The Fattest Runner on St. Patty’s Day and Always 

I just got the pictures back from last weekend’s Shamrox race, and though I felt fantastic the day of, and my time wasn’t too shabby even though I took it kinda easy, I wanted to melt into the floor when I saw the photo. I was easily the fattest person there. Which is funny because when I look at other people, I think to myself – I’m about her size when she’s at least a spare tire or two less than what I truly am, then I see a photo and think I’m the fattest person in the race. Sadly, this is how I identify.  In fact, a guy will talk to me and I’ll think, “Hey! He thinks I’m kinda cute…I’ve still got it,” and then I’ll see my reflection and realize he’s just being kind because he (insert one):

  • Relates you to his hearty mom, aunt, overweight cousin…
  • Feels sorry for you
  • Is genuinely a nice guy 

Then, there’s the running. I get “You can do this,” and pats on the back encouraging me to keep going. These people (insert one):

  • Think it’s pretty amazing a person so fat is running
  • Thinks this is my first race so encourage me – you can do this, fatty!
  • Have already been at the finish line for 20 minutes so are encouraging everyone

The fact is, I’ve been running for a couple years now, run an average of 10 miles a week, and have in the last year run a half marathon. And I’m in decent shape when it comes to cardio. But I hit a wall when it comes to food. Food is comfort and frankly I like to eat. Which is kinda obvious, I know. 

Still, I got an invite from a friend last week to join an exercise group on Facebook. I thought it was odd, but nonchalantly followed. I couldn’t understand why she would group me in with these weighty mommas who video themselves in bras and yoga pants with sweat dripping down their rolling midsections like it’d never sweated before-and I feel like I can’t even relate. I’m offended. But then I realize – this is how others see me – and hang my head in shame. 

I found this article online: I am the fattest person in America (and other lies I tell myself)and could truly relate. I’m teetering on a fine line here between self loathing with misdiagnosis of who I am, a determination to make a change and a desire to put my head under the covers and quit trying. 

But the truth is I don’t run to be thin or fit or to get praise from someone else because I reached the finish line. I run because it makes me feel powerful and elated. It makes me believe I can do anything. It makes me feel human. It squelches my major depressive disorder. So, screw it! If I’m the fattest runner out there, so be it. I can lose weight when I’m ready. Until then, I’ll try to be more understanding when you pat me on the back. And I’ll just pretend you think I’m pretty. Because I feel pretty fantastic. And I’ll try not to look at the race pictures. Either that or lose the skirt. It really doesn’t help. 🙂

Words, Vision and Action

I’ve been contemplating how I’ve often drawn negativity to my life and those around me. And without action, there cannot be change. So, I did a little research on the law of attraction. Schools of thought differ on this concept, and I have my own theory. My theory involves the following methodology – words, vision and action.

Words

wordsThe words you speak have impact no matter when or where you say them. They will never just fall to the ground like a seed on dry soil – as soon as you say something, an action will take place. Hurtful, harmful negative words and behaviors will have negative impact on your life – they open a door of destruction to your future and immediately affect your spirit. Words are valuable and we must always monitor what we say.

Your life goes down the path that you choose to take. You pick the words, take the actions and act at a level that will give you the results that you want. Your words can set boundaries and can release potential within your life. If you say you will never, then you will never! If you say you will, then you will. If you say this always happens, then it will always happen…

When you do not achieve the results that you want, change your words and actions. Use your words to set things in motion and  to set things right for you – to help you prosper and grow in every area in your life.

supermanI met my husband when I was 16, and thought he was a dreamer. He told me from the moment I met him that he was going to be an artist. He never swayed from his proclamation, and in fact was very specific about what type of artist he would be. He wanted to be an illustrator, not a designer. He wanted to draw for DC Comics, Disney and major music labels. Well, that’s what he’s done. It didn’t happen overnight, but he continually worked towards the goal he clearly set in his mind. He set positive in motion with his positive words, and continually advanced towards his goals because of his positive thoughts and actions.

Vision

envision your futureIf you clearly understood the impact of your words, you would speak differently. You would you say more positive things if you had an idea of the things you wanted out of life – your habits, relationships, where you wanted to travel and what you wanted to do.

Set positive in motion with positive words:

    • My boss thinks highly of me and appreciates the work that I do. I am clear about what he expects of me and how my activities help his business succeed which in turn helps me be more successful professionally.
    • My body is being renewed every day. I’m getting stronger and stronger, more physically fit. The food I eat and activities I choose are fuel that helps move me towards being more capable and physically fit.
    • My finances are getting better every day. God is dealing with people to bring me opportunities for financial growth and stability.
    • My spouse understands me and loves me for who I am.

A vision board is an incredible tool to help guide your thoughts and words to create positive action in your life. They help you clarify, concentrate and maintain focus on a specific life goal. A vision board displays images that represent whatever you want to be, do or have in your life.

When you look through pictures and magazines or online, you can identify things you like and don’t like and help clarify the things that are important to you, where you want to go and what type of person you want to be. You will resonate with powerful words and phrases, and these visual words and phrases will ingrain themselves in your mind so you can begin to think and speak more positively. Be specific about the things you want – get to the core of your desires, and choose images that represent your passion and what evokes an emotional connection for you.

Focus on the areas you want to improve – create a vision board for every area in your life – work, home, family, finances – or create one for all areas. Select images you emotionally connect with to motivate you to fulfilling your goals. A visual reminder will help you focus on what you want – will draw you in and help you focus on your action plan.

Action

walt-disney-dream-quoteA vision board doesn’t end with the creation – you have to begin to work towards the positive visions, believe them, talk about them positively and begin to take action steps towards your vision. Your visions will become goals, and you will begin to focus on them more clearly to work towards making them a reality.

Place the board somewhere where you will see it daily. Put it by the mirror in the bathroom or on the wall of your bedroom. Frame it in a nice frame and make it a part of your life. Every year, revisit the board, recreate it and recognize the goals you’ve reached.

      • “Vision without action is a dream. Action without vision is simply passing the time. Action with Vision is making a positive difference.” – Joel Barker
      • Everything you want is out there waiting for you to ask. Everything you want also wants you. But you have to take action to get it.” – Jules Renau
      • “The secret of getting ahead is getting started.”  – Mark Twain
      • “Do it, and then you will feel motivated to do it.” – Zig Ziglar
      • “Good […] leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion.” – Jack Welch

The way you speak, act and perform will clearly tell those around you what to expect from you. When you recognize that your words and actions all have consequences (positive or negative), you will be more likely to set personal goals and set in place action plans that can influence those around you and your future in a positive way. Get started on the right path today. Begin aligning your words with your vision, then take action. You’re only as powerful as your words.

Aside

I discovered Lenny’s when I moved here a few years ago. Over the past few months, I was surprised with the overall lack of cleanliness and disarray of the store, but was blown away today when there was only one disheveled server in the store and the cook had to come out from the back room to ring us up.

He apologized and said they were short-handed. Then, a woman (who was apparently the manager) came out from a back room, reprimanded the cook for smelling of cigarettes (Seriously? He was the only one working, and I certainly didn’t notice), then took him to the back room and fired him in the midst of a busy lunch rush. She then proceeded to stand behind the counter, text on her cell phone and discuss the situation with a non-uniformed, unshaven young man.

To top it off, another man came from the back room waltzed through talking about the situation, picked up six cookies off the rack and waltzed out. The unshaven man behind the counter gave him a gang sign as he left the building. Finally, the manager walked through the dining area, picked up a basket off one of the many dirty tables, and proceeded to wipe off the table with a napkin from the napkin tray.

I was so blown away by the drama that I took a picture.

See my tweet to @lennyssubs here.

Life as an Artist Convention Wife

Over the past three months, I’ve been a single mother of three teens. The struggles I’ve experienced were compounded by the fact that my husband was physically present. You see, I’m a genuine artist wife, and the past three months, a convention wife. 

Image

No, I’m not a booth babe or a display monkey. I’m a convention wife. My support job doesn’t end at the end of the day where I go with the artist to the hotel and after-parties. It doesn’t end when I help him disassemble the structure and pack up the unsold goods. I get to feel the stress he feels when his pieces didn’t bring in the sales that he expected. I feel the financial crunch during the initial setup and printing. I get to hold his hand when he watches others receive the awards he’s patiently working towards. I get to help him live his dream.

 On May 17, we trekked to the second Spectrum Fantastic Art Live in Kansas City. The art represented at SFAL is phenomenal, and showcases the best of the best in Fantasy Art. Drew had a booth along with other greats like Charles Vess, Brom, Eric Joyner and Coop. 

Drew’s booth frame, stands and fixtures were custom built to make his booth stand out. Novice artists visited the booth to discover tips to living their dream, and fans stopped by to admire and purchase art for their collections. And me? I get to feel pride and ownership for his accomplishments, knowing the support I’ve given him has helped him get there.

Odie – An Unexpected Family Member

We already had two beautiful Weimaraners and a cat, so when I got a phone call from my kids telling me about the dog in the yard and asking, “Can we keep him?” the answer was automatically no. Then I got home and saw him. He was the ugliest dog I’d ever seen.

Odie is bald as a newborn baby except for the tuff of white, fuzzy hair on the top of his feet and the crown of his head. His skin is dry and rough, reminiscent of what an elephant might feel like. However, when he stands on his hind legs and dances in a circle like a circus dog, chases the cat around the living room or cuddles up next to me on the couch, I am smitten.

I didn’t have a clue what type of dog found its way to my yard that day, but after I heard that the current owners wanted to put him up for adoption, I was ecstatic. Our family fell in love with him the moment we saw him.

Odie is a Chinese crested dog, a hairless breed often described as playful, gentle and sensitive. He has been a part of our family for five years now, and I often wonder how we survived without him.

ImageHe may be ugly, but his spirit is beautiful. On many occasions, Odie has brought our family together with laughter as he gallops around the house, playing cat and mouse with the other pets. He frequently stops to look at us with mischief in his eyes, then returns to his previous antics.

On cold evenings, Odie’s body is like a heating pad, keeping me warm and cozy. He cuddles next to me, relieving the evening chill with is mere presence. His loving, playful nature makes up for his lack of beauty. In fact, his homeliness is part of what makes him attractive. I wouldn’t have him any other way.

Our family was complete, then an ugly little dog found his way into our yard and into our hearts. Odie the Chinese crested dog is a member of our family, and will always be. Yep, he’s a keeper.

Penny for Your Thoughts? No, It’s Not Worth My Breath.

Yesterday afternoon, I dropped my son off at his friends’ house, and when he got out of the car, a quarter fell to the pavement. I pointed at the currency and told him he dropped his money. He turned around and walked away. I thought that was funny. How could he have not heard me when I was so near him?

I put the car in park, grabbed the quarter and caught him half-way up the walkway. “You dropped your money, kiddo,” I called, trying to hand him the money. He and his friend turned sideways and laughed at me. The confused look on my face turned to shock when he said, “Mom, that’s just a quarter. It’s not worth picking up.” He giggled, then turned and walked away.

I got in the car, befuddled. Musing aloud, I said, “Seriously? It’s a quarter! A quarter is worth at least a piece of gum, right?”

My daughter looked at me and smirked. She said, “No, mom. It’s not worth anything.”

Though it’s true that I tend to be somewhat of a cheapskate, I always believed that it was worth my efforts. I’d buy a thing or two from the thrift store, reuse paper old towels as rags, and always believed in the old adage, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”

I learned this from my roots. As a matter of fact, my granddad would fall over if he heard this story. Grandad didn’t make it past 6th grade, and worked in manual labor from the time he moved out of the house until he was no longer healthy enough to work (he still gets reprimanded for trying to do more than he is supposed to).

Growing up, my grandad didn’t buy us gifts for Christmas. Instead, we entertained ourselves while the grown-ups talked at the table. When we were old enough to be invited to the table, we joined in on the conversation of how we became who we are today…a history lesson so to speak. He’d randomly give us holiday gifts (I think I’ve gotten 3 or 4 in my life).

This year, he handed me a $100 and told me it was for everyone to have some money for something for Christmas. Again, I was shocked. My son asked for his part of the money the other day, and I said, no. I’m investing it in your future.

As I get older, I often learn things that I thought were fact were just things I mislearned. Knowing where my family came from is an important part of my history, but it doesn’t define me in terms of my potential. I can be whatever I want and do whatever I want. I don’t need to save a penny or quarter, instead I need to continue to learn what to do to make what I have work for me. I disagree with my kids who think a quarter isn’t worth picking up, but I agree that I may put too much worth in the proverbial quarter.

For instance, I have spent hours cutting coupons only to learn my efforts were only worth a few mere dollars per hour. Perhaps my efforts could have served me better if I had spent time organizing my retirement portfolio or investing in stocks. These are areas my family never educated me on, and I have been blinded to. I will no longer worry about giving a penny for everyone’s thoughts. Instead, it’s time to figure out how to get what I need from the resources I have at my disposal. I’ve got a lot to learn, and I’m sure these thoughts are worth more than a penny, quarter or even a buck. I’m in it for much more than that. I’ve got a life to fund.

How to Make Your New Year’s Resolutions a Reality

I’ve heard it said many times before that New Year’s Resolutions are made to be broken. For that reason, I don’t follow the tradition. However, the new year and its challenges remind me to focus on the big picture. Rather than a New Year’s Resolution, I’ve made a point each year to schedule an annual goal realignment. Each December I revisit my goals, reflect on how far I’ve come, and focus on how far I need to go. Then, I incorporate a program of reviewing my goals into my weekly regiment.

I have five major goal areas of focus:  Relationships, Health, Career, Emotional Well-being and Finances. Within each focus area, I define an over-reaching want or need and develop a plan to reach that goal within the next year. For instance, my relationship goal is: “Have a date night once weekly.” I understand financial and time restraints may cause me to be unable to have a traditional date, but I’ve allotted in my goal that this can range from a night out on the town to an evening with the family. As long as the focus is on genuine communication, there is no need for concern about the details.

I also understand that oftentimes reaching a new goal involves creating a new habit, and this won’t happen without planning. In order to make my date night a reality, I have determined to review each week whether or not we had a date and define what happened to make it a reality (or what needs to change in order for it to happen). Then, I incorporate positive steps into my weekly planning or resolve to make more of a change.

To stay on top of my goals throughout the year, I keep them in my wallet, on a text file on my computer, and in my email, and re-read them when I run across the file. As the year progresses, I tend to review my goals less frequently, but am often surprised at the end of the year how far I’ve progressed. If you look at the New Years’ Resolution as an opportunity to create new goals and revisit your past goals, you will make your resolution a reality instead of a promise to be broken. I’m positive you will also be pleasantly surprised by what the new year brings.