Wednesday, December 9, 2015

More than Survive, Thrive...

"It's the holiday season.. and whoop de do... dickery dock...... Santa... " blah blah blah...

Do you know that one? Yeah me too. Along with a montage of all other secularized holiday songs.

Choral Christmas. Family Christmas. Traditional Christmas. Hipster Christmas.. so many Pandora stations, so little time.

It's the season, if you didn't know.

Trees, lights, bows, wrapping... there is so much inertia. 45+ days of doorbusters, lightening deals, flash deals... black days, cyber days... prime... zipadee doo da (not real)...

It's almost too much to bear. Time seems to be the one thing we can't buy enough of this time year. Time to decorate, time to share. Time to worship, time to gather. Time to prepare, time to clean up. Time to bake, time to give.

Time to eat. Did I mention the eating? There's a lot of eating.....

Time to sit.

There's no time for that. Ain't nobody got time for sitting!

Each Christmas, like every season in our lives, is somewhat different. A different focus, a different emphasis. This year, I've pulled back some. I want to have the one thing you can't buy - time. I want to prepare - in the truest sense of advent - for God is with us. How can we truly appreciate His presence if we are too busy to experience it.

So, sitting. More than just survive the season, I want to thrive this season.

Time to reflect. My kids are getting older. This may be one of the last years that the older two "believe" in Santa. And boy, do they ever believe. They are eating up all this elf on the shelf business. Either they've got us bamboozled or they're die hard believers.

We try to straddle the line between Christ in Christmas and the Santa stuff. I think we do okay. Our kids know that Christmas is Jesus' birthday - that the gift He brings us is bigger than any worldly gift that Santa might leave for us. That Jesus' gifts aren't tied to our deserving them - that he brings true joy every day and all we need to do is accept him as our Lord and Savior. We've been talking a lot about the difference between joy and happiness (thank you Jesus Calling For Kids). They might not be ready to let Santa ride off in his sleigh just yet but the foundation is being laid on these young souls.

More and more I see the work that I need to do in my own house. It is my greatest mission.

Time.

Sitting.

Pulling back.

I've had to pull back from some things recently. I'm slowing down on my pursuit of my Mary & Martha business. I am not quitting but pulling back. If there is a place for Mary & Martha in my life, God will make space for that. I am open to it - but I am prayerful in how to move forward.

I'm still focused on my weight loss journey - but in the same vein - trying to find perspective and balance. I am so easily consumed by some flight of fancy and ever more aware of it. I am finding a way to live with intention and with a stewardship focus on my body and strengths. It isn't easy. I find myself wanting to jump on the bandwagon - I think I even declared to Hubs this week - Half Marathon in 2016, Full Marathon in 2017 for my 40th Birthday - but not if it take me out of some balance.

I don't want to be off kilter again.  I want to do more than survive every day, I want to thrive. I want to sit down and remember with joy the season, not be shocked by how fast it past me by.

Weight loss to date: 75lbs
Maintaining: About 5 weeks
Running about 15 - 20 miles a week, foundation training / core with AZ Core Fitness.

For posterity, where I want to thrive:



Monday, November 16, 2015

Looking in the Mirror

There comes a point, in any major weight loss journey when you look in the mirror and say: Who is that? 

I realized about a month ago, I had reached that magical weight where all of a sudden everyone was noticing. People that I know didn't recognize me. I could tell they were wondering...what to say? What was I doing? What plan? What pill? Was I sick? Did I have a major health issue?

I always responded with: "I've been working on it." Feeling proud at the beginning, fielding questions,... no I'm not sick. Yes, I'm on a plan. Dr. monitored. Yes, it is healthy. Yes, I'm eating "real" food again.

I got to a point where I tired of my response. I sounded like a broken record. It also made me realize that people who saw me, saw the weight. Oddly, I didn't.

But I'm grateful. I've proven that I can change. People can change. We can control ourselves in the midst of temptation. We can turn the ship around. We can do it with God's transformational power.

But back to the mirror. About a month ago, when I looked into it, I stopped seeing the feminine softness that I've always had... and horror, I see my brother! No really, my brother's a handsome guy, but my face started to look more angular, less soft.

Then family photos. I got the album last night. We were so lucky to have such a talented photographer in Megan! I was startled once again by my image. Who is this girl? I saw skinny when I was big. I see a stranger now that I am smaller. It is going to be an adjustment.


It's a joyful and celebratory moment but I'm acutely aware that it is fleeting and wordly. It is only a body after all. Recognizing my temptations and battling my own demons -  that's a daily fight - whether it is related to food or my other human failings.

So, who do you see when you look in the mirror? I see someone that Jesus loves, soft face, angular face, God sees me beautiful every day. That is something to be thankful for.

Total weight loss to date: 78 lbs.
Weight til next goal: 3 lbs
Weight off adult low: 3lbs

Friday, November 6, 2015

Chicks: Days 1 - 4

Monday: Panic! The chicks hatched today! We've not yet received our supplies from My Pet Chicken (note to self: more time needed between supply and chick orders!), and realized that if the USPS was efficient (questionable) the chicks could be arriving as early as Tuesday!

Around lunch I received an email from Hubs, My Pet Chicken has asked we call ASAP re: our day old chick order. The Golden Cuckoo Marans under hatched. What did we want to do? Hold the whole order or pick another breed?

Pick another please. We want our chicks!

Listened to the laundry list of options and then "Buff Orpington." Yes! That's what I want. Widely loved by backyard chicken keepers, the Buff Orpington is sort of like the golden retriever of the chicken world. They're cheaper than the Marans? Then yes, we'd love them!

With the Orpingtons added to the Welsummers and the Blue Ameracaunas, our order was a go!

Monday evening: Last minute panic about supplies but really, what were the chances the chicks would arrive on Tuesday?

Tuesday: AH! The post office just called. The chicks are here!! We dropped by the Western Ranchman to grab the couple of things we were missing and ran off to the Post Office to pick up the chicks. I didn't want them there a minute longer than was necessary.

What a fun pick up. Everyone was staring at us - our box was so chirpy! Several questions from folks about what we were doing. I had to wonder myself. What ARE we doing?!



The chicks seemed to fare the shipping well but there was a lot of complaining. We set up our brooder and moved the chicks in!

Moving out of the box

Tuesday afternoon: Our little "Penny", the darker Ameracauna seemed to be very lethargic and not drinking. I was starting to think she wasn't going to make it. We used our kids medicine dropper to get some water on her beak and she perked right up. Gave the girls some feed and everyone seemed much happier.

Things I learned about baby chicks. They're like wind up toys. The jump up, run over each other, buzz around, eat, poop and then fall asleep standing up and keel over. Seeing them sleep at first freaked me out - I thought they were dead! Some of my girls would let a leg lay out behind them, others on their side. I'll admit, I googled it! I was worried. But I'm assured that they're fine. Sleeping fine. Happy and healthy. The temperature must be just right too - cause my girls are just content as can be. Very quiet, spread out, going about their business without much chatter. But the sleeping!

Nap time with one holdout! 

Wednesday: Everyone is settling in and we're getting to know the girls personalities. They're quirky and my kids adore them. "Can I check on the chickens?" Miss P keeps asking me... even our 2 year old wakes up and says: "Chikns... chickins...." The girls are desperate to hold the ones that they've named: Red and SueSue, but we're trying to keep the kids at bay and chicks calm and happy for now! Lots of popping, sleeping and crawling on Mingo (a small stuff flamingo we've given the to cuddle with!). 

 Out from under the red heat lamp to visit with the kids. 
Segregated by breed left to right: Orpington, Welsummer, Ameracauna. 
 My favs: Lucy (Splash Blue Ameracauna) and Penny (Blue Ameracauna)
How can we escape these kids?!

Thursday: It is amazing how they've grown and how much more settled and resilient they seem already. Several of our girls are starting to show small feathers coming in on their wings. I know we are going to go thru an ugly awkward phase here in a couple of weeks - but that's just fine, we've got a coop to build! So far so good, very easy, and fun! 

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Size 10

Let's be real for a minute.

In June, when I hesitantly walked into Dr. Amy's office for my pre-diet work up. She asked me:

"Are you ready to do this?"

I wasn't. I really wasn't. I think I even said: "Not really."

 This sign sits opposite at Burger King on 7th Ave. I drive past and smile every day. 
Don't have spooky buns! 

You see, it is really easy to be comfortable where you are. It is really hard to actually change. But there was this little nagging voice inside of me - reminding me - how happy, how energetic, how free I felt when I had lost the weight last time. The weight, for me, is like visual evidence of unhappiness. Not that I am really unhappy - I am not. But it is like evidence that I can't control myself. And not being in control, or having a crutch of food, well that makes me unhappy. I know I can't do all things, but I can at least take control of the things I can control... like what I put in my own mouth..

I'm rambling.

But what I am getting at is - I wasn't sure I could do it. I wanted to - don't get me wrong - I really wanted to. But like the millions of people out there that want an easy pill to swallow, I wasn't sure I was up for the hard work.

In the grande scheme of things, 4 months is a short period of time. Not a huge time commitment to lose 70lbs. The lifetime of maintaining it, that's far more frightening. Spooky!

Anyhow I haven't tried on clothes for a while, and I've been feeling kinda stuck recently. Weight plateau at 186lbs that I've been bouncing around for a month.  I've had good exercise weeks, and bad. I've made good food choices and bad.

Good Food Choices: Eggs over Brussel Sprout & Butternut Squash Hash

Weight finally dipped down to 180lbs this week. Time to go shopping! Honestly, we're doing family portraits soon. I need something to wear. I swear!

I tried on a lot of things. I wasn't even sure what size I am anymore. Let me tell you, it can do something wonderful to your psyche when you can pretty much wear anything you want. I am comfortably in a size 12 all around. I fell in love with a Vince Camuto jumpsuit that whew, looked awesome ... and then the jeans. Why is it always the jeans?! The true test of your body changing is new jeans.

Size 12 fit ok, but I had this weird feeling that they were going to grow, know what I mean? Like after I sat in them for 2 hours there'd be wings on my hips? But the color and cut were awesome...
So, this happened:
Can't wait to rock these babies! 

These babies came home with me, as you can imagine. Them and a couple other things. Maybe they're mislabeled. Maybe they run big. Don't tell me, I don't want to know! No bubble bursting today!

I need to get stronger. I need to get control of my fitness, but this feeling is worth smiling about.

... to get back to my original point. Sometimes you sign up for things and you're not really sure if you CAN do them. Then you do. And you surprise even yourself. I wish I could say I've been confident the whole time. I haven't. What I did ... was just to say, I'll try. Try. Here I am. Still trying.

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Hen House

We're a little bit of crazy here in the Eddy house. I think we like it busy or something, although Hubs often reminds me he does not, in fact, like it busy.

As if buying a house, moving the family, having 3 kids under age 7, two full time professional jobs, 1 "fun" Mary & Martha job, travel, life, and all the other stuff wasn't enough....

We're getting chickens.

Yep. You heard that right. Hubs already lives with 1 hen and 3 chicks, so why not add a half dozen more?! Our babies are hatching next weekend, shipping on Monday and arriving via Priority Mail in the middle of next week. We didn't do extensive breed research but if you know me, you know I have expensive taste, so I wanted unique birds. We ordered two pullets each of dutch Welsummers, french Golden Cuckoo Marans, and Blue Ameracaunas. Coming direct from My Pet Chicken a good resource for folks who just want a small flock in their backyards, like us!

Our baby chicks might look something like this:

Blue Ameracaunas
                               
 Welsummers
                                                        Golden Cuckoo Marans                                                           
My only goal at the beginning is to keep them alive! Really lofty, I know, but apparently chicks are pretty dumb and prone to drowning themselves in their water dishes and stuff like that. So, if we get these little babies alive delivered from our primitive brooder to Hub's aweseomely-designed-but-yet-to-be-built-coop, we've succeeded! Hopefully sometimes in the next few months, our girls will look more like this:

Blue Ameracauna Hen
 Welsummer Hen
                                         
Golden Cuckoo Maran Hen

Then, some day, if I'm making an omlette with one of these beauties I'll be even more esctatic! Secretly, or maybe not so secretly, I think Hubs hopes this will turn me into some knitting pioneer woman. Unlikely. I'm in it for the eggs! 

 Blue Ameracauna Eggs
 Golden Cuckoo Maran Eggs
Welsummer Eggs

For now, forget decorating our new abode, we're building a chicken house! I'll try to document this crazy like a chicken with its head cut off adventure on the blog! Stay tuned! 

Oh, and those wondering about my weight loss? I'm maintaining at 10lbs less than my goal weight at current. Been hanging out at this weight (10lbs off my skinniest adult weight) for about a month. Adding more sensible foods, and working out when I can get myself to the gym. Doctor said to maintain for now, going to weekly meetings and back for follow up in December. Amazing how fast 70lbs slid off my frame. If I can do it, you can do it too!! Google the New Direction Diet! 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Is it a gift?

I've hidden something for a long time. As a teenager, when it happened, I squashed it down, like a rising tide. Don't do it! Don't let it happen.

Don't let them see you.

Cry.

Usually it is the hymns. Old hymns. New Hymns. I remember standing in Concert Choir at the Stony Brook School - the performance lights shining on us - and pushing my knees together. Don't cry. Not here, not now.

I didn't know what it was. This wave of emotion sweeps up over me.

I pushed back the feeling. In choir. At church. At the sight of my kids. At the bang of emotion.

I thought I had it all under control. Saying goodbye to people. Saying happy to see you again. Tears. WHY? Why am I the only person that seems unable to contain myself? I feel like John Boehner.

It happened at Mary & Martha conference last year. I wasn't alone.

It happened again this year. My roommate leaned over and said: "We're all crying. It's the Spirit."

When I sing, I don't raise my hands up as a child to God. But in my heart, I do. I am a child needing the Father. And when I get that feeling, it's tears. As I type that, it's happening.

"How marvelous. How boundless. Is your love. Is your love..." but there's a modern skeptic in me shouting: Come on, my Soul! Come on!!!



I get absolutely overwhelmed by love for me that I don't deserve. Joy. Gratitude. Vulnerability.

This Sunday, it was just the girls and me at church. Hubs was traveling. I became absolutely breathless. I decided to just let it out. Like watching Bette Midler in Beaches.... blubbering... I'm frankly not sure there was actual blubbering but it sure felt like I was bubbling over.

and all because "It is well in my soul."



Not sure why crying seems to be my response to wellness, but there it is. I was reading Philippians Sunday night. Something made me wonder what people say about tears and the Spirit. Google.

Apparently, Tears are a Gift. I read a bit. Human. Humility. Joy. Humbling. Yep. All of that. I'm usually so proud to have it all together - maybe tears are my spiritual surrender. I'll give it to God and make the following prediction: the tears aren't going to be stopping any time soon.


Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Winter Mood

Having existed in a perpetual state of anticipation for the past 3 months (or longer), finally arriving in our new house, with all the work wrapping up.... and arriving in my new body, with all the work of maintenance lying ahead.... well...

It's all anticlimactic.

But that's ok. I could go for dull for a while. I could embrace a beige existence. I could go for sleeping in. In fact, I could hibernate and it would be just great (hibernate - great, see what I did there?)

And this gray drizzle of October - unexpected in the Valley of the Sun - fits this place that I find myself at current. I'm wanting comfort food, the blinds drawn and a big down comforter. It may never truly be winter here but the mood can be winter. Can I get an amen?



But alas... the little people need tending. The house needs unpacking. The bills need paying. So, I plod on, and find joy in the memory of sleeping in. The thought of comfort food in the crock pot. Or the down comforter of my teenage years... cause honestly can we ever recreate the sleep we used to get when we were 18? I swear I slept most of my sophomore year of college and it was glorious...

Despite my desire to hide under the covers, there is a wonderful peace to finally landing here. I can see us here for decades. I can see us here growing old (one might argue we're already old!). I can see how quickly time ticks away and in a blink my oldest is going to be 8... and in another blink she'll be 16. How can I grasp onto these grains of sand as they slide thru the opening in the hourglass? (insert announcer voice from Days of Our Lives.... ) Come to think of it, it is a mood for soap operas.


I'm so mellow dramatic. (anticlimactic - mellow dramatic, see what I did there?)

I need to get out more.

Weight lost to date: 70lbs
Weight til next goal: 1 lbs


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Home Matters: Progress

One of the reasons I wanted to post BEFORE house pics was that I knew, and hoped, and knew, and hoped, that once the paint was on the walls, cabinets, trim and doors, that my memory of the colors that were there would fade.... fast......... hopefully.


It's been a week and those finishes. Those colors. They are a fading memory. Hallelujah!

Here's where we are  - a week from our move in - with plenty of activity going on! Forgive these photos - the lighting is pretty bad!

PAINT! Glorious Paint:

Master Bedroom / Fireplace - SW Contented / SW Black Fox. The wall color is in fact the same despite how different it looks.


Living Room Accent Wall - SW Bamboo & BM Edgecomb Gray. Wainscott in the dining room yet to be done - will be painted SW Distance.  (Straight visual from front door)


Girls Bedrooms - SW White Dogwood. Lots of DE Whisper doors!




KITCHEN - Getting put back together. Cabinets - SW Dovetail. Beveled subway mesh backsplash. Walls not yet painted - BM Edgecomb Gray. Grout will be white when done. New frosted white glass pendant shades with stickers still on lol! Hardware! WOOT!




Hall Bathroom - Vanity top just got installed - Vanity painted - walls, trim, tiling yet to be done. I just picked up more accent tile. We're going to see a lot of changes in this room in the next couple days!!


Now add light fixtures and all our homey wonderful stuff and smiling happy laughing kids and it'll be a dream!


Tuesday, September 22, 2015

AFTER (again)

One of my most popular blog entries is the AFTER photo shoot from 2011. It isn't a narrative, just pics after my year long journey to lose 100 lbs.

You can see it here.

When I posed for those pics in August 2011, it was after a year of hard work, daily diligence and perseverance. I had logged it all and most of it on this blog- calories, pounds and miles.

And well, here I am now.

Scurrying out the door to get the kids yesterday. Grabbed a jacket - and sort of chuckled when I grabbed this blue one... cause well, there was no way I could fit in it:

And yet.....
The same jacket I sported in some of those 2011 AFTER pics. In some ways I don't feel that I've earned this body yet. I haven't toiled. I haven't cried. I just followed directions and sort of melted away.

And arrived here:

About 18 pounds off my 2011 goal weight.
Beginning only now to log miles
feeling accomplishment but also shock
wondering if all this outward change does anything inward..

And so the days continue and so do the choices. Choices to be destructive or constructive. Choices to be gluttonous or healthy. Choices that little ladies watch and learn from. Choices....

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Home Matters: Before Pics

If you've been keeping up with my stress levels  - that I've been documenting ad nauseum on here for the past couple of months, you know that we've bought a house, and now we are understaking what is - for us - a big renovation. Hubs & I have done some projects in our prior houses, but those were in our time and without kids and maybe just didn't live up to this project in the stress department. So - what are we doing you ask? Well, let me tell you... 

The house we bought is lovely. It is big house for the neighborhood and has a room for each Lewis lady and then some. Over 2800 sq. ft of Phoenix ranch custom built in the mid-1980's. The house has had updates over the years and was well loved by the prior owner. The bones are good. What we are undertaking is largely cosmetic.... here are the rooms that will see the most transformation. 

Paint - Everything! Ceilings, walls, cabinets, doors, trim.... 

We went with Sherwin Williams Livable Lux palette. I literally blitzed thru the house before my last business trip and put color chips on walls - all from this palette! Little did I know (until I just did a Google search on this) that our choices were the colors used in the 2014 HGTV Dream Home. Well, look how trendy I am! We have deviated somewhat and are using a Benjamin Moore gray as our "field" color (isn't that a super cool term I learned from my new favorite friend of my husband who is an interior decorating and affirmed my choices in haste!) We are also using Dunn-Edwards Whisper as our trim color: 

Benjamin Moore Edgecomb Gray



Sherwin Williams Livable Luxe Palette (has since been updated but these are the colors I am using):



Of the palette, we are using:
Dovetail: Kitchen / Bath Vanity Cabinets
Silvermist: Living Room / Hall Bathroom
Contented: Master Bedroom / Office Bathroom
Serious Gray: Master Bathroom
Bamboo Shoot: Formal Sitting Room Accent Wall / Pocket Door to Laundry Room
Distance: Painted Wainscott in the Dining Room / Interior walls in Laundry Room
Black Fox: Stucco Fireplace Wall in Master Bedroom
Edgecomb Gray: Interior walls not accent / Formal Sitting, Upper Dining Room, Eat in Kitchen, Office. 

And for my 3 little girl rooms: 
Sherwin Williams: White Dogwood
(cause, well, pink....)


So, with that in mind, here are the BEFORE pics:

The Kitchen / Eat In: 



These are the kitchen cabinets we are paining Dovetail. Stepped half wall removed. All trim will be white. We are using a small white beveled subway tile on the backsplash. The eat in area cabinets are being painted trim color. We've removed a half wall in the eat in space. We're replacing all the light fixtures. New white glass replacement pendant shades will go on 4 pendants over the two tiered corian counter top bar.

The Girls / Hall Bathroom:;

I am, sadly, not keeping the lovely basket of flowers on the existing bathroom tile!


The shower is getting demolished as we speak, and we are re-tiling the surround in a glossy white 3x6 subway tile with white grout (something like the pic below). We are framing in some shower nooks in the seat area in the middle picture. We are re-surfacing the steel tub to be white rather than ivory. We are keeping the bronze fixtures. We are using an accent tile Lucente Luzzaro Linear by Emser Tile seen here - but we don't have much of it as I scored a deal of 3 sheets for $5 each (retail is $25 a piece!).


The hall bath has a 9ft long double sink vanity that we are painting SW Dovetail. My contractor scored a deal on white carrera marble for our vanity top with undermount rectangle sinks. The bronze fixtures, mirros and light fixtures are staying. The white subway tiles will run as the backsplash on the walls, the walls will be painted SW Silvermist. Medicine cabinets will be painted trim color. 


I imagine the the finished product will look something like this maybe? Hopefully? God willing?

(This pic for tile over vanity)          (This pic for paint and marble top)




What else? Oh well, light fixtures galore! White fans in the kids rooms, Yosemite Home Decor rod iron chandelier in the dining room, Pratt Street Pendant in the eat in area. All interior doors are being painted white - nor more mid-80's dark oak! I'm kinda losing my mind about it all if you haven't notice - I can't wait for the after pics! Stay tuned!!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Control

I've been eating actual real food now for about... 10 days. The switch from the Very Low Calorie Diet to the Low Calorie Diet has been a welcome but anxious shift. Decisions, decisions. What do I eat? I am acutely aware of my cravings now - in a stronger way that I was before. The carbs - the non-food pantry stuff - the stuff my kids shove in their mouths without a thought - it is just there and I want to shove it in my mouth too.

But I don't.

I have been working my way thru a Costco sized box of baby spinach. Each day adding some hard boiled egg, grilled chicken, cucumber, grilled asparagus or other veg with 2 tbsp of lite or homemade dressing. Small portions. Real food. I can feel my body respond with every fiber screaming - FEED ME- and my gut holding on to whatever crosses my lips.

It's an adjustment.

Not seeing the scale move half a pound a day.

It's a little sad.

The scale is still moving just not like before. I've been okay so far, keeping the calories below 1600 a day. Being active. I am trying to exercise off the stress rather than eat my way thru it. It is kinda working.



But the stress is getting to me. There are a lot of balls I am juggling right now - we - our family is juggling right now. Our new house has been disassembled and is being put back together again. It's like an operation - and it feels like it. The prior state wasn't bad - it was just old - and after we take it apart and put it back together again, it should be good as new, but it is just intense and stressful. I am not the surgeon, all I can do is wait it out and hope for the best. I am surprised how vulnerable I feel in the process. How out of control. How stressed. I have faith - I have to. I don't really have a choice at this point.


Like my own personal weight loss journey, the house is undergoing a transformation. While the outside may change - the inside - the heart - may it stay the same, may it thrive, may it find peace. There seems to be some much change going on that I have to find constancy where I can. The body, it is just the wrapping for what is going on inside my heart. The house, the paint, the trim, it is only a stage for the real work - the rearing our our girls - the love of our family & God - the home for our memories - to be acted out. THAT is the big picture. That is the real deal. THAT is where I've got to keep my focus. The minutiae - need not derail me or stress me - if I know where to keep my focus. 

Mary & Martha - As for Me & My House 
www.mymaryandmartha.com/MARA

Weight Lost to date: 62.5 lbs
Weight to next goal: 8.5lbs