Posted in Just what I think, Photography

Unanswered Question

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photo credit: Susan Spaulding

I wonder who I would be if I were not someone’s wife, mother, sister, friend, employee? Who am I, in the purest sense?

These were questions Eve asked herself one quiet morning as she sipped coffee from a mug with the words World’s Greatest Mom barely visible from the many cycles in the dishwasher.

She listened for an answer.

She heard the ticking clock on the mantel and the silent hum of the refrigerator.

With a heavy sigh, Eve went upstairs and woke her children up for school.

~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.~.

This story was also posted on my sister blog My Million Words.  

Here, I ask the questions philosophically… who are we when we remove the masks from the roles we play?

There, it is just a flash fiction.

Take your pick.

 

 

Posted in 30 Day Healthy Eating Challenge

Dearest Food

Inspiration for this post comes from 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge

half-eaten food

Today’s challenge is to write a letter describing my relationship with food.  We have been together for a long time, a lifetime in fact. I want you to know how important you are to me. After all, without you, I would literally die. But you are more than just mere substance, a means to survival. You are a crutch that keeps me from dealing with stress and upsets. You fill me up so that I don’t have to feel empty inside.

I have to say, you are a loyal friend. You are always there for me when I am anxious or bored, frightened or worried. I never have to face darkness alone.

You are also there during celebrations and good times. No matter what emotion I might be feeling, you are there. Through good times and bad.

Do you know how needy I am? When I travel on a plane, I am afraid that if there are delays and I might go hungry. I  always make sure I eat when I get a chance, just in case. Even at bedtime, I feel the need to eat just a little something to get me through the night.

And let’s face it, you are more tempting and alluring when you are full of calories.

I am getting older and my physical need for food is much less than when I was young. Yet my desire for you has not diminished with age. And that is the problem.

Which is why I have to be strong and learn to resist your temptations. I want to enjoy you, not covet you. We will always be companions until the end of my days, but our relationship needs to change.  The healthier I am the longer our relationship will last. And that is best for both of us.

hearts

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in 30 Day Healthy Eating Challenge

Day 2 – Discovering What I Want

David

Inspiration for this post comes from 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge

What do I want in life? How do I make sure I get it?

Michelangelo was once asked about the difficulties of carving his masterpiece statute David.

“It is easy. You just chip away the stone that doesn’t look like David.”

That was how I approached this question. Michelangelo is describing vision and I am one who has a difficult time dealing in the abstract. I never had a clear path of what I wanted. I fell into my career, I followed the well-worn path of women in my generation (marriage, children).  Even now, what I want is a vague sort-of longing of what I think will make me happy. As I pondered this question, however, my vision clarified just a bit and I was able to narrow my desire down into a few simple words: What I want is liberation from the restrictions that keep me from enjoying life, things like the following:

  • Too much worry, especially over things I cannot control
  • Feeling responsible for things that don’t belong to me. (Believe me, there are days I wonder how the world continues to spin on its axis without my help)
  • Too much drama, especially over unimportant things in life (at least unimportant to me)

What I want is freedom to do the things that are enjoyable and the start of that is good health.

This is really what the 30-day challenge is all about. Being healthy is the key to all achieving all that I want in life. When I am not feeling my best, when I am tired, achy, moody, or bitchy, I worry more about little things and drama seeps in. I don’t enjoy life because I am more irritable. I don’t do as much because it is too much of an effort. Unless I do something about it now, it will only get worse and be more difficult to change course later.

How do I liberate myself so I can get what I want from life? Here are my ideas:

  • Gradually increase the amount of exercise I get each day. No going from couch to 5K for me, but in time, a 5K can be in my future.
  • Make better food selections. I’m not starting a diet just yet because if I say the “D-word” too loudly, my inner-demons will take over and throw a chocolate craving on me. For now, it is about making better food choices and cutting back on snacking.
  • Don’t worry, be happy. Or at least try to have a better mental attitude. Being mindful of what I am grateful for is a good way to start
  • Experience new things. The genius of Leonardo di Vinci was his eagerness to try new things. The way to fully appreciate life is a willingness to step out of the shadows into the light, to risk an occasional disappointment in the hopes of expecting something grand
  • Keep learning as this keeps the mind young.
  • Get out of my own head. Stop thinking so much about things that have nothing to do with what is going on right now. Journaling helps me process all that stuff that gets in the way of living for the moment.
  • Dream big. The barriers in life are only tall when our dreams are small. I think about the things I have achieved in the past, some that seemed impossible at the time, and I realize there is no dream too big and no wish too wild.

At some point this need to be actionable, but for now it is a good goal list. This journey has only just started.

 

 

Posted in Miscellaneous

Day 1 – Barriers to Weight Loss

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWhat is your biggest barrier to weight loss, and why?

I am my  barrier to weight loss (and good health). As soon as I set (any)  goal, every ounce of my being rebels. I literally see myself caving in to self-doubt and self-control. It has nothing to do with belief in my ability to do this. I have done this before, I know the drill. But for some reason, this time, I am really struggling with momentum.  I hope through journaling I will discover exactly what it is that is standing in my way.

I know this won’t be easy (it wasn’t easy the first time), but it is not impossible. And there are challenges:

  • Planning around the family and their eating preferences
  • Preparing health meals
  • Rearranging my schedule to find time to go to the gym several times a week
  • Substituting crappy food with better food choices
  • Fighting the urge to give into temptation (whether it is food or laziness)
  • Finding better ways to deal with day-to-day stress

The primary reason all of these challenges are so “challenging” is that I don’t put myself first. Don’t get me wrong, I can be very selfish, but not about the right things. Most women, at least the older ones, spend their energy on everyone else’s needs. When it comes to our own needs, we are too tired to even care. Our selfishness comes out in other, more destructive ways, such as bad eating habits and lack of exercise.

It comes down to priorities and my number one priority should be my own health. If I am not healthy, nothing else really matters because my health affects my family, my finances, and my future. Doing everything in my power to be healthy is not a selfish act and I need to do whatever it takes to get healthy.

It’s that simple

1-12

 

 

 

Inspiration for this post comes from 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge

30 Day Health Challenge

IMG_0890 - CopySeveral months ago I found out I had a slightly elevated A1C. This is a pre-diabetes indicator and one that is easily reversed with diet and exercise. I have resisted doing anything about it, always telling myself I will seriously start eating better and exercising “tomorrow” or “next week.”  That was a lot of “tomorrows” ago.

Now I am ready.

Nothing changed except my attitude. I found on Pinterest several pins for “30 Day Emotional Eating.”  I’m sure some of my eating is emotional, but mostly it is bad habits and laziness. My life is complicated, stressful, fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants crazy at times. I rarely plan my meals, I am too tired at the end of the day to make dinner decisions, and I hate grocery shopping.  I am not a great cook and my family if finicky, so we end up eating the same things over and over (a lot of that is fast-food).  This is a great excuses for not putting in the time and energy into healthy eating. It is a poor excuse for avoiding diabetes and heart conditions.

Normally, I would not blog about something so personal (and being overweight is VERY personal). But I also need accountability, so I am swallowing my pride. For the next 30 days, I will be journaling/blogging about journey toward healthy eating , exercise, and weight loss using  journaling prompts inspired by 30 Day Emotional Eating Journal Challenge 

I will do other things as well. Whatever it takes.

 

 

 

Posted in Oklahoma, Photography

Oklahoma Spring

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In spite of my splitting headache due to either allergies or a sinus infection, Oklahoma spring is almost here and I am glad.  Dingy browns from dead leaves and barren ground is being replaced with pops of color from blooming redbud trees and yellow jonquils. The days are mildly warm and with the change to daylight saving time, longer as well. A perfect excuse to get out there and enjoy life.  I am ready for spring cleaning, resuming my diet and exercising more. I want to take day trips, sleep outdoors and catch fish.

Spring does come with its share of risks. Lack of winter rain and hot days are the perfect combination for wildfires and strong thunderstorms can spawn killer tornados. But Okies are resilient when it comes to nature. We pick ourselves up and start all over again.

I am concerned that our state budget is in such bad shape that our legislature will actually close down 13 of our State parks. The park system provides a wonderful way for families to enjoy the outdoors, free of charge in most cases. I can’t imagine the savings from closed parks is going to do much to solve our budget woes.

One of the things I enjoy during the spring is yard sales and the Farmer’s market. The Farmer’s market is a great way to support local business and get something good to eat in return. Yards sales are just fun. It’s like rummaging though my grandparents old sheds when I was a kid. They kept everything.

Spring doesn’t last long in Oklahoma. Soon it will turn too hot to really enjoy being outdoors. Unless you like standing in front of an oven door, because that is what it feels like on hot windy days.  All the more reason to enjoy spring.

 

Posted in Daily Prompt

A Bird in One Hand……

DSCF6116 (2).JPGMost people have heard the saying, “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.”  We roll our eyes when we hear one, but clichés serve a purpose. They are the way elders to offer sage advice to younger people in the hope they will be spared pain and sorrow for certain mistakes.

I have found in most cases; however, the best teacher is experience herself.

Satisfaction does not come easy for me. I am a perfectionist by nature and tend to want immediate results. Fortunately, I am also a bit risk-adverse, which keeps me from throwing caution to the wind in search of gold at the end of the rainbow. This is particularly true when it comes to my job. I work in Information Technology and my daily challenge of “too much to do and no time to do it” weighs me down. When it gets to be too much, I daydream about a better job. Granted, there is nothing wrong with wanting a change, but I have been here before.  I learned the hard way that not appreciating what you have can cause a person to stop thinking rationally and to make bad choices.

When I was much younger and just starting my career, there was a time when I felt I was not being treated fairly by my employer. I accepted a job with a company that had a bad reputation. My friends warned me, even my manager warned me, but I wouldn’t listen. I told them the company had changed, that they really did care about their employees, and that all those old rumors were no longer valid. Blah-dee-blah-dee-blah. In retrospect, I was rationalizing why giving up a perfectly good job (and it was) to work for a questionable employer was somehow the right thing to do.

I should have realized my mistake on my first day. It was after 5:00 p.m. and the employee I was working with not slowing down. My daughter’s daycare closed at six and I said I had to leave. The woman I was working with looked at me dead serious and said I might need to find other arrangements. Limited overtime was one of the conditions discussed during my interview, and this deal was broken the first day.

I started work in February, and for first few months, things seemed fine. I liked the people I worked with, I was treated well by management, and atmosphere was great. Around May, however, the job started taking over my life.  As a computer programmer, I was no stranger to being called in the middle of the night to fix a coding problem. At my old job, this was a shared responsibility that prevented burn-out. At my new job, I was part of a two-person team: my supervisor and myself. Guess who got most of the calls. On an almost a nightly basis, I would receive a phone call, drive to the office, fix a problem, drive home, get a little sleep, then back to work. Some nights I would barely make it through the door when my husband would tell me that the computer operator had just called again. The lack of sleep and having to care for a two-year old daughter was starting to wear me down.

I remember the night I finally reached my breaking point. I got a call telling me to come in and fix a problem. It was a Friday night and my husband was out with friends, and I had no one to take care of our daughter. I packed up my sleepy little girl and drove to the office. It was after midnight before my husband came to pick her up. When he got there, I was sitting on the curb in front of the building, hysterically crying. I was so exhausted and overcome by stress that no bird would have been better than the one bird I had. The next day, I managed to pick myself up and go on. In the end, however, I finally gave up and called my ex-boss and asked for a job. My lesson had lasted than a year.

Whenever I get too disgruntled with my current job, I remember this story. For some, it may sound like failure, but for me, it is a check-point. I may not stay in my current job forever, but I will never leave a for emotional reasons. I learned the hard way about clichés . Before I give up this bird, I will make sure the others birds are worth pursuing.  

 

Posted in nature, Photography, Photography 101

Triumph (Day 20)

1-DSCF5571-001Participating in Photo 101 has given me a new perspective on photography. Gone are the days of a non-thinking ‘point and shoot’ mentality. Going forward, the photos I take will be more thoughtful and deliberate. Although I wasn’t able to create a new photo for every assignment, just going through my old photos with a specific theme in mind helped me see them in a new light.

In contrast to my old self , I triumphed by not giving up on this class on the days when I could not go out and photo something new; by not putting this off because there was something more important (and less challenging) to do; by giving this my best shot and  putting myself and my photos “out there” for comment.

I also triumphed by finally getting a photo of a woodpecker that frequents my bird feeder.