The Sculptor

He was a driftwood sculptor, and quite a good one at that. But he’d been lacking in inspiration lately, and it’d been months since he’d produced anything of consequence. However, his luck changed one fateful day while walking along the beach.

He spied a piece of driftwood that immediately caught his attention. He picked it up and felt its weight, rubbing his hands along its contours. It was as if it had a certain magic to it, something he’d never felt before in a piece of wood. He thought to himself, “Now this is some good raw material. A little rough around the edges, but I can work with that.” He took it home to his modest home on the beach.

She was a lonely piece of driftwood, adrift in the vast, empty ocean for so long she couldn’t even remember how she’d gotten there. When she finally washed up on the beach, she was gloriously happy just to feel the stability of solid ground. She lay there for a while, soaking up the sun and resting from her ordeal.

Minutes, hours, days passed. She couldn’t be sure how long it had been since she’d washed ashore, but she felt the presence of another. A man. He picked her up and caressed her surface. In his touch she could feel that he was a good man. A calm soul. So when he carried her with him to his house on the beach, she felt calmed and loved. And it was good.

Months passed of living in quiet harmony. She recuperated from her injuries suffered from the lonely months at sea. And the sculptor kept her safe and warm.

The sculptor looked at his precious piece of driftwood, just as he had done ever day for months. But this day was different. This day he saw a flaw that he hadn’t seen before. So he got out his tools and worked at the flaw. It was difficult, for the wood was very dense and hard. But eventually he smoothed it away, and felt much better.

As the sculptor worked on her, she felt sad. Why did he not love her the way she was? She liked that particular knobby place on her surface. It was part of her charm. But she finally succumbed to his harsh tools, reasoning that he’s the sculptor, so he must know what is best.

He continued this pattern of being satisfied for a while, and then deciding something still wasn’t quite right. Each time, he chipped away a small part of her, and each time she protested until she was too tired to fight anymore.

He’d been working on this one particular spot for a long time, and just couldn’t seem to get it right. The wood just didn’t seem to want to budge. But he was determined, and with one final tap of the hammer to the chisel, he freed the pesky lump that had been bothering him for so long. At last, his work was complete. His masterpiece.

What he did not know, however, was with that one blow, he created the tiniest of cracks in the wood. She seized the opportunity and squeezed her soul through the crack and flitted off unseen by the sculptor. She was free, with all of her so-called “flaws” back intact. It was a joy she’d never known before.

And the sculptor was left shaking his head. For the piece of raw material that in the beginning had brought him so much joy when he discovered it on the beach, was now nothing more than a hollow piece of wood in his hands.

My Newest Guardian Angel

My Dad called today, and as soon as I heard his voice I knew that my grandmother Mimi had died. I had asked about her not even a week before, and he’d told me that even though her mind was slipping further and further from reality, her body was still very healthy. But she’d been on my mind all week, and I just had a feeling that she wasn’t long for this world.

My grandfather Papa (her husband) died about 9 years ago. Since his death, I often dream of him. Most of the time I know they’re just dreams, because he looks sickly or strange. But then there are the dreams that I know are something more.

One in particular stands out. Papa and I were sitting outside at a patio table, and on his face was that shit-eating grin that I remember so well. But y’all, he was glowing. Gorgeous white light surrounded him, and I was filled with so much joy and peace. When I woke up, I was overcome with emotion, knowing that it wasn’t just a dream. And since then, I’ve known that he’s always with me when I need him. And that brings me so much comfort.

But this week I had a dream in which a bunch of my family members came over for a fun get-together. I was a bit taken aback when my dead Aunt Carol walked in the door, but someone at the party told me that wasn’t Carol, that she just looked exactly like her. OK, no biggie, I thought.

Papa was there, and I recognized him as the real Papa and not just the dream version. I gave him a big hug, and I was very happy to be at this gathering with all of the folks. Mimi was there, which was unusual, because I don’t dream about her that often. But she was just as bright and vivid and happy as she always was (before she went into the nursing home), and so I didn’t think anything of it.

But now I recognize it for what it was, a preparation for today. They were letting me know that she’d be going soon, and that there were going to be lots of people there welcoming her, and celebrating her arrival.

Of course I’m sad. But when I think of my Mimi and Papa together again, and the utter joy they must have felt today upon being reunited, I feel that same joy, and I want to celebrate. And that’s precisely what I’m going to do.

I’ll be headed to Oklahoma City for the funeral, and I’m very excited to see all of the family that I’ve missed seeing for so many years. This is the family gathering from my dream. Mimi and Papa will be there, smiling down at the huge clan that the two of them created.

And the best part is that I have a new guardian angel.

Hi Mimi! It’s good to have you back. :-)

In Defense of Pain

I’ve been in pain for about 17 years now. It started with a bout of lower back pain when I was in my mid-twenties. I went to my primary care physician, who took an x-ray, said nothing was wrong, and prescribed muscle relaxers (gotta love modern medicine). A while later, I suffered constant jaw pain for a month or two, and then it mysteriously vanished.

The back pain became worse and constant during my first pregnancy. Because I was extremely vain and so freaked out about gaining weight, I worked out pretty much every day until well into my 8th month, until my back just couldn’t take it anymore. After my first son was born, I finally went to see a pain specialist, where I received multiple trigger point injections on a weekly basis, and did physical therapy three times a week. These treatments helped, up to a point. After that, the doctors basically said there was nothing else they could do. They were stumped.

As the years went by, I lived in a constant cycle of just dealing with the pain for few months or years, and then getting fed up and going to another new doctor, trying another new drug or alternative therapy.  After a visit to a rheumatologist seven or eight years ago, I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

My saving grace has been chiropractic care, the treatment that’s given me the most consistent relief over the years. But again, every doctor could only get me to a certain point. Several of them, my present chiropractor included, have told me that my pain must be serving me in some way, for me to be holding onto it for so long.

At first, I was offended by this statement. Were they suggesting that I was keeping this pain around for a reason? Because that’s ridiculous! Why would anyone want to stay in pain? But gradually I came to understand that people do hold onto pain for whatever reason, to get love or attention, to feel alive, etc. But I couldn’t for the life of me figure out my reason. I’m a very happy person, with very few struggles in life, so why would I need to hold onto the pain?

The answer hit me upside the head a few weeks ago, while watching the movie The Living Matrix (a must-see movie, in my humble opinion). I realized that my pain had taken me on a truly magical journey, one filled with wonderful people, vast amounts of research and a great quest for knowledge. Each chapter in this Book of Pain led me further down a path of self-discovery.

Through many different channels (which I will elaborate on in another post), I’ve come to the conclusion that my calling, my destiny, my purpose is to help others to heal their pain. Suffice it to say that I’ve never felt called to do anything before, and this is certainly something I can’t ignore. So, I’m in the process of gathering the knowledge, the training and the tools to do this.

So my pain? Is inconsequential at the moment. If it keeps me going where I need to go, I will embrace it. But something tells me it won’t be around much longer.  ;-)

I’m So Lame I Missed My Own Blogiversary

Yeah, it’s been a while, hasn’t it? Hey, I’ve been busy! Here’s what I’ve been doing since we last communed.

Missing my one year blogiversary (blogaversary?): Yes, it’s been over a year since I started this blog, and I’ve published a whopping total of 53 (now 54) posts. Not that impressive.

Working out and losing weight: I have actually stuck with my workout/diet program for over three months now, which I think must be a new world’s record for me. I’ve lost 14 pounds, and a couple of sizes, so that’s a big yippee! I’m not done, though. I’ve got to see how far I can take this. I did quit taking the phentermine, because you’re not supposed to take it for more than three months. I haven’t gained any weight back, but I do miss that zippy feeling. I think my co-workers probably miss me being on it too.

Vacation in Puerto Rico: Nature Boy and I traveled to Puerto Rico in early May, and it was fabulous! We stayed at the El Conquistador resort (I can’t say that without using a deep, manly Latin accent) which was very nice, but EXTREMELY pricey. Luckily we were there for his work, and so they picked up a good portion of the bill. But really, $12 for a mixed drink?

Little league and soon-to-be swim team season: The boys are both playing baseball, so I have a minimum of 2-3 games a week to attend, on WEEKNIGHTS! Then, swim team starts June 14th, which means I’ll be at swim meets every Monday night for 5 hours at a time. It’s a damn good thing I love my children.

General apathy about my job: Actually it’s more than apathy. I think it’s moved into full-blown “WHO CARES?” mode. I really need to be doing something different with my life. I can feel that something is coming down the pike, but I’m just not sure what it is. I just need to be patient and know that it will all come in time.

God, I am boring myself to death with this post. I am literally yawning as I write this. No joke.

So, what’s up with you?

Work in Progress: Part 2 – Diet and Nutrition

In Part 1, I wrote about my new exercise program, which I am still doing faithfully and loving it! But in order to get optimum (optimal?) results, you must adjust your diet as well. Quite frankly, this sucks. Exercise comes pretty easily for me. But dieting and eating healthy is much harder. My love affair with ice cream, chocolate, pizza, and all things yummy is pretty difficult to give up. So I don’t. Moderation in all things, yes?

Successful fat loss is not all about calories in vs. calories out. With my exercise program, I am building muscle, because the more muscle you have, the more calories your body will burn at all times. Building muscle requires protein, so right before I started the program, I began tracking what I ate on the Daily Burn website. (They also have two awesome iPhone apps which I use daily.) I quickly realized that my diet, while relatively low-calorie, was way too low in protein.

So I began to eat differently, tracking every single thing I ate. Let me tell you, it adds up fast! I usually consume about 1300-1500 calories a day, at about a 40/40/20 ratio of protein/carbs/fat.  I’m working on trying to get that protein up a bit higher, but we’ll see.

For breakfast, I usually have a protein shake made with 1% milk, vanilla protein powder and frozen mixed berries. For a morning snack, I’ll have some string cheese or some almonds. Trader Joe’s has these awesome little packs of mixed nuts and berries. Perfect portion for a snack!

At lunch, I’ll either have leftovers or make myself an omelet, or what I call eggcakes. It’s basically an omelet made with three eggs, a bit of milk, and some cinnamon and then I put some sugar free syrup on it, like a big pancake. Sounds gross, but it’s actually yummy! OK, I went home and made this for lunch today after I wrote this, and I used Egg Beaters instead of real eggs, because they have zero fat. I used a small diameter frying pan, so I ended up with a big fat egg soufflé. It was kind of disgusting. I think I’ll go back to the traditional omelet with cheese and veggies.

For my afternoon snack, I almost always have a Zone Perfect double dark chocolate protein bar.  These are so good, and satisfy my chocolate dark cravings.  (Dear Zone people, please send me a couple of cases of these free). My wonderful husband is the chef of our family, and he always makes wonderfully healthy and yummy dinners for us.  Turkey chili, spaghetti using spaghetti squash instead of pasta, chicken with whole wheat pasta, olive oil and lots of veggies, just to name a few. He just throws things together without a recipe, and they always turn out fabulous.

Once I’ve eaten dinner, I’ll see where I am on calories and decide whether or not to have a snack, which could be some popcorn (done the old-fashioned way on the stove), some sugar-free chocolate pudding, or sometimes even an ice cream sandwich.

I’m pretty strict most every day, and I rarely cheat. But on occasion, perhaps about once a week, I’ll have a cheat meal. Not a cheat day or a cheat weekend, just one meal. It gives me something to look forward to, and once I’ve done it, I feel good about getting back on the wagon.

I subscribe to the “eat every 3 hours” theory. You can find tons of studies that explain why this is good, and other studies that say you should stick with three meals a day, no snacks. Whatever. Since I like to eat, and I like to do it as often as possible, I choose option A.

I also try not to eat too many carbs in the evening, but sometimes it doesn’t work out that way, especially when Nature Boy pops up a fresh batch of popcorn for our nightly Lost marathons.

God, was that boring or what? I’m sure you just love hearing about what I eat.

To keep my hunger down, I’ve been taking phentermine, a prescription weight-loss drug. In the beginning, it curbed my appetite tremendously. I wasn’t nauseated, but I got full quickly and wasn’t so crazed about when my next meal was. I think it’s starting to lose its effectiveness a bit (as most prescriptions do), but it really got me past the hardest part, the beginning. Now that I have a set routine, I’ll be less likely to go back to old patterns once I stop taking it, which will be in about a month. (You can only take it for 3 months, or risk becoming a diet pill junkie. Which, I can totally see how that could happen. They do make me a bit zippy.)

So that’s it, my diet secrets. Nothing new, just good old-fashioned healthy eating, portion control and strict monitoring of what goes in my body, with a side order of drugs.

So tell me, peeps. What are your diet secrets?

Snippets

Jack (age 7) asked me this morning what Easter was all about, so I explained about the crucifixion of Jesus, the tomb, the stone, and how when they rolled back the stone three days later Jesus was gone. That he’d come back to life. I also told him, “I have no idea what bunnies, eggs, and chocolate have to do with Jesus, however.” He thought for a minute.

Him: “Maybe the cave was made of chocolate.”

Me: “Yeah, and he ATE his way out!”

Him: “And he really liked bunnies, and eggs too.”

Me: “Wonderful! But what about the carrots?”

Him: “He used the carrots to DIG his way out!”

Me: “You. Are. So. Awesome.”

___________________________________________________________

Overheard from the comfort of my bed:

Alex (13) had a friend over this morning, and they were in his room playing on the Xbox. Jack was lingering around watching. Somehow the conversation turned to pancakes, and Alex said, “Jack likes pancakes, but he doesn’t like syrup.” Alex’s friend says to Jack, “Dude, that’s just un-American.”

I am loving the ages of my kids now. They’re just so funny and sarcastic and sweet. But they like to beat the crap out of each other, so it evens itself out.

Have a great weekend!

Work In Progress: Part 1 – Exercise

I am a work in progress, and I always will be. Because if you’re not growing, you’re dying, right? But we all go through periods of growth and periods of stagnation. Up until a couple months ago, I’d been stagnant for quite a while, complacent with my lack of exercise and good nutrition and resigned to the fact that I’d never have the body of a 20-year-old again.

I’ve always been a teensy bit obsessive about my weight (aren’t we all?). I’ve been exercising since I was 14 years old. At 16, I started teaching aerobics, and continued off and on into college. But whether I was teaching or not, I was always working out, whether it be lifting weights in the gym, taking aerobics classes, or doing workout DVDs at home. During my first pregnancy, I did step aerobics through my 8th month, until my body just couldn’t handle it any more.

But of course, once the kids came along, exercise took a bit of a back seat to everything else. Oh, I’d have periods of motivation where I’d work out for a while, lose 10 lbs or so, and then stop working out and gain it all back again. Familiar story, yes?

But then something magical happened. I got the one thing I needed to get started — motivation. Nature Boy was invited to go to Puerto Rico in early May for work, and he asked me to tag along. My immediate thought upon hearing the news of our impending trip was, “I’d better lose some weight, because I’m in no condition for a swimsuit right now!”

I immediately went to Beachbody.com to look for a new workout program. Nature Boy and I had done P90X before our wedding, and I also have many other Beachbody programs. I’ve always loved their stuff. (And no, I’m not a Beachbody coach, nor am I being paid to write nice things about them).

The program I ended up choosing was ChaLEAN Extreme. I’d done Turbo Jam (Chalene’s kickboxing workout), but this was something completely different. It looked tough, and that’s what I needed. The ChaLEAN Extreme program is based on the principle that muscle burns fat, so the more muscle you have, the more fat/calories you’ll burn at all times. Hey, works for me.

It’s been a little over five weeks, and I am loving this program. First of all, most of the workouts are short, at about 35 minutes each, so it’s easy to fit them into my day. Also, it’s a five-days-a-week program, so I get TWO rest days. With P90X the workouts were a minimum of an hour long (sometimes 90 minutes!), and workouts were scheduled for six days a week.

Like P90X, this is a 90-day program. The first month is called the Burn Phase. During this phase, the goal for the strength workouts is to achieve muscle failure between 10-12 reps. Meaning, I physically can’t do any more. In this phase, each exercise combines upper and lower body conditioning. So, I may be doing a squat while at the same time doing a shoulder press, or a lunge with biceps curls, etc. This not only maximizes my time, but it gets my heart rate up as well. Cardio bonus! Also, the reps are all done verrrrry slowwwwwly, which makes it almost impossible to cheat, and also makes it deliciously excruciating.

There are three different strength workouts during the week, staggered with two days of cardio/abs/stretching. All of the workouts are super tough, so even though my workouts are short, I feel like I’m working at my max the whole time.

I made it through the first month, and now I’m in the Push Phase. There are two main differences in this phase. First, the goal is to fail between 6-8 reps instead of 10-12. This means lifting much heavier weight than last month. Also, the exercises are designed for a single muscle or set of muscles rather than working upper and lower body together. So, I might do a set of squats, and then move on to a chest press, then a shoulder raise, etc. And again, the reps are super slow and torturous. This phase uses three new strength workouts, but the cardio/stretching/abs workouts are the same, except mid-month I’m moving from the regular ab routine to the “Extreme Abs”. Yikes.

In last night’s workout, the lightest set of dumbbells I used were 20 pounds each, which totally surprised me. But when you only have to do 6-8 reps, you can go heavier than you think, which is a real confidence builder.

Also, I’m doing Bikram yoga at least once a week, which is pure insanity, but it helps to keep my muscles nice and stretchy, and also helps to detoxify my body. Plus it’s really a really intense cardio workout. (All in 90 short minutes of 105 degree heat! Whee!)

So, how am I doing so far? I’ve lost nine pounds, and my clothes are a whole lot looser. I didn’t measure at the beginning, so I can’t tell you how many inches I’ve lost. But I’m only 5’2″, so for me nine pounds is a lot. However, I don’t expect to see the number on the scale go down a whole lot this month, because I’ll be adding muscle, which as I’m sure you know, weighs a hell of a lot more than fat. But hopefully I’ll keep losing fat, and lots of it. Ultimately I don’t know what my goal weight will be. It could be as much as ten more pounds, but that may be too much. I’ll know when I get there.

Now, of course there’s more to losing weight than exercise alone. There’s that pesky little nutrition element to address, too. But that’s Part 2.

So tell me, are you currently exercising? If so, what are you doing? If not, do you want to? Do you need a kick in the pants to get motivated? My foot is ready and willing. ;-)

Happy Birthday to Me!

I am not one of those shrinking violet types. I live large. At times I am loud, irreverent, silly, dorky, and just plain bizarre. I like to think of it as eccentric. So, when it’s my birthday, I have no problem telling the world.

Because hey, it’s the one day where I have permission to celebrate ME. I mean, I pretty much do it every day, but today I get to broadcast it. But it’s not about wanting attention or gifts (OK maybe cake, I’ll give you that). If you don’t give a damn about my birthday, that is TOTALLY fine!

It’s just about being happy to have survived another year on this rollercoaster of life. It’s about accepting the good with the bad and knowing that everything will be OK, no matter what. It’s about the JOY that is life, and of being me.

Perhaps this sounds egotistical, but I don’t think of it this way. I’m finally at a place in my life where I am truly happy with who I am. And that’s a major accomplishment.

So today, I’ve taken the day off work to celebrate. I’ll be going to Bikram yoga here shortly. Then Nature Boy is coming home so we can hang out, watch Lost (started with Season 1, and we’re up to Season 3), and maybe go shopping. Then it’s the birthday celebration with my family, the ones I love. And CAKE and ice cream. (The cake is sitting on the counter, mocking me, saying, “HA! You can’t eat me until tonight!” Cakes are rude that way sometimes.)

So today, in honor of my birthday, I want YOU to live large and have a fabulous day!

Love to you all,

Suzy

Bikram Yoga – A Newbie’s Review

Nature Boy and I are going to Puerto Rico in May, and because I want to look relatively appealing in a swimsuit, I’ve recently started a workout and diet program. I’m doing pretty well with it, but more on that later in a later post.

Anyway, during a visit to my chiropractor, I was moaning and groaning about how sore my muscles were from my new workout routine.  He said, “You should try Bikram yoga. It would help you a lot.” To which I immediately responded, “No. Way.” I’d practiced yoga plenty of times before and loved it, but I’d never tried “hot yoga”, nor did I have any interest in doing so.  He continued to extol its many benefits, and told me that yes, it was challenging, but he knew I could do it. I told him I’d think about it.

If you’re not familiar with Bikram yoga, it is a series of 26 postures, called “asanas” practiced over a period of 90 minutes, in a room heated to 105 degrees. Yes, ONE HUNDRED AND FIVE DEGREES. Have I mentioned that I hate being hot? I sweat like a whore in church, and my face gets redder than your shirt. (Just pretend you’re wearing a red shirt, k?) So there was no way in hell (how fitting) that I’d be going.

But dammit, he’d planted this little seed in my brain, and it was like a challenge had been issued. (I’m sure he didn’t think of it this way, but I have this tendency of taking small things and turning them into something much bigger. Dramatic, much?)

I began to Google. And read. And talk to people about it. Most were like, “Hell no, I’d never do that!” But one of my friends at work had done it before and assured me it was good. Hard, but good.  I told another friend JJ about it, and she became intrigued as well. So, after a couple of weeks of extreme internal angst, we decided to go for it.

As recommended on our studio’s website, we made sure that we were well-hydrated before class. (I was so hydrated, I think my teeth were floating.) After work, we made our way to the studio, our stomachs in knots from the nerves. We were absolutely terrified. After the requisite sign-in and handing over of the cash, the instructor took us through orientation.

We were only to bring our mats, towels and water in the room. Once inside, we were to maintain silence. And once class started, we were told not to leave the room unless it was a medical emergency. Also, we were not allowed to sit next to each other for the first class. For some reason, all of this information did not inspire calm in either one of us.

After changing into our yoga attire (tight-fitting clothing recommended, shorts above the knee), we headed into the room.  I said a silent prayer for our survival, and we parted.

The room was like a dance or aerobics studio, horizontal with mirrors in front and a platform in the front/center for the instructor. It was carpeted, which puzzled me, considering all the sweating that goes on in there. Yeah, best not to think about that.

I spread out my mat, covered it with my towel and then lay down on my back like everyone else in the room. I knew that we had about five minutes before class would start. As I lay there, random thoughts popped into my head:

“OK, yes it’s hot, but not THAT hot. This shouldn’t be a problem.”

“OMG, what if I have to pee? I can’t leave the room, and I don’t think peeing constitutes a medical emergency.”

“OK, just try to calm down and think happy thoughts. Clear your brain, Suzy.”

“I’m going to die.”

“God, will she just get IN here already??”

Finally, the instructor came in and we got going. She took us through the first section, which included all the standing poses. Poses that look SO easy in pictures, but were anything but easy in practice. Part of Bikram is holding each pose for approximately one thousand years, trying to stretch deeper and deeper, while moving whatever body part(s) into the correct position as the teacher calls out instructions.

Speaking of the instructor, she talked the entire time, constantly guiding us and pushing us to go farther. I know some people have said they find this distracting, but if you actually tune in to what she’s saying, you get so much out of it. You may think you’re doing it correctly, but then she says something that clicks, and you’re like “Ohhhh, I get it now!”

Anyway, during the standing poses, I was sweating SO much and Oh, hello Tomato Face! Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you that during orientation, the instructor told us to try to NOT wipe the sweat off, to just let it fall. Sounds disgusting, doesn’t it? Well, it is, but everyone is doing it, so you really don’t give a rat’s ass at that point. But all that sweat made things very slippery. I’d go to grab my foot and it would slip out of my hand. So much for perfection.

At that point, the heat was bad, but I was dealing with it fairly well. I was more focused on getting the poses right. But my heart rate was sky-high, and my muscles were getting quite a workout. So when the instructor announced that we’d be going down for the floor series soon, I was so relieved. Finally I’d get a break.

Um, no. The floor section was what almost put me over the edge. It just seemed to be getting hotter and hotter, and I was getting so much more tired and overcome. I remember thinking to myself, “There is no way I’ll EVER do this again. This is insane.” At one point I really wanted to leave, but I knew that I had to stick it out.

At long last, we were finished and lying in final Savasana (also called corpse pose. Appropriate). Which basically means I was lying flat on my back, with my eyes closed, pretending to be all namaste and everything. When in reality, I was just thanking the good Lord that I was alive, and wondering how long I had to lie there before I could get the hell out of that room.

I made my way out, reuniting with JJ. We exchanged looks of triumph, exhaustion and “OMG, WTF?” We hobbled to the locker room, on the verge of collapse (OK that may be a teensy bit dramatic) , gathered our things and walked out. As we were leaving, the instructor asked us how we liked it, and we said, “……………………” We were truly speechless. And for me that’s saying a lot. (Obviously, judging from the length of this post.)

JJ and I congratulated each other, and got in our respective cars to leave. I had to sit in my car for 10 minutes or so before I felt confident enough to drive! My body was shaky and I was still breathing heavy. But I felt so wonderfully light, airy, and high as a kite. (Not that I’ve BEEN high or anything. Ahem.)

When all was said and done, I was so proud of myself for having the courage to do it and the determination to keep pushing when I just wanted to quit (or die).

So, did I like it? I sort of hated it while I was doing it, but loved it when I was done.

Will I do it again? I already have, and it was easier the second time, although I think I was sweating about twice as much as the first time.

Will I continue with it? Yes, I’m planning on going at least once a week. There’s something kind of addictive about it, in a masochistic kind of way.

So that’s my Bikram yoga story. If you’ve read this to the end, you deserve a medal. Anyone ever done it? What were your experiences? Anyone want to do it but you’re too scared? Leave me a comment and I’ll fire you up.

Namaste. ;-)

Mommy

Dear Mom,

It’s your birthday today! (But you already knew that, right?)

I am so lucky and so blessed to have you as my mother.  I’ve read plenty of stories here in Blogland from women who weren’t anywhere near as fortunate as me. Stories that make me wish I could have had them all as sisters, so they wouldn’t have gone through what they did.

There has never been one second in my life where I doubted your love for me. I have always known it, and I always will. Thank you for giving me that gift, for it truly is one. And it’s one that I’ve passed on. The other day when I was putting Alex to bed, I said, “I love you. Don’t ever doubt that.” He looked at me like I was a complete idiot and said, “Why would I EVER doubt that?”

Thank you for teaching me that I could be anything I wanted to be, for always being my champion, for making me strong and independent, and for making sure that I knew my own self-worth.

Thank you for setting such a great example for what a mother should be. You are honest, loving and strong, with such fierce integrity.Thank you for teaching me that love is all that matters, even when it seems impossible to believe. That is embedded so deep in my heart and soul, and it carries me through even the darkest of days.

Most of all, thank you for letting me be ME, for allowing me to blossom throughout the years in my own way. I’ve made plenty of mistakes, and you were always there to help, but never in a way where I felt stifled or pressured to change.

You, my dear mommy, are a precious gem. A treasure of epic proportion and priceless value. And you are mine. And that has made all the difference.

Happy Birthday, Mom. I love you.

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