Tuesday, August 31, 2010


A friend recently asked me for my favorite quote for a project she's working on. I mulled it over and realized that I don't have a favorite quote. So, like any modern-age woman, I went to google, in search of quotes that spoke to me. Here are the ones I liked and following each is a brief description of why I chose that one.


"Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans."
John Lennon

Why do I like this one? Well, because it's so damned true. Seriously...THIS defines my life! I make plans and then they get all screwed up because while I was making those plans all kinds of other stuff happened. And you know what? That's OK...because that's my life and it's a good one, so if my plans get foiled along the way due to life, well, that's how it goes!

"We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."
Sir Winston Churchill

I have to confess...I had not heard this one until I went on my google quest for a good quote. But, I like it...I like it a lot. I believe in this. I think it's important to give in order to receive. I'm not trying to get all philosophical or theological here on you, but I really do think you have to give. I'm not saying you have to give money. You can give time...you can give of yourself. Just give something and see what happens. You know the whole "it's better to give than to receive" thing? Totally true...and I think you appreciate receiving more when you're used to giving.

"I am still determined to be cheerful and happy, in whatever situation I may be; for I have also learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions and not upon our circumstances"
Martha Washington

Can I get a "Hell Yeah" on that one? I'm pretty sure when Martha got lemons she added some sugar and made some lemonade. How insanely true is this quote? Even in the face of huge sadness and adversity you can still CHOOSE to be happy. All of us can. We have the power to choose how we're going to feel. We teach our kids that they make CHOICES and those choices determine the outcome. If you choose to ignore the homework, then that was your choice, but you also will pay the consequence. Well, if you CHOOSE to be happy and cheerful then maybe the misery is less and the happiness is greater.

"He that can have patience can have what he will"
Benjamin Franklin

Patience is hard...I think patience is way harder than choosing happiness. But, you've got to be patient...and if you can do so, then you can have what you will. That's what Ben said! In all seriousness, I think this quote is so fitting of a lesson for our current times. We have become a society of "instant gratification". We want it and we want it NOW! Patience fades into the distant memory of a simpler time...the good old days! Ben's words ring true today...we just have forgotten that not all things need to be instant...good old patience is still necessary.

"It's not that some people have willpower and some don't. It's that some people are ready to change and others are not."
James Gordon, M.D.

I like this one for obvious reasons! In my whole "Fit By Forty" adventure I have gotten lots of comments on how great I'm doing and how people wish they could do it too. Well, you can. I'm not doing some magic solution to cure obesity. I'm burning more calories than I consume, and that's the only way anyone can lose weight. It's not about my willpower. I just got tired of being fat, so I was ready to change. Some days I lose sight of wanting that change, and I slip. But, keeping that change in sight helps me get back on track and focus on the end goal.

"I think a hero is an ordinary individual who finds strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles."
Christopher Reeve

Hmmmm...the more I read that one, the more I like it. I hate it when pop stars and athletes are heralded as a hero. Ugh...I am sorry, but being effective at a 3-point shot or singing the chart-topper does NOT make you a hero. There are heroes all around us. They're ordinary people that found that strength to not only survive, but thrive in the face of tough times. That's a hero. There are military heroes. That's what jumps in my mind when I first hear "hero". But there are also those everyday heroes that do what they do and most of the time nobody even notices. The people that fit Christopher Reeve's definition of a hero are truly the heroes that we should look up to. I love the whole "ordinary individual" part of that...it makes being a hero something within the grasp of each of us. You don't have to do something grand...you don't have to save 10 people from a burning building to be considered a hero. Each of us have it within ourselves...we're all ordinary individuals, and we each have the power to choose our actions. Maybe one of those actions that you choose will make you a hero to someone...and you may not even know it! Maybe you're someones hero already...

So, those are my quotes for this blog post. I enjoyed reading through the quotes and finding ones that really clicked with me. I might do it again and just choose 5 or so and explain why I liked them. I hope you enjoyed the quotes and maybe even found one that inspires you today!

So, go forth, blog readers...make some plans and see what happens...choose happiness and give of yourself to others....be patient and some day you'll be ready to change...don't worry if you're ordinary...you too, can be a hero!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

...the hardest thing ever...

Normally when I sit down and write a blog post I type in the title and then start hammering out the text. I have no clue what I'm going to type so at this time, there is no title.

Several things have entered my mind...

...the hardest thing ever...

...happy with life...

I guess I'm gonna go with the first one, because in all honesty, that has been on my mind a lot lately, and saying it out loud recently (totally by mistake) has made me think about the hardest thing ever a LOT.

So....the hardest thing ever....

I was VERY close to my Mom. We talked on the phone so much (and usually about so little!) that Jeff and my Dad just finally both stopped asking what we talked about. They knew the answer was gonna be "not much". Both men were confused how these two women would talk for literally hours about "not much".

Close...we were really close. So close, in fact, that many times I would wonder how the hell I would survive losing my Mom when that time came. I really expected to fall completely apart and maybe even end up in the hospital...that loss would be so incredibly great...the hardest thing ever, in fact...that it might just drive me over the edge.

Losing Schuyler was really hard. I know he was in Afghanistan, and I know at least some part of you has to worry about it...but I honestly did NOT expect it. Things like that don't happen to my family. Plus, he went once, came home fine, so this tour would be no exception.

...wow...that loss was HARD. Really hard. He was the first person that I was really close to to die...the first person whose loss profoundly affected every single person in my family, from my parents, to my siblings, to my own husband and children. Every single one of us was affected and felt the loss in a big way. All of us were changed after that loss...nothing will ever be the same.

Then my Mom suddenly died, and I'm pretty sure one of the first thing my husband worried about was me...he probably expected me to lose my mind, and honestly, the thought crossed my mind more than once. I wanted to lose myself in that grief, and I wanted to curl up in a ball and seep down under the darkness. But, there were things to take care of, and details to be seen to. Plans had to be made, and life, ultimately, had to go on.

And you know what? It did. Life did go on. And there were hard days. There were good days, and there were insanely bad days. But, life went on...not life as we formerly knew it, but a different life. A life in which her things had to be gone through, divided up, and then given away...a life in which Dad needed a bit of help...a life which had to go on.

So the hardest thing ever happened...and I made it through. I didn't make it through the same, but I made it through. I did not come through that journey of 2009 the same person who started it, but I came through. I came through a different person, one with the taste of grief still bitter in my mouth, but also with a taste of the sweetness that life can bring.

And then, somewhere in the midst of the grief, the sadness, the missing of them, came a new goal...a new goal to get myself healthier and better physically. And in that process, I think I came through that tunnel of grief even more, and I kept getting better. Now, this leads me back to the comment I referenced in the beginning...I recently said this and had one of those "ah-ha" moments. I said to someone that I thought losing my Mom would be the hardest thing ever, and once I made it through that, I kinda wondered if I could possibly do anything. Weight loss and getting healthier was pretty high up there on the "hardest thing ever" list, so maybe...just maybe that wasn't impossible either.

It's hard to believe that facing sadness and struggle would actually make me up for more challenge, but I really thing that it did. I made it through the hardest thing ever, so there's really nothing that I shouldn't be able to do. I hope that wherever Schuyler and my Mom are now that they can see us at times...I hope they see that we're getting better...that we miss them fiercely, but that we're living. I really feel a presence when I run, and I can't help but think that's Schuyler in some form. He joked with me about getting fit a lot, and often said we'd run together when he was home for leave...sounds great, I'd say, but I don't run. He'd just laugh and make some smart comment. I think he runs with me sometimes. I hope my Mom can see me and that she's proud of us for living...and proud of me for getting healthier so that I can be around for my kids for a long time. I want to be a grandma someday so that I can spoil my grand kids and squeeze out as much joy as I can from them, like she did with hers!

We'll all face our own "hardest thing ever" and really it's all about choices...are you going to choose to face it, work through it, and live beyond it, or will it be the thing that defines you're decline? Life's too precious to not enjoy, so face the tough stuff and know that it's within each of us to rise above and persevere.