Take care of YOU.

image Yiruma is playing. The candles are lit. The epsom salts are disolving.

And…..I am hoping tonight is not the night I discover if my phone is indeed waterproof.

I’m certain I am not the only one who just feels a tad overwhelmed, sometimes.

Sometimes isn’t it all just too much?

The balancing act: Family and friends and finances and health and work and the state of politics/humanity and thoughts on religion. Our bodies. Our thoughts. Our emotions.

The more you think about, the more there is to think about.

How about some of that pressure, gets removed?

Be intentional.  Take care of you.

Read something without the glow of an electric touch screen.

Listen to music without words (the older the better).

Write a letter, or a journal entry.

Take a barefooted walk and engage your senses.

Draw a nice hot bath with epsom salts or essential oils or bubbles.

Light some candles.

I know it seems trite. Doesn’t it also seem necessary?

When is the last time you truly took care of YOU?

Starting somehow.  Starting now.

My sea grape soul

IMG_20150121_071820

When my niece was a child she had to do a report on different leaves.

Having just moved to South Florida from Ohio, I was intrigued by the Sea Grape. So I sent her some, and she wrote a little report on the Sea Grapes.

Now, I can’t site my source, but I do remember something about how a Sea Grape simply can’t survive if it is not near the ocean. And that nugget of information, completely accurate or not, fits right into this over dramatic, over romantic statement:

I have a Sea Grape Soul. I simply can’t survive if I am not near the ocean.

 

 

“I want first of all… to be at peace with myself. I want a singleness of eye, a purity of intention, a central core to my life that will enable me to carry out these obligations and activities as well as I can. I want, in fact–to borrow from the language of the saints–to live “in grace” as much of the time as possible. I am not using this term in a strictly theological sense. By grace I mean an inner harmony, essentially spiritual, which can be translated into outward harmony. I am seeking perhaps what Socrates asked for in the prayer from the Phaedrus when he said, “May the outward and inward man be one.” I would like to achieve a state of inner spiritual grace from which I could function and give as I was meant to in the eye of God.”

Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 

 

 

The short and sweet walk to sunrise.

IMG_20131103_062846

 

Good Morning, Moon.

IMG_20140613_062017

 

The walks, and talks that are just never quite long enough.

IMG_20140127_065125 IMG_20140127_065526 10468359_10204394958699780_8349705708269667130_n

“Don’t wish me happiness
I don’t expect to be happy all the time…
It’s gotton beyond that somehow.
Wish me courage and strength and a sense of humor.
I will need them all.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 

 

The Shell Line.

20141208_070628 IMG_20140526_064428

 

True Treasures: Sea glass, Heart-shaped Rocks and Driftwood!

IMG_20140614_063751  IMG_20140315_073158

“The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. To dig for treasures shows not only impatience and greed, but lack of faith. Patience, patience, patience, is what the sea teaches. Patience and faith. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach—waiting for a gift from the sea.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 

 

Sand gets…. well… Everywhere. (Sandy is NOT the same as dirty!)

IMG_20131012_174647  IMG_20140730_230041

 

 

The entire life cycle of the Sea Turtles: (Mama’s Tracks  The Nest  Baby Tracks)

 

IMG_20140528_064111-EFFECTSIMG_20140423_070810 IMG_20130708_064925

 

and a willing though exhausted friend who helps me fill in holes the tourists left. We don’t want the babies or mama’s to fall in!

IMG_20140713_200822

 

The Storms that seem to stay offshore, or not.

IMG_20140812_064242 IMG_20140531_062617 IMG_20140802_064311IMG_20140707_063901 IMG_20131214_063755 IMG_20131214_063322

Artwork at the beach.

IMG_20140201_072447  IMG_20140201_072209

 

 

Sharing my passion for sunrise (and dolphins) with sweet little girls.

IMG_20140209_065833  IMG_20140209_065842 IMG_20140209_072406

 

The perfectly timed Seagulls.

IMG_20140201_071828 20141217_070832

 

Pumphouse.

IMG_20141011_072108 IMG_20140531_062417

 

Intentional Solitude

“How inexplicable it seems. Anything else will be accepted as a better excuse. If one sets aside time for a business appointment, a trip to the hairdresser, a social engagement or a shopping expedition, that time is accepted as inviolable. But if one says: I cannot come because that is my hour to be alone, one is considered rude, egotistical or strange.”
Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

20140919_072311  20141217_070330    IMG_20130930_071309 IMG_20130922_071638IMG_20140707_063130

IMG_20140626_063213  IMG_20141028_072949

IMG_20141031_072726 IMG_20131031_073535 IMG_20140508_063459

 

 

Surrounded by colors a camera can’t capture – and photoshop can’t improve on.

“This is what one thirsts for, I realize, after the smallness of the day, of work, of details, of intimacy – even of communication, one thirsts for the magnitude and universality of a night full of stars, pouring into one like a fresh tide.”― Anne Morrow Lindbergh, Gift from the Sea

 

IMG_20130716_063040    IMG_20131003_070030 IMG_20131004_070212  IMG_20131004_071508  IMG_20131013_071928   IMG_20140125_071958IMG_20131104_063401   IMG_20140121_070148     IMG_20140129_065746

 

IMG_20140508_063856    IMG_20140531_061421            IMG_20140717_201829   IMG_20140806_064914

 

 

 

Rushing to South Dock for Sunset

IMG_20140816_200405 IMG_20140816_200824 IMG_20130716_202238 IMG_20141012_190124

 

I simply can’t survive if I am not near the ocean.

Hypocrite.

image

There they were: four of the five copies I had of Seth Godin’s new book, wrapped and ready to ship.

The book was not created to be read and kept. It was created to be used and passed along.

I sent them to people who inspired me this past year. To people who were creating.

Then chimed in the the lizard brain, the resistance, the gremlins, the whatever you want to call that (horrid, mean)voice in your head.

“You hypocrite, why are you sending these books out, writing impassioned letters of encouragement? You haven’t hit Publish in months.You haven’t created anything, you leech.”

image

I don’t know if that voice is helpful, up until it is mean.

I have ideas (and criticism) about how others should write this, or do that to help their sphere of influence, marketing ideas that I know would be successful. 

If only they would listen to me.

If only I would listen to me.

I know why I don’t write.

Thankfully, I also know why I do write.

I’m taking my turn this year.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. It’s MY Turn!

Truth be told, I know I am not in a good place when I stop writing.

I know I am really not in a good place when I don’t even remember my password for my blog.

But I don’t want you to know that I am not in a good place.

So, I detach. I stop writing. And….. I go a little crazy.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

My  “New Year’s Resolutions” weren’t typical this year since I have spent the last few years focusing on physical health.

This year it’s my mind and emotions.

Ugh, Really? I have to unpack thoughts and memories I have so neatly compartmentalized and stuffed into the back of my mind?

That’s not true though, is it? Those thoughts and memories are not neatly compartmentalized.

Many of them are good, and stay in place. I can pull them out when I want to get all warm and fuzzy.

But, many of them are like a toxic ooze that uncontrollably seep into my thoughts and cause fear and inaction.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

For the past 2 years or so I have been devouring the work of AJ LeonSeth Godin, and most recently Brené Brown.

When I read their writings, it is like they are reading me. They “get” me. They “get” me better than some people who actually know me.

I get excited. My heart beats faster. I apply their inspiration to whatever project I am working on for work.

And that’s just not working anymore.

I know I am hiding. I know I am playing it small.

And then I wonder if they know.

And then I wonder if they know that I know.

And then I wonder if you know, but….. I actually know that you know.

Then my fast beating heart turns into pit in my stomach, that “I’ve just been called to the principal’s office” pit in my stomach.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

Just days after I received his new book, What To Do When It’s Your Turn (and it’s always your turn)Seth (Yes, we are on a first name basis) sent me (and maybe a few thousand other people) an e-mail: Getting unstuck (a one week challenge).

“Here’s how it works: Participants commit to posting 1 blog post every day for 7 days. The goal is to practice shipping with a like-minded community and to push yourself to simply start.”

Pfft. I am not going to do this. What would I even write? Why would I publish something every day? Who even cares? Why do I care if someone cares? How am I even going to find the time and energy to produce and publish? Once the questions started they wouldn’t stop. Even as I am writing, they haven’t stopped.

Not anymore. Not me. Not this year. 

I’ll be here tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that, and the day after that.

It’s MY Turn!

seth

OMG! What are you doing?

Sorry I didn’t have the time (or the energy) to answer you when you saw me at the grocery store/church picnic/birthday party/wedding………

I suppose instead of telling you “a bit” when you asked me how much weight I lost, I could have told you that I have lost about 60 pounds since July of 2013.

But I think it’s weird that you asked me, or at least it makes me feel weird. I don’t know how to socially talk about something so personal.

So – here is the reply to the increasingly common question:

“OMG! What are you doing?”

I get professional help – medically. 

Everybody is different – and every body is different! What works for me may not work for you – save time, money, and energy and get professional help!

Several years ago, after watching several compelling documentaries (Food Matters, Food Inc., Fat Sick and Nearly Dead, The Future of Food, Forks Over Knives, The Truth About Food, Hungry for Change – and a few more) I became a plant-based, “beans and greens”, vegan.

Meaning: I was doing it “right”. I didn’t rely heavily on processed veganized versions of my favorite foods (though I did make a great vegan pizza).

I thought I was making the right decisions for my body. It made sense. I felt better for a little while. And then… nothing.

After visiting his practice for pain I had from plantar fasciitis, and debilitating lower back/hip pain because of something with my piriformis, I started seeing Dr. Tom at Natural Medicine Clinic for Nutritional Counseling.

Dr. Tom is patiently leading me down a very windy road.  What he reminds me of often, is what I want to share with you:  This is a process. There is not one simple answer. There is no quick fix.

He has led me in my diet, suggested exercise, prescribed supplements, and prevented surgery.

And for the most part – I obey him. I trust him. I know that he knows more than me, and more than what I read on WebMd. He is worth every penny spent in his office.

On a personal note: You will never find a more hope filled, honest, sincere, patient and caring man to be your doctor. He is the only doctor who has never made me feel shame for being fat. He believed me when I told him I ate healthy and exercised. He has been with me through tears of joy, and as the pendulum swings, yelling in frustration.

On a professional note: He is a fantastic Dr..  Aside from the personal note above:  He knows his stuff! He almost immediately (correctly) diagnosed me with a thyroid disorder that every other doctor, my entire life, had missed. Dr. Tom then recommended that I go to an Endocrinologist for a second opinion. I did, only to be told “You look like you are doing great, I wouldn’t change or add to anything your Natural Dr. is doing!”  Dr. Tom has been correct on each diagnosis that he has given me, and has provided me with the labs results to “prove it”.

You need to find someone who knows what they are doing, and someone you trust. Trusting means being compliant. Obey.

I exercise!

Do something that makes you happy.

We all know I don’t like the gym!

But, I found something I really love – Boxing.

I’m HOOKED (pun intended)! I love the structure of the class. The cost is totally reasonable, and the trainers are encouraging and attentive. I am not quite ready for a cross fit intensity, and am over just being at a gym, so this was a perfect fit. It’s 15 minutes of “warm up”, 8 rounds of boxing/kick boxing with a minute of Active rest (lunges swats sit-ups etc) in between and then 15 minutes of stretching. And it is a great work-out. The energy is fantastic!

And, I still go to a gym to do Dr. Tom’s recommendation: HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training)

I get professional help – spiritually/emotionally.

Don’t believe everything you think.

I don’t have the koyach to get into it all right now, but it’s really important to have a personal (and professional) network of spiritual/emotional support. It is impossible to seek physical healing without dealing with the spiritual/emotional aspect of the process. The body is intricately entwined with the soul and the spirit.

This whole process has opened old wounds and created new ones. There are about 50 unwritten blogs as evidence.

I have to resist the temptation to isolate.

I could not have made it through any of this without my friends. Their love, patience, encouragement and faithfulness has been used by God to sustain me in my weariness.

I could not have made it through any of this without professional counseling/inner healing. I am grateful to have Pastor Steve Pennell and his wife Sarah.

I have changed my relationship with food. 

Every bite either fights disease or fuels it – choose wisely.

These changes have required alot of learning, alot of cooking, and alot of saying “No, Thank You.” But, I can assure you, it is all worth it.

After our first Nutritional Counseling appointment Dr. Tom suggested that I radically change my diet. No more vegan.

I remember him saying something along the lines of” “You may be saving the animals but you are killing yourself.”

Yikes! I now eat meat.

It’s Paleo-ish. I hesitate to say that, because it is not just bacon and meat.

The gist of it is : Meats, Fruits, Veggies. Healthy Oils.

Some people can tolerate nuts and seeds.  Me? Not so much.

After a few months on my new eating plan, things still weren’t progressing as expected so Dr. Tom ordered more specialized testing to see what foods my body was reacting to.  I am not allergic to these foods in an “eat them and break out in hives” way, but they cause issues for me internally, one of which being inability to lose weight.

I know you are curious – so here are all 32 foods I had stopped eating: http://nmcwellness.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/ImmunoBloodprint.pdf

Those beans I loved as a vegan? My body was still reactive to them, even 6 months after eating any! (That’s not good!)

I still avoid several things on this list, mainly: wheat, eggs, dairy, yeast, beans.

Some things I have reintroduced successfully, other things (coffee) didn’t come up, but are problematic for me.

Again – every body is different.

Here are some of my favorite food resources:

I could write a whole blog about how whole30 (and whole9) has changed my life. In a nutshell, it’s a 30 days reset for your relationship with food. And they are nice, and snarky, and smart. And they offer a daily email for each day of the whole30. Check it out. Their book “It Starts with Food” breaks down the science of it all in really easy to read, and understand terms.

Her blog and book are amazing. And she introduced me to my favorite gadget ever – The Spirilizer to make Zoodles (zuchinni ribbons to replace noodles)

Dawn (Dr. Tom’s wife) “healthifies” our favorite goodies! She has created me “Julie-compliant” recipes. I love being her taste tester, and everything I have tasted has been great!

Recipes and knowledge galore!

So, there it is: a condensed version of “What I have been doing!”

The best is yet to come! 

#slaythefrumpmonster (part one)

My body shape is changing. Or so they tell me.

I’m a bit disappointed that my clothing doesn’t automatically follow suit.

I recently purchased two of the exact same dress for a baby shower. One that was “my size” and one that was smaller. They were only 3 bucks each, so it totally made sense.

I tried on the first dress, the one that was “my size”. It looked strange. It was big, it didn’t quite fit me, but I was comfortable.

So…. I tried on the second dress, the one that was smaller. It felt strange. It was smaller, it fit me, but I was uncomfortable.

I decided to wear the smaller dress that fit me.

Mostly because I knew my best friend would be pissed if I showed up in a new dress that was frumpy. She was already quite vocal about the fact that she was not pleased with me for wearing jeans that were too big on me. They may have been too big, but see: I creatively took them in by connecting belt-loop to belt-loop with key-rings. Apparently (to her), this made the jeans lopsided and made things up front look awkward. Hindsight is 20/20 and that was clearly a bad idea. Sometimes your bestie is your best mirror.

Anywhozelles, I arrive at the baby shower, feeling insecure in the dress that fit me. I was convinced that my neighbors boyfriend, my best friend, and everyone else I saw, were lying to me when they told me how good I looked.

And then I saw her.

Before I go on, I must say this: I know I sound like a shaming, petty, judgmental, ugly hypocrite . I know it. I know I may be projecting my own insecurities about how I felt onto this woman. I know I hate how people have, and continue to, judge me. Blah blah blah over explaining, over disclaiming, blah blah blah.

Here it is: I saw this woman who looked horrible in her dress. Really. It was too small and parts of her were too large. It just looked horrible. It was so so short, and so so tight, and…..

I felt like that was how I looked in my dress, or anytime I have ever worn a dress. Ever.

I instantly went from 0 to nutso and became uncomfortable. My bestie’s bestie radar was on. She knew something was wrong. I told her I felt like that is how I looked. She told me my feelings were stupid and lying to me.

I wished I had chosen the other dress. The bigger one. The one that fit my feelings, and hid my body.

Over the next few days I realized …………….. (Sorry folks, inconsistent enforcement of self imposed 500 word count limit.)

Pearl

And there it was, another conversation (with a man) about how men are predominantly, initially, and primarily attracted to a woman for her physical beauty, and how my qualities, though “superior”, are secondary and therefore I am overlooked, and never given a chance.

Just shovel that right on top of the heap of emotional garbage that has been increasing as my waistline decreases.

In the days after to say that I was pissed would have been an understatement.

I was pissed at everyone. Seriously.

Even men I haven’t even met yet. Yep, I was pissed at them, too.

Pissed.

Pissed.

Pissed.

(WAIT. Please…..Don’t stop reading, I promise this is blog is not a bitter rant!)

Then. scrolling through Facebook one night, I come across this:

Soul

 

Salve to a weary,angry, achy heart.

As my heavenly Father speaks, all I can do is listen.

 

………And there you are. In your unassuming shell. Feeling overlooked as shiny shells get chosen,claimed,collected.

That is of no concern to you. Do not let your soul be defined by its shell.

You my dear are growing slowly. Delicate. Fragile. Sensitive. Layers and layers have developed around an irritant. The greater the layers, the greater the lustre.

You reflect light, and you have an inner glow. You shine brightly. You reflect those near you clearly.

You are authentic and very rare. Often imitated, never replicated. You are a treasure.

Those who know what they are looking for will know how to find you and appreciate you when they do.

Until then you remain tucked away, hidden, protected from predators.

I love you, for you are my Pearl.

 

(insert “Pearl in contrasting shell that portrays everything that I have been trying to say but refuse to look for any longer”  Creative Commons Photo here)