Saturday, July 23, 2016

Four Women Who Inspire Me

I have written several time about some of the women who inspire me.  Two notable ones are my grandmothers - two of the most intelligent women I ever knew.  Two of the best cooks and they could sew!  They made my Easter dresses for many years.  Several others were high school teachers who saw something in me and made school meaningful and fun.  They encouraged my search for knowledge and my need for acceptance.

But today I have four women I want to mention specifically because we are all fighting a similar battle right now and they set the bar.  Three of them share my last name and the fourth was my mother - also shared a last name.

I want to start with Nicole.  She is my husband's great-nephew's wife. Don't try to think about the relationship except she is part of our family and I love her.  That's what matters right here.  Nicole has started on a monumental journey of becoming healthy.  Seeing her joy in learning how to eat and move inspires me. Seeing her face her fears and just trusting the Lord when she feels weak inspires me. Thank you, Nicole, for setting an example for me and so many others.

The second is my husband's niece, Christie.  She has also had a monumental journey of faith and seeking to be healthy.  It is hard for her because she is chronically ill and sometimes her body just will not cooperate.  But she gets up every day and moves her body, even when it hurts.  In the last several years, she allowed Jesus to take over the darkness that was within her and has become one of the most mature, faithful Christian women I have had the pleasure to know.   Christie is an example to me of a quiet, beautiful, inner strength that can only be fueled by a life surrounded by prayer and the Word of God.

The third is my daughter.  Oops - we don't share a last name anymore.  Well, it's Leah.  Leah has gone through many changes this year: name, home, city, school, job ... Like me she struggles with hypothyroidism and has worked to find a doctor in her new city who will listen to her.  She found one. From his recommendations, and knowing the truth in her heart, Leah has embarked on a gluten-free lifestyle to see if it will help her disease.  It has.  Obviously, I love this girl, too.  I am proud of her and am her partner on this journey of becoming healthy and fit.

The last is my mother.  I have written about her and her battles and our relationship enough, but I want to write about how she inspires me to be healthy.  She died in 2004 from complications of her diabetes.  But there was so much more.  She gave up on treating her thyroid in the 1970's due to incorrect, conventional medicine.  That is a challenge many of us face.  She had been diagnosed and successfully treated in her teens and early adulthood.  But that changed.  Weight control, heart disease and her desire to fight this all went away.  Not the heart disease.  Her battle is why I fight.   I want to be a grandmother someday who can play with those babies - and maybe even keep up.

Now, at nearly 50 years old, I am once again focusing on my healthy - physically and spiritually.
When I saw what Nicole was doing, I knew I could do better than I had been.
After walking and talking with Christie last weekend, I knew if she could get up on her pain days and move, I could do so much more than I had been
After talking with my daughter and seeing her renewed energy and joy in her diet, I knew I could change mine to match hers.
After seeing the struggles of my mother, I knew I had to break that cycle and set a better example for my daughter.

It is hard.  Today after my 4 mile walk (indoors - I love AC), I realized I had strained my knee.  Darn.  It make me mad.  I have wrapped it and taken some Advil and will mostly take it easy the rest of the day, but I refuse to give up.  My body is a gift from God and I will not abuse it anymore by feeding it incorrectly and keeping it still.  It has started to protest when I don't do what I should.

Today I was feeling especially grateful and I believe in encouragement.  So Christie, Nicole, and Leah, I hope you know the impact you are making on the middle-aged women.  You are loved SO very much.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

My Summer Project

It's me.

I like to set a goal for the summer.  Last year, it was my daughter's wedding.  Sometimes, it is deeply cleaning my house.  I tried that once and then got diverted by a family crisis... which then became my summer project.  Sometimes I set a goal of how many non-educational, non-mathematical books I want to read.

I had not really set a goal this summer, so it kind of fell in my lap, smiled, and said, "Here I am.  Take care of me and nurture me.  I'll be here the rest of your life."  Here is what happened.

A family member made a decision to take care of herself - the work is hard.  She became very public about her personal war and she is now starting to win some battles.  I'm proud of her.  I remembered I had done something similar, then hit a bit bump in the road and didn't manage to stay on track.  Having an autoimmune disease that affect metabolism is that bump and being under-medicated causes fatigue and weight gain no matter how much work you do.

Now, I eat well.  Very well.  But I haven't been very active.  Even when I lost 50 pounds in 2008-2009, I mainly did it by diet and didn't do a lot of activity.  So, I saw her becoming active and thought to myself, "I can do that", but didn't.  But what I eat is on track - I did Weight Watchers before and it taught me what to do and what not to do.

In June we went to San Antonio.  While my husband sat in conferences in air-conditioned comfort, my son and I went on walking tours.  Ya'll - San Antonio in June is really, really hot.  Like 90's with a heat index of over 100 hot.  HOT.  But we love history so off we went.  Some time during that week, after going to Dallas and Texarkana, I knew I needed to get up and move.  Oh... here's what happened before.  I realized around late April/May that my feet and ankles hurt much more after long periods of sitting, so I started getting up more and stretching and walking.  Helps so much.

Since about June 18 or 19 (I had to reset my tracker and lost some data) I have only missed one day of walking a minimum of 10,000 steps.  I use Leslie Sansone's Walk At Home videos (I love AC, ok?) which doesn't just walk.  Kicks, side steps, knee lifts and upper body movements, sometimes with light weights, use the whole body.  I already put in 2 miles today and my quads are not happy... but I am because I can tell a difference in my clothes, a little bit on the scale, and a whole lot with my energy level.  I feel great.

Here's my main motivation besides pleasing God by taking care of the body He gave me; family.  My grandmother was diabetic.  My mother was diabetic.  Both had congestive heart failure.  My mother had a hypothyroidism diagnosis and quit treatment in the 70's.  Both were obese.  My sister died at the age of 44 due to obesity - super morbidly obese.  Her heart just stopped.  She was probably also hypothyroid and was a compulsive over-eater.   I loved these women but I refused to give up and say, "oh, it's genetic."  Maybe that's true but I can DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.  And I have for years.

My future family is what I look forward to.  With both of my children being adults, I am looking forward to being a grandmother someday.  I want to play with those children.  I want to be around to see their weddings. I want to sing with them, horseplay, and cuddle them to sleep.  My children didn't have that - for a variety of reasons.

Since I have started this phase of life, I have also read my Bible daily.

Here's where the real challenge will lie: when school starts back my leisurely days are over.  It will be hectic at first and I'll get used to the pace.  But, I have decided to start my work schedule July 18 after our vacation - at least by the clock. 5:30 alarms will resume and I'll be on my school schedule, trying to figure out how to make the 10,000 steps fit.  I know I can do it.  I've done it before.  I've just decided to face it head-on and anticipate what's to come.

So, here it is.  All laid out for you in the name of accountability and transparency.