Shades of Kindness

This week, I was reminded that I am still fat. It’s been a while since I was really out and about in public. With Covid’s stay-at-home orders and then not working outside the home now I really haven’t been going anywhere. And while I am an outgoing person, I am really more than fine with just staying at home. There is a certain stigma that comes with being a very large person. It’s something that I think you have to experience first hand to really know what I am talking about. All of us at some point in our lives have been discriminated against or thought less of because of something that may be different about us. We are seeing this play out on a large stage right now. What is happening, in regards to the violence and rioting, in my opinion, is in no way right or OK. And, in the same way, neither is the mistreatment of another human REGARDLESS of why it is happening . . . race, class, religion or otherwise. I don’t even know that what I have dealt with is considered a “thing” or not. But that doesn’t stop it from happening and from hurting a little.

Here is what happened. I went to Dollar General here in town for a few things. I couldn’t find paper towels on Costco’s website. No biggie. I decided to go to the store to get them. I also wanted to purchase a new bottle of fingernail polish. What I have is really quite old as I had been getting my nails done for about 18 months. My nails are terrible after not being able to get them done and then working as much outside as we have. Anyway, I went to the beauty care section. It didn’t take long as they had nothing to choose from. I picked up a couple bottles of this and that, you know, just checking things out. There were a couple gals in the aisle with me. This is really difficult to explain – not because it hurts or anything like that, but because if you’ve never had it happen to you, you don’t know what you don’t know . . . but I am going to try . . . there have been times when I have seen someone looking at me in a way that is not a “normal” glance or attentive, conversational look. I have seen people turn their gaze from my face in a conversation to my large upper arms as I raise my hands or extend an arm during a story I am telling (yes, I talk with my hands . . . ).  I have seen them look sideways at me in different situations. Maybe some of it is my perception. But I do believe it is more real than not. There are so many instances of these types of “looks” I really can’t explain them all. And in each of them I felt bad. Not just because I felt their judgment . . . in whatever form that came in . . . but because I always assumed it made me a bad person in some way who needed to apologize for the inconvenience of making them come to conclusions about myself and my size. Like if I wasn’t fat then they wouldn’t be condemning me for whatever it was . . . being in the snack aisle at the store because my husband asked for Swiss Rolls or getting a piece of cheesecake at our favorite restaurant because I had lost 100 pounds and was celebrating that or my standing in the larger clothing section of the store when a year ago I couldn’t have FOUND clothes that even FIT me in that store. You never know what someone is dealing with or has dealt with or what they may be going through. While someone is looking at me thinking about how big I am or that the choice of my dessert is the last thing I need, I was probably thinking at the same time how happy I am to have arrived at the place I am now and how proud I am at how far I’ve come. 

I am not telling you this because I want you to feel sorry for me. I am the one who gained all the weight I did. That’s on me. And I am fine with that. And I am taking the right steps to course correct. But I am telling you this in hopes that it inspires even more kindness in you. When I see a “person of size” anywhere I always feel a sense of sadness come over me because I get it. I get it. I want to walk up to them and tell them that I understand what they feel on a daily basis. I know what they feel when they wake up and hurt all over because their big bodies have overwhelmed their small bones and muscles. I know what it’s like to get that favorite pair of pants out of the closet only to have to “suck it up” even more than they did the last time they wore them and then make a mental note that they can’t dry them in the dryer anymore if they want to be able to sit in them. I know what they feel when they sit down to eat and have the thought that they shouldn’t eat all that’s on their plate but then the desire to do just that and the internal struggle they feel of “what will people think if I DO eat all that’s on my plate” vs. “I don’t care what others think” . . . I know what they are feeling when they have this overriding need to apologize for being a large person taking up space in a world that is not always as kind as it should be. Even the need to apologize for just existing and the perceived inconvenience they are. I know what they feel when they go to bed at night feeling like they aren’t even sure they want to live another day because they feel like they are incapable of making a difference in the lives of other people or impacting our world for good because no one notices them and those that do notice them for the wrong reasons. I know what they feel when they want to be healthier, smaller, better, but don’t know what to do or where to start. I want to tell them that they are as smart and capable and kind and caring as they want to be. They need to know that just because people bring along their own misconceptions of who they are or what their character is made of because they are big doesn’t mean it changes who they truly are. Yeah, it hurts, but it doesn’t define them. It’s these people I want to help. 

I have been/am on a mission to change my life and I pray that through these changes other people are inspired to change their lives as well. It’s not always easy. Real growth never is. I want to leave a legacy of love and caring and showing Jesus to a world that is hurting now more than ever before. My hope this week as I write this is that we all find kindness and compassion for others. Know that when we look at someone we are only seeing a fraction of their story. It’s hard not to jump to conclusions or make assumptions. But we just can’t afford to do that. It isolates people who are most likely already feeling isolated and alone to begin with. I know. I have been there. I don’t ever want to be the reason someone feels like they are “less than” in our world. I want them to feel accepted and loved . . . in whatever way they need. I believe that we can all make a difference in the life of someone who needs us. And I pray that we would want to. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Shin Splints, Set Backs, and Strokes

My everything hurts. This was the common theme in my mind this week. Oh, and I have shin splints. I’ll get to that in a second. Our family has been working outside in our yard for the last 8 weeks. We are doing things that have needed done for a long time. And it’s been brutal on my body. Next up, getting a permit from the city so we can take down a couple sheds and build a newer, larger one. But there has been plenty of painting and staining and replacing things and yard work to last a lifetime. No, seriously. We have neglected our backyard space for far too long. For one, we are not usually home for more than a few hours at a time when the weather is nice and when we are home, we have more to do inside that always seems to take precedence. We are making up for lost time now. And two, things had run down bad enough that it was overwhelming when thinking about where to start and how to get it where we want it to be. Such is life. Now, you should know that I can’t tolerate too much heat. Not without frequent breaks, TONS of water, and lots of shade. I had a terrible sunburn and heat stroke before I ever had my first child and heat affects me in a not-so-good kind of way. I will end up with a trigeminal headache to end all headaches if I am not careful. I’ve always had to be mindful when out during the summer months watching our boys during baseball games. Anyway, I was staining the fence this last week with my earbuds in and the volume cranked up listening to my “Christian Playlist #1”. I was wearing a tank top and a pair of capri, yoga-type stretchy pants for comfort and heat control. It was almost 2 pm and I had not eaten lunch . . . not necessarily skipped it on purpose, just didn’t realize the time . . . and I started to feel a little light headed and shaky. I came into the house and took the supplements I always take 30 minutes before I eat and then went back out to finish one more section of the fence I was staining. As I stood there staining, I started feeling these pin-prick type shock sensations on the backs of my calves. I thought that it was a little strange, but didn’t want to think that there may be something wrong. I kept on working. I felt them again, this time even more, so I decided I would sit down on the stool I was using to sit on to paint the lower portion of the fencing. Then I started to feel the same sensations on the small of my back. What was happening? Now, if you know me, you know I love to be dramatically sarcastic. This was a perfect time for that. I said out loud to myself, “Oh, great. What fresh, new hell is this? Am I having a stroke? That’s it. I am dying . . . from my feet up.” I looked down at my feet to make sure they were still attached and to look at my exposed calves. I yanked my earbuds out so I could see better (haha) and heard a dripping noise coming from behind me. I turned to see where the noise was coming from. I was sitting right in front of the air conditioner (swamp cooler) and it was dripping water that was splattering just enough to hit me. Relieved I was going to live, I swore to myself that I’d never tell anyone about it. It was just SO stupid. And yet, here I am, telling you anyway.

There are all sorts of things our overactive, imaginative minds can come up with or interpret in a way that keeps us from seeing what’s really happening. Sometimes there are things we do in our lives that we don’t really ever want to let people in on. Some big. Some small. When I started this blog, I told you that I wanted to be real and transparent and let you in on my struggles as well as my successes. I really don’t think you can ever fully appreciate one without knowing the other. Well, now’s the time for that. During our “stay at home” order, I was furloughed for 7 weeks from my job at the dental office. When it first happened, I was happy to have some time with my kids and be able to get some things in order around here that, just like the back yard, have been neglected for far too long. So I did just that. The boys and I went on walks together and we played games and we had a good time despite the inner turmoil we were all feeling in our own separate ways. I will not lie to you. When it first started, I was very concerned that I would begin to slip on my eating habits, or walking, or that the stress of no income would cause me to gain weight as I am a huge stress eater. But, I was aware of the possibility. So I made a conscious decision that I was going to do even better than I had in previous months. I have been in a stall of sorts for a while. I was only losing about a pound a week. Sometimes, just a half a pound. And that’s really all right. I was still losing. Now, I’ll concede that my portion sizes had gotten a little larger in the few months prior to the shutdown. And I definitely need to be better about that. But, I made the decision to walk daily during our isolation and to eat more (yet, less) of what I knew was right. And I did. I lost 8 pounds during that 6 week span of trying harder. I was happy with that. Little did I know that returning to work when I KNEW I was going to resign from my position would be the stressor that set me back. 

I think I had known for about 2 weeks before going back that I was going to resign. And the more I thought I would fight through those thoughts and just stay where it was comfortable and familiar at the office, the more stressed I became and the less sleep I got at night and . . . Now, I am not making excuses. Not at all. Please understand that. But, by now, most of us have heard how stress and sleep can impact weight gain/loss. Between the knowledge of leaving the office and trying to deal with it and the fact that working a full 9-10 hour day again made it hard to get a walk in, I gained back 6 of the 8 pounds I lost while in our isolation. I was really disappointed in myself. I had even thought about not saying anything to anyone about it. But that’s not why I started this blog and that’s not how I want to operate. So there you have it. The struggle. MY struggle. Since leaving the office and working my own business from home, I have been walking again every day. I walk in the morning at 6:30 so I can make it home and have my coaching call with the Dockerys (business partners and leaders) at 8 am and then start working. But after not walking AT ALL for almost 3 weeks, I started having shin splints. It has happened before when I don’t walk for a couple weeks due to weather or just sheer laziness on my part. And I ALWAYS tell myself I am not going to go that long without walking ever again. And then something happens and I have done just that. And the only way I have found to get rid of shin splints for me is to walk faithfully in spite of the excruciating pain in each step and to roll my shins out with what we call “The Roller” (although I am sure there is a technical name for it). Personally, I call it “The Punisher” because it reminds me that I should have been walking all along. 

With all that being said, I am now back at it.  I have lost 5 pounds again and am resolved to work even harder to continue and get to where I really need to be. There is nothing wrong with a step back as long as you don’t live there. I have a challenge going with a group of people who are wanting to lose some weight too and I am excited to see where we all end up in 30 days. A little friendly competition and a way to be held accountable. I want to help people change their lives. And in order to do that, I need to be the best version of myself I can be. I don’t need excuses. I don’t need anything other than my “want to”. But my “want to” has to be stronger than my excuses. I am changing things up. I think I need to shock my system and jump start this next chapter. So I will be adding weight lifting to my workout routine. Sometimes, our bodies get used to the same thing and they don’t respond like we want them to. We get into a rut, so to speak. And I have heard it said that a rut is nothing more than a grave with both ends kicked out. I am not ready to bury this thing! I am nowhere near done fighting to get what I want and to arrive where I want to be.  I am recommitted and ready to do whatever it takes to make it to my goal. I feel like I am almost in the home stretch. Somewhere between second base and third. But closer to third than not. And definitely closer to my goal. It is time for that last little “kick” of energy to round third and come home. And that’s what I’m going to do. Kick. Because I can. Especially now that my shin splints are better. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Everything Is Beautiful . . . Yes, In It’s Own Way . . .

Growing up my sister, Carly, and I would go to Missouri every summer for a couple weeks to visit my Aunt Karla, her family, and the rest of our family that lives there. It was so much fun! So many wonderful memories were made there throughout the years. And for a long time, before life got so dang busy for us, after Wade and I were married and had our family we would still go once a year to take our boys fishing on “Lake Karla” and do the other things I had enjoyed so much through the years. When we were there our aunt would always take us out to dinner and a movie for our birthdays which happened in January and June. One year when I was 15, on our big movie night, my cousins, Dana and Austin, Carly and I were sitting together with my aunt on the end of our respective row. There was loud music pouring through the speakers keeping us movie-goers entertained until the featured film would start flashing on the big screen in front of us. The theater was absolutely PACKED for the debut of “True Lies” with Arnold Scwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis. Now, to appreciate this, you might have to know my aunt a little. She is a tall (I’m guessing 5’8”-9”), slender, brown haired, patriotic lady of the Lord. She loves Jesus, her family, her friends and her country with abandon. Always has. I have been marked by her in my life in more ways than one and I am better for it . . . SO much better for it. She is as beautiful on the inside as she is on the outside. During one of the songs, she stood up in front of us, got out into the aisle and started dancing, yes dancing, singing along, and pointing at us as Ray Stevens’ song, “Everything Is Beautiful” flooded the auditorium. All four of us slouched so low in our chairs from the embarrassment of it all! Side note: any parent worth their salt has done this on at least one occasion to their children. I KNOW I have and I learned from the best (thank you, Aunt Karla)! What I have always remembered about that evening was how she was fully into the moment of loving life and viewing everything as beautiful. It’s just who she was. Still is, actually.

This weekend, we remember the soldiers who fought and died for this country that my aunt, and so many of us, love so much. We thank them and their families for their ultimate sacrifice that allows us all to enjoy the life we have in this great country today. Through their sacrifice, we have the “unalienable rights” to life, liberty and the PURSUIT of happiness. I remember the first time I read and fully comprehended what that meant.  We have the right to pursue happiness. That doesn’t mean that life is just going to grant us happiness. But it does mean we can chase after it with all that is in us. If I am being totally honest I would have to say that I believe a large part of the problem in today’s society is that far too many people focus on WHAT or WHO can make them happy instead of building something that will make themselves happy. We buy things, and we go places, all seeking to escape our problems and to be “happy” there in that place and somehow bring it back with us to our everyday lives. I’ve been guilty of it. But what I have come to realize is this (warning – soapbox and opinions ahead): First of all, I believe that Jesus is the only source of true joy. If we are seeking it in the possessions we have, our job, our friends, our activities, our family, we are missing the mark. Second, if we focus more on trying to make those around us happy we will end up there as well. It’s all about what we can do for other people. 

I’d bet that most of us have heard that life is lived “in the dash” between our date of birth and the date our our deaths that will be etched on our grave markers. It’s in that dash that the pursuit of happiness was lived out for every single person who has ever lived and died. Hopefully, that dash represents years worth of days spent chasing after the dreams and happinesses our hearts desired. It is in the pursuit that we have the unique opportunity to find beauty. 

For a long time, I have been unsatisfied with a lot of things in my life. And I believe I was looking to the wrong sources to make me happy. I have wanted a new house, a new car, a new body. I wanted those things because I thought if I could just change the “physical” it would make me feel better. Now, I know that part of this was the depression I had dealt with for so long. And THANK GOD, I am so much better than I was a couple short years ago. Through Jesus’ love, the love of my family and friends, and CBD, I have found my way through that. I am on the other side, pharmaceutical FREE, and free from the symptoms of my depression. This last year I have truly seen myself and my life in a new light. I am not waiting for things to change for me to feel better. I am changing it myself. We aren’t guaranteed happiness. In fact, we aren’t guaranteed much of anything in this world. So you don’t have the health, wealth, body, car, house or whatever it is that you desire? Change it. You can’t find beauty in the things you have and the situations and circumstances in your life? Change it. It is up to YOU to make the things in your life beautiful. 

I have made some BIG decisions in my life in the last year. I couldn’t see the beauty in my body. I am changing it. I have worked so hard in the last year to change my health. And when I started on that, I realized I needed to work on mySELF just as much as I worked on my body. I had to change from the inside out. I started out on a health journey that has been truly amazing. Life changing. As for my physical environment? Our family has been working in our backyard. We are trying to get rid of the old and make all things beautiful. (We have time right now as all of our normal activities have been cancelled and we aren’t spending time on the baseball field as we have every spring and summer for the past umpteen years.) And most recently, of course, I left my job. Life is too short not to chase after the things God has laid on our heart. Pursue the worthy things in your life. Happiness, health and love. Pursue the things you want. It’s up to you. 

I truly pray that your dash is filled with the pursuits of every passion God ever laid on your heart. If the proverbial grass is greener on the other side, maybe it’s time to water yours. Fertilize it and then bloom where you are planted. If it isn’t beautiful, figure out what it is going to take to make it beautiful and do it. Simple, right? In the meantime, don’t be afraid to close your eyes, throw your head back, spread your arms out and sing and dance along with life. You will find it very fulfilling if you give it a try. Just ask my Aunt Karla.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Walk On, Baby, Walk On . . .

This last week has been a rollercoaster of emotions for our family. My oldest, Ben, graduated from High School on Sunday. This pandemic changed our plans and it wasn’t quite the same traditional ceremony we had all wanted and hoped for. But it was special. Beautiful, even. We had a drive-in style graduation and parade through town. It was highly emotional seeing everyone out on their front lawns and sidewalks waving and cheering these kids. As we were waving at everyone waving at us, I started thinking about the beginning. The beginning of Ben. I reminisced about him rolling around on the floor and then crawling and then walking and then running and sprinting and . . . And it hit me. It doesn’t matter what stage we are in, our lives are spent just waiting for “the walk” to happen. 

When our “babies” are actual babies, we coax them, bribe them, and eventually convince them to trust themselves enough to take their first step. It is a scary, big thing for them. For us, too! I remember when Ben took his first step. He was 10 months old. He let loose this nervous giggle when he did it then grew unsteady and sat down right away. He looked disappointed but fully determined as he sat there. It’s a look I have come to know and love from him. He got right back up and took not one, not two, but a bunch of steps. Literally, just took off. And there has been no stopping him since. I remember thinking then about him eventually walking to school. And before we knew it, we were ready for preschool. We walked the block and a half to the Primary School here in our little town. I walked him through the gates and waited for him to willingly let go of my hand to walk up to his teacher, the other kids and playground equipment. He didn’t hesitate. As he walked away, I told him to have fun and not to worry . . . that I would be back when his day was done. He turned to me and said, “Okay. I’ll wait for you to come walk me back home, mommy.” I stood outside the fence of the playground as his teacher rounded them up and I watched him walk into the classroom. Out of my sight and into his own new, exciting little world of color, crayons and creativity. Oh, and snacks! Don’t forget about the snacks. 

Through the years, one thing always happened. He started each new adventure by walking over the threshold separating one space from another. He walked with nervous excitement into each new classroom and each new circumstance of the unknown; sometimes with us and sometimes without. We have had the great honor and privilege to be front and center for all those “walks” he has taken in his life. There was the walk into each of the school buildings at the start of each new year when I would drop him off and head to work. In middle school, I would always look out my window back toward the school and watch until he slipped out of view after walking through the open door. I watched him grow and mature and be “big enough” to walk into different doctor and dentist appointments by himself. And then I watched him take the field and walk into the batter’s box, or walk back to the huddle; or walk to the starting blocks on the track, or into the middle of the wrestling ring. And I knew it was all leading up to one ultimate walk . . . Graduation. 

Although he didn’t get to “walk” at his graduation, the thought remains. We are constantly walking. We may be walking to something; we may be walking away from something. Sometimes it’s a bit of both. But, we are always walking. I have heard it said that life is nothing more than a series of rooms. We spend our lives surrounded by any given set of four walls. It’s who we are with and what we are doing that defines our walk from room to room. The picture in my mind of walking into one room from another is that we can’t be fully in both places at the same time. With life, we step out of one thing and into something else. For me, at the moment, it’s my job. My career. I am leaving a job of 12 years to work a business I’ve had for a year and a half. But one thing I’ve realized is that I can’t give my growing business and customers and team what they all need being employed by someone else full time. So I’m walking to my business. And in turn walking away from something else. Just the cause and effect. Am I sad? Yes. I am sad. But am I excited? Yes. I am so excited. I am ready for this. For Ben, he is walking into his future. This time, instead of lugging a backpack carrying pencils, paper, crayons, and hand sanitizer, he is arriving with a heart full of hopes and dreams and aspirations and that same look of determination I saw in him at 10 months old and so many times throughout his life. I’m so proud of him. So proud of the young man he is becoming. He loves Jesus and wants to find His will and follow it to the best of his ability. And he will. I’d bet on him.

I’m stepping into something new and exciting also. I am picturing myself disappearing over the threshold of one space into another with my hopes and dreams and aspirations all packed up neatly for the journey. I know I have no choice but to make this work! And that’s scary. But when I get to the end of my life I don’t want to look back and remember this fork in the road of opportunity only to see that I settled for the comfortable and easy and convenient. I want to KNOW that I took the road toward helping others in a way I can’t right now. I want to work hard for myself. I know that if I give as much effort and time and work even half as hard for myself as I have worked for the office I’m in right now I will be just fine. More than fine. Better than “ok”. I’d bet on me, too. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Dust Off Your Dreams

This week I did a thing. A big thing. Something life changing and wholly terrifying. Hang tight . . . I will get to that in a minute. For now, let me say this: I would be willing to bet that all of us at one point or another have had a dream. A dream that is so big it scares us a little . . . maybe it scares us a lot. After all, what are we told all our lives? Never. Stop. Dreaming. The second we stop dreaming is the second we stop growing. I have heard it said that we are either green and growing or ripe and rotting. I want to continue to grow. In all aspects of my life. Well, with the exception of my waistline.

Why is it then that some of us, myself included, give up on our dreams so quickly or easily? Things get difficult so we decide we aren’t worth it? As we get into it a little do we suddenly realize that it’s going to take a lot more work than we had imagined to begin with? Or, as in my life, do we sometimes want the end result without having to put in the blood, sweat and tears it is going to require? I used to have a coffee cup that said, “I thought I wanted a career . . . turns out I only wanted the paycheck.” Although I haven’t ever really just wanted a paycheck I think it rings true in a lot of areas of life. I have known people who want the “title” and “glory” of a certain job position or career but they don’t want the responsibility that goes along with it. They want the new car or house but not the payment. I, personally, would have loved to achieve the magic measurements of “36x24x36” sought after by most women, but I didn’t want to work or sacrifice anything to gain it. 

My dream changed in relation to my weight and body. I set out 15 months ago to become who I knew God wanted me to be physically. I wanted to be healthier. I needed to be. I wanted to make better decisions regarding my health so that I could maybe write a different ending to Lacy than what she was going to have if she had stayed on the same unhealthy and even deadly path. I renewed my sense of discipline and determination. I decided I would not stop until I am at a healthy weight . . . whatever it takes and whatever that looks like for me. I am still not finished losing weight. Not by a long shot. But something miraculous has happened in this process. I have grown unsatisfied with the status quo of my own life. Keeping to the simple, easy and predictable for me is no longer leaving me content. I want better. Now, I don’t mean materialistically. I mean, spiritually, emotionally, mentally. I want to be and do what I am called to be and do. I am meant for something more than what I am currently doing and who I currently am. Do I know exactly who that is right now or what that looks like? I sure wish I could say yes. I do know this . . . I am headed there. And I also believe that I now know SO MUCH MORE about myself than I ever did before. I know how hard I am willing to fight for something. I know how much pain, emotional and physical, I am able and willing to endure and fight through to survive. I know. I just know on a different level than I did a little over a year ago. 

This last year has been gut-wrenching on a level that most people don’t know and wouldn’t even understand. But I have come out of it a different person than I was going in. I am stronger. I am more confident – not cocky, but confident. By God’s grace, I am more courageous and more fierce (in a good way) than I have ever been. Because of the things that have come into my life and made me stronger and more determined, I am willing to take some huge steps of faith. Some may even call them crazy. And I’m not sure they aren’t right! I am able to leave my comfort zone to step into what I believe God wants for me and my family. 

So what is this big thing that I did? After prayerful consideration, I gave my notice at my job. I just left the comfort and stability of full-time employment with an established and stable company to come home and work my CBD business full-time. Am I scared? HECK YES, I AM! I am scared that I will fail. I am scared that I won’t make enough to help my husband take care of the bills and other things we have in our lives to take care of! But (there’s always a but, right?) we also believe that I am doing exactly what God wants for our family. I have a child who needs me right now. I mean they both do, but one is leaving for college in the fall and the other needs me a little more than he ever really has before. In a different way. My parents are aging. They are both 80 and I have already felt guilty for not being there to help with certain things for them. And now, I will have the time to do that. In 2008, I was hired by a wonderful couple to work in their dental office. Dr. Chuck and Pat Schonberger. I am so grateful to them for everything they did for me while I worked for them. I am also grateful to the current owner dentist I work with for the things he has done for me. Mostly I am grateful that they all allowed me to leave work to see my boys events during the last 12 years. The thing that most working moms will tell you is this . . .  I HATE feeling guilty for leaving work early to go to a sporting event or something for the boys. But I equally HATE feeling guilty for staying at work and missing those events when I couldn’t get away. Thankfully, the latter rarely happened. I didn’t have to miss much. And for the last 12 years, I had dreams that I brushed aside. 

I want to encourage all of you with this. My decision is what is right for me. Your decision is what is right for you. But know this. You don’t have to explain that decision to anyone. You can do what you feel is best for you and know that you are worth whatever it takes to be happy wherever you are and in whatever you are doing. But I also hope this week, you feel inspired to pick up that box that contains your dreams. There is a future in there so bright, it’s almost blinding. Take a step closer to what you really want. If your current path is taking you away from those dreams and purposes you have always wanted for your life, correct your course. Align your path with the unique road map designed just for you. It’s time to give your dreams room to roam, stretch, breathe, and come to pass. I am blessed to have an opportunity to change the lives of people with NewYou and their CBD products. NewYou is such an amazing company with amazing field and corporate leadership. I have business mentors as well as spiritual and life mentors. I have heard one of those mentors, Mary Dockery, quote another amazing leader with NewYou, Shar Weinrauch, time and again by saying, “It’s time to dust off your dreams.” I don’t care what you use to dust them off, but get to work. Your future YOU depends on it. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

And the Thunder Rolls

One of my children is TERRIFIED of lightning. My oldest, Ben, has had this fear since he was a toddler. He would wake up from naps or even in the night when storms rolled through and the thunder billowed in the distance. There were many nights that I would be awakened by a huge clap of thunder in the middle of the night and my feet would instantly hit the floor and head immediately toward his room to check on him. Most of those nights we met in the hallway halfway between his room and mine. He is good now at laughing his fear off even though it is still very real for him. He knows that the odds of lightning harming you when you are inside your house are slim. But still, the fear. We had our first decent thunderstorm roll through on Saturday evening. Now, you have to understand . . . I am a bad weather junkie. I love storms and storm clouds. The darker and more threatening, the better. I am sure there is a word for what I am. Besides weird. Haha. I digress. Anyway, Saturday night I saw a huge flash of lightning after it was completely dark. It swallowed the lights on the street lamps as it flashed brighter than they were shining. It illuminated the surrounding trees, cars, houses, and even a couple people outside standing on the front sidewalk; all of those things unseen until that flash. A couple thoughts entered my mind when I saw that flash. First thing was how even if you’re expecting it, lightning and thunder can startle you. Second thing was that it illuminates things you may not have noticed otherwise. 

It isn’t necessarily the lightning, but the thunder that gets us. We see the flash and that in itself doesn’t cause a startle reaction. We KNOW the thunder is coming yet still sometimes it makes us jump. Other times, you see the flash and hear the thunder almost simultaneously. And it really does catch us off guard. Everything in life is part of a cause and effect relationship. If “this”, then “that”. If I eat too much, then I gain weight. If I stop working out, then I fall out of shape. If I get caught driving too fast, then I get a ticket. If I misbehaved when I was growing up, then punishment was guaranteed. Thunder and lightning is no different. If lightning, then thunder. 

Sometimes, lightning can happen in our lives because it is meant to illuminate something for us. No, not literal lightning. I mean there are times when things happen in bright flashes of activity. But sometimes, it is meant to cause us to see something. A path; a way; a blessing; an opportunity, even. Maybe the lightning is a call to action. The thunder is what scares us though. The lightning in our life can cause us to see things we wouldn’t have otherwise noticed or looked for. And even though we know the lightning is revealing our next step or our path, we know the thunder will follow. The thunder sometimes is quiet and subdued and really is no big deal. Other times, though, that clap is rattling. LITERALLY. When the thing the lightning reveals to us is BIG, the effect of that lightning will be equally big, loud, and sometimes terrifying. We are at a crossroads. Do we take this new revelation by the hand and let it lead us where we are to go? Or do we cower back into the shadows of certainty and let the storm pass by? 

Sometimes, the lightning is so bright that it washes out the surrounding darkness and even the light. Have you ever seen a flash of lightning so close and so bright in the middle of a dark night that you are temporarily blinded by the light? We used to go to church in a tiny town called Woodrow here in Colorado. It is about 20 miles (30 minute drive) from our house and there is nothing but a lot of farmland and a few farm houses and outbuildings tucked back off the road between here and there. And when it is dark, IT IS DARK. I was driving home one night in the middle of a storm. A bolt of lightning appeared and was so bright it washed out the darkness and the faint lights from any houses and floodlights in the distance. When it was gone I couldn’t see anything. For a few seconds, I was scared. I was aware of where I was on the road and familiar enough with that road to know to just hold steady and I’d be all right. 

We can’t let the fear of the unknown and the threat of the inevitable thunder stop us from doing what we need to do; what we are called to do. It can’t steal our purpose. We tell our boys all the time that every single person is just one bad decision away from ruining the rest of their life. And that is so true. We see it happen all the time. I think that the opposite is also true. Every person is just one good decision from changing and impacting their life and the lives of others for the better! The decision, of course, has to be prayed over and vetted and made with all facts in evidence. I had no idea when I started this journey toward my best health and self where it was going to take me. Some wonderful thunder has happened as a result. I fell in with a fantastic company with fantastic leadership, corporate and in the field. These people have become mentors and spiritual and life partners in addition to the business. I have been transformed physically, emotionally and even spiritually. And really good financial gains have been made. And some great things are yet to come. (Stay tuned to next week’s blog!)

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Let It Go

This week, one word kept popping up in different conversations. Room. One tiny word. So many meanings. Big and small. Room = four walls . . . Room = space . . . It can be used in many ways; physical, emotional, spiritual and otherwise. It came up initially because one of my kids was reminding me that he has no “room” in his closet for the clothes he has. Now, I am going to assume I am not the only mom in America who has this problem: we will go school shopping . . . sometimes, I am very diligent about getting the old clothes out and replacing them with the new. In this case, I just haven’t thinned things out in their closets recently. Other times, especially in our children’s younger years, we have had to buy two additional larger sizes of shirts, pants, and shoes when school started in the fall. For the most part, though, moms are good at making room when needed. 

Then I heard the word again. This time it was in reference to the “room” in the back of my SUV without the regular sporting event paraphernalia that is usually a permanent fixture in it this time of year. Now, as I just said, moms are pretty good in general at making room for needed items for the family in suitcases, bags, closets, drawers and even vehicles. But, let me tell you . . . the sports mom is a spatial relation NINJA. There have been times when I have almost cried with pride (or exhaustion, not sure which) upon seeing my own usage of space and how I loaded all the coolers, lunch bags, lawn chairs, bat bags, other bags, purses, coats, blankets, canopy, wagon, ice scraper, and all the other items I was not certain would fit in the back end of my SUV and still managed to safely shut the hatch. (It’s Colorado and yes, you can use all of those items at different times on the same day.) Sometimes the result was worthy of a photo titled “Almighty Packing Hacks” that deserved to be shared across all social media platforms.

The next time the word came up was when I was thinking back on cleaning out my closet when my friend, Cara, brought me all the hand me “ups” she had gotten too small for. I have always kept back larger clothes when cleaning out my closet after losing any amount of weight. I kept them because I always gained the weight back and knew I would need them to wear when I gained again. But I really had a “room” problem because I had acquired a LOT of clothes in addition to what I already had in my closet. I didn’t have enough room to store the sizes from Cara I hadn’t made it in to yet, let alone keep the sizes I had already “under grown”. So I cleaned. And the only thing still in my closet that is too large for my current frame is this brown, knit, older-than-my-15-year-old, comfy-as-heck sweater. (Sorry, Tammy! Can’t part with it. Haha!) I don’t wear it anywhere anymore but I love to lounge in the thing. Wearing it is like a warm hug from a friend you haven’t seen in a long time. Truly! So I held on to it. But the rest of the old, larger-than-me-sized clothes are gone. 

Yet, one more time I came across the word. I was cleaning and had stacked all my hymnals together. One of them opened up a little, and out fell a folded piece of sheet music. No kidding, it was the song, “Have You Any Room For Jesus?”. And of course, my mind spins most things in my life to the spiritual side anyway. So that is where I camped for a while. I started thinking that just as I have had to make room in my closet for new clothes after losing weight, I need to make room in my life for what is truly important and good.

Just like cleaning out our closet, we make room by getting rid of the things in our lives that don’t seem to fit us anymore. We get rid of things that aren’t serving a purpose to make room for the new and the good. In life, we have a tendency to hold onto things and we let it feed whatever part of us is the strongest at that time. And if that’s the negative side, then that is all we see and that is all we feed. Other times, the positive side of us is more dominant and we feed that. And then, and only then, can we reach for the “better” instead. It’s important then to make sure we do all we can to keep the most positive attitude in all things. Focus on the good.

I have always been pretty good at compartmentalizing. Not as good as my husband who has a “nothing box” that he enters after a hard day not to be disturbed for a while. But still, I am pretty good at it. The problem I have is that once I put something into a different place in my mind, I don’t always go back and pay it the attention it needs. And because of that, things have a tendency to pile up and get cluttered like a junk drawer in the kitchen. By the time I do go back there, it is so messy and unorganized I have a hard time knowing where to start. This makes it difficult to know what I need to get rid of. And oftentimes, things just stay there, unattended because of that. I know I am not alone in this!

Other times I do go into those places and start doing the deep dive to make room. I sometimes find myself hanging on tightly to all of it. ALL of it. Even things I shouldn’t be. I believe that our hands have to be open to both give and receive blessings and love. If we are hanging on, white-knuckled, to things we shouldn’t be clinging to there is no way to give or receive ANYthing. Fear keeps us hanging on. The unknown keeps us hanging on. Comfort and tradition keeps us hanging on. This last 6 weeks, we have all been forced to let go of a LOT in our lives. It has been such a strange time but I have realized and learned a lot over the last month and a half. I am ready to get back to normal soon, but I also hope life looks different for us. For me. A new normal, maybe. Slower somehow. More intentional even. I have realized that there is a difference between “having” room and “making” room. I know we all say, “I just don’t have the time (room) for . . . ” but, if I’m honest, I think it should sound more like, “I just don’t want to make the time (room) for . . . ” Making room requires us to let go of the things that aren’t suited to us, or isn’t what is best for us, or in some cases, just isn’t even right and good for us at that time.  

Whether it is your closet, your car, your heart, your job or your life, know when it’s time to let go and make room. It can be as easy as just loosening our grip on whatever we are holding on to and allowing it to slip through our fingers. Sometimes, it is a little more difficult than that. We may end up having to shovel the things we need to get rid of into a cart to be hauled off. Two things are for certain. One, we can’t embrace the things meant for us if we continue to hang on to things no longer serving us. And, two, there are people in our lives who are willing to help us push, pull or drag that cart if we just accept their help. Learn to recognize when hanging on is harmful to you. And learn to see when something better is about to replace it. And then, in the name of all things good and right, just let go. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Goodnight Moon

When I was six months pregnant with our oldest child, my husband, Wade, and I went camping. We enjoy camping and fishing and most out-of-doors activities. We went camping and fishing a lot more often in our first five years of marriage, before this dynamic duo became a terrific trio, and now fantastic foursome. Anyway, we went to our “usual” place to camp and fish; Oliver Reservoir in Nebraska. 

We arrived and started setting up. A park ranger came to our site and warned us that there had been a few thefts reported the night before and for us to be aware and careful to lock all our belongings up. If we wanted we could leave and go back another time. We felt comfortable staying. We set up our tent and went fishing, then came back and cleaned up and settled into our tent for the night. I awakened in the middle of the night, as my pregnant self needed to use the restroom. I looked up to see a flashlight shining into our tent from outside. This round ball of bright, white light. It wasn’t even moving; just sitting there. I rolled over and woke Wade. He asked what was happening. Loudly. I tried to quietly tell him that there was someone with a flashlight outside shining it at our tent. He asked, “Baby, are you wearing your glasses?” I told him, rather irritated, “Of course I’m not! I was just sleeping!” He smiled at me and wrapped me up in his arms to calm me down and said, “Sugar, that’s the moon.” It is more funny now than it was that night. Trust me.

The point I am making is this: things aren’t always as they would seem at first glance. The things we see and experience in this life always have the potential to be jaded by several things. Our personal experiences, our fears, our predispositions, our beliefs (limiting or otherwise) can all change how we interpret the illusion of things in life. But our job is to find a way to see past what seems to be and realize what is.

When I started my weight loss journey, it SEEMED it would be a lot easier at times than what it has been. I saw people who were overweight drop weight either through diet and exercise or surgery or other programs that I had already tried. And it always seemed so easy. Like a duck on the water, we don’t always see the whole picture. We see the calm exterior of the duck moving along but we don’t see the feet under the surface kicking like mad to make that progress. We can’t always see the hard work and sacrifice of people who are making huge gains in their lives. Spiritual, emotional or physical. I know I always “oooooooo” and “awwwwww” when looking at pictures of people comparing their bodies before and after weight loss. But what I really never did, until now, is consider all the “behind the scenes” action that had to go on for that picture to happen. And in my mind, it always seemed easy. The people in these pictures appear one way and now, simply, they’re another. Easy, peasy, right? No. It’s not as easy as it seems. In my case, it has taken cutting out junk foods, drinking only black coffee, fasting daily, not eating carbs, starches or fruit after 2 pm, and walking almost 300 miles in the last year (I had to add up all the mileage in my tracker’s diary just now). It took grit and determination and sweat and tears. 

Almost every area of our lives can seem different from the reality that exists. Take this for example: I had a text conversation this week with “my girls” and it came up that some of our kids had been helping with preparing and cooking food during the day in their homes. I stated that my kids had been helping EAT the food that was prepared and cooked in our house. None of my friends were bragging on their kids. Nor were any of us trying to give an illusion about our lives that wasn’t real. Not at all. We were just sharing in a light and fun way. I said that I was really just working on portion control in my kids because they have a tendency to literally eat me into the red in my bank account. That sparked a comment from one of the girls that she thought she was the only one who had that problem. But . . . this started me thinking about how sometimes we let ourselves peruse the feed on our facebook accounts and get dismayed by the way things seem so perfect for others. I’ve posted these types of things. And I have been discouraged by these types of things. I have had a few posts during this quarantine time of my baking and the like. We post the absolute best parts of our lives on Facebook. Do I share the most frustrating parts or awful moments of parenting and marriage and my weight loss? Not at all. We share the good. And there is nothing wrong with that. When it becomes a problem for us is when it makes us feel inferior or worse off than other people. 

What my weight loss journey has given me over the last year is the willingness to look at all things with a new perspective. I look at things and no longer just take it at face value. There is almost always more to a situation than what it seems at first. I give thought to the things I never really considered before. I love watching videos of how things are made. But it never turns out to be the way I thought it was going to be. And in life, we can rest assured that there is always more going on in someone’s life than what appears at the surface. Things we don’t know. Things we can’t possibly know. This is why kindness and compassion are so important at all times. Think before we act. Think before we speak. 

We tell our kids all the time that they can do anything. They can be anyone. They can have the desires of their hearts. All through Christ, of course. They can chase their dreams and have their dream life. One of them asked me one time if my life was what I had dreamed it would be. That answer was a resounding NO. But I immediately followed that up by telling them that while my life isn’t what I thought it would be, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Just because I don’t have the dream house, and car, and bank account I always wanted, doesn’t mean that what I have right now is anything short of wonderful and blessed. No one has a perfect life but what we do have is perfect for us. And we can’t compare ourselves to other people in finances, weight loss, jobs, family. None of it. None of it matters if it’s not God-centered and what’s best for you. Just as the park ranger telling us about the thefts turned the moon into some criminal’s flashlight outside our tent, sometimes our perceptions of the world around us can make us feel like we aren’t worthy or loved or deserving. Sometimes, all it takes is putting on our glasses, letting ourselves receive the loving embrace of those around us and allowing them to put things in the right perspective. And just like that, what seems to be threatening and scary can turn into the miraculous and wonderful.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

A Better Weigh

This week was heavy. I could leave this post with just that small, four word sentence and it would be enough. You would all probably understand exactly what I mean. In their own way, every single person has probably had a heavy week. On the “lighter” side of this heavy week, I dropped and shattered a salt shaker on my glass cooktop. That was hilariously fun to clean. (No. No it wasn’t.) I have broken almost every remaining fingernail working on our outside projects. (No . . . I am not just being a girl . . . it HURTS when you break a nail!) And I ruined a perfectly good shirt backing into a grease bucket on my husband’s Traeger. (It’s okay though . . . I needed new paint/work clothes because I don’t have any that aren’t so big they just fall off!) On the “not-so-light-side” of this week, we moved into Passover and Good Friday and then Resurrection Sunday, Easter. And, most heavy of all, one of “my girls” mom’s crossed from this life into the next. She went Home this week. Grief is heavy. For all who love “our girl”, her family, and her precious mom, this is heavy. I was in my kitchen doing dishes literally just a minute ago. I have struggled with a blog topic this week because of all the “heaviness” . . . great and small . . . and I have struggled with finding a way to wrangle all my thoughts into a cohesive piece to write about. I just heard Marty McFly in “Back to the Future” exclaim to Doc, “Whoa, this is heavy!” Of course, Doc takes him literally and asks, “Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the earth’s gravitational pull?” I began thinking about how heavy this life can be. And then I started thinking about Doc’s literal translation of Marty’s question. It always comes back to weight for me, somehow, doesn’t it? But today, it was a little different. I was thinking about life and how nice it would be for it to “weigh less” and how I would also like to weigh less or just be weight less altogether. And of course, my stream of consciousness mind wandered into thinking about a trip to the Moon, or Mars . . .  But then, I brought my focus back, and I started thinking that just like we can’t exactly be weightless on this earth, we are not left “way less” in this life. We have been provided a way. And Easter is all the proof we need.

I listened today to several Easter services both online and on TV. One thing I really missed was the traditional Easter music from our hymnals. There is just something about music that is almost magical. It can comfort us when words fail. It can calm us when our anxieties take over. It can move us when we feel completely stuck or unmotivated. I’ve written before that for me, Christian Gospel or hymns are my favorite genre of music. I just feel His presence in a very real and comforting way listening to it. There is a song that I absolutely love listening to. It always inspires hope in me. It is called “Chain Breaker” by Zach Williams. It is at the top of my “Christian Feel Good” playlist on my iPhone. The chorus talks about a God who is a “pain taker” and a “way maker” and a “chain breaker”. I encourage you to look it up and listen to it if you haven’t heard it.

When we lift weights, or walk, or run, or do anything physical, it can and usually does cause pain in our muscles that leaves them sore. Pain is never fun. But pain is necessary to gain the strength we desire. As humans, we will do just about anything to avoid physical pain and to help those we love avoid it as well. When you are a parent, you begin to understand this protective nature. I can remember countless times pulling my boy’s hands away from something hot, or sharp, or pointy. There are still times when I see them attempting something that I start to say, “Someone’s gonna get . . .” and it’s already too late. You would do anything to prevent your child from experiencing pain. Then there are other times when you know and have to accept you can’t do anything to prevent pain from coming to them; physically or emotionally. You just have to let them walk through it and be there to walk through it with them. Unfortunately, there isn’t a thing we can do in our lives to prevent pain. To love is to know both pleasure and pain. The highest of highs and the lowest of lows are ours simply because we love. And I believe that to be able to fully appreciate either one, you have to know and experience the other. The good news though? We serve a God Who understands our pain and suffering as most will never know. He bore the pain of the cross so He could bring us comfort where and when we need it. I firmly believe that God wants to help us avoid as much pain as possible. But I also believe He knows we are going to have our share of it. Sometimes at our hands, through our choices, and sometimes at the hands of others. But He is standing ready to help us through it if we will allow Him to.

Sometimes, in the depths of our pain, we feel lost. Personally, I don’t even need to be in pain to feel lost at times. There is nothing like dealing with a huge life event to make us question our next step and even question the steps we have already taken. Sometimes, we look up from our pain and our heaviness to see a mass of indecision and a hundred different trail heads. At times, we struggle to see the defined path we know is there just beyond our sight. The Psalmist describes God’s Word as being a light to our path. The lamps carried in Biblical times were nothing like the piercing LED flashlights and lanterns we have today. They gave just enough light so the person walking had enough illumination to see only their next step. Just like that, we don’t have to know every step we are supposed to take. Just the next one in line and then the next and then the next. We can trust Him to give us exactly what is needed to have the courage to step into all He has called us to and know that even as we are moving, the path will be cleared out in front of us. He will order and direct our steps in real time. There are times when we HAVE found our path but the pain and the “lostness” we feel leaves us feeling chained to something we can’t break away from. Whether it is a result of our choices, or life’s events, traumas, tragedies, and heavy decisions, we feel chained.  Easter is the time when we are reminded of the great Love of Jesus. He single handedly dealt a death blow to Satan and evil. The heaviness of this past week is made a little lighter when we remember we are surrounded by people who love us. For me, I remember there are people who love me and are cheering me on to achieve my highest goals . . . in life in general, in my weight loss, in every area of my life. Although it was an Easter Sunday devoid of church and family gatherings, it was meaningful . . . even if I was still cleaning salt from the crevices on my stove. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

So What?

My oldest, Benjamin, has been blessed to have several great coaches throughout his young life. Ben is the kind of player who, in whatever sport he is playing, will run through a wall for a coach who has really inspired him to be the best version of himself. Now, baseball is DEFINITELY Ben’s sport. One particular young baseball coach really means a lot to him. He had a unique way of connecting with the kids and the kids really enjoyed and respected him. This coach would encourage the kids and try to keep their heads up. At times, this would prove really difficult because baseball is a sport where you fail more often than you succeed. Often, we would watch the batter swing and miss the ball coming to the plate. The player would look at the young coach standing in the coach’s box at third base with a very defeated or very embarrassed or very “help me” kind of look. But Ben’s coach? He would shrug his shoulders, grin, and say, “So what?” Was this a cold response? No, it wasn’t. These kids knew exactly what he was trying to say. He was telling them that they had still had more strikes . . . they hadn’t struck out. He might suggest a change to their stance or their position in the box. He might tell them to watch the ball all the way in or to be more patient and wait a split second longer to swing. One thing was CERTAIN. He always expected them to put that strike behind them, step back up to the plate and swing away.

Why did this come to mind this week? Well, for starters, we are REALLY missing baseball! But, beyond that, let’s just say that for a while I have been in a stall/plateau to end all. I have only been losing at a rate of a half a pound to a pound a week. It has been frustrating and mostly because I have been doing the right things. The other morning, as I was in the shower, I began thinking. The shower is a place where, second only to my walks, I do my best thinking. I was bemoaning the fact that about 10 days earlier the scale reflected an almost two pound gain for the first time since I started my new lifestyle and path. I was disheartened because I didn’t do anything “bad” and yet this had happened. My mind was certainly negative this particular morning and that isn’t usually how I operate. It just isn’t. But THIS morning, I was thinking about my kids. Having to do distance learning/homeschool; missing their friends; missing out on school functions; baseball; prom. I was worrying about my job . . . especially our patients and then our staff who are without income during our closure due to the shutdown of dentistry across the nation. I was stressing out about my husband stressing out about MY stressing out about all of the above. Then it hit me. SO WHAT? I swear I heard an actual sound . . . I heard the baseball “pop” in the catcher’s mitt after my bat cleanly missed it. Strike one: my stall/plateau. Strike two: my stress. 

I have not been focusing on all the good there is in life right now. With what’s going on in the world at the moment, it’s little wonder why.  But, this needs to change for me. I refuse to let myself spend too much time in the “negative thinking” realm. It is not who I am, primarily, and it’s not who God wants me to be. How do I do that? How do I avoid that dreaded third strike? Well, it’s going to take going to one, or possibly all, of those things in Ben’s young coach’s arsenal that he would use to encourage and teach that baseball team.

First, I gotta change my stance. How well prepared am I to face the things that come my way? Am I standing in an offensive or defensive position? Am I stiff and scared at the plate or am I relaxed and open? I need to have my mind prepared everyday to see all the different pitches the enemy is going to throw my way. I must stand in that box, toe the line, bat in hand, with the confidence that I KNOW, with God’s help, I can handle all of it. I must recognize and know that there are things in this world meant to derail me. In life and in weight loss. And those two things go hand in hand when you are a stress/emotionally driven eater like I am. I also have to recognize that ALL the problems in the world are NOT necessarily MY problems! This is hard for me! Remember Moses in the Bible? After he had led the people out of Egypt, he stepped up and sat as judge over them, to help them settle disputes and help them seek God’s will. Jethro, his father-in-law, was quick to point out that while what he was doing was noble, it was not the best approach. He was wearing himself out and he needed to share the load. He goes on to offer advice on how to do that and then tells Moses that if he would find good men to help serve as judges with him, reserving the most difficult cases for himself, he would be able to stand the strain. This came to mind this week because I realized, AGAIN, I can’t do this alone, nor is it healthful to try.

Second, I need to keep my eye on the ball. I gotta keep the main thing(s) the main thing(s). Again, going to the Bible because it is my TRUE source of encouragement and strength over the things we are dealing with in the world and in our lives right now. Philippians 4:8 tells us, “ . . . whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” I have to keep my eye on that ball and know what to do with it. If it isn’t something that is good and right, I am going to let it sail right by me. But, if that ball looks like everything it should be, I am going to hit it and run as fast as I can. There are plenty of things in life right now that we can be truly thankful for. I am home with my kids in a way I haven’t been since I started working outside the home almost 12 years ago. And I am LOVING it. I am especially feeling blessed because I am spending more time with them in a time when I feel like they truly need me . . . even if they don’t actually SAY they need me. We are healthy and alive and vibrant. There are so many misfortunes in this world. So much sickness, sadness and even death right now. Things could always be worse.

Third, I need to wait a split second longer to swing . . . patience. I need patience. Now, I have already written that patience is far from my strong suit. But I need to recognize that my body is changing and the “plus” or “minus” two pound changes in my weight are normal and NOT let myself freak out about it. (By the way, I have lost three pounds since gaining the two) I know that my body is still shrinking and the time has come to not pay as much attention to the number on the scale as the number on the size of my clothing and how I feel day in and day out. One more Bible verse, Galatians 6:9 is the perfect one for this: “And let us not grow weary while doing good, for in due season we shall reap, if we do not lose heart.” I need to trust the process and be patient with the process and be happy with how far I HAVE come. In all aspects of my life. Physical, emotional, spiritual. All aspects.

My friends, the world is full of crazy and it is full of bad. Especially right now. But it is also full of good. Lots and lots of good. Sometimes, we have to take time out to really search for the good to see it. Sometimes, it’s right in front of us. But we have another assurance that is definitely worth remembering right now. Romans 8:28 says,  “. . . that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose.” Does that mean that thinking positively and doing good and seeing good come easy? No. It doesn’t. But it does mean that I can be ready to receive all this world will throw my way because I know that while it may not be good in its initial delivery to me, God will turn it around and use it for my good and His glory. I just have to have the faith that He loves me enough to make this promise true for even me. For me, focusing my energies on prayer, Bible study and meditation help me overcome the darkness of the times we are living in. We can’t lose hope. So long as we live and breathe it is never too late to take hold of the Hope offered by God. Until that third strike, we keep swinging . . . making adjustments all the while.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Heart and Sole

My sister, Carly, was supposed to fly here this last weekend. She was supposed to get in last Sunday, watch the boys play a few games of baseball, attend our parent’s combined 80th birthday party, have lunch with a mutual friend and then head back home, heart full of new and exciting memories. But, just like everyone else, our plans were changed due to the Coronavirus. She changed her flight to another time and will come visit when it’s a little safer for all. Ironic, because we are both not working in our respective dental offices during this time. I started thinking about her not visiting this week and, of course, I am sad. Very sad, indeed. We will see her back here in May when Ben graduates from High School. As I thought about that, it brought me to a memory about the visit to Florida we all made last May to watch her son graduate from High School. All of the wonderful memories from that trip came flooding back. It was a great week. While I was there, Carly and I went for several walks together. We talked and laughed a LOT! About everything imaginable. She was soon going to watch her son graduate. I would be watching mine graduate the following year. The day before flying out to Florida, I bought new walking shoes and really hadn’t walked in them except through the airport. My feet started hurting both during and after our walks. I went out to find new supportive inserts for the new shoes. Foot pain gone. It’s amazing what happens when you get the support you need where you may need it most. 

Not only is physical support necessary, you’ve got to include some phenomenal support from the others around you who love you and who want to be there for you. I have been blessed throughout my life to have a wonderful village to help me through some of life’s nastiest curve balls (yes, I’m missing baseball!). I have been blessed with a wonderful family, inspiring teachers, great Pastors, and a treasure trove of loyal friends. They have all supported me through the best and worst decisions I have ever made. I really don’t know what I would have done without them!

My husband and sons are at the top of the list of supportive “Lacy Fan Club” members. Last year, when I decided to start this new lifestyle, I sat them down and told them I hadn’t been the best example of health . . . not by a long shot . . . but I was ready to start doing the right things to get myself in the best place I could possibly be . . . in every area of my life. I told them it was most definitely going to be a very long road. It was going to be full of twists and turns and hardships. But I told them I needed to take this road. My life truly depended on it. I asked them for their support. I let them know that I would not be able to eat late at night as we are accustomed to doing because one of five different sports usually had us out of the house until late evening hours. And if it wasn’t eating late at home, it was eating late at whatever drive thru we could find. It needed to change for ME and that meant they would be responsible for a lot of their own late night meals because I really didn’t have the willpower or discipline early on to NOT eat if I cooked late. They were all super supportive as I knew they would be. But I had no idea just how sure a foundation they would truly be to me. As time wore on, and I was getting more and more ingrained in my new eating habits, exercise habits and lifestyle, I was able to get back in the kitchen and cook for them without being nearly as tempted as I would have been early in the game. Their support has come in many forms: they ask me if they can eat “this or that” junk food in front of me because they don’t want me to deal with the temptation if I am not up to it. They check in with me regularly to see how I am feeling emotionally and how I’m doing metally. They tell me how proud they are of me ALL THE TIME. They have even gone on walks with me. I can’t fail to mention that my parents have also been super through this last year. We often travel together to ball games (of every variety) and in the last 14 months, they have completely understood when I said we were packing our dinner to make sure I could stick to my eating plan. My mom never fails to tell me how proud she is of what I have accomplished this past year. And my dad, a man of few words, will tell me, “You’re doing just great, sister!” I am so blessed!

I have also been fortunate to have had amazing teachers and Bible teaching/preaching Pastors who helped to support me through my life also. Our family has had its share of loss. And we have had our share of tragic loss of young lives. As I have mentioned, our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual beings are connected completely. If it hadn’t been for the support of these great leaders and mentors to me I don’t know where I would be or how I would have ended up. The Pastors I have had in my life have shown me straight from God’s Word that I need to be completely grounded IN the Word. Prayer, meditation and Bible study are a big part of my life. Not always as big a part as I need it and want it to be. But it is there. And it is never-failing. I can do nothing without Jesus. Apart from Him, I AM nothing. And I am so thankful that He is there for me even in moments when I can’t reach family and friends! He has listened to me a LOT this last year about all my frustrations and fears. A LOT. 

My circle of friends may not be the largest one around. But it is a very close-knit and loyal circle. I wrote about some of that last week so won’t delve into it too much right now. They have been so good for my soul this past year. Even further, I have a great group of acquaintances. All these people are always so supportive of my path and new lifestyle. I am here to tell you that we need people! I’ll say that again because it is so true . . . WE NEED PEOPLE. God put TWO people in the Garden of Eden when He created humankind. I fully believe that we are not alone on this planet because we need others. I am such a hug-everyone-I-come-across, social butterfly. Anyone who knows me, knows that is true. My husband tells me all the time that I have never met a stranger. And he’s not wrong. I try to treat people well and support them because I know I will need them, too. What goes around comes around, right?  My life has been made so much better because of the amazing friends and acquaintances I have. One word of caution . . . you have to be careful who you let into your head. Most people really are wanting to be helpful. I know this and you probably do, too. But, you will hear different ideas about the same things from as many people as you talk to in every area of life. Listen closely . . . not everyone who you will hear is worth listening to. Some really don’t know. Some really don’t care. You have to be smart and allow in only those things that will benefit and grow you. More often than not, you will find people who would offer parenting, marital, weight loss, career, self-help, spiritual walk advice to you. That’s what we do. We experiment and learn and fail and succeed and then we share with others our experiences in hopes of helping them learn and be and do better than we have done. 

One other person who has been a huge support to me this last year is ME. I have always had a tendency to let negative self image and negative self talk tear me down. I have been learning a lot from friends and loved ones that what is in our mind really does drive who we are. So being positive has to be intentional. We have to maintain a positive self image and the best way I find for me to do that is to listen to praise music, read my Bible and pray. There is nothing better to me than hearing that I am loved and worthy of love. And I know that Jesus loved me first and loves me most. I have to keep my mind aligned with how He sees me.  Worthy and loved. And slowly but surely, the negative self talk is being replaced by more positive self talk than ever before. Just like anything in life, the more we practice the better we get at things. Treating myself well and talking positively to and about me is coming easier and easier everyday.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how many people you have in your life who you can count on. What matters most is that you CAN count on them. And more important than HAVING the support you need is USING the support you need. It is a humbling thing to reach out to someone when you have a need. But however humbling it may be, it also extends to them the opportunity to bless you and receive blessings themselves. Don’t steal their blessing. Make sure you have the support you need in every area of your life. Then USE the support you need; both for your heart and your soles. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

A Conversation With “My Ghouls”

This week’s blog is going to be a little bit different. I have been receiving numerous questions from some of my readers. I really love that! And I want to take this week’s blog and answer those questions because I feel it is important to connect with you all on a very real level. I will do my best to give you what you are looking for here. I appreciate your support and that you take time out of your busy schedule to read my blog! Thank you!

What made me want to start losing weight and when did I decide my lifestyle needed to change? Well, for years, (too many to count) on Halloween night, we have been gathering together with a group of friends who have kids the same ages/grades as ours. We get together, eat, and have a great time while the kids, now old enough to go on their own the last few years, all head out to reap candy from kind neighbors and friends. In 2018, we all sat around and visited just as we had in years past and, over the course of the night, the men found themselves at the kitchen table and the ladies were gathered in the family room laughing and talking. In this group are some wonderful girlfriends. I had alluded to these friends in one of my early blogs . . . we affectionately call ourselves “my girls”. The friends who make up “my girls” are a varied bunch. We have Cara and I who have struggled with our weight for a long time. There are a couple more who run often and train for different 5k and 10k runs. Another is a crossfitter and has shared in the same struggle (but not to the same extent) as Cara and I have. And still another who walks regularly and has always maintained a healthy lifestyle. Not unlike many close groups of girlfriends, we have shared a LOT of life with each other. We have laughed together (SO MUCH) and cried together, and joked, and played, and shared hopes, dreams, and fears, and we have complained, and we have celebrated large and small things, and we have individually risen victorious through various circumstances all while giving the very best of ourselves to each other as often as we can. This night was no different. I shared with them that I had been contacted by a former business partner about a new CBD company coming to market that was offering products unlike any in the marketplace anywhere in the world. She had contacted me about 2 weeks prior to this Halloween night. This company has a weight loss coffee which actually really appealed to me. Yet, I was undecided as to whether or not I was going to join in with her. Then Cara told our group that she had decided she was going to have bariatric surgery to assist her in losing weight. I am really not sure what else was said because my mind kind of stopped. I may have even blacked out. Not because of WHAT she said. I was actually really happy for her. This topic had been put out there by her and even myself before and I knew she was in a place at that moment where she knew she wanted to be healthier. But I also knew that this meant that I WAS ABOUT TO BE MY ONLY FAT FRIEND. I saw this in flashes of light across the back of my eyelids. I heard in my mind this dramatic doom and dread announcing music from the cartoons and movies, “BOM, BOM, BOMMMMM . . . ” and I’m pretty sure I heard Robin say, “Holy fat rolls, Batman!” Bottom line was I knew I needed to do something or this group of girls would be doing things together that I may not be physically able to do. It was very real to me at that moment and it made me very sad to think about. And that night, I made the decision to sign up to be a brand partner with NEWYOU so I could use the weight loss coffee. And am I ever glad that I did!

What are things I have tried in the past and what am I doing now to lose? I have tried just about everything you can think of, honestly. I have tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, Noom, Beachbody . . . and the list goes on. Now, these programs all worked for a while. But, what I hadn’t tried was commitment to the new lifestyle that would be needed. I would do these programs either half heartedly or I would give it my all and eventually tire and be frustrated with how long the process was taking and stop. And when I stopped, I always gained the weight I had lost back. And that weight came with more weight than I had lost initially. The thing that didn’t work for me in the past was ME. I have been in this new lifestyle for nearly 14 months and I have lost over 140 pounds. I don’t know why I thought it was going to be a fast process. Or an easy one. And I also had a hard time admitting I had a problem to begin with. My numbers were always really good on my yearly blood test reports. And I felt good. Consequently, in my mind, nothing needed to change. I was just fine. However, I have finally found something that has given me better success than I have ever achieved before. My CBD business is with a company called NEWYOU. They launched the first of it’s kind weight management system combined with daily CBD intake. It has made the difference for me. Part of that program is the weight loss coffee which curbs appetite and levels blood sugar in our body. I absolutely love it. Another part of this system is an intermittent fast. I eat no later than 6:30 at night and then I don’t eat again until 10:30 the next morning. I drink the coffee with NEWYOU’s amazing nano-amplified beverage drops with CBD added in at about 8 in the morning. And I walk. A lot. I try my best to walk at least 5 out of 7 days a week and go no less than 2 miles. I have been fortunate to be able to share this amazing system with numerous others. Most of them have had great successes with it as well. And it has been so fulfilling watching others change as I have.

Was my decision to start losing weight “doctor recommended” and what did my blood work look like before and after? I can tell you that my doctor would always mention my weight. Never in a way that left me feeling shamed or like a terrible person or “less than” as I have mentioned before. No, she has always been very caring and concerned. She would just tell me it would be good to get some of the weight off. I am glad that she has been so kind and compassionate through my time with her because if it had come from her as a strong recommendation, I would likely have turned to my stubbornness or started and not been nearly as committed as I needed to be. I don’t have the numbers with me right now as far as what my labs have looked like. I will try and get them and will report back to you when I have my yearly physical in the next few months. I am about a month behind in doing my yearly check up. (Don’t judge me – it’s been a long year!) 

How do I feel since losing weight and what has changed for me as a result of the weight loss? I feel fantastic. I feel healthier. But I always say part of that is my daily, consistent intake of CBD and the other part is the weight loss itself. As far as changes go, there are so many! Too many to list all of them here. But I’ll try! I can move better. I can walk farther than I had ever even attempted before. I can paint my toenails without having to be a contortionist. I can tie my shoes without holding my breath. I can fit into a chair with armrests and FIT without feeling them pinching into my thighs. I have a jawline and a neck! I can buckle the seatbelt with one hand and don’t have to lean over to expose the receiving mechanism of that belt in the seat. But more than that, it’s all the “things” I have already written about. And really so much more. My smile is bigger. My laugh may be a little louder. I have a different confidence. I wear jewelry again; more than just my wedding ring, anyway. And I have been the recipient of beautiful hand-me-downs from “my girl” as she has lost weight. (I affectionately call all these clothes my “Cara Collection” and she has great taste!)

What has been my biggest struggle and how much more weight do I have to lose? My biggest struggle is patience, I think. That and the fact that I am an emotional/stress eater. I have SO much weight to lose and it is taking a long time. And I know that it WILL take a long time. I just wish it were faster. But the weight didn’t pack on overnight and it isn’t going to be conquered overnight. I haven’t really had many days when I stress eat. I allow myself a cheat day. And I usually can’t eat all of the “sweet” item I have chosen because my body isn’t used to it anymore and my tastes have changed. I don’t crave it. But that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy it. The weather is also a challenge sometimes. Living in Colorado and walking outdoors can be tricky in the winter. But I am back out there again now. I still have about 80 pounds to lose. I do understand that some of my weight is now tied up in all the loose skin I have inherited as the fat has disappeared. So I really don’t know how much more I can lose versus how much weight there is left in the skin that will eventually need to be surgically removed. 

And last, someone wrote, “I’ve heard that sometimes there is a moment in time when a person can pinpoint when they began to gain weight. Do you have a specific moment in time that you can see where you shifted your lifestyle or did it just happen?” In short order, yes. I know there was a specific time when I stopped caring and stopped believing that I deserved to be happy and healthy or that I had any beauty or worth. And, again, I spoke to that in a previous blog. Let me say this, all of us at some point will encounter moments in life that are so much bigger than ourselves. When we give birth to a child; when we bury a loved one; when we are forced to walk through a traumatic event or the consequences of a tragic decision by ourselves or someone else, all of these things shake you. All of these things change you. To our very core. And our response to these things varies person to person, event to event. I didn’t ever turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism for the things I have had to walk through. But I did turn to food and what that food brought to me. Added pounds to hide Lacy away from the world as a depression so deep and dark took my life over completely. But, through the love of an unfailing God, the love of my family, a company with the best CBD (and people/leaders) on the planet, and the absolutely unwavering love and support of friends (especially “my girls”), I have arrived on the other side of darkness. Very literally. My little conversation with friends on Halloween night in 2018 will forever go down as the day that Lacy decided. She decided to take the drastic steps she needed to get healthy for herself and her family. She decided she was worthy enough to receive the love and support of her family and friends. And she decided she wanted to write a different ending for herself. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Show Me Your Hundo

For the past couple weeks, Wade, my husband, has been fighting a cold. He is on the tail end of it now. But last Sunday, we went out to eat as we usually do after church. I ended up getting sick to my stomach later that day. Wade had started his delicious chicken and rice soup that afternoon. He had asked me to taste it for him to see if the seasoning was where it needed to be. I kindly declined as I was trying to keep the contents from lunch in my stomach already and wasn’t about to add anything to that mix. Ben, our oldest son, came out from his bedroom and his dad asked him to taste the broth to see if it was good. Ben looked out at me on the couch with a questioning look as if to ask, “Why can’t mom?” Wade answered the unspoken question with, “Mom isn’t feeling very well and is trying not to lose her lunch.” For a split second, compassion came from the 18-year-old standing there. He said, very sweetly, “Awww, man, you guys . . .” and then immediately followed it up with, “You both need to figure this out because it’s baseball season and I need to be a hundo (100%)!” We all laughed. He made a valid point, though, that has been on my mind all week. He didn’t want to be affected by the ailments of others. He knew what we had had the potential to cross over to him and he didn’t want that at all. I don’t blame him!

In thinking about what Ben said, I have really been considering how my life choices and decisions affect others. Especially how it affects my family. Sure, I have thought about this before, but never in this light. I am nothing special. Nothing great. But my life does have an impact on others. And the ones I am most concerned about have probably suffered the most from some of my poorest decisions. I know that my food choices and my exercise choices (or lack thereof) have affected my family in adverse ways. I haven’t always stocked the most healthy foods in the pantry or refrigerator. I haven’t always cooked the most healthy, nutritious and well-rounded meals. I haven’t always made the best decisions around sporting events that kept us out until late hours by packing good choices for all of us to eat when there is almost always a McDonalds, or a Wendy’s or another fast food joint right around the corner.

This reaches much further than just the health choices we make. Ever said a curse word in front of a 3-year-old? Then you understand what I am saying. Our kids and other people who rely on us are far more impacted by what we say and do than I think we realize. You know, I can imagine for most, if not all, of us there is at least one thing that has been said or done to us that we can recall in perfect detail. It may have been about our weight, or our hair, or our school work, or our clothing, or our economic status, or our family, and on and on. The list is endless. And whether we realize it or not, those words or actions had an impact on us and in some cases STILL affect our thoughts and actions. It could have been a negative or a positive comment. It could have been said intentionally or unintentionally. As a parent, I can think back on a slew of things I have either said or done that I know impacted my children in like fashion. As a fellow human on earth relating to other fellow humans on earth, the same. 

I could let the guilt of the choices I made because of my ignorance and stubbornness that I wrote about last week cripple me. I know that my family hasn’t always been the healthiest and most conscious about good eating and exercise. And that falls on me. It’s not the responsibility of our schools, daycares, family and friends, or the government to educate our kids about what is right for them when it comes to their food choices. It is up to us, as parents and guardians, to make sure they have the resources and wealth of our knowledge to draw from to make the best decisions. I could let that guilt keep me from feeling good about the “good” things they have learned from me. They are kind, caring and compassionate individuals. They love the Lord and know they need to serve Him in whatever capacity they can. They have good morals and ethics. And that is enough. Despite my poor choices in some of these areas, they are healthy individuals and thankfully, for the most part, make good decisions when it comes to their health and well-being. They are athletes and have a greater vision for their future than their mom has previously had for hers. They know they need to do the right things to keep their bodies in the shape they need to perform at higher levels. Thank the Lord for that!

A man named Ezra Taft Benson said, “The condition of the physical body can affect the spirit.” I believe that. I wrote last week that I believe we are completely intertwined mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. And this quote speaks to that. If we are not taking care of ourselves physically and keeping our body fed and nurtured as it should be and with the right things, we tire more quickly, we fall sick more easily, we are unable to perform at optimum levels for any period of time. And that directly affects our spiritual being. We aren’t able to focus on prayer and meditation as we need to. We aren’t able to focus clearly on issues and even problems at hand and deal with them in the correct manner. For me, personally, when I am tired and run down, I just DON’T deal with things. I choose to push them away and tell myself I will deal with them later. And then they pile on. And by the time I start to try to deal with them, even when feeling my best, I don’t even know where to start. It’s something I am learning and getting better at every day.

In this world of chaos, especially right now, we need to keep the main thing the main thing. We have to understand how our decisions are affecting other people. Take this Coronavirus panic for example. I spoke with my parents about their supply of things they may need in the coming days. Our family buys almost everything we need in bulk at Costco. After all, we have two GROWING boys. We are in good shape with most of the supplies we have. My parents are elderly. They live in a small apartment and don’t have the space to stockpile anything. I talked to them about their essentials. I asked about toilet paper specifically because, whatever the reason for it, you can’t find it anywhere. My Mom said they have a few rolls. I told her when she was out to let me know and I would bring her what they needed because we have some. My concern in this is that they are alright. I want them to be safe and comfortable in a time when panic is overrunning common sense. I really do understand the need for caution right now. The world needs more love and compassion and consideration of others all the time anyway. But especially in times like these.

My resolve this week has been strengthened; to make sure I am more aware of the things I say and do to others and to recognize how the choices I make may appear to others and the messages it may send to them. And to know how it will affect them . . . positively or negatively. Especially right now, it seems kindness and compassion need to be spread even more. Please do what’s right. Do what’s fair. Check in on the elderly and most vulnerable of our population. Give “a hundo” to do your part to make sure your decisions are affecting others for good. ALWAYS. 

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Then When You Know Better, Do Better

I went for a walk yesterday. It was the first one in longer than I’d like to admit. I need to be better. Oh, I can blame the weather. I can blame the physical issues I have dealt with over the last several months. I can blame a lot of things. But, the point is, I know I need to be walking more faithfully to continue to drop the necessary weight. I didn’t set any land-speed records. In fact, it was one of the slower times for one of my completed two-mile walks. I went 2.08 miles in 39 minutes. As I said, nothing phenomenal here. I did what I normally do on my walks. I worked on my relationships, my spiritual well-being, my role as a wife and mother, my CBD business . . . and so on. (I mean, come on girls, we can flat THINK when we are alone, right?) And then, when I have exhausted my brain thinking about those topics, I move on to national and global issues. Yesterday was no different. And, no, the Coronavirus NEVER came up. I do this while listening to anything from Alanis Morissette to Metallica to the Gaither Vocal Band. It depends on which part of me I am feeding . . . the girl-power, the garage metal fan, or the Gospel lover. It varies. And sometimes, I listen to country. Because who doesn’t need a little “livin’, lovin’ and leavin’” songs once in a while to make you feel better about your life? Yesterday, I kept coming back to one thing. I need to be better again about walking and physical movement. Because I know better.

Maya Angelou said, “Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better.” I have loved this saying since the first time I read it and use it on my kids all the time. I know, poor, unfortunate boys. But I believe it applies to every single aspect of our lives. Yesterday on my walk, my mind kept going back to a conversation with my husband, Wade, from this last week. Follow me here . . . I ordered my oldest son’s graduation announcements last week. The same day, he told the baseball coach at the college where he had tried out that he would gladly accept the coach’s offer to play for him. S#!% JUST GOT REAL. Very real. And I had a mad, UGLY cry with Wade a couple days later. There is more that led to that cry than just Ben graduating and committing to college for baseball. But it happened. We were driving to Walmart (my favorite place on the planet . . . not) to shop (my favorite pastime . . . not) for a few things. I lost my mind. I feel like there is this “takes my breath away” feeling when I think of him not being here. But it’s such a happy feeling, too. I feel like I am grieving the fact that in a couple short months things will never be the same. He will always be my baby. But he won’t always be MY baby. And it is okay. It’s what’s supposed to happen. Change happens. And, usually, it is good. And the blessing is that he is alive and well. So many parents have to grieve the fact that their children have not lived long enough to experience the “what’s next” chapter of their lives. Please know, I do understand the difference. We are blessed to be able to miss him in a different way this fall.

So, you might ask, how does this translate to my weight loss and healthy living journey? Well, hang on as I invite you into my crazy, messed up, stream-of-consciousness mind. Last week, I said I am having a hard time loving the girl I saw in old photos for allowing herself to get so far from what she KNEW to do for herself. I realized that part of what I am feeling is a grief over the “ignorance” I have lost over the last year. Not innocence. That ship has long sailed. Ignorance. And the “stubbornness” in my thinking that I was okay in the shape I was in because all of my “numbers” on my blood work reports always came back good. I have always been healthy on paper. Blood sugar within normal ranges. Cholesterol and other factors for disease all within normal ranges. While those things are true, I am no longer ignorantly thinking that they will remain like that forever. The longer I lived that way, the more “at risk” I made myself for all the bad health conditions that could come. I think the grief plays a part because I am missing how easy it was to not think about the life I was living. I would go through periods where I would lose weight for a while. Then, I would start eating just a little bit more here or there. Always with the mindset that “one day won’t hurt me.” And while that is true, it was followed by another day thinking the same. And then another. And I would bargain with myself as if my eating habits were like the alarm clock on a sleepless night. You know, “If I can fall asleep now, I can get 5 hours . . . 3 hours . . . 2 hours . . .” Only it sounded like, “I will start tomorrow (or the next week, or the next) eating better.” Or, “If I start next week I will still have 3 months until I am supposed to fit into that plane seat.” Now, though, when I eat something I know I shouldn’t (beyond my normal cheat day, mind you), I feel disgusted with myself. And I miss the ignorance of not caring. 

Several things have come with my weight loss and this journey I’m on . . . how to eat better, how to exercise, how to care better for myself mentally, spiritually, emotionally and physically. In this journey, I have realized in a new and fresh way just how connected all four of those aspects are. You really can’t take care of one without tending to the other three. I am in a place now that I know I can’t and WON’T let myself ever go back to where I was. This has been a very hard and trying year. But a very rewarding year. I feel that while there is a sort of grieving happening over this change, it IS still a good change, and it translates to life and what I am dealing with for Ben right now. But I know that he is ready. For the new, the different, the better. And in my new-found lifestyle and habits, I, too, am ready. For the new, the different, the better. Because I know better, I do better. Speaking of that, I think I’ll go for my walk now before the rain comes this evening. And today, I’m feeling Metallica.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

All You Need is Love

I have spent some time lately looking at old pictures because my oldest is set to graduate in a few short months and I need to find pictures to display during his graduation party. I was looking at a few pictures the other night from years gone by. One of them was taken when I was at my largest/heaviest. I am here to tell you, looking at some of those pictures is painful. It’s very painful, actually. Not because I feel sorry for the very, very big girl in the pictures. No, not really. More so, because I am finding it really hard to love “that” girl. I don’t know the last time I was really kind to her. The other day, I mentioned this to a dear friend of mine, a very wise woman. She had been married before her current husband and had raised a family with this man. But her first marriage had been very difficult. I told her I was looking at these pictures and the smile on “that” girl’s face made me sad. I hadn’t smiled big in years and my eyes were sad. She said I reminded her of a time when she had looked at a family photograph of her and her children with her ex-husband. She said that she felt sorry for the woman in the picture. I asked her if she ever struggled with loving that woman in the photo.  She answered simply, “No. She tried so hard . . . but not able to change the other person. She was dutiful to stay. She loved the man until she couldn’t love him anymore.” I then told her that I was struggling to love THAT girl in my photos. Heck, I’m struggling to love THIS girl.

There are so many things to which I can attribute the difficulty I have in loving myself. I have been in church most of my life. (There was a 3 year span when I was not attending church and a lot of lessons were learned during that time and I’ll leave it there.) I grew up in the church, went to a Christian school for 6 years and have raised our family in church. I am a born-again believer, Christ-follower and sinner, saved by God’s grace. Throughout my life, both in and outside the church, I have been surrounded by people who all have different opinions on what we should think about ourselves. Without chasing a rabbit here, I will let you in on a few things I believe about self-love. I have met people who live like they believe that humility is more about self-degradation and deprivation than simply holding others in higher esteem than themselves. I don’t believe that we have to put ourselves down in order to hold others higher. And I believe firmly in what the Bible says when it tells us to love our neighbors as ourselves. But, to do THAT, we must recognize in those verses the forethought that we are to love ourselves. Not with a prideful, “better-than-anyone-else” kind of love. Not thinking we are “more than” anyone else. But also not thinking we are “less than” anyone else. 

The old adage, “What would Jesus do?” . . .  WWJD . . . can be reworded to fit in this instance.  We could ask ourselves, “What does Jesus think?” . . . About us?  About you? About me? One thing’s for sure. He loves us beyond measure. He gave His life for us. And why would WE not love His creation? Starting with ourselves. For me, it’s normally fairly easy to love others. And I think most people don’t find it too hard to love themselves. I have read that for most people self-love isn’t hard. Most people typically tend to think fairly highly of themselves. For others, sometimes that is hard. I haven’t loved “this” girl in a long time. If ever, if I’m being completely honest. 

I spoke last week about finding my voice. I don’t think I KNOW exactly what my next calling in this life is going to be. But I do know I am meant for something greater than what I am doing with my life right now. I am being called to a higher purpose. One with more Kingdom impact. But to find that purpose and flesh it out, so to speak, I have to find my voice. And I have to find a way to love Lacy. I am writing about “losing Lacy” during those years I gained weight. But “loving Lacy” may be the next chapter.

I am slowly understanding that the girl in the photos was and is worthy of receiving kindness from me. She was and is worthy of my love. King David in the Bible was tasked with gathering the materials that would be used to build the temple. While he was never going to see that project come to fruition and completed, he laid the groundwork for it. He purchased the land, materials and such that would be used. In doing so, he helped King Solomon (his son and temple builder) achieve HIS purpose and build it. Much in that way, that girl in the photos I am struggling to love in the state she was in for so many years has laid the groundwork and has gathered resources outside herself and has prepared “this girl” to find her purpose. 

What I realized when my friend told me that she didn’t struggle to love the girl in the photos with her family all those years ago was this: only through seeing ourselves through the eyes of Christ and learning to love ourselves through those eyes can healing and understanding and compassion and love take place and grow and blossom. Without proper self-love and self-care we cannot in any capacity care for and love those nearest and dearest to us let alone the world outside of those we love so dearly. As I’ve said before, you are worth whatever it takes to be healthy in whatever way matters the most to you. And I’m praying that whoever needs to hear this can learn to love YOU as the creation God made and the purposes He has set in motion for your life. Learn to love YOU. God sure does.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Between the Shadow and the Light

When he was a baby, my youngest son, Franklin, started trying to coo and make noises with his voice. He was lying on the floor trying so hard to “talk” to his older brother, Ben, who was encouraging him and tickling him and talking to him. Franklin made this noise and scared himself so bad he started crying. I laughed as I picked him up to console him while Ben was concerned he had done something wrong. I told him that he hadn’t done anything wrong at all but that Franklin had just figured out how to make his voice work and that it startled him. I told Ben that now Franklin would never stop. And he hasn’t. But that’s another story altogether!

Sometimes in life, we come across rather hard and even traumatic events that find a way to steal our voice. No, not the actual sound that we hear when we speak. I mean the inner “you” you hear in your head . . . the part of you that tells you to stand up for yourself; the part of you that communicates who you are to someone else . . .   Sometimes, it’s one event. Sometimes, it’s more. Sometimes, it’s a trauma. Sometimes, it’s a tragedy. In my case, it was a very traumatic event that I had to walk through. And here’s a glimpse of one or two things I learned through it. 

There are things in this life that happen that seem almost impossible to form words around. In the midst of those happenings, there are times when you might find yourself sitting with someone who really, truly, deeply cares about you and your well-being. That person can ask you what’s wrong, what’s bothering. They want to help you and you know that on a cellular level. You can feel it with your very pores. But you have lost something as a result of that trauma, tragedy or event. An important piece of you. The ability and/or desire to use your voice. After all, if your voice . . . your inner you . . . couldn’t stop the tragedy or trauma from happening in the first place, what is the point of trying to explain what is going on now to them. I remember allowing myself to believe that I had no beauty and no worth and I really didn’t deserve to be happy and healthy. It makes what has happened to you easier to deal with and live with and survive when you can minimize who and what you are. And so, I came to those conclusions as a response to what had happened. And I believed those lies FOR YEARS.

Sometimes, in response to an event of that magnitude, people turn to drugs, or alcohol, or some other addiction. Sometimes, it can lead to someone putting on a little weight. And then a little more and then a little more. Until one morning you wake up and step on the scale and BOOM . . . it hits you. This number and its enormity. This is exactly how it happened for me. For a while, I really was okay with my weight gain. There was something very comforting in the thought that as I gained, I was less and less important . . . less and less credible . . . less and less attractive . . . less and less desirable . . . less and less meaningful . . . or at least that is how I saw myself. I thought I was doing a great job of just blending into the background of my life. Nothing ever to draw attention to ME.

What I have figured out in the last year has been nothing short of miraculous for me. I have learned that there is a huge difference between secrecy and privacy . . . how detrimental the first can be versus how liberating the latter one can be. I’ve learned that it’s okay to not be okay. You can talk about that with the people who care about you. You can share the most broken and shattered pieces of YOU with those you love and who love you back. They don’t have to try and “fix” you. Just listening and hearing you is enough. And it is okay. Let me say that one more time. IT. IS. OKAY. Because if we can’t share our vulnerabilities and insecurities and hurts and worries with those we love, we can’t truly celebrate the successes and triumphs and victories over some of those same things with them, can we?

While I have tried to instill in my children the absolute need to use their voice for good, to speak up for others and especially to advocate for themselves, I haven’t always been a good example of that. It’s been more of a “do as I say, not as I do” situation. I don’t advocate for myself. I haven’t asked for raises in my places of employment. I have always worked hard and hoped my employers would be fair and compensate me for what I bring to a team. I don’t stand up for myself – like, ever. My voice has always been tempered with kindness. In fact, it’s often more kindness than voice. BUT, I am learning.

Have you ever had something happen that in its wake left you completely unwilling or even unable to speak up for yourself? It can be one of a hundred things that can happen in life. And that’s the point, right? Because not everything that goes on in life is directly related to weight loss or gain. For me, I feel like I have hidden in a penumbra. You know, the part of the shadow that lives between the light and the dark. People readily see the light. And some are drawn to the dark. But that little tiny strip between the dark and the light is safe. No one looks there. Not at all. But for the first time, I am walking out of that shadow. I am emerging in this new and changing body that people are complimenting. And I am growing more and more comfortable with that by the day.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

Super Woman Suit: Dignity Version . . .

“You’re more YOU than you’ve EVER been!” . . . This came from a childhood friend of mine as we were enjoying lunch together a few weeks ago. We were talking about the physical transformation that has happened to me in the last year and the “person” who has changed along with it. Hearing this from a friend who has known me since I was 5 years old brought tears to my eyes. Hers, too. I had thought about this very thing throughout the past year. But, as she said it, it seemed as though I was hearing it anew. There is no question. I have changed a LOT in the last year. This is not necessarily a profound statement as I believe that we all experience change in our life with time and effort and growth. We aren’t supposed to stay the same. But the changes she was speaking to have come because there was a restoration of something I had lost a long, LONG while ago. My dignity.  

Eleanor Roosevelt is credited with saying, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” While I do believe this is true, I also believe that people can TREAT you inferiorly and THAT, of course, doesn’t require your consent to happen. It is a hard thing to be treated as “less than” and NOT let it affect you. We have all kinds of laws in this country that deal with the many possible mistreatments of humans. Among those, we have laws against discrimination. You can’t treat someone who is not the same race, religion, gender, age, etc. any differently than you would treat someone who shares those same characteristics with you.  And we shouldn’t. Now, please hear me when I say that I haven’t been discriminated against because of my weight. Not in the way that the people I’ve listed above have. But I can tell you I have been treated as “less than” at times because I am “bigger than” most (or at least I WAS . . . ).

The “less than” treatment comes subtly most of the time. It is in the sideways glance of someone in a restaurant when you are ordering a slice of pie. Or when someone boards an airplane and sees you sitting in your seat, makes eye contact with you and then immediately looks away until they are past you in the aisle. Or they are seated and immediately look away hoping you won’t choose THAT middle seat next to them. Or when you walk into a waiting room and there are only chairs with arms on them and you know full well that your big hind end isn’t going to fit in them well at all and you watch people watch you try and then sit uncomfortably anyway. (It’s THE reason I haven’t been to ANY Rockies games in the last several years until this last fall!) Or when someone who overheard you telling your best friend you have started down a new lifestyle path to lose weight and get healthy says to you, “You’re going to be SO beautiful when your body matches your face . . . “ (Yes, that really happened, and NO, I am still not telling “my girls” who it was). And while I THINK that person was well-meaning and not intentionally hurtful, it still really hurt. I have so many more examples like these. Too many to write out here! My point is this: all of these things make you feel “less than”. And something bad starts to happen. At least it did for me. You start to minimize. Not the things that have happened. No. You minimize YOURSELF because that minimization makes those things that have happened more bearable. They have less impact if you believe you aren’t really worth enough to be treated any differently. If you’ve ever walked through a trauma . . . especially one caused by other humans . . . you understand this minimization can happen there in the same manner. And when you combine the response to the trauma with the things that have happened during your weight gain, as I did for years, it is SO EASY to just let yourself believe you’re not worth any better treatment because you just don’t deserve it.

Every time someone thinks that a fat person isn’t smart or shouldn’t be able to do this or that, or shouldn’t be ALLOWED to do this or that, because of their body size, it has the potential to steal away little bits of your dignity. And I allowed it to happen for years. My sister once told me that she was watching TV with an acquaintance. A program came on in which a very obese mother had neglected and abused her kids. The courts were sentencing her. This acquaintance said that she didn’t think that any fat person should ever be allowed to have kids. It instantly angered my sister and she spoke up and said, “My sister is a fat girl. And she is a great mom!” The acquaintance apologized. But it truly is things like this that help you understand that “fat” is also a stereotype. It would help to remember (use a Venn Diagram if you need to) that not all fat people are the same in every category. But I can guarantee that we are all looking for a way out of the big-bodied life we have allowed ourselves to be in. One thing I have hated most over the years of being so big is that I know my weight bothers other people. And that bothers me. Not ALL people, mind you. But a lot of people. I can’t exactly pinpoint what about it really bothers me the most about it bothering them. Is it because I am the one to blame for my size? Or is it because I am a hopeless people-pleaser? I mean that I want everyone to like me, and to get along, and to be nice, and to be drama free! And I know that some people can’t look past the large exterior to see the person inside that is really worth getting to know. 

But let me tell you a little bit about me. I have never tied beauty to a body size or a face even. Maybe because I have been so big for so long. I have wanted so much at times for people to get to know ME for me. Not make assumptions about who I am because of the massive body I happen to be contained in. No. I want them to know the girl who apologizes constantly for perceived inconveniences I may have caused someone by just being. The girl who is so self-conscious, she is CONSTANTLY tugging at her clothing, or picking at her cuticles, or looking down or . . . The girl who actually feels guilty because she makes others uncomfortable because she is so big. The girl who doesn’t like that others have to think of the accommodations that may need to be made so SHE is comfortable and safe. The girl who at times, has felt she wasn’t even worthy of the oxygen she was breathing. That girl. Now, this is NOT to say that I don’t have a wonderful set of friends and acquaintances and a husband who loves me more than life itself. These people see ME. They don’t see my size. I just wish it was as easy for the rest of the world to do as it seems to be for them.

What did I recognize in this last year and uncover that led me to find my dignity again? How did I find it? Well, it wasn’t like I ran into a phone booth and peeled off my “fat suit” to expose my Super Woman Suit: Dignity Version. It came in small bits and pieces. It came as I realized that the outside world isn’t any more responsible for my “less than” feelings I mentioned in the above scenarios than the man in the moon is. I have learned that unless you have been a very large person, you won’t ever truly understand what goes on in the mind of a big girl. And I really can’t say for certain how much of what I talked about before is really how things have been versus how I have PERCEIVED them to be. There is truth there, though. There really is.  

In addition to all that, though, I think I bought into the fact that I AM more ME than I have ever been. I am more comfortable in my own skin. LITERALLY. And I remembered these things: I am smart. I am capable. I am kind. I am funny (or at least sometimes I think I am). I am loyal to a fault. I am strong. I am able. I care about others. I have many talents. I am really good and even really great at some things; but I am humble enough to know and admit that I am terrible at others. I have nice hair and skin. I have pretty eyes and a beautiful smile . . . or so I am told 🙂 And I am so much MORE than just these I’ve listed. I remembered all of these things, affirmed some others, and found for the first time other characteristics and attributes I had never really used or even knew I possessed. In the last few months, I feel like one important part of me has truly been “found” . . . my voice. I will try and explain that next week . . .

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

A Willing Heart . . .

First off, THANK YOU for all the kind and encouraging responses to my first blog post last week. I was touched by how many of you sent a private message, texted, stopped me in person and even called to tell me what you thought about the post and how it spoke to you. I am overwhelmingly surprised by your response. And humbled. Second, I have to confess. This has been way more difficult than I thought it would be; trying to figure out exactly what I wanted to write about this week and then putting those thoughts on paper, so to speak.

I mentioned “things” last week. Lots and lots of “things” that I had lost. My intention is to write about those topics, one by one. I think, though, to do them any kind of justice, I need to be honest and say that while some of the things I lost were directly related to my weight gain, some were related to life events and struggles and traumas that I allowed to cause the weight gain in the first place. Understand, I am not delving into those things here. But also please understand I realize everyone has crap in their lives that they have to walk through. And while those events DO NOT define us, they do shape and mold and refine us. So, if I mention some feeling, or thought, or emotion, that may relate to something that has happened in your life or brings you to a place of remembrance of some “crap” you’ve had to walk through, I fully believe it is God using my story to directly help you know you’re not alone in it all. None of us are. Ever.

One of the first things I saw return to my life in the last year is “willingness” . . . For years, I have “wanted” to be in a smaller body, to have a healthier lifestyle, to be less at risk for diabetes, heart disease and stroke or heart attack. What I wasn’t was “willing”. I recently heard someone say that you can want with all your might, but if you’re not willing you’ll never get what you want or arrive where you want to be. I have books and articles and recipes and programs and videos that are geared toward people looking to “up their game” to a healthier lifestyle and lose weight and achieve their biggest and most noteworthy goals. I am telling you right now, some of those have NEVER even been unwrapped. I have workout videos that seemed simple and fun and they are still in the plastic wrap I bought them in. If intention and “want to” were what it took to succeed, I would weigh 130 pounds right now. It’s almost like I thought that somehow by just buying and owning those items I would suddenly be motivated or that the weight would just miraculously start to drop. But there truly has to be an “aha” moment that leads to an action. I wish I could say it came with lights and banners and a “peaceful, easy feeling” but it sure didn’t. What it did come with was a realization I think I knew a long time ago but it came to me now with a terrifying sense of reality . . . I was going to die an untimely death if I didn’t change. I was willing for the first time in my life to do whatever it was going to take to be here with my family for a very long time.

This new willingness I found encompassed more than just a willingness to do something about my weight. It came with being willing to admit that I really needed to make some major changes. I had to be willing to be completely honest with myself. That was really hard because for years I told myself that being a “big girl” really hadn’t bothered me. But, in truth, it had. (And, more so, it bothered me that it bothered other people . . . we will get to that some other time.) I had to be willing to admit that owning all the tools in the world that could help me move from fat to fit weren’t doing me a BIT of good because I hadn’t used any of them. I also had to be willing to step into a new way of life and even slightly uncomfortable new habits. Uncomfortable, only because I was developing more self-discipline and that is never fun. I also had to be willing to be patient with myself. And this one has been hard. I am not a patient person when it comes to things like this. I don’t know exactly what I thought when I first started losing weight. Maybe I thought it would come off so fast I’d be a new person in time for Christmas, 11 months after I began. Maybe I thought it would melt off as easily as I put it on. I know that while I still have a long way to go, I have come SO FAR. And that is what I need to focus on. Perhaps I need to be willing to just be proud of how hard I’ve worked to get to where I am.

Lastly, but I think most importantly, I had to be willing to see myself as my husband, sons, family, friends and GOD see me. Worthy. I have worth and I am enough simply because I am alive. And seeing myself in that light made me want to be the best version of myself I can possibly be. Worth . . . It’s directly related to something else I lost as I gained . . . my dignity. And THAT, my friends, has been one of the most remarkable things to come back into my life in the last year. But that “thing” can wait until next week . . .

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou

It’s Been a YEAR . . .

A friend suggested that I start a blog to talk about my weight loss and what I have dealt with and learned over the last year. Apparently, I’ve decided to do it . . . and that surprises me. I thought I might just let myself chicken out. After all, who in the world could possibly care about MY weight loss?

So, I got to thinking, what if there were more to it than just my weight loss? I am writing this because, while I know people don’t necessarily care about MY weight loss, I would bet my bottom dollar they care about THEIR weight loss; they care about the things they feel they have lost as they have gained. And maybe, just maybe, if we talk about those things, they will have the courage to step into something different . . . THINGS they were MADE for . . . SOMETHING that GOD Himself can help restore and build in them. But yes, weight loss is primarily what I will be writing about. But, there is so much more involved in weight loss than the physical changes . . . especially the part that comes before the “loss” . . . the “gain” . . . Through these last few months, I have often tried to figure out how or why I let myself get as big as I did. There are so many parts to that answer that I could spend all day talking about them. BUT, I am actually at a point in this journey and in my life itself where I think I WANT to talk about some of it. Therapy for me; HOPE for others, right?

During my weight “gain”, I feel like I “lost” parts of me. Important, special parts of me. And during this time of weight “loss” I feel I have “gained” back some of those things I lost . . . AND MORE! That is the reason I have named this blog “Losing Lacy”. As I LOSE girth – weight and inches – I’ve found I am gaining “THINGS”. Some things that I actually lost somehow and some things that were neatly tucked away in boxes that were never found or fully opened. Some of these things I never knew I had lost OR I had forgotten about until I found them. Some of these things I DID know were lost yet I didn’t have the desire or time or energy to recover. And yet, some things I knew were lost I have missed terribly. All of them, however, are things that I know made/make me who I am/will be.

I am launching this blog today, January 29, 2020, as today marks the one year “anniversary” of when I started down this path to better health for myself. I have lost 124 pounds and 63 total inches in the process. That is mind-boggling to me and I have learned a lot about myself, and others, through this last year.

My prayer for this blog is that through my honesty, transparency, struggle and success, you will be inspired to love yourself as I learn to love myself. You ARE worth whatever it takes to be healthy . . . in EVERY way that matters to you.

#loveyourjourney #youreworthit #bettermewithNewYouCBD #Endo30 #itsuptoyou