Holding my "before" favorite shirt after losing 125 pounds on my journey to better health.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Almost a New Year

I have not been writing a lot on my blog lately. I have been busy enjoying the holidays and spending time with my Grands.    I have been feeling a little bit guilty that I have not been putting updates on here but I don't want to just randomly write and post.
      I want you all to know that I treasure your friendships. Some of you I have never even met but you continue to lift me up to become a better person. Your comments and messages are very much appreciated and motivating. I only hope I have been able to lift you up too. 
      I wish you health, strength, happiness, and most of all peace in this New Year.
      Now I need to go because I am being called on to engineer a light saber out of a gift wrap tube and empty toilet paper rolls.  I am going to go play and "Just keep swimming!"

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


My husband announced that he is going to retire the end of March 2016. It will be very bitter/sweet for him.  How to you say good-bye to a company that you were with when it had its humble beginnings? Starting as the truck driver 41 years ago and growing into one of the Managers in just a few short years. The building he has been working in for the last 32 years he had the opportunity to supervise the construction from the ground up. He had a voice in every part of it. That is how much the owners trusted him and his decisions.  We as a family even spent many hours assembling shelves, cleaning, and just enjoying the progress made each day. My children all have worked at sometime or other in that building.  I even answered phones one day when the receptionist was gone. (One day was enough for all of us!) 
The most important joy he has had is the people who he has met and become fast friends with through the years.  Many of them are gone now but he stills talks of them and the things they taught him through the years. He has many employees that have been with him for many years.  He has appreciated them and cares about them.  Not many can say that they were able to dedicate their life to a company and enjoy so many things about it. (Of course there are always a few rough spots but what job is always perfect?)  What a wonderful life he has provided for us his family. We have had all we ever needed and then some. That is the kind of dedicated person that he is.  He puts his all into what ever he does.  I am so proud of him and the example he has given to my children of, "an honest days work for an honest days pay." I really do think it is a reward to be able to leave this kind of legacy.  Well done Russell,  Thank you for all you have done.  I Love you.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Marvelous Motivation

I have not been writing on my Blog as often as I use to.  I have promised you that I will not write just to write but will update you on different things that I feel are important.  A fun thing to share is that after just 3 full weeks of leading the Weight Watchers  SUU at Work they have lost a total of 216 pounds.  I am so proud of them.  It has been fun to watch them learn and lose that unwanted weight. They motivate me to do better.  That being said.....
      I have been struggling with myself.  I can't seem to get going and exercise like I need to. Maybe it's the time of year? Maybe it's a bit of seasonal depression? What ever it is I need to get moving to keep myself healthy and strong.  I was really pondering this the other day while sitting on my front porch when I saw something that both shamed and motivated me.
      This little tiny lady walked past my house.  She has to be in her upper 80s. She smiled and continued on her way. She was walking and enjoying the day.  She had figured out a way that she could do that. When she gets tired she sits for a few and then on she goes. She was happy and looked healthy. Later that day as I glance out the window I saw a gentleman walking around the track across the street from my home. He was pushing a walker and struggling to keep his balance.  His friend was walking along behind him with his arms out stretched ready to grab his friend. I could see from his movement that it was very painful for him to walk  but he wanted to walk so badly he was enduring it.   Shame on me. I can walk. My balance is good. I am strong and healthy. I needed to see these two people  to once again be reminded of what I can do. So,  I have walked more and enjoyed it. Not as far or as fast as I use to but it is a start. I just need to get out that door and put one foot in front of the other and enjoy the day. Plus walking is an excellent way to combat depression. Why don't you give it a try?  Maybe you will find you like it and will feel better too.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Up the Black Ridge

I have a new adventure in my life.  I am going to be teaching a Weight Watchers class at SUU up in Cedar City, Utah. I will be driving over  the famous Black Ridge once a week for a while traveling about 50 miles each way from my home.  It is called an At Work meeting and will be done right on the campus. An interesting thing about this.  I went to SUU after I graduated from high school. I moved down there with my girlfriend Pauline. We jumped into college life and had a lot of fun. I was a poor college student so I had to work.  I began working on campus in the food services.  I chased my hubby to the end of town and back several times until I finally convinced him we should get married. (He must be glad I did because we just celebrated our 43 year anniversary)  When we were first married we lived in northern Utah and I though little of my SUU days. We then moved to St. George in 1984.
Fast forward 21 years and once again I was a student attending SUU. This time my friend Terri and I  were driving the black ridge to finish our second year of nursing school. A Dixie College/SUU partnership program with Weber State University. We drove every day and became pretty skilled at driving in the "Nurse mobile!" ( a little old white Volkswagen beetle) Terri use to say that if a big enough gust of wind hit us we would be tumbling down the mountain like an empty tin can..
Now 24 years later I am once again going up the ridge. I am excited. I will meet many new people who share my common goal of healthy living. The part about this new adventure that surprised  me is I will be holding the meeting in the exact building and in the exact room that I worked in so many years ago. What are the odds of that?  To me it is pretty amazing.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

What is recovery?

I have not spent a lot of time on my Blog lately. I have had other projects going on and less free time. I do want to mention as it is recovery month that it has been 6 years since I spent my long summer in a rehab getting off my narcotic medications.  I posted a picture of me the other day on Facebook with a red recovery pin on.  Some of my friends thought it was for Breast Cancer but it was for Narcotic recovery.  Many wonderful things have happened to me in the past 6 years.  I have lost 125 pounds and gained my health. My mind has become clear and I am able to learn so many wonderful things.  I still have some fibromyalgia issues but they are so much less. I have been able to walk thousands of miles, gone on wonderful trips, (without the worry of running out of my pain pills), hiked hundreds of trails, and played a lot.  I have been able to work at Weight Watchers and meet so many incredible people and share in their own healthy journey's. I have made many new and cherished friends.  I have laughed, cried, and listened to many heartbreaking stories about loss of self esteem and health. I have watched those same people bloom and grow into strong self loving people.  One of the biggest joys has been spending time with my family. Just being able to be with  my grand's and watch the world unfold through their eyes. I should have not lived. I should have died in my sleep.  One of my children would check on me every morning just to see if I was still alive. I regret the pain I put them through. The worry and fear. I have had to learn to put that in the past. To live and celebrate my life now. I am so grateful that I had a moment of clarity and was able to get the help that I needed. If you are struggling with addiction accept that it has a hold on you. Ask for help. Live!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Heavy heart today

Yesterday I heard the news that a young man who I knew had passed away.  I do not know the details of his passing but my heart is heavy for his family and friends who had so much love for him. This young man came into our lives over 30 years ago. He was my son Andy's "best friend" when they were in grade school. He spend many hours playing at our house with both Andy and Ashton. We moved from the area and I did not see that boy for many years. I ran into him next at a very hard time in my life. I was at an Narcotics Anonynous meeting and this tall healthy looking man grabbed me and said, " are you mama Dodge? " I could not figure out who he was until he told me. We stayed after the meeting and talked for a long time about the hold of addiction. He was very open and shared many feelings about the many times he had disappointed his family. The time spend in jail and how this was the time. This time he would beat this beast. Never again would he put his family and himself though the struggles addiction had caused. I watched this "boy" become stronger and clearer as time went by.
      I did not see this young man coming after a while.  I ran into his mother one day and she told me he was doing well but still fighting hard to improve his life.  Then to see his obituary in the paper shook me up pretty bad. 
        Addiction kills.  It kills family, friends, jobs, and lives. I have lost several cousins to this killer. I have lost several friends. I am sad this young man's mother has to bury her son. She was his greatest supporter and strength.  He had so many hopes and dreams.  RIP your struggle is over.

Monday, July 6, 2015

House is full again

My life has changed once again.  For years now I have had the time and freedom to come and go as I wanted. To exercise, shop, and do my errands. This summer I have been given the wonderful opportunity to have my two grand's spend almost every day with me. They are good boys and I have spent mornings with them before school for several years now but this is different.  A challenge for me to figure out. When to exercise and how?  I have been using this as a reason to not exercise and I have to change my mind. What has added to this challenge is that they want to spend as much time with their cousins as possible so that adds 3 more boys to the mix. It is fun, it keeps me busy. It also keeps them busy, and happy.  We have to stay inside most of the time with the temperatures so hot but I have a large cool empty basement. (A boys haven for huts!)  I have had to really scold myself and remind myself that there are moms all over the world that can fit exercise into their busy lives. I have a few options and I need to get going.  Walking early in the morning  when it is cooler. They come about 8 most days. Take them swimming in the afternoon. Good for all of us. Exercise videos. I dug out my wii fit to see if that would help me get going and so far I have not been able to grab a turn. It was a hit with all the boys and they spend quite a bit of time challenging each other to different activities. It wears them out so maybe it was not such a bad idea after all.   Also the different foods that I have in the house.  I still try to eat healthy but once in a while a treat calls to me. Usually when I do indulge one of them reminds me that I really shouldn't be eating that!  I am surprised at how much they have learned.  We have discussions often about "healthy and unhealthy" foods. At this point some of them are pretty young to fully understand that concept. I just explain that any food eaten in large amounts can be unhealthy. They seem to understand that. I talk to  them  about exercise and workouts. It would probably be more effective if I demonstrated to them by actually doing some exercise or workouts. Sounds like I am in need of a attitude adjustment. This has really opened my eyes that I need to be willing to adjust and try new options. It has also given me a greater admiration for others that are working on their own healthy journey.  Especially those of you who are working, caring for children, and still taking time out to exercise.  " You are my inspiration and motivation." Thank you for showing me that it can be done.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Frozen Shoulder update

I once again have been able to prove that doing exercises does help your body recover.  I posted in an earlier post about my frozen left shoulder.  I had very limited movement and pain....oh, my the pain!  I am happy to report that my shoulder is unthawing and at a faster rate that I ever hoped for.  I have been diligent in doing the list of exercises that the Dr. gave to me and I can really see progress.  I have a ways to go but If I go real slow I can raise my arm straight up like I want to be called on to answer a question.  That is real progress! The movement still causes quite a bit of pain and I have to go slowly but I can do it.  That was impossible a month ago.  I still have limited movement in some of the directions but can see improvement there also. In some strange way I am glad I went though this because it has given me a opportunity to learn many things.   I have learned to appreciate movement more than I ever did before.  I  learned that exercise can help tremendously when done correctly and regularly. I  learned to ask questions and research. I learned that I can handle the pain that in my research was rated as intense and severe, and that  I don't need pain pills to get through an injury.  That has been a great fear for me.  "What if..?" I get an injury and have to take pain pills. (If I ever do need them I also know how to handle it thanks to my NA meetings.)  I learned that I can tell the Dr. NO THANK YOU, I don't want them and walk away. I have learned to watch and make sure I am not protecting that shoulder to much and limiting that movement I can now do. I have learned that my body can heal and wants to heal. This is just a small sample of the lessons I learned from this and I wanted to write them here so I would not forget them.  I just wanted to share this and hope you are looking for some of the things that you can learn as you go through your struggles and trials.

Friday, May 22, 2015

How did you keep going?

    Many of you have contacted me and asked me, "how do you keep going?" I have thought about this and want to give you some answers and ideas. I always want to remind you that my way might not be the best way for you. I didn't know it would be the best for me when I started each of these things. The most important thing is, my journey is my journey. Your journey is your journey. They will be different. Our bodies are not going to respond the same way to things. Foods that impact me to gain or lose might do the opposite for you. So here we go with some ideas that work for me. I took pictures. From the first day I swallowed my pride stuffed myself into that swimming suit and had my husband gather the evidence. It was hard. I cried but I was also so done. Done with feeling sick, miserable, tired, weak, ugly, and ample.(I was told this is the "new proper word" for FAT.) I didn't know what I could fix or if I could fix anything but I was going to find out. Many of you have been following this blog from the first day I began writing. You have seen those pictures!! As I started writing I began to purge and heal. Along the way you have been a big part of my journey. Your words of encouragement and knowing that you are all over the world watching, praying, changing, moving, eating better, and reclaiming your own lives has lifted me up and even at times carried me.  This is a big reason I keep going. Because you have told me I can. I thank you for that.  Now some little ideas.  Like I said- before pictures. They can help you to see first of all what you really do look like all over. They can discourage but I use them to motivate. Movement. I don't really like going to a gym but I disliked myself more. I was the big girl in almost every class I took. I took Water aerobic, zumba, Step, weights, yoga, and many more. I was the big one in the back. I had to build a bubble around myself and forget the stares. Almost every time there was someone who said they were so glad to see me there. That I inspired them. Were there some stares and some chuckles? Sure. I even said to one young man one day " this would not be funny if I was your mother trying to save her life."  I shouldn't have but he shouldn't have. I had to not let those things stop me. Maybe adopt a little bit of a "I'll show them what I can do" attitude. When the scale did not reflect what I felt I had been doing I invested in a weight scale that measures not only my weight but my water, muscle, fat, and BMI. When those numbers changed that was a great motivation. My BMI when I got the scale after losing almost 50 lbs still was 40.7% with fat at 63.4%. Wow.  As those numbers changed I was able to see physical progress.  I have a folder and I take out the materials I have saved and look at them to remind myself of where I've been and where I can easily return to. I have a prescription from the urologist that I needed to be evaluated for incontinence of the bladder. Evaluation for surgery. No way was I having surgery.  If I got rid of some of this belly could it lessen the pressure on my bladder?  That answer was yes.  I took measurements all over my body every few months. Maybe every 4. If I did it more often I got discouraged if the numbers hadn't gone done enough in my mind.   I researched shoes and invested in good lace up walking shoes. I researched protein and found a brand that works good for my body and I like. ( if I don't like it I'm not going to use it.)  I had to try new foods so I didn't get bored.  I had to learn to cook all kinds of veggies and in the process I learned to like them  I built a support system. I joined Weight Watchers because I needed to be accountable to a scale that was not my own. I needed to hear others challenges and ideas. I invested time, money, and energy in myself. I am always looking for new things to keep me going. I have a support system of ladies now that report to me how their day has been on eating and ask  me how my day has been. People I would have never met sitting in my recliner in my home. I have a group that I hike with, people I can walk with, people who challenge me to walk farther, I guess what I am trying to say is that I can keep going because there are others helping me along the way. We help each other. We cheer each other on.  A common thing that is said at the Narcotic anonymous meeting is, Keep on Keepin' on.  That's just what I'm going to do.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Making new friends while walking.

   I was so thrilled to see this group of special people at our local Weight Watchers 5K. This photo only shows a small portion of the group.  We did this last year and had a small group of walkers but had a lot of fun. This year we decided to invite the member's families  and friends.  We also gave a special invitation to dogs on leashes.  We had a total of 68 walking, running, riding(in strollers) and laughing people. I think we had 8-9 well behaved dogs.  It was hot! But everyone seemed to enjoy it. There were quite a few who had never dreamed that they would be doing a 5K of any kind and they did great. We had asked for donations of canned goods to bless our local shelter and were flooded with donations. What a wonderful group of people I get to associate with. They keep me strong and focused on my healthy journey.  Way to Go!!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Frozen Shoulder What??

   Over the past year or so I have been dealing with an interesting situation. I would go to reach for something with my left arm and pain would shoot down to my hand.  Wow, really bad pain. Then achy pain all the time. I was propping my arm up on a pillow at night. Wearing my hand braces and a shoulder brace at night. Ointments rubbed on it seemed to help a little. On the worse days I would take a couple of ibuprofen. (I try to not take anything for pain.)  I wondered if it was related to the surgeries I had years ago on my hands to release adhesions.  I also had surgery on my Right arm to release adhesion that had tacked and entrapped the nerves clear up into my shoulder.  The Dr. at that time felt that the left arm was not as bad so wait and watch.  Now this began. I kept trying to ignore it and eventually began noticing that I was not using that arm like I use to.  I was protecting it and it was becoming stiff.  Really stiff.  It got so I could not move my shoulder in some directions. Some directions were not as bad of a problem.  I couldn't lift it up from my side more than about 6 inches. I couldn't lift my grand baby. I couldn't lift anything with that arm.  Getting dressed and undressed  was not fun.  It was so frustrating. I finally decided I better get to the bottom of it. My family Dr. informed me that he thought it was arthritis and I probably needed Rotator Cuff surgery. (That's one of the reasons I had let it go on so long I didn't want surgery.)  I was not a happy girl. He took X-rays and sent me to an Orthopedic surgeon to hear the plan. The Ortho took one look at my X-rays and said, " just a little arthritis nothing to worry about right now." After watching my lack of range of motion he said you have, "Adhesive Capsulitis (frozen shoulder)"  The capsule of connective tissue thickens and tightens around the shoulder joint restricting movement.   Okay, now what do I do?  He told me that there are stages to the syndrome and that it usually gets better over time.  There are three stages: Freezing Stage, Frozen Stage, and Thawing Stage. He said from my examination that I was going from Frozen Stage into Thawing Stage. He gave me a list of exercises to do with that arm. With a word of caution to go very slow and not inflame it. It is going to be a challenge because I have taught myself to guard and protect that shoulder. Now I am to gently push and pull my arm  slowly to unfreeze it. This may sound like a frustrated post but when I heard that diagnoses and that I (probably) don't need surgery I just about danced out of his office. This is something I know how to fix. I will recover! There is no reason why this syndrome decided to visit me at this time. I have always had a little bit of residual weakness in that arm and shoulder.  There is nothing I could have done to stop the progression or speed up the stages. It just takes time. Complete return to normal or close to normal strength and motion typically during the Thaw Stage  takes from 6 months to 2 years.  The most important thing is to not injure the shoulder. I will just continue doing my group of exercises and hope that the Thawing Stage goes fast. (Maybe the hot summer in St. George will speed it along?)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Osteoporosis update

I have an update on my "new" diagnosis of osteoporosis. I was able to spend some time with my Dr. discussing the treatment and results. I have new hope. For a while I was just so stunned I quit exercising and just had a huge pitty party. I now have hope and the mental strength to fight back to try and improve my diagnosis. My Dr. let me know that it was very possible to have the bone mass increased. I don't really like the way the Actonel works in increasing bone mass. I will continue to research other options.  I do have some side affects from it for about a week after taking my once a month dose.  I have been through worse.(withdrawal from methadone lasted for months)   I have pumped up my Calcium and Vit D. I am slowly eliminating my consumption of Soda. I have continued with my weight lifting and focusing more on the muscles along my spine. My Dr. has assured me that it would take a significant  fall to fracture my vertebrae  This was a big fear for me. I now know that the weight loss contributed to this. I know that I should have been focusing more on walking and weight lifting in the early stages of my journey. Tha H2o aerobics were great for so many things but did not give me much in the weight bearing department. Also both my mom and dad had it which really increased my risk. For a while my mind kept saying,"Why? Why? Why? I now am able to look forward and say, "what can I do to fight this?" If I can encourage you to do anything it would be know your history and risk factors. Get your Calcium and Vitamin D.  I knew some of the risk factors. A few I have found out since the diagnosis. So now I know and I can continue moving, eating right, and staying as healthy as I can on this journey. Thank you for all your words of encouragement. I'm going to "Just Keep Swimming!"

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Don't Do It

How many times have you let some ones comments stop you from doing something you know is very important to your health? Don't do it. Don't let others sway you. I have a friend who had her feelings hurt by someone who really didn't realize what they were doing. They made some comment about something this person was eating and from there it just went wrong.  The first thing that pops into mind is they are judging. The emotions begin to rise, the thoughts about what they are thinking, the anger, or embarrassment come into play. It is very easy to let some ones comment impact in a big way.   If you are on your own healthy journey then you know what works for YOU. Some of you have the time to prepare wonderful healthy meals. Some of you don't. Some of you have to grab something at the store. That is okay if it works for you.  What works for you  may not work for me.  What works for me may not work for you. I have found something that works for me. Find something that works for you and hang onto it. All the time I hear people say that they try this or that to become healthy. That's great if it works for you and is HEALTHY. I encourage you all to explore following a healthy path that involves real food. I don't think that some of the weight loss plans are something that can be sustained long term. If you are having to take shakes, or pills, or shots, or special prepared meals for all meals then that concerns me. I had to learn and relearn how to have a good relationship with the foods I ate. I never ate fruits or veggies. Whole grains? Nope, none of that.  Portions were a big one that impacts my weight. If I have something I really enjoy I tend to want more and more. I love white bread and butter. I have learned that I can not leave it alone if it is in my house.  I have tried many many types of Multi-grain breads and have found one that is pretty satisfying to me. And I don't eat a whole loaf at a time. (yes I use to)  I will always have a  challenge  with weight control. I will always have a challenge with some of the things I use to eat as a comfort food. I still want them when I am stressed, tired, hungry, etc. I know that weight loss is hard. Really hard. Maintaining a healthy weight is hard too. Really hard. I have to work on it all the time. Will I ever have a time when I can relax and say, "awww, I made it." I don't think so. I don't feel bad about that either. I know that the choice I have made and the commitment I have will give me time.  Time to feel good. Time to travel and time to spend with my family. To me that is all worth it.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Wonderful friends

As I have written in a previous blog I have been given the new diagnosis of Osteoporosis. It has put me in a real tail-spin.  I have research and worked out a battle plan to help me continue on my healthy journey. I am really fighting the mental fight right now. I know that I have to keep moving and do back exercises to give my spine support. I know I have to continue keeping my weight in control. I know I have to eat well and the right foods to keep me strong. I know I have to take the medicine that I really don't want to take. Some of the side effects are not good.  I JUST DON'T HAVE MY USUAL DRIVE.  Knowing and DOING are two very different things. As I have struggled I have been talking to myself and giving myself a major pep talk. I decided to began paying closer attention to some of the things others have said to me                                                                                                                                                                    I was walking one day and a couple of friends pulled up beside me in their car. The one said, "we were just watching you walk and you walk with such joy!" That really impacted me. It motivated and spurred me on. I do love to walk. Walking has saved my bones in my legs and hips.  Another friend finally began taking her Rx for osteopenia. She has been told to take it for several years but has not.  I know  that is her way of giving me support(and saving her bones). A friend checks in with me in the evenings and praises me and encourages me to continue with following my food plan. A different friend sends me jokes and we laugh together though we don't live by each other. My brother sends me random pictures of himself sticking his tongue out.  He also reminds me that my days of cliff diving, parasailing, and parachuting might need to stop. (Never would have done those) I got an E-mail from one friend telling me I had influenced her and left footprints in her heart. My sisters and niece send me words of encouragement often. My husband has began working more in the yard and doing the harder things that I use to do. I really enjoy yard work and have done most of it our married life. I plan to do it all again just giving the Rx a few months to start working.(That's my plan) Messages of hope are posted on my FB page. This list could go on and on. I have been encouraged, and lifted up.  I thank you all.  You have given me hope. Many of you I do not know. We have never met but you send me messages that touch my heart and bring tears to my eyes. I only hope that as I continue with my journey I can share something that may lift your spirits and give you the hope and drive to continue with your own healthy journey.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Carry On

  I got this little picture from a friend of mine named  RaeNyce.  She had posted it on FaceBook and I really got a chuckle out of it.  I made a copy and keep it where I see it every day. I once again went into my annual physical and passed with flying colors.  All the lab work came back better than ever. My weight is staying stable. Everything looked great.  Went in for a DEXA bone scan and then got the bad news.  I have been diagnosed with osteoporosis.  My legs and hips are in a moderate risk for fracture  but my spine is in a high risk for fracture.  I knew it was one of those diseases that I would be prone to because my mom and dad both had it.  I have lifted weights and done resistance on my muscles and knew that I needed to do weight bearing exercises.  I walk for miles and miles. I was doing all that. I guess I thought I was going to pass with flying colors. I have been knocked down a little by this. I guess the fear about what I can and can't do has really bothered me.  It is a thought that was not in my head before. "If I lift my little grandson is it going to cause a fracture?" "What about a big bump while riding in my side by side?"  I don't like that little fear in my head. Just that moment of shock,  "WAIT, are you sure your safe to do this?"  I have been struggling and been quite emotional. 
     When I worked as a nurse I took care of a little sweet lady named Alta. She had osteoporosis. She was bed ridden. When she did need to get up to go to the Dr. the aide would help her get into a body brace and leg braces. She was not allowed to put weight on her legs.  She was in constant pain.  I know that some of this chatter in my head is from seeing her. Some of the chatter comes from watching my own mom shake and complain of the pain in her legs if she stood for any amount of time. I have to remind myself that their journey is not my journey.  I  also know that research and medications that can help it have come so far. I just have to remind myself of that.
     Today I got up and went for my brisk walk.  I did my exercises and a few more that have been added to strengthen my back muscles. I am doing research and finding some of the answers that were hanging in the air. I will have to learn to live with  my chatter  that will keep saying to me. "What If?"  I will just have to answer it back. "Sometimes you just have to pick yourself up and carry on....."

Sunday, February 22, 2015


While leading a meeting the other day a thought popped into my head and out of my mouth.  I have had many people comment  to me  about how they liked it so I have made it into a quote.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Survived another winter.

Once again my favorite Almond tree has reminded me about taking my mom and dad to see its beauty. Each year for 31 years I have sat under this tree and smelled the blooms, listened to the bees, and marveled at the stregnth this old tree has. Today as I walked under it I could once again hear my mom say, "there is the proof that we lived through another winter." Sweet memories. 

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Old Cotton mill..

In my last blog post titled Follow Your Own Path I wrote about trying to find a way into an old cotton mill.  For many years it has been on my "bucket list" to explore it. I finally made it to the cotton mill and was very enchanted.  It took some hiking and taking off my shoes and wading across the Virgin River in order to get to the mill.  In the property around the mill there were many areas that were used as camp fire areas.  There were long benches circling some of the fire pits.  One of my son's with us remembered going to this exact site for a Scout outing.  I didn't know that is where they had gone. The area has not been used for many years.  I have inquired a little about the history of the mill.   The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints sent a group of pioneers to settle this area and grow cotton. The mill was built in the 1860's. Several mills were built on the banks of the river. Cotton grown in Hurricane was put on flat bottom barges and floated to the mills downstream. One of the larger mills has been restored in Washington, Utah and is currently being used by a plant nursery business. As I roamed the area I wondered about the hardships they must have endured to produce the cotton.  The hot dry summers and frequent river floods. The list of struggles could go on and on.  They were so strong. I wanted to share a little of this journey with you by posting three pictures.  The front of the mill. One of my son ferrying his wife across the river. The back of the mill.   We had a lot of fun and was able to share a little of the wonder and history of this beautiful area.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Follow your own path

As many of you know one of the great joys in my life is being able to get out and hike in nature.   When I was in the process of dropping my weight I had a group of wonderful lady friends that I would take on easy hikes. Once in a while we would even allow a gentleman to join our wanderings. They all marveled at our beautiful country and I think enjoyed the places I was able to take them. Due to many things happening the group slowly dwindled and we do not go anymore.  Now I am so glad that when I lead our little group I would make them stop with the comment, "look at the world for a bit. You will never be at this same spot with these same people again." We would often stand and just gaze for quite a while. I still do this with my family. "Look at the world."
       I just got a little off track with what I really wanted to write about today. I guess because my thoughts came when I was out on a hike the other day. I was hiking with one of my sons and my husband. We were searching for a route into an old cotton mill. I have always wanted to go investigate it.  The problem is that it is pretty tricky to get to. One route is through the river. One route is closed and owned by a private company and we knew of no other route. So we decided to drive on a main road to the other side of the river and hike over some hills to see if we could get to it from that way. Up the first hill we went, then down, then starting up again. My son decided to climb to the top of that hill having us(oldsters) wait down at the bottom. He came back and informed us that the mill was a lot farther than we had  estimated and needed to find a different route. We started back. My son leading and my husband close behind. As I followed them I realized that the path they were taking was really not working well for me.  I felt like I should be crossing the hill then turning back at a much more gradual decline than they were doing.  Trying to follow them I was having to use my hiking stick to give me the added support to take steps safely. They were going pretty fast and I was trying to keep up.  I was really quite afraid of slipping and going down the hill. I decided to make my own path. I went slow, sure, and steady. I felt confident in my steps and knew I would get down in my own time. It didn't matter if they had to wait for me at the bottom. I was enjoying my hike much more after this. I was making my own path to follow.
        I want to relate this to my  healthy journey and yours. Your journey is your own. You need to make and follow your own path. I had to figure out what would work for me.  I had to be very open to learn, research, and making me a priority.  I had to choose my own way. Where would I step next to help myself? What would I try? Many people ask me how I did it? I used what I had learned in my nutrition classes as a nurse and began following the path I had chosen. I tested my blood sugar often and learned what foods impacted me the most. I then avoided them. I also learned what exercise would do for the regulation of my blood sugar. I "listened" to my body. I followed what it told me. Many of the things I did not want to hear. I  knew that if I listened I would have to change to live. It worked!!  Slowly, very slowly the weight began to drop. The energy increased. All the things I thought would be gone from me forever became a possibility. Then a reality. I wish I could give you the map to my path. But it won't work for you. You need to make your own map. Test out the trail. Listen to your own body. Follow the path that is just for you. It should be slow, sure, and steady. Most of all on your healthy journey stop and look around once in a while. See where you are in this beautiful world because  you will never be in this same spot with these same people again.  Enjoy the journey. (Haven't made it to the cotton mill yet. Found another possible route. Will try it out soon.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Dig Deep

I receive an E-mail each day from Darren Hardy. He has touched on many subjects while motivating people to strive for their best and follow their dreams.  One of the messages I received was a recording from Darren's mentor Jim Rohn.  In this message he says that instead of just setting a goal ask yourself WHY?  Why do I want to lose weight? Why do I want to do this or that?  As I was walking today I thought about those words.  I have told you many times about some of the whys  that caused me to start my journey.  I have to continue reminding myself of those whys as I work hard to maintain my weight loss and take care of myself both mentally and physically. I know that many of you started your new year with the goal to lose weight or gain health.  I also know that statistically you have already given up.  Don't give up. Sit with yourself for a little while and actually write down a list of whys.  When you have your list done look at it again and dig deeper.  Why do you want to lose weight?  Oh, there may be some tears and some frustration but you have to dig. Get down to the real reasons. The ones that will really motivate you.  You might come up with some things that surprise you. I hope in this digging you find some words that can help you in your healthy journey.  Family, participate,  begin liking yourself,  and live are just a few I came up with.   After each one of those words I asked myself.  WHY?  Why did I want to be able to participate? (because I was tired of being sick and tired and watching life from the sidelines .)  Family? ( I didn't want my grand's to remember me as an overweight, sick old lady.) What about liking(loving) myself? (Anyone who has excess weight or health issues knows what I'm talking about.)  This is the type of "Why's" that can get you motivated because they give you fuel to feed your hope.  They give you strength to try and do what you need to do. Maybe they can give you enough hope and encouragement that you realize that you really are worth the work and effort this may take you to fight hard for your life. It is a fight!  Why are you worth it?  What are your dreams? Why are you not reaching for them.?  We need to be like a small child constantly asking ourselves why?  Why?  WHY?  We might get the answers we really needed to be strong on our healthy journey. Don't give up!!!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Update on weight

When I first began this blog I had lost 115 lbs.  I thought that was where my weight would stay.  As I have become more active and "wiser" about my food choices I have been able to lose I little more.  My weight loss now bounces between 125-130 lbs.  As I type this I just can't believe that I ever carried that much excess weigh around.  In the meeting I teach, I have those who have lost 10 pounds hold a 10 pound bag of sugar.  It astonishes me and them at how much that 10 pounds really feels like.  I am surprised at the change in how some foods taste to me.  I never dreamed I would crave veggies  and whole grains.  I still love the sweets and will probably always struggle with that.  I do have them but the impact on my fibromyalgia pain makes it (almost) not worth it.  I found an old chart I began after I had lost about 30 pounds.  I bought a scale that gave me the percentage of fat and BMI. (body mass index)  I had already lost 30 pounds when  the scale told me  my body was 63.4% fat.  Muscle was 24.6%  A BMI of 40.7. It also reads the water content which was 35.7%   It would have been a lot higher if I had the scale from the very first. Every few months I would record those number again to see how my weight loss was impacting those numbers. Today I got on my scale again.  I know it can not be very accurate but is a tool to see how I am doing.  My body fat is 33%  Muscle is 31.2% and the BMI is 24. The water content is 47.2 %.   As I have mentioned before I  decided when I began that I was doing this.  DOING THIS.  I took photos, made charts, saved "big clothes" and many other little steps to help me to see the progress when I was discouraged and ready to give up.  If you are just starting your healthy journey take pictures. Take measurement.  I don't have the measurements from the start and wish I did.  Do everything and anything that can keep you going on your way to a new and improved you! YOU can DO THIS.