Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The worst is yet to come.

A lady on one of my groups commented how, as much as she's working at things, they seem to just keep getting worse and worse. So, here YOU are... You're getting started on your new healthy, financially independent, clutter free life and I have one thing to tell you: It's gonna get a whole lot worse before it gets better.

Aren't I just a little ray of sunshine today? :)

Let me back up a bit. My friends comment got me thinking about the times I would start whatever self improvement project and it seemed like the more I did, the more I focused, the more I grasped at the information and tried to reign in my life, the more it seemed to hemorrhage out of control. I would start eating healthier and/or exercising and I would feel worse, and get sick, and a health issue would pop up. Then I'd start decluttering my house only to see a bigger and bigger mess. Finances... Oy! don't even get me started on that big raging river of doom!

At the beginning it was always out of my control crazy! Problem is that it would scare me and I'd stop & run away. Ignorance is bliss doncha know?!

Now that I'm just past the mess and the out of control phase, I understand what it was. Self awareness. When you've been operating on auto pilot you don't notice all the holes that have developed in your life. You handed the keys over to someone else (Your inner brat, perhaps?) and were unaware of the habits that you'd developed.

The problem starts when you disengage the auto pilot and start becoming aware of your surroundings. Your first thought is, "How did I get here?!?! How did this happen?!" Then you panic, try to do something, anything, to reverse the cycle, and get frustrated, overwhelmed, and really angry at yourself for not only letting this life happen, but being seemingly powerless to stop.

Thing is, it takes a while to create order from chaos. It gets a whole lot messier before it starts to get pretty. Think about trying to clean out a overstuffed storage shed: You have to pull out everything, put the stuff in different piles - donate, trash, recycle, etc.... it ends up taking over more space than before and looks horrible! But eventually one pile goes away and you see a bit of progress... then the next pile goes, and finally the last one, and you're left with a big, gleaming empty area.

Most people get stuck in the messier phase - the piles everywhere and no hope of seeing daylight - when they're getting soooo close to seeing the pretty part. I know I did that MANY times! I would get overwhelmed by the sudden awareness of the mess I'd gotten into, work a bit, then give up, only to have things get even worse.

There's a problem with opening the Self Awareness door - every time you do, it sheds a little bit more light into your life till you just can't be satisfied with ignorance any more. Some may call that moment rock bottom, some may call it the turning point.

What ever you call it, THAT is the moment you will finally be willing to take a deep breath, face the situation head on, and take the baby steps that are necessary to create lifelong changes in your life.

As you embark, or continue on your journey, remember to take a step back once in a while, see where you are, how far you've come, and realize you are much closer to the finish line than you think.

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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

January Goals

No, this isn't me going back on my word.... this is me preparing for the next 4-ish weeks ahead of me. I've realized I have lost a bit of focus the last couple of months. I am totally loving working with my trainer, but it threw off my routine and my plan. Part of what happened is I overestimated my energy reserves and didn't consciously scale back my cardio accordingly. I tried to stick with my previous plan and got frustrated when I couldn't keep it up.

So for January, I am accounting for it and will rebuild my endurance over the course of the next quarter.

Without further adieu...

January Goal/Plan:
- 3 interval workouts per week
- 1 45-minute cardio session to increase speed/endurance
- 3 strength training workouts per week

Weekly goals:
1. Lose 1.5 pounds of body fat/0.5% body fat a week.
2. Increase lean body mass by .25 pounds a week

Daily plan
- Track food intake
- Consume 40% Carbs/30% Protein/30% Fat (this is my experiment to see what macronutrient ratios work best for me.)

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2% Worthy

::Steps on soap box::

I refuse to make any reference to 'next year' or '2009' for the next few days. I feel that I have come far enough in my journey to know that January 1 is the start of a calendar year, but it's only part of my 'fiscal' year. Too many people use those terms to postpone getting started 'next year'. Too many people say 'January 1 will be the start of my new life.'

Ya know what, you're right!

But unfortunately for your brain, it's not specific enough so it's still waiting for 'next year', which is the day after 'someday'. If you've made your decision to do something, and have written out corresponding goals, what day it is doesn't matter. You're only focused on your task and reaching that goal and the date is only a mile marker in your journey.

::steps off soap box::

I just got an email from one of my very motivational sources and it had this tidbit of info:

"80% of Americans quit their New Years Resolution by the end of Wk. 1
98% of Americans quit their New Years Resolution by the end of Wk. 4"

Scientific or not, it sounds about right. Just think of the drop off rate at the gym from January 1 through January 31st.

There's also the statistic how only 5% of people who lose weight keep it off.

All of it's for the same reasons: lack of planning, goal setting, and doing too much too soon, but fixing the problems/changing the habits that got you there in the first place.

Ok, I made up most of them, but IMO, those are all very important factors.

For the last week I've been revising my goals and have been struggling with a bit of guilt at not having reached most of the 3 month ones, but then realized that I got a lot closer than I would have if I hadn't written it down. And considering it was my first time with real goal setting, I did awesome! I've learned a lot and revised most of them to be more specific, and to allow me to grow and stretch my limits through the months.

I know that I am part of that 2% - the percent that succeeds, that exceeds my own expectations and inspires others to achieve their own personal goals. I am helping to expand that statistic from 2-5%, to 25%.

From my MK days, my director always told me there's room for everyone at the top - achieving and living your dreams isn't reserved for the elite few, it's meant for everyone.

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Monday, December 29, 2008

I'm back!!!

And I'm done! (For my fabu Spark Friends, no it doesn't mean I'm leaving SP, so stop panicking! :)

Let me 'esplain... First, I'm back from my trip - went to Kansas with the hubby for his year end meeting & awards dealy (Why they choose December in Kansas, I don't know. I tried to talk the owner into a fiscal year instead but no avail!) Had a nice time, froze what little butt I have off, got to see the Rockettes (way cool!), met a lot of folks that I've heard about through the year which was even cooler, and the best thing - got to knock off a couple of socks at the awards dinner with how I looked - having an almost-trainer complement my arms and say he wished he had a client like me who wasn't afraid to lift heavy, that was the second best thing that happened that night.

The first best was my hubby getting the "Newcomer of the Year" award. It's a goal that he set last year, and while he had some amazing competition, he not only met his goal, but with enough of a gap that there wasn't a question. We had a wonderful meal, amazing wine, great conversation... and then we had to ride back to the hotel in a car full of snarky people. Talk about a buzz kill. Worst part was the fact that I kept my mouth shut.

That's when I decided that I was done.

I've been revising my goals, and I'm great with my financial, fitness, and household goals. Those have details and a concrete plan, and are very exciting. Then I get to the personal/spiritual goals, and I get stuck. I didn't have anything there when I wrote out the first draft 3 months ago, and I decided I needed to write /something/, so I wrote, "To open myself up in faith and to find my voice", but I had NO idea what that meant or how they work together... until that night.

By opening myself up in faith, for me, it means to do something that's uncomfortable for me. One thing I picked to start was to donate to a charity of my choosing every pay period. My affirmation says "I have enough money to share and to spare" so it's time to start sharing, even if I don't feel like I can. If I keep myself closed off and protected, I'm not only keeping the bad things at a distance, but also the good and beautiful of the world. A caterpillar is only a butterfly after it's fought it's way out of the cocoon.

Finding my voice is a big step in faith for me - I'm the one who is agreeable, who is always helpful, saying what people want to hear, and then not saying something when I was worried that it might offend or upset someone. Or not sticking to my guns when having a 'discussion' just because I didn't have a good argument.

I'm done with that. The saying 'if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all' applies to some situations, and I'm all for not being rude or hurtful.

What is more rude: Saying something nice, or saying the truth? In most situations, people want you to tell them what they want to hear. That's fine, but if you're going to ask me my opinion or for my help, I will give it to you. If you say something hurtful about someone, I'm going to call you on it. If I start to use my grumpy, snarky voice, I completely expect someone to call me on it. If I'm deluded in my thinking, or trying to rationalize it, I am opening myself up have that pointed out to me as well.

I realize I'm in a place of personal growth and am welcoming the opportunities. I also realize that other people aren't. This is a process and a learning experience, but I'm looking forward to being done with who I was, and seeing the new and better me!

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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The word of the day...


I get it... I only need to be hit over the head with it 50 times to get it, but I do. Really. (and seriously, I've gotten/read/heard _5_ things in the last hour that have been about gratitude.

Remember: ""When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears."

And then I got this: "When we constantly _choose_ to be grateful, we notice that every breath is a miracle and each smile becomes a gift."

I've been doing a lot of thinking on how to approach 2009, what the 'theme' will be, what my goals are and how I will get my mindset in a place of success to reach those goals.

It boils down to 2 things: Gratitude and Choice.

Yesterday, I chose to be worked up into a tizzy, chose to let my worst case scenario brain run away with me, and allowed my feathers to get seriously ruffled by the insurance people for doing, of all things, their job (the nerve!) I then chose to carry that uneasy feeling with me for the rest of the evening and to put up a big wall of emotion all around me to hold those feelings inside.

Today I choose to acknowledge those feelings and then release them in a shiny, happy bubble. I choose to stop Veruca from running around in my head going "AAAAaaaaaaaahhhh!!! ::deep breath:: AAAAaaaaaaaahhhh!!! ::deep breath:: AAAAaaaaaaaahhhh!!! ::deep breath::" and give her a big hug.

I am grateful that there is money in the bank to make the repair that we need. I have faith that the right people will be there to help us. I am grateful I have friends who put up with me when I'm angsty, who reel me in when I'm near the edge, who are there to laugh with and share the silliness of our shared lives.

At times when I start to feel disconnected, I remember the amazing people I have found (or found me) and am grateful for the wonderful energy we all give to each other.

Every day, there are millions of choices to make - right or left, happy or sad, abundance or scarcity. I am grateful I have the right to make those choices, and that I have people who help guide me to make the right ones.

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Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why do we even have that lever!?

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

(inside joke for geeks who've watched "Emperor's New Groove" way too many times... like me. ;)

Oy... sometimes life is all kittens and rainbows and flowers. Ok, I have kittens and some pretty flowers (lubs my hubby ;), but not what I meant.

Today is one of those days that makes me wonder why any of it's really a good idea, or at least why I thought home ownership was going to be such a 'joy'. Gah. And what exactly IS the point of insurance if they aren't going to pay anything?! And why is it that I'm not allowed to beer at work!?

Double gah.

We need to do a repair on the house - I'm feeling less than confident at the structural integrity of my home at the moment... but it will be a relatively easy, inexpensive fix - replace a support post for around $150. If it collapses and takes the 2nd floor and possibly me and the kittens with it, add about 3 zeros to the end.

Replacing it doesn't make me feel any more confident. What if that one starts cracking? what if it doesn't work at all? What if what if what if... (yes, my dear Ramona, this is my catastrophe brain at work...)

Then I made the mistake of calling my insurance agent to find out some of the financial reprocussions of the what ifs.

Bad idea... in the history of bad ideas this is one of the worsts, and add a huge helping of angsty emo on top of it... collossal bad idea.

Essentially the reality is that there's a 85% probability that nothing would be covered either way. And of the other 15% - it might possibly but probably not be partially covered... up to half.

Yeah... that calmed me down. Not.

Anytime that I've proclaimed that I'm not a stress eater... well, I lied. glad I only have baby carrots and a fruit smoothie to nosh on. But it'd go much better with ice cream... and rum... and chocolate... ooh, and a side of fries! And rum!

I am ever so grateful that I have a fantastic man in my life who balances my angsty emo mood with calm. Why he puts up with me I'll never know, but I'm so glad he does. He helps to rein in my runaway brain when I need it... but usually just after I've passed into the relm of rediculous worry so I can see how silly I'm being.

I know ultimately things will be fine. And if not, well, we'll deal... but most likely, all will be fine and we'll get the rainbows to join the kittens and flowers again... ooh, and maybe a pony! :)

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Perceived exertion my a**!

I went to the gym this morning - seems to be turning into a nice Saturday morning ritual to go to the gym for a good cardio and strength workout... working on turning it back into a daily habit (the cardio part at least ;) Anywho, thought I was all set - I'm on the elliptical thingie and have my:

ipod... check
heart rate mon... oh crap. Seriously!?! I forgot it!?? It was sitting on the table in front of me as I had coffee & a bit of breakfast. How could I forget it?!?!

*sigh* fine...

There's this thing called 'percieved exertion'... basically it's your personal perception of how hard you're working on a scale of 0-10. 0 being practically asleep, 5 is a middle range where you can hold a good conversation as you're, say, walking around the mall, 10 being *gasp*oxygen*gasp*plz*gasp*kthxbai*gasp*

About 10 min into my time on the elliptical I realized what a load of cr@p the PE scale really is... Think about it... you're asking me, a person who is finally learning what an actual portion size is, a person who still hasn't quite gotten the hang of intuitive eating and figuring out if I'm /really/ hungry enough at the end of the meal for a second helping or just wanting to eat... so this is the same person you're asking to figure out how hard I'm really working. Seriously?

Problem is, I feel like I'm working at a 9.5 when my heart rate is at 140 and at a 6 when I'm at 160 (if I'm actually wearing my HRM, that is), so how is it I'm supposed to trust myself to believe I'm really working that hard when I don't have that fairly accurate feedback loop.

Ok, yes, I realize I answered my own question - it's about trusting myself and my efforts.

Thing is, I don't... at least not entirely.

I'm a loooot further along in trusting myself than I was when I first started this journey, but it's been a lot of work, too. It takes me a while to really 'get' the things I keep reading or hearing, things like 'track your way to success.'

Ya know what, it's really true, and there's many reasons - for me at least - why tracking/writing things down really does make a difference in how fast I'll get to my goal: Tracking helps me monitor my success, I have data to look at and see what I did last month, or yesterday and how it compares to today. It gives me instant feed back; if I eat this, how does it impact my ratios, my calorie intake, my sodium level? If I do this exercise over that one, what will the impact be?

But most importantly, it helps me build my instincts to start trusting myself. And it encourages me to be creative. I had a serious moment of panic the first time I didn't have access to a computer to be able to track all my food one day. What if I screw up totally?! I had to *gasp* trust myself! I had to trust that I'd actually learned a thing or two in the process of logging my food.

Today I did the same thing. I sucked it up, decided it was more important to plow through the workout since I was there, rather than drive home and get my HRM (But don't think I didn't spend more time than necessary considering it!). Decided to use the level of resistance as a measure - so much at level 4, then 5, etc. It wasn't the supah-stah workout that I had in mind, but I was sweating, my body was workin', and, most importantly, I did it.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


(that was the sound of the light bulb coming on)

"The idea that you can either enjoy the holidays or stay in shape - but not both - is damaging and limiting. It hurts your social life, your emotional life and your physical life. Life is not an either or proposition; it's a matter of balance. Success does not mean going to extremes. Success can be a simple matter of re-examining your beliefs, rearranging your priorities, setting goals, changing the questions you ask yourself, re-evaluating your expectations and acting in accordance with all of the above."

This is why Tom V. R-O-C-K-S!!!

This is an excerpt from his most awesome blog on Holiday Fitness

After the hurricane of thoughts and emotions that I've been going through the last couple weeks, I'm starting to look forward again. My thoughts are going back to 'is what I'm doing now getting me closer to my goal?' While the answer isn't always a resounding "YES!", it's much better than the thoughts of "Meh."

Since it's all about balance, I guess this is my re-examining, goal setting phase as I gain momentum to go back into my action phase. (I need to work on having those two things happen at the same time! LOL!)

I did a re-look at my goals and realized they need some tweaking & updating, but that's for another time. What is right for now: short term goals! Yay! In order to make it a bit more real and immediate, and still stepping out in faith because it's going to be a stretch.

My Fitness/weight goal:

I am ringing in the New Year by weighing 168 on December 31, 2008.

Yesterday I weighed 172, and AF just showed up for her monthly visit. That number is just a number and is a distant memory.

This will be achieved by doing the following:
-Planning! Plan my day to know when I will be home, and cook those nights. Plan when I have meetings or will be away from the office at lunch time, and bring my lunch when I will be in the office. Plan snacks for when I'm out and about so I don't get hungry and cranky.

-Move!! I am doing 3 sweat inducing cardio workouts and 2-3 sweat inducing strength training workouts a week.

-Eat!!! I eat clean, balanced meals that I prepare myself, but still allowing myself to enjoy the food and company during special times. I fuel my body during the day so that I am a constant fat burning machine. I am not restricting myself or denying myself - I am choosing the foods that make me feel like the supah-stah I am.

-Breathe!!! I am reminding myself that this is building momentum to be as successful as I can be and starting 2009 feeling fabulous about myself! The hard work I do today is paying my future self in health and wellness.

I also step back and look at the bigger picture. There will be challenges that I will face: Travel, fancy-schmancy dinners with decadent food and free-flowing alcohol, disrupted schedules, parties, etc. Stepping back, I realized that these things are part of life and I will face them for what they /really/ are: An exercise.

What it isn't: It's not an exercise in how fast I can inhale a plate of pasta and drink a bottle of wine, followed by finding out how much sugar it /really/ takes to induce an insulin coma.

It IS an exercise in being present in the moment. It IS an opportunity to remember that a festive gathering - be it Christmas, Hanukkah, Labour Day, birthdays, weddings, or days ending in a "Y" - is a time to connect with people who make up my family in the loosest and strongest sense of the word.

They are helping weave the beautiful tapestry of my life... why am I diminishing that by making it all about the food?

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Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Requirement for Success?


I'm LadyRose and I watch "The Biggest Loser".

Yes I know it can set unrealistic expectations, but I really watch it for the personal, and most importantly, the _emotional_ transformations.

Cuz, as y'all know, I'm ALL about the Emo!

Back to the BL... Last season was teetering on being 'meh' for me... but even the contestants I didn't really like showed promise - they had moments of personal growth over and above the game play, and the working hard to lose as much weight as possible for the purpose of picking off the other team. Last season we saw a division between Bob & Jillian begin to be drawn: Bob is Zen, but really all business. Jillian is the hard a$$ drill sergeant who will pummel you in the ground and then give you a teddy bear and a big hug. Bob's team walks it out, Jillian's team talks it out.

This season it's even more obvious, and has had me wondering why I watch it all. Aside from the fact that the show is edited to highlight the differences, I'd commented on one of my groups that it seems like Bob's team is only in it to win the game, and has made no efforts at personal or emotional growth.

The little bit I saw last night confirmed it - Vicki admitted she hasn't fixed what ever it was that caused her to gain all the weight to begin with. She was focused on the Game going on around her, not the game going on between her ears.

Now back to me: I had an awesome conversation with a friend last night and one of the things we talked about was how the soul searching, the writing/talking it out is part of the process... but it's so hard for some people to do that.

It got me to thinking (like I do)... is it /really/ part of the process? Is that really going to be one of the few things that will ensure success in reaching a goal? Does it really matter if you take the time to do the soul searching, or if you just go by the numbers?

In the case of the Vicki - will she win then gain it back because she has nothing to drive her? IMO, the game is the motivation, beating the cr@p out of the opposition is more important than anything else. But then what? Big whoop - you got confetti, now what's going to keep you moving forward?

Many times people say they want to lose weight so they like the person they see in the mirror. So they go through the motions, through all the proper physical steps to lose weight, and look in the mirror at the end and say, "oh, you're still there."

When you've stripped away all the excess, when you've sculpted the physical form that you want, what's left? A smokin' hot shell, or a solid foundation, and deep, meaningful substance helping to fill out those musckles?!

Well, I guess it's a matter of what's important to you. For me, I want the latter, and that means the emotional processing is just as important as the physical.

For me, my requirement for success is the whole package: Body, mind and soul.

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Monday, December 8, 2008

Action: Awesome!

In my corner of the SCA, our once and future King Eduard had a battle cry. During court, whenever he would say the world "Action", the populace would yell back, "AWESOME!" It was very moving to hear people from across the known world (literally - there were folks from Germany, Australia, and England there!) partaking in this battle cry. I would yell along with everyone, being caught up in the fervor. I don't know quite where it originated but it stuck with him through 2 reigns, and I'm sure it will be part of his next one.

Funny thing is, that I've been having this go through my brain the last few days and wasn't sure why. After writing the previous entry, I'm thinking in some way it was in pre-response to that.

I am scared by my own potential, my own awesomeness, but that is what I need to open myself up to.

So my action: to be awesome!! To recognize that I AM awesome. To allow myself to be open to the awesome of the universe.

Easier said than done, but it can be done.

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Facing fear

Sometimes I get those little Ah-ha!/light bulb moments, or God breezes as FlyLady calls them. They're the feelings that you get that that finally makes the problem you're dealing with make sense. Or the messages that come along when you're ready to hear them. The little nudges you need to take the next step.

Then there's times the God Breeze turns into a category 5 hurricane right over your head.

Today's one of those days.

I've been struggling. Yes, there's been the weight thing, but really, that's only a part of it. It's really been an internal struggle that's unsettled me because I know the cause, I know in general what I need to do, but it boils down to one basic thing:

I'm scared.

Yeah, no big news, I know. But it's not (really) the economy, the wars, the strife that's going on in the world that scares me. It's a lot simpler and more complex than that. I'm scared of, well... me. Or rather, the me I could be. Correction: the me I CAN be.

I have a copy of a poem on my wall that my friend sent me ages ago, and that I love. The piece of paper has been a fixture and most times I barely see it, let alone read it. A bit ago, the hurricane happened and this line jumped off the page: "It's our light, not our darkness, that frightens us... our greatest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure."

That was right after I wrote this in a post on one of my groups:

"There's greater strength in letting things out or letting them go, than there is in holding something so tight it hides it from everyone."

There have been times when I've been on the verge (ok, lots of times, but most of it's been a bad thing) of greatness. I saw the bigger picture, I saw the greater life that's there for me, that's meant for me. I've felt the great hugeness of it all. But instead of rushing headlong into it, I might take a tentative baby step towards it, but ultimately I crumple, I fold, I turn away.

Why? Because it scares me. The hugeness and magnitude terrifies me. Because I don't have the confidence in myself to really achieve what I CAN. Because it means leaving the world I know behind and changing a lot - for the better, yes, but it's different and unfamiliar. It's the insecurity of feeling that I don't really deserve it. It's the insecurity that the I won't be able to live up to the responsibility that comes with it. It's the fear of really, really opening myself up, allowing myself to be vulnerable. Because it means changing from fear to faith, to see possibilities instead of problems.

The question is, what to do next?

So what does this have to do with weight loss? Nothing. And everything.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A question of balance

Ok, so yeah. In case you haven't noticed, my life has been kinda... meh... of late. And it's made me seriously cranky. Contrary to the way it seems, I don't like being cranky. It's not that much fun. Being the happy, annoyingly positive perky one in the bunch, now that's fun.

Thing is, like so many people, I've been dealing with the everyday stressors that have chipped away at my psyche and caused a shift in my focus:

I see problems, instead of possibilities.
I find excuses instead of solutions.
I'm grumpy instead of gracious.
I've been seeing only scarcity instead of abundance.
I've been saying 'I can't' more than 'I can', 'why?' instead of 'why not?!'

Most importantly, I realized that I've been operating from a place of fear, rather than faith.

But, the universe has a way of balancing things out, and then hitting me in the head with a ClueX4 when I don't listen. After my post yesterday, I had a couple things that pretty much knocked me out of my stupor.

First thing was getting a call from my fabulous friend (and yes, you made me smile for the rest of the evening!) It was nice to just talk, but also heard things I needed.

And I had a chat with the hubby who also said things I needed - but didn't really /want/ - to hear. I'm definitely grateful to have people in my life who give me the tough and the love that I need,

Then I read a couple of the Healthy Reflection emails:
"When you are grateful, fear disappears and abundance appears."
"When things go wrong don't go with them."

Then I got a good night's sleep last night.

Ok, fine! I get the message! LOL!!! I'm over it... sorta.

I can't say I'm feeling back to the old me, but I'm feeling better about things in general. I am continually reminding myself to breathe, to have faith that all will work out, and I will make it through all this stronger and better than ever.

I'm not sure if I'm worried or scared at how easy it is to get stuck in the minutia of it all, and get bogged down with all the little stressors that pile on top of each other. It could be a bad thing, or it could be good to be stuck there for a bit, to appreciate the times when you get out of it and soar.

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