Fat Fridays: Mental Health Check In

Happy Friday everyone. 

It’s 8:45am and I’ve already had a busy morning. Made homemade muffins for the kids for breakfast. I’ve got a big batch of yeast bread started, sitting in a bowl on the mantel to rise. Walked around picking up all the winter clothing that was left on the floor yesterday after we had a small batch of snow (only happens a couple times a year for us). Lit all the candles in the house in an attempt to chase off the gloom from this cold gray morning. I’ve cleaned up several messes from my son’s puppy that we are babysitting during the day while he’s at work. And also let my cats in and out the door about 5,000 times. 

And I’ve been trying really hard to not be snappy at my kids. This is their second snow day home and in my current mood, I’ve found it challenging to have to deal with arguments, fussing, and just a bunch of energetic kids bouncing around the house. (Stop throwing playing cards at my candles, No, we are NOT playing basketball in the house, yes, we ARE going to clean your room, No, we are NOT going to do a science experiment that involves setting paper on fire.) 

I am struggling a lot with depression and irritability. I’ve been working on getting back to healthy eating, cutting out sugar and processed foods again, and my body is in shock and not happy as it is deprived of all it’s junk again. I know I’m making progress, I’m starting to crave healthy food again and I haven’t had a hard time staying away from the bad suff, but it always puts me in a bad mood when I come off sugar and junk. I have a feeling a lot of that is just physical things happening in my body. 

I’m coming off the High of the Holidays and feeling a predictable blah-ness from resuming normal life again. 

The last two years have been pretty traumatic and so I find myself facing this new year with a lot of hesitancy. What craziness is going to happen this year? 

We’ve got an upcoming court date for our foster daughter and I’m having to face a lot of inner-demons as I resolve to make my voice heard instead of staying quiet. 

I imagine everyone has a list of reasons for why their mental health is not doing so great right now. 

What am I doing about it? 

Well, I’ve been really focused on keeping my home in a constant state of tidiness and order and coziness. It is calming to me to sit in a clean room with candles lit and some pretty things to look at. I tend to be very comfortable with clutter and chaos, but lately I’ve been going the opposite direction and needing everything orderly and in its place. 

I’ve gotten back into daily Bible reading. I have a 12 month Read the BIble in Year. Each day has a date and a passage from the Old Testament, the New Testament, a Psalm and a Proverb. I have decided to start in the month of December and work my way backwards, cause that just feels more doable for me. I am finding this reading time to be a time of calm and peace. 

I am working hard on getting our whole family eating healthy again, and one of the things I’m focusing on is baking our own whole-grain bread again. I used to do this a lot, years ago, and then stopped. I find that I need to bake about every two days in order to keep up with the kids. There is something very soothing about making bread. It makes me feel grounded and connected to the earth. Weird? I don’t know. I just know that I am enjoying it and find it soothing. 

The last thing is I am trying to keep life as simple as possible. I’ve had to hit pause on keeping up with community events and concerns, what’s happening in our country, and just focus in on my home. 

And even doing all that, it’s still been a struggle. But, I’m hopeful. My body is going to adjust to the healthier diet again, we’ll get past our court date, spring will come again. Life keeps moving. We just have to take it one day at a time. 

Moving Forward

Happy New Year everyone. I hope it’s going well for you so far. 

I have been fighting a lot of stress and some depression as I’ve moved forward into January. Lots of reasons. 

First of all, let’s just acknowledge the parents/caregivers who take the lead in making Christmas and holidays happen. Kids really are oblivious to the amount of behind-the-scenes work it takes to make a holiday feel special. By the time New Years came and went, I was pretty wiped out. It was a great holiday season: cozy, fun, special. But it took a lot of energy. And after every high, there is usually a low. 

Second, we have a court date set for February concerning our foster daughter. Some things have changed and so this upcoming court date is churning up a lot of stress in my life. A lot. 

And lastly, I am finding it hard to get excited about this new year we are in. My goals have diminished down to “Let’s just survive.” Ok, that’s not exactly true. I have set some new exercise and weight loss goals, and they feel achievable. I am really focusing on getting my whole family into a healthier eating lifestyle. But aside from that, I feel like I am playing defense. Let’s just handle each challenge/catastrophe as it comes. 

Recognizing that I’m in a place of stress, I’ve been working a lot on making my home a cozy, relaxing place to be. I bought some more candles, acquired a new plant, made a new centerpiece on my dining room table. Got most of the Christmas stuff put away, but kept a couple things out like some angel figurines on my mantel. I’ve tried to make my world a little smaller. Keep my focus simply on family and housework. Try to get my mind out of the future and just be in today. (I’m not doing real well with that one, so far, but I’m trying.)

Through it all, I have felt God’s presence with me in a new way I’ve never felt before. Where my thoughts used to wander to anything and everything, I find my thoughts moving back to Jesus over and over again. It feels like grace sitting heavily on me. And while my mind has always equated grace with happy peace and rest, lack of troubles; it’s an interesting experience to be in the midst of troubles and stress and still have peace. I wouldn’t call it happy peace though. It’s more solemn. And more solid. And I am clinging hard to it and moving forward into this new year, one day at a time. 

A Family Christmas Evening

Today is our first day of Christmas break. It started early for me as I had to run my teens on an errand at 8am and then that was followed by grocery shopping with one of my daughters as my helper. Then off to two more stores to finish up my Christmas shopping. 

This afternoon we did “The Great Name Exchange” where all the kids who don’t have their own funds draw one of their siblings names out of hat and I give them $5 to go thrift store shopping and pick a small present. Every year it’s a puzzle to figure out how to get each one into the store and buy a present without the other siblings seeing what they got. But it actually went really smoothly this year. Then home to wrap the presents and make supper. 

After supper we stayed at the table and read our devotions and did our nightly advent reading. The kids wanted to watch a movie, but I vetoed and I suggested that we sing Christmas Carols instead. 

And we had a wonderful Caroling time. 

Now, you are probably imagining all my children lined up neatly around the piano, focused on singing, harmonizing, everything beautiful. 

No. 

I had one daughter who sat on the piano bench with me and sang all the verses of each song with great gusto. My teen boys started a chess game on the chess board which happens to be located on the back of my baby grand piano. They sang along on the chorus most of the time while they played their chess game. The four year old got our glockenspiel out and sat in a corner cheerfully banging away his own accompaniment. The two seven year olds would occasionally join in when they knew the song, but they were also busy throwing a marble back and forth at each other. A couple other people had hot drinks sitting on the couches and I heard their voices occasionally. Then a couple kids pulled out a puzzle on the coffee table and sang along while they pieced together the puzzle. The marble-chasing kids were running around, making noise. My oldest son popped in for a couple minutes. A couple arguments broke out. And then got resolved. My voice finally gave out and we turned on some Christmas music, including Straight No Chaser’s “The 12 Day of Christmas” which is just hilarious. (I just have to add that the fire is going in the fireplace and the tree is sparkling in the corner!)

It has been a wonderful family evening. 

People always say “Enjoy it now! They’ll grow up fast!” And it’s true. I’ve got a twenty-one year old off living her own life, my twelve and fourteen year old boys are taller than both their parents now. My youngest is about to turn five. And so, I write this down so I can enjoy this evening for years to come. A peaceful Heneise Family Christmas evening. 

I am feeling especially thankful. 

Walking a Hard Road

We’ve got a meeting at the end of this week to discuss the reunification of our foster daughter with her birth family. 

There are a lot of emotions going on right now. On the one hand, this morning as we drove to school, I prayed for each of our family members and for our foster daughter’s family as well. Which we have been doing for two years. And I had the thought, Why are you surprised that prayers are being answered? Except, if I’m being honest, those prayers were more for the benefit of my foster daughter than because I had any faith. Anger and unforgiveness has kind of made me only able to make a blanket prayer, God be with them. But at the same time, I’m proud of her birth family. It’s been a long hard road and they’ve worked hard to overcome some really big obstacles. 

When I’m dealing with some big tantrums and crazy behavior, I find myself thinking, Well, at least this will no longer be my responsibility. But then sweet moments happen and I think, what is our family going to look like without this child smack in the middle always stirring things up? And I worry about my other kids’ grief that they will have to process. 

And I wonder, how on earth are we going to come up with a smooth transition that will produce the least amount of trauma? How much assistance do I offer to make this easier for my daughter? How much assistance will hinder her bonding back with her family? How do I make sure she knows, beyond all doubt, that I will always love her and I am always going to be her mom, and I’ll always be here for her if she needs me? How do I step back from primary caregiver to friend of the family? 

I don’t know. 

I have no regrets. But I hate this. 

I’m sitting here in my living room while I write this and I looked out the window and saw a bunch of birds swooping through the early morning gray sky. This verse came to mind. 

Matthew 10:29-31  Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care. And even the very hairs of your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.

This is what I have to cling to in faith. That Jesus loves my foster daughter even more than I do and he has his hand on her life. My job is to say yes to whatever love and care God needs me to offer this child, but I also have to let go when he says it’s time to let go. Though maybe not a complete release, just a loosening of my hold. 

I try to look forward into the future, and fear shows me all the things that could go wrong. But faith requires me to stay in the moment. Right now what am I required to do? I’m required to give her birth family another chance. And I’m required to walk with them through this process. I don’t know how it’s going to turn out, but I know what I have to do today. 

All prayers are appreciated as we walk this road. 

Envy

 Last year my son was in 5th grade. It was a really rough year for him. His class had a lot of violence going on. Fights in the classroom. Fights in the lunchroom. Fights on the playground. I’ve had two other kids go through 5th grade at the same school and they did not have this problem. It seemed to be This Class and This School Year that was having a bad time. The only problem was, all these kids from 5th grade were going to go up to Middle School with my son the next school year and take their problems right along with them. My son was depressed and withdrawn the entire 5th grade school year and we did not see how Middle School was going to help things improve. 

So, here comes the new and improved government Child Tax Credit.  It’s unexpected money. We’ve been living without it, we can continue to live without it. We decided to use a bulk of this money to send our son to a small Christian Private School that is close to our neighborhood, but not IN the neighborhood. 

It has been a night and day difference for him. His academic standards have raised significantly and he is rising to the challenge. He is in a small classroom with kids who behave and are friendly and accept him with all his quirkiness. He has started doing sports and is well liked at the school and has become a happy kid. We are delighted that he is at this new school.

Having him at this new school has opened up a whole new can of worms though. School envy. Discontent. This longing to just pack up ALL my kids and send them to THIS school where they can be safe, happy, well-cared for and they can just thrive in a healthy environment. Apparently though, these kinds of learning environments are only for kids whose parents make a certain amount of money. You can see how it’s really easy to fall into a bad state of mind over this. 

Today I had to stop and take a moment to be thankful for our current income level. It is sufficient to clothe and feed us, give us a home to live in, cars to drive. We even squeeze in low-budget family vacations. If we made more money we probably wouldn’t live where we are. And our location has given us the opportunity to serve people around us in a meaningful way. I know that my kids have been a positive addition to the schools and classrooms that they are in. I know that not having excess money has made us a lot more ready and willing to help others who are living at even lower levels, because we understand where they are coming from. We’ve been there. 

As always, it comes back to faith. Do I have faith that God will provide what each of my children needs? This year he has provided a way for my 6th grader to be in an awesome environment where he is thriving. My 8th grader chose to homeschool and I have been very impressed at his level of self-discipline and scholarship. He’s also been given an opportunity to have an internship at our local Chilren’s Museum which is a perfect fit for his interests and abilities. Each one of my elementary kids have been put in a place where they are getting what they need and are happy. My highschoolers are thriving Despite all the challenges their school is facing. I can’t complain. 

Falling into envy is really easy when I’m not staying in the NOW. When I forget to take stock and be thankful for what I have today. When I get so focused on future worries that I forget that I have everything I need, today. When I spend my time looking at what other people have instead of realizing that, today, I have everything I need. So, here’s to casting off envy and walking forward in a spirit of thankfulness and faith. 

Emotions Lie

This post is probably a bit off color. Taboo. Things we don’t talk about in mixed company. Sorry. Since this blog is about my life, I get to pick what I write about. 

What has been on my mind this week is how difficult it is to be a woman who is having monthly cycles. For me, once a month, I have an entire week where suddenly my emotions and feelings lie to me. They tell me that I am angry, depressed. There is no hope. Everything is bad. I am a screw up, a failure. I feel tired and run down. Life feels very bleak. And without fail, it usually takes me at least three days before I make the connection…Oh, right. I’m not REALLY depressed and angry. It’s just that time of the month. But the domino effect has already begun. I try to make myself feel better by eating something sweet or some other special treat. I have no energy so maybe I miss a day of exercise. And then I feel worse. I’m so undisciplined. Why can’t I stick to my diet? I’m so lazy. I couldn’t even get out for a walk. 

And then I figure out what’s going on. And it takes me several days to unravel the mess and get myself back on firm ground. And then I move on with life, forget what happened, only to be hit again a month later. 

And reading this, I think, well, duh why haven’t you been more proactive to chart these things and just plan ahead for them? All I can say is, I’m not the most organized person, and life is really busy. I chronically don’t pay attention and then get hit every month. 

And sometimes, the “everything should be fair and equal” part of me rears up a bit in anger. Why is it just women who have to deal with this? And why were we made this way? It seems to be a rather broken system. 

I think this is one of those topics in which I’m going to have to wait till I get to heaven to get the answers.

In the meantime, all I can do is dwell on what I have learned from this aspect of womanhood. 

Here is what I have learned. Emotions and feelings are not reliable, trustworthy or honest indicators of how my life is going. And I constantly have to remind myself of this. One of the things I say to my kids, A LOT, is “Let’s speak some truth over this.” When they tell me about a nightmare that has scared them. A fear that is crippling them. They give me a list of everything that is wrong with life…Ok. Let’s speak some truth over this. Let’s sort out reality from fiction. Let’s count our blessings so we can see that we are actually living in a place of blessing, not curses. Let’s dwell on what God says about us, not what the world says about us. Let’s attack these bad feelings with truth. 

Something we hear a lot in our culture is “Just Follow Your Heart!” And by heart we generally mean what you are feeling. Which seems really weird when feelings are so random and unstable. They are connected to what time of the month it is. Whether we had a lot of inconveniences thrown our way. Whether someone else decided to behave badly toward us. Feelings and emotions are great tools, but only if you don’t take them too seriously. Yeah, I’m feeling really yucky. But that doesn’t mean life is really yucky. It could mean I’m fighting off a cold, my hormones are shifting, my lunch didn’t agree with me. We just have to keep in mind that every surge of emotion needs to be paired up with some truth speaking. 

A Little Perspective

Right now, as I sit in my room, on our first day of Fall Break I can hear my fifteen year old, four, and seven year old discussing rivers and lakes in the kitchen. The fifteen year old made them all some hot cocoa and they are all sitting together happily chatting about the world they live in. My other seven year old is playing outside on the rope swing with two other neighborhood girls. My middleschool boys wanted to play minecraft so, to earn their time, they cleaned the entire downstairs and washed the dishes. My seventeen year old has been researching job options. I sat in my chair and read Dr. Seuss to the three youngest, all of them squeezing onto my lap. We had an intense discussion later, trying to decide what kind of accent our dog would have if he could talk. Since he’s half Irish Setter, my vote is Irish. Other activities that have happened today are lego building, a playdough session, fortress building with blocks, and a lot of lolling around together being lazy. 

Last night I was sitting in my chair, feeling a bit depressed. My husband asked what I was doing and I said I was contemplating my life. Oh, don’t do that, he said. Why don’t you look at pictures on your phone instead, that always helps. And this morning, while I was waiting for my son while he got his vision check up, I started scrolling through pictures from this past year. All pictures of my kids. A handful of pictures of my husband. Hardly any of me. (I need to do something about that.) But, kids are so much more fun to take pictures of. They are so beautiful, cute and sweet. And wow, we have some really good memories from this year. 

And today, as I’ve taken a step back and just watched my kids, I wonder what had me so depressed last night. I can’t even remember. Probably thinking about all the repair work we need to do on our house, or projects that need to get done. Things that really aren’t that important. The important things, namely my family, they are all doing pretty good. 

Sometimes I kind of lose sight of what I am doing. I get caught up in future dreams and goals. My own personal goals. The craziness of the world we are living in. And I forget that right now, my primary job is MOM. And it’s a worthy job. I’m not doing it perfectly, but I’m giving it my best effort. 

A couple weeks ago, a cousin of mine posted a very old picture of my great grandmother. It was a striking picture. She died in 1953 and while I had heard references to her a couple times, I knew nothing about her. I asked my cousin if she had any information and she sent me my great-grandmother’s Eulogy that my great grandfather had written. He talked about what a great wife, mother, friend, and Christian woman that she was. I was a little disappointed because I was hoping to learn more about her interests and personality, family history etc. But, as I think about it more, the Eulogy covered the most important facts. It covered the legacy part of who she was, the things that were passed forward to the next generations. She raised healthy, well rounded children. Taught them to love the Lord, modeled Christian living and service. One of her sons became a missionary, two others became pastors, her daughter was a well-loved teacher. And those children passed the same values down to the next generation, and then it got passed down to me. And now, here I am, trying to pass the same thing down to my children. 

I wrote recently about struggling with being the parent of grown up children, the lack of guarantees.  I have no idea what each of my children will do with their lives in the future, that is up to them, but I still have to do my part well. What I’m doing right now is important. I remember when I got pregnant with my first child and my husband said, this is the most important thing we will ever do. And I agree. My eulogy will not have anything in it about how well fixed up my house was. It probably won’t mention the vacations I’ve gone on or fun adventures I’ve had. It might not even mention things I enjoy doing like playing piano or writing. But, it will talk about what kind of wife and mother I was. What kind of friend I was. What kind of Christian I was. And that means that today, hanging out with my kids, taking them to doctor appointments, fixing them a hot supper, reading books, having devotions together…these are the most important things I will ever do. 

Fat Fridays: Exercise, it’s All in the Mind

Today my trainer gave me the hardest workout I’ve had yet. 

30 seconds burpees

Run 4 mins

15 jump squats

Run 4 mins

30 seconds High Knees

Rest 1 minute

Repeat 5 times. 5!!! 

It took me 70 minutes to do the whole workout. I did it in my living room and outside my house on the sidewalk. Every time I ran 4 minutes I would go down two blocks and then come back to my house, go inside, do the next exercise, gasp for a minute or two and then walk back outside to run. It was a total of ten 4-min laps. By about lap six I was not going as far down the second block, by lap eight I had shortened that distance some more. And then, lap ten, I decided I was just going to walk and treat it as my cool down. According to my fitbit I burned 869 calories. I haven’t really noticed any effects today from such a long workout, except when I tried to go upstairs to put my kids to bed and suddenly, walking up the stairs, it felt like my legs had turned to lead. But, aside from stairs, I feel great. 

When I started this workout I was intimidated. I knew it was going to take a long time and I was sceptical that I would be able to push through and do the whole thing. I knew it was going to be a mental game. I found it interesting, therefore,  that the thoughts that came to my mind while I ran were about childbirth. For those who are just tuning in, I have eleven kids. I gave birth to ten of them. So, I’m running down the sidewalk and I have this thought, at least this isn’t as bad as childbirth! Multiple reasons why, but the main one is I could stop running if I wanted to. Just stop. I could make that decision at any time. Childbirth, there is no stopping that thing. No going back. No pause button. It has begun and there is no stepping off of that train. 

So this is how I comforted myself as I gasped and panted down the sidewalk. This does not feel as bad a labor contraction. In fact, this is a walk in the park in comparison. In fact, running feels pretty good if I was given the choice between the two. Aren’t I lucky to be running right now? Instead of giving birth to a baby?? The other thought process was, Hey, if I could give birth, then I can do this. If I could give birth TEN times then I definitely can run these ten laps. 

Other ways I motivate myself while I’m running: chant a mantra in my head like, This is the last lap, this is the last lap, this is the last lap (kind of reminiscent of that old kid’s movie “Ice Age” where the dodo birds are exclaiming over the Last Melon. And if you don’t get this reference, I’m sorry, I have a lot of kids, I have seen this movie countless times and I can probably recite it to you.) I also like to keep my eyes open for neighbors driving past or walking past. Having an audience makes you run a bit faster or at least try to keep going instead of giving up and just walking. 

I find that completing a workout mostly has to do with what is going on in my mind rather than how my body feels. If I can stay distracted from the physical exertion of exercise and think about other things, I can keep going to the end. But if I focus on how tired I am, how much I don’t want to be doing this, etc, I am so much more likely to give up and not finish. 

All of this to say, I think I need to come up with a list of engaging things I can think about while I exercise. I’ve already covered childbirth, how about the most embarrassing moments of my life, I’m sure thinking about that would kick up my speed a bit. The possibilities are endless! 

Our Adult Children

This past week I’ve had converstaions with not one, not two, but three different people about Grown Up Children. About how we need a support group for parents in this stage of life. How our adult children need a support group as they recover from our poor parenting. About shifting our approach to our children and learning how to truly let them go to be adults. 

This is a touchy topic for me. I struggle with feeling a lot of guilt, shame, and bewilderment as I try to navigate this stage of life. The bewilderment comes as I realize that all those promises that people gave you… If you just homeschool, if you have daily devotions, if you eat all your meals together as a family, if you just stay connected…If you do A, B, and C, then you will produce a child who enters adulthood gracefully. They will be wise. They will make the best decision every single time. They will have a strong direction for their life and they will pursue it in a straight line, from the moment they graduate high school. They will teach Sunday School and be one of those people that others count as a Great Role Model. All you have to do is A, B, and C… All of these promises are empty. But I think they are empty because they are working off the wrong assumptions. 

I think, as young parents, we start off with unreasonable (wrong) expectations. Maybe, we remember how responsible and mature we were as young adults, and we presume that we are going to make carbon copies of ourselves. Or maybe, we had a rough start in life, and so we parent with the express purpose of making sure our kids don’t turn out like we did. Either way, we tend to forget that these children we are raising are their own person. They have their own strengths and weaknesses. They have their own free will. They have their own lives to chart out. We are called to train and equip our children. Teach them the difference between right and wrong. Teach them about God and all that his Word says about him. Teach them all the skills they need to succeed in our culture. But, what they do with all that information, that’s their choice. And it is not a reflection on us what they choose to do. 

I think we get really hung up on our own self-consequence when it comes to our grown up kids. We tie their behavior to our own self-worth. My grown up kid is doing things I don’t agree with. It must mean I was a horrible parent. My grown up kid is struggling. I have failed. My friends and family don’t agree with the lifestyle my grown up kid has chosen, they must all think I did something wrong. Woe is me. 

And this comes back to letting go of our grown up kids. Our grown up kids are now adults and the decisions they make are on them. Yes, we made parenting mistakes. Every single parent in the world has made and will make parenting mistakes. It is part of the curse of Adam. We are all sinners. We sin against our kids. But every person hits an age where they have to decide what they are going to do about it. They have to make the decision that yes, they have hit adulthood with some handicaps. They have wounds, poor training, perhaps trauma that they now have to work through so that they can get on with their lives. But, they are the only ones who can get on with their lives. Their parents can ask their forgiveness, go to therapy with them, make penance, but in the end, it’s still them who have to do the hard work of overcoming and moving on. 

As parents, it’s hard to accept that. I feel shame and guilt for all the ways I messed up. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I can give you a pretty concise list of all the things I wish I had done differently. I’ve been trying to make a point to express this to my grown up kids. Own my mistakes. I did this and this and I’m really sorry. Please forgive me. Some of those mistakes will have life-long effects on my kids. But, unfortunately, I am no longer in a position to get them the healing they need to recover from those wounds. They have to pursue that on their own. All I can do is keep loving them, keep being there, and pray like crazy. And be humble enough to accept the fact that God’s grace covers these sins too. 

I have two grown up kids right now. I think they are amazing. I am over-the-top proud of them. They’ve made their own choices and continue to do the hard work of just muddling through, trying to figure things out. Young adulthood is messy. There is no way I would want to go back and live that time of my life again. I am confident that God has his hand on their lives and I am proud to be their mom. 

But, I’d like to add, their progression through adulthood has not looked anything like I thought it would. And that’s not good or bad. It just is. Their story is just beginning, and I’m learning how to step down from Parent-in-Charge to the new role as Chief Cheerleader, Back-up Support, and Prayer Warrior. 

Fat Fridays: Progress and Setting New Goals

Happy Fat Friday, that wonderful time of the week when we ponder on all things weightloss and health. I’m sorry I missed last week. To be honest I thought about writing all day, but my brain was so dead I just couldn’t do it. We were finishing up our last days of quarantining and the stress was buildling up. The school had told me the kids could return that Friday, then on Thursday, after further consultation, they said, sorry, next Tuesday instead. And my heart faltered and I think I mostly just stared into space all day while kids careened around the house crazily and I counted down the hours before we could get back into a good routine again. 

So, kids are finally back in school and I finally got my house back in order and am feeling like I might have my life back in control again. Part of getting my life back in control this week was sorting through all the clothes in my closet. I gave away three garbage bags of clothes this week. All clothes that are now too big for me, or clothes my size that I had been saving, but now that I’m this size, I realize that these clothes simply aren’t flattering. They don’t make me happy. So they’re gone. Yay! My closet feels so much nicer now! And it’s pretty fun to get rid of clothes that are too big. 

I have to say, it was a step of faith to get rid of my summer clothes that I just wore this summer. The nagging thought of, What if you don’t lose weight between now and next summer?  You’ll wish you had these clothes! But I was firm. No. These clothes are NOT going to fit me next summer because I’m going to continue working hard and I’m going to continue to lose weight. No going backwards!! I ditched the clothes. 

I started this weight loss journey somewhere around January 20th of this year. I have now lost 50 pounds. And I had a goal to be a size 16 by my birthday and I’ve hit my goal. So, now it’s time to set some new goals. Small ones that I can reach quickly. I really want to lose another 13 pounds. I’d really love to have that off by Christmas. I’m not sure if I can do it or not, but it’s worth a try. I’d also like to plan to go on a big hike sometime soon. Work on increasing my stamina with my workouts so the hike will be fun instead of grueling. We’ll see. I think the main thing for me is looking forward, having something to hope for. I really need that. 

In the meantime, I will continue on this messy journey called life where nothing is ever perfect, things never quite match up the way you want it, and progress is a series of ups and downs. Talk to you all next week.