ewwww, david. no.

(from Life.Church)

Do any of you have any phrases that you say to yourself just out of habit? I do. It’s usually under my breath, and almost always after I’ve done something dumb or I’m overwhelmed. It is always, “Oh my goodness, Sarah. What in the world.” (Not a question, just a statement.) I have said that a LOT lately. I also keep repeating Alexis’ line from Schitt’s Creek, “Ewwww, David. No!” almost anytime I have to do something I don’t want to.

To start, some updates. So far the infection has been gone for 1 week, and even with constant rechecks it hasn’t returned. H-O-O-R-A-Y. That’s the good news. The bad, the scar tissue on my cornea is just horrid. I think I’ve finally found the perfect description of what it is like. Imagine trying to look through 6 pieces of saran wrap (cling film). Everything is warped and distorted. Driving is awful and brings me a lot of anxiety every time I have to get behind the wheel. But I’m making it, adapting, learning how to groove with what I have. Our bodies are kind of amazing. I’m not sure the timeframe on all the healing I have remaining, I just keep being told to have patience. As any woman knows, being told to “Calm down and relax” is almost always going to give you a very different reaction. 🙂

Elimination diet…haven’t talked about it for a while. I had made it through the full 9 weeks having concluded that food is not the cause of my discomfort. I did, however, glean some pretty great info on foods that DO cause some kind of reaction in me. Because of that, and because I was just so used to the diet by that point, I kept it up and I’m still staying pretty close to it even now. I eat very little grains/gluten. Very little legumes. Very little dairy (only some hard cheese…I told you I love cheese.) Little to no eggs. I will forgo all of these rules at Thanksgiving because there are just some things you get at holidays that you can’t enjoy any other time throughout the year.

So what am I doing now? I’m trying to smile every day. I’m surrounding myself with people who care about me. I’m not running outside yet due to the eye (depth perception is not great at all), but I’m doing yoga and loving it. I’m not sitting home alone every night. I’m putting myself out there and allowing vulnerability in a variety of ways. I’m intentionally trying hard to be encouraging to others. I often am reminded of the Brandi Carlile lyrics in one of my favorite of her songs, “do I make myself a blessing to everyone I meet?” I even have that on a t-shirt. 🙂

This weekend I heard the phrase, “A waiting season is not a wasted season.” Oh so true! All of this is going to add up to something…and it might be where I am currently. Like I’ve said over and over the course of this year…I have to be ok with where I am, otherwise the human in us is only going to see the darkness and how far we still have to go. Where I am now, EVEN WITH MY JANKY BROKEN EYE, is better than where I was. Every single time someone tells me, “You are different.” I am smiling. Because I am.

TODAY I LOVE: The Netflix show “Schitts Creek.” I LOVE THIS SHOW.
SONG OF THE DAY: “That Wasn’t Me” by Brandi Carlile

goals, direction, and starting to see light.

Seeing the light arriving

Greetings, my friends! And Happy Sunday!

I hope everyone is having a great and relaxing weekend. It has been raining off and on yesterday and today and honestly it’s been nice to chill for a hot minute. I did quite a bit of socializing this week and was oh-so-ready for a day to be a hermit and recharge.

I do apologize that my writing has been so sporadic lately. I certainly didn’t intend for this to blog to only be used when I’m feeling down in the dumps. Now that I’ve made great strides crawling out of the dark place, I guess I’m trying to decide which direction to take this thing now.

First things first, some updates. This week will be Week 6 of my elimination diet. As I said in my last post, I’ve been adding things in and taking them out for a few weeks now. Even though I do believe now that most of my health issues are being caused by something other than food, it has been very enlightening to find out what foods do cause a reaction of any kind in my body. I *think* I’ve found out this week that dairy actually increases my heartburn. This makes me very sad, as cheese is practically one of my love languages. Anyway, the experiment continues. After that first week I’ve managed to maintain my calories at my normal level. Cravings are gone. I sleep well (for the most part). I don’t have a headache everyday. All that to say, I’m going to keep this experiment going for a while.

Beginning September I started running again. I’ve also added in yoga (in addition to strength training.) I’m really, really enjoying it. I’m not sure what finally made the switch flip in my brain, but I’m looking forward to workouts again rather than seeing them as a chore. I’m also looking forward to setting some goals for each of those areas for October. I haven’t set any kind of athletic goal in AGES! This is great mental progress for me.

So, where do I go from here? Someone told me this morning, “Every time I see you you’re always smiling! It makes me smile.” I guarantee the gal who said it had no idea how much it effected me, and probably not even for the reason that you’d imagine. I think maybe after all these months I’m finally figuring out that it really is all up to me on my perspective of things. I’m not in control of anything and I need to stop trying to grapple for it like a lifeline. I can’t control what people think of me, I can rarely control what happens to me. The one thing I can control? My perspective. If I can do that then the lows won’t be so low. The highs are even higher. And every thing isn’t nearly so dark. Life is quite a lot sweeter when you let it happen.

I’m looking forward to this week. I’m going home this weekend for our fall festival. I haven’t been back to it in probably 15+ years. This would normally probably cause me anxiety…but it’s going to be ok. I’m going to choose to look at is as an opportunity to enjoy some folks I haven’t seen in quite some time. Plus the parade! Band nerds unite! What are you looking forward to this week?

TODAY I LOVE: dry shampoo (seriously gals, am I right?!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Alice from Dallas” by Foy Vance

heartburn.

I changed my hair color this week. I needed change. I am obsessed with it. Red!

Hello all. I know I’ve been MIA the last several weeks and I’m sorry for that. Life has been happening.

Lots of life has been happening. Real life with hard emotions, big decisions, love, loss, and forging forward. And with all that stuff, I just needed to turn inward and work through it. I’m still working through it and that’s ok. At any rate, I don’t want to talk about it, but it all leads me to where I am this day.

The anxiety/stress/emotional drain of all the things made all my symptoms (acid, nausea, etc.) return. Therefore, as food as been constantly the same with no changes in 4 weeks, I think it is safe to say my issues are something else (not entirely food related.) So, although this extreme diet didn’t give me the results I was ultimately looking for (solving my health issues), it DID help me know that with that variable constant, it is something else in my body that is wrong.

I’ve slowly started adding some food back into the rotation. I cannot tell you how very wonderful that first cup of coffee tasted. Best cuppa ever. It does, however, give me heartburn. It has been fascinating adding food back in and monitoring what it does to me. For instance, either gluten OR sugar make my sinuses stuff right up and make it hard to breathe. I ate at cookie and within an hour my sinuses were swollen. WEIRD. I haven’t had another one to test it again.

My next steps on my health journey will be to get back in touch with my doctor and see what’s up. Ulcer? Overactive hiatal hernia? Yeah, I don’t know. I do know this: I have GOT to get my stress/anxiety under control and managed.

I added yoga into the mix this week. I’ve never really given yoga fair shake and I kinda feel bad about that. I found an app that has yoga “classes” and I’m hoping by adding this at the end of my day and focusing on the breathing and the mindset, it will help me mentally just as much as physically. I’m about as flexible as a concrete pole, so we shall see how this goes. 😀 I’ve been practicing this habit for a week now and I can definitely say it has helped me mentally. I do it right when I get home from work, consciously trying to let out the bad and in the good and LET. THINGS. GO.

Thanks for hanging with me. I still have the note “Not Today” taped to one of my computer monitors at work. I’ve been staring at it a lot this week, remembering why I put it there in the first place. Not Today. Not Today. Today I will not give into all the feelings that brought me to the bottom.

TODAY I LOVE: savasana (corpse pose in yoga)…I can do this one.
SONG OF THE DAY: “God Willing and the Creek Don’t Rise” by Ray LaMontagne and The Pariah Dogs

I am not skinny … but …

I have worked so hard these last couple of weeks in the gym. I’m pushing myself in my lifts and I’ve added “bonus” cardio everyday. And guess what? My weight hasn’t changed. I’ve gone up and down the same 3lbs for almost 3 weeks now. I’ve stayed within my macros and I’ve turned down cupcakes and donuts and Chick-fil-a. (WHOA.) I’ve vacillated between being depressed about it all and being ok.

This morning while I was in the gym I was thinking about it all. Today was a “heavy” lift day. And as I was standing there, continuing to add plates to the bar, and looking at myself in the mirror, I was content?

Here’s why: I might not be skinny and I might very well be considered overweight. BUT

I took this after the gym this morning. I added the flare to disguise the dirty mirror. 🙂 It’s not an awesome picture; it isn’t flattering. But this is the body I have today, and it is strong.
  • Today I leg-pressed 495lbs (11 plates) and probably could have kept going.
  • Last week I was able to squat 215 pounds for four reps on my sixth set! That’s been my heaviest on squats in months and months.
  • I held a plank for *almost* 2 minutes today. That’s huge for me!
  • This body has allowed me to conquer the stair machine over and over this week. Hundreds of floors climbed.
  • This body is well enough to tend my own yard (mowing and trimming) without any help.

This body might not be skinny, and it might very well be overweight, but it is strong. It is able. It is healthy. And I’m doing my best to love it. To love what it is now and not what I think it needs to be. To love what it can DO.

That’s where I am today. I might be sad again tomorrow that my skinny jeans are still tight, but I’m writing this post to remind me of how I feel TODAY. I need more todays.

TODAY I LOVE: Alo Yoga capris
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The HighWomen

church, chores, cheering up

Happy Sunday, fam! We did it. We’ve made it to what I’m beginning to think is the most pivotal day of the week.

To be totally honest, I don’t really like Sundays. The weekend is over and I start stressing over the week to come. For the longest time I used to (and sometimes still do) tell people to not even bother asking me if I wanted to do anything on a Sunday. Because I won’t. Sundays have taken on a pattern.

I get up and go to church. And I love my church. That’s all fine and good. After church I come home and do all my chores (housework, laundry, food prep, etc.). Sometimes I’ll do some work work, just to get ahead for Monday. And then I’ll spend the rest of what is left of the day trying to do things that don’t make me sad or stress me out.

That is Sunday for me.

This morning as I was laying in bed, contemplating the day, and already letting the woes of the week hang heavy, I tried to reframe the week ahead. And honestly, doing a “review” of the week behind me. I put positives with the negatives. Here’s a few of mine today:

  • My average weight is up a pound, even though I did very good with diet and bonus cardio. My weight is up, BUT I lifted heavier on squats this week that I have in a long time. I did 215lbs for 4 reps! On my 6th set! I’m hella strong!
  • Work last week was not good. AT ALL. Everything I touched turned to flames and I didn’t get near as much accomplished as I needed to. BUT tomorrow is a new day, and I have a plan to attack the problems. Planners rule.
  • My budget is super duper tight right now. It squeaks every time I have to spend a penny. BUT I am bound and determined that all my financial woes are not going to be the death of me. Failure happens, and I’ve failed a LOT, but it’s not the end. So instead of thinking about how hard things are, I’m going to be glad I think I finally have a plan to give me light at the end of the tunnel.
  • I have two zits on my face. But I have no positives for them. They suck.

So maybe Sunday, instead of being the dreary ugh day of the week, maybe it needs to be kinda like the pep rally for the week head. I still have to do my chores and such, but I think if I switched up my thinking to start believing Sunday is the day before something big…I’ll handle it better.

Sunday is ——- the excitement the day before vacation
Sunday is ——- the night before a marathon
Sunday is ——- the 30 minutes before your favorite band takes the stage

What is Sunday for you?

TODAY I LOVE: air conditioning (hallelujah!)
SONG OF THE DAY: “Redesigning Women” by The Highwomen

who is influencing you?

Several of my twitter friends have shared a New York Times article over the last couple of weeks. I hadn’t had time to read it, but so many people I respect kept commenting on it. So I saved it in my handy Instapaper to read later. Having now read it, I can see why it’s so popular. So today, instead of writing about my ups and downs, I’d like the share the article with YOU and to also make some comments.

First off, it’s an opinion piece by a novelist that I really like, Jessica Knoll. I read her book “Luckiest Girl Alive” a while back. If you like suspense books, give it a go. Anyway, her piece in the Times is called “Smash the Wellness Industry.” I’m going to put several excerpts here, but I’d really encourage you to follow the link and read the whole thing.

In sum, the entire piece is about the fallacy we are all being fed about “wellness” in our society. I like how she said it in this paragraph:

The wellness industry is the diet industry, and the diet industry is a function of the patriarchal beauty standard under which women either punish themselves to become smaller or are punished for failing to comply, and the stress of this hurts our health too. I am a thin white woman, and the shame and derision I have experienced for failing to be even thinner is nothing compared with what women in less compliant bodies bear. Wellness is a largely white, privileged enterprise catering to largely white, privileged, already thin and able-bodied women, promoting exercise only they have the time to do and Tuscan kale only they have the resources to buy.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

All day long we see “influencers” on Instagram. Thin, barely-clothed, tan women pawning us shakes, or waist-trainers, supplements, or workout programming. They are telling us what we need to do to inherently be happy and feel good. Or trying anyway. Because, as she says in another part of the article, wellness equal thin and thin equals wellness.

I liked this quote as well:

I no longer define food as whole or clean or sinful or a cheat. It has no moral value. Neither should my weight, though I’m still trying to separate my worth from my appearance. They are two necklaces that have gotten tangled over the course of my 35 years, their thin metal chains tied up in thin metal knots. Eventually, I will pry them apart.

Most days, I feel good in my skin. That said, I am probably never going to love my body, and that’s O.K. I think loving our bodies is not only an unrealistic goal in our appearance-obsessed society but also a limiting one. No one is telling men that they need to love their bodies to live full and meaningful lives. We don’t need to love our bodies to respect them.

Jessica Knoll, NY Times, “Smash the Wellness Industry”

I don’t love my body right now. I’m not comfortable in it. But I’ll be honest, this has given me pause to ask myself if I’m uncomfortable for the right reasons. Am I healthy? Yep, I just had a whole bunch of blood tests that tell me so. I can run and strength train. So is it all about being thin?

Anyway, go read the piece and give me your thoughts. I’d love to hear them. I think we all need to strive to be healthy and WELL, but are we really doing in society today? And how do you define it now that our measuring stick is so very skewed?

TODAY I LOVE: thought-provoking discussion
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing You, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival

random friday stuff: vol 6

Hi friends! It’s another sweltering day in the Ozarks! I hope everyone is wearing their sweat-resistant sunscreen.

Here are the fun random things that have consumed me this week:

  • SO MUCH NEW MUSIC!!! I’ve been crazy random on my music tastes and I’m loving it. Do yourself a favor and check out these new tunes:
  • I completely binge watched the entire season of The Spanish Princess and now I’m totally obsessed with The War of the Roses, the Plantagenets, the Tudors, etc. So I’ve picked up all my Philippa Gregory books and have started from the beginning. Last week I read “The Lady of the Rivers” and “The White Queen.” I’m ready to start the next in the series…”The Red Queen.” So good!
  • Drip Drop. For some reason I tend to get dehydrated very easily, no matter how much water I drink (and I usually drink 2-4L a day.) My beloved Nuun hasn’t been cutting it in this heat and my next favorite, Re:Immune, has been out of stock. I did some research and found this product. So far so good. I’d recommend it.
  • The Soundtrack Show. I love listening to the scores to movies. Most of them are quite gorgeous. The other day I stumbled upon this podcast that takes popular movie scores and takes them apart. For a big ole music nerd like myself, it is like Christmas morning.
  • I think I’m going to pick up crocheting again. My twitter friends are inspiring me. Besides, it’s something I can do while I watch the 1,000 shows I’m behind on. Why are there so many new seasons/shows during the summer?!

Alright, folks. Go forth and stay cool.

In honor of this post being mostly about music AND me being a total nerd, here’s walk down memory lane. Sarah, the high school band geek. Go Tigers!

TODAY I LOVE: cheese. All cheese. Gimme cheese.
SONG OF THE DAY: “Stockholm” by Penny & Sparrow