Endurance–“Sugar Beets”

 

The Weekly Photo Challenge is Endurance.

I went to the family archives to find the photo my father labeled “sugar Beets.”

This photo from the mid-1920’s helps me to understand this part of my family’s history.

Cathy's grandparents, Josefina and Jose , and her uncle,. Lupe sit atop a pile of sugar beets.  Photo is from the mid-1920's.

Cathy’s grandparents, Josefina and Jose , and her uncle, Lupe sit atop a pile of sugar beets. Photo is from the mid-1920’s.

When I asked my father about this photo he explained his parents, Jose and Josefina are sitting on a pile of sugar beets because they worked in the fields to harvest the crop.  They might be waiting for their day’s pay.  My Uncle Lupe is with them.

My grandmother also happens to be pregnant with my aunt at the time this photo was taken!

In order to provide for their family, my grandparents migrated from region to region following the harvests for various crops.

Because of their constant moving, my aunts and uncles were all born in different areas of the United States such as Texas, Colorado and New Mexico.  The family finally settled in California.

I look at this picture and have a hard time imagining what it must have been like to have a toddler, be expecting another child, and at the same time work in a field harvesting crops.

In addition, my grandfather had limitations.  A few years earlier he had lost a leg in an accident.  Despite the challenge of having a wooden leg he worked in the fields alongside my grandmother.

I looked at the sugar beets – rooted in the ground then uprooted by my grandparents.

Endurance…my grandparents didn’t always have the opportunities to be rooted in one location.  They were constantly moving, laboring in the fields, their little ones in tow.

Still, they built their family one journey at a time.

They gave me my roots.

Endurance, indeed.

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Posted in 2014

Raising Compassionate Children

Kozo has once again challenged us with a timely Bloggers for Peace topic.

He focused his post on raising compassionate boys, and has started an video series about this topic.

As I grew up in a large family, I decided to expand this to thoughts on raising compassionate children.

I thought about the generations of my family.

Generations of Cathy's family.  Her father, his parents, and, siblings.

Generations of Cathy’s family. Her father (third from the right), his parents, and, siblings.

Cathy (middle left), most of her siblings, and her parents.

Cathy (middle left), most of her siblings, and her parents.

Despite all the ups and downs that my family has faced, there is a consistent display of humor,  strength of character, compassion, faith, and love.

Cathy's  sister Rose, brother Louie, and Louie's son Jason share a light moment at a family gathering.

Cathy’s sister Rose, brother Louie, and Louie’s son Jason share a light moment at a family gathering.

When I took a step back to consider this, I realized there were a few recurring themes.

Each of these themes could be a post on its own, so I’ll just present them, and let you consider what each of these may mean to you.

Love begins with each of us.

Cathy's brother David, and his son, Matthew.

Cathy’s brother David, and his son, Matthew.

If you want children to be compassionate and loving, then you must show them the way.

Annie is showered with kisses from Aunt Sheila and cousin Jim.

Annie is showered with kisses from Aunt Sheila and cousin Jim.

Children will repeat behavior that you and others model.  (What is it that you are modeling for your children?)

Cousins Mia and Elijah enjoy a little critter that was found outside the pool.

Cousins Mia and Elijah enjoy a little critter that was found outside the pool.

Teach kindness and gentleness. (This does not mean that you are a pushover.)

Joe and Linda share a quiet moment.

Joe and Linda share a quiet moment.

Teach tolerance.  (It’s okay to disagree with someone.)

Cousins Victor, Phil, Matthew, Eric and Joe play for high stakes!

Cousins Victor, Phil, Matthew, Eric and Joe play for high stakes!

We must protect those who are vulnerable.

Al keeps Mija calm on the way to hospital tests.

Al keeps Mija calm on the way to hospital tests.

Dad's hand is strong and reassuring.

Dad’s hand is strong and reassuring.

We must love, respect and treasure those who have so much to teach us.

Annie and her great-grandmother Josie.

Annie and her great-grandmother Josie.

Bob and great-grandmother Carmen.

Bob and great-grandmother Carmen.

We must continue to teach these lessons to those who come after us.

New generations of Cathy's family.

New generations of Cathy’s family.

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Here are related B4Peace articles:

Finding Beauty Amongst the Trash

Happy Birthday Little Dinosaur

Kozo and Cheri asks that you

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Posted in B4Peace, Spirituality

Photo Challenge – Silhouette

The topic for the Daily Photo Challenge is Silhouette!

In May of this year I was heading home from a family visit in California.

I arrived in the Phoenix Airport for a layover and was focused on  getting to the next  terminal.

Looking around, I realized the inner corridor was lined with black glass that acted like a mirror, reflecting the hills and all the airport traffic.

Rather than continuing on my way (aren’t we always feeling rushed in airports?) I stopped to enjoy the view, then took a selfie while facing the black glass.

I was happily surprised when I looked at the photo and saw a silhouette rather than a reflection!

The Phoenix Airport is a thoroughfare for me.  Over the years I’ve taken a number of landscape photos from the airport the years as the arid landscape can be breathtaking.

This photo is unique because the landscape is clear even though I have my back to it!

Landscape surrounding the Phoenix Airport, as reflected against black glass inside the airport terminal.

Landscape surrounding the Phoenix Airport, as reflected against black glass inside the airport terminal.

Read more ›

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Posted in postaday

“When the going gets tough, stop and think about everything you’ve already accomplished.”

Stairs used to be a major challenge for Cathy.

Stairs used to be a major challenge for Cathy.

It’s not easy to express all that’s happened since the end of 2012 when I decided to join a gym.

My health was changing.  I didn’t like how I felt.

The results of my annual blood work were cause for concern.  If I didn’t make some changes I was likely to develop diseases that are prevalent in my family.

It wasn’t a pleasant prospect.

I was apprehensive, nervous, perhaps, even fearful.  I had chronic issues with my right leg and hip due to old injuries.  I was often in pain. I walked with a noticeable limp.

When I tried to be active the old injuries would flare.

It was a frustrating, vicious cycle of weight loss and gain.

Goggles - One of Cathy's favorite pieces of exercise equipment!

Goggles – One of Cathy’s favorite pieces of exercise equipment!

The gym near my house had a pool…and I loved to swim.

It was time to join!

Swimming became my ticket back to activity. It was refreshing to once again move through the water.

 

Meet Dan, the trainer who helped Cathy meet and exceed her health and fitness goals!

Meet Dan, the trainer who helped Cathy meet and exceed her health and fitness goals!

Shortly after I joined the gym, I also knew I’d need quite a bit of guidance.

I made the decision to work with a trainer.

I had no idea how pivotal that decision would turn out to be!

 

I met Dan at the end of January 2013.In the time I’ve worked with Dan I came to appreciate a number of things about him.

First and foremost, he listened to me. He listened to my concerns and understood my goals to improve my blood work, and, gain strength in my hip and leg.  He encouraged and challenged me, celebrated victories with me, made sure I was safe, and, always treated me with respect.

I couldn’t have asked for anyone better.

I also continued to swim.  After a few months I started attending yoga classes, and classes with yoga, tai chi and pilates.  I was delighted to move my body so freely once again since I used to practice yoga before I sustained all my injuries.

My husband and I also worked on meal planning.  We still continue to do this.

By August 2013 I had lost 50 pounds!  My blood work was improving.  My level of pain was decreasing.

This is a pair of pants Cathy wore at the end of 2012. It's quite a reminder of all that's occurred and what she achieved!

This is a pair of pants Cathy wore at the end of 2012. It’s quite a reminder of all that’s occurred and what she achieved!

I was determined and motivated to keep going!

All the while Dan continued to challenge me.

Fast forward to June 2014.

I have discontinued taking several medications.

Soon, my doctor will be evaluating me to see if I can let go of the last one!

I’ve lost 82 pounds, since I started this journey, and “lots” of inches. This translates to seven clothing sizes!

Sometimes I still have to process all the changes that have happened.

Cathy's two walking partners, Al and Mija!

Cathy’s two walking partners, Al and Mija!

I am stronger and more flexible than I’ve been in a very long time.

I now enjoy walks with my family and long walks on my own.

The limp I used to have is very rarely seen any more. The pain in my leg is finally manageable.

I’m starting to run!

People who I’ve known for years have walked right by me because they no longer recognize me!

I am deeply humbled that several women decided to make changes in their lives because they’ve seen all I’ve endured and accomplished.

I’ve always been honest with them.

It’s hard work.  There’s no magic solution.

I tell them to discuss any possible health concerns with a doctor.

Know what you’re battling so that you can face the challenge realistically.

"When the going gets tough, stop and think about everything you've already accomplished." - Cathy - 2013

“When the going gets tough, stop and think about everything you’ve already accomplished.” – Cathy – 2013

Get educated…and don’t be afraid to enlist the help of qualified professionals to help you meet and exceed your goals.

Know that you’ll have ups and downs.  There’s nothing wrong with that, and there’s nothing wrong with you if this happens!

There will be well-meaning people who will try to get you side-tracked – “Are you sure you don’t want to eat that?”

There will be people who are jealous and mean-spirited -
“Why are you still doing that?  Aren’t you done yet?”

Ignore them.

Seriously. I’ll repeat that.  Ignore them.

This is your journey, your story, your health, your well-being, your life.

Oh, and I will never be “done.”

There will always be a new challenges, new goals, and new achievements.

Remember, always remember through the ups and downs (and you will experience them) that you are important.

Cathy and Dan take a pause before a workout to take this photo, and the photos with her old pair of pants!

Cathy and Dan take a pause before a workout to take this photo, and the photos with her old pair of pants!

Keep going forward, even if it feels like you’ve taken a step back. It’s okay to be frustrated once in a while.

Through it all, have fun!

…and yes, Dan still raises the bar by continuing to challenge and encourage me!

I can’t say thank-you enough for all he’s done to help me stay strong and keep going!

He says 90% of the accomplishment is mine.  I don’t know about that.

I am astounded, grateful and humbled every day at what I am able to do. That is not an exaggeration.

I’ve reclaimed a part of my life I thought was lost,  a part of me that was active, energetic, and healthy.

So what’s next?

It’s time for me to keep going forward! There’s so much more to do – at the gym and elsewhere!

It’s time for me to continue my personal journey to be the best that I can be.

"Be your best everyone!  It's worth the work that it takes to achieve  your goals!"  Best wishes, Cathy

“Be your best everyone! It’s worth the work that it takes to achieve your goals!”        Best wishes, Cathy

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Posted in 2014, Uncategorized

Reflections – A Personal Transformation

The Weekly Photo Challenge this week is Reflection.  The topic couldn’t be more timely.

Over the past fifteen months I’ve worked hard to regain my health and become physically stronger.

After re-writing this post umpteen times, I finally decided the best way to share my personal transformation is to simply share some of the mirrored selfies that I took over the past year.

I’ll start with the photo I took when I first decided to record the milestones I experienced.

I started this journey in November 2012.  By April 2013, I had lost about 30 pounds.

Even though I  had a long way to go I knew I was headed in the right direction!

In April, 2013, Cathy logs a thirty pound weight loss! She's on her way!

In April, 2013, Cathy logs a thirty pound weight loss! She’s on her way!

By August 2013 I’d lost 50 pounds!

I celebrated by taking a walk and short run in my neighborhood.
I commemorated that achievement, and said thank-you to a number of people in this post!

Cathy celebrated a fifty pound weight loss in August, 2013.  Here she is after she's just returned from a walk in her neighborhood.

Cathy celebrated a fifty pound weight loss in August, 2013. Here she is after she’s just returned from a walk in her neighborhood.

By September 2013 I was becoming a bit more lean.

In September 2013, Cathy reflects that she is becoming leaner and stronger.  Her journey is continuing at a steady, consistent pace.

In September 2013, Cathy reflects that she is becoming leaner and stronger. Her journey is continuing at a steady, consistent pace.

I was still going strong by the end of 2013.

I had been exercising for over a year, and had been working with a trainer for ten months.

It was amazing for me to look back on 2013 with gratitude to the people who supported me, and, to consider all that had taken place.

Winter in Texas is on the mild side.  Nonetheless, Cathy bundles up! She also begins to look back on 2013.

Winter in Texas is on the mild side. Nonetheless, Cathy bundles up! She also begins to look back on 2013.

I started January 2014 with a new outlook.

I felt strong, and I was excited to see how much more I could accomplish!

Cathy starts 2014 with a new outlook.  She's feeling healthy, stronger, and, more confident!

Cathy starts 2014 with a new outlook. She’s feeling healthy, stronger, and, more confident!

I took this photo today…

The transformation I experienced is reflected in my body, mind, and, spirit.

When I see this reflection lined up against the previous ones I can now understand why some people haven’t recognized me recently!

I still have to do a double take every once in a while!

This photo was taken on  3/27/2014, the day Cathy wrote this post.  Is that really the same person who was shown in the first photo?  Yes...it's the same person, and yet that person is now very different!

This photo was taken on 3/27/2014, the day Cathy wrote this post. Is that really the same person who was shown in the first photo? Yes…it’s the same person, and yet that person is now very different!

As you can see quite a bit has happened over the past fifteen months.

I’m looking forward to setting new goals and meeting new challenges!

My journey is still continuing.

Thanks to all of you for your support!

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Posted in 2014, Personal, Uncategorized

Inside Locker #72

The weekly photo challenge this week is “inside.”

This is along the lines of what Cathy expected to see when she opened locker #72.

This is along the lines of what Cathy expected to see when she opened locker #72.

It so happens that three weeks ago I snapped a few photos while I was at the gym.  I figured I’d use them in a post “someday.”

I just didn’t think it would be so soon!

Since I’m a creature of habit I typically lock my swim gear in the same locker week after week, assuming it’s available.

When I finish swimming, I open another nearby locker so I can store or hang my wet gear.

Once I’ve finished changing I pack it all up and wipe everything down so the next person won’t encounter a wet locker – don’t forget your gym etiquette!

Well, three weeks ago I opened locker #72 to house my wet gear. (There wasn’t a lock on the door…)

Imagine my surprise when I saw it wasn’t empty!

Inside there was a pair of shoes.

Nothing else.

Just shoes.

So what kind of shoes were they?

So what was in locker #72?

So what was in locker #72?

Did you say running shoes, sneakers, shoes to work out?

Well, think again!

This locker contained

Well worn…

Black…

Lace…

Peep-toe…

Platform…

Slightly muddy…

Sling-back…

Stilettos!

The surprising contents - black slingback stilettos!

The surprising contents – black slingback stilettos!

I wondered if the owner missed them since these babies have now been in this locker for three weeks!  When I cam back to the gym this past Saturday the gym locker was wide open and the shoes were there for everyone to see!

The shoes had also been moved around!

So…did the owner check the locker, realize they were still there, put them back and go work out?

Abandoned shoes?  Who knows?  After three weeks it's beginning to look that way...

Abandoned shoes? Who knows? After three weeks it’s beginning to look that way…

…or did an interested party check them out, figure they weren’t quite right, and deposit them right back in the locker?

Who knows?

All I know is I got a chuckle out of seeing them there. As they have a lot of wear I figured they must have been someone’s favorite at one time or another!

Oh yeah, I’ve heard about other interesting finds at the gym on different occasions…a small bottle of wine (the size you’d get during a plane flight), a package of cigarettes (not very conducive to a fitness-type lifestyle), and last but not least, brass knuckles!

Now that leaves much to the imagination!

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Posted in 2014, Musings

Fingerless Gloves in Action

Here is another crochet post that I originally wrote in 2012.  It shows a couple of my favorite ways to pass the time…music and crochet!  Enjoy! – Cathy

Guitar 008a

What better way to show off my fingerless gloves than with a song featuring my pal Taylor!

These gloves are made of a soft wool and cashmere blend, finer than other yarns I’m generally used to using.  The little skein felt so wonderful in my hands that I decided the finished items should cradle my hands as well!

Made in the round, there are multiple rows of single, then double and finally half double crochet.  For those of you who crochet or knit, the general shape may look like similar to a sock without the heel and toe.

Fun to make, fun to wear, and as shown in the pictures they allow lots of movement!

Guitar 017a

A word about patterns…the patterns that I’ve used in this post and the previous one are from my own little head.  I’m saying this because I want to be sure and give appropriate credit if I follow a pattern.  Happy crocheting!

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Posted in 2014, Crochet

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