Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Biggest WINNER!!!

Olivia Wins! Olivia Wins! Olivia Wins! Woo Hoo!

Can you tell I'm excited about that?  Tuesday night's Biggest Loser Couples Finale was  A. MAY. ZING!!  Of course, I might be a little biased since I'm a girl and the girls KICKED BUTT this season!  It was the most incredible and inspirational season of The Biggest Loser yet.  I was glued to the television every Tuesday night and never missed an episode the entire season!  Watching the contestants work so hard always inspired me in my own weight loss journey and I often worked out while watching the show.

There were many surprises this season starting off with two new trainers in addition to Bob and Jillian.  The contestants got to go on an amazing trip to New Zealand.  This was also the longest season in the history of the show. Then there was the whole thing with Olympic Gold Medalist Rulon Gardner walking off the Ranch.

My favorite moment was when Olivia, who is a professional opera singer, sang on the scale after losing 100 pounds.  She had made it her goal to sing on the show when she reached 100 pounds lost and she sang beautifully.  It brought tears to my eyes.  It was very emotional not only because her singing was so beautiful and because she'd lost 100 pounds but also because she sang an aria for a part she desperately longed to play on stage.  Olivia had always been limited to "fat parts" in operas because of her size.  She had always wanted to play the lead roles, the fiery vixens who get all the accolades.  But she was always limited in what roles she could play because of her weight.  So when she sang a song, from a lead role that she was now more likely to get,  it was an extremely touching moment.

Olivia was so inspirational to me this season.  She had so much drive and determination.  She was always so spunky and positive.  She never gave up and she never let anything get in her way.  I was so proud that she ended up winning and representing all of us women who struggle with our weight.  She was only the 4th woman to win the show out of 12 seasons.  She and her sister, Hannah, were also the very first sisters to make it together all the way to the finale.  Irene, who was the Biggest Loser on campus and the first woman this season to lose 100 pounds on the Ranch, rounded out the Top 3 finalists, making this the first year that was all female finalists!  And to top it off, the At Home winner was also a gal-- Dani!!  You go girls!!  Girl Power!  (Sorry guys-- no disrespect... it's just that it always seems to be guys that win physical challenges.  It's nice to have the ladies represent once in awhile!).

Another surprise during the finale was that there was no mention whatsoever about Rulon Gardner.  Where was he?  I knew he was disqualified from participating in the At Home challenge since he decided to leave the Ranch early, but I still figured he would make an appearance.  At the very least, I thought they would mention him but other than a brief video clip about his brother that he appeared in, it was as if he had never been on the show.  Made me wonder if there was some legal reason why he wasn't even mentioned.  An article I read online said that NBC contacted him to see if he'd like to make an appearance, but they never got a response.  Hmmm... makes you wonder how he's done with his weight loss post-show.

One of the final surprises of the finale and season in general was the announcement that professional tennis star Anna Kournikova will be replacing Jillian Michaels next fall.  There was no mention of whether the new trainers, Cara and Brett would be returning or not.  The same article I mentioned previously suggested that they would not be returning.  I think that's too bad.  I really liked them and thought they brought a really interesting dynamic to the show.  We'll have to see how it goes with Anna.

Should make for another very interesting season of The Biggest Loser.  Looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

One, Two, Three Strikes... You're OUT!

I'm currently sitting at my youngest child's Little League game, with my laptop, trying to kill time. My nearly 10-year-old, “Jabberjaw”, LOVES baseball. He eats, sleeps, and breathes baseball. I, on the other hand, do NOT love baseball. I am not a big sports fan, period. I am a fan of my kids, however, so I sit through many, many baseball games, even though, most of the time, I would prefer to scrub toilets.

And that's saying a lot, because I don't really like scrubbing toilets.

This is my second boy to play baseball. My older son, “Genius”, played for several years and Hubs and I suffered through pretty much all of his games, as well. I know a lot of people like baseball, so I don't mean any offense in this post, but to each his own, as they say. I probably would have preferred if they had chosen basketball or even soccer. There's a lot more action in those sports. I just find baseball (especially Little League) to be mind-numbingly boring. In Jabberjaw's defense, he is a short kid, so basketball would not have been an option for him. And he is a good ball player.  The Hubby did not play baseball as a kid.  He prefers basketball (I rest my case).

Strike One:  Hubster and I are NOT baseball fans.

I usually bring something to do during the game to keep my mind from turning into jell-o. Some years I've brought a book, sometimes I've worked on crocheting. This year the distraction of choice is my laptop. I generally don't have internet out at the ball field, so I'll work offline and write my blog or do some journaling on OpenOffice and then transfer it to the websites when I get home. My husband's usually better about watching and he'll give me a 'heads up' when Jabberjaw's up to bat or if the ball is going toward him out in the field.

The baseball season, this year, was even more excruciatingly painful than years past. This has got to be the longest season ever. I always look forward to the end of baseball season, but this year I will do a happy dance when it's over! Jabberjaw's coaches are much more into the sport than Genius's coaches ever were. Jabberjaw is much more into the sport than Genius ever was. Genius quit playing about the age Jabberjaw is now and Jj doesn't show any signs of stopping. So we are now at a level of Little League that requires a lot more practices, a lot fancier equipment, and driving to farther away games. But Jabberjaw is loving it, so I endure.

Strike Two: I have no life for 3 months!

The other reason I'm SO ready for baseball season to be over is because this has been THE COLDEST SPRING EVER! I have never been so cold sitting through games (again basketball, being an indoor sport would have been really nice!). It's finally starting to warm up a little... and the season's practically over! It's pretty bad when you are dressing in heavy coats, boots, hats, and gloves in April. The very first game of the season I was shivering so hard, my teeth were chattering! No joke! That is why baseball is not a winter sport, but we never really had a Spring this year where I live. 

Strike Three: I've lost all feeling in my fingers and toes!

Oh... the game just ended!  And... I. AM. OUTTA Here!!!! 

Friday, May 20, 2011


Isn't this beautiful?  This is just one of thousands of sculptures by renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly [chi-HOO-lee].  I discovered his work a couple of years ago and have become fascinated with it ever since!  He's a Northwesterner, like myself, having been born in Tacoma, Washington.

I was visiting Tacoma a couple of years ago and stumbled upon (thankfully I didn't stumble into, as klutzy as I am!) a large collection of his glass artwork, featured in a couple of museums there.

I was hooked.

His blown glass art is so unique and recognizable, if I see it anywhere, I know it immediately.  I was pleasantly surprised to run across several of his pieces while walking through a hotel in Las Vegas last year.  I hadn't seen anything of his in person since Tacoma, the year before.  To me it was like finding a rare and hidden gem.  It was as exciting to me as if I had spotted a celebrity!  Of course, I snapped some pics!

This morning I wasn't feeling well, so I was enjoying some downtime in front of the telly (keep reading--you'll understand soon).  I was looking through the channel guide to see if there was anything interesting on, when the name 'Chihuly' jumped out at me.  Ovation channel was showing a couple of documentaries on exhibits that Dale Chihuly had done in the last decade.

I was riveted.

The first doc was about an exhibit he did at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, Surrey, UK (hence, the prior use of the word 'telly'!).  The other special was featuring an exhibition in Jerusalem.   Both shows had behind-the-scenes looks at the creative process of his masterpieces.  Not only does his artwork have a uniquely stylistic look, but even how he creates it is unique in that he employs teams of people to help in it's creation.  I truly enjoyed watching how they assembled the structures piece by piece.

Please click on this link to go to his official website for more information on Dale Chihuly, but especially to look at more of his amazing artwork.  He has a very eclectic collection of pieces.  The picture above is only one style.

I find his art both beautiful and fascinating.  I love the interesting shapes and bright colors.  His work can be both serenely peaceful and exhilarating, all at once.  I know you'll totally love looking at the pictures.

However... there's nothing like viewing it in person.

I just wish I could afford some of my own!

Nevermind... my children would just destroy it.

It is glass, after all.

Oh well, guess I'll just make it my life's goal to travel to as many exhibits of his, before I die, as I can.  In fact, I'm planning to go see another of his sculptures very soon...

I just discovered online today that Chihuly has a chandelier on display at the small, non-commercial, Hillsboro Airport, minutes from my house!

Next time I make a Costco run, I'm gonna stop in there for some artistic enlightment on my way to buy another stockpile of toilet paper.

Hey, we mom's gotta get our enlightenment any way we can...

Friday, May 13, 2011

A Light In Dark Places, When All Other Lights Go Out

Yesterday as I was walking on the treadmill (I barely willed myself to walk, let alone run... but at least I did something active!) I was listening to my 'Motivation' playlist on my ipod. I've filled it with songs that lift my spirit, inspire, or motivate me in some way. I was in serious need of some VERY serious motivation. I'm not really depressed or anything. I've just really been deep inside my own head the last few days and the deeper you go, the darker it gets (don't worry-- there's nothing too scary down there!).

I chose a very uplifting song entitled 'Let it go' by Tim McGraw (sorry- I know I keep mentioning him, but he really DOES have some very good tunes!). This song is all about... well, letting go of the things that have been plaguing us. It was the perfect song to listen to after attending my first therapy session the night before.

Things went well in my first session. I felt comfortable with the counselor and feel very optimistic about how things are going. It was amazing how just taking that first step of meeting with her helped me find some hope. And that can make all the difference. Hope is a very powerful thing. Hope gives us the courage to keep going. To keep trudging along through the dark tunnel, even when we can't see the light at the end. Even when it feels like the tunnel has been going on and on forever and we'll never get there. Hope gets you through the toughest, darkest times... the times where you feel like you can't take one more step.

In the October 2008 General Conference of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, Second Counselor in the First Presidency, gave a powerful talk on Hope. In it he talks about the difference between things we 'hope for' and things we 'hope in'.  You can find the full article here.

He said, “The things we hope in sustain us during our daily walk. They uphold us through trials, temptations, and sorrow. Everyone has experienced discouragement and difficulty. Indeed, there are times when the darkness may seem unbearable. It is in these times that the divine principles of the restored gospel we hope in can uphold us and carry us until, once again, we walk in the light.”

The things we 'hope for' can only get us so far, especially if those hopes remain unrealized. But if we always hold to the things that we 'hope in', we will have the strength we need to be able to endure to the end of whatever earthly trial the Lord gives us.

Here's my list of things that I 'Hope In':

-My Heavenly Father, my Savior and Redeemer Jesus Christ, and The Holy Ghost
-My Eternal Sweetheart and loving children
-My other family members, near and far
-My friends and Ward family members
-The blessings and covenants of the Holy Temple
-The Word of God through His Prophets and Apostles
-The Holy Bible, The Book of Mormon, and other books of scripture
-The beauty of the earth that God created
-My life-- body, mind, and soul and the talents and gifts God has blessed me with
-The power and healing balm of good and uplifting music
-The goodness and kindness of others

I'm grateful that the Light of Christ shines forth in the darkness and brings me hope to help me get through my trials.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

' The Truth Will Set You Free'

As the title of the blog infers, today's post is my effort to speak my truth in the hopes that I can motivate myself to better things and possibly inspire someone else.  I wrestled all day, yesterday, with thoughts about where I'm at in my quest for wholeness as a person.  I made a huge decision and started following through on it yesterday.  I've had many thoughts tumbling around in my head regarding the decision.  I attempted to write those thoughts down in my personal journal but kept procrastinating and couldn't figure out why.  Finally-- LATE, LATE, last night (more accurately early this morning) it finally occurred to me that what was eating at me was that I really wanted to blog about it, not just journal it privately.  I'm sure once I mentally purge what I feel necessary to blog, there will still be plenty more to journal that is just too private and wordy to share here.  My hope is that I won't have such a mental block in my journaling once I've completed this task.

Why would I feel so compelled to spill my guts and share my truth in such a public forum?  Only God can say, but I have some theories.  First of all, as I mentioned before, I think it will motivate me to greater things.  What I'm sharing here is something I've carried around with me my whole adult life.  It has plagued me and kept me from reaching my true potential.  It has made me feel ashamed, yet it is something that many, many people suffer from, which brings me to my second reason for blogging about it-- maybe someone reading this, suffers from it as well and will benefit from reading my post.  Even if no one else gets anything out of this, I know that speaking my truth will free me from the hiding, secrecy, and guilt that I have suffered from over the years.  I share in the hope that once I say it out loud (or in this case, write it down and send it out) I can't hide it any longer and I can move forward.

What I suffer from isn't anything grandiose or over-the-top.  It isn't some rare disease or abnormality.  Simply put-- I am an emotional eater.  That's it in a nutshell.  I eat when I'm not hungry.  I eat for many reasons other than fueling my body.  I crave unhealthy food and can't stop myself from eating them and eating far too much of them. I know many people do this.  I am far from alone.  Yet, it is so easy to feel alone in it.  It is a lonely place.  No one wants to talk about it.  No one wants to admit it.  There is a lot of shame in it.  You feel ashamed that you have no control over yourself.  I always feel embarrassed to talk about it because it seems so insignificant compared to "real" eating disorders such as binge eating, anorexia, or bulimia.  But I'm understanding, more and more, that I feel as much pain from my "eating disorder" as anyone else and my pain deserves a voice, as much as anyone else's does.

I want to rise above it and realized very recently that I am powerless to do so on my own.  I made the decision to seek professional help in the form of private counseling.  I have been to counseling in the past for depression, but until recently had not realized how much I needed professional help for this.  I had convinced myself that I could do it on my own, and that since I was no longer depressed, then I had no need for counseling.  I've watched some reality TV shows recently, regarding obese people, and saw how much they benefited from counseling.  I knew that it was time.  I finally realized that it was not a sign of weakness to ask for help but rather it is a sign of courage to realize that you lack the tools to make the changes on your own.

I have yo-yo dieted my whole adult life.  I have struggled with self-esteem and body image issues for decades.  I have tried many, many diets, weight loss programs, and exercise regimes.  Each time I tried a new one, it would work for awhile, but eventually I would revert back to my old habits.  I would then go looking for another solution, only to repeat the same pattern.  I was always looking outside myself for the answer.  Finally, a couple years ago, I recognized my self-defeating, sabotaging ways and took some time away from dieting and exercise to just focus on the mental issues.  I worked very hard to learn to look in the mirror and truly love myself.  I was very successful in changing the "mental tapes" in my head and no longer allowing myself to be critical and negative about my body.  After a time, and having gained back a bunch of weight, I started the journey once again to get a handle on my physical health and fitness.

I took up running again recently (I have blogged about my running, and why I love it, in previous posts).  I started working on eating healthy, instead of dieting, to fuel my body for the arduous task of running longer and longer distances.  I set a goal of running a half marathon before the end of the year.  I set smaller goals of running shorter races, leading up to the half.  I looked up websites on running and nutrition. I found an amazing book that told me exactly what and when to eat to fuel my runs.  The author broke down the formula for how much to eat to have the energy you need for running while still losing weight.  I finally felt like I had all of the missing pieces to my puzzle.  I chose a form of exercise I enjoyed and knew exactly how to fuel my body for it.  I was even excited about the fact that the more miles you run, the less "perfect" you have to be in your eating (not to mention that you GET to eat carbs and LOTS of them!).

So why am I still repeating the same self-defeating, self-sabotaging behaviors?  I have a few good ideas that I'm not going to get into here.  The fact is that I've figured some of it out but it isn't helping me discontinue the negative behaviors.  I've been so frustrated lately because I feel like I'm really close to finally reaching my potential after all these years.  I can see in my mind's eye a vision of myself looking over a chasm and I can see my true potential on the other side.  She is a fit and healthy runner who takes good care of herself and is happy and beautiful, both inside and out.  She's so close, yet I can't reach her.  I thought, at first, that I needed to find a counselor who could help me build a bridge to get across the chasm in order to finally reach my true self.  But then it occurred to me that the chasm wasn't really that wide-- in fact, I realized that if I just believed in myself enough, I could jump it.  But I'm too afraid I will fail and fall to my doom.  What I need is someone to help me feel confident enough to make the jump.

So yesterday I went on a search for a counselor/Psychologist nearby that works with our insurance and specializes in eating disorders.  I was actually surprised how many were right here in town.  I left a message with one office and heard back from them this afternoon.  I was actually scared, at first, that I might end up with someone I didn't feel a connection with but I read a blog yesterday regarding choosing the right counselor with the emphasis being on shopping around until you find the right fit.  So I gave myself permission to try one out and move on if it doesn't feel right.  I know that through faith and prayer, the Lord will help me find the right person.  If this counselor doesn't work out, there are plenty more to choose from.

The Lord will help me find the counselor and will help me finally win the battle over my demons, once and for all.  He wants me to be happy.  He inspired me to share this blog because He knew it would help me feel happy.  He helped me to share my truth and it has 'set me free'.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

'Because God Sees'

This story was forwarded to me via email from my mother-in-law and it brought me to tears.  I just had to share it and I thought it was perfect timing with Mother's Day.  This is dedicated to all the mom's out there who often feel invisible and unappreciated.  Motherhood is a thankless, unending, monotonous job.  Just remember-- when you feel like nobody is noticing all you do, God sees it.
Happy Mother's Day!

***The Invisible Mother ***

  It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the
way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask
to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the
phone?' Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or
sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner because no one
can see me at all. I'm invisible.

Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can
you tie this? Can you open this?? Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not
even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite
guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order,
'Right around 5:30, please.' Some days I'm a crystal ball: 'Where's my other
sock? Where's my phone? What's for dinner?'

    I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the
eyes that studied history, music and literature--but now, they had
disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going,
she's going, she's gone!

 One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a
friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she
was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there,
looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to
compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she
turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you
this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly
sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration
for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would
discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I
could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals--we
have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for
a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and
expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their
faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

  A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the
cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird
on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you
spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by
the roof, No one will ever see it And the workman replied, 'Because God
sees.' I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was
almost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you. I see the sacrifices
you make every day, even when no one around you does." No act of kindness
you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout
meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over.

You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it
will become.

  I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As
one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to
work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book
went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime
because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I
really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing
home from college for Thanksgiving, "My Mom gets up at 4 in the morning and
bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for three hours and
presses all the linens for the table." That would mean I'd built a monument
to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is
anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, "You're gonna love it

 As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're
doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel,
not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the
world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers. The Will of God will never
take you where the Grace of God will not protect you.
Share this with all the invisible moms that you know.
I just did.
Annette Heiner

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Some Day My 'Prince Will' Come!

I didn't watch the Royal Wedding live as some people did. I didn't even get to watch it until about three days later, in fact. Why did I bother to watch it at all, some may ask. Well... I'll tell you why.

I was traveling while the live nuptials were being broadcast, so I planned ahead and set up my DVR so I could catch up when I got home. I have to admit, it was nice to be able to speed through some of the slower, more boring parts, but all in all it was totally worth a couple hours of my time. And the reason for that is-- because I'm a girl.

I'm sure there are some guys out there who were interested in tuning in, for various reasons. Maybe you're a Brit or maybe your just fascinated with Brits and all things British. Maybe you served a mission in England or have been lucky enough to travel there for some other reason. Maybe you're obsessed with Royalty. Or maybe you're just obsessed with Kate (she IS beautiful!). Whatever the reason, most guys who even gave half a thought to spending a couple of hours of their precious time watching a wedding of someone they weren't related to, had some type of reason.

Most women and girls who watched did so for one reason and one reason only. Almost every little girl I know dreams of marrying a handsome prince and becoming a princess. It's every little girl's dream (well, at least MOST little girls). And Kate Middleton actually fulfilled that dream! She found the handsome prince, fell in love, married him, and became a real life princess! It's the stuff of fairy tales, but in this case, it's actually real life. We all wanted to watch so we could live vicariously through Princess Catherine, if only for a brief moment.  If we couldn't be the Princess, then we could pretend in our minds as we watched the wedding.

If you think I'm exaggerating, just imagine how much money Disney has made over the years selling Princess Stuff! We girls grow up playing dress up, twirling around in frilly dresses and begging our mom's to let us wear a little of her makeup.  Many of us, at one time or another, forced a brother (or even a sister) to play the part of the prince so we could act out our pretend wedding.  My sister-in-law even mentioned in her blog recently that she has had a secret crush on Prince William for years and fantasized about how she would meet and marry him someday.

And who wouldn't want to?  He's not only good-looking and charming but he is also a caring and compassionate person.  Kate really got quite the catch.  I'm sure Diana is looking down on her son and is very proud of the man he turned out to be.  Not only did he do his civic duty by serving in the military, he also learned from his mother to be giving and serving and has gone on many humanitarian trips to poverty stricken parts of the world.  I was blown away when I heard recently that he once slept under a bridge to find out what it's like for the homeless.  He made friends with people during his various travels, people that he and Kate ended up inviting to their wedding.

It's hard NOT to be pulled in by all of that.  No wonder Kate fell in love.  And all of us watching were reminded that sometimes fairy tales do actually come true...