Friday, October 9, 2009

Starting Again

I haven't written anything here for a long time. I put too much pressure on myself to try and write something meaningful or to push myself to meet some goal. Goals are important, and I do hope that sometimes I will have something meaningful to say, but I started this as a way to express myself and to get the clutter out of my head. So, that is what I'm going to do. I'm just going to write. No expectations.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

43 by 43

I've decided to lose 43 pounds by my 43rd birthday, which is October 28th. It's a bit of a stretch for me, but I'm determined to do it. I am going to keep myself accountable by posting a picture of myself on this blog once a month. In addition, I'll post a video every week on That should keep me motivated! Pictures and links to come!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Hope Is Rising

"Because there will be a mountain too high, a tragedy so shattering, a wound so deep that no multiples of 'I think I can' incantations will be enough to power through." This quote comes from Jason Germain's devotional for the his song "Hope is Rising."

This past fall, I went through my shattering tragedy. My husband passed away on December 5th. I have written before in this blog how difficult those weeks were. Ron's cancer had spread to his brain, which led him to become paranoid and delusional. He fell out of bed a few times trying to escape. He wouldn't let nurses give him medication. Thankfully, he would calm down when I was around. Between trying to care for Ron and then trying to care for my 6-year old son at home, I was run ragged. Thankfully, Ron spent his last few days on earth at home with me. (Ben stayed with my mom.) Two days before he died, I was blessed with a couple of hours with him where his mind was not attacked by the tumors. He died peacefully in our bedroom. Even with his last days on earth being peaceful, I was traumatized by the weeks before.

This was the mountain that was too high. No matter what I did, I just couldn't get over it. For weeks, I relived the last several painful weeks of his life. Ten wonderful years of memories of Ron were replaced with six weeks of agonizing nightmares. It's not that I didn't want to remember anything else, I literally couldn't.

Finally now, I am starting to push through the nightmare and find the good memories of the man I love. I have help. I rely on my friends, family, pastor, psychologist, and on God. I'm slowly replacing the nightmarish visions with good memories of a wonderful husband. I get down on my knees, and I hand over all the pain, guilt, anger, and fear to God. His grace envelopes me, and hope is breathing for me once again.

Some may say that relying on grace is no different than being the little engine that could. "I think I can. I think I can." For me, for many, it is very different. I'm not relying on me or my strength. It's actually just the opposite. The more I let go, the easier it gets. Relying on God's grace is what got me through those difficult weeks in the first place. Contemplating the Resurrection is what removes the pain from my chest and what gives me true hope.

In September, downhere released their latest album, Ending is Beginning. Although I had many opportunities to listen to the songs on the album before it's release, I never did. I can't really explain why.

September is also when my faith started to crumble. Small cracks became big wholes and doubt overwhelmed me. I confessed to my husband that I didn't think God really loved me. Ron hurt with me and for me. I had pre-ordered a copy of downhere's CD, Ending is Beginning. When it came to my house, I had no desire to listen to it. Ron, however, shredded the shrink wrap and poured into the liner notes. He came upon "Hope is Rising." He stopped and told me he thought the song was written for me.

"I’ve lost all my earthly optimism,
That its all going to be alright,
That the good will win this fight.
Somewhere between youth and disappointments,
The dream became despair, the love became a lie,
Just now, I’ve reached the end of my line,
Just now, I’m too tired to keep on trying,"

I had no fight left in me. I no longer believed that God loved me. The love became a lie. Jason just really nailed what was going on in my heart.

The song didn't instantly fix me, but God certainly used it to start repairing the cracks in my faith. A few key people really had an affect on me, my pastor, my friend Gina, Ron, and even Jason. I told all of them what I really felt. None of them judged me. Gina and Jason communicated with me electronically, so I still have their comments. Even now when I read them, I just break down and cry (in a good way) because their responses to me were so filled with love.

I'm glad I fell apart when I did. I had the chance to renew my relationship with God before things got really, really hard. God had pulled me out of the sand and on to solid rock. If I hadn't gone through that rebuilding time in September, I don't think I would have survived December. That sounds pretty melodramatic, but it is true.

"Hope is rising, it’s a sunrise, for the end
Hope is rising, and it’s breathing for me again."

This was my anthem during those last weeks of Ron's life. I just melt when I hear Ben sing it. I ache for everyone to hear this song. I know there are many people who will be moved by it just the way I was. I know there are people who are desperate for its message. I know God will speak to people through this song. Coincidentally (or not!), it's just been released as a single in Christian radio (AC) stations. I beg anyone who reads this to please encourage your Christian radio station to play it.

Once again from Jason's devotional:

"Not only has He given me hope for a life beyond the grave. He has given me a way to live. Grace. The most beautiful piece of poetry as ever was inspired. Where violent escalation has no hold, where addiction has chains without locks, where evil and decay are slave to the purposes of beauty. God is true Beauty. And in our created nature our greatest fulfillment in life is to enjoy Him……a way to live, the religion of Hope. Hope is not a dream it’s a miracle, not a destination it’s a journey, not a birthday but a resurrection, not an end…it’s a beginning. Where is your hope? Does your hope give you the answers your soul demands in search for the truth? Does your hope stand up under all the decay you see around you?

Look to the one who finitely returns all that has been stolen, all that has been destroyed, all random and chaotic catastrophes. Jesus. Come with your broken heart, and body. He’ll breath life into your soul. Come with your angst and failure, He’ll give you purpose and a song. Hope is Rising again."

Listen to the song (#3 in the jukebox)
Read the devotional
Call your favorite local or nationwide Christian radio station

Thank you.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

You Keep Going

Today, Ben and I went to White Castle for dinner. We held hands, closed our eyes, and pressed the "Other" button on our drinks. We were immediately transported to Castletopia and transformed into robots. Our food became robot sliders, robot springs, and robot oil. We spoke the very strange language of the Castletopia robots. We had a lot of fun and probably laughed a bit too loud. Oh well.

When we came home, Ben gave me a valentine that he made me at school. I cried. A lot. I really love my kid. I will keep going Ben. You betcha kiddo.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Overcoming Fear

I was just reading a post by Kat called How To Overcome Fear. I've been struggling with fear quite a bit lately, so I figured maybe I'd try and put my feelings into words.

I have two fears right now that are causing me grief. The first one is my fear of being a single mom. Ron was such a good dad. We made decisions together. Ben is a really great kid, and he's a very low-maintenance kids. Still, I am afraid. Am I good enough?

The second is the fear of being alone. I am not anywhere near ready to date, but I would like to believe that when the time is right, I will meet someone. Please don't tell me that if I have a fulfilling enough life that I won't miss married life. I have no desire to grow alone by myself. Yes, I have friends and a very fulfilling social life. However, I don't spoon with my friends, and more importantly, none of them come over on Thursday nights to take out the garbage. ;-) It's OK if I get turned out of the feminist club. I'll admit it. I wants me a man! Well, not right now, but someday.

The last weeks of Ron's life were awful. I watched Ron scream in pain. I held him when he was terrified of the "enemy" coming after him. I cleaned him up when he was sick. I slept on the floor when he needed me close by. I fed him. You get the idea. Most people think you sign a DNR and then you're done. It didn't work that way for us. I made decisions that I never thought I'd have to make. "Should we discontinue his steroids?" "Should we discontinue his fluids?" "Should we stop his food?" "Should we increase his morphine?" I was the one who made all those decisions, with help of course. I wondered why the hell I was the one making these decisions. Still, I made them. I went between taking care of Ron to taking care of Ben, sometimes feeling as if I wasn't doing a good job doing either.

Every day for weeks, I did what I had to do. My friends told me that I should incredible strength. My pastors told me that in the last couple of years, they've seen me transform into a woman they had never seen--one who is confidant and strong. The thing is, I'm not really any different. I'm still the mess of a girl I've always been. However, every day of that purgatory period, I asked for God's strength. Every day I got it. Every day I had just enough strength to get through the day. Every night I collapsed exhausted. My motto became Weak Woman, Strong God. I was given everything I needed to get through that time. Every time I asked for help, I got it. Every single time.

If God was with me through all of that, He will be with me through this. He will help me to be the mom I need to be. He will put the right man in my path at the right time, if it His will. If I never gets me a man, I'll be OK. ;-) I need to trust that God will help me have the life that He wants for me. I need to let His love conquer my fear. I can do that.

Monday, January 26, 2009


I got angry at Ben for misplacing his hat and mittens. He never puts them away. I have no idea where my hat and mittens are.

I found it easier to not over eat during the mid morning and afternoon when I started eating eggs and bacon for breakfast a few times a week. Protein in the morning is great, but not on the mornings I run.

I like the Karate Kid movies. My favorite is the last one with Hillary Swank. It's not necessarily Oscar material, but there are many great moments. It says a lot about strengths and weaknesses, hopes and fears, and trust.

Mostly, I want to learn karate because of the strength it brings out in me. However, I really want to learn to spin and kick or spin and punch because it just looks really, really cool. Yeah, well, sue me because my motives aren't pure. I want to do something that looks cool.

"Never trust a spiritual leader who cannot dance." It's one of my favorite lines in The Next Karate Kid. People who think that God is all about anger and hatred have just got it all wrong. God is joy.

I like taking karate. It makes me feel strong and weak at the same time.

Almost anytime I do something completely stupid in karate, my sensei is looking right at me. He did miss me falling on my face when I was doing push-ups. He turned around right after though and asked what happened. I just laughed.

My sensei has pictures of himself with his dad in Peru. His dad taught him karate. What a legacy. I have nothing like that to give to Ben. It makes me wonder what legacy I will pass down to my son. I do have faith. That will be my legacy. It is Ron's too.

My other sensei is competing in a karate tournament. She is awesome! I am trying to work up the courage to volunteer for the tournament.

I get tired of hearing the same music on Christian radio, but I tend to listen to the same 5 or 6 CDs.

On Facebook, I signed up to be a fan of The White Chocolate Grill and Chipotle. The next day I became a fan of The Biggest Loser. Mmmmm. I love tacos with carnitas.

The more I cry, the stronger I feel. The more I trust the future will be OK, the less power the past has over me.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Just Breathe

It's just amazing how I can get myself all worked up. It's so easy to do. Little worries become big worries, and I drive myself crazy. I am decidedly better at turning things over to God then I was years ago, but I still need a lot of improvement there.

I have just been consumed with fear the last few days. I am praying about it, but this isn't the kind of fear that I can just and pray away. I think it's a fear driven by a need to change. I just need to figure out how to change and the best way to go about doing that.

I've been told frequently that I should avoid major decisions for at least six months after Ron's death. I really get that. I am amazed at how hard it is for me to think clearly. One of the many reasons that working out is such a huge priority is that it helps me to clear my head.

I also find it difficult to get things done. Everything seems to be going in slow motion, yet at the end of the day, my to-do list is barely touched. I need to do a better job managing my time, especially when Ben is in school, and I need more realistic to-to lists. :-)

Overall though, I'm OK. I'm grieving. I'm afraid. I'm tired. I'm stressed. On the other hand, I also spend a good part of my day being hopeful and happy. I was the science center volunteer at Ben's school today. We made magic muck and then debated whether it was a solid or a liquid. The teacher warned me that the project was messy; she was right. We made a huge mess and had a really great time.

Considering all that has happened and the major transition I'm making, I'm handling it OK. I continue to pray for strength and guidance, and I get it. When things get crazy, I just need to remember to take a deep breath.

Oh, and for the record, we decided that magic muck was a liquid.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Missing Ron

I miss watching Ghost Whisperer and Numbers with him.

I miss how he teased me when I got all giggly when the guy in Ghost Whisperer was shirtless.

I miss how he loved everything I cooked, even when it was awful.

I miss how he took the dogs out if they woke up in the middle of the night.

I miss running my fingers through his hair.

I miss how he complained about the curls in his hair when it got long.

I miss having someone around me who actually gets my sense of humor.

I miss how he usually stayed calm when I was going crazy.

I miss how he understood me.

I miss how he would roll his eyes when I was reading too much into something he said.

I miss how he would give me a back rub after a hard workout.

I miss his emails about the Libertarian party.

I miss watching him put his pens, comb, and wallet in his back pocket.

I miss watching him yell at the Bears and his fantasy football team.

I miss watching him cuddle with his son.

I miss dancing with him to True Colors.

I miss making love with him to the point of utter exhaustion.

I miss holding his hand.

I miss putting my head on his chest.

I miss his hand wiping away my tears.

I miss much.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Sensei ni rei

It bothers me that I allow my level of self-esteem to be determined by what others say and do. In theory, I should be shaped by God's opinion of me, not everyone else's. In reality, that just doesn't always work. Sometimes, I feel down because of others' negative opinion, or even just my perception of their negative opinions. On the flip side, if someone compliments me, I don't seem to allow that to raise my self-esteem much.

An exception to this happened on Friday. I just earned my orange belt in karate. It is the first belt you earn in Shotokan. I was in the women's bathroom getting ready for karate, when Ben came in. "Mr. Sanchez told me to give this to you." I was very excited to receive my belt, but truthfully, had hoped for a little more pomp and circumstance than having my 6-year old give me my belt in the bathroom. Nonetheless, I put on the belt. My demeanor changed immediately. I felt more confident.

As I started heading to class, I met up with some of the younger students in class. "Wow! You have your orange belt! That is so cool!" I talked with them about it and told them about my test. I was positively beaming at this point. When class started, everyone had to line up after me, because I am now officially the senpai, the class leader. The high belt in class is the senpai, so it's very unusual for an orange belt to be senpai. However, this program is new to our area, so everyone is just beginners. When I go to karate on Tuesday, there are many advanced belts, so I am pretty low on the totem pole.

We started class, and everyone lined up next to me. As I was about to say "Sensei ni rei" (bow to Sensei), my Sensei said it! I was bummed, and I let him know that. (Bad on my part. I tell Ben all the time how important it is to show respect to Sensei.) We had an exceptionally hard work out in karate. I hadn't been working out much in the last two months. This week, I had karate on Tuesday, ran on Wednesday, lifted weights on Thursday, and then karate again on Friday. I was starting to wonder whether or not I was going to make it through the whole class. I kept remembering my position as senpai and kept trying to do my best. Honestly, I was a little whiny and wimpy, something I need to work on. Senpai really isn't that big of a deal in my class, but I still feel as an adult and the only orange belt, that I should set an example.

As class ended, we lined up again. This time, Mr. Sanchez allowed me to call out the greeting, "Sensei ni rei." I had to stop myself from giggling. I was proud of myself. I worked hard for that belt. My classmates were proud of me. It was a good day for my self-esteem.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Eat Better
Eat more fruits, veggies, and whole grains (at least 2x day of each)
Eat less junk (less sugar, one soda per day max, less fast food)

Work Out
I did a good job of this last year, but in the last month, my workouts have been sporadic at best.
Lift at least twice a week, preferably three.
Do cardio at least four times a week, preferably five.

Run Faster
Get my 5K time under 35 minutes in the short term, under 30 minutes sometime in 2009.
Get my half-marathon time under 3 hours.

Lose Weight
Lose 50 pounds. Enough said.

I want my house back. I'm starting with the den and Ben's room.

Manage Money
I'm going to remember what my financial goals are and prioritize.

Ben Time
I need to make sure Ben and I don't get into a rut of watching TV and playing on the computer.

I need to get comfortable with my looks. I'm not beautiful, and I never will be. I'm OK with that, but I need to get to the point where pictures of me don't send me into a major depression.