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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Honestly...

It's been a rough week.

I seem to always fall into a slump whenever I visit family, but am usually able to shake it off. This time I'm in a "pit" and its been difficult to crawl out.

I think some of it has to do with my work. I was notified last week that the entire dictation system I work with is changing. This was expected to some degree, but I wasn't prepared for it to completely change my job. I've been a medical transcriptionist for 12 years, but now am being trained as a voice recognition editor. There is a part of me that is very happy about this as it adds a new skill set to my resume. It will bring my job into the current century rather than working on an outdated, overrun system. But there is also the part of me that is older and set in my ways and resistant to change. The fact that the company I contract with is also unsure of all of the ramifications of this change has left me feeling somewhat insecure.

All of this, together with the emotional upheaval of being with family but not having enough time to really enjoy being with everyone and do everything I want to do, has pushed me into despair. I start asking the questions I thought I already knew the answer to, like "Why are we here (in Greenville) and what is my purpose (when I am needed more there)?"

I know what to do to help me with this situation, so why don't I do it? Wallowing in self pity is not something I allow myself to do very often, but for whatever reason it gives me a sense of control over my life when all I feel is out of control. My husband gets confused, but as long as he knows it's not about him, he can deal - and wait it out. I'm better today than I was on Monday, so he can see a light at the end of the tunnel.

Deep down, I am angry. I lived close to my family for so long, but it was when they didn't need me as much. Now that they need me, I am too far away to just drop everything and run to them. I used to reason in my mind and trust that it was for the best, but when you're being irrational, all reason goes out the window.

So, where to go from here? I am praying for understanding. I think I've matured enough spiritually to know that God expects us to have human flaws, and it's ok to get angry and frustrated, but it's not ok to stay that way. All He wants at times like this is for us to realize our need for Him. I need to get back to what I know to be true, and trust that HE knows much better than I about where I belong.

So I smile and keep moving forward, and just keep thinking about this beautiful, precious boy who calls me Mimi and is a blonde version of my little girl all those years ago...

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Rocky Mountain High

We just returned from a glorious week in Colorado!

We stayed in a small town about 10 miles outside of Vail called Avon, the home of Beaver Creek Resort where the World Alpine Ski Championships were held just the week before we arrived. Good timing, because it was a relatively quiet week with small crowds.

I think I was familiar with the name Beaver Creek, since I grew up in the heyday of Wide World of Sports. They were always broadcasting ski competitions from there.

 
The drive in from Denver was a bit precarious. We kept saying we were up for an adventure, and we were about to get one. There had just been a huge storm and the roads were a mess, and it was still snowing a little. We had what should have been a two hour drive, though it was slippery at times and dark by then since it took a while to get our rental. Why didn't we take a shuttle and let someone else do the driving? We like being able to do what we want when we want, and because my hub is an online shopping genius, our rental cost less than the shuttle. Luckily we had an SUV, but without 4WD. The biggest fear was not knowing where we were and what was ahead (kind of like life in general, right?) So we just kept it slow and steady and prayed a lot! Once we made it to Avon, the wind was blowing so hard we almost couldn't get the car doors open. It ended up taking just over three hours. We had frazzled nerves, but we were SO happy to be there.

Waiting for our luggage at DIA - we didn't have a clue!



The roads looked like this up and down the mountain passes
 
We are Starwood timeshare owners, so we stayed at the Sheraton Mountain Vista. The location was so great - everything we needed was within a short drive or walk. Our one bedroom condo on the 6th floor was very nice and had everything we needed to live comfortably for the week. The condo was very warm from the heat rising in the building, so most of the time we had a window or the sliding door cracked open. Surprisingly, we never turned on the heat and never used the TWO fireplaces. It was just too warm inside! We ran a humidifier constantly because of the dry air and also the ceiling fans to keep the air moving.

View after a heavier snowfall

On our first day, after stocking up on essentials at their lovely Walmart that is nestled in the mountain (everyone was so friendly), we took off to sightsee and get the lay of the land.

Why yes, I did take a picture of Walmart!

I'd spent weeks acquiring warm clothing for what we might encounter. We had lows in the 0s and one day it got up to 45, but for the most part it stayed in the 20-30s, but it just didn't feel the same as it does at home. It's a dry cold, and it just doesn't smack you in the face when you walk out the door like it does here (unless the wind was blowing). We were able to bundle up in our ski jackets and hats and walk comfortably for miles in the low temps when the wind was quiet. My $29 Totes boots and $59 Jessica Simpson parka from 6pm.com were the smartest purchases I've ever made. My feet were never cold, and the fur collar and zip off hood on my coat were perfect for all conditions.

Our first look at the slopes at Beaver Creek

Yours truly, contemplating my fate
 
We skied twice, one day with official lessons and one day without. The first day both of us were fitted incorrectly for our ski boots, and we limped around with too small and too narrow boots thinking this was how it was supposed to feel since we weren't used to them. This is what we looked like after that first ski day:
 
Our legs were like noodles

Chuck did better than I did, but I was still proud of myself for lasting as long as I did with sore feet and legs, in the high altitude thin air, and using muscles I hadn't used ever in years.

After a day of rest, we were fitted correctly in our boots and took off for the slopes on our own. What a blast! We put our lessons to the test and, thankfully, stayed upright for the most part. I was even able to figure out the chair lift and actually enjoyed it (after thinking I'd somehow miss the chair or somehow fall getting off, but they really make it easy!)

There were times that we actually got too warm and had to shed our ski jackets. We noticed a lot of the more experienced skiers were wearing shorter, less bulky ski jackets and layers underneath. I did feel like a stuffed sausage at times with all my gear. Live and learn!

Thumbs up!
 
My hub, the phantom skier
 
A view from the lift on a clear day

We didn't stay still much during the day, and one day was spent in Vail. There are a couple of villages surrounding the ski slopes, and the day we went to Vail Village it was snowing and so beautiful! We felt like we were in a winter wonderland. They still had evergreen wreaths and bows up in places so it felt very holiday-like.

A view of Vail Village

My handsome hub


Feeling a bit stuffed, but warm

Willow Bridge in Vail Village
 
Lionshead Village

We thought about skiing there but then changed our minds. Since it was our first time, we stuck with what we knew. We know we'll be back and can try the slopes there next time. We shopped, walked for miles, and just enjoyed the beauty of where we were. With every step we just thanked God for the opportunity to be where we were together. It was a special day.

Our resort had two hot tubs, one indoor and one out. We enjoyed the one outdoors, especially when it snowed. We'd put our bathing suits and sock caps on, take a glass of wine, and sit and chat with other guests while we soaked. Then we'd RUN from the tub in the freezing air into the building and go straight for the eucalyptus steam room, which was hot but so relaxing. I miss that part of the day the most!
 
Our happy spot

We enjoyed so much good food, a lot of rest and a lot of exercise, and just the joy of doing what we wanted every day. Starbucks greatly benefitted from our visit! (Be sure to take a registered gift card and rack up the points!) Most of the time on vacation we are ready to go home by the end of the week. I can't say that we weren't this time because we love our home, but we both felt much more sad leaving. It was that good!

At Beaver Creek after a heavy snow
 
Pristine beauty
 

Happy us

On a side note, we had all kinds of preconceived notions about CO and the legalization of marijuana there. Are there really that many people who take advantage of the new law? Would we smell it? Would we see it sold in stores? What we found were a few stores off the highway that sold it only for medical purposes, one car driving around advertising it for sale elsewhere, and we didn't smell it or see anyone smoking anywhere. I think the media makes a bigger deal of it than it really is.

After seven nights, we left for a full day of traveling. We finally flew in to Greenville at midnight, and were home by 1:15. After indulging in freshly made donuts (heavenly) and milk from our 24-hour QT, we were finally in bed by 2 a.m. Oh, and I lost 4 pounds on the trip. Yay me!

This little girl was so happy to see mommy and daddy.


Thank you, Colorado for the best vacation and for the happiest memories made. We will be back!


Monday, January 26, 2015

Moving It

I've never been a gym person. As a matter of fact, I've really not exercised much my entire life, which has led to just having an average, lately mushy, body type. Just like most people, I get inspired at the beginning of the year or if I hear about a new fad. Last year I tried a low carb lifestyle, not diet, and stuck with it religiously for a few months and lost about 8 pounds, but then slacked off, and I didn't combine it with exercise. I still don't each much bread, but my downfall is cereal. It's actually supper a day or two each week at times.

Anyhoo...my husband has been going to the gym for the past couple of weeks while I've been working in the evening (boo!), and he said the gym has acquired a few new toys since my last visit, namely rowing machines. So, since I was feeling the need to move this weekend, we took off for the gym together this past Saturday.

After the obligatory 15 minutes on the treadmill to get my heart rate going, I then attempted rowing. It's intimidating at first, so my husband set it up for me. I started rowing and was thinking, why is this so easy? Do I have it set to low? And then I just kept going and going. I was amazed! (The only problem I did have was my right hand going to sleep, but this may have been from holding the handle too tight). My husband was on the stair climber looked over at me and couldn't believe it. He assumed I would not last as long as I did (and I'm always pleased when I'm stronger than he thinks I am). I was sweating, and my muscles were burning. I believe this is the first time I've ever surpassed what I thought I could do physically without actually giving up.

Do you know that feeling? It just makes you want to KEEP going! Have I found the holy grail of exercise (for me)? We shall see.

This is not me below, but this is the exact machine at our gym. After reading the article below, I realized my technique was not exact (which may have led to the numb hand) but I can feel that it was effective.






http://www.popsugar.com/fitness/Tips-Using-Rowing-Machine-3019487?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:%20fitsugar%20(FitSugar%20-%20Healthy,%20happy%20you.)&utm_content=Google%20Reader

The fact that I went back to the gym on Sunday is testament to how much I love this workout!

And I think that's the key. We're all different, and we have to find what works for us. If we can find a way to move out bodies and enjoy it, we'll stop making so many excuses not to do it.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

It's a New Year again!

Oh wow, Happy New Year! When I read my last post from January of LAST YEAR, I can actually see a bit of change in myself. I suppose that's the most we can hope for is that we can grow in a positive direction from year to year.

This year has started out rough with sickness. I'm not the type that usually gives in to the crud, but it has knocked me for a loop this time. It started with a glob in my throat that gave me laryngitis for three days. Thinking I was getting better instead of worse, I did not go to my Dr. in between the holidays. By the time it had moved into my chest and then back up into my head, it was Jan. 2 and her office was closed. Riding it out one more day with new over the counter meds didn't help, so by Sat. morning I was first in line at the neighborhood express clinic. They were wonderful, and with some new antibiotics for bronchitis, sinus infection, and conjunctivitis (the sinus infection affected my eyes), I'm feeling much better 24 hours later. Now though, my sweet hub is a few days behind me with his symptoms and although he also went to the clinic yesterday, he seems a bit worse off today. Its damp and rainy anyway, so we'll just hunker down one more day and nurse ourselves back to a somewhat healthy state.

As usual, the new year has brought on thoughts of getting into shape. I said last year I'm heavier than I've ever been, and I'm at least in the same place or a couple of pounds ahead of that now. As it does when we get older, the fat "shifts" into different places and this is what has made me most uncomfortable. When I see someone jogging, or a commercial for Nordic Track, I am inspired, but when it comes down to doing it, I'm just a big blob. Today will be dedicated to putting together a food plan for the next week so we can focus on eating better, so that's a start. I don't think it's so much the volume of what we eat, but the poor choices. Also, I sit a lot with my work and this doesn't help.

For Christmas, I bought my husband a Fit Bit. He loves it, and tracking his steps, sleep patterns, and what he eats has been so easy with this. I think this would be helpful for me as well so I may add this one more purchase to the after Christmas budget.

On another note, my grandson has grown to a precious 15-month-old bundle of cuteness...

 
Oh, just look at that gorgeous kid! I see so much of my daughter Ashley in that little face, but she had dark curls when she was his age. The blonde comes from his daddy. I sure miss being with him, but have also learned over the past few months to give up the stress I was putting on myself by trying to control my daughter with too much input when it comes to raising him. She and his daddy are completely capable, and my role is to be a supporter when she needs me. Hey, he's my first grandchild and it just took a little time to find my place, even three hours away.

Wishing everyone a blessed and positive start to 2015!


Thursday, January 16, 2014

Resolved to Resolve

I am consistently inconsistent.

I would love to be on an even keel. Are there people out there that really are, or do they just look like they are? I can't fake it.

As much as I try to focus on my faith and pray and do all the things I know I should, I find myself questioning where I am in life and what I'm doing. Maybe it's a New Year's thing. And then I feel guilty because maybe I'm not trusting God the way I should.

I always have the best of intentions. I want to get in shape. I want to further my experience in my field. I want to become a better volunteer, better cook, better wife, etc. but I rarely follow through for long periods. My attention span has me jumping from idea to idea when one of them does not satisfy. But will anything satisfy if I'm working towards the wrong thing?

I'm now menopausal and severely lacking in energy. I'm heavier than I've ever been. I've heard of women going through all of this but never thought it would affect me the way it has. But, is this truly the problem?

I started reading a book last year, I think it was called The Happiness Project, and the main idea is finishing what you start and you will be happier. I really think I could benefit from this, but I haven't finished the book. See a trend?

My heart feels pulled in different directions. My dad passed last year and my mom is still struggling, and my grandson was born last Sept. They're all in GA. I always thought when I had a grandchild that I would be able to keep him or her while Ashley works. I love my husband and my home, but I also want to be three hours away.

All of this leaves me feeling ambivalent about my life. I'm unsettled and uninspired when I want to be filled with joy and working towards a goal. I want to know that I'm doing what I was meant to do. I'm almost 52 and it doesn't feel like I am.

My (thankfully extremely supportive) husband and I have talked and he feels that I take on too much of the stress of others. I worry for my mom, for my daughter and her family, and for my own life here. It just becomes too much.

So, if I'm supposed to be at peace and not worry and put everything in God's hands, then how come it is so hard for me? There are times that I feel close to God and others when I feel so far away. This makes me anxious and depressed at the same time.

So, this week I am taking a step back. So far, I've done very little and have tried to read and pray and get my thoughts in order. Ashley and Brooks are coming for a visit and I hope this will lift my spirits.

I read something at the beginning of the week that makes a lot of sense: "Honor God. Serve that single objective and everything else will fall into place". So, that's my only resolution this year - since that one should take care of all of the above.

Lord, I pray for clarity in my thoughts and peace in my heart. Help me to see what I can do each day to honor You, so that You will point my footsteps in the right direction. Amen.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Ramblings from the Heart

I've never been a secure person, especially when I was younger. I might have looked sure of myself, but it was only a fa├žade. Behind it, I was scared to death. I put up a shield of protection and was very aloof. This shield and my fear kept me apart from others. I had difficulty making friends.

Part of my anxiety is that there is a part of my body that is different from anyone I've ever known. Because this difference was pointed out by school mates, "friends", and even in disgust by my paternal grandmother (as if it was something I had any control over), this only intensified my insecurity. It's exhausting living life trying to hide a part of your body.

I looked for attention in all the wrong ways. I felt shame and didn't like myself very much as a young adult.

As I got older, I focused on advancing in my career. I thought this is what I needed to help me to feel better about myself. I would puff up with all of my accomplishments and tried to find my worth in what I did, when I needed to find it in who I am.

It's only been in recent years that I've truly been able to understand my true worth is based on. It is not my job, the shape my body is in, how I dress or how my hair looks, who my friends are or how much money I have. My worth comes from my relationship with Christ.

I've learned that God loves me no matter what. I don't have to do anything to earn this love. I am His child and He loves me, and that will never change. When I sin (I am human - it's inevitable), He doesn't love the sin but still loves ME.

I've had a hard time accepting this because I haven't always felt lovable. I've made mistakes in the past and didn't understand how God could love me. I used to think He sat in constant judgment of me and rained down punishment for my past sins.

Instead, I'm learning that we worship a merciful God. A never changing God who I believe is GOOD, and I believe the promises that He has made to all of us.

1. He promises to supply every need we have.

This does not include the multiplicity of luxuries that we have come to think of as needs. We have to learn to be happy with what He provides, and allow Him to work in our lives and bless us with more if this is what He desires for us.

2. He promises that His grace is sufficient for us.

He has made provision for our salvation by His grace through faith. It is through obedient faith that we have access into the grace of God.

3. God promises that His children will not be overtaken with temptation.

He assures us a way of escape will be provided. No matter what situation you might be in, there will be a way out. Save yourself heartache and look for it. Put your relationship with God and what He wants for you above immediate gratification.

4. God has promised us victory over death.

He first resurrected Jesus by way of assuring our resurrection.

5. God has promised that all things work together for good to those who love and serve Him faithfully.

It may be difficult for us to see and understand how this is accomplished at times, for instance when I watch my mom suffer over the death of my dad, or how two of my friends are watching their grandchildren suffer with cancer. But only HE knows what lies ahead. We only see the here and now. He sees the big picture. He promised it, and He will deliver.

6. God has promised that those who believe in Jesus and are baptized for the forgiveness of sins will be saved.

Baptism is the outward expression of our inward transformation.

7. God has promised His people eternal life.

This life is only temporary. I believe our real home is in Heaven.

I'm 51 years old and I'm still a work in progress. My emotional self is learning to be submissive to the spiritual.

I'm still insecure, but not as much. I reach out to people more easily now. I try not to focus on what is wrong, but what is right within me. I still have bad moments but they don't last as long as they used to.

Being a Christ follower doesn't always make life easier. Bad stuff still happens. For me, at least, it makes the inconsistencies of life easier to handle when you put Him in charge. In the spirit of the season, I am thankful for this most of all.

O Lord, You are so good, so ready to forgive, so full of unfailing love for all who ask for Your help.
Psalms 86:5

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Just call me Mimi

 
 
Brooks Harold Gillespie
9/23/2013
9 pounds, 8 ounces
20 3/4 inches

 
Proud mommy and baby Brooks.
Isn't she gorgeous within hours of a C section?
 
 
Well, life since 9/23 hasn't been the same!
 
I feel like I'm in a constant state of flux, wanting to be at home with my husband yet wanting to be with my daughter and grandson, too. There is such a draw to be with them, but they are three hours away. He's six weeks old now and so far I've been maintaining an every 2-3 week schedule. I'm SO looking forward to being with them again tomorrow!
 
The past couple of weeks have been a little rough. We thought at first he just had gas, then reflux, but I believe now it's full blown colic. I hope the newest remedy he started yesterday will be effective. Ashley and JG are quite the parenting team, although their confidence wanes when Brooks is inconsolable. Between me, the in laws, my mom and my sister, they have lots of support around. Even so, I know Ashley prefers her mama, and I love that.
 
From what I understand, he's starting to smile and coo a lot. Until now, he's been such a serious little guy.  
 
Here are more pictures through the weeks:
 




 
Everyone thinks he looks just like his daddy, but I see his mommy in him, too.
 
Mimi to the rescue!