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.

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