August.

The first full week of August is coming to an end. And while the weather has been more than tolerable, I can’t help but be suspicious of August’s weather intentions. I think the three H’s are still up August’s sleeve: Hot, Humid, and Hell-like. There is a reason, other than the end of swim team that folks bug out of the DC area during the month of August. It’s unbearable, stagnant, and icky (a technical weather term). When the kids were young, we would spend long days at the nearly empty pool and return in the evenings to play and sup on pizza and subs. I do miss those sweet times of August. And the school supply shopping…I definitely miss that. But that’s about it.

Beach - pexels

After suffering through the sleepless, sticky, hazy nights of August, I lie in bed and whisper, September… the stuff that puffy dreams are made of. School is in session and parents are suspiciously happy. I can almost feel the cool ocean breeze and hear the crashing waves. September means beach time and renewal. Way more so than January 1, I feel like everything is new and alive. The heat begins to ease and mornings on The Porch require socks on feet and a hoodie. I feel motivated. I feel alive.

Fall Forest pexels

And God knows I need it this September. As I ease back into writing and blogging and sharing life, I plan to touch upon some of the junk that has that I have allowed to consume my time and spirit. Not for sympathy or for shock value. For love. I think we often feel we are the only one. The only one who hurts. The only one who gets angry. The only one who worries. The only one who suffers lost. The only one who can’t get their butt out of the bed in the morning to do what she knows she should do, but continues to do what she knows she shouldn’t do. The only one who fails.

And counter to that, I think we need to share our successes! Our attaboys…er girls. Our victories, tiny or huge, that make us get back on that horse again after being tossed into the junk (or after jumping willingly into the junk). The met goals. The stumbling blocks overcome. The win of just going for a walk around the block. And sometimes, just keeping the “I didn’t kill anyone today” streak alive.

And just to prove the truth of what I wrote this morning, the small victory of sitting down and writing again and then the agony of defeat getting ready for work…

IMG_8561
Me no love.

I think it is important to share. (Says the woman who didn’t let her children see her cry until she was 45 years old and you can imagine the freak out they experienced when she finally did.) The same woman who can credit a small handful of absolutely amazing women who showed her how to really do life. To share life. To pick each other back up after life tosses you to the dirt. To give each other a swift kick in the bum as needed and please-may-I-have-another.

I was a girl who locked herself in her closet with a flashlight, pillow, and book to avoid talking to anyone, but have always unloaded it all onto paper. Not necessarily for public consumption. Maybe I have always been a secret talker who just didn’t believe anyone wanted to hear what I had to say? Maybe I still feel that way.

So, I thank you…the five of you (up from three!) who regularly respond to my posts and encourage me to keep on talking.

You will probably regret it.

Blessings.

Advertisements

Meanwhile, back at the farm.

Sunday is my week planning day. I try to get my meals planned out and break down each day into chunks of things to get done that particular week. Today will be even more so. I’m finally fever free for 24 hours and tomorrow will get back on track with exercising. Food has been going well. Mostly because I have not had an appetite but when I finally did, I ate foods on my list and avoided those on my hit list. Except for dinner last night. There was good bread and I ate a slice. There was wine and I had one glass. There were fried oysters and I had that for my meal. This morning…so far so good, but I’m back to my food list choices.

I’ve always been an all or nothing girl. If I blow one meal, the entire day would be blown. If I missed one workout, the entire week’s worth of workouts would be blown. Moderation was not in my vocabulary. This time has already been different. I ate really well yesterday knowing I would indulge a bit in the evening. Even after indulging with my meal, I did not order dessert and only took one small bite of My Man’s amazing bread pudding à la mode. Now, I’m not saying I have turned into a moderation girl by any means…that does not work for me either, but I have turned into a plan ahead girl. I already know what I am going to be eating all day today including a catered lunch after church. Since I worked with the caterer to come up with the menu, I am planning around that meal. There are plenty of options today off my food list.

I’m not really about pounds lost right now, although I can tell you I am weighing myself regularly and charting it. I got this cool scale that communicates with an app…easy peasy. But I’m not focused on it. I did do measurements several months ago and haven’t worried about that either yet. Right now it is about awareness. I’m more focused on how I feel after I eat and over the next day or so. It has been super eye-opening. For months, I tried to convince myself that I was wrong about what certain foods did to me. But the evidence is clear (according to my journaling) and, although I am focusing on what I CAN eat, there is a growing list of foods I am avoiding. More on that this week.

Thank you all for the encouragement and support! Still working the kinks out of the new blogging platform and trying to get myself organized and in a groove…but as a wise friend told me recently, if we waited for the right moment…none of us would have any children (or get anything started and done, was her point).

Set backs are just a small step back.

Woke up early to get in an early walk. It cracks me up, still, after all of these years, to read something like that about me. I was always a night owl. Unless you count staying up til the wee morning hours reading as a morning person. Sleeping in was just something I always loved to do. Until the others were born. Sleeping in isn’t really an option when you have babies, especially back-to-back babies born 11 months (and a day) apart.

So I woke up early to walk, because morning quickly evolved into my most loved time of the day and I’ve never looked back, and hello…stuffy head, runny nose and wheezing that could be heard down the block. Tis the season for sinus infections for me. A tad early in the season, September is usually my go-to month for sinus issues, but it is what it is.

So this…Day 2 of getting my shit together… and I’m a tad irritated (when was the last time you read a cuss word on This Girl?) but I am not defeated. Normally, as in three days ago, I would have tossed in the towel and headed for the Dunkin Donuts with this set back. Woe is me and pass the Boston cream filled. Not. This. Time. I  knew I needed to add some stretching into my weekly routine so today is that day. Also tossed in some body weight moves My Girl suggested I try. Boom. Done. On to my Quiet Time and living.

Changing my attitude, mind-set, focus..all the things…is also part of pulling all of ME together. Letting a small set back like a cold is just an opportunity to do something else; focus on something different; a wee step back to gather extra momentum to push forward.

Off to finish up my Quiet Time, listen to some worship music (this song and this song are my two current faves that I listen to over and over these days) and cover y’all in some hefty prayer because seriously…we all need some prayer spoken over us these days.

Day 1 of This Life.

*Edited below*

I was shocked when I pulled up This Girl and the last post was dated February. I honestly thought my site was down and/or missing posts.

Nope. My site was missing ME.

I have been MIA. Lots and lots of things have happened, but I am not going to talk about them today.

Today is about Me.

Me getting to the place where, “the pain to remain the same is greater than the pain to change.”
Me saying for the last time, “I’ll start tomorrow.” “Just this last time.”
Me pointing the fingers at others; the past; the weather; lack of time.
Me just being so dang tired of it all.

I’m not just talking about working out and eating well.

I sat down and took a life assessment from a Life Coach. Wanting to get myself back on track, on the right path. It wasn’t eye opening. There were no big surprises. In fact, it was like reading pages from My Journal for the last 10 years. Ten. Years. That’s how far I went back in my journaling to verify that I really had been stuck in this rut for eternity.

Ten years ago I didn’t have the excuse of having lost a dear friend or having lost a nephew. I was actually exercising regularly. My children were 16, 15 and 10 and we were in the midst of the Glory Years where everything revolves around our children and working together to make it all possible and smoothly run.

And yet, I was still writing the same things then that I did in my Life Assessment as things that had me feeling discontent; frustrated; angry. On the flip side of that, I was also writing the same things then that I did in the assessment that make me happy and make me content. I guess that’s a good thing?

Anyway, it IS a Monday and it IS a new day. Day 1, in fact. At least that is what I wrote in my journal. *side note…I should have started a new journal to mark this occasion, but I didn’t. Bummed.*

So what does this all mean, exactly? For starters, if you haven’t guessed already, I am focusing on ME. My health. What I eat (and will no longer eat); what I will make priorities (and what needs to go); and to push through the pain of starting to exercise regularly again. I have felt led for awhile now to write about it all and to be brutally honest about it…to pull y’all in as accountability partners with me and to just keep it real. And to finally embrace what I am. And let go of what I am not.

It’s exciting, really. Like the first page of a brand new journal; a clean slate; the beginning of a new friendship and all those other cliches.

With that…I am off for a Day 1 Walk. I’ll be posting some things on social media as well so follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Snap Chat….Smiths2boys1girl.

*Day 1 update* Exercise goal for the day, 20 minute walk, done. Keep moving is also a goal. Breakfast – two organic, free range eggs, asparagus and spinach sauteed in a little grass-fed buttah…check. How did I feel while walking? It. Sucked. And, It. Hurt. But I did it and i will do it again tomorrow and the next day and the next…How do I feel now? My brain is clearing of the fog. I’m energized. I did it! I’m off to get all the stuff done. Thanks for hanging with me!

 

The Sunrise.

Sitting in the living room, lights off, watching the sun rise.

A pretty sunrise, to be sure, but not as inspiring as I had hoped on this Monday morning of life changes.

I could hear, was distracted by, the noises of the house. My people up and moving about. Getting ready for their day; their jobs. Both, coincidentally, having to do with dogs.

Distracted and, I have to admit, bored with the sunrise, I looked down at my cell phone for a few moments. Pulled in by the headlines; friend photos; number of likes; games won.

I glanced back to the sunrise. What I had thought was over…done; been there, done that; same old story; had exploded into layer upon layer of color…newness. Glory…

 

see I am doing a new thing

I had almost missed it.

To be sure, this is a time of change for our family. For me. Twenty-four years of it’s all about the children has, in a moment it feels, turned to a child out on his own doing life; a more than capable college student; and an only daughter soon to be married.

Leaving one lonely momma and a pacing pops wondering…what do we do now?

IMG_5207

It is testimony to a job well done. I would give us a B in the parenting department, if I could be so bold and generous. Maybe an A if not for those blown opportunities involving fear, anger, and sometimes, flat out failure. I would imagine most of us are an A, minus some please let us do-over moments.

Moments that build character in us and in our kiddos, I pray.

Done. Over. Moving on. That is where I was this morning. I had asked God for a Word only moments before the nearly missed sunrise. Told Him I needed a Word from Him this morning to keep going. To see a way…the way…through this shadow time…to the light.

I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.

He delivered. Beyond delivered. He gave me the Word; and the story to reflect upon…remember…live.

Very often, what we think is done…is really just a new beginning; a hold on…keep your eyes on Me and watch Me work.

I am doing a new thing.

Don’t miss it.

And, We’re cooking…

My Man was out of town for a few days this week. Which worked out to the benefit of all. I was fighting a nasty cold (read: coughing all night long; trying to catch up on sleep during the day) and I always feel sorry for him because under the best of circumstances, I’m a toss and turner all night long. Throw in the seal bark and things get a little tense around Smith Abbey.

A distinct benefit for My Girl and I this week is that we have been eating all of the yummy things we love, but the boys do not. I cleaned out the fridge and roasted a ton of veggies that we ate all week. Mr. Hater-of-all-things-Squash-and-Sprouts really missed out. We roasted up butternut squash, spaghetti squash, broccoli and Brussels sprouts. My Girl is actually bringing home dinner tonight and I can’t wait to see what we will be having.

Future son #3 “snuck” into the house and announced, “INTRUDER ALERT! YOU ARE ALL DEAD!”. We have dogs…they didn’t even whimper. #hesabadman

CMA Awards…haven’t watched them in years and I am loving them. It has taken me awhile, but when I hear, “JT” I no longer think of James Taylor. #70’s/80’s child. Crazy that the audience went crazy when Justin Timberlake came out on stage and started singing. It’s “country”, after all.

Have I mentioned that we are a music-inclined family? We ALWAYS have music playing. No matter what we are doing or where we are going. My Man is a phenom on the drums and also has a wicked harmony going on; all three Smith brats can sing; and a couple of us even play an instrument or two. I just cannot imagine life without tunes.

For the record: Never heard of this guy, Chris Stapleton, and he just won Album of the Year, among other awards. #interesting

Finding that I have missed writing. Thank y’all so much for hanging in there with me.

You are loved by me!

Notes from a Journal.

Psalm 98.

“Sing to the Lord a new song, for He has done marvelous things.”

The other day I was reading Psalm 98 and this verse (Psalm 98:1)…I just couldn’t get past it. I had to dig a little deeper into what it was really saying.

The word, “sing”: to celebrate in song; to praise. “Sing to the Lord a new song…” wasn’t a suggestion; it was a command. Praise the Lord and celebrate.

The word, “done”: in this instance…to show faithfulness. Whatever marvelous things He is doing and has done He has done to show He is faithful. *this is major wow factor for me*

The word, “marvelous”: I love all of the definitions here: to separate; distinguish; wondrous things; miracles; beyond the hands of human powers or expectations.

For me, I forget the marvelous things. I look right past them, most often. And now and then, He stops me in my tracks so that I have to stop and look and notice. The last month or so I am positive He has allowed me to be overloaded with stress and worry and anxiety so that my body would shut down…and I would be forced to notice. My preoccupation with the leaves is a prime example. How calming and peaceful and wondrous the changing colors are. The promise of renewal, come Spring. The imagined finality of Summer.

As we look forward to toward the end of this month, I’ve already started (okay, REstarted) my 1,000 gifts thankful list. For a change, I am not stressed about getting it all done. Planning ahead for Thanksgiving celebrations has me praising: The Wild Boy will be home all week and I plan to encourage (demand) that The Big Boy is around a lot more. Although I have started Christmas shopping, we are going light with gifts this year and will focus more on the time together and the traditions we have as a family.

Praise the Lord a new song, for in His faithfulness, He is doing wondrous miracles, beyond anything I could do or ever imagine.