Wednesday, September 30, 2009

DAY 52 Guard Your Heart & Distilled Wisdom

Good Afternoon Journal!

I was about 14 yrs old, riding in the back seat of the car as our family went out to eat one night at Shakey's Pizza Parlor in Sunland, California.

I was the typical self-absorbed teenager. The rest of the family talked about this and that, when the subject of a particular tv show came up. Everyone else was in a good mood, taking turns talking about what they liked about the show. I piped up and glumly said that I HATED the show.......Silence. 

Then my Mom said to me something that I have never forgotten, even 44 years later: 

You know, people don't really like hearing what you HATE...if you don't have anything nice to say, just don't say anything at all.

I know there is a time and place for all things...a time to give my opinion, even about things for which I feel strongly AGAINST. But I know exactly what Momma was telling me...we were having a good time, and I was being a wet blanket, ruining the fun mood. I was being negative and selfish. Attitudes are contagious, and mine was definitely NOT worth catching. I haven't always taken Momma's advice, especially when I was younger...but I have tried.

There is an ancient proverb that says: 

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." 

 Another way of saying that is GIGO, which stands for "garbage in, garbage out." We are affected by what we allow IN. What we read, what we hear, music, tv, the people we allow to influence our thinking...this really is a big deal!

I LOVE inspirational quotes. I think of them as "distilled wisdom." Big thoughts distilled down into pithy, memorable quotes. Love 'em. I want to always have a teachable spirit that reminds me that I am NOT a know-it-all...that I can learn something from everyone I meet, even it is a lesson in reverse--what NOT to do.

So I want to be selective in choosing which people I allow to influence my heart, my "wellspring of life." I will often read about the people that I quote. I was inspired by the biography of Abraham Lincoln. I have read about the lives of other people that I admire, such as Michelangelo, Helen Keller, Og Mandino, Zig Ziglar, Dr Viktor Frankl, Ralph Marston Jr, Tom Venuto, Dr Phil McGraw, and many many more.

This idea of guarding our hearts even extends to the blogosphere-interwebs. I have had to make choices as to which people I will allow to influence me on a regular basis. There is only so much time, and I want to spend it wisely. I don't make that choice based on the blog's popularity, but rather on a few simple questions: 

Is absorbing what this person is putting out going to make me a healthier, better, more loving and whole person??

How do I feel after leaving the this persons blog...uplifted, encouraged, inspired; or even if I don't totally agree, did it help me think, grow and learn?? 

Do I feel a kinship with them...a connectedness because we are on the same journey to wellness??

Are their values and philosophies of life compatible enough with they add to me or detract from me??

Do they, ultimately, CONTRIBUTE to or CONTAMINATE my journey to becoming a healthier person??

If all this sounds self-centered...maybe it is. But I, and I alone am responsible for what I allow into my life. I am not a victim...I have choices. And I am so happy there are a multitude of fantastic blogs out there from which to choose. Now if there was only more time in the day!!!!

From Dr Phil's book: "Ultimately, only you--and you alone--are responsible for getting your weight under control."

My verse for today:  "There is a time for everything...a time to be silent and a time to speak."

My quote for today: " You become like the people you spend time with." --Jack Canfield

Enjoy the Journey,


Tuesday, September 29, 2009

DAY 51 Stages of Change & Joy

Hello Journal!

Monday I visited a blog I have been following, and it moved me to tears. It touched me...and this young man and I met at the heart level. He is only 27 years old, but must have an "old soul". He is in a struggle for his life, like most of us who started extremely heavy.

His blog is called Stages of Change (here)and he started his journey at 618 lbs. He takes great photographs which he posts at times, and I wasn't surprised to discover that he plays the piano. Most of the musicians I have known, including those in my own family, feel deeply. His writing seems very honest and heartfelt.

What he said that resonated with me was this: that the weight was only a symptom, and he had a lot to work through...he wanted to do it the healthy way...he wanted to heal emotionally/mentally/spiritually AND physically...he understood it was a process of learning and growing, and it was not always fun, and it won't be a perfect journey...but he is excited about his bright future.

Oh, I smiled so big when I read this. When we finally get to the place where we stop looking for the quick fix...the magic bullet, and embrace the WORK of getting healthy...then the REAL progress begins.

I could beat myself up for not starting this journey at his age...OR, I could feel joy that this young man has found the way...and be happy and grateful that I, too, have finally found the way. I choose the JOY.

We are both on our way to our bright new futures! I am excited for us both. :-)

From Dr Phil's book: "Choose the right attitude and the right behavior to generate the right results."

My verse for today: "Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive ourselves. Do what it says."

My quote for today: "Decide what you want, decide what you are willing to exchange for it. Establish your priorities. And go to work."--H.L. Hunt

Enjoy the Journey,


Monday, September 28, 2009

DAY 50 Time & Progress

Hello Journal,

About 20 years ago during one of my many  "I'm really gonna do it this time" weight loss attempts, I attended a faith-based weight loss program. I tried, I really did. But I ended up leaving in failure after repeating the whole program three times. I was devastated. I'm a Christian, and now I even failed at this one! I had what I felt were great reasons for leaving the program...but now I see them for what they were: excuses. I had only lost about 25 lb on the program, then did my typical yo-yo afterwards, and regained it all back with extra.

But one experience has forever stuck with me from that program. It happened at one of the very first meetings. We went around the room introducing ourselves...once again, I was the biggest one in the room. 

Finally it came the turn of a lady that was probably 150 pounds smaller than I was (I was about 460 lbs at that time). She was very teary, and started telling how she would watch tv shows with "these huge people" on them. And crying, she looked at ME, and said she was so scared that someday she would look like me. She didn't have a clue how deeply that cut! 

Others in the room squirmed and looked embarrassed and sympathetic, which made it all the more awful for me. I just wanted to crawl under a rock somewhere and die. I sat there and did what I had trained myself to do when hurt because of my appearance: I tried to keep a stony face, with no reaction, and not let on how painful it was. But this time, in this place, it caught me off guard. I had thought I was in a "safe" place. And try as I might, the tears rolled down my face, even as I sat frozen faced.

The meeting progressed, and I sat silent. Finally, at the very end, I knew I could not let this go unaddressed. I asked to speak, and then explained to her that I never thought that I would ever become "one of them" either. I looked her right in the eyes and said: 
 IS TIME... unless you change."

I was thinking about this incident because there are a bazillion weight loss blogs out there. And at first I was only gravitating towards ones that were written by someone in my weight range. Then I remembered my own words, that the only difference between the "smaller" ones and me is time, unless they change. No one plans to become "one of them"...and even when you become "one of them", on the inside you are screaming "I am not a freak!" 

So now I follow blogs of people with whom I connect...with their heart...their experiences...their dreams...their accomplishment in this journey. People I can learn from, be inspired by, or just feel a kinship with. 

NONE of us are "one of them"... we are real people, with hopes and dreams, with a desire to love and be have a life we feel good about.
And that is why I will succeed this time, because I choose to change, to drop the excuses, to get honest and make progress at staying consistent. The finish line may still be a long way off for me still...but I am making progress.

There is no such thing as a "perfect" journey...but there is progress. Now, I remind myself: PROGRESS, NOT PERFECTION

And in the progress department, my weekly Monday weigh-in was I met my goal to lose 3 lbs this week. :-)

From Dr Phil's book: "Ultimately, only you--and you alone--are responsible for getting your weight under control."

My verse for today: "Speak the truth in love."

My quote for today:  "I don't know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody." --Bill Cosby

Enjoy the Journey,


Sunday, September 27, 2009

Day 49 Day of Rest, Swordfights & Favorite Photos

Hi there Journal,

Ah, of rest. 

When we were kids we used to break off the long branches of Pampas Grass and use it for play swordfighting. I love Pampas is fanciful, fairytale-ish, and sways lusciously with the slightest breeze.

MyGuy knows I love Pampas Grass, so when he is out scouting for photos to shoot, he will always take pics of it whenever he spies some, just for me. So sweet. :-)

Here are only a few of the MANY that I have in my Pampas Grass collection (click on any pic to enlarge). 
"A Day in the Life of Pampas Grass"

Enjoy the Journey,


Saturday, September 26, 2009

Day 48 Feeling It...or Not

Hello Journal!

Some days I "feel" it, some days I don't. Today I don't.

Some days I feel all fired up, determined to do whatever it takes to create my new future... I FEEL the passion, the fire, the excitement of the progress. I am enjoying the journey.

Then the day comes--and it will, because that's the way of life, with ebbs and flows...when I do NOT feel it.

It just means that I don't FEEL it today.

As far back as I can remember, I have always been a quote-putter-upper. I stick little notes all over, here and there, with quotes, notes, goals, slogans or phrases...anything that I want to "seed" into my mind.

On the days that I do not FEEL the inspiration, the motivation, I inevitably run across one that fits my need.

Just from my art studio alone, here are some of my little notes...some are hard to read because they are so old they have faded...that's okay because I know them by heart..they are like old friends:

No Excuses

If you don't like it, change it.
If you can change it, change the way you think about it.

Talent is cheap; dedication is expensive. It will cost you your life.--Michelangelo

The happiest people don't necessarily have the best of everything, they just make the best of everything.

There is one thing no one can ever take from me; and that is my freedom to choose how I will react to what happens to me. --Viktor Frankl

Be BOLD...color outside the lines

Passion bridges the chasm between the dreamer and the doer.--Lew Lehrman

There's treasure everywhere!--Calvin and Hobbes

Our most precious achievements are those purchased with our greatest efforts.

Excuses are the crutches of the uncommitted.

Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.--Abraham Lincoln

Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration.--Thomas Edison

Whether you believe you can or believe you can't, either way you're right.--Henry Ford

It's not the technique that counts but it's the passion that matters.--Beethoven

Six P Principle:  Proper Planning Prevents Pukey Poor Performance

Dreams are where you want to go; hard work is how you get there.

Don't let what you can't do stop you from doing what you CAN do!

Remember: the same boiling water that hardens the egg will soften the carrot. Everything depends on the individuals reaction to stressful circumstances.

One can never consent to creep when one feels the impulse to soar.--Helen Keller

Sow a Thought, reap a Word
Sow a Word, reap an Action
Sow an Action, reap a Habit
Sow a Habit, reap a Character
sow a Character, reap your Destiny

Time continues...I will go to sleep tonight...and tomorrow I will most likely FEEL it again. That is not a necessary thing to my success, but it sure is more fun!

From Dr Phil's book: "Problems..don't get better with inattention."

My verse for today: "...His compassions never fail. They are new every morning."

My quote for today: "People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily."--Zig Ziglar

Enjoy the Journey,


Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 47 Woodstock, Janis & A Fancy Dinner

DAY 47 of ReStart Friday Sept 25, 09

Good Morning Journal,
Love her or hate her, Janis Joplin was a passionate and powerful singer. Growing up, I loved her. She seemed real, and she sang with intensity and honesty. Yes, her life had a tragic ending, but doesn't take away from the impact her singing had on me.

One time during an interview she was asked what she thought about while she sang. She shook her head and said "I don't think...I just FEEL."

I want to paint the way Janis sang...with passion and depth, and with all my heart and soul. Last night I tried to explain this to my husband. I had to resort to youtube to get my point across. He's not exactly "musical", but he got it.

The subject of Woodstock and those that performed there came up because it will soon be time for the yearly Awards Banquet at my husbands work. He has been there 20 years, and this year will be presented with an award. 

In all these 20 years, I have never been to one. 

Yes, I was invited, but I didn't go for several reasons...ashamed of how I looked, embarrassed to have others watch with curiosity while I ate, trying to fit into restaurant chairs, not sure if I would be able to use the restroom without assistance, and worst of all to me, ashamed to have his work colleagues see what I looked like... fearing they would judge him because of me.

Well, this year I am going. On the outside I still don't look that different. But INSIDE I feel different. So I am going to go, and do my best to enjoy myself, and support's his turn to be honored and I want to be there.

I might even wear a bit of costume...the theme is Woodstock. The historic 3 day outdoor music concert and "happening" that is generally just called Woodstock took place 40 years ago...I was 18 years old. It's going to be fun to see what "hippie" costumes people come up with. :-)

For fun, here is a site that has tons of old hippie-era photos, and explains a little  what the Hippie thing was about...what a fun blast from the past for me! (click here)

And next year, at the next awards banquet, I might even join them out on the dance floor! 

PS: I decided what to do for a bit of costume...wear a hemp and bead headband, and I am going to paint a pair of shoes in TYE DIE!!

From Dr Phil's book: "The past is over. The future hasn't happened yet. The only time is now."

My verse for today:  "I can do everything through him who gives me strength."

My quote for today:  "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've always imagined."--Henry David Thoreau

Enjoy the Journey,


Thursday, September 24, 2009

DAY 46 Is Happiness a Choice?

Hello Journal,

Everything in our life does not have to be perfect for us to find small pockets of happiness and joy tucked away here and there...we just have to look for them.

And the first step in doing that is to have an 
Attitude of Gratitude

Simply put... I'll find what I am looking for. The more I open up to being thankful, the more I see. This is not some kind of touchy-feely hocus is solidly backed by scientific research. I'm not talking about those battling clinical depression, or even those in the midst of heartbreaking trauma... but about the average person dealing the stresses of daily living, which is most of us.

Don't like modern know-it-all scientists? How about Abraham Lincoln, who said:
"Most folks are about as happy 
as they make up their minds to be."

After I read his biography, about some of the circumstances of his private life, I was even more impressed with his attitude. I read a library book that included insight into his private life with Mary Todd Lincoln, and the deaths of THREE of his sons while they were still young. He had every excuse to complain, feel bitter, or have self-pity. But he didn't...he had patience and compassion. Even though he battled with depression at times, he still knew that happiness was, in large part, a choice.

Having a happy, upbeat attitude is a GOAL of mine...I don't constantly feel "happy happy, joy joy". It is a goal, not a constant state of emotion. 

But I guarantee...we can CHOOSE how we respond to life, we "make our own weather" (here). Every morning I have the choice to decide what kind of day I want. I live in the United States, in the beautiful state of Oregon. My husband has a job, we have a roof over our heads, and hopes and dreams for the future. I have much to be thankful for!

Back in 2004, after my Mom died, there was a period of time when I knew I would never smile again. I felt guilt if I laughed. I would repeatedly be taken by surprise at the realization, fresh all over again that she was not here. How could she be gone?? She has always been here...she is my best friend...she is a part of my life, she can't be gone.

Time passed...5 years...I still can't believe it...but I have finally accepted I can't phone her to talk. When she became seriously ill, I had just been getting a good start on my weight loss journey. I put my life on hold, because I told myself that I just could not cope with the necessary focus on "me" that was needed to make life changes, and take care of her also.  I used food for comfort.

Now I am at a place where I my reality is strong that Momma is like a Golden Thread, woven into the very fabric of my life. She is gone, but not...she is in me, in my life...I feel the touch she left in my life, and mostly what I choose to focus on now are the loving, wise, joyful touches...I choose the good memories, and have finally truly made peace with her "humanness".

I feel ready to focus on me, on my journey to health. It didn't have to take this long...but I resisted facing my true emotions without the comforting buffer of food...but, it is what it is...I can't change that, I can only choose to go forward.

Happpiness is not an automatic state of mind, a way I feel with no effort. I must choose my thoughts each day. Working THROUGH my emotions is NOT always a  "happy" can be painful and hard. But I look at it now as going through a necessary tunnel, and coming out the other end, with rich results. 

I have definitely not had a "perfect" journey so far...lots of mistakes along the way..but it is worth it. All of this is just my experience...but so far, it's working. :-)

From Dr Phil's book: "How you interpret the events, circumstances, and situations in your life is entirely up to you."

My verse for today: "Dear friends, this is now my second letter to you. I have written both of them as reminders to stimulate you to wholesome thinking."

My quote for today: "If you realized how powerful your thoughts are, you would never think a negative thought." --Peace Pilgrim

Enjoy the Journey,


Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hi Journal, it's just you an' me again,

Yeah, right.

I am blessed to have the kind of sister that really knows me, and will, in her own gentle way, call me out when I get phoney. We really are not alike, personality wise. She has a kind, gentle spirit that on Star Trek they called an Empath. She senses  things. It is her biggest strength, and can be her biggest source of pain, because she is easily hurt. But I know she has something that I want...need to learn.

I tend to be too outspoken, too blunt. As I get...ahem...older...I am learning a LITTLE bit to think before I speak. Maybe that is why I like the blogging gives me a chance to check my mouth before it runs off and inadvertently hurts someone, even though that wasn't my intention.

Many times as I look back over my life (I am 58), the things I wish I could change the most are the rash things I said. Ah, the wayward tongue....who can tame it??

I am on this train of thought because, to be honest (Karen, I am trying) I feel like a phoney...I am constantly suprised to see that someone has signed up to "follow" me.  Good grief...that's like the blind leading the blind!!

Then, other times, I think I might actually have some hard won lessons I have learned, or are in the process of learning (and then have to deal with the guilt of feeling prideful). Lessons I DEARLY would love to pass on...especially to those younger than myself (hmmm...which is most of them). So they could avoid some of the heartache and regret of waiting so long, like I did, to get my act together, to lose this not use food as a comfort or escape, but to feel my emotions, deal with them, and heal them.

I want to shout from the rooftop:

(wood sign photo credit: Diego Medrano)

I want desperately to help people in my own family...I feel like I have been a horrible example for them. I have had to work through guilt about that...forgive myself, and let it go. I don't want them to go through what I did. Being 460 pounds is not is not "happy".

The best thing I can do now, is to LIVE it, not just talk about it, the way I did for too many years....but DO it.

Yesterday, as I wrote that day's blog, I typed a sentence that I didn't even realize had bothered me all these years. It was about the angry adult male authority figure in my young, impressionable life asking me: Who do you think you are?? And then he threw a large, heavy glass ashtray at me (missed). The scene is etched in memory like it happened yesterday.

This morning as I thought about the people who signed up to follow this blog, I caught myself asking that same question: who do I think I am??? And I realized I have been doing that all my life. Out of fear of being a phoney, or being prideful, or self-deluded, or just feeling like I was a nobody, I would negate my own worth, what I might have to offer, or what I might accomplish in the future.

I am glad the light was shined on this bit of "stinkin thinkin". I can answer it, refute it, and replace it with a healthier self-image. I absolutely, literally CRINGE when I read some of the user names people give themselves as bloggers... derogatory and hopeless, even cruel sounding. Yet in the secret place of my mind, here was this thing, this axe that chopped me down every time I tried to grow up too tall and strong.

I am so glad it is GONE!! I have answered it...I am ME. I am Loretta. And I have wonderful potential, and I will not go away...I will journey to my healthy future, to the New Me.

I am getting over the embarrassment of even typing my was like promoting myself, or bragging, or drawing attention to myself, or "who do you think you are?" to type my name on my blog. I am making myself do it, to chase away those lies


And that is alright. In fact it is more than is like opening a newly discovered little treasure chest, and finding what is discovery after another. It is fun, and it's a Happy thing.

Michael Beckwith says to always look for the Blessin' or the Lesson in all of lifes circumstances. If I am open, even negative events can yield either a blessin' or a lesson...or both!  I feel it was a blessing that I felt challenged for being a Happy Blogger, because it unearthed a hidden wound from my past that I am dealing with, and healing, and getting free from...and I am Happy about that. ;-)

From Dr Phil's book: "Create meaning and purpose out of your suffering.."

My verse for today: "Let your conversation be always full of grace."

My quote for today: "As I grow older I pay less attention to what men say. I just watch what they do."--Andrew Carnegie

Enjoy the Journey,


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