Okay ... so true confessions ... All of that posting about finally being ready to nourish myself?  I guess I wasn't ready!  For years now I've felt that need or longing to be completely loving to my body. To properly feed, care for, and de-stress this one and only temple I've been given.  Intentions are lovely ... but application is vital.

Shutting down my engines with autoimmune flares, struggling with single mom stressors and earthshaking health crisis of a loved one - can overwhelm all those good intentions and tend to show you what you're made of.  I was not pleased with what I saw.  I dropped every ball that was related to self care while I juggled all the others with more ferver.

Now that my Dad is done with all the rounds of radiation and has moved on to five days per month on chemo -he's feeling a lot more normal (other than fatigue).  I, however have been feeling worse with daily headaches added to my lengthy symptoms list.  Time to listen up and pay attention to that siren sounding from my poor body!

Standing in line at Home Goods (I seriously love that place) I struck up a conversation with a woman - this is a common occurrence - I've never met a "stranger".  We chatted about the store (she loves it too) and I asked her what kind of work she does.  Accupuncture and other Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice!  One of the few avenues I've never traveled down in search of this elusive health and well being I long for.  I felt that rush when you recognize something has just been gifted to you (divinely) and I asked her for her business card.  I called her the following day and made an appointment for the next week.  Exciting!

Meanwhile my headaches got worse and progressed to the first migraines I've ever had.  The - hide in the dark wishing the world would be quiet and go away or I'll throw up from this head splitting pain - kind of migraines.  I have new found empathy and even more compassion for migraine sufferers now.

I went to the School of Google to beg for answers as to why I had this new painful symptom.  Gluten?  Stress?  Caffeine?  (No because I'd given up my diet coke vice) ... Could it be food allergies?  That looked like a strong possibility so I found a local Naturopathic doctor that offered food allergy testing.  Another appointment made for the following week.  So my headaches (which lasted 8 days) and I, waited patiently.  Hah.  Well - we waited.

My desire for finding wellness has once again been pushed to the front of the line.  How will we (especially women) thrive in our busy and hectic lives if we don't give to ourselves - like we are always willing to give to others?  That reasoning that you need to  put on your own oxygen mask first and then help your child/family/friend/neighbor/community etc etc etc.  How have we really been giving so fully to others when we're running on empty?

I'm setting the intention to fill up my own "tank" ... and it's from the overflowing goodness that we can freely share with others.  No running ourselves ragged and being the martyr!  Fill ourselves with care and love and nourishment - then we can spread all that goodness around.

So here's my admission - that I have NOT been giving care to myself.  I do consider all of my bumps in the road - not as failure (ick!) - they are more ways that I'm gaining understanding of myself and the world around me.  I'm in training.  I think we all are - or should be.  Learning and practicing and making adjustments to get a better outcome.  Right now I'm focussing on nourishment training!

What makes a superhero great?  Their super powers?  The unbelievable feats that they can manage?  The way they rescue and help others selflessly?

Wonder Woman ROCKS!  She's smart and brave, honest and kind - and she has unlimited strength and energy!  Sign me up!!  (And being a mom of two boys, I do sometimes wish I had The Lasso of Truth.  It would be very handy in answering the question "who started it"?)  I would be thrilled to slap on some invincibility bracelets and charge ahead, through all of life's challenges, feeling assured that I could handle it!

We've all got stores of "Super" inside of us - just waiting to be uncovered and put to good use.

Just after celebrating the new year, my strong and healthy dad was taken to the emergency room.  His doctor thought he had several small strokes (TIA's).  But after an EKG, Cat-scan and MRI; they told us that what he was really having were seizures that were caused by a 2.5 cm brain tumor that was probably cancerous.

Time stops.  Thankfully breathing is automatic because that would have stopped too.  What can you say except "okay".  Okay means that I am accepting that there is a new - life altering challenge ahead and I need to be ready to move forward.  NOT that I am okay with the brain tumor ... just that we heard and understood the name of the enemy so that we could start to build a plan of attack.

Little drops of "Super" slipped out from hiding as I held my dad's hand and fed him ice chips right after he had brain surgery.  The pain that he felt for the first 2 days was staggering and his strength was amazing.  His "super" was showing all over the place as he tried to communicate with every nurse and doctor that came in to see him.  The tumor was in the left temporal region of his brain and the surgery caused major issues with his speech.  He still managed to thank every person who came into his room.  He said they were "good" - which was his universal word for helpful, skilled, kind, funny or friendly.  He struggled to process and associate words and to understand the things he was told.  Progress has been slow and steady.  The surgeon (who is a true angel) assured us that Dad would "be himself" after the swelling went down.  And he is, a week later - memories, sense of humor and quirks - all in tact!

We were given the devastating diagnosis of Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme.  The most aggressive form of brain cancer.  Somehow my Step-Mom and I didn't feel a sense of doom or grieving ... just a quiet assurance that there were things that can be done to help this man to heal and survive.

My studies, over a decade, have shown me awesome truths about whole food nutrition, supplements, positive mental outlook, prayer and emotional well being.  There is a wealth of nourishment and healing that can happen at home ... we can do our part while his team of doctors do what they do best.  I will be posting on this incredible journey to healing for my father.  From the heart of a daughter who believes - with all of myself - that he can be in remission and feeling well for decades to come!

Sometimes we get overwhelmed with daily life and can lose sight of the big picture.  When we're so focused on our routines we don't usually look beyond and see how blessed we are and how much more we have to give.

Earth-shaking health crisis is a time of awakening.

True growth happens when things are completely beyond your control and you have to call out to God to help you to stretch and bend ----- sometimes making a brand new mold and pouring yourself into it.

"Super" qualities can emerge and you will find the strength to face whatever enemy you must stand up against -
and fight.

As time ticks on, and New Years Day has faded away ... I am recognizing a quiet change.  In the past I have gone full speed ahead when the new year rolls around.  Holding myself to the most strict standards and not leaving any wiggle room.  But life always happens, right?  No matter your phenomenal intentions - life makes other plans.  Kids get sick, bills show up, family visits, the car breaks down etc etc. And before you know it - you're wondering where your resolve went.

This time the year changed to 2012 and I did make resolutions.  But kindness and LESS rules were on the menu rather than rigidity and examining myself under a microscope to pick out every little flaw.  More kindness means that I want to nourish my body and care for myself.  Yes, there are lists and guidelines that I choose to follow.  But my body is no longer the enemy and I am not at war anymore.

So what are you willing to do for a healthy, strong and energetic body?  I'm working towards finding my own while I'm on this journey to wellness.   I look forward to the day when I can play with my boys at the park and not be out of breath or feel completely worn out after a few minutes.  Desperate to find a shady spot to sit down and just watch while the boys have all the fun.  Seeing their sweet faces trying to hide their disappointment that mom "can't play".

How many things could I put on a list of "can't do's" because of my weight?  Morbid obesity is more then just frustrating - it is debilitating.  I'm practicing the art of not worrying about what others think of me.  That is no simple task when you've struggled with self-esteem issues for most of your life.  I tend to beat myself up in my head... judging and punishing myself so that I wouldn't be shocked if someone else said something or gave that look - regarding my size.  I used to joke that I would feel so much better if I could wear a sign on my chest that said "Since I have your attention already, you should know -- this weight is not all from over-eating -- I have autoimmune diseases and my body is really sick!"  But I'll refrain from public explanations and just try not to over think it.  : )

Somewhere inside this big body is my real self ... I have dreamed about waking up thin and healthy.  Drifting off to sleep one night and breathing deeply while my body just transforms.  Peeling off my wrinkled pajamas in the morning and revealing a strong lovely body that can move freely and has no limits.  Wouldn't that be wonderful?

But I know that this body has a story to tell.  Every illness, every emotional and physical struggle is building a testimony of how far a woman can come from the difficulties and still pull through.  Some days it feels like I'm clawing my way to the end of the day, trying not to dwell on how many things happened that pulled me off track.  Forgiving myself again and again and moving forward.

And a new day always shows up!  I am so thankful for sunrises.
God is so generous with fresh starts - free and built in to the cycle of the earth - just for me!  Okay, for you too!  : )

So, reaching up to the sunshine and knowing that today is a new day ... I know that there are choices to be made and that I can move closer to the health and vibrancy that is waiting for me.  The snail still gets there eventually ~ and even on my slow days I'm a bit faster then the snail.   : )

My five year old son wants to marry me ... he has told me many times.  He thinks I'm perfect.  He loves my hair when it's crazy curly before I've had the chance to "fix it"... he notices any time I wear something new and always tells me I look beautiful ... he likes to hold my hand and sit close to me on the couch.  He loves me.  He runs to get me a tissue when I cry at sappy movies ... he thinks I'm the prettiest singer ... I give the best hugs ... I am funny and the nicest Mommy ever.  He doesn't judge me on days when my autoimmune diseases leave me full of inflammation and mind-numbing fatigue.  He says I am the best cook in the world and nobody else makes poached eggs on toast the right way but me.  True love.

Everything I need to know about my own self-worth I should learn from my Kindergartner.

Is self-esteem something you are supposed to learn from osmosis when you meet someone with it?  Breathe deeply and it will become a part of you too?  Is it supposed to grow from experiences when you can look back and say, "wow, I really like me"?  I guess I missed that day in school where the teacher passed out the folders full of self esteem.

I contracted a wicked case of "people-pleaser-itis" when I was very young - and it stuck around.  I'm the girl that would bend over backwards to make sure you were happy.  I taught myself to be super watchful and to anticipate the needs of others.  I jump at the chance to say something nice to someone who seems to be having a down day.  I am the chick in the checkout line that will let anyone go ahead of me - always.  Now this doesn't sound bad - right?  It's part of the niceties that make checkout lines quicker and the world a kinder and more friendly place.

But when you wrap your whole self up in the fact that you're the nice girl and the queen of compromise - it's not a big leap to becoming the champion doormat.  Anyone can walk all over you if you are too "nice" to say "I'm worth more than that".  Not everyone is out to break you down or hurt you ... but knowing who you are and what you believe in is vital.

I'm learning who I am ... in my early 30's as a newly single mother ... I'm finding myself.  Not the me that I "lost" when I married young and stayed at home with my kids for 11 years.  I'm finding who I am now.  The real me - underneath all the "nice" expectations I'd put on myself as a wife or a daughter or a mom.  Underneath all the demands made by others that I'd accepted as truth for myself.

Whoo Are You?
My mom used to have a small collection of owls.  They never struck me as particularly cute or interesting
(I should apologize to the porcelain owl that spent decades dutifully holding our hall door open).  But I've decided I need to have an owl or two in my life now.  To remind me to ask "Whoo are you?".  So that I won't just move through my days doing all the things that need to be done and not spend any thought on who I am becoming.

It's such a blessing to realize that uncomfortable change can become a joyous awakening in your life.  To push you beyond what you knew yourself to be - and welcome the growth and transformation.
Learning to *Bloom*.

So my assignment is to start loving myself the way my 5 year old loves me.  Unconditionally and with sweet appreciation of my own uniqueness.  One of the lessons we all should learn in kindergarten.  : )

I'll leave you with a beautiful quote from an anonymous author ...

"I choose to live by choice, not by chance.  To make changes, not excuses.  To be motivated, not manipulated.  To be useful, not used.  To excel, not compete.  I choose self-esteem, not self pity.  
I choose to listen to my inner voice, not the random opinion of others."

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