This WordPress.com site is an insight into my personal journey on life, family, teaching and learning!

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I can do all things through Christ which strenghten me.

Phillippians 4:13 King James Version (KJV

It has been a few weeks since my last post and I have learned so much about myself, my persistence and patience, weight loss and how the negative changes in my weight have a positive effect on my whole being.  Back in early March, when I first started this journey, I topped the scale at 265 pounds…almost 300 pounds!  I joined Weight Watchers to help me get a jump-start on re-training myself how to eat and met with success.  Over time, I found my fitbit, downloaded the Fitbit app on my phone, as well as My Fitness Pal.  I weaned myself off of Weight Watchers and I’m exclusively using My Fitness Pal, which I really like.  WW was easy to understand, but the point system was a little vague to eat.  I eat food, I assess points, I lose.  Seems easy, but I wanted to know WHY it worked.  My Fitness Pal (MFP) is an app that allows me to enter my food and track my caloric intake.  Understanding how consuming calories and burning calories worked together was more beneficial for me.

Another thing I learned over these past few weeks is setting small, achievable goals!  The big picture is I want to lose 135 pounds, but if I focus on that insanely huge number my weekly progress seems so insignificant.  However, I’ve turned that large number into smaller goals.  My first goal was to lose 5% of my weight, which I achieved that goal this week!!!!!  Woo HOOOOOO!!!!  My next weight loss goal is to drop 10% of my current weight, which will happen when I lose another 24 pounds.  24 pounds is a much easier number to wrap my brain around than 135!!!

When I first started WW, I was a little slow to integrate exercise.  After a couple of weeks of learning how to eat, I started adding walking.  I started with walking 20-30 minutes, as I grew stronger and had more endurance, I would add more time and try to increase my speed.  Then I found my Fitbit and I find that I’m more motivated to push myself to move around more during the day.  It also helps that my friend, Carma, has one and we have a healthy competition between ourselves!!!

During this early part of my transformation, one of my favorite things to do is plug the ear buds in, turn on Pandora and walk to my “Amazing Grace” station.  It’s my old-time Gospel station with hymns such as the Old Rugged Cross, Just A Closer Walk With Thee (that’s my favorite to walk to), Amazing Grace performed using bagpipes…This is my personal time to Meditate and Pray.  When I start to get down and frustrated, I have discovered two things.

  1. My mom’s voice rings in my head saying “offer it up”.  That was one of her favorite things to say in times of frustration. Offer your stresses and worries up to God and let Him carry your burden.
  2. The bible verse “I can do all things through Christ which strengthen me.”

These discoveries have taught me that I’m not in this alone.  Yes, I make the decisions on what to put in my mouth, but when I want to give up (and there have been times that I have wanted to) I put all of my faith in God.  It seems that I have fewer episodes of frustrations and much more motivation when I let “God drive the bus”, and less success when I try and shoulder the burden on my own.  So…here’s my newest transformation…21.4 pounds lighter!!!

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Blessings to each and every one of you.  I’ll send updates when I’m at my next goal.  🙂

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So, this is me.  This picture was taken in February of 2015 and this is the heaviest I have ever weighed!  I know I should be honest and say my weight, but frankly I am ashamed of how I allowed myself to be controlled by what I put in my mouth.  I had/have no self-control when it comes to food.  If I want it, I eat it and throw caution to the wind.  I mean, I shouldn’t let my weight define me.  I’m a beautiful person.  I’m God-loving, caring, funny, happy, faithful, good mom, good teacher, good friend.  But I have a secret…I feel like crap.  Every flipping joint hurts, muscles ache, I can’t sleep worth a damn, when I shift positions in bed I’m positive I look like a floundering whale…not a pretty sight.

I’ve been through weight loss attempts in the past, and I have been successful.  My most successful attempt was a whopping 60 pound loss that resulted in me running (yes, I said running) in a 5K race.  If I ran today, well forget it…there is no way I would be running now!!!  I think where I lost success with my initial attempts is my complacency.  I quit working at it.  I quit weighing and measuring my food portions because I’m really good at eye-balling my portions now!!!  Well, for some strange reason, my portion sizes grew and grew and before I knew it the weight would creep back on.  It was a slow process.  I didn’t wake up one morning and was suddenly 60 pounds heavier.  Gaining the weight back took almost as much time as losing it!!!

One thing I did not do during my earlier weight loss attempts is not document my journey.  Initially, I kept it pretty quiet, only letting close friends and select family in.  I’m not sure why, I just didn’t.  So…I thought I might begin to document this time.  Share my successes and failures with the world.  I can honestly tell you that I’m terrified.  I’m scared to let the world in, but maybe some hard honesty with myself is a key to a lasting success.

So, here’s my brutal honesty.  Shortly after I took that picture, I weighed  myself.  I really, really don’t want to share that wretched number with the world but I believe I need to.  That picture above weighed me in at 265 pounds.  35 pounds shy of breaking 300!!!  I am carrying the equivalent of another human being around with me!!!  No wonder everything aches.  No wonder my heart races when I climb the stairs…No. Wonder.

Four weeks back into tracking everything, weighing everything, making better dining out decisions, screwing up (sometimes that french fry, cookie, BBQ just sounded so good), exercising again has paid off…here I am now.  12.4 pounds lighter!!!  I am basically not carrying around a ten pound bag of potatoes and 8 sticks of butter!

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Not only do I feel a difference (I can walk up stairs without being winded), my feet do not scream at the end of the day, and I can shift positions in bed a lot easier…I can see the difference too!!!  I’m proud of myself for what I’ve accomplished so far.  But I think I’m more proud of myself for putting myself out for the world to see.

Until next time!!!  🙂

At the end of the day, everybody wants to know they matter.  Good news:  they do.

~Kid President

Two incredibly simple words: You Matter.  Two words that seem so simplistic and irrelevant and are often overlooked in our daily grind of living.  We survive from one moment to the next, with so many thoughts flooding our minds, that we often forget the impact those two beautiful words can have on ourselves, as well as the ones we love the most.

I know how easily I can dunk myself into the pervasive thoughts of how little I matter in the big ole world.  What contribution do I have that is important?  I’m nothing but ordinary.  I’m not, and never was, an Honor Student.  I can sing, and sign well, but I’m paralyzed by a massive case of stage fright.  Oddly enough, I’ve only sang publicly twice; once at Momma’s funeral and my final performance at my Daddy’s funeral.  I am always second guessing every thought, every decision, every move.  I get so caught up in my daily living that I forget my significance in this world.  I will never be a great philosopher, poet, writer, politician, but I am a good Momma, daughter, sister, friend, lover and teacher.  I never intentionally set out on my day to hurt people, in fact, my goal in life is to make other’s happy.  So…I matter.  I matter to myself and I matter to those I love most.  I believe the first thing to making a change in this world is to truly believe in ourselves and how significant we are.It’s a daily job to remind myself of my importance.  As a woman, I naturally put the needs of others over my own.  I know that will never change.  It’s who I am.  It’s every fiber of me.

I want everyone who reads this little note to know one thing…You matter.  You matter to me.  Even if we do not know each other on a deep level, I want you to know you matter.  You have somehow left a footprint on my soul.  You have taught me to find the good in others and that sometimes I need to work a little harder to find the good.  If you are someone close to me, who I’ve trusted with my heart (and you know who you are), you matter to me.  I go to bed smiling just because I know that you are a significant part of my world.  I often wake up at night and find that you are on my mind.  Little things remind me of you.  Maybe it’s the laughter of one of my students, or maybe it’s a joke I’ve read, a picture I’ve seen, or even a particular smell,  but there is something I experience that allows me to have a connection to you.

One of the most precious gifts I have ever received was a letter from my momma.  She was diagnosed with cancer and she fought that disease hard for three years.  In 2007, she went into the hospital for what was to be the last time.  She did not come home.  I think she knew she wouldn’t be coming home because she wrote each of us (my sisters, brother and I) a letter.  We had no clue she had done this.  My sisters had only found the letters tucked away in her purse.  It was her final kiss goodbye to us, and it was the sweetest, most precious gift ever.  You see, I knew she loved me and I knew how much I loved her.  But in that letter, I learned how much she appreciated me and how much she noticed the little, seemingly insignificant things I did.  I love this letter and have often pulled it out to read again, and again.  I makes me feel so much closer to her and reminds me that she is still very much alive in my heart.

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I believe that if each one of us makes a concerted to let others know how much they matter to us, the world will begin to be a much happier place!  First, remind yourself of how much you matter!  Then, go out and spread the word to those around you.  Remember…YOU MATTER!!!  You matter to me!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Spinning Yarns.”


Stories weave us all together like a tightly woven quilt. My Daddy was quite the storyteller!! Combined with his infectious personality and his perfect comedic timing, he could tell you a joke and have you convinced it was true life!!! It would often take several moments after the punchline to realize everything he had told you was a story. Daddy was from a small town and his stories brought to life experiences that I couldn’t imagine, being more of a city girl.

Mom, on the other hand, was a city girl! She would regale me with stories of taking the bus downtown to go shopping at The Jones Store Company or eating lunch at Woolworth’s. When we would visit her childhood home, she would point out the skeletal remains of buildings that once grandly housed movie theaters, restaurants and shops. Now those buildings are lonely reminders of days past. I also recall her telling me how much she HATED chicken because she would go to the meat market with her momma and watch them ring the chickens’ necks, while being covered in blood-soaked aprons. She said the smell and sight stuck with her throughout her whole life and she could hardly stomach eating it.

I love to read, but more importantly, I love to listen. I can remember sitting on the back porch, as a sweet little girl, and just listen to Daddy tell stories. I remember him telling the story of the time he got kicked out of his high school band because he poured water in his Tuba. I can also recall the time he shared when he and his brothers, Alvin and Mop, built a wooden airplane. Somehow they convinced Mop to man the “plane” while Daddy and Alvin attempted the takeoff from the barn. One of my favorite tales was how he and many other boys in town did not want the dog catcher to take any dogs to the pound. One would be a lookout, and while the dog catcher was capturing a dog, the boys would sneak to his truck and let the imprisoned ones out!!!

As I grew into adulthood, those stories became more important to me. They were part of my legacy that I wanted to pass to my kids. I wanted them to know the history of their grandparents. As my Daddy’s thoughts and memories retreated further into the deep corners of his mind, I found I cherished those stories even more. I soaked up every word, even if he had told that same story, over and over and over… One evening, out of the blue he looked me square in the eye and said…”If the ocean were whiskey and I was a duck, I’d dive to the bottom and never come up.” WHAT????????? First off, I have never seen my Daddy with an alcoholic beverage! I asked where on earth that came from and he repeated it again. I never could get an answer. So, I met up with my new friend, Google, and typed in that sentence. What I found was the song, Rye Whiskey. Since his stories were slowly becoming silenced, I could only infer that this was a song his Daddy and brothers would play on their old front porch at night.

To me, a great storyteller isn’t necessarily one who is a famous published writer. Some of the best stories are the ones that are passed down from one generation to another, many times never recorded and almost always told again and again. Those stories that Momma and Daddy told us of their youth somehow connected me to them and actually made them real, not super humans. Now that they are both gone, that’s all I have left to remember them by…their stories. I hope that my kids remember the stories they heard from their grandparents, plus the stories I’ve told them and pass them on to the next generation. One day, the stories of my parents will only exist in their souls…departed from this earth, never to be shared again.

As strange as this may sound, my upbringing was full of contradictions. Any time I would face a difficult moment, my mom would always try and help me see the other side of the coin. However, many things in my mom’s point of view was black and white, no gray. Her way or the highway. One such instance was church. We did NOT miss Mass for anything. We might be excused if we were vomiting, and we would definitely be excused if we had died, but other than that, it was a no go. You can imagine how well that set with a slightly rebellious teenager who wasn’t afraid to argue with her momma. Sunday morning, Mom would wake me up for Mass. I would grumble and fuss and matter-of-factly inform her I would NOT be attending Mass. She left my room and I went back to sleep CERTAIN I had won this battle. We fought this battle almost every Sunday and I never won, so I’m not sure why I was so persistent. Anyhow, she would return a little while later and be a bit more stern with me and demand I get up and get ready for Mass. Again, I would point out that my friends did not HAVE to get up EVERY Sunday and it wasn’t a sin to miss every once in a while. About that point, I received “the look” and again, she left my room. Ha!!!! I definitely knew I won that fight! More time would pass and I would start to fall back in a wonderful state of sleep, when she would return, once more, to awaken me from my slumber. The arguing, on my part, would start again. However, she would grow silent (which was NEVER a good sign that it would end well for me) and waited the proper wait time before she ever so sweetly and patiently uttered the following phrase…”Honey, God is in our house 7 days a week, you can spend one hour in His House.”. Shoot, I lost. There was NO fighting that logic and I got up and went to Mass. Well-played, Momma, well played!! I learned my momma skills from the Master!!!

The issue of attendance at Mass was black and white. Actually, I wouldn’t say it was black and white…you WENT regardless if you wanted to or not.

My point to my little anecdote is to point out that although my mom knew when to pick her battles, there were certain components of life that were non-negotiable, nor open to another perspective. Did her insistence influence my Faith? Not really. I have a very strong Faith and praise God daily for my blessings and try really hard to “offer up” my hard times and struggles.

One thing I have noticed more and more about myself is that I often find that I am putting myself in another person’s shoes trying to understand their particular perspective. I think when we fully try to see another point of view, we are more able to, and apt to, accept people for who they truly are and not what we “perceive” people to be.

I would say my strongest perspective is always trying to be positive, even when things are tough. I was just speaking to Brian the other day about times being tough. I’m a single-parent running a household on my income. There has been a recent glitch and I have had to start carrying the insurance on the family. That has taken a huge chunk out of my monthly income, but I am thankful I have insurance for my kids. Getting paid monthly makes for some creative budgeting! We live like royalty for the first few weeks, then the last week my meal-planning and prep takes on a more creative roll. I can remember not so far in the distant past, where the kids and I were cushion surfing trying to find as many coins as possible in order to pay for school lunches or whatnot.

What’s my perspective on this struggle?? Well, some of my fondest memories and bonding moments with my loved ones are when money is tightest. It seems we spend a lot more time at home and less time running around. We have more dinners around the table, even if they aren’t restaurant quality. Strange, huh???

Caring for an Alzheimer’s patient has also completely transformed my level of patience for others and understanding for the elderly population. My Daddy was a great man, but his personality was heightened due to his disease. Sometimes, he would be grumpy and argumentative and really didn’t care who heard what he had to say. Not always the most fun when we were in public. He could also be incredibly flirty…again, there were many embarrassing moments when he would propose marriage to complete strangers!!! I learned to go with the flow with him. One day, he thought I was his sister and other days he would think I was momma or even a childhood girlfriend. So my take on things now? When I see someone who is hateful and misbehaving in public, I don’t automatically assume they are jerks. It could be they are having a moment. I’m sure many people thought my dad was an odd duck, when in reality he was a gentle man who suffered cruelly from a miserable disease. Strangers did not know this. How could they, he didn’t wear a stamp that indicated his trial. Like everyone else, we have no clue what is going on in each other’s life at any given moment.

Am I always the epitome of happiness? No!! There are many times I am down and frustrated. There are many times I can’t always see the forest through the trees. There are many times I find I am jaded and cynical. BUT, in the end I manage to end the self-doubt and self-pity and try to find a different take on things. I find that when I try to look through a different lens, I have a much deeper understanding and appreciation for everyone, regardless of their life’s journey. My challenge during this season of Thanks and Giving is to really, truly try and put yourself in someone’s shoes. Don’t assume a person’s behavior is an automatic personality determinant. I remember reading a challenge somewhere that encouraged people to try and not complain for 24 hours. That may be something I’ll try!!!

Love and blessings to all

I have been silent for a very long time.  It’s not that I haven’t had anything to say.  In fact, it’s quite the opposite.  I have had a lot to say.  So much, that I had no clue where to start or what to even write about.  It seems life is flying by way too fast and I just wish it would slow down a bit.  In the past few years, there have been way too many transitions in my life.  My mom, my best friend, passed away.  Devastation is about the only word I can say that describes losing your momma.  No matter how prepared you are for it, it still hurts.  Then I had to say goodbye to Daddy…twice.  The Alzheimer’s took the man I knew and loved and replaced him with someone different.  Then his body couldn’t take it anymore.  He went to be with momma.  Again, there are no other words to describe it than…devastation.  I miss them.  A lot.

As the days continue to move forward, there are so many more transitions where I find that I have to let go.  2011, Andrew (my oldest) graduated from high school.  He is my first born, and just 22 years ago I never thought the day would come where it was time for him to leave the nest.  He kept me busy!!!  He was involved in everything, and I was right there by his side, cheering him on every step of the way.  The day he graduated from high school was almost as amazing as the day I first held him in my arms.  For the first time ever, I watched my boy cross the stage and became a man!  He stayed home his first year of college and it was a challenging year.  We butted heads, a lot!  He knew he wanted to fly, he just didn’t know where he wanted to fly to.  During that year, he finally decided on a major and a college.  So, the following September, it was time to move him to college…and let go.  I held the tears back, until I was on the road.  During those 3 years, I have truly witnessed something awe inspiring and amazing.  I watched that beautiful, amazing boy become a man.  I watched him make adult decisions and adult mistakes.  I also witnessed him learn from his successes and mistakes and become a better person for it.  I have no doubt in my heart that this boy, (ok, man) will do phenomenal things with his life.

2014, time to let another kiddo fly into the world!  It was Jody’s time to shine!!!  photo (1)I swear, from the moment that boy was born, I knew he was going to keep me on my game.  There was never a dull moment with that one.  He spent a lot of his time during elementary school in time out.  We also spent countless hours at various hospitals with different broken bones and stitches.  He played hard!!!  As he grew, I also saw an incredible leader begin to take shape and a young man who worked hard in his studies.  His senior year, he decided to join the US Navy Reserves.  So the summer after he graduated high school, it was time to let another fledgling leave my happy little nest.  In August, I watched him board a plane a very scared young man to leave for Boot Camp.  I had very little contact with him during that time, and that was hard.  He had to make it on his own, and there wasn’t anything I could do to help him.  In October, I was able to attend his graduation from Boot Camp and the transformation was incredible.  I gave the Navy my boy, and they have made him a strong, independent man.  I am so very proud of him.

I wish I could say I’m done with transitions, but I’m not.  My baby girl, Carolyn, is taking flight now.  She’s my baby and I still see her as such, but these past few months I’m seeing a beautiful, amazing and intelligent young woman.  You see, it’s her Senior year now.  It’s her year!!!  A she’s embracing every moment of it.  She’s an incredible leader who is quiet but able to see and feel another person’s point
photo (2)of view.  She is such a genuine, beautiful, gentle soul.  I have watched her transform before my eyes!  She was one of the drum majors for her high school marching band, and she led them with pride.  She’s made a college and career decision, and I couldn’t be more proud of that sweet, sweet soul.  She’s going to a be a nurse!  Why?  Because she was so impressed with the level of care her grandpa received while in hospice care.  In her words, someone had a huge impact on her who did not even realize they were doing so!  In a few months, I am going to witness the culmination of my years as a momma.  I get to see her walk across that stage and receive her high school diploma.  In less than a year I’ll be letting go for the third time. That thought is hard, but I know that I have done a great job raising her.

Even though letting go is so dang hard, it’s part of the transition of life.  I want my kids to know how very, very proud I am of each of them.  They have done amazing things so far and they will continue to impress and amaze me.  I know they want their independence, and I truly believe one of the best gifts I can give them is the unconditional freedom to find their footprint in this world.  I remember being their age and wanting to fly fast and fly far.  I also remember kicking back from my parents, but I also remember my parents giving me the freedom to find myself without too many guilt trips.  I guess what I’m saying is, giving the world these amazing human beings is truly the greatest accomplishment I’ve done so far.

Where Do I Begin…I Suppose It’s Another Journey and Lesson In Life..