race. Bring it on!!
This is THEE race of the year for me. This is the reason I will be training. This is my A race.
All the rest of the events that I do, from here on out, will be events to CELEBRATE MY FITNESS.
I'm very excited. I"ve paid my money. It's on the calendar.
By the end of this summer I will be able to say, "Melissa, You are an Olympic Distance Triathlete!!" Eeep!!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

My bet with Andy Update

So my bet with Andy was just kicked up a notch this morning when I logged onto Facebook to see my dear friend Andy trash talking me. He has lost 9 pounds in 2 weeks. Not bad. I'll give him his props. I've lost 2. Now when I got started on my journey 72 pounds ago I, too, had big weight loss at the beginning, so as proud of Andy as I am, I'm sure he's just dropped some water weight. I can trash talk as good as they come, so game on Andy. Here is a little something I made to put on my fridge and to look at while working out. You are so going down Andy, my friend. You know I love you, but the stakes are high and so is my pride. :-)