a sight to see

Where do I even begin? When I last wrote my birthday was on the horizon and I was super optimistic about October and the goals I was ready to smash out. Yeah, so none of that really happened. Ok, my birthday happened. But that is it. I am indeed 39 years old. Father Time decided to kick me right in the right eyeball.

If you follow me on any social media channels you know that I’ve been fighting the worst eye infection EVER. But Sarah, how did it happen? That seems to be the most prevalent question I get asked. HOW DID THIS HAPPEN? Truthfully, we kind of have no idea.

One morning I woke up and went to work and my right contact was bothering me. No big deal. We had a big weather front moving in and my sinuses were full of pressure and protesting so I didn’t even think twice about my eyes. Both eyes were watering and my nose was running, all from sinus pressure. I got home that night, took out my contacts, and went to bed. I was woken in the middle of the night by pain in my eye. Searing, something-is-stuck-in-my-eye pain. I tried everything I knew to do to flush out my eye. It felt like I had a piece of glass under my top eyelid. I couldn’t sleep the rest of the night for the pain. I called my eye doc the next morning and got in that afternoon. There was nothing in my eye, but it had a pretty nasty corneal abrasion (fancy term for I cut my eye). Doc put a contact bandage on it and loaded me with antibiotic drops, as I was supposed to fly to Florida the next day for a work trip. Needless to say, it was dramatically worse by the next morning so I didn’t leave.

24 hours apart

I went back to the eye doc that next morning and you know it’s bad when they say, “Holy s*&^, it’s literally getting worse as you’ve been sitting here!” Within 24 hours my eye went from normal to zombie. There are no compound pharmacies open on the weekend, so the doc had me putting antibiotic drops in my eyes every 30 minutes – all day and all night. You got it, no sleep. They just didn’t want it to get worse. And it kept getting worse. And the PAIN. You guys I can’t even describe the pain.

By Monday they had me working with an Eye Disease & Injury Doc and a surgeon. Alternating.

I’m in week #3 of the healing process. We are in the middle of a delicate balancing act. I still have infection in my eye that we need to treat with some super-charged-cost-as-much-as-a-house antibiotics, and also dealing with my newly mangled cornea. You can’t really do both at the same time. Nobody knows yet what the fallout to my vision is going to be once we get the infection eradicated and determine scar damage on my cornea.

But Sarah, how did this happen? I seem to get two answers. I guess this type of thing is relatively common with contact wearers, although no doctor I’ve spoken to yet has found any fault in my procedures. I’ve worn contacts for probably 20 years. Second, water. Everyone keeps freaking out about water. And I flushed that eye out with water A LOT when I thought there was something stuck in it. Hey guys – don’t do that.

All that said, I’m trying really hard to make the best of it. It’s hard to have a great attitude all the time when it’s very hard to see and I feel like I look like a troll. My friends have been ah-mazing. There is no way I could have done this without my friends and family and co-workers. I have a very long list of thank-yous to write. I’m mentally and emotionally in a good place. I’m thankful that if this had to happen to me, I’m glad it happened now rather than earlier this year when I broke.

So. I’ll leave October with a kiss on the cheek and a wave. Maybe a small smack on the back of the head. GOOD-BYE. I look forward to SEEING you, November. I have good feelings about you. 🙂

TODAY I LOVE: steroid eye drops…manna from heaven
SONG OF THE DAY: “Killing you, Killing Me” by Jamestown Revival

My 39th year

Hello hello! We are at the END of September. Can you believe that?! I certainly can’t. I keep saying it over and over, but I can’t really believe how fast it feels this year is flying by. Before I know it we will be celebrating Christmas and then the arrival of 2020. C-R-A-Z-Y.

I’m sitting here doing a little bit of prep work for the coming week; it’s going to be pretty busy one for me. On top of the normal month end / quarter end / reporting that comes with an old month and a new month, I’ll be busy prepping for an even busier week following this one. So as I’m sitting here sketching out some plans to make it all happen, I’ve somewhat drifted to the personal side of things. This week I will celebrate my 39th trip around the sun. C-R-A-Z-Y.

Birthdays aren’t really a big thing to me anymore. It’s really just another day. (It’s a day I can have a cupcake with literally no shame.). They do, however, make you take stock of where you’ve been and where you’re headed. For the first time in many years and months, I really like the direction I’m going. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t remotely how I thought my life was going to be. It isn’t what you plan when you’re fresh out of high school or college. But I believe there is a purpose for all of it. The best is definitely yet to come.

So I’m making some goals for the month of October, month #1 of year 39. Some of them are ambitious and will challenge me. Some of them are “minimums” just to get me in the habit of doing some new things. All of them will make me a better Sarah for whatever my future holds.

I challenge you to set a few goals for this coming month. Strive and stretch and grow and reach. What else can we accomplish by the end of this year?

TODAY I LOVE: kettle corn from the fall festival
SONG OF THE DAY: “A Safe Place to Land” by Sara Bareilles

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

changing my perspective

Just me…starting to find clarity in the fog

There are so many different directions I thought about writing this post. It has been a week of so many different reflections and observations. Which do I pick?

Last week I told you all how I was beginning an Elimination Diet this week. Well, I did started it. Y’all…it’s not easy. There are more things that you CAN’T eat versus what you can. It makes business lunches and social lives very difficult. I wouldn’t be surprised if I refuse to eat ground turkey for YEARS after this is all over.

The point of this post is not the diet, but I do want to give a few physical things that have happened over the course of these last 7 days. I’ve still been measuring and tracking what I’m eating, not to control (diet) but to make sure I’m getting enough calories. It is a lot tougher than you think trying to get enough calories when all you can eat (for the most part) is veggies, fruits, and turkey. I’ve ranged between 1,300-1,600 calories each day. My one 1,600 calorie day was a huge achievement. I was pleased. 🙂 So, things I’ve noticed so far…I sleep very well. Sound. My legs haven’t ached. I haven’t taken an allergy pill all week. No Pepto and I’ve been able to lessen the antacid to just 1 pill a day most days. No bloating. The downside: major, major, excruciating headaches. I think I’m going on day 4 of the headache from hell. I’m sweating more than usual. It’s weird and GROSS. Working out was hard. Very hard. Honestly, it’s all been hard. And I don’t foresee it being easier next week. Or the week after that.

It’s only been one week, but I already have things I’m learning about myself and the people I surround myself with, and I’m not talking physical things. I’m learning who is really with me and who isn’t. I’m learning that I am very strong and when I set my mind to something, I have the discipline to do it 100%.

This morning in church the message was on perspective. I’m not going to go into the religious side of things, because that’s not really what this blog is about, but the overarching topic of “perspective” is definitely going to be something I use as a tool for this coming week. I can continue to look at all the things I cannot do or cannot eat or how very miserable I am, OR I can try to look at it differently.

I’m able to do this; I have healthy wholesome food at my disposal. I’m taking my health in my own hands. This type of fast is really helping me zero in on WHO and WHAT matters. The things that make me happy are all the more sweeter.

Week 2, here I come.

TODAY I LOVE: fresh peaches from the farmer’s market
SONG OF THE DAY: “Burden” by Foy Vance

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