Laughter Makes Everything Better

Follow my journey to better health, self image and whatever else life throws my way

Ugh! THAT flag!!!!

16eaaff05ac3663d24f1a912e7bc0cd0Here is my personal update to start. I have continued with my daily fitness challenges and have done well keeping up with it but I wont lie, there are days I just want to do nothing. Problem there is I have spent too much time in the past doing absolutely nothing and that is how I got in the situation I am in. I feel great and I am loving ( and a little hating) starting to build my distance running. I had forgotten how much praying time I get when I walk or run , of course the prayer is usually something along the lines of “please help me get to that light pole so I can stop” but prayer none the less. I’m still struggling with my nutrition  but I can proudly say I havent had a Diet Coke ( my weakness) in almost three weeks!!!  So this journey continues and I will strive to be a better version of myself each day. Which leads me to my topic for this blog. Before I get into the meat of this I want to be clear that all of my blog entries have been and will continue to be topic that I have been led, inspired, motivated or simply guided to write and every word is from the heart. There is very little about my personality that enjoys controversy but over the last several weeks I have felt led to write about this controversy surrounding the Confederate Flag. There, I said it. No turning back now!

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I was raised in a small town in North Carolina. I went to schools that were honestly 50/50 black and white. Let me say now that if you prefer African-American that is fine and I absolutely mean no disrespect I simply am choosing to use the term black in the same way I’m choosing to reference others as white and not use the term Caucasian.  So my point is that I have lived in the south my entire life and have experienced the south the only way I could, as a white girl.

I want to tell you what the Confederate Flag represented to ME as I was growing up in a small southern town. It represented days at the beach with my fiends, it was Lynyrd Skynyrd and Sweet Home  Alabama. It was a BIG part of history and why we would never live anywhere north of Richmond Va. I wasnt raised to worship the  flag by any means I simply knew it was something to keep in the back of your head to be “proud” of. Like I was “proud” to be an Eagle at my high school or a Wake Forest Demon Deacon fan . Yes, I am a Wake Forest fan and no I didn’t go there but my Daddy did and it was a natural fan base and of course I could never pull for that other team that rhymes with “angina”. Cause I was raised right (wink, wink). I digress! So, my point being that the Confederate flag , the one with the big X with the stars , (yes, I know  there is more than one flag of the Confederacy to please my history buffs) , it was a back drop ( not literally) to my southern heritage and it didn’t mean hate or oppression to me it was simply what made the south my home.

So, now I’m bout to make some folks uncomfortable. THAT flag. The one I didn’t think much about but knew it was about my heritage well it stood for something totally different for my black friends that I grew up with. As I got older I slowly began to realize there was some divide between my black friends and my white friends. Let me say that I wasnt raised with any sense of being better than anyone. My parents have always treated all people with respect and kindness so I was taught by example. With that said this invisible “division” among my friends was disturbing to me but as a child I just didn’t understand. As I grew up and developed a better understanding and yes some of that came from history class. I’m a strong believer that the only way to prevent history from repeating itself is to understand where we came from.  So I was being educated but still had a lot to learn. Anyone who knows me knows I like to talk, a lot! So I started having conversations with ALL of my friends and I started observing people. Here is the point I am tap dancing around. For me the flag stood for Southern “pride” for my

Southern black friends it was and is a symbol of hate. It conjures up memories and family stories of inequality and violence and family members being beaten to death because their SKIN COLOR is darker than white people ( who also come in all shades). It is not being allowed to urinate in a clean bathroom  and having to sit BEHIND someone who is MORE IMPORTANT than them on a stupid bus! It is subtle comments like ” how did you get into that college???” as if their human brains couldn’t have possibly just been smart enough to earn admission to a university. It stands for being looked over for a job because the name on their resume sounds ” too black ” or because we white folks are too freaking lazy to learn how to pronounce a name other than John or Ashley. It is horrible racist jokes that some jerk who doesn’t THINK is offensive tells and the punch line sends a knife into someones heart because it is yet another reminder that an entire race of people  have been considered to be less than. It stands for a Cross ,the very sign of peace and all accepting LOVE, burning in a yard to remind someone  God doesn’t really love them. UGH!!! This is BS!!! Yall , I live in a county that until the 90’s  ( yes the 1990’s) had a billboard, on a public highway, that read “home of the KKK”. Wow, so the flag is history from 150 years ago???  Really?  Not at all!  Yes, it was a symbol of war and the South’s fight with the North but it was adopted by a group of white supremacists and made into a symbol of hate and oppression. Why would ANYONE be comfortable going to their state’s capital where that same symbol of hate, the reminder  of their struggle was allowed to fly as a symbol of pride???? It would be the same if a giant Swastika was allowed to  fly at the capital building. HOW does that fairly represent all the people of a state?

This stuff is hard to talk about but talking is exactly what we need to do. When I say talk I mean calmly expressing our feelings and then LISTENING to someone elses side of it. Yall, we have got to get this right! I DO NOT want my children to grow up with the same unspoken tension with their friends whose skin is browner or whiter than theirs!!!

So here is what I plan to do. Yes, it starts with me just like it starts with YOU! I’m choosing to be open to conversation and listen to what someone else thinks and feels. I am not open however to yelling and racist NOISE. Keep in mind NOISE is just that. It is an irritant and eventually goes away. But open conversation leads to understanding and hopefully down the road to peace and friendships and commonality. I bet a lot of us (black, white and  brown) have some similar stories of our granny’s cooking and catching lighting bugs as kids and chasing after the ice cream truck, hating school and loving summer break. There is so much more we have in common that we can build on.Photo Collage Maker_pMLwUg

So… the other thing I am doing is thinking of all the symbols of the South that ( to my knowledge) do not represent any level of hate or division. It’s lightning bugs, sweet tea, tomato sandwiches ( I’m not going to address the brand of mayo here), its Fall football, taking a banana pudding to the house when someone is born or dies. It’s peaches in the summer and no school because they said it might snow. It’s fried chicken and hydrangeas, it’s talkin slow and it’s Y’ALL (yep also know as ALL YALL). It’s the Pineapple ( a sign of hospitality) , a Coke , a RC cola and a moon pie, it’s Dairy Queen and boiled peanuts, it’s BBQ ( not discussing vinegar based vs all the others) and hush puppies. Yall there is so much more to our Southern culture and heritage that is wonderful and significant. Lets not keep our focus on this flag for long. Let’s live in this place of pine trees and spanish moss, mama’s garden , March Madness and family reunions with knowledge of our past but in unity and with pride that we can turn one syllable words into three and we can still be pleasant when it is hot as Hades. Don’t forget the past , acknowledge there was in fact a civil war , that the South lost and allow the flag to be placed in our museums so we do remember our history but please move on and allow peace to enter your lives. Beside, we all got bigger fish to fry!!Photo Collage Maker_30qGOu609bcc05f29e2e8f57dfc4ed28335d6b

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Maybe that Frozen girl is right?!?! LET IT GO!

Wow, Its been several weeks since my last entry. Not at all my plan to neglect this part of my journey but I’ve been busy experiencing the journey. So here is my personal update. I have continued with my daily fitness challenges and this month my goal is to walk/ run a total of 30 miles in the month with the hopes of a mile a day. I am also doing 25 push-ups and 25 bent over rows each day. I have had some days that I didn’t get my mile in due to weather or a stupid virus I got but I simply double or triple up when I was able to get back out. No need to give up on the big picture when a small crayon breaks , right?

I have done “OK” keeping my calories to 1500 or less a day but I’ll be honest, I was getting bored and starting to get off track a bit. So what I did was add a support person to my support corner. I mentioned in my first blog that I realized the need to seek out support for those times I am feeling weak or need a swift kick in the pants. So yesterday I met with my friend and now Nutrition Coach, Angelina Carroo. We talked about what my goals are and got a plan in place. It’s so much easier to know what direction to go in when you have a map.

While I am name dropping I need to mention my coach from Crossfit Clayton. Matt Temesy has been super supportive to me and when I’m trying to figure out my monthly fitness challenge I give him ideas and he takes it, puts his evil twist on it and abracadabra .. I’m suddenly doing burpess or planks or running a mile with push-ups, but those  aren’t enough we have to add bent over rows to maximize my efforts. To be honest this man is an incredible coach. He inspires people to be better athletes and better people. He encourages us all to take the challenges we face in the box and translate them into our daily lives. In other words if you can survive his workouts then you can slay any dragon in your life. I’m feeling pretty smart for getting him in my corner!

While there are certainly other angels in my corner I’m going to spare you the endless roll of credits so I can get to my focus of this weeks blog…Letting go of the good ole days!6c2cf60a798308a8c86a553c6eea3f69

I have mentioned before that I had to say goodbye to my past so I can move forward. It was so much easier to type than to do. When my husband and I got married almost 6 years ago I was living in Concord and he was living in Raleigh and that is how we lived for the first 9 months of our marriage, in separate cities. Once we finally got ourselves under one roof we were faced with trying to sell my happy little house in Concord. OK, you may not understand…my husband wanted me to sell MY house. MY happy house. MY happy house where I was happy. MY happy house where I started my life over after a bad marriage and a broken spirit. My happy house where he told me he loved me for the first time, where we got engaged, where I had my Christmas tree and my dog was happy. Ugh… why in Hell would I want to let go of my happy house?!?

Last month we sold MY happy house. After 5 years we finally got out from under that huge financial burden , we don’t have to worry about tenants who climbed up on the roof to look for squirrels or who take your  back door when they are evicted after not paying rent for 2 months! Yep, my happy house wasnt so happy any more. When the closing was final my entire family took a deep sigh of relief. Not me, my happy house was gone and I was sad. But then I thought about something. Yes, I sort of rebuilt myself in that house. I found my strength and realized how much I can do on my own. ON MY OWN! Yep, that was the part I forgot. Although I was “strong” and stuff I was also very lonely and would spend my Sunday nights curled up on my green sofa crying because I had no one to share my life with.

So the point here is that although wonderful things happened for me while I was living in that house made of brick and wood and nails and stuff I was missing something in my life. I could have held onto that house and my memories but then I would have been totally broke and dealing with crazy tenants the rest of my life. If I had stayed in that house I wouldn’t have an amazing husband and our two beautiful children to share my life with. I had to let go of something  that was good for a phase of my life to gain something even better!

So instead of being the 50-year-old former quarter back who spends every weekend at the bar with the same people retelling the story of that ONE play that ultimately won the State Championship in 1980- something I choose to be grateful for good memories and times that I consider the good ole days but I will not stay there. I will move forward and look for my adventures and be the best version I can be in this phase of my life knowing that eventually I will move forward to yet another great part of my life.  I hope you all are unstuck and moving  forward into the direction of your best life too!267610f21d4b4f6415e26993ac8fef75

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Trust your cape!

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Time for an update since my last blog. This journey I started two months ago has been amazing. I started a new daily challenge for May. I am doing planks each day for as long as I can stand it. I might miss burpees. ( No, I don’t really miss burpees!). I am  actually seeing progress so I’m happy with that.  I am continuing to track my calories but must confess I allowed myself some freedom on Mother’s Day. It was hard not to. I cooked and made a point to have things that my grandmothers would have made, and that my mom and sister still make so I enjoyed it!  For the record , in the past I would have allowed one day of “freedom” to take me completely off track and forget all my goals. Not this time, so in my book that is a victory! I also managed to get to CrossFit twice last week. That might not seem like much to my Crossfitting friends but for me its great for now. Which leads me to something I have been thinking about.

One of the  people in my “village of support” mentioned to me that we go through cycles every 90 days before its time to make another change or adjust what we are doing. I spent a lot of time thinking about it this week and I have to agree. In my mind it makes total sense. We work to change habits by replacing them with new behaviors but it is easy to get bored so while making the changes why not make little adjustments along the way to make things better and easier to stick to my goals in the first place. It can be scary to make changes and to take that proverbial leap of faith in life but as long as you have your cape you will be fine.

My sister shared a song with me a few years ago that really spoke to me. Its written by Guy Clark , titled,” The Cape”. My favorite line sums it all up, “spread your arms, hold your breath and always trust your cape.”! Do we  really approach life like this, with the faith of a child, or do we hold ourselves back from over thinking every move we make? I don’t just mean faith in a religious way . Although, for me, that is my foundation.  Rather the faith like that of a child who has nothing to fear. Armed with a homemade cape of a towel that his mama safety pinned to his shirt and the guts to go after what he wants. Fearless and full of faith in ourselves!!!

I started getting uncomfortable in my life about a year ago. Something wasn’t grooving for me anymore. I struggled for a while to figure it out and finally got quiet long enough to listen.  I was being pulled in a new direction in my life but where? In one week I had four different people randomly tell me that I would make a great coach. A what? What was that? I’m not really into sports-ball so what kind of coach would I be? Is there any other kind? THEN that same week I went to a girls night out with my neighbor ( we had been trying to do this for months and this was the first time my schedule allowed for it). Within 10 minutes of begin there I met a girl who worked for a company that trains people to be Executive and Life Coaches. Really?!?! Are you kidding me?!?!? So by now I realized I was being led in a new direction and it was time to pay attention. After doing some research there was one thing that stopped me. If I was going to do this I was going to have to learn about business and how to market myself. IN walks another opportunity! My high school friend who I had reconnected with on Facebook reached out to me to see if I was at all interested in being a consultant with Rodan and Fields the skin care company that is blowing up and providing people access to great skin care products, the opportunity to learn how to run their own business and make money doing it. Wait? What? Was this a way to learn how to market myself and run a business with a built-in safety net?!?!. Yep, it is!

So, I fastened on my cape and jumped! I took the chance on this skin care company and I have gotten comfortable with being uncomfortable. It hasn’t been easy but I am getting better , making some money to help my family and the best part I am  more confident which translates to being more confident with myself which is priceless in and of itself. So what about that whole coaching thing? Well, I put it on a shelf for months. I just didn’t have a cape “appropriate” for that leap! My feet were glued to the ground. I knew if I actually did something about it I would have to leap and then I really might fail.

How awful would that be?

How awful could that be?

What is the worst that could happen?

Why not try it?

Well, why the hell not?

Heck yes!!! I am gonna do this!

One, two, three …JUMP!!!!

Photo Collage Maker_LFE1I6I earned my certification as a Certified Professional Coach a few weeks ago and I am in the process of getting my business off the ground. I actually already have someone ready and willing to be my client. Wait! I actually JUMPED! I had the faith of a child and went for it!  Just writing about this is scary but if people don’t know what I am doing they will never seek me out so there I go again. I’m  sporting this cape of mine everywhere I go!

I will not attempt to predict the future but my gut feeling is that this is going to be a wild ride full of personal growth, adventure and lots of fun! I hope that you will find your cape, secure it on and JUMP toward your dream!!! It’s waiting for you!!!

Blessings to you all~

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Life is Beautiful…LIVE IT!!!!

IMG_3885It has been a couple of weeks since my last bog so I have some catching up to do. Currently I am down 15 lbs since I started this journey in March. I have maintained my initial goal to keep my daily caloric intake to 1500 or less.  My daily burpee challenge was a success, I didn’t die. I did 20 burpees a day for 30 days. I still hate doing them but I’m not afraid of them any more. Isn’t that what challenges are about? Facing a fear until it is no longer scary. (well, not as scary as it once was in my case). I am keeping my support system close and trying like everything to be “Coachable” and listen to what these people who I trust and look up to have to say. Why not be coachable? It’s not like what I was doing before was working out very well.

I also did something that took me completely out of my comfort zone. I have a friend who is a photographer who needed some models for a shoot she was doing for “plus size” crocheted clothes. UGH!!!  She is a wonderful photographer and helped me to feel as comfortable as possible, my problem was getting out of my own way. I had always secretly wanted the opportunity to “model” but it was never the “right time”.  So WHEN is the RIGHT time?

In my “former” life, the one where I was living in Charleston and married to the wrong person for me and facing some of the most  difficult challenges of my life, I had a conversation with a close friend and something we talked about has stayed with me. Its one of those conversations you keep locked in your heart and cherish it later when you realize the impact it has on your life. We were talking about our lives and the things we wanted for ourselves and then one of us (I can’t remember who and it really doesn’t matter) said you can’t live life with the thought… ” When _____ happens , THEN I will ____. ”   For example, When I finally meet the right guy then I will be happy. Or when I lose 15 pounds then I will be pretty. When I earn a million dollars then I will feel successful. Really? Really? Really? So the “right guy” s responsible for all of your happiness? That’s a ton of pressure to put on the poor guy. So 15 pounds will make you pretty or ugly depending on where the needle is on the scale? Last time I checked the scale measured units of weight not attractiveness. ( Which is really relative anyway). So a million pieces of government printed paper will determine success? Isn’t that more about finding satisfaction within yourself and accomplishing a goal?

So my point it this. Why do we feel the need for that “perfect” time to experience life? Are we really so arrogant to think we actually have all the time in the world to live this life we are given. One of the dearest ladies I have ever known lived by the motto ” Life is beautiful and that in order for it to be fulfilled it must be lived to the fullest” Kat lived her life that way. She never waited for life to come to her, she took every opportunity that presented itself to her with little hesitation. What a wonderful way to LIVE!!! In fact, you know that quote from Erma Bombeck, ” When  stand before God at the end of my life, I would hope that I would not have a single bit of talent left, and could say. ‘I used everything you gave me.'”?  Well, that is exactly what Kat did. She LIVED her life, she went on trips, she told her friends what they meant to her,  she tried out that little restaurant that just opened,she drank her wine and lit her candles. As a result my dear sweet and elegant, living life to the fullest, in the now , friend also left a legacy. Not just to her family but to her friends. Kat taught us there is NEVER a “perfect” time to enjoy the life we are given and we need to take every moment and enjoy it!

No, the photo shoot was not the most comfortable thing I have ever done and no I  don’t think the Ford Agency will be getting in touch with me for that Vogue contract, but I DID it! I got out of my comfort zone, wore clothes I probably would never normally wear , had some laughs and got out of my own way. Then when the pics were posted to Facebook I actually cried. In my head, I was too fat, my hair looked terrible, my butt was huge and I had chosen the wrong lipstick. But that isn’t the response I got from friends. I was overwhelmed by the sweet and positive complements people posted. I took a moment to reflect and realized that as I have mentioned before and like my wonderful husband has said to me, this is a moment in time, not a permanent state of being and at that very moment I was the best Betsy I could be. Who I was in the past and who I become someday aren’t important in that single moment. When I look at those pictures now I think about Kat and how she would have gone for it too. It was a moment and an opportunity to try something life brought my way.

I challenge you all to start living this beautiful life you have and really experience it. Post Kat’s quote where you can see it everyday and remind yourself to stop watching moments pass you by, get off the sidelines because YOU are the star player in your life.  We all know there are no guarantees for tomorrow. Are you living the life you WANT to live or the life you think you OUGHT to live until the timing is “perfect” for that thing you want to do?  Please don’t wait for “perfect”, whatever that is.

Blessing to you all~

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Don’t talk to me like that!!!

” You are a terrible mother!”

” You are so STUPID! ”

“Nobody wants to be seen with you!”

“Ugh you are so fat and ugly!”

What would you do if you heard someone say those things to your best friend, your spouse , your mama or daddy or even worse your child??? I can tell you if I heard someone talk like that to anyone I love they would no longer see a sweet southern woman but a pissed off redneck who was commencing to open a serous can of “this is gonna hurt bad” on them. (That is worse than a can of whoop-ass). I’m guessing that would be your reaction too. So if we are so quick to stand up and risk jail time for people we love why is it so easy to say those things about ourselves?

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As I started this journey I made a promise to myself , my husband and my children that I will learn to be nicer to myself and stop with all the negative talk. I have realized that it is easier said than done. Which leads me to ask, why is it so easy to be so hard on ourselves when the people who love us don’t see the negative things we see in the mirror?

I’ve read in several places and several different ways that the more negatively you talk about yourself and your goals the more you will perpetuate a negative outcome. Think about it, who wants to be around “Debbie Downer”?  Not me, not really.I’m sure I would be nice to her but I would be thinking of ways to get away ASAP.  The reality is wherever we go , there we are. So we might as well start loving and respecting who we are and the gifts we are given. Don’t like something about yourself? Change it! Dont like your hair color, make an appointment and dye it pink. Don’t like the wrinkles on your face, then call Betsy and order some of the amazing skin care products she sells ( Shameless plug). Don’t like the size of your pants, then get off the couch and move!

My husband once reminded me that we are never in a static state of being. That whatever state we are in our lives can change with the energy we put towards it. For  good or bad it is up to us to make any change we desire. ( Like I said before he is amazing, supportive , smart and easy on the eyes). So how do we start changing the way we talk to ourselves and start perpetuating a positive outcome that is less self abusive and more uplifting without sounding like an arrogant ass?

I don’t claim to know all the answers to this , especially since I am the ” student” on this aspect of life but I’ll share my opinion. Although it is easier to belive things when we see it on paper or hear it out loud I doubt that my friends would enjoy being around me for long if I simply made every conversation about me and how awesome I am and all the goals I am reaching and all the changes I have made in my diet, and all the compliments I am getting and how …blah blah blah. I just unfriended myself even thinking bout  it. My coach from CrossFit Clayton told me a few weeks ago that I have to start telling myself how capable I am and that I can overcome and I am worth it and I am strong. ( imagine some background music, Eye of the Tiger) He said even if I had to turn off the music and shout positive affirmations to myself while I’m in the car to do it. Do it till you belive it!!!!  ( Matt Temesy that plug was for you). Maybe the key here is that hearing it out loud is good but it’s about the conversation you have with yourself, your inner voice, the same on that tells you right from wrong and sometimes the outer voice in the privacy of your car, the showers, perhaps when you are making muscles in the mirror. Just be aware of what you are saying to yourself and even the things you say about yourself to other people. And if you have a moment that you tell yourself or someone else something negative about you then you should question yourself. Say , “Self, why you talkin bout me that way? Dont you know I am valuable, and loved and my BFF would kick your butt for talking to me that way?

I think some of it has to do with perspective too. How we package those thoughts. I recently decided that I am no longer fat rather I have fat. Being fat implies that is a constant state but having fat implies it is something I can get rid of. It works with anything really. Its how we look at it.1dca475170f83fe53a18eddbc79529a0

So as this journey I am taking continues I plan to work on my self-perpetuating talk in the hopes that I will learn the value of actually liking this person I am becoming and lifting myself up in the same way I lift up the people I love. Thank you for continuing to follow my progress and supporting me along the way. It feels lots of love and support from people and it is truly helping me overcome some of my personal struggles.

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It Takes a Village!

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Another week has passed and I have continued to stay on course with my goals. I have stayed within or under my caloric limits each day. I did some sort of work out everyday. However I didn’t make it to Cross Fit every day which is something I am working on.

When I sat down and wrote my goals down before this journey began I included some sort of 30 day challenge each month. So in true “determined Betsy” fashion ( yes that is a thing) I chose the one exercise that prevents me from sleeping, the thing that humbles me and the one thing that seems to prevent me from showing up and getting shit done. The BURPEE. For those who don’t know  what a burpee is  I will tell you. You throw you whole body flat on the ground and then struggle with gravity to get yourself back up as quickly as possible and then to celebrate your survival you do a stupid clap over your head… repeat. Why wouldn’t  I get this mess out-of-the-way in the very beginning?

The best part of is that I am down another 5 pounds since last week. Something is working!!!  Yes, I am doing the work and staying focused but the truth is it isn’t without help. I have aligned myself with people who lift me up and are  encouraging me every step of the way.Which leads me to my focus this week… It takes a village.

When I think of my childhood I have memories of my parents and sister but I also have tons of memories of “other mothers” and families. Of my friends, their parents and siblings. Each of these people have in some way affected who I am today. With each phase of my life, each new accomplishment, each new journey I have always had some sort of support and it has been the times in my life that I truly included that support system that I have been the most successful. This journey I am on now is absolutely no different. We absolutely could go through life alone and with no interaction with other people , but then what?

About a year ago I found myself feeling down and frustrated about the path MY life was on. I felt like I was standing on the outside of my life looking in and other than my role as a wife and mother I didn’t have anything just for me. I’m not saying I was unhappy in my marriage because I honestly am married to the most amazing and supportive man I have ever met  and he’s pretty easy on the eyes ( so that helps).  It was more like I had come to some weird cross roads in life with no map and honestly no idea what direction I wanted to go in. My GPS was stalled. So what did I do? I tried to fix MYSELF. Yep, I decided I was going to just fix it. No thought, no introspection no prayer or meditation and absolutely no conversation with any other human being about this struggle I was having. I was as successful as if I had tried to nail Jell-O to a tree. With my broken GPS, my now squished Jell-O  and a sense of feeling lost I decided I may need to try another approach.

After spending some time in prayer, that little voice in me ( the one we only can hear when we shut up and shut out the white noise of life) I realized I needed to be open to possibilities and opportunities and stop ignoring some nudges I had been getting for a while. It wasn’t until I actually took a blind leap of faith and trusted that the people in my life just might help me figure some of this out. I started saying yes to invitations, saying yes to new opportunities and no to doubt. I was amazed how I was suddenly on  a path that although unfamiliar and a little scary was giving me a sense of adventure and a sense of self. So where does this village come in? From the beginning of anything successful that’s where. Think about it for a second, how does a tiny seed become a giant oak? Well, lets break it down. The seed needs soil to take root, it also needs water and sunlight to help it grow, it needs the protection of other trees when it is a sapling to survive strong winds and it even benefits from being pruned every once in a while to truly reach its magnitude. That seed did not will itself to become the oak tree. It allowed all the different factors to help it grow and change. So whether it was the soil, the water, the sunlight the other trees or the forces that caused the tree to be pruned it didn’t become strong and mighty without a little help along the way.

So in my journey to be a “mighty oak” I will welcome the different elements, people, members of my village to help me along the way because without my village of support I am just a seed in a glass jar,  full of potential but with no hope of reaching my magnitude on this earth.

I hope you will look at those around you and allow them to be of benefit to you as well. We all need a village and we all need to be a part of our village as well. Even if you’re the Village Idiot you play an important role. So here’s to US, may we all learn how mighty we can be with the support of each other.

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Gifts should be opened and shared

imageIts been a little over a week since my journey began. I feel I had a successful week. I managed to stay on point with my nutrition goals and let me say I love My Fit Pal! I also did better about getting my workouts in. There was a day I missed my CrossFit class so I managed to go with the flow and do something at home. The best part is I am down 3 pounds from last week. I will take it! I’m not trying to do some radical drop that happens in three weeks and then is back on in two . Ive done that and it didn’t work. What is the saying? Repeating the same behavior over and over and expecting a different results. Well I may be “insane” but I’m not stupid, so time for a different approach. Instead of setting myself up for failure I plan to take this journey slow and steady. Besides some of the best adventures of my life were had by taking the scenic route. Which leads me to something I have been thinking about this week. How much do we slow down and appreciate who we are and the gifts we were given in  life? I reached out to a new friend this week to let let her know how kick ass I think she is and that I think she is very talented.  For the record, I was led to do that and the result was pretty awesome. She seemed surprised that I had noticed her talents and seemed to feel that she didn’t measure up to what other people were doing. This floored me. For the record she is an amazing photographer and she has a way of capturing light and expressions unlike anything Ive ever seen. Her gift is to capture split seconds in time that allow people to remember moments they will treasure forever. What an amazing gift she has to share and to compare her talent to that of a CEO of a company or a firefighter is well…insane. All three are important in very different ways and cant be compared. Some of us have the gift of sharing joy.  There is a young lady I see at the hospital in the coffee shop who lights up a room with her personality. She is always happy, she literally decorates herself in some way for any holiday and she can connect in some way with every person she sees. She is larger than life and that is her gift. I’m sure she doesn’t make much money in the coffee shop but she is rewarded in other ways. She knows that she is making stressful days a little easier for others ( especially in a hospital) and that is her gift. So  since this blog is about my journey to a better me I’ll share what I think one of my gifts is. As a little girl I remember being told that I was “too emotional” and I needed to not let things bother me so much. I always saw that as a flaw until one day the good Lord revealed to me that being “too emotional” was not a flaw but actually one of my gifts. I have spent the last 16 years of my life working as a Social Worker in one hospital or another. In those 16 years I have held hands with people as they made hard decisions about where their mother would live since she couldn’t go home again and be safe, I have sat with a young mother as her baby died in her arms and I have argued with insurance companies to help get a child a hospital bed so his parents could take him home and learn how to take care of a child who will never be able to walk or talk without assistance. Being “too emotional” allowed me to connect with those people on more that just the surface. I was able to be truly present with them and actually feel what they were going through which in turn made me a better advocate and a better listener. So it was about perspective. I was allowed to see my gift for what it was not how others perceived it.  Or maybe it was really how I had always perceived it. So I hope you will take a minute and reflect about yourself. What is your gift? You have one and it is your job to find out what it is and then share the hell out of it. Our gifts are our light and if we let them shine with pride it  makes the whole world brighter. So, thanks again for joining me on this journey of my self improvement. Remember, in the words of Charlie Chaplin ” A day without Laughter is a day wasted”

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Today is the day!!!

I’ve run out of excuses, out of crises, out of Monday mornings, out of the dog throwing up on the carpet and  all the other reasons I have been allowed to ignore myself. As so this journey begins…

Allow me to back up for a minute and explain all “this”. My name is Betsy Laughter ( yes its funny). I am a mother to two amazing human beings, a wife to the most supportive  man on the planet ( that is important for later) , a daughter, a sister and hopefully a good friend. That’s the nut shell but there is more. I am a woman who has decided that I will no longer carry the baggage of my past with me including the baggage of extra weight  that has kept me prisoner from my own life for way to long. This is where I could explain all the things in my past that caused me pain and sorrow. All the moments I felt betrayed or let down. I could do that but lets be honest, there is enough of that crap in the world and we all have some of it in our lives. Looking back will cause you to run smack into a brick wall so today is about looking forward, leaving the baggage behind and freeing myself from the chains of what it was like “Once upon a time”. For the record, as I leave the pain and struggles of my past behind, I also will leave “the good ole days”. You know know the ones I’m talking about, the skinny jeans, that dress that I looked amazing in, the picture from my 16th birthday that I looked so adorable in. I won’t forget those things but I have no expectation of ever being that person  again.Honestly, that cute 16 year old girl also had an attitude problem and an annoying sense of entitlement. So , I leave all of it behind to allow room for this amazing transformation. Ever seen a butterfly hatch from a cocoon? Well you are about to if you follow this  journey with me. Lord, I hope I’m a butterfly and not a moth!

So where is this adventure going to lead? Honestly ,I don’t know but I will tell you where I want to take this. My first goal is to become more healthy which translates to loosing a boat load of weight, figuring out the best way for ME to eat and to be stronger and fitter. Another  goal is to learn how to truly start liking the person I am and stop being so hard on myself. If any of you were raised in the south you already know what I’m talking about. Those expectation to ALWAYS have a neat and tidy home, dinner on the table , thank you notes out on time, clean and well behaved children and lipstick on to boot. My Lord, just writing that made me tired. For my friends who aren’t familiar with these southern guidelines that is a quick comparison to a Pinterst Mom.  ( I love Pinterest but realize that is a day dreaming site not reality for me).  And then there is figuring out how to not only like me but to be the best Betsy I can be. All of these goals aren’t going to be reached overnight. If that was the case there would be no journey or adventure to take.

For those of you who are left brained and thrive on the SMART ( Specific, Measurable, Assignable, Realistic, Time-Based) way to setting goals, don’t worry. I have a plan in place, at least for the weight loss and fitness goals. The other stuff is just going to have to work its way out and will probably improve as I become more confident. So just so you have a little insight to how I am working all this out. I have asked some pretty amazing people to be a part of my support team. For me to think for a second that I can do this alone would be ,well, stupid. I’m not going to introduce them like members of the band but you will learn about them as we go, either because I am cussing about them or grateful for them.

To say I am excited and scared is really not enough but I just cant find the words to express how I am feeling about this first step towards my better self.  I’m glad you are here and hope you’ll stick around for the journey. I cant promise my grammar will always be on point and I cant promise everything will always be neat and tidy but I can promise I will be real and will give the best I can give to each day. So remember , “A day without Laughter is a day wasted”- Charlie Chaplinblog 1

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