Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Moment of Doubt on the Journey - Week 8

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.” 
                                                                                                         ― Maya Angelou

I had a moment of doubt this week. Is all this blogging about my Journey really necessary? Does anybody care? Who am I really doing this for? Me or the approval of others? Then I stepped back from it all and looked at Becoming a Finisher objectively. I am doing this for me, to document my progress and prove to myself that I can finish this "self" project. I'm excited to look back at these posts in June and in December and see how far I have come. Plus these posts keep me accountable, it would be too easy to stop documenting my progress and then before you know it, I have given up. I hope to be an inspiration to a person or two along the way, but mostly I want to be an inspiration to myself.

This week's theme was props at 52 of You.

We are in Marquette visiting our daughter this weekend and I didn't bring my scale along :)

Winter hiking can be a challenge in deep snow, even when you are following snow shoe tracks.

I tried to eat fairly healthy while we were in Marquette, but I did have a couple of treats along the way. That's why it is vacation and not a way of life.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Letter for the Journey - Week 7

“A friend is one that knows you as you are, understands where you have been, accepts what you have become, and still, gently allows you to grow.”
                                                                                                                                ― William Shakespeare

Dear Negative Friend,

I have been instructed by my Personal Trainer to limit my time spent with you. You do not bring Joy or Sunshine to my life. Your negative attitude and words are like dark, oppressive clouds that quickly blot out my sunshine. I am trying to rid myself of guilt and rebuild my self-esteem and your not helping in that process.

I know that you don't intentionally intend to hurt, you are just expressing your opinion. Those words though are like shards of glass embedding themselves deeper and deeper into my skin.

Not every conversation has to be a debate. It seems, no matter what we are talking about, if I say black you say white. I don't need you to agree or disagree with me, I just need you to listen. In turn I am happy to just listen to you. We are sharing our lives through listening to each other. That's what friends do.

If you are unhappy about your body and your physical health and yet are unwilling to make changes and do something about it, don't make me feel bad because I am. I want a stronger and healthier body. I have worked long and hard to get to the place where I am ready to change, and I am unwilling to turn back. I have hopes and dreams and goals that I am shooting for. You don't have any idea what my goals are, because you don't invest the time in our friendship to find out.

I know that I have been a negative friend a time or two, or twenty. I am trying to change that, I want to be an encourager and a Joy Giver. I would love it if you would like to give our friendship a chance and walk the "Encourager" path with me.


P.S. If you are wondering if this "friend" is you - it isn't. This "friend" is really a composite of people that have been in my life over the past 44 years. None of the people that make up this "friend" would ever read my blog, to them a blog is a silly waste of time. They have no true idea what my passions are, or that I enjoy writing and photography enough to write a blog.


I wasn't keen on the 52 of You prompt this week, so I decided to do my own thing with one of the flowers I got from my dad for Valentine's Day.

This week I lost: 1.5 lbs
Total weight loss: 6.5 lbs

Meet my new torture device that I meet every Monday morning:

A recipe this week courtesy of skinnytaste.

Broccoli and Cheese Twice Baked Potatoes

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Word Vibrations for the Journey - Week 6

"Do anything, but let it produce JOY."    ~ Walt Whitman

My personal trainer said something very interesting during our initial assessment session this week when we were talking about the guilt I feel that causes me stress.

She said words have vibrations. Immediately my Christian Reformed background dismissed this statement as weird spiritual hocus pocus. She continued on, she said words have measurable energy. Say on a scale of 1 to 100, for me hate is a 1 and God is 100. One being the lowest energy level and 100 being the highest. 

I found this very interesting article on the subject which explains it much better than I ever will.

For me the word guilt is about a five, very low vibrations. She gave me a word to focus on with high vibrations "JOY", which on my scale is about a 95. I think it is no coincidence that Joy is clearly visible on my Journey necklace.

What would your high vibration word be?

Our theme this week was Darkness. 
I know why I don't do much night photography, I am so not a night person.

This week I lost: 0 lbs. (That's ok, it was bound to happen sooner or later)
Total weight loss: 5 lbs.

No picture this week. A picture of me scooting across the floor on my bum to work on strengthening  my Psoas muscle is not going to happen.

We love soup at our house. I always have intentions of putting some in the freezer, but it seems to disappear quicker than I can make it sometimes.

Tuscan Tortellini Soup

1 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp. dried basil
1-1/2 tsp. dried oregano
2 (14 oz. ) cans beef broth
2 (14.5 oz.) cans  diced tomatoes
1 (14.5 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles
1/2 (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1 (3.8 oz.) sliced ripe olives, drained
1 (9 oz.) pkg. refrigerated cheese tortellini

1. In a 6-quart Dutch oven cook and stir sausage over medium-high heat until browned. Drain fat. Add garlic, basil and oregano to pot; cook and stir 2 minutes. Stir in broth, tomatoes, spinach and olives; bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered 20 minutes.

2. Add pasta to pot; bring to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered 7 minutes or until pasta is tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 6

Per serving: 405 calories, 23g fat, 8g saturated fat, 60mg cholesterol, 1365mg sodium, 32g carbohydrate, 3g fiber, 18g protein.

My Variations: I use regular Italian sausage instead of hot. I use low sodium beef broth. I use the whole package of spinach. I don't use the olives (Glen does not like them!!). I use whole wheat cheese tortellini. 

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Saying Goodbye to Guilt

I was raised in a family that valued hard work. My mom was the only child of a blueberry farmer, so she did it all. My dad has worked at or on something from the moment he was born. Even today at almost 78 years old it is not unusual for him to be out cutting wood for somebody on their property and hauling home three trailer loads of wood to be split for his wood stove. Generally he is doing this by himself, and he wonders why I worry.

Having been raised with this work ethic I always feel that I must be busy and productive at all times, and be able to give an account of everything I have done for the day.

There was not a lot of encouragement to have a hobby as I was growing up.

Something that I have always know about myself but never really addressed, is the guilt I feel when I want to do something I enjoy. Such as my photography or even just reading a book during the middle of the day. I will make these deals with myself, if I get this, this and this done then I can go out for a couple of hours and explore with my camera. Usually by the time I get those things done I don't have any desire or energy left to go out anymore.

What brought about the realization that I need to deal with this guilt issue? I started sessions with a personal trainer this week. My personal trainer also happens to be my yoga instructor. If you know anything about yoga it is about the mind and the body. We met for 1-1/2 hours for our first session to go over things I wanted to work on, goals, my trouble areas, etc. Then we got down to the nitty gritty, the stuff behind my physical weaknesses. Guilt, perfectionism, self-esteem. I basically carry all these issues on my back, causing undue stress which leads to weakness and pain.

Things I will be working on to say good-bye to guilt are:

  •  Stop feeling guilty because I don't "work". God has blessed me with the opportunity to not have to work.
  •  Use the gifts and talents that God has given me to be a blessing to others. Stop trying to hide them  under a bushel. Let them shine.
  •  Stop having to give an account of everything I have done or am going to do for the day.
  •  Take a day off once a week. A day off from my exercises, housework, responsibilities and use that day to enjoy the gifts and talents that God has given me.

I am calling my day off my Creative Inspiration Day. My first one is tomorrow!

*I share this today because if someone reading this is dealing with their own guilt issues, I just want to let you know that you are not alone. Together we can say....

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A Bit of Whimsy for the Journey - Week 5

"Whimsy doesn't care if you are the driver or the passenger, all that matters is that you are on your way."                                                               -Bob Goff

Those who know me, know that I am not a whimsical person. This week's theme in my self-portrait class was whimsy. This is the second time that theme has come up for me in a class. I start the week with all these great ideas of what I can do with all these great props, but by the end of the week I still haven't taken the pictures. It is so hard for me to step out of my introverted self and act silly, especially in front of the camera.

Yesterday I made myself get out Mallory's dress up crown that she had made into a mobile for an art project. I did feel kind of bad cutting it apart, but I didn't think she would be hanging it up anytime soon. I put the crown on, set up my camera and tripod and started shooting.

*One side note - when you are doing self-portraits, even if you aren't going to see the bottom half of your body, it is better to put on real pants than to shoot in your sweat pants. You feel much more in the moment when your outfit is complete.

It took me a little while to get the right amount of the crown and my face in the pictures, more crown, less face :) Once I was done I had over 100 photos to review. Amazingly, I liked a lot of them, either I am getting better at this self-portrait stuff or it was just a lucky day. My smile is my biggest stumbling block so I just cut it off in a lot of them. Problem solved.

You want to know a big secret? I kind of liked wearing the crown. I think I stood up a little taller with it on and felt a little more confident. I might even get it out once in a while and put it on just for fun, just to add a little whimsy to my day.


This week I lost: .5 lbs
Total weight loss so far: 5 lbs. (which was my goal for January)

I got some new, heavier hand weights this week.

I am up to two reps of the toned arm youtube video. Next week I am increasing it to three reps.

We love black beans, and I make a lot of recipes with them. I thought I would share one I made this week.

Black Bean and Spinach Pizza
1 (10) oz. package Prebaked Pizza crust (like Boboli brand)
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and mashed 
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
1/2 cup salsa
1 cup fresh baby spinach
2 Tbsp. minced fresh cilantro
1/2 tsp. hot pepper sauce
1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1/2 cup shredded Sharp Cheddar cheese

1. Place the crust on an ungreased 12-inch pizza pan. 
2. Combine the beans, onion, chili powder, cumin and garlic; spread over the crust.
3. Layer with salsa, spinach and cilantro.
4. Sprinkle with hot pepper sauce and cheeses.
5. Bake at 450 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

*I am not a cilantro fan, so I don't use that or the hot pepper sauce.