Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Working toward my future

In mid-February I joined Weight Watchers.  I have lost nearly 35 pounds in these past 6 months following the program.  Weight Watchers doesn’t work unless you work the program, and boy have I been working it!  If I am going way over the point allotment for the day (eating too much) – I typically will continue to track to at least be accountable for what I am doing.  Sometimes I look back at the times I have cheated and wonder how I’ve still managed to lose weight.  The bottom line is – even cheating is far better than how I was eating prior to joining.  That is scary.
At 5’3” it was hard for me to imagine weighing in at 217.  That wasn’t even my heaviest.  Just where I started this time.  I am 175 now and feeling much better physically.  I am rarely fatigued.  I play tennis again.  I have energy.  My joints don’t hurt.  I am visiting the chiropractor less often.  I have gone down 2 sizes.  And yet, I am not done so I don’t feel settled.  I am almost restless and anxious to be done with this process.
I need to understand that the last 25 pounds will come off more slowly than the initial chunk of weight.  It will take me another 6-9 months to get there if I am diligent.  I understand that and yet I want the instant result.  We all want the hard part to be over and the fun part to in our lives.  The part where my weight is a non-issue.  The part where I have been at a healthy weight for so long that people forget what I used to look like heavy.  The part where eating poorly feels foreign.  The place where being scared of going back doesn’t exist.
Many of my family members are obese and feel as if they are doomed.  Like nothing they do will change the fact they are obese, diabetic, and riddled with all manner of illness/disease.  I see it as an additional challenge, as additional fuel to fan my flame.  I will not be defeated.  I am a strong woman and want to live many happy, healthy years.  I want my husband and I to be the type of couple that goes on bike rides in our retirement years and watches the grandkids for the weekend.  I want to do so many things in this life.  Most of all – I want to be healthy and teach my kids how to take care of themselves mentally and physically.  I want them to know that my health, and theirs, is worth the effort.  I want them to know that food has the power to control you but only if you allow it.
I have been setting the pace for a lifelong journey of health these past 6 months and I am totally up for the challenge.  Reaching my goal weight will be incredibly difficult.  Maintaining it will be ever harder.

Bring it On.
Before pic from a date night

Not a flattering photo by any means, but definitely shows a true "before" image

Slouched over and frumpy dumpy before shot

Progress photo from early August

Progress photo from early August

Progress photo from early August

Monday, May 26, 2014


It’s amazing how you can be so far away from people and yet remain connected.  An aunt you see yearly and only talk to once or twice otherwise can mean the world to you.  They are family.  My Aunt Barbara has been battling cancer and is not winning.  She is now consulting with a hospice doctor who has given her the expectation of 3-6 months to live.  Hearing this news was devastating.  I am not close to many of my aunts and uncles, but I hold Aunt Barbara very close to my heart.  She is a tough lady, but a dainty one too.  She has always been very lively and will offer words of wisdom to help in any situation.  She is dying of cancer but is very concerned with my mom’s health.  My Uncle Harvey, Barbara’s husband, is a very strong man.  He is retired military, opinionated, and stubborn.  I am sure knowing he is losing his wife is breaking him but he will never let on.  He owes it to her to be strong, and she owed it to him to fight for as long as she has.  Her suffering has been in vain because the cancer is spreading further and faster than the doctors anticipated.  I can’t even wrap my head around how a woman could be haying in the field alongside the men with a “sinus infection” that ends up being cancer in her naval cavity.  I can’t wrap my head around how a vital woman is suddenly struck down and then beaten down for years.  She has allowed herself to stop fighting and accept her fate.  Now the waiting comes.  I am grateful that I will not have to watch it happen.  I will be praying for her and the ones surrounding her for strength and acceptance.  I will also be praying for mercy.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

I shook hands with a murderer today...

Mary Johnson and Oshea Israel

As I sat there in church, it was impossible not to judge the man in front of me.  At the young age of 16, Oshea Israel killed another man.  He was tried as an adult and convicted of second degree manslaughter.  He served 17 years in prison out of his 25 year sentence.  He is a 38 year old charismatic, attractive, muscled man.  He smiles easily.  After hearing the mother of his victim, Mary Johnson, speak about forgiveness; I started to think if I could ever forgive someone of such a transgression.  She lost her only son and after 12 years of grieving and struggling since the murder, she forgave him. Looking at them today, you would think the two of them were mother and son.  They banter.  They touch one another in kindness.  He helped her on and off the stage.  They were literally next door neighbors for the first 3 years after he left prison.  She refers to him as her "spiritual son."

Their story is so remarkable that they have traveled all around the country and appeared on The View and in People magazine.  No one can believe the power of Christ to heal both of their hearts.  Oshea had to first accept his sin in order to forgive himself and continue on with his life.  Mary had to forgive the man that killed her only child in order to continue on with her life and let go of the rage and torment she carried.  After the service I was drawn to them both.  To Mary for having such strength, and to Oshea for owning what he did and trying to make something positive the outcome of such a horrible act.

They live in North Minneapolis.  They share their story as often as God allows, in their words.  If you want to know more, visit their site http://www.fromdeathtolife.us/home.html.

Monday, September 16, 2013


Gatsby awaiting the arrival of Daisy

Here are my thoughts on Gatsby, the most recent remake of F. Scott Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby.  I was very skeptical going into watching this movie.  The director is known for crazy camera action, and explosions of visual splendor.  I thought this would capture the party scenes and opulence of Gatsby quite well, but I never imagined it would also help emphasize the desperation of Jay Gatsby.

Leonardo DiCaprio was amazing in his role of Gatsby.  I wasn't sold the first time the audience was introduced to the man, but as the movie progressed I realized he brought something to the screen that Robert Redford never did... paranoia, desperation, and longing.  Robert Redford was so golden in his charm that the utter despair that was expressed in the novel never made it onto the screen across a vapid Mia Farrow.  DiCaprio brought tears to my eyes in his anxiety upon seeing Daisy Buchanan for the first time in five years.

The story of Gatsby has always haunted me.  A boy who grows up penniless only to find himself introduced to a woman above his position during the war.  The two fall in love.  Upon hearing that he has no wealth, she marries another.  He remains blindly hopeful that she will come back to him and believes his true stature will never be attained until she is at his side.  No other woman will do.  It has to be her.  This drives him to do anything to be rich, and in the time of the roaring Twenties, that meant getting involved in bootlegging or organized crime.  Redford was far too cool to believe he would sully his hands, but DiCaprio had an edge to his charm.  A side that said, "Don't fuck with me."

Daisy and Tom Buchanan could not be more useless human beings, but I feel that Carey Mulligan was almost too likable for the role.  She appeared weak, but she didn't capture the selfishness that Mia Farrow did years ago.  I disliked Mia Farrow as an actress for years because of that role, not understanding that it was just a role.  Now I respect her more as an actress for being so off-putting.  How fickle women are!

The narrator, Nick Carraway, played by Tobey Maguire, brought a vibrancy to the movie that the Redford version lacked.  It brought the story to life to understand how dramatically the destruction of Gatsby and his reputation affected another.  Maguire managed to make Carraway look confident, yet curious.  He was always outside of the situation, and he was very aware of it.  The narration through out the film was true to the novel and really directed the flow of the film.

I thought the remake was great, and mostly in part to the acting chops of Leonardo DiCaprio.  He was simply stunning.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Extended Power Outages in Modern Society

When you live in an Urban area, you never expect to be without electricity for over an hour. It is practically unheard of. At this point, it has been nearly 3 days for my family located in NW Minneapolis. There are still 40,000 Excel Energy customers without power. There are over 3 million people living in the Twin Cities, and we are a percentage of the unfortunate without power.

We lost hundreds of dollars of groceries, put out over a hundred on necessary supplies, and do not anticipate getting electricity back for 2 more days. Our home is very hot in the summer weather with no means of cooling it down and we have two very young kids.

The bright side is – no electricity! You are forced to talk to one another. You are forced to cooperate toward a common goal. Your fridge is ridiculously easy to clean when it’s bare!

The downside is – no electricity! Baby Anna is sweating at night. Alex is scared at night and wonders why we won’t turn on his fan. We are surrounded by homes with generators so there is an ever-present HUMMMMM! You have to charge your portable electronics when and where you can. You have to give the kids a bath by the light of a lantern… no windows in the bathroom.

More downsides than positive, but this June is definitely going down in the Johnson history book.