Her name was Susan. She was my friend. She won NaNoWriMo.

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My friend Susan died last week.  She was very brave and fought against cancer for as long as she could.  I decided to write out what I would like to say at her Celebration of Life Event today.  I am going to share that here, for those who could not attend to read about my friendship with Susan, and her husband, Andrew.  She was 47 years old. Here is what I had written to say, from several little pieces of notepaper, scribbled at 3 am one morning earlier in the week.

I remember feeling sad when Susan told me that she had cancer.  We weren’t the closest of friends at that time, but that changed.  I had met Susan’s husband before I met her.  I joined a gaming group as I was new to Fredericton, and needed to meet people and make friends.

 

Susan and I met later on, and we had a lot of things in common, including creativity and cats.  Oh, how Susan loved all of the kitties!  She would save as many as she could, and picked the ones that nobody else would choose.  She had a cat with one eye, and a cat that has medical issues that require frequent vet trips.  That didn’t matter because Susan loved her cats, and they loved her right back.

 

I attended a dance lesson in their backyard, once.  It was a gathering of friends, and we all participated in learning a medieval dance.  It was fun, although I would not be able to do it again without lessons.  I returned the favour by bringing Susan to a Zumba class with me.  It was after she had been diagnosed, and she did what she could.  There were chairs for her to rest in when she was tired.  I remember that she had fun, and wanted to go again.  That didn’t happen, but it was nice to share the love of dancing with Susan.

 

You might be wondering why I chose to wear this brightly coloured poncho today. ( I was wearing the same one that is in my profile pic here.) When I started to knit it, I was lost, and rather confused.  Knowing that Susan was an avid knitter, I approached her for help with it.  She took the time to go over the pattern, and we decided that I needed a chart.  She helped me to make the chart, and because she helped me, I have a completed poncho that she helped me to knit.  Simple, yet effective.  The perfect solution for me and that is why I am wearing it today.

 

She liked to knit socks for people.  I remember being out to buy sock yarn with her, and she was asking if the colours went together well or not.  She confided that other people didn’t always like the colour choices she made for knitting socks.  She wasn’t so fussy when it was for her own socks, they were just socks.  She had been getting feedback on other socks that she had knit for people that the yarn didn’t always match well, so she wanted to check on the colours before buying yarn if she was making socks for gifts.

 

When she found out I wanted to work on knitting, she lent me her Stitch and Bitch knitting book.  I think I kept it a little too long.  When she asked for it back, I actually went out and bought my own copy.  I never told her that.

 

I have attempted to join in on the National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) events.  For those that do not know what it is, it is a worldwide movement for authors to write a whole book in November, and it is an annual event.  I tried a few times, but have decided that it is not the format for me, and I am now a Nano Cheerleader.  Susan loved to host the events for Nano, and was very proud to show me her Nacho Hat platter that was used for the Nano events.  She was a great leader in the Nano world, and people looked forward to her launch and closing parties.  Unlike myself, she was a Nano winner.  She recently gave me a book she wrote, called “Freaks in Fredericton.”  I plan to read it when I feel ready, and I guess I will have to wait to discuss it with her in another place and time.

(I added a bit here about FredNoWriMo, the local branch, and that the theme is Superhero this year.)

When Susan was needing to be more cheerful, she would often turn to Youtube. Sometimes we would sit and watch cat videos.  Other times it would be music.  She introduced me to the guy that takes tweets from Twitter and turns them into songs.  Her favourite was the one with the ukulele and he is singing, “Pink Fluffy Unicorns Dancing on Rainbows.”  That is the whole song.

She also introduced me to Post Modern Jukebox.  They take current songs and cover them in different styles from different eras.

 

(This was the end of page one, and the start of page two.  I had a harder time with page two.)

One thing I learned from both Susan and Andrew, her husband,  was that it was OK to talk to them about things that were happening in my life.  I didn’t want to bother them with my issues, they seemed to be insignificant when they were dealing with her diagnosis.  We came to an understanding that it was OK to talk about things and that we would all be real when we were visiting.  In a way, it might have helped them to have something less impactful to talk about, and as friends that talked about problems together, I think it helped them, just as much as it helped me to have a place that was safe to talk about anything.  It made me realize that because they realized that what mattered to me was important, that made me, their friend, important.  What a beautiful gift of friendship to share.

 

She often expressed a hate for cancer.  I agree with her on that.  One day, when she was having a particularly difficult time finding the right words to express her thought, she accurately said that she hated her brain.  I knew exactly what she meant, but I still don’t know how to correctly respond to that comment.

 

I wanted to be a good friend to Susan, even if I knew that it would tear me up inside after she was gone.  The last thing I said to her was, “See you later.”  I hate goodbyes.I hope to be a better friend because of my friendship with you.

It surprised me when people told me after that I did very well, and that I should be a public speaker, not a writer.  In the last few months, I have also been told I should be a comedian.  I try to be funny, but it doesn’t always work.  I blank out after speaking in public, so I don’t always know if it went well or not unless I ask someone after I am done.  I did read in Church when I was old enough, and they taught me the few basic skills I used today.  Pacing yourself, pausing to look at the people, and just making sure that you speak clearly into the microphone.  I did need a minute near the end, but I expected that.  I managed to do my best, and that is all I wanted to do.

It was not easy to do that today, even if it seemed like it may have been before page two.  I had to just focus on the task of reading what I had written.  Knowing another friend had given it a read before today helped, she said it was perfect.  What do you say when there are no words to express how you feel?  You think about the good times and write from the heart.  Sometimes there are no words.  I was blessed to have known her and to be able to tell her family just how important she was to me, as my friend.

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Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 31

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Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 31

Another week has come and gone.  Thursday was yesterday.  I am a little sorry that I am writing late this week, but my heart wasn’t in it yesterday, and I want to keep it real and honest with you all. I have suffered a loss nine days ago that has affected me more than I expected in some ways, and just as much as I thought it would in others.  This loss was neither on a scale nor of inches.

There are two certainties in life.  You are born, and you die.  A dear friend of mine lost her battle with cancer nine days ago.  I plan to speak at her Celebration of Life Ceremony tomorrow.  While I was writing what I wanted to say and organizing my thoughts for that, I realized that it was more important for me to focus my attention on it when I decided to do it.  I got a friend to give it a read through in an editorial sense, but because I drafted and edited it myself, she thought that it was a great piece of writing.  So I am sorry if I let anyone down that is following my journey in this category, but all is not lost.  I am here today, and I feel like writing.  If the family is OK with me sharing my story after I read it tomorrow, you can expect to read a different kind of Weekend Warrior story later on this weekend.

So what brought me around, other than the guilt of missing my self-imposed deadline for the weekly story?  I was watching another video along the lines of Branding, and learning more about how to be effective at it.  Wait, what?  How does this relate to a struggle with weight issues?

The guest speaker was talking about taking what makes you mad, and writing about it.  Not an infuriating anger filled frustrated rant, but to use common sense thought processes and provide a solution.  This is the basis of what I want to do here.  I am mad that I am the way I am, physically, and health-wise.  I write about what I need to do, and I learn new recipes and ways to improve my health and change what I am using for fuel in my body to have a positive outcome.  I can write about it, I can think about it, I can talk about it, but the bottom line is, only I can care enough about myself to actually DO something about it.

I seem to be at opposing sides with my food choices.  I will eat a really healthy meal, and then go WAY off track and have junk food or fast food.  Willpower is certainly lacking in my life these days.  I am struggling with some old monsters.  They are ganging up on my inner light and causing me strife.

The feeling that I am never going to be good enough is a main contributing factor in why I weigh over 300 lbs.  I get it from many sources in my life.  My childhood was not bad, not at all, but sometimes the messages were not presented in a way to make me flourish.  I don’t believe people when they compliment me right away.  I need to hear things that are positive about a million times before I believe them, and then I get upset.  I just don’t know how to accept compliments.  I am working on this and getting better about thanking people when they say nice things.  For me, this is a real struggle.

Work is another area where this arises.  Workplace Bullying is wrong, no matter how subtle it is, or who the bully is.  I am not singling out my current employers, let’s be clear about that.  But when I see or experience it, it makes me feel like I am not good enough.  I struggle with that internally, and it is not always somebody else’s fault.  Sometimes I can be too sensitive.  I am learning to stand up for myself, and this is not easy for me to do, either.  As I learn, I have to make mistakes.  Picking battles is a trickier thing than you think it is.  If I was to cry out about every little thing that happened in my life, people would stop listening, stop reading, and stop caring.  Then I would be alone and back to doubting myself.

Sometimes the monsters are on the outside.   That is something that makes me angry.  People that abuse power are the worst kind of bullies, and I come from a long history of being a victim.  I struggle every day to be a good person.  It tears me up inside when that is perceived to be not good enough.  At this point, I can react in two different ways.  I can hide, and cry until I have no more tears.  Or I can speak out.  I am doing more talking, and it does not always go as well as I plan it in my head.  Some things are not OK, and some things need to be confronted.  When things backfire, I do hide for a bit, until I deal with my feelings of being hurt.  Sometimes I can be overzealous in my attempts to stand up for myself.  In these cases, I do get upset, but these days I stand to face the music, instead of turning tail and running.

Still not sure how I am planning to tie this all together?  Well, the ugly monsters inside are the worst ones of all.  The inner bully that kicks you when you are down and sucker punches you when you weren’t looking is pure evil.  We all have the negative self-talk, the hard feelings about one thing or another that we let win.  I have been doing a little too much of that this month.  I am letting the monster win, and that is not going to end well.  I have two choices.  I can do nothing, or I can do something about it.  I think it is time to take action and kick some monster butts.  I feel the inner glow getting a little brighter as I wrote that.  I needed to get it out.  So I am going to take my common sense and use it to change what makes me angry.  For this category, that means I am going to start making better choices and be the change I want to see in myself.  One thing at a time, one choice at a time, one story at a time.

Trust Your Gut.

 

 

Weekend Warrior #31

 

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Weekend Warrior

Hello everyone!  I am kicking back and putting my feet up in a hotel in Antigonish, Nova Scotia, Canada.  I have just finished a weekend of helping my friend out at a craft show, with her knitting and her daughter’s crocheting.  It is an annual show, called Windfall Fine Art & Handcraft Market. I have worked at other craft shows myself, and I have to tell you, this one was a little different.

The show is hosted at the St. F. X. Campus in Antigonish, in a section of the arena.  There is an admission fee for the customers, and that is donated to the local Charity that donates part of the proceeds to the local hospital.  The part that really stands out for me was that there was a place for vendors to go and take a break.  Not so big of a deal by itself, until you find out that there is a snack table with hot and cold drinks, biscuits and cheese, and sweets there for the vendors to take as they wish.  It is also run by donation, and all of the proceeds from this and the raffle go to the same charity.  There are donated gifts from the vendors that they sell tickets on, which is what the raffle is for.  I did not win a prize.

We left on Friday.  I took a 4 day weekend, and am using up 2 vacation days to be able to be here.  We booked a room in a local hotel.  I wasn’t sure about it, but it has been a pleasant stay. The hotel is under new management, so there are things that could be improved upon, but these things did not make the stay unbearable.  The bed was good, there are enough pillows and towels.  It is clean.  I have been comfortable here.

We got some groceries to have food during the weekend at the show and at the hotel.  I am getting ready to make some microwave popcorn to enjoy while watching the brand new Star Trek Series Discovery.  I am looking forward to the show.

We ate at a local favourite restaurant tonight.  It is called The Snow Queen.  I knew there was one near Mother Webb’s Restaurant, but I was not aware that there was one in the town of Antigonish.

I was impressed by the food.  I got the pan fried haddock in lemon butter, garlic mashed potatoes, and a small house salad.  I was in the mood for a treat, so I had a chocolate milkshake with it.  I really enjoyed it.  The piece of fish was large, the potatoes and salad were tasty, and the milkshake filled the glass twice.  I felt like I had a haddock Thanksgiving dinner.  It was very good.

One of the highlights for me was seeing a few relatives today.  They didn’t realize I was in town so it was a bit of a surprise for them.  I was happy to see them and to have a few minutes to catch up.  If I come back again next year we may plan more than a short visit. The

The other nice memory I have was of a little girl this afternoon.  She was about 3.  Her mother had picked up a mandala vest, and I told her that I was impressed that she knew what it was.  She did because she had previously bought one for her daughter, who had outgrown it and it was time to get her another one in a larger size.  She got her daughter to try some on and then was deciding on colours.  Her daughter was spinning and hugging it and just looked so thrilled to be getting a new vest. The whole event was simply adorable.

Well, it is time to pop the popcorn and enjoy the new series opening shows.  We are going to get to see episode 1 &2.   I did buy 2 bottles of wine today, to bring home.  It was a  fine way to finish the weekend.

What did you do this weekend?

Why should you join Tish’s Treasure Seekers?

 

 

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A hummingbird, in flight, searching for nectar and chasing rainbows

 

Things are really starting to come together for me since I started taking an interest in branding myself as an author and artist while learning how to grow my tribe.  I have been expanding my own horizons, chasing my dreams, and fueling my own creativity by following my passions.  I am currently working on so many things at once, I wanted to start a new category here, in the Blog, for news that relates to you.  I am launching it officially on Tuesday, but I could not wait to share this idea with you all, so I am publishing this introduction a little early. If you are reading this, and you are following my Blog, then you are a Treasure Seeker.  But what does that mean?

It means that you have taken an interest in my writing.  I have been told my blog is like a journal.  I have been told that I write as if I was having an actual conversation with the reader.  I have several categories on my blog, and I have some fictional stories at Tish MacWebber on Medium .  I write from my heart, and I try to make things funny or give you my very own perspective that makes you think.  At least, that is what I hope you get out of reading my stories. Because to me, they are all stories, based on how I see life, the good, the bad, and the stuff I never thought I would write about.

It means that you have taken an interest in what I am working on.  Whether it is my custom made jewellery that you can see at Tish’s Treasures or maybe you were a customer before I even started the Blog.  I plan to open an online store when I launch my own website, and I am so excited to share my treasures with the world. Gems are often considered to be treasures.  I like to think of myself as a gem, sparkly and shiny, with a highly polished surface, cut to display multifaceted layers of beauty from the outside in.  

 

 

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Multifaceted

 

Maybe you know me personally and have been swept up in my enthusiasm for my newly rediscovered passion.  I know it is contagious.  It is visible.  It is inspirational, and I don’t say that because it was the reason I started this journey.  I say this because people I know want to join me in the blogging community, or in their own creative outlets.  They can see how happy I am when I am telling people about what I am working on, and they want to find their own way to feel the same way I do.  

 

Finally, it means that you want to be inspired to seek your own treasures.  I can help you do that.  It’s not all about me.  I want to help the Treasure Seeker in you to learn with me and seek the treasures that you have been hiding.  My passion fuels my creativity.  It is positively contagious.  You can see it when you look at me, you can hear it when you talk to me, and you can read it when I write about things that I am inspired to write about.

 

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Take flight in search of your hidden treasures

 

If you are new to my Blog, grab onto something and hold on.  I am in the midst of preparing to launch my own website, and the tagline description is Bling | Blog | Books.  It is the biggest project I have tackled this far, and it is progressing when I have time.  It will be launched soon.  I have to create a store, and even though I want it to be perfect for you all, I need the time to figure out how it is all going to fit together.  I now understand that it doesn’t have to be perfect to share it, but I am still in the planning stages, so it is not ready yet.  Opening soon, I promise.  What else do I have up my sleeve?  Well, if you join the Tish’s Treasure Seekers officially, then you will be in the loop.  I am full of surprises, and I have even been known to surprise myself!  
What is holding you back from chasing your dreams?  Why not make it official, and join the Tish’s Treasure Seekers  group on Facebook. Or you can send me an e-mail, at tishmacwebber@gmail.com. I am Always Thinking…and great at brainstorming.  We can have a consultation, and start to figure things out.  Two heads are better than one.

Welcome, friends, I look forward to sharing Treasure Seeker Tuesdays with you.

 

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Welcome Treasure Seekers!

 

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 30

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Homepage for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 30

I am happy to say that I am doing better.  Not 100% organized or on the plan, but better.  I did get in 2 Zumba classes last week.  Due to things happening in my life that I have to deal with and work through, I was not at Zumba this week.  The good news is that I will be going back.  No worries there, I have to keep going.  I need the outlet, and it is good to get the workouts fit into my week.

It is hard to climb and claw my way back out of a slump.  Sometimes life has other plans.  The good news is that I am cooking again.  Cooking means less junk food.  That is a great thing.  The easy way out is not always better, in fact, it is usually the wrong way.  I attack a lot of my own problems from the wrong side, not the easy way first.  I just use my stubbornness to my advantage and push my way through whatever is going on.

I have said prep cooking and planning are key points for my success.  I have said that I need to stop making excuses.  I have actually made progress with both of those tasks.  However, I am still not ready to commit to being on THM 100%.  Why?  There are two reasons.  One is that it is a lot of work.  I have to plan and cook.  It would be great if my husband was following the plan with me, but he is not.  There are just some things he refuses to eat.  So that is one of my lingering excuses. The other is a fear of success.  The success itself would be wonderful.  But then

The other is fear.  Fear of success.  The success itself would be wonderful.  But then what?  After I find my way to being healthier, and the need for the push is over, then I would have other, new issues.  I may need plastic surgery for excess skin.  I may give in a little more until I find that I am putting the weight back on.  I may lose my gumption halfway and fall off the wagon and revert to my old ways.

Let’s face it, I didn’t become morbidly obese overnight.  I didn’t choose this path for myself.  I choose what to eat and drink.  I choose to not exercise and do things that I find more fun.  I choose to listen to the monster that wants junk food instead of the beautiful inner spark that longs for freedom, and the power to defeat that monster.  So what is it going to take?

I already know.  I have to want it bad enough to do the work.  I have to want it bad enough to plan it out.  I have to want it enough to have to go shopping for a new wardrobe. Hmm…I may be on to something with that last one.

The biggest reason for anyone facing weight issues is themselves.  You have to pick a path, follow it, and commit to seeing it through.  Here is the kicker.  At least for me, it is.  You have to believe in yourself.  You have to believe that you are worth the effort, and that you are going to stick to it, and that you are going to come out OK on the other side of changing your entire life.  You simply have to do it, succeed at it, and change your life for the better.  Shut that monster up with salad.  Don’t forget to drown it with water, and feed the inner beauty healthy morsels of amazing food choices.  Take her out for a walk.  She needs to get fresh air and exercise to thrive.  A little sunshine is always a nice treat.

She is worth the effort, and so are you.

Trust Your Gut.

 

Weekend Warrior #30

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Weekend Warrior

It is quiet here this morning.  I had my chance to sleep in yesterday, so I am up and online early today.  This weekend had promised to be a busy one, but in reality, that is not what happened.

Today will have to be busy to catch up.  I am a little down this weekend.  I have a friend that is in the hospital.  If you want to send me a personal comment about this, I would prefer if it was private.  I do not want a flood of messages on my feed because I do not want to do that publicly. You can send me an e-mail, my contact page works well.

Saturday was another socially busy day, around what is going on.  I was online a fair bit yesterday and this morning.  I am in the overthinking stage for the website building.  I am stuck in that, but it will progress when I am ready.  I created a graphic for welcoming people to Tish’s Treasure Seekers Facebook Group.  I had fun with it.  Then after a short visit at the hospital, my husband and I took in a movie. Valerian was OK.  I think they missed the memo on casting the actors, and Avatar the movie already had blue-skinned aliens that were living in harmony with nature.  The actors seemed too young for the roles and dialogue.  Not to say they are bad actors, but it kind of felt like I was watching the next Spy Kids movie with teens.  It just didn’t feel right.

After this, I tried to find a way to hear Colin James at Harvest Jazz and Blues in downtown Fredericton.  My husband wanted to go home to avoid traffic.  I may have pitched a small fit in the car.  We went for an hour.  I did not hear Colin James, I missed him.  Again.  This is the third time I have tried to see him in concert.  I have made a vow that the next time I am going to buy tickets.  Here’s hoping he comes back again.  I enjoyed some mini doughnuts with Roy as we wandered.  We met up with some friends, and that was a nice surprise.

Today I am going to fit in 2 visits with friends, as I have to touch base with another friend today before we go on a road trip next weekend.  I am helping her at a Craft Show in Nova Scotia.  I will fill you all in on that when it is over.  It may be Monday next week before I share that story.  If I am missing for a few days over the next month, know that I am OK, and with friends.  Make sure you take the time to let your friends know how much they mean to you while you are together.  You just never know when it will be too late.

 

 

Time for a Change

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Money. Love it or hate it, whether you have tons or none, it is something that dictates a lot about your life.  With that being said, I hate it, and it is because I have spent all of my life never having enough money.  My husband and I work hard and in our house, he does the budget.  It isn’t because I am not capable of running the household budget, but rather because money slips like mercury through my fingers, faster than the speed of light.  Once in a while, I ask him where things stand, and these days, it is looking better than it ever has.  We are not rolling in the dough, in fact, we are very far from that with our household income.  We decided years ago that it was better for him to take control over the money.  Many fights happened since then, but when we made the decision to have him handle the budget, we promised to never let any fights we had about money be about anything other than the money.  Do you know what?  It worked.  There have been days where I was so angry I was shouting at him to find me the money I needed for whatever we were fighting about needing money for.  We made that little rule at the start, and we have made it work for us, ever since.

I am now going to share my top 6 Budgeting Tips.  They will not be things that you have never heard of before, but they have helped me stay the course and not go crazy all the time.

  1. Don’t leave the house.  I am really serious about this one.  The second I walk out of the house I am 100% guaranteed that I am going to spend money.  Except if I am going to work, or to visit a friend. It is a given.  When I have time off, I avoid shopping temptation by staying home.  I am not an avid online shopper, so this does not affect me like it might for other people.  When I do make online purchases, they are planned, not impulse purchases.
  2. Make a grocery list.  Use the weekly flyers. Cut the coupons. Go the extra mile to get whatever deals that you can find.  If you can sign up for email coupon sites or local couponing groups, you can swap the ones you don’t need for some that you do.
  3. Pack your lunch.  Eating out should be a treat, not an everyday event.  If you make a meal, the leftovers can be your lunch the next day.  I do this a lot.  I get bored of sandwiches, so when I prep cook, it is for my lunches.  I recently discovered that I need carbs at lunch.  I will have to be planning ahead more for this, as I thought the sleepiness after lunch was my blood sugars being too high.  I checked. They weren’t.  The next day I added the right kind of carbs, and I wasn’t falling asleep at my desk.  Who knew?
  4. Find ways to earn money to save up for something extra.  I have done a bit of pet sitting for friends,  but it can be anything that you can do.  I have also done overtime at the day job when I was planning something that I couldn’t afford from the regular budget.  The household budget has been so rigid for so long that it is now a habit for me to stop and think before I make plans to figure out where the money for such and such is going to come from.
  5. Make use of points.  Whether you collect air miles, scene points for movies points at your local grocery store or pharmacy, spend them wisely.  I have one that I let accumulate until I have enough saved to buy makeup with.  I have others that I cash in when I am low on funds and need to make a purchase that I can’t wait until payday for.  If you are spending money to buy coffee every day (another way to save money is to make it at home) then get the card and claim your free coffee when it is earned.  Or, pay a gift forward to a friend in need with points.  Save them to purchase Christmas or Birthday gifts.  Whatever you use them for, if the points are used, and it is something that you want instead of need, then it is a valuable way to spend them.
  6. When you are paying down your debt load, pay extra when you can.  Choose one of two things when you start to target your debt load, either the smallest total balance and continue paying each one off one at a time while paying the regular payments to the other bills.  The other factor to weigh into this decision is the interest rate for each separate debt load.  When it comes to making ground, it makes sense to start small and remove the smaller totals first.  This builds momentum because you are seeing results as each bill is paid off.  Then you can change tactics when you only have larger bills left, and tackle the one that is charging you the highest interest rate first.  When you are improving your credit rating, then call the companies that you want to keep doing business with, and ask them what they can do to help you save money, and keep doing business with them.  They may lower your interest rate that they charge, and if you have problems spending, ask them to lower your balance when you hit the balance that you can manage.

My bonus tip is to live within your means.  Think before you shop.  Wants are not needs.  If you don’t overspend, you won’t have to pay down the debt if there is none there, to begin with.  This is practical advice, but not always possible.  Emergencies happen and need to be dealt with.  If you have your debt under control, having to find a way to cover an emergency is not as stressful when you have wiggle room to manage to pay down a new and unexpected bill.

I am writing this story for 2 different reasons.  One is that it is something that might help someone like me figure out how to manage their money better.  My husband uses a computer program to keep track of it all, but he also writes out the budget by hand months in advance to help him plan ahead.  The other one is to slip in another introduction for a third Guest Blogging adventure.  I have teamed up with Carla Gardiner who was the first Blogger to respond to my open invitation for guest blogging.  I have written a story for her blog.  It is a bit familiar to the information I have shared here on this blog, with my own little spin to make it just different enough that you should go read it, to make sure you don’t miss out on any of my stories.  I really had fun with this one, and there is a science fiction reference or two in it.  You can read  What are you doing with your towel?  on Carla’s Blog.

While you are there, check out what she is up to.  She is fiery-grandma-signature2a so you can well imagine that she has her own stories to tell, in her own way, from living life through her own journey.  I do read her blog, and I am in the #100Coffees group with her, it is where we met.  She and I were brainstorming, as I am not quite what her ideal audience member would look like.  While chatting, I was inspired to write about reinventing myself and to share budgeting tips.  These topics were chosen based on sharing the audiences of both blogs. So here is the first part.  Please do take the time to visit her blog also.  The Blogging community has always been a delightful way to help other bloggers with Guest Posting such as this one, and I look forward to participating in more writing adventures in my own journey.

Trust Your Gut: Carla’s Story

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share Carla’s Story, written in her own words.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Carla’s Story

Discover Why the Bulge is Harder to Battle for Women Over 50

Have you ever looked in the mirror and quickly looked away in disgust? Don’t feel bad, I know just how you feel; I’ve done that more times than I can count … my entire life. Why is it that women over 50 have this ongoing bulge to battle, especially between our armpits and our thighs?

It would take a book to share my entire story; but, it has been a journey, one that I’m still on. You can read about one of my “diets” and the yo-yo effect it had on my belly fat here. Have you ever noticed that when we set our minds to lose weight we do it? But, what happens when we “transition” back to real life and the diet is finished? If you are like me you gradually put back on the weight you lost plus 25 – 50 pounds. Gosh, what a struggle, right?

After many years of trying this diet and that one; losing and gaining weight I gave up. I resigned myself to be the squishy grandma as one of my grandsons called me. Hey, what’s wrong with being squishy, there’s more to love and love is what it is all about, right? We can play all the games in our heads that we want to; but, the bottom line is this – we want our youthful body back. Secretly we want our spouse to look at us and see and feel the firm muscles our bodies were meant to be. Today, hubby looks at me and we laugh at the mature figure we each have. Are we really laughing or secretly crying for something better?

Over the past ten years, age has entered the race for the fat factor. I’m finding bulges everywhere and some places you wouldn’t expect! We’ve had many changes in our lives, too. Stress, business, and life have a way of taking the bulge to a whole new battle and to a whole new level. So, January 2017 I decided it was time to stop the battle and wage war on my fat and these hideous bulges. I threw the word diet out of my vocabulary. I measured every inch of my body, where I couldn’t reach I had the hubby measure. I weighed for the sake of a starting number and put it in my journal. Then, I started sipping my way slim. I’m starting my final journey to battle the bulge after 50 and taking along those who want to do the same. They say there is power in numbers, I believe it. Together we can do anything we can conceive.

You can wish me success or join me on the journey, your choice. I’ll be posting my results, my accomplishments, and failures on my blog. I’m not sure anyone else can relate to a grandma, a woman over 50 who has failed in the weight loss arena her entire life or not. All I know is I will win this battle of the bulge and help others to do the same come h-e-double toothpicks or high water!

 

Carla with her youngest grandson

Me (Carla) at my heaviest (not a proud moment) in 2009 with youngest grandson in Hawaii at the time of photo 5′ 4″ 235#s.

fiery-grandma-signature2a

Carla, thanks so much for accepting my invitation to be a guest blogger here.  If Carla’s story resonates with you, or if you would just like to connect with her to learn more, you can check out her Facebook page Coffee with Carla and just pop over to say hi when you are having your coffee some day.  I have had the chance to meet her in the process of setting this story up, and she is a wonderful person, who is easy to chat with.  I wish her success in her journey and am happy to share her story with you here.  I am certain if you take the time to learn more about her, she will be happy to share more of her story with you and join you on your own journey.  Two heads are better than one.

Trust Your Gut.

 

Weekend Warrior #29

weekend-warrior

Weekend Warrior

Wow.  I am winning this weekend all over the place.  I have so much going on, and I wanted to write to share some big news with you all.  Big news.  First I need to give you the rest of the story.

Friday night is a distant memory.   I am still floored by the fact that when I checked my Blog on Friday, that I had 930 followers.  I know there are more now.  This little Blog that could (it is my nickname for this blog and a title I have used for a story on the blog) is just amazing.  I am so thankful that there are people that take time out of their busy lives to read what I am writing.  It gives me such a rush!  It confirms that I am on my way as an author, and inspires me to keep going.I worked so hard on Saturday, I don’t even remember what else I was up to on Friday.  Saturday was the start of something new.  And big.  Did I mention big? It’s huge.

I am in the process of building my own website. I took the leap, and have had a lot of friends want to help.  I am working on leveling up!  It is good to know that people support me and want to help.  Technology is not my passion, but I am asking questions and trying new things all the time.  It is still a lot of work, but now it is a little more familiar than the first time I started this blogging adventure.

I needed to schedule time away from the computer this afternoon.  I was so focused on the new website yesterday that I spent all of Saturday online.  I am thinking Saturday might be needing a new definition for me.  It hasn’t been chore day for several weeks.  It is hard to tear myself away, but necessary.  If I don’t make time for prep cooking and cleaning, the week will be expensive and messy.  So I am going to take a break from the computer today and get some other things done.

Before I left, I decided to try and start a movement this week.  I called it #ShareYourLoveSunday and I made a graphic to go along with it.  What do you think?

#ShareTheLoveSunday (1)

The goal is to start a discussion, based on love, positivity and good news.  I have had a few people join in, so maybe I am starting to learn more about turning things around, and shaking things up in a good way.  If you want to participate, leave a comment here or on my Tish’s Treasure Seekers Group on Facebook or @Tish MacWebber on Twitter.  I wanted to start something small that could have a big impact.  If you choose to join the facebook group, why not take the extra three minutes to join the Tish’s Treasure Seekers Birthday Bling Club?  There is a form with 5 required questions and one optional one. I will be checking progress later on.  For now, onward with the things that I don’t want to do because I need to do them, and also so I can get back to working on the things I want to do. What are you doing this weekend?

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 29

trust-your-gut

Trust Your Gut is a series of stories about real people with weight issues, and complications arising from those issues.  It will explain what the person is facing, what their options are, what they have decided to do to take action, and why they chose the path they are on.  Each person’s story will be based on truth, so it won’t all be happy, but it will be real.  The goal of this series is to get people talking about options that are available for people who have weight issues, on either end of the scale.  If you would like to contribute to this series, there is a contact form linked on my Home page for this blog.  I know there are people out there that want to help people like them; as I do.

 

The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name.  If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story.  The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors.  I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.

This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 29

I have not done what I set out to do in September.  I have not followed the plan, I have not kept detailed records, and I have not put any effort into what I needed to do this week at all.

The Monster is winning this week.  It is crushing the soul of my inner beauty. What am I going to do about it?

I have to refocus.  I have to make the efforts I need to make to have results.  I am not perfect, and although I was going to try my best, I fell short.  Like not even falling off the wagon, because I never climbed on it in the first place.

What am I NOT going to do about it?  Make excuses.

I am better than that.  I am better than the monster inside that convinced me it was a great idea to eat chips and Fudgsicles this week.  I am better than the monster that is telling me it is OK to eat whatever I want to because I am really hungry and don’t have time to wait for a healthier option to be ready to eat.  I am worth the effort of drowning out the monster with my inner beauty.  I need to let it shine, and help me find the way to becoming a healthier version of myself.

I need to have a plan, not just the THM plan, although that is a part of what I need to do, it needs to be a complete plan that encompasses everything I am working on and makes me want to work at this.  On me.  It is bigger than me just writing about it.  I need to DO it.  So this weekend, I am going to set aside a few hours to get this set up.

Part of the reason is that I am very skilled at making excuses.  I need to stop it.  Right now.  I am on such a roll with my writing that I do not want to stop.  I want to keep moving forward in all aspects of my life and live it to the fullest.  I will also avoid things and just do what I want to do instead of what I need to do if it is easier.  This is not a good way to do what I want to do, which is to lead by example.  I am not feeling the leader vibe this week.  I need to change things and make this happen.

Now. OK, on the weekend, as I am a tad bit busy with the writing and the entrepreneurial dreams and projects I am working on to change my whole life for the better.  The problem with letting the monster win is that I am leaving out a very important aspect of this dream, and that is me.  I need to rank myself higher on the list of things to be taken care of, so the inner beauty has the chance to glow and outshine the monster forever.

I am making a commitment here to have this ready to go for Monday.  I am going to hold myself accountable for taking the steps to make things happen.  Only I can make the necessary plans and changes to have this work.  It is time to take action and stop listening to the monster that keeps me from being the healthiest version of myself.  It is time to open the cage that traps my inner beauty so far inside me that I cannot find it anymore.  I need to let it out and nurture it until it is as bright as the sun.  I need to keep telling myself that I am worth it until I believe it.  Louder than the monster.  Brighter than the stars in the sky.  Over and over again, until I really get it.  And then you will see that I am doing this in front of all who witness it, and I will be accomplishing the dream of leading by example, by working hard to achieve my personal and professional goals.  Other things are starting to fall into place.  This is just the next thing I am on the verge of succeeding at.  Time to shine.

If you are following this series, and like what you read, thank you.  If you have your own story to share, please contact me.  I have accepted other people’s stories in this category and would love to have more stories than my own to share here.  I don’t want to bore everyone with my stories EVERY week, so if this is something YOU want to do, reach out to me.  There is a contact page for that very reason.  I am also willing to work with people to write a story based on an informal interview or having some discussions about their issues, to help other people deal with their own issues, and helping people understand what it is really like to have issues on EITHER END of the scale.  I would be happy to share your experiences, issues, successes, and tips here in the future.  Stop thinking about it.  Stop making excuses.  Let’s work together to change ourselves and the lives we live.  Our inner beauties deserve to be free and thriving.  We are worth every bit of the effort.  Let’s drop-kick those monsters to the curb. Together.  If I can do this, so can you.

Trust Your Gut.