Mystery Blogger Award

Mystery Blogger Award Logo

This is my first Blogger Award.  I am very grateful to The Ink Owl for the nomination.  It really means a lot to me.  I would also like to thank Okoto Enigma for creating this Award.  It was designed for Bloggers to acknowledge their peers in the blogging world, and to be passed on from one to another to help grow the Blogging Community, and for people to discover new blogs to help them to grow and flourish.  What a remarkable idea to spread encouragement, positivity, and to help Bloggers to earn some recognition.  It is also a wonderful way for people to find new blogs to love, read, and follow.

If you would like to read the nomination post from The Ink Owl, it is in the comments on my About page.  If you would like to read more about the Award and its creator, please check out the following link: Mystery Blogger Award Background and Story.

When you are nominated for an award like this, it is meant to make you share some information about yourself, and to encourage you to acknowledge some of your own favourite Bloggers with some new nominations from you.  It is a pay it forward kind of idea, and I think it is wonderful.  That being said, there are some rules that go with being nominated.

Mystery Blogger Award Rules:

  • Put the award logo/image on your blog
  • List the rules
  • Thank whoever nominated you and post a link to their blog
  • Mention the creator of the blog and provide a link to their blog also
  • Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  • You have to nominate 10-20 people
  • Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  • Ask your nominees 5 questions of your choice; with one strange or funny question
  • Share a link to your best post(s)

I have to write this note here to tell you all that it was difficult for me to create that list. At last, I have outwitted the bullet list formatting and can continue working on the rules and acceptance.

Three things about me to tell you.

1.  I try really hard to be funny.  Sometimes it backfires and I have to quickly change the topic of conversation.  Other times it is taken totally wrong and I have an angry person instead of a laughing person to deal with.  Once in a blue moon, I get it right.  I do seem to be getting better at this talent with age.  Possibly because I am a huge fan of both Betty White and Weird Al Yankovich.

2. I wish I could afford a maid. I know how to clean, I just really don’t like doing it.  I would rather be working on my creativity than creating a clean organized space to live in.   I am working on that.

3. Blogging is my mid-life crisis self-help therapy.  It is cheaper than a motorcycle, and I can take more than one person with me for the ride!  Helmets are optional.  There are no judgements here.

The Ink Owl Listed five questions for me to answer, as a part of the nomination and acceptance.

  1. Where (physical locations) do you write?
  2. Why did you start writing?
  3. What is your favourite part about your life?
  4. What has been the most challenging part with writing?
  5. What gives you the inspiration to write?

Here are my answers:

1. I used to write in journals when I went to school and university.  I have written on my laptop when I was in a local creative writing group.  That group, which I have the honour of saying I named, Freddy Words, is currently dormant and awaiting a revival.  These days,  I am writing on my desktop computer. PC not MAC. I will be working towards purchasing other electronic devices to write in different locations in the future so that I am always ready to write when inspiration strikes.  My desk is in my living room in the center of my mini home.  I can watch TV, listen to music, and write all from my desk.  It would be nice to write outside sometime.

2.  I have been writing my whole life.  Nothing spectacular in my school days, but I have always enjoyed writing, both creatively and emotionally.  Why I started writing my blog is a more interesting answer.  I watched an inspirational video one day, and it got me thinking. It made me think about how to get my lyrics for songs out of my head and to a place where other people can read them.  Before I knew it, I had to research how to set up a blog, and I never expected it to just take off like it did.  I write and I have a lot of fun with it.  I hope it never stops being fun.  I used to write as a form of not keeping things bottled up.  Now I am practising to write a fantasy trilogy by writing on my blog, building the habit. Always thinking…

3.  The favourite parts of my life are finding my passions.  I love the beach and the ocean, especially in Cape Breton.  I love my husband, and the life we have together is not always perfect, but that keeps things interesting.  I love creating things, from thought to completed projects.  This blog has been a wonderful rediscovery of my own passion for writing.  I truly believe that writing is what I am meant to do, that it is my purpose in life.  I also love it when I line up all my ducks in a row to land the unexpected joke once in a blue moon.  That is something that gives me a lot of joy.  This year I have grown personally.  I am proud of the person I am turning out to be, flaws, bad jokes, and all!

4. The most challenging part with writing is actually three things.  The first one is that I need to know when to take breaks.  I do not have any problems writing, I need to remember to stop and eat, and walk around for a bit;  to step away from my desk. When I decide to write I need to make sure I don’t ignore the rest of my life.  The second thing is grammar and punctuation.  Grammarly is helping with that.  I have trouble with commas,  and use a lot of exclamation points! The third thing is that you should always write down your ideas as soon as they hatch…or you will forget them like I just did for my number three.

5.  Inspiration comes from anywhere and everywhere.  I get a title in my head, I start writing, and there is my story.  I hear people talking and I run with an idea the conversation sparked. I am an emotional woman, and my feelings sometimes dictate the direction a story goes in.  Sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and have to get a pen and paper right away so I don’t forget what I dream up.  Other times I use my highly developed pantser skills and sit down with nothing in my head for an idea or plan, and I just start typing.  A short time later I have a blog post or a new song.  I am certain that writing is what I am supposed to do, and with that being said, inspiration can strike at any given moment in any place I am present in.  I have faith and religion in my belief system, therefore all of the inspiration I have comes from God.  He made me this way.  Always thinking…

As I need to post this blog to grab the link to put into my announcements for the bloggers I have chosen to nominate, please allow me a few minutes to type up my nomination memo for the nominees.  I have not mastered the internet well enough to be able to do both things simultaneously. (This note is for nominees-your memo is coming if you didn’t get it yet).

I would like to nominate (in a randomly organized list) the following Bloggers for The Mystery Blogger Award:

Rebecca Craig of Spiritelle Blog

Gordon Dougherty of Unlikely Mystics Blog

Denise Marcello of Denise Marcello Fitness Step out in Faith Blog

Mohamad Al Karbi of  Mohamad Al Karbi Blog

Irene of They Once Called Her Pumpkin…

Colline of Colline’s Blog

Kirsty Allen of  The Ramblings of a Madwoman who hosted  My first Guest Blog, and a little more of the back story.

Payal Tyagi of Writings by Payal Tyagi

Apple Alvarez of Apple Bits Blog

Bonnie McConaughy of Inspire The Best You

Dionne Abouelela of Girl VS City

The Olive Brunette of The Olive Brunette

Sam of the Caffeine Gal

Jessie Wing of Wingswordsblog

As if it wasn’t hard enough to select a few of my favourite Bloggers to nominate for The Mystery Blogger Award, now I have to think of five clever questions to ask them all. The rebel in me has disguised a few extra sub-questions sneakily with the five I am required to ask.

  1. How long have you been Blogging?
  2. If you could put a face and a name to your Muse, who would it be? (My silly question)
  3.  What is your why, as in why do you write?
  4. Do you listen to music while writing?  If so, what artists and or types of music do you enjoy listening to while writing?  Does it change as your story develops?
  5. Who is your favourite published Author?  Do you read their books only once, or do you read them frequently?  If you can’t narrow it down to just one, two or three are also acceptable as an answer, as I have three at the moment, and that is in the top three of a long list of many.

If you check the links above, you will see there is already one link to my first ever guest post.  As per the rules, I can also link to some of my favourite blog stories.

The Little Blog That Could! , I Had Sass in Zumba Class! and When the African Violet Blooms are three that stand out to me and others, based on the number of likes and comments.  I am really proud of all of them.  I have created two regular series within the blog as well, Trust Your Gut and Weekend Warrior.  They are stories that aim to help keep me on track and inspire the readers to keep working on the things that challenge them in their lives.  I have had other people submit stories for Trust Your Gut, and if you have issues with weight, and would like to submit your story, please contact me.  I would love to help you tell your story by sharing it in the series.

I follow more blogs than the ones listed here as my nominees. Shout out to Fears of Little Fears,   Blair of The Shameful Sheep and Brian of Bonnywood Manor Blog  to name a few more blogs that I enjoy visiting frequently.  If I missed you, feel free to answer my questions below in the comments! The more the merrier!

Thanks for the nod, Ink Owl, and I look forward to reading the answers to my questions.

Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 10

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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 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 10

Today is the day I have picked to start shopping for a new bathing suit.  Wish me luck!  I need it in terms of my requirements, but I am also looking for a sale and not hours of searching!

The good news this week is that I am hovering within two pounds of that twoville goal, still.  The bad news is that I have not crushed that goal yet.

Which means that this is a perfect week to write about another THM concept.  I really like this one.  It is called NSV.  That translates into a Non Scale Victory.  So what is an NSV?  It is anything you can celebrate OTHER than the successes you fight to see on the scale.  The weight on the scale is a number, and it can be depressing if you obsess about it especially if it is not moving in the right direction or moving at the speed you want it to change at.

I wrote about twoville, and it is looming on my horizon again.  It is a Scale Victory when you have a happy dance on the floor after you weigh yourself and see a good number. Don’t think too hard about that.  Yes, that would be me,  first thing in the morning, after a trip to the washroom, in my birthday suit, having a happy dance.  Not the thing you want to focus on here.

The NSV is something that doesn’t relate to the scale, directly.  I have set my first official NSV as a small one.  The blog will help, for sure with this.  I want to be able to comfortably wear both my wedding band and engagement ring together on my finger.  I have the engagement ring on a lovely gold chain, that I wear from time to time, but it belongs on my ring finger.  I have fluid built up in my fingers, and you may think this is funny, but when I had a cashier job in the past, I noticed that my fingers were less puffy when I had that job.  I was using my hands a lot when I was a cashier, and it helped my fingers to lose weight.  Not that there is a lot of extra weight in my fingers, but it was a really good experience to look at slimmer hands and fingers.  As I blog, I am exercising my fingers.  It might not seem like a big thing to other people, but it matters to me.

When there is fluid built up in my fingers, wearing my ring causes an indentation.  I have short fingers, and the fluid doesn’t stop me from wearing the rings together, but it is painful to wear them both at the same time. I can get them both on, but it does block circulation in the finger, and it is painful to take it back off, because of this. So I am working on my health, and trying the rings on together from time to time.

It doesn’t have to be about the number on the scale only.  It can be about fitting back into an old pair of jeans, having to buy new clothes because the ones you have don’t fit, changing the size of clothing you wear, or measuring your inches and seeing that the shape of you…r body (Shout out to Ed Sheeran, love that song!)  is changing when the numbers on the scale are not.

As we all struggle with weight together, whatever our issues are, we all have them.  It is good to set reasonable goals to go along with making changes to live a healthier lifestyle.  I know it helps me to check in from time to time with a measuring tape and my rings.  It can even be as simple as the clothing you wear fitting better, or that you can climb that annoying flight of stairs without needing to take a break, or losing your breath.

Pedometers are wonderful because they can help you increase your daily step count by challenging yourself.  I will write a Zumba post about this soon, we are talking about steps at Zumba class since I am sharing my steps after each class.  I am also involved with a group 100 Coffees, and they are challenging members to start healthier habits. Drinking water is necessary for life.  In this group, one of the admins is asking us about how much water we drink each day, as a way to hold those who choose to do this accountable for drinking enough water every day.  It is great to have a support system for healthier lifestyles, and encouragement is a wonderful thing.  100 Coffees is a group of women entrepreneurs, so if you fit that description, go check it out!

I am looking forward to the day that I can wear both of my rings comfortably at the same time as my first official NSV.  What is your NSV?  Any comments might help you figure out what small goal you need to work on, give you a place for your own accountability, or help someone else find a reasonable NSV to start working on.  I look forward to seeing what other people are setting as their own goals.

 

The Internet is not Just for Evil

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Take your chance and try something new!

I have been reflecting today as I am now actively involved in a fourth new group I found on facebook.  There are a lot of possible outcomes when one surfs the internet.  One click can lead down a dark narrow path to things you never imagined, not even in your worst nightmares.  Evil does lurk in the world, and I am certain that there is a way to twist any online search into something most people would never look for.

I have been expanding my horizons and plans for the future.  I am careful when I am online, but I choose ads on facebook if they REALLY speak to me.  That is how I found the A Bowl Full Of Lemons facebook group.  I was looking for guidance and inspiration in my household cleaning struggles.  I know how to clean, I just don’t like doing it!  So I clicked on the link, joined the group, and worked on one project.

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Pantry Shelf Project

Since then, it has been fairly organized, and I had some help to reinforce the shelves (Thanks, Dad!).  It needs some TLC this year, but I am still proud of completing this project.  The facebook group has SO many good organization ideas, before and after pics, and some amazing decorating ideas.  It is something I have worked towards this year, and so far I have been able to share my Coffee Station Complete! project.  There will be more pics coming soon from my kitchen, I promise!

I have yet to make it through the whole house with the challenge.  I am confident that this will be the year.  I shared a picture when I bought a new shelving unit for my Master Bedroom, as I am moving my craft studio out of the Guest Room and relocating it in the larger Master Bedroom.

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Craft Studio Relocation Project

The area is still “under construction”. That means I am still in the planning stages of how to reorganize my craft supplies in this room.  I have taken step two today, and purchased a second cube bookcase, with 6 squares, not 9.  I had already bought the matching plastic bins for it while they were on sale, but again, I felt I was being held back from completing this project because I didn’t have all of the pieces for it ready to go.  I still have to assemble the shelf, (and move a dresser to that side of the room to put the new shelf on top of) but I can work on that as soon as I finish my kitchen.  I have no regrets about joining this facebook group, at all.

I also found the Trim Healthy Mama (THM) Plan in the same way.  THM is a lifestyle change in how you eat food.  It is wonderful, they have more than one facebook group, actually, and I am a member of several different THM facebook groups.  I have implemented many of their guidelines into my life, and when I am on plan, I feel great!  I need to focus on staying on plan more than being off plan because I KNOW IT WORKS WHEN YOU WORK IT.  I have seen it for myself.  So I start every day trying to stay on plan.  Some days I succeed.  Others I don’t.  One of the best things about the plan is that you work it into your own life, and if you go off plan, well you just pull up your socks and get back on plan.  No worries.  I realized, when I was looking at this ad two years ago, that what I was doing was not working, so I was ready to try something different.  I am still not 100% on plan, but I am more convinced than ever that I can do it because I am.  This is another group that came along when I needed it, and I have no regrets about joining this group, either.

The third group I joined in 2016.  I was thinking about how to get my lyrics out to the world.  I had watched a motivational video, I have written about this before, and I decided it was time.  About the same time I started looking into this, I decided that I was also done waiting to write books, and I wanted to make the dream of becoming an author a reality.  While this was all being processed in my mind, another facebook group, the Ninja Writers showed up in my ads.  Well, this group has been a game changer for me.  The Ninja Writers Facebook Page has been an incredible resource.  I had no idea how to brand myself as an author, how or why to start a Blog, or what I had to do to make this all effective towards my goal of becoming an author.  I even designed my own tartan and logo for it! I have made friends that have really helped me with this blog, and spark a passion in me that I didn’t even know I had the potential for.  And if you are reading this, you know that I am blogging frequently, to develop my writing habit and expand my creative horizons.  There are no regrets for me in terms of joining this group.  Only positive strides towards making a dream into a reality.

The fourth group is a new addition.  One of my fellow Ninja Writers shared a new group page on her wall, encouraging people to check it out.  I became curious, and trusted my fellow Ninja Writer friend, and joined the group.  It is called 100 Coffees.  They have a facebook group, 100 Coffees Facebook Group and through that group, you can join their website.  It is for women entrepreneurs, and they are based on networking through the group, to meet members through coffee meetings.  This has an immense potential for people like me, trying to find their way in this online business world.  Membership is free, and eventually, there will be other options for paid subscribers, but I am in the group and hoping to make new friends, get and give support to and from members, and to learn as much as I can from my peers.  This is a great concept, and I am glad to be involved with it already.

One thing that is very important to keep in mind when you join a new group online, is to find out the rules.  The people that create these groups have their reasons, and sticking to their rules will mean you get to remain in the group, and get all the benefits of belonging.  If you choose to just join a bunch of groups to do your own thing, disregarding the rules, expect your time in that group to be limited.  The rules keep the group working together towards a common goal, and going your own way will likely result in you getting the boot.

So there you have it.  The internet is not just being used for evil.  When you are surfing, and something keeps showing up in your feed, and it is a group or a theme that resonates with you, check it out!  You might find something wonderful!  If you don’t,  leave the group and find another one that works for you and helps you in your life.  If any of the above groups peak your interest, check them out!  I am glad I did, and maybe you will be too!

 

Take The Time To Fill Your Own Coffee Cup

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This past weekend, I wrote about facing my inner demons.  I fight with myself sometimes.  Nobody throws punches, and nobody gets hurt.  Except maybe my own ego.

I can get stuck in a pattern of doing nothing while having the best intentions of getting through a whole list of things that need to be done.  There are days when I literally talk myself out of getting anything done.  It is a nasty little place to be in, and it happens when things are bothering me, or in the winter.  I am less likely to have the energy to do more than the basics in the winter time, and that is sometimes left too long.  In this endless loop of getting nothing done, I can become overwhelmed by how much there IS to do, and that doesn’t help me at all.

Spring is here.  I feel the change in the weather, and in my spirit.  The blog has started me off in the right direction.  I am wanting to get things done, and I FEEL DIFFERENT about life right now.  I am trying new things, making small changes, and thinking about what I need to do to make the leap from blogging to writing a book.

A year ago I was recovering from an infection in my knee.  It was not a pleasant experience, I would never recommend a knee infection as something for anyone to do.  I was away from work for 3 months, and sat around that whole time, as I was told to not be moving around very much.  I had nurses visiting me in my home for IV antibiotics once a day for two or three weeks.  I was taught how to bandage the wound when the IV was over, and they stopped the home checks.  I longed for the day that I could have a shower without medical tape and shopping bags protecting the bandages from getting wet.  I was on some strong painkillers, for the first time ever, and I was scared that I might become addicted.  I did not.

Spring cleaning didn’t really happen last year.  So I am on a mission to get it done properly this year.  I am writing about it, and puttering at it, and making a little more progress in that kitchen every time I get in there. I have made a few inexpensive purchases to help me to get this project accomplished.  I see the progress, but I am not ready to share it yet.

I needed to stop and just take a breath last weekend.  That’s what the title means.  When you worry about everyone or everything else and don’t take time for yourself, you can empty your coffee pot before you get yourself a refill.  That is a mistake that can build into a disaster if it is not made a priority.

It’s not Ok to neglect your own needs in order to make sure that everyone else’s needs are taken care of first.  Sometimes, it is necessary to take care of others first.  However, if you don’t stop and take time for you, the coffee at the bottom of the pot is going to have a burnt taste, and it will not be a pleasant thing to drink.

Whatever it is in your life that allows you to feel refreshed and recharged is something that you need to always make time for.  If it is the 5 am cup of coffee before anyone else in your home is awake, get up and pour yourself a hot cup of coffee.  If it is taking a bath at the end of a long and tiring day, make time to fill the bathtub.  Read a book for a chapter a day, at the time you can schedule it in.  If you have dogs, they can help you take the time to yourself to think when you have to walk them anyway.

Or, at other times you need to be around other people.  Friends and family are important too.  Find people that are fun to be around, and bring you up, not down.  I am not saying that you should ignore all of your other friends, but when you need to feel good, surround yourself with people, things and activities that help you do just that.

When I think about where I was a year ago, I had no idea I was going to make a leap into becoming a blogger.  I was waiting to be told that I could start going back to Zumba classes.  I was learning about the Trim Healthy Mama Plan, and trying new recipes.  I was already going through the motions of being back to work at my day job.  And I was miserable.

Now I have a blossoming new outlook for spring this year.  I will be working on my New Year’s Resolutions and branching out with what I am doing with my life.  I am chasing my dreams and making them into my reality.  One at a time.

Thank you for reading my 60th Blog Post.  Still having fun, and Always Thinking…

 

I Have Arrived

First Rejection Letter

First Rejection Letter

In the journey to becoming an author, there are many roadblocks along the way.  Inspiration or the Muse must be present to begin.  Time must be set aside each day to write and practice your craft.  There is a whole different world to enter when one wants to become a published author.  WIP means “Work In Progress”.  It is the current project that is being written.  A social media presence is a must to develop your target audience.  Writer’s Block is a fear that can strike at any time, and if it takes hold, can have disastrous effects on that WIP.

If an author survives all of these obstacles, the biggest hurdle of all looms in the distance. Submissions are needed to take the scariest step of all.  Submitting the WIP for publishing.

Self-publishing is an option.  Editing is a must.  Beta readers test read the WIP and hopefully provide constructive criticism and positive feedback.  Repeat as necessary. Query letters are sent to publishing companies.

Then the waiting begins.

The self-doubting during this time, which does not always have an exact deadline for a reply can be paralyzing.  The WIP is sent out to one or many different publishers, with excited anticipation.  As the days turn into weeks, which turn into months, the feeling changes.  The belief in the WIP can fade.  Negativity creeps into the picture and can cause the author to stop writing.  This is the hardest thing a writer has to face.

It happened to me.  I wrote a poem and submitted it to my writing group.  I have experienced new friendships, answers to many questions, and support in this group.  I continue to be a member of the Ninja Writers.  I found them on facebook, and I am now a card carrying member.  I am supporting a co-operative publication.  My submission did not make the first publication.

I got my first rejection letter.  It was not the result I wanted, but it is done.  As an author, it will not be my last.  As an author, I have arrived.

Was I disappointed?  Absolutely.  Did it break my desire to keep trying?  Not a chance.  My work is just beginning as an author. There will be times when I want to give up.  If I am going to succeed, I have to be able to keep trying.  Stubborn determination twisted with an immense amount of patience will help me to persevere and succeed.

I will be looking forward to receiving my first copy of the Ninja Writers Zine.  It is called The NW.  I am planning to read it from cover to cover, more than once, so that I can up my game for the next call for submissions.  More information about it can be found at their Patreon link:

The NW

If you are interested in becoming a part of the phenomenon known as the Ninja Writers, here is a link to their facebook page:

Ninja Writers Facebook Group

It is a closed group, but the creator of the Ninja Writers, Shaunta Grimes, has given me permission to share both of these links here.  She is a published author, and leading the Ninja Writers Revolution!  She has created so many useful tools and guides for up and coming authors like me.  Thanks for giving me a place to share, learn and improve upon my writing dreams, Shaunta!  Ninja Writers Rock!

Finally, I will link the poem that I have published in January here.  It was featured on this blog, and I am proud of it whether or not it shows up anywhere else.  This is what I submitted for The NW.

Give yourself a little Grace

I will continue sharpening my writing skills until the next call for submissions.

 

 

I Had Sass in Zumba Class!

Surprise at Zumba

I survived another Monday and made it to another Zumba Class!  I really enjoyed the music and the workout today.  I am tired, but I earned it.  We made it to 5,000 steps today!

I knew I was feeling like I needed a good workout.  I felt a little lethargic, but I knew I needed to go.  I got ready and found my place in the Zumba Crew.

I went for it!  Since I have this new smartband, I have been keeping an eye on my steps and my heart rate.  My resting heart rate is around 65.  Well, at one point it was really pumping, I felt like it was working hard.  I checked, and it was at 146.  Exercise success!  I increased my heart rate!  I paced myself for a bit with the music and brought it down to 85.

Then the music sped up again.  I was feeling it, but not like earlier.  It was back up to 101.  I worked out hard tonight.  It was a good class.  I managed to calm down without panicking about my heart rate when it was pumping really fast.

We were near the end, and I heard a song I knew the moves for.  So I got into a groove and was told I had some sass in the class tonight.  I was just getting my Zumba on, and I guess others noticed.  It is good to be in the Zumba Zone.  It was a great finish to another Monday.  My heart rate is closer to normal now, back at 75 beats.  So I have recovered from my workout, and now I can relax.

A quick google search gave me the answer to what a good heart rate during exercise is.  220 – your age= the maximum heart rate you should have to still be within a healthy range.  I still have wiggle room with that calculation, and with my weight being quite high, I do not want to max that out. Yet.

A target resting heart rate is 60-100 for the average person, and 40-60 for an athlete.  I guess I have some work to do on that also, but generally, my resting heart rate is near 60, so I am going to keep on believing that I have a strong, healthy heart, and keep on going to Zumba.  I like it, and it is good for me!  I got my heart rate up, and I had fun!  Those are 2 key points to remember when I am dragging my feet and don’t want to make the effort.  I AM WORTH THE EFFORT!  It certainly makes me feel better, and helps move the stress of the day job out of my system!

It’s all good, and when I pace myself, it is OK.  I am comfortable in my Zumba Crew and sometimes I dance to a different beat, but I am still there, and I am still dancing my way to being healthier.  Although I am tired after a really good class like this, I never want to stop!  It is a good tired, the best kind, and I had fun getting there. It is good for my heart and soul.  So I intend to keep going for as long as I can!

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Weekend Warrior #6

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Well, I decided it was time to give a progress report.  The tunes are cranked.  I am motivated.  So what did I get done?

I have decided to publish this first thing Saturday morning so I can keep the momentum going that I found last weekend.  I worked on my kitchen DURING THE WEEK!  I am really happy with my progress.

I moved the dish drainer out of the way to create a new Coffee Station.  I blogged about that on Monday, because I was so excited that I had to share what I did.  For a recap of that short story, here is a link: Coffee Station Complete!

I washed the curtains, and they are all hung back up.  I also had to flip the windowsill decorations to match the flip of the coffee station.  The curtain has to be at the opposite side of the window, which caused the rearrangement of the items.  I have put the dish drainer on the other side of the sink.  It is a better place because the dishes are on that side of the kitchen.  Most of them.  Then I continued to the last section of the countertop.  Breadbox, toaster and blender are shuffled.  The electric stand mixer is by the dish drainer now.  It meant I could tuck the toaster beside the breadbox, instead of it being in front of the breadbox like it was before.

Then I ran out of steam.  My husband helped during the week, which can help me to get going.  I have plans to start my day with paying it forward.  I am off to help another friend in the land of blogging and website design.  I will do what I can to help, and we will see how far we get.  The last friend I helped has 2 blog posts published and is still figuring it all out.  I plan to help her again when our schedules align, and also to share her blog in the future when it is developed further.  I am also planning to share blogs from others that I help, even if they do all the work and I just gave them ideas to run with.  There is at least one person I know that is doing this, and it is nice to see them happy about their progress.

After I finish helping my friend today, I am going to go back into my kitchen, and get the house bouncing again!  I need to keep the momentum going so that I CAN finish, otherwise I will NEVER finish, and that is just not acceptable to me.  I need to do this cleaning challenge, more than ever!  I need to prepare my home for neglect while I am writing.  I know, it will still need maintenance cleaning, and I shall be looking into that when I am at that stage.  For now, I will leave you knowing I am fighting through the procrastination and laziness, doing good in the world by helping friends, and getting my kitchen ready for spring, with a promise of more pictures as I complete different areas.

I am rethinking storage in my kitchen.  I sense more reorganization in my future of 4 areas.  I have very little room for storage, so I have to plan any changes in detail before tacki\ling them because any changes are critical, and need to improve on how things are now, rather than just add more confusion and not maximize the storage space that I have available.  I am preparing to take this project on this weekend.

Have a productive Saturday!  Who knows, maybe that next Weekend Warrior will be tomorrow’s story, with those pics I am preparing to share.

The Little Blog That Could!

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The Little Blog That Could!

This adventure is growing.  One like at a time.  One laugh at a time.  One follower at a time.  One share at a time. Most importantly, one story at a time.  It has given life to an imagination.  It is a small obsession, reaching beyond what it was supposed to be.  It is gaining momentum.  Every time inspiration strikes, so do the strokes on the keyboard.  Is it going to change the world at large? Maybe.  Is it going to change my life?  It already has.

Something is happening to me.  I am gaining confidence in my abilities.  I am pushing myself to write several times a week, and I am following through with the schedule that is developing as I write.  I am watching the stats, and grinning while shaking my head at them.  They tell me that I have reached an audience in 30 different countries.  I have had more than 100 likes on this Blog, as a whole.  Most of them are from people I do not know personally.  To anyone that has looked at this blog, read any of my stories, liked, shared, commented or followed, I want to personally thank you.  It humbles me to realize that people take the time to do this, even if it is just for the few minutes they take to read what is on my mind.   I am finishing month five today.  I have been consistent and persistent.  It takes dedication.

I am having fun.  I found my passion,  I really believe it.  I want to write and share the things that matter to me here.  I want to expand my horizons, and get those books published.  I am also sharing how I am trying to live a healthier lifestyle, and how my 2017 New Year’s Resolutions are progressing.  I am writing about things that matter in my world, and from the support I see in the stats, these things matter to more people than just me.

It was a steep learning curve for me to take a run at when I started.  For me, HTML was a thing that popped up by accident on my computer when I was surfing.  Literally.  There I was, Facebooking away when suddenly, there was a box of text that appeared on top of my facebook pages.  Thank goodness I found the corner with the “X” to close it when it happened.  Which was more frequently than I want to remember.  It still scares me, when it is just there because I don’t really know what it does, or why it jumps out at me.  But I have used HTML in setting up this blog, and I would not call myself an expert in any way shape, or form, I can now say that I have used it, and that is something I wasn’t able to say six months ago.

Constructive criticism helped me to develop the page you see today.  I didn’t know anything about colour palettes for websites or branding myself as an author.  I have a long way to go yet, and lots to learn, but if it keeps being this much fun, I see me working on it for the rest of my life.  I have always had a vivid imagination and a creative artist inside of me.  When I work with beads, and I create something that is mine from concept to finished product, I get this feeling.  There is pride, but it is more than that.  It is excitement and that thing that everyone says you should base your career choices on.  That thing is passion.  I feel it even more strongly when I am writing, reading, editing, and previewing every story that I publish on this blog.  It is infectious.  It is contagious.  And it is bubbling out in every direction!

I am happier.  I am doing better at my day job.  People can see the difference in me.  I am feeling the spark of inspiration all around me, and I am fueling it with all of the creativity and optimism I can get my hands on.  I am able to process things in my everyday life, even things that I am not writing about, in a different way.  I got my optimism back.  It was missing for quite some time, but I have hope again.  I have always had faith and a belief that things would work out even when times are tough.  Now that I am working on this blog, and making plans for my future as an author, I am making one of my dreams come true.  Because I am making it happen, I KNOW that things will be better in my future.  It is up to me, and I am taking control of the next chapter in my own life.

I am a blogger, hear me type!

 

The Big 50

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When I press the publish button, this becomes my 50th blog on this website.  I give myself a gold star!  I had no idea back in November when I decided that I wanted to get my lyrics out for exposure to a possible collaboration, that I would be writing this today.  I didn’t even know I wanted to start a blog.  But here I am.

What have I learned so far?  I still love creative writing.  Whether it is about serious topics, made up things called Tish-isms, Zumba classes, or me vs the weekend, I am really enjoying this blogging thing.  I like sharing my thoughts here, and since I am Always Thinking…they will continue to accumulate.  I hope I never need a shovel for them because the snow in New Brunswick has that covered.

While I am not a fan of numbers, I have started following the stats for this project.  I am somewhat speechless at times when I am reviewing the results.  It is growing, slow but steady, in the right direction.  The likes and comments I have been getting are very encouraging, also.  This has been a positive experience.

I have written a poem, as one entry.  The lyrics page has 20 songs on it, two of which I have written this month.  They do not count as separate blog posts, they are not in the 50 count on the blog itself, but they are here also.  Since a few of the 50 are shared from another blog source, they balance that out a bit.  I can’t write this without remembering I wrote my first guest blog that was shared on another person’s website.  I never even dreamed that I would write from my heart, and that other people would read it, like what I wrote, and tell me they want to read more.  How great is that?

In the blogging world, I am finding my way.  If you are reading this, thank you for doing so.  If you are following my blog, I am following yours too.  If you have seen the tweets and facebook page, you are getting a little more of me through those different locations.  I have one story on Medium, and that is just for fun.  I hope to write more like that, and I will likely share between this blog and my medium account as I expand it.

I hope to keep growing the blog as I prepare to write my books.  I am definitely having a lot of fun, and this is good.  As long as it continues to be fun, I will keep writing.  I am certain that I will have slow times of dealing with life in the real world or the dreaded writer’s block.  It is a challenge I will have to face when that time comes.  Until then, I will keep up the positive stories, and expanding my horizons.

Thanks for reading.

Tish MacWebber

Always Thinking…

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Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story

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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 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 the story of another friend.  It is written in her own words, and she submitted it earlier this week with her permission to share it as a part of the series.

Here is  Trust Your Gut: Bonnie’s Story

 

My story begins all the way back to when I was five years old. I was always small for my age until then, when my parents got divorced. All of the changes and upheaval that happens with that sort of thing, is what seems to have contributed to me eating more and gaining weight. Still, I was only chubby as a child. I wasn’t truly overweight until my preteens. I believe I was about ten years old when I realized that I was bigger than most of the kids my age, but other than some minor teasing from other kids that usually went over my head anyway, I did not feel bad about it. At age twelve, I weighed 180 pounds and that’s the age that I really started noticing how heavy I was and feeling body conscious.

I never did anything about it at that age though, except maybe some walking for exercise. Other than that, I did a lot of wishing and dreaming that I would just wake up skinny one day and everyone would like me because I wasn’t a big girl anymore. I remember feeling bad about being overweight, not being able to wear the types of clothes my friends were wearing, and receiving some teasing or comments here and there.

When I was sixteen, my mom and I joined a women’s gym together. There I learned about exercise and how beneficial, as well as fun, it could be. The first workout left me so sore I could barely move and I didn’t want to go back, it hurt so much. However, I did go back a few days later and started to realize a love for exercise I never knew I could have! The trainers there, one I’m still in touch with to this day, were so kind and really involved. They provided me with so much quality guidance that I really needed. Due to a move across town, making the trip to the gym too far for me to go, I stopped going once our one year was up there and turned to walking more for exercise. Slowly the weight I had lost from exercising at that gym for a year crept back on.

Another few years went by where I tried various things but never stuck with anything consistently, until 2009, when I was twenty. I started a weight loss journey by cutting back my calories significantly, exercising five or six days a week, and drinking Slim-Fast and changing my eating habits to include more vegetables and fruits. Soon I joined the SparkPeople website where I received support, information, and resources I needed to keep losing weight. I lost over 75 pounds during the seven months I was on there and actively working to lose weight. Right around my twenty-first birthday though, I ended up suffering from gallstones and pancreatitis, spending a whole week in the hospital and having my gallbladder removed. After that and some dramatic changes in my life that happened directly afterwards, I pretty much gave up on losing weight. I mean I tried, but my heart wasn’t in it anymore and I wasn’t consistently working on it any longer.

The next few years after that I continued to try to lose weight at different points, but it never lasted and I never stuck with it long enough to make a significant difference. Finally in May 2014, I started my final and last weight loss journey. This was it! I was going to lose the weight and keep it off! I had gained all of the weight I had lost in 2009 and then some, as it often goes. I was a whopping 309 pounds at this point, when I had sworn I would never get over three hundred pounds! I was shocked and appalled, and I knew I had no choice but to make changes so I could lose that weight. By August of 2015, I was in what is often referred to as “onederland,” finally breaking into the 190’s. It took quite a while after that to get into the 180’s, but my lowest weight was 181 in April 2016.

Enter this past summer that brought issues with my grandparents and their health, a big cross country move, having to leave behind my siblings and their kids when my parents and I moved, and so much more, I just let things go. I had just completed my first ever half marathon in May of last year, which was one of the most rewarding and invigorating experiences of my life. It was so much fun that I’m doing the same half marathon again this May. After the half marathon, the summer was full of all of these huge, and very stressful, events that kept the next few months super stressful and overwhelming. I started gaining weight back because I just felt too overwhelmed to devote the attention and dedication to my nutrition that I had before.

Even with the weight gain, I am still 60+ pounds down from my highest weight, but it has been a huge struggle to get back on track and the weight has kept creeping on due to my struggles. I know I can do it, as I proved it to be the case before, but it seems harder. I lost that momentum, I stopped being consistent, and I guess I gave up. However, I still had a huge passion to help others, and had restarted a blog for the purpose of helping other women find a way to not only lose weight, but believe in themselves, find their inner strength, and practice self-love. Still, at some points in the past few months, I have felt like a fraud because I had been struggling so much. It is all a part of my journey, so even though it felt horrible and disappointing all the same, it has been a learning experience and has made me stronger!

A positive thing that has come out of my struggles is that a little over a month ago, I made the decision to join Beachbody as a coach. Using the container system, Shakeology, and workouts they have in their programs is truly making a huge difference for me both physically and mentally. That doesn’t mean that it is easy or that the changes are instantaneous, and I am still slowly getting my nutrition back in check in addition to working out more consistently again. I am also drinking Shakeology everyday and noticing how much it makes a difference in my energy levels. I never realized how beneficial it could be! Besides that, I also have a huge support system with the coaches that are part of the team of the coach I signed up with. As a friend, she is someone I trust, feel comfortable talking to, and know she will help me the best way she can which is a huge deal to me and made the decision that much easier!

I have complete faith that I will lose the weight I’ve regained. I felt so skinny at 180-190 pounds, even though I still wanted to lose 30 more pounds. Now I glance at pictures from that low weight and wish I could be that small again. However, I can’t live in the past and I can’t beat myself up anymore. I am ready to continue moving forward, working on improving my healthy lifestyle, and helping other people do the same thing in their lives. The greatest reward for me is to help others realize how they can really live the life they dream of living, whether it be to lose weight, go after their dream career, or whatever else represents happiness and success in their lives. On SparkPeople, helping others and providing feedback was more than just helping them. It helped me to stay on track too!

Bonnie McConaughy is the owner and founder of Inspire the Best You (www.inspirethebestyou.com), where she writes about healthy living and personal growth, and provides health and wellness coaching. She is also a freelance and ghostwriter (www.bonwriterfreelance.biz).

Thank you to Bonnie for sharing your story.  You have inspired me to try harder, because like you, I know I can do this, I just have to stick with it.  Although we are travelling on different paths, there are some similarities in our journeys.  Keep working on your goals, and you will achieve them, I know it!  Something that resonates with me after reading is that you are not alone, you have a support system, and you are building your own skills to help others.  This is really a great thing,  to take what you have learned to help you guide others in their journies.  I wish you all the best, and have faith that you are going to be a success.