Wednesday, October 6, 2010

I am going to deviate from my normal topics for tonight. Today is a very significant day for me. Nobody else will probably realize the meaning of this day, but I will never forget...for it was one year ago today that I lost something very sacred to me. I feel as though I should share some of my thoughts in the hopes they may help someone else.

I came across this song recently, and although the first few lines are in reference to the untimely death of a child, the meaning behind the song can be applied to anything we feel is sacred in our lives. Here are the lyrics to "Held" by Natalie Grant:

Two months is too little
They let him go
They had no sudden healing
To think that providence
Would take a child from his mother
While she prays, is appalling
Who told us we'd be rescued
What has changed and
Why should we be saved from nightmares
We're asking why this happens to us
Who have died to live, it's unfair
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
This hand is bitterness
We want to taste it and
Let the hatred numb our sorrows
The wise hand opens slowly
To lilies of the valley and tomorrow
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held
If hope if born of suffering
If this is only the beginning
Can we not wait, for one hour
Watching for our savior
This is what it means to be held
How it feels, when the sacred is torn from your life
And you survive
This is what it is to be loved and to know
That the promise was that when everything fell
We'd be held

Here is a link to the song. I strongly encourage you to listen. You won't regret it...I promise!

Unlike most songs in which the writer usually tells us to hold on and we’ll soon see God’s hand of deliverance – this song reminds us that we aren’t given any specific promise of deliverance on this earth.

You can be angry with the circumstances you face. You can rail in anguish at the seeming indifference of a Father in heaven. You can weep and cry and bargain for your pain to be removed. Your pain is real and your desire for healing and deliverance is understandable.
The Bible says in Matthew 5:45 that God sends sunshine and rain on the just and the unjust.

Good things will happen to bad people and bad things will happen to good people.

From our point of view – God abandons us and allows us to experience terrible loss when He could and should intervene on our behalf.

But from His point of view – what does He see? We can’t fathom it.

What do we know about God? He is good. He is holy. He is all powerful. He created us and He loved us so much that He would not allow us to die in our sin. He sent His only Son to live among us and die in our place. He accepted the shed blood of Jesus Christ as the price of redemption once and for all and He allows every single man and woman on the earth to lay claim to that redemption just by confessing the name of Jesus.

He redeemed us from an eternity in hell and promised us eternity with him.

But He did not promise us heaven on earth – He promised a new heaven and earth. On this earth He promised us that evil men would hate us and seek to kill us. He promised that persecution would be rampant and the earth would crumble around us. He promised us a Comforter and He promised us that He would be coming for us – and that He will avenge us.

And we accuse Him of unfaithfulness when pain and death come near our homes.

When the worst happens, when our hearts are broken and cold with grief, when we feel farthest from Him we are called to remember that He hasn’t promised a life without heartache – but He has promised to be there.

Knowing this is a comfort to those who believe that there is more to life than life on earth. This is only bearable because we have placed our faith in God’s promise of eternity. Someday He will wipe away our tears of pain and we will at last know what it is like to live without fear of loss and experience pure joy. As was told in the Parable of the Talents, we will finally hear the words ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ (Matthew 25:23).

By no means is this an easy lesson to learn. I need reminding every day of God's promises and to keep my focus on the ultimate prize. I know there may never be enough "I'm sorry's" in this world for the things I have done wrong that have contributed to this loss in my life.

There are so many lessons I have learned this last year and so many good friends have walked me through lots of very hard times. They too, have taught me so much. Likewise, there may never be enough "thank you's" for what they have done and continue to do for me.

A childhood friend said to me one day "Kelley, maybe God just wants you to look at Him. Maybe you are experiencing this loss so you will look at Him. Maybe he is saying to you "What else do I have to take from you to get you to look at Me?"" I often think about this statement and wonder if this is why things happened the way they did. I will probably never know the answer to this or any of the other questions I still have in my heart. I have also learned not to ask "why?" anymore. I have come to know there are lots of things I will never understand on this side of eternity.

I can only say that it is but for the grace of God that I have made it thus far. I am so very thankful that I have been held in the palm of His hand. I am truly blessed!

I have lots of other things to post in upcoming days. A lot has been happening lately and I can't wait to share them with you!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Days 78-119 of My Journey- 5/31-7/11/2010

It has been way too long since I last updated. The time just really got away from me lately. I have a few exciting things to report. The most exciting one for me is that I have finally hit a major milestone in terms of the amount of weight I have lost. I have been able to shop in some new stores and bought some new summer clothes in smaller sizes! This shopping thing might not be good since I need to watch how much I am spending. I have even been browsing the clothes in smaller sizes already looking for future purchases!

I recently bought a new bike and have started to add this to my workout regimen. I had not ridden a bike in about 20 years, but I didn't think I would have a problem remembering how to ride. After all, "It's just like riding a bike"- you never forget- or so I thought. The first night I had the bike, I was riding in the driveway and fell off the bike when I tried to turn- right in front of the neighbors! It took a few practice runs, but I am now able to ride. In fact, I went for a 4.5 mile ride with Joe last week and it felt really good.

My new gym opened about a month ago and I love it. It has much more to offer than my last gym and for half of the cost. I have been using a new cardio machine called an arc trainer. It is kind of like a combination of a stair climber and an elliptical. It doesn't cause as much impact to my knees as the elliptical and still gives an awesome workout. The gym also has a 30 minute circuit training area. It has 20 stations total (10 weight machines and 10 cardio stations). This is also a very challenging and complete workout that I really enjoy- especially when I am short on time.

Perhaps the most important thing I can share is my progress on controlling my diet. I have been reading a book called "Women, Food, and God" by Geneen Roth. I am considering blogging about each chapter, or at least the major highlights of the book that have helped me. I haven't decided how I want to do this yet. I highly recommend this book. It has really hit home for me and parts of it have forced me to face things about myself that I have avoided for many years. It has and continues to be a difficult process. I know I have to maintain my focus on this journey. I know I am literally fighting for my life- not just physically, but also emotionally, socially, spiritually, and professionally. If you are or know someone who is an emotional eater, you may want to consider reading this book. I know it has helped me immensely to learn to control my eating habits.

Thank you all for your support and encouragement. It means the world to me. Feel free to contact me if I can be of any assistance.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Days 71-77 of My Journey- 5/24- 5/30, 2010

I had a good weigh-in this week- down 2 lbs! Of course, I always wish it was more, but I am learning to be more patient with this process.

I tried something new this week (compliments of Joe, of course). He had me try the abs workout from P90X. You may have seen the infomercial for P90X. It is a really intense total body workout regimen. I had been teasing Joe recently by telling him that P90X couldn't possibly be that hard and would poke fun at him when he would say how sore he was. So, he challenged me the other night to do the abs section with him. It is a 16 minute workout. I thought I could suffer through anything for 16 minutes- right? WRONG! I was able to do some of the exercises, but not very many and even then, I didn't keep up with all the reps. I wasn't able to do the other exercises at all. Yes, Joe officially schooled me here- I admit it. Remember this, Joe, I may not ever admit this again :) Here's the funny part-- I was still incredibly sore for about 3 days after. I'm talking very sore- from my chest to my hips and side to side. Now I am hooked. I am more determined than ever to conquer this, too. Why do I struggle so much with the abs? I don't know the answer to this, but I do know that I need some major work in this area. Honestly, I was still proud of myself for being able to do as much of the workout as I did. After seeing how hard these exercises are, I was surprised I was able to do any at all. So, all in all a great experience.

I hate to keep patting myself on the back, but I have done so good with my eating this week. I could have been really bad given the fact that my parents ordered pizza one night and I had my family over for Memorial Day. Needless to say, we had tons of food and dessert available. I actually managed to refrain from dessert completely and ate very reasonably all week. I find that encouragement from other people makes all the difference for me in this area. When I feel like others are involved and rooting for me, it makes me want to stick to the program even more. Thanks to Joe and Allison for encouraging me and working out with me. It means the world to me.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Days 64-70 of My Journey- 5/17- 5/23

I had another great week with my workouts. I continue to train and work toward my 5k race. This may not sound like a big deal to some people, but to me it represents a huge challenge and I know I will feel a huge sense of accomplishment and pride after I run the race.

I also joined a new gym that is opening in my local area. It is a brand new facility, has much more to offer than my current gym, and is about half of the price than I am currently paying. I can't wait to try it out once it opens in June.

My blog entries so far have mainly focused on my workouts. As I have stated previously, I really thought that the exercise was going to be my biggest challenge in this weight loss journey. How wrong I was!!

For me, the diet/nutrition part of this process is my biggest nemesis. Over the course of many years, I have developed a very unhealthy relationship with food. I don't simply eat to live. I also eat when I am feeling sad, happy, stressed, anxious, bored, etc... There really isn't an occasion or emotion that doesn't make me want to eat. This is a constant battle every single day. Unfortunately, when I feel like overeating I don't crave healthy foods. I am usually craving some type of fast food or pizza and lots of it.

In order to get on the road to real success, I needed to learn different coping skills that didn't involve food. Depending on the particular situation, I use different strategies. The most common one is prayer because I can pray no matter where I am or what I am doing. I have also given myself a manicure because it feels nice, but also it's pretty hard to cook or eat when your nails are wet with polish! At other times, I read a book, play a few games on my Wii or Nintendo DS (again, keeping my hands occupied). The bottom line is, I had to learn alternate coping skills to avoid overeating.

Also, I continue to take a real hard look at myself to figure out what has caused me to develop such unhealthy habits in the first place. One of the major problems I had was that I did not love myself enough or have enough confidence to avoid/change my unhealthy ways. It is not always pretty when you peel back the layers of your life and examine the emotions and experiences that have led you to develop certain habits and coping skills. It is not an easy process, but a necessary one. I think that once you really get to the root of these issues, you can then feel empowered to change them.

I have never been a fan of Sex and the City, but came across this quote from the show. It speaks volumes to me about the journey I have been taking to learn to love myself again.

"The most exciting, challenging, and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well that's just fabulous."

I am so incredibly proud of how far I have come physically, emotionally, and spiritually. I feel the need to publicly acknowledge Joe. I would not be where I am today without you. Not only on this weight loss journey, but also in my career change, and many other things as well. Thank you for always believing in me, encouraging me, and loving me even though I didn't always deserve it. You are truly one of a kind and I am so thankful for the privilege of having you and the girls in my life. You are such a blessing to me and you continue to teach me so much about life and love. I will always be grateful.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Days 57-63 of My Journey- 5/10-5/16/2010

I had another good week with my workouts at the gym and had a really good run on Saturday. I was able to run my farthest distance so far and was also able to pick up my pace a little more (thanks to Joe). My legs were really tired after this run on Saturday. I have also tried a few new things at the gym, like doing my cardio sprints on the elliptical or treadmill instead of the stationary bike. I tried a few different leg machines too. This has added a little variety to my workout and has helped me use some different muscles on occasion.

On the subject of food...I heard about a book on Oprah last week called Women, Food, and God. They talked about some interesting concepts like how to have a healthy relationship with food, emotional eating, etc... I might see if I can find it at the library. Seemed interesting on the TV show. It sounds like it had some lessons/workbook that you could complete as part of your personal study. I think they are having a follow up show in 2 months to follow a group of women that are reading the book together and completing the lessons. I'll be interested to hear what they have to say.

Looking forward to improving my running even more this week. I have to say, I don't always love it during the actual workout, but it feels so, so good when I'm done!! That is what keeps me going some days.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Days 50-56 of My Journey- 5/3-5/9/2010

I had a really good week in terms of my workouts. My friend and I have continued our 5k training. We have increased our distance and I have been able to pick up my pace a little. I am really excited about our progress and can't wait until I run a race. I am trying to figure out when I will be ready and then I will choose which race to run.

My legs and knees have been holding up very well so far. Some days my legs feel really tired after having run the night before, but I have not had any pain or injuries so far.

In terms of my diet, I am amazed at the fact that I really don't crave all of the bad foods anymore. In the past, I could hardly drive past a fast food or pizza place without having to fight from turning my car into the parking lot. It seems that the more I exercise and see my body changing, the less I desire the junk food. Thank God for that!!

Friday, May 7, 2010

Days 42-49 of My Journey- 4/26- 5/2/2010

I had another good week with my workouts. A good friend of mine has decided to train for a 5k with me. It makes such a difference having a training partner. We push each other, but it is also nice to have someone to talk to and the time goes by much faster too. The training is going well. We go a total of 3.3 miles and are currently running about one mile of the route. We are slowly increasing the amount of running and decreasing the amount of walking. I can't wait until we are able to run the entire course. The workouts at the gym felt good this week also. I have increased the weight on a few of the exercises and continue to get better at the ab machine.

I am starting to notice that some of my clothes are fitting a little better and I have even gotten a few compliments, so I know the exercise and diet are doing me good. This is the kind of encouragement that keeps me going.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Days 36-42 of My Journey- 4/19-4/25/2010

I was up 5 lbs. since last week. I guess the 7 lb. loss last Monday was too good to be true. I was a little discouraged about this, but I know I have to keep going and just stick with the plan that Adam has developed for me.

The workouts went well this week. I am still using the increased weights with fewer reps and this is working pretty well for me. I also continue to add more jogging to my cardio days.

I started a new clinical rotation for pharmacy school at UPMC this week. I quickly got a few good reasons to continue losing weight. First, my feet, legs, and back haven't hurt this bad in a long time. I am definitely not used to being on my feet all day.

Secondly, I have to wear scrubs because I am working in surgery and you have to use the ones provided by the hospital. You can't bring scrubs from home.

On my first day, one of the surgical interns got some scrubs for me to wear. I tried to put them on and couldn't even get the pants past my knees and the shirt would not even go over my chest. I had to ask her to go back to the locker room and get me a larger size and these were still extremely tight on me. I haven't been that embarrassed in a long time. Scrubs are not supposed to be form fitting!! I had to secretly raid the men's locker room in order to find a shirt that fit me better. I couldn't find larger pants though. I guess I will have to live with my skin tight pants.

I also had to go to another UPMC location the next day and had the same problem, only this time the scrubs were purple instead of the standard blue. I looked like Barney in spandex. So humiliating...I can only imagine what the OR staff was thinking when I came out of the locker room.

This rotation lasts for another 4 weeks. Hoping I am more comfortable in scrubs by the end of that time. Also hoping for a good weigh-in tomorrow.
Days 29-35 of My Journey- 4/12-4/18/2010

Well, I was down 7 lbs. since last week when I weighed in on Monday. I couldn't believe I had lost this much, so I got on the scale three times to make sure. Needless to say, I was really excited.

I had another great week in terms of exercise. I have found that I am even starting to enjoy it. Although it is not usually fun during the workout, I absolutely love how I feel when I am finished for the day- very strong and empowered (and usually exhausted too!).

Adam had me increase my weights by 15-20% and reduce my reps to 6-8 instead of 10 (still doing 3 sets). This was definitely a challenge for me, but I was able to get through it. I was a little more sore than normal at first, but it got much better toward the end of the week.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Days 23-28 of My Journey- 4/6- 4/11/2010

Since I have gotten behind on blogging, I am going to make a few weekly entries in order to get caught up and then resume my normal schedule. This was a good week for me. My workouts went very well. There are days that the workouts are harder than others, but overall I am feeling much stronger and more fit than I have in a long time. I have increased the weights again on my interval workouts.

I am also training to run a 5k in the very near future. So, on the days I have to do an hour of cardio I have been running/walking outside instead of using the elliptical machine at the gym. I am slowly increasing the amount of running as I train. It is pretty challenging for me right now and my legs and knees scream at me sometimes after I am done. I am really looking forward to the 5k though. It will be lots of fun and will give me a sense of accomplishment.

Day 22 of My Journey- 4/5/2010

Today was weigh-in day. I lost 0.4 lbs since last week. Again, not as much as I hoped for, but still glad to show a loss even after the Easter holiday. I missed my workout today. I wasn't able to leave the hospital until 7pm and had some assignments to complete in the evening. At least I had a good day in terms of the diet. Will be back at it tomorrow.
Day 21 of My Journey- 4/4/2010

Happy Easter! I missed my workout today due to the holiday. I went to church in the morning, then to my grandmother's house for a couple of hours, then to my uncle's house for dinner. Over 50 people this year! We are blessed with a very large, wonderful family. Joe and the girls came over to visit me in the evening. We had fun playing a game the girls made up. I even gave them a dance lesson in my living room. I taught them the basic step of the Waltz. Joe made me a very nice and funny Easter basket that I greatly appreciated. Overall, a wonderful holiday.

Oh yeah...hoping the weigh-in goes well in the morning (right after Easter dinner, ugh)
Day 20 of My Journey- 4/3/2010

Went for another 3 mile walk/run today. I was able to run a little more today than last time. Legs and knees are a little stiff. I don't think they are used to running yet! I was able to finish my course in under an hour. Feeling really proud of myself.
Day 19 of My Journey- 4/2/2010

I missed my workout today. I went to church to see my grandmother perform in the Easter Passion Play. She played a townsperson and an angel. I wouldn't have missed this for the world and I couldn't be more proud of her.

Since I don't have any workout info to share today, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about my journey so far. At the beginning of this journey, I was mostly concerned about my ability to keep up with the workouts. I have since discovered that the far bigger challenge is keeping on track with the diet plan.

The workouts are very challenging, but they only take about an hour each day. Fighting all of the food temptations is a constant battle. It is something I have to monitor every minute that I am awake. It is amazing how many commercials, billboards, etc...I see throughout the course of a day that promote some type of fast food, pizza, restaurant, or otherwise unhealthy food.

I get especially tempted when I am stressed, sad, tired, or overly hungry. It might sound strange, but there are days where each meal is a battle. I have to say that it feels SO GOOD when I am strong and choose the healthy foods. I also keep a small piece of paper in my pocket that says "Eating _____ doesn't taste as good as thin feels." Just fill in the blank with whatever unhealthy food you are craving. This has helped me stay on track.

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