Later…..

Later there will be time for maneuvering traffic. Later there will be time for phone calls, emails, meetings. Later there will be time to see people and remember to smile, just in case they haven’t seen a smile in a while. Later there will be time to clean the windows and floors. Later.

But these next few minutes shall be for appreciating the way the steam from my coffee dances into the morning sunlight. These next few minutes will be for a few prayers whispered from my heart in the morning silence. These next few minutes are for stillness and gratitude for this day, knowing “later” will be here so quickly.

Hello, Tuesday! It’s good to be here.

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Hello, Saturday.

Strong coffee in a sturdy mug, blue jeans with a crease in the left leg from being laundered on a trip in 2014, an old blue shirt so frayed around the edges it could almost be mistaken for white trimmed, still deciding between sneakers, hiking boots, flip-flops, socks or nothing on my feet at all, and sunlight playing peek a boo through a gathering blanket of clouds.  The day is wide open,

Hello Saturday, it’s good to be here.

Out of Obesity, Chapter 3

We are snowed in here in this little corner of the world. This part of North Carolina is closed due to winter. I can’t get out of my driveway because of the snow, and I love it.  I have friends and loved ones who must travel regardless of, and even because of the weather, so I am helping keep them safe by staying off the roads.

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Snowfall in January 2018 ~ Looking East and loving it!

This beautiful scene will be short-lived, the melting began yesterday and should continue  for the next few days as well, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying this wonderful southern snowfall, and reflecting on this journey of mine.

There is this thing called patience,  I looked it up.  Merriam Webster simply defines it as “the act of being patient”.  Then I looked up “patient” and found the fourth definition:  steadfast despite opposition, difficulty, or adversity”.   Well, there it is. For me, this journey out of obesity is getting difficult and is being met with opposition from nobody other than myself.  My last post on this journey was 22 days ago; at that time I had lost 9 pounds, and was officially out of the obese BMI range into Overweight.

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I’m using the “Big Day Lite” app to keep track of the time on this, now in progress, journey. 

Oh yeah, I was happy with myself.  I was on the downhill slide and feeling quite smug.  Right about then I imagine this is what happened:

My body:  “Hey, wait a second, what is she up to?  She can’t take the fat away…the fat is so cushy, comfy, snuggly.  The fat is gooooood!!  Fat!! Don’t Go!!”   (Or something along those lines.)

And so, the fat decided it had a pretty good gig here in this body, so it decided to stick around.  For 21 days my weight stayed within the 9-10 pounds lost range.

Frustrating?  Yep.  Aggravating? Yep.  Enough to toss in the towel and settle with being overweight?  Nope.

This change, this journey, was never about quick weight loss, although I was quite happy with those initial results. Habits take time to change. Bodies take time to adjust to those changes.  And, frankly, not becoming discouraged and gaining any back during those 3 weeks that seemed like a stall, is quite a success in itself.

Here one month into this journey, the refined or added sugar aspect is fading from the central focus. It has been dealt with and given the proper attention, and no longer drives my appetite.  Now the focus shifts into other aspects of healthier foods, hopefully more physical movement throughout the days, and patience.  And I have renewed hope, because here, one month into this journey, there is finally another change.  Here, on day 31 I have a weight loss of 11 pounds total, and even as much as my body loves that security blanket of fat, my internal organs and my spine are, quite literally, relieved.

I also have this reminder that even though I may not always use it, and others may not always see it (I should work on that too) I do have that wonderful virtue, that gift of the Holy Spirit  that is patience.  It may be difficult, but I can do this, and it will be worth it.

It already is.

This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days.   Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it continues……

Out of Obesity, Chapter 2

24 November, 2017, one month before Christmas Eve I came to terms with my weight. And I have a lot of weight for my short frame. You can read about it in the first blog of this Out of Obesity series, but that’s really all I did at that time.  I looked up how much weight I need to shed to reach a healthy weight, and wrote that number down, and then I went on my merry little way nibbling through Thanksgiving.  I mean, who begins a diet right before Thanksgiving? Not me.

Thanksgiving came and went, and you know what?  I didn’t gain any weight!  But, I didn’t lose any either.  It wasn’t because I didn’t over eat,  I did over eat, I’m ashamed to say. But prior to the big feasts, I was extremely active with the middle school youth ministry November project.  Those amazing kids, and their wonderful families, collected enough canned goods to fill 17 file boxes full of food, and enough funds to put a grocery store gift card with each one of them for fresh or frozen foods to complete their meals, and then we delivered it to our local Catholic Charities for families already waiting in line.  It’s the favorite service project for many of the youth, and it’s a veryactive time for me.  So, I’m betting all that moving, sorting & lifting had a lot to do with the stable weight in November.

Most of December I was coasting too, not really thinking about my weight or eating habits much, I mean, who starts a diet right before Christmas?  Not me.  Or so I thought.

But then came our last Junior High Youth Ministry meeting of 2017, and that called for a party!  Games, singing, apple cider, cupcakes, and of course cookies!  It was a phenomenal night.

So much laughter, so much joy, so much sugar.  For some reason this particular night, I ended up with the leftover sweets.  So, I sat down Sunday night with a plate piled high with beautiful and delicious Christmas cookies. While looking over the notes and photographs from the evening, I mindlessly ate probably half of them.

That following Monday morning, 18th of December, found me like most of my days off, staying close to the coffee pot and answering necessary emails.  Unlike most of my Monday’s off, I had a huge stack of cookies with me.  I’m sure I ate 20 before I even realized it.  Yes, they were small, but still, that’s a lot of cookies!   That’s when I asked my husband to throw the rest of them away for me.  That was the turning point.   I’ve known for a long time I’m a sugar addict, but even I was shocked at how I was reacting to that plate of cookies.

I’m using the “Big Day Lite” app to keep track of the time on this, now in progress, journey. 
So, I withdrew from the office cookie exchange and immediately began to not eat sugar.  No sugar.  None.  For 4 days I was able to stay completely away from it, in all forms, no sugar at all, added or natural, and I was amazed.

I mean, who gives up sugar the week before Christmas?  Apparently, that would be me.

Day 5 happened to be on the day of our office Christmas luncheon with some really delicious winter squash ravioli.  Day 6 was Christmas Eve with a traditional fruit cake made by one of my sisters, using our grandmother’s recipe.  Day 7 was Christmas day with my sister-in-law’s famous coconut cake.  Day 8 was dinner with a wonderful friend and my fantastic God-daughter, who made baked brie with apricot jam in puffed pastry just for me.  And it was delicious.

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My sister Bobbie has the recipe, given to her by our grandmother Ava.  This, my friends, is what fruitcake should be.  So much more than cake, and served on our mother’s china, worth stepping away from any diet.  Christmas Eve Breakfast at my house this morning 
You can tell from this I didn’t starve myself, but I did have very real conversations with myself over the cake.  Was the fruitcake worth it?  Absolutely!  Did I eat as much as I would have just the week before?  Absolutely not.  Instead I had a small slice and savored it as long as possible.

The coconut cake went much the same way with a very important exception:  I only had a part of one layer, not even a slice, with just a little of the icing, and I made it last as long as possible.  I was not as controlled with the baked brie, but again, not nearly as careless as I would have been even a week ago.

Today, Thursday the 28th of December finds me on the other side of the biggest temptations of the season.  I remain committed to this  journey towards better health, and as of this morning my BMI is 29.9. That’s a loss of 9 pounds, and that means  I am officially not obese any longer!  Who would have thought being categorized as overweight would be a reason to celebrate?  Me.

On this journey out of obesity, so far I’ve discovered a few things:  Sugar hides in the most unexpected places.  Sometimes the sugar is worth it.  When the sugar is worth it, I have to be completely aware of the form and quantity I’m consuming.  And now, I know I can do that.

This entry is simply to mark my thoughts and progress, and to note that I’m pleasantly surprised I made progress over the recent days.   Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it continues……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Out of Obesity

It has been an amazing few weeks in my corner of this world.  In the coming days Kelly’s Keyboard will be filled with stories of gratitude, some wonderful adventures in junior high youth ministry, family gatherings, and beautiful travels.

But today, there is something else on my mind.  Today I’m realizing how short I actually am.  There were times in my life I could stretch and be recorded at 5′ 1 3/4″, but now it’s closer to 5′ 1 1/2″…..on my tiptoes.  To be fair, I’m fine with being short, I call it fun-sized.  Today, however, I have decided to come to terms with what this short frame is carrying around.

There’s a formula to calculate one’s healthy weight using one’s height and weight to discover one’s current body mass index, the indicator of excess body fat.  There are also countless online calculators to do that automatically, so I found a few of them, and settled on using one I trust from the Mayo Clinic website.

So,with my first-thing-in-the-morning weight, I entered my information.  I didn’t even have time to take a sip of coffee before the results were up on the screen:

 

My BMI is 31.9.  I am obese. What?  No.  I just have a little more sand in this hourglass figure of mine.  Obese?  That can’t be right.

But it is.

Notice that nifty little guide in the shaded grey and orange?

Initially I looked at this and thought, ok, I’m only 1.9 over the limit into the obese category.  I can fix this in a matter of days.

I like to tell myself things like that.

 

Then I started checking the calculator to find out at what weight I would actually be considered not obese, and not overweight.

Here’s how that went:

  • Losing 10 pounds:  BMI is 29.9, overweight.
  • Losing 20 pounds:  BMI is 28, still overweight.
  • Losing 30 pounds:  BMI is 26.1, still overweight.
  • Losing 40 pounds:  BMI is 24.2  Finally!  A weight within the “Normal BMI” range.

A few more calculations and I discovered I would need to either gain 9 inches in height, or lose 36 pounds in excess weight to travel out of obesity, through overweight territory, back into normal body weight range.

I’m not getting any taller, so my course is pretty clear.  Throw on a coat, an extra scarf, wrap up in a blanket and go.  And I’m one of those folks that can wrap up in a blanket and go for a stroll without even spilling my coffee,  I have mad skills when it comes to camouflaging the fluff……..

In all seriousness, though, today,  I have no choice but to come to terms with the fact that this isn’t fluff.  It’s nearly 40 extra pounds that I’m forcing my frame to carry around.  I’m doing this to my joints, my spine, my feet, my kidneys, my heart.

This is not a “vanity” post.  This is an “I know my genetics and I’ve seen first hand how obesity can wreak havoc on one’s health and I can’t believe I’ve allowed myself to get to this point” post. And so, I take a deep breath in acknowledging there is much work to be done. It cannot wait for a new year’s resolution.

This entry is simply this first step. I don’t have a plan yet except to post my thoughts, setbacks and progress on this journey here.  Productive comments and suggestions are encouraged, others traveling on this journey are welcome to join me.

I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.  Philippians 4:13

 And so it begins……

 

 

 

So much more than coffee

Coffee, a chance to pause, reflect, plan; a time for conversations, hugs, laughter, tears, warmth, strength.  Comfort in a cup for moments of solitude, and a reason in itself to get-together with friends and loved ones.  Liquid energy to stir the creative thoughts and complete those important tasks, and a means by which the beauty of the present moment can be savored, sometimes in an antique china cup. ~  Coffee, the perfect excuse to take snapshots along morning walks and send them to my sisters throughout the year so we can all have a coffee break together, wherever we all may be.   ~ Coffee, it’s so much more than just coffee.

Enjoy a few cups with me….

Coffee ~ So Good

~ Peace ~

 

~Kiawah~

Recently, I happened to be in the right place at the right time to receive an amazing invitation to Kiawah Island, South Carolina with some wonderful women for a few days.    It’s good to travel to nice places, but it’s more important to travel with good people.  This unexpected trip was both, and so much more.

This post is all about capturing the small moments, those “bookend” times of the day when one can carve out a few moments of solitude to simply be, and simply be aware of where we are and grateful for our time here.

Allow me to share a few of the beautiful sights and moments experienced within these 13 or so square miles along the edge of the Atlantic.  First up:  Arrival!

Welcome to Kiawah Island
That feeling when you know you’re close to somewhere special is even more exciting when greeted by such a beautiful sign.

This beautiful place has miles and miles and miles of trails.  Level, well-marked, well maintained trails.  Where the trails end, there are more miles of well packed sand at the edge of the Atlantic, just perfect for strolling or cruising.  Walking and bicycling were the preferred means of transportation throughout much of the stay on Kiawah.

With bags stowed in the condo and sunset approaching, one of the first activities was to find a spot for the best show in the area!   A little side note here:  Early in the drive, our theme song became Castle On The Hill by Ed Sheeran.  Looking at this photo now, watching the pelicans fly over the nearby Sanctuary Hotel that could easily be mistaken for a castle in the sunset that first evening, that song fits so well.

Brilliant Sunset over The Sanctuary Resort ~ Kiawah Island, SC
..a lone gull, a flock of pelicans, and an amazing mid-week sunset..

Mornings are a favorite time for me, especially at the beach, any beach, but I had no idea the beauty and majesty awaiting me on my first morning walk at Kiawah.  I happened upon a couple of bucks looking for breakfast!

Buck Surveying the dunes
..caught sight of a buck surveying the dunes on my morning walk…

He must have heard me behind him and turned around.  For just a few seconds he walked towards me on the boardwalk.  I backed up accordingly to give him his space.

Beautiful buck on the boardwalk
..Let me just slip off to the side to get out of his way…

After a couple of minutes, the buck turned around and joined a friend for breakfast in the dunes.   A lovely cardinal flew into the frame just as I snapped the picture.

Morning Company
This is how I spent my first morning on Kiawah, in the company of beautiful creatures at the edge of the vast ocean.   No other humans to be seen.  #GodSightings!

The condo where we stayed had a wonderful kitchen with ample beautiful and comfortable spaces to enjoy meals and conversation.  But one night we ventured out to a restaurant at Bohicket Marina. Oh.My.Goodness!  Yes, the food was delicious, yes the company was delightful, yes the conversation included A LOT of laughter; but upon exiting the building we were greeted by the twilight sky settling in for the night over the boats.

Boats at Bohicket
Last rays of sunlight fading ahead of gathering clouds. ‘Tis good the boats are in the harbor this night.

Heavy clouds gathered throughout the night.  Summertime thunderstorms are a reality here, but the boats seem determined to shine with their reflections despite the imposing darkness.

Marina at night ~ The stuff of dreams!
….calm waters below, troubled skies above….

The next morning the clouds seemed to want to linger a little longer and enjoy the sunrise as well.  Who could blame them?  Later this beach will be filled with people enjoying the sunshine and surf, but for now it’s nearly deserted.

Morning sunrise through clouds at Kiaway
The sun seems to be blanketed by the clouds, rising from them as if slowly waking to the new day itself.

I love those glowing moments, when even the air seems saturated between the actual light and the reflection from the water.

More morning scenes from Kiawah ~ lone shrimp boat heading out to sea.

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More morning scenes from Kiawah ~ Sunrise reflections from the pond.  There’s a sign warning of alligators, but they stayed out of sight on this trip.

Sunrise reflection on one of the greens
Morning sunrise and clouds at one of the greens on the golf course.

As much as I adore the pictures of and on the beach, this picture is one of my favorites from this trip.  This is the walkway to the beach following an overnight rainstorm.  Fallen leaves, blown by the wind and rain, lay undisturbed as I approached on my morning walk.  Perhaps in this picture there’s a hint of how spectacular autumn will be along this trail.

Walkway to the beach ~ Kiawah
Storm soaked boardwalk and fallen leaves ~ Beautiful Sights at Kiawah

What you don’t see in these pictures are the in-between moments.  Images of conversations over coffee, morning chats, laughter over wine, bonding between a mother and her recent high school graduate daughter, friendships growing, rest and renewal.

What I hope you see are images of a beautiful place where these and more wonderful things happened, all  because one person chose to extend an amazing invitation.

While leaving, I stopped for one more sign.  The Sanctuary Resort sign adorned with Old Glory in preparation for the Independence Day festivities.

Departure Sign:  Sanctuary
Sanctuary – So much more than a resort hotel.

Our sign upon arrival simply stated where we were, our sign on departure simply stated what we had experienced ~ Sanctuary.

Peace.

 

“Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.”

  1 Thessalonians 5:11