I decided to post about a somewhat recent event that taught me how my outlook has changed over the past three years.
About nine weeks ago, I fell and twisted my foot when I walked outdoors to go talk to my husband.
At the time he was with our daughter waiting for her school bus. My husband said it looked like I fell in slow motion off the landing step.
At first he thought I was playing. Then I told him I couldn’t stand up.
“I twisted my foot. I don’t think I stand up. Just help me up and I’ll get into the house while you’re waiting for the bus.”
“No, I’ll carry you into the house. I just need to get back to Mija right away before the bus comes.”
“You don’t have to carry me into the house! I don’t want you to hurt yourself! Just help me up!”
“No, I’ll carry you.”
“Oh, yeah, that’s right! I’m a lot lighter than I used to be! Ha! Ow this hurts!”
Al scooped me off the floor and carried me to the couch while calling to our daughter not to go anywhere.
Then he ran back out to get back to our daughter. Once she was on the bus, he came back in to get ice for my foot
“It took me falling on the ground for you to carry me over the threshold, huh?”
We laughed. Then I winced.
Years ago something like this could have put me into a tailspin. Missing work, other obligations…worry, worry, worry.
Not now. That was a pleasant eye-opener for me!
If you’re familiar with my story you know that I’ve made a lot of changes over the past three years to reclaim my health.
My concern wasn’t weight gain.
My concerned was conditioning, and, about making sure that my right leg stayed mobile since it gets stiff and weak very easily.
Oh yeah, it was my right foot that was now bruised and swelling even though I knew it wasn’t broken.
The optimist in me surfaced as I told Al, “It’s just a small setback.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, this isn’t too bad. I’ve definitely been through worse. I mean, just because I can’t be on my feet for a little bit doesn’t mean I can’t stop exercising completely, right? I can do upper body work with the hand weights.”
My husband just laughed and shook his head.
Over the couple of weeks I slowly began to use my exercise bicycle to test my foot and keep my legs moving.
I also went back to the gym to do yoga then eventually core work and weights. I just made modifications so that I could keep going.
Fast forward nine weeks.
A few days ago I saw a sign as I walked out of the elevator at work . A company running club advertised their first, and hopefully annual, 5k event.
I immediately thought, “I could do that. I can really do that!”
I previously made a decision that I wanted run a 5k. This was my chance to make that happen!
I logged onto the team web site and registered.
Today I decided to test my legs so that I could start training for the 5k. Based on all my current activities I figured I could run most, if not all of the three-mile route that I generally walk in my neighborhood.
I kept a slow steady pace and ran the entire three miles!
About an hour later my daughter was restless so I went for another walk, this time with her.
Six miles in one day! When it was done my legs were a bit tired but I also felt very satisfied.
I look at the photo with my twisted, bruised foot and while I do see a photo of an injury, I also see a sign of perseverance and optimism.
I was able to put this injury into perspective. It slowed me down from everyday activities, but it didn’t stop me.
It confirmed that I still have more that I more to accomplish!
I knew immediately that the family gallery had a photo that was perfect for this challenge.
My nephew Bob had boundless energy. He was always on the move, or so it seemed.
My dad managed to catch him at a moment where he had to take a pause.
The photo was originally in color, but I enjoy the black and white detail of the wall, then the image of the fence as it blurs away from my nephew.
What was on the other side of the fence?
Was something out of reach?
Was he just exploring?
I can only imagine what was running through his mind when he was stopped by this boundary.
I’m glad my dad managed to catch this moment as I also imagine my nephew was true to form and on the run moments later.
The Weekly Photo Challenge is Change.
I’ve experienced my share since the end of 2012.
Achieving change has taken a lot of work…
Achieving change has taken time…
…continually resetting goals…
…the ability to laugh at myself…
…the willingness to take one more challenge…
…and the understanding that reaching goals is just the beginning of more changes to come!
Yesterday was the day before Mother’s Day. We decided to celebrate a day early by going out for breakfast.
I would imagine most of you figure that’s no big deal. People go out to eat breakfast all the time.
That’s true for most people, but not for my family.
As it happens, yesterday was the first time my husband, our nineteen-year old daughter and I ate in a restaurant as a family and completed a meal.
Yes, you read that correctly. It was the first time ever.
Eating out as a family is something so typical that I imagine most people take it for granted.
As the mom of a young adult with “special needs,” many of our activities are not typical.
My daughter is autistic. She is developmentally delayed. She is essentially non-verbal. She is a loving person who can get rattled easily because she doesn’t process the world in the same way as most people.
Is she “special?” Is my family “special?”
I don’t know about that. In fact, I’d say, no, we’re not.
We’re just an ordinary family that has to face challenges every day because my daughter has a number of limitations. One thing we had never been able to do was to enjoy a meal in a restaurant.
There’s nothing special about that.
Unfamiliar situations could cause our daughter extreme stress, which in the past meant our daughter would (check all that apply):
– Cover herself with a blanket and start screaming.
– After the blanket was gone, start screaming, and begin extreme, uncontrollable rocking or spinning.
– Cry uncontrollably.
– Throw herself on the floor.
– Refuse to eat. This is an extreme behavior with a medical and behavioral component, this is not just a kid who’d being stubborn.
– Tune out the world, i. e. zone out so that her eyes lost focus.
– Other ___________ (Just fill in the blank because some days there were surprises.)
Needless to say, if we were in a restaurant we would barely get through ordering a meal, let alone have food served to us.
When my husband made the suggestion that we go to a restaurant for Mother’s Day I was hopeful. I realized our daughter has made tremendous strides in the past couple of years; she’s had quite a bit of assistance to learn appropriate behavior in social situations.
More on that assistance in a bit.
My husband also knew that this was something I always wanted to do, I just wanted to enjoy a simple meal.
We looked at each other and realized with a bit of planning that we could do this!
We decided to celebrate a Mother’s Day meal on Saturday because Sunday would be too crowded. No need to cause additional stress. We also packed a small item that my daughter would enjoys in case she started to get restless.
On the way to the restaurant our daughter was puzzled but she remained calm.
We arrived at the restaurant and were seated in a booth.
My husband and daughter sat across from me. When my husband and I picked up the menus that were on the table our daughter took them away from us then laid them back on the table in their original places. We picked them up again and told her it was alright for us to look at them. I handed her my phone so she could look at pictures. It redirected her for a few seconds so it took her mind off the menus.
We ordered our meals, then after the waiter walked away, I traded spots with my husband so he could snap some photos of his two girls.
She was patient, looking out the window, smiling.
The waiter was a bit puzzled when he saw we’d rearranged ourselves. We asked him to just place our food on the table and we’d take care of it! He had a friendly smile and was very accommodating.
For the most part our daughter enjoyed her breakfast. She sipped her orange juice and made a face. We realized she didn’t like the sensation because it had pulp. She just set it aside. It wasn’t a crisis. She was a little bit restless after she finished eating but she calmed down when we pulled a small bag of candy from my purse.
Here’s the thing. My daughter doesn’t eat this candy. She likes the color and texture of the bag. The sensation and sound of the pieces of candy moving in the little package calm her. She discards it when the bag is crinkled to the point that the texture changes. Such a simple thing, and yet such a lifesaver! It was my husband’s brilliant idea to take the candy with us.
Well, earlier in this post I mentioned that my daughter’s had quite a bit of help in recent times. You see, this one simple meal could not have happened without all the people who have assisted her.
Families in a similar situation to ours will understand what I’m expressing. There is a small army of people behind the scenes who have supported us at various times. They have worked with my daughter and with our family so that my daughter could be part of everyday society. This is not an exaggeration. It’s a fact.
…the speech therapist …occupational therapist…applied behavior analysis (ABA) therapists… physical therapist…a variety of doctors and medical practitioners…educators…advocates…equine therapists …the recreational therapist who recently is providing a bit of respite for us while taking our daughter out into the community…countless people…
There is our hairstylist and friend who has helped us with our daughter’s grooming, and has helped our daughter to be patient, and more social.
There is the middle school teacher who told us that our daughter did challenge her, but also taught her to be more loving.
There are the teacher and aides in her Special Needs Sunday school class who remind us we are ALL made in God’s image; a reminder so powerful because we’ve learned that when we see our children, all our children, we see the face of God.
There is my husband, who has always called himself the butler, the chauffeur, the bodyguard, the cook, the laundry guy, the court jester. He is our daughter’s primary advocate. He is my truest partner, my heart, my strength, and my funny bone. We both understand that we will be our daughter’s voice, and that we will protect her with a fierceness which requires no words between us.
There was so much leading up to this quiet, peaceful moment. Once we finished breakfast, we simply went about our day as we planned.
I couldn’t have asked for anything more.
My husband took our daughter to her riding lesson. I went to the gym and had a great workout and training session.
We looked back on the morning and realized that this was the start of something new for us. We were excited to think we can finally enjoy eating out as a family; and this may be an activity that may help our daughter feel safe in new settings.
Yes, this simple meal had an impact on me.
It left me grateful that my husband remembered my wish to share a meal.
It was nineteen years in the making.
It was a gift that left me completely content.
There’s a wall at my local gym that acknowledges the achievement of a few individuals who rose to the challenge to take control of their health and personal fitness.
I’ve walked by that wall four to six times a week, every week, for the past twenty-seven months.
It’s called the Wall of Fame.
Many of you are aware that over the past two years I battled a number of obstacles in relation to my own health.
I’ve changed so much during this time. That’s the understatement of the day!
If I didn’t have the photos to prove it, some folks don’t believe my story. I’m saying this because some individuals who have just met me remark that I must not have any idea what it’s like to struggle with my health, with my weight, or with my level of fitness.
When that occurs I respectfully beg to differ, and I take the opportunity to share my story.
I’ve come a long way from the time when I walked with a significant limp, my leg sometimes buckling out underneath me. I moved slowly, deliberately, often painfully. I wanted to be active but, frankly, I was limited. My health was beginning to show other signs of decline in a number of areas.
Making a conscious decision to regain my health was one of the most significant decisions I’ve made in recent times.
In order to execute this decision, I made a commitment to strengthen my leg(s) and to gain improvements in my blood work. Anything else that resulted from this would be gravy.
This entailed working with a trainer to help me improve my level of activity, and, making changes in my eating habits. Note, I’ve never called it a diet. For me, this is not what it was; still isn’t.
Committing to these actions had a domino effect into numerous aspects of my everyday activities.
My husband was completely onboard with my decision.
He took an active part in my journey by participating in nutrition classes with me, especially since he’s the family cook. More importantly, he encouraged me, and always let me know that he loved me. It didn’t matter if I was tired, achy, cranky, exhilarated or contemplative. He’s always been there for me.
Honestly, it was a long, hard haul, especially during the first year, peppered with a lot of discovery and motivating moments.
The results have been more than worth it. More on that in a bit.
There are many vignettes that flash through my mind.
Dan, the trainer who guided me once joked, “It took a small army to get you where you needed to be!”
He was right. In addition to his services, I was monitored by my doctor and a chiropractor. I also consulted with nutritionists and other service providers.
Oh yeah, folks, I was serious about this!
Dan’s services were beyond significant. He compiled a rather thick file on my progress, altering workouts based on need and progress. I have an incredible amount of respect for his skill and expertise. I will always be grateful for his role in my journey.
One day Dan mentioned to me that he had his own goal in mind for me. He told me that he was going to submit a request for me “to be on the wall.”
Really? Me? His statement took me aback but I also appreciated that in addition to my own accomplishments, it would also be a way to recognize our partnership, teamwork and commitment to my own progress.
Well, I now look at that wall a bit differently than before.
There are still very few stories there, but mine happens to be one of them!
For me, this wall is a concrete reminder of hard work, dedication, consistency, passion, diligence, resolve, determination, and frankly, the mettle to see this journey reach its next level.
It’s also a reminder of specific results.
I no longer take several medications…My blood work is now normal…My body is stronger…My mind is more at peace than it’s been in a long time…
You see, I’ve never been one to take short cuts. Good things, and great things, take time.
Oh yeah…and that gravy I mentioned earlier? I’ve lost 8 clothing sizes…I don’t know (and don’t need to know) where they went! I’m not planning on finding them any time soon!
I’m appreciative that Dan took the time to recognize this success, and I am grateful to my husband and the small army that helped me to attain this milestone.
I also know the journey doesn’t end here because there is still so much to do!
If you’d like to read more about Cathy’s journey to regain her health, here’s a link where you can find more posts.
I’m excited about this challenge because I’ve got some photos that I’ve been waiting to use. I just hadn’t found the right spot for them, until now!
My parent’s house often reminds me of a museum. My dad has more collectibles than I’m able to mention.
Amongst his many collections, are a series of turtles and elephants.
They are found both inside and outside the house.
There are two that are quite unique, and, they are also a pair.
Here is the turtle.
Among all the mosaic, can you see the dragonfly on its side, and the ladybug on its back?
Here’s another view.
Now here’s the elephant. Can you see the butterfly on its side?
Here’s another view. I love the detail of the elephant on his back as well as the other butterflies.
As you can see thy make quite a pair, with the turtle understandably smaller than the elephant.
So why did I chose this pair of figurines for this challenge?
I chose them
because the true size of them will help you to appreciate the level of skill of the artist and what he has accomplished!
I think they’re delightful.
…and every time I look at them I see something new.
I opted to take this theme literally as I enjoy taking photos of shadows when walking.
In the photo below I took a brief stroll during a break from work on a crisp fall afternoon.
As I continued down a paved circular path I noticed my shadow intersected the trees.
I walked several rounds on the path when I finally decided it was photo time.
In the next series my daughter and I enjoy a three mile cardio walk in our neighborhood.
We and our shadows are moving at a pretty good clip at this point.
I always chuckle when I observe these shadows as they’re long, much longer than my daughter and I.
We’re what you call petite.
I’m slightly taller than my daughter, and I top out at “5 feet nothing.”
Last but not least is our family shadow.
My husband, daughter and I enjoy another walk. It’s a regular activity for us.
Most of the times, because of the time of day, our shadows lead the way.
We happily follow.
I took a stroll in my father’s garden…peacefully appreciative of his skill…
…and the care he gives his lovely charges…