Today I Met Mama Grinch…


Dearest Readers:

People are so interesting, especially during the holiday season. About 30 minutes ago, I was standing in the overcrowded line at Dollar Tree. I noticed a woman slowly pushing her cart into the line. She was an elderly woman with gray hair. Her face was wrinkled, reminding me of a crinkled road map. She had an angry smirk on her mouth. Maybe Santa Claus brought her a bunch of coal this year. She hugged the cart, probably for support. I could easily imagine this woman using this cart to keep her balance.  Of course, being the shy person that I am NOT, I spoke to her to let her know the end of the line was several people behind me.

She glared at me and spat: “I know where the end of the line is. You don’t have to tell me that.”

“Well excuse me, Ma’am. Happy New Year.”

When the second cashier opened a register, I kept my eyes on it. If that woman even attempted to break into the line to get service quicker, I was ready for her. Even with my boots on I knew I could move quicker than Mama Grinch. I was prepared to tell the cashier other people have been in the line longer than she. That woman is not the ‘next person in line.’

Was I wrong? NO. Was I rude? NO. I was prepared to speak up.

I was raised to respect my elders, but today – I think I’ve lost a little respect. My message to this slump shouldered, stout, grouchy Mama Grinch is simple: “Just because you are old doesn’t mean you need to be ugly!”

Think I’ll pray for Mama Grinch today, adding her to a growing list I pray for every night. Another little tidbit of advice taught to me by my maternal grandmother. As an elderly woman I never heard her be rude to anyone. As for Mama Grinch, maybe she needs to stand in a corner and change her rude, angry attitude.

Isn’t it sad to see so many elderly people so angry with themselves? Maybe Mama Grinch was all alone on Christmas Day.  So sad.

Yes, I’ll pray for all the angry elderly woman, hopeful she will find peace and happiness.

Happy New Year!

 

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Weight Watchers… Building A Bridge To A New Adventure


Dearest Readers:

Today, I will share a bit of my experience and dedication to Weight Watchers. I joined Weight Watchers in March, 2011. On the day I joined, I was mortified. Afraid. Horrified I would see someone I knew and they would share with the world that “Barbie was in Weight Watchers today…”

I’m certain some of you have acquaintances who love to spread gossip…the wicked and ugly truths some women love to share! Years ago, I referred to these ‘acquaintances’ as friends…I do not anymore! Friends do not spread ugly gossip. Friends accept you for who you are. True friends embrace you with love and acceptance, even when you are down.  I’ve known and lost a few ‘friends’ since in all total honesty — they were only acquaintances. They pretended to be your friend to your face, but turn your back and you almost feel the back-stabbing and the poisonous words they spat, and so — I keep my distance!

At my first meeting at Weight Watchers, I did not know anyone. I breathed a sigh of relief. I was apprehensive about the ‘confidential weigh-ins’ too. Approaching the desk, I did not see any curtains, or a doctor’s scale. You know the type. The weight measurements slide across until balanced, and the person who balanced the scale always leaves it to the latest weight. Everyone can see the weight of the person who weighed previously, and I cringe whenever I get on them. My newest experience with Weight Watchers was a scale sitting on the floor. I was certain others could stretch their snoopy eyes over to see how much a person weighed. That didn’t happen. The scale does not show anything, with exception of the person (a receptionist or leader) standing at the desk. Only she knows what the weight of each individual is, and they do not share the number to anyone! Believe me, the confidential weigh-in does exist!

Maybe this might work this time, I thought to myself as I approached the scales. Just maybe this time I will succeed.

I imagine you are thinking — what? Does she really think Weight Watchers works?

My reply to all of you reading this is a simple, “Yes! Weight Watchers, because it works!”

I recognize it has taken me five years to lose 35 pounds. And, in the past year, I have bounced back and forth, just like a yo-yo. Undoubtedly, 2016 has been one of the most stressful years of my life. In February, we had the roof to our home completely replaced. After that accomplishment, we searched for over two months to hire a general contractor to do the inside repairs on ceilings, walls and other areas due to the torrential rains we had in October 2015. On May 28, 2016, the repairs were completed. My husband had reverse shoulder replacement surgery on May 31. His recovery was a whirlwind of ups-and-downs. The summer of 2016 was so stressful, I found myself slipping away from Weight Watchers and everything I loved. No walking. No exercising. No writing. No dancing…No music or singing…Nothing!

Since the summer, I’ve found myself giving in to weaknesses. After all, it didn’t matter IF I gained weight. I’m happy to report, I did not put those lost 35 pounds back on; however, I have not met goal. I don’t even have a clue what my goal should be!

Today, while sitting at my meeting, I glanced around the room. Like most Weight Watchers meetings during the holidays, we had only a small group, including a 93-year-old woman and two men. Every time I see this precious, sweet and beautiful 93-year-old woman I am inspired. Many people would say, ‘at her age, why should she be so worried at her weight?’ I say, I think she is an inspiration to all of us. Yes, she uses a walker and maybe her shoulders slump a bit, but she is still full of life. To her, her weight is important. Today, she was furious with herself. She was baking cookies with her son this week, and that is why she gained a pound. Sitting in front of me, I tapped her on the shoulders. “Just look at how blessed you are to be baking cookies with your son.”

I’m so envious. During the Christmas holidays I do not see my son, even though he lives less than 30 miles from me. How I would love the opportunity to make Christmas cookies with him again. I suppose a mother can dream.

Every year since joining Weight Watchers, I tell myself the new year will be my year. I will break this plateau and achieve goal. No, I haven’t achieved my goal yet. At least I haven’t gained the weight back!

Not only have I kept the weight off, I have gained in confidence and self-worth, much to the credit of two wonderful friends I’ve made, thanks to Weight Watchers. Since I am a writer, my life is a bit isolated. I find myself spending too much time keeping to myself. Last year, before the torrential rain storms, and the storms brewing inside my home, I kept to myself. I quit walking. Now that I think about it, I realize those walks I took with my friends energized me by encouraging me to continue. Feeling the fresh air on my face, walking the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge, and enjoying the views, birds, flowers and freedom of walking, I found myself inspired. Refreshed. Now, I realize, I need to take a first step again to walk, to find that inspiration and motivation. Tomorrow morning, I plan to take that first step!

Today, at Weight Watchers, I gained. Big deal! I’ll get those two pounds off again. As for 2017, I will go on record to say, my journey and adventures with Weight Watchers will continue. I will walk. I will fill my body and my mind with new energy while telling myself:

THIS I DO FOR ME!

Although 2017 is only a few days and steps away, I will not fail. After all, You only fail in life when you stop believing…and trying…and moving.

I plan to continue my journeys, along with Weight Watchers! Tomorrow is a new day and I will embrace it!

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Reflections on Thanksgiving


Dearest Readers:

Today is Tuesday, November 22, 2016. Two days before Thanksgiving. Today, I would like to reflect on the holiday of Thanksgiving.

As a young girl, my family of four girls, a father and mother, would celebrate Thanksgiving with our maternal grandparents. My father would either work, or celebrate with his mother until her death. Every Thanksgiving we were a family; unfortunately, extremely dysfunctional but together. My maternal grandmother did the cooking. I helped. Never could I make homemade biscuits like my grandmother, although I tried. I’ve decided the only dessert I can make from scratch are cookies and cake. Forget the biscuits, or the dinner rolls I attempted a few weeks ago. I used a ‘foolproof’ recipe. Foolproof, alright…definitely did not work for me. I baked those rolls in anticipation of having homemade dinner rolls for Thanksgiving. Tasting one after they baked, I decided the only way to enjoy these rolls was to toss them into the trash! Mission accomplished! My foolproof recipe certainly fooled me! If I serve rolls (and I doubt I do) they will be store-bought, not made from my hands!

After marriage, I made the Thanksgiving dinner at our home. By now, my mother and I were estranged. Twice, I attempted to have Thanksgiving dinner at my mother’s house, or apartment, wherever she lived at that time. My mother moved lots. Never was there a place for me to call home with her.  Both times, we had dinner together, we had words. Not kind words. Just words. She always wanted to tell me what to do. How to treat my husband…how to care for my child…how to live my life. She wanted me to walk in her shoes. I refused. After our last Thanksgiving together, I decided I would have Thanksgiving dinner at our home in Mt. Pleasant, SC. New traditions were made. My dad was invited to every Thanksgiving. For many years, he sat at the dinner table. His chair to the left of where I sat.

Although I didn’t think my dad noticed, every year our dinner table was sat for a formal occasion. Lace tablecloths on the table. Dinner napkins folded in a design. My finest china was used. The table was always dressed – formally. Forks to the left of the plate. Knives to the right.

Dad always said grace. We held hands while he prayed. On one occasion, he made the compliment to me: “Barbara. You really know how to cook and how to set a dining room table. I always look forward to dinners at your home.”

I was flabbergasted. Rarely did I get compliments from my parents.

On Thanksgiving, 2016, the table will be set for a formal occasion. My dad will not sit in his chair. Still reserved for him, I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. Our last Thanksgiving together, he struggled to swallow his food. How I miss him.

This year, my menu includes:

Roasted turkey breast

Mashed potatoes

sautéed green beans

Cornbread dressing

Macaroni and cheese

Gravy

Pineapple delight

Dessert:

Homemade Chocolate Pound Cake

Homemade Carrot Cake

Definitely not a Weight Watchers menu, but I will choose wisely. After all, this is Thanksgiving. A time to give thanks for life. Health. Happiness. Friendship. And many, many more moments of Thanksgiving.

No, I will not have my son, his wife or grandson at our dining room table. They have an open invitation to come, but somehow, it doesn’t happen. I really do not know IF my son celebrates Thanksgiving. I certainly hope he and his family do, but they are ‘busy with their lives…’ Oh, how they are missed!

To all of you reading this I wish you a joyous Happy Thanksgiving. If you are having dinner with your friends and family, remember to breathe. Inhale. Exhale. If they are doing or saying something you might not approve of, just breathe while giving Thanks you are together for this special occasion and holiday. Every year, I breathe while wishing my family could celebrate holidays together.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you. If you have a loved one overseas in a combat, or military setting, pray for their safety. Happy Thanksgiving to all of us.

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Welcome to My Pity Party


Dearest Readers:

Have you ever had a time where you could not shake your mood? No. Matter. What? I’ve had more than a few weeks like this. Tuesday, December 15, 2015, everything came to a standstill. Losing my temper, I recognized I needed to inhale. Exhale. Breathe.

On that date, I got up in a dreadful mood from so many nights without sleep. I counted the days until Christmas – only ten days away. No, this wasn’t the Christmas blues – just a time of physical exhaustion and stress triggered by the torrential storms we had in Charleston in October. Still, my home wasn’t well. The leaks from the skylights appeared to be growing with a science project of mold, mildew, and ugliness I wished to erase. I decided we should decorate our Christmas tree in the den this year, not the traditional place in the living room.

Negative thoughts ate away inside of me. My stomach was twisted in knots; at least, it felt like it. Christmas music helped a little, although I still had moments where I wanted to scream. Still,  the moodiness left a bad taste, an emotional feeling of absolute depression, clouding every thought and mood. Looking at the calendar again, I realized December 19th would soon be here, only now, I could not celebrate my dad’s birthday with him. This year he and his identical twin brother would celebrate 101 years of life. I lost my dad on July 6, 1999. He lost his identical twin brother long before I was born, or even thought about. How I wish I could reach out to him – just to wish him a Happy Birthday.

This year I could not shake my mood. I jotted down things I should be happy about, and then I added an additional listing of things I wish I could change. “No wonder I’m so depressed. The things I wish I could change are longer than the happiness list. Not a good sign. Meanwhile, the phone rang, almost constantly – a nauseating ringing of telemarketers and scam phone calls that refused to leave me alone. I’m certain you’ve probably received your share of these calls. One call said ‘unavailable,’ another was ‘unknown caller,’ and another said ‘government.’ I listened to all of them, never speaking as a robot call said ‘this is your third and final call. You owe the IRS…’ I laughed. Just what is this? We are on the Do Not Call list. Honestly, I think when you sign up again [for perhaps the 10th time] with the Do Not Call list, there must be a way these companies are getting our phone numbers, just so they can aggravate us! Another caller was a guy. He expressed the following, “Congratulations…You’ve won!”

Okay, I’ll play his little game. I listened as he shared that we were the winners of a contest we recently signed up for. “News to me,” I breathed. “We haven’t signed up for anything except the Do Not Call list!”

“F$%# you,” he said. I hung up, daring him to call back.

Without a doubt, this was one of the worst days I’ve had in a long time. “I suppose this day is my pity party day,” I shouted to the walls inside my house.

My poor husband was greeted at the door by a woman almost half out of my mind. Grief. Sadness. Tears. All of the ingredients for a pity party.

Although I tried to shake this strange mood, I could not. Defeated, I took a leisurely bath, having a soft, quiet discussion with myself, recognizing I was behaving in the same manner of my mother. ‘This has to stop.’

After the bubble bath, I approached my husband again, only, this time, I apologized for being such a monster. “It’s so unlike me to be this way,” I cried. “I’m so worried about the house. I wish I could make all of this go away.”

Phil hugged me. I kissed him and went to bed. I prayed for God to listen to me. Much to my surprise, I whispered, “God, are you there? Do you hear me? Are you testing me? I need you.”

The next morning, my mood was better, although I failed to sleep well. After two cups of coffee, the phone rang. I checked caller ID. The caller was listed. It was a phone call from a church. That’s unusual.  I answered it. The caller was a recording, mentioning scriptures from the Holy Bible. I suppose God is telling me something. I listened to the entire conversation, recognizing I’ve never had a phone call this — EVER! I  suppose God was listening to me and now He is encouraging me to get a grip. Be the person you know you can be, not the person you lived with as a child. 

A few minutes later, while praying, the phone rang again. My best friend was on the line. She was recovering from another kidney surgery. I asked how she was progressing. She was in route to work. Still weak and having a bit of pain, I listened to her while recognizing how selfish and insensitive I had been.

Why? Simple. All of the stress I’ve endured will ease when the house is finally repaired. I will be able to get myself out of this house and the stress. As for my friend, she was fighting to get well. To have healthy kidneys. She is my best friend. Every day I pray for her and for a miracle to happen in her life.

“How foolish I have been,” I said aloud after we hung up. “I can change my mood. I can do something pro-active to feed good thoughts, and I can move to get away from the stress, if only for a few hours.

My friend is fighting just to get stronger. She’s like the energizer bunny, always bouncing back.

As for me – I’ve been a fool. I have to remind myself of the old clichés I say to myself normally when depression kidnaps me.

“This too shall pass.”

“It’s when things seem worse, you mustn’t quit.”

“Life is like a box of chocolates…You never know what you’re gonna get.”

“Stupid is as stupid does.”

One of my favorite quotes is “Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.”

Yes, I knew better. I am a strong woman. Normally, I can talk myself out of these situations. I suppose today is an eye-opener to me. A day to be thankful I am still alive. A day to breathe in and breathe out. A day to give thanks. I still have a home. I have a warm bed to sleep in, even when the four dogs take over the bed, and I have a good man to live with me and to love me, even when the devil of depression kicks in wanting me to have another pity party. Little things. These amazing little moments that help keep me focused. Little moments when my personality shines as I smile at someone. Little moments when I greet a complete stranger.

I cannot walk in the shoes of my mother, [nor do I want to] and I must promise myself that next time – when the monsters of depression torment me, I must move and force myself to get dressed, to smile and to appreciate life’s precious moments.

I must get dressed every day, and not stay in pajamas — ALL DAY LONG!

These actions are not who I am. I must remind myself that I should take care of myself. I must appreciate life, with all of its blessings and with all of the tests that can easily defeat us. I will not be defeated. Today is a new day.

Next time, I plan to take a nice long walk on the beach, to remind me I am blessed! No doubt, the beauty of the ocean, the sand between my toes, the warmth of sunshine, and the Pelicans flying along the waters will bless me with reassurance that life is to be lived, every day — even when the gloominess of a pity party attempts to ruffle my feathers.

 

 

 

 

My Thoughts About The New Weight Watchers…


My thoughts regarding “Oprah” and the changes are simply this: Those of us who are overweight have had difficulty with belief in ourselves…We have the tendency to cater to ourselves via comfort foods, sweets…temptations…etc…when we should be caring about ourselves. Instead of negative thoughts and “I’m done with Weight Watchers” posts, what we should do is say this — “We are good…We are worthy…We are strong…and together…We Can Do This!” I have the tendency for depression, and when I am depressed, nothing will stop me from eating bad things. Thru Weight Watchers, I’ve seen changes — in myself…my faith…my belief…I am strong…I’ve made loyal friends with several members at our meetings. I am blessed! Maybe I am beautiful…Maybe I truly believe in ME — now! Thank you, Weight Watchers. I believe change is good. Without change, we cannot grow. If we do not grow, we do not find success, happiness and belief in ourselves. Just my two cents worth for today! BELIEVE!!!

I’ve been a member of Weight Watchers since 2011. Four years. During my four year journey, I’ve seen changes. I am one who believes in life we ALWAYS have changes. Weight Watchers has been around for 50 years now, through many changes – everyone of these changes is for the better! I’m one of the rare people who truly believe life is all about change. Without ‘change’ we cannot grow. If we do not grow, we are not successful. So, you ask — what is the BIG DEAL with the changes at Weight Watchers.

Honestly, I cannot answer those questions. My meeting is on Thursday of every week. It is my “Weight Watchers” day. I plan my schedules around this day. No doctor’s appointments…meetings, etc. on this date. After our meeting three of us go out to lunch – to do what most great friends do together — to talk…to get to know one another…to build friendships! To support!

At the moment, people who are members of Weight Watchers are FREAKING out! On social media sites, they are asking, “what are the changes?” And — “why are they changing things?”

I suppose they want someone to tell them ahead of time about the changes. News Flash – people — Weight Watchers, their leaders and those who work for Weight Watchers are FABULOUS about keeping secrets!

No, Weight Watchers is not a secret society. They are there to help us; nevertheless, there are many changes rolling out this week. ALL of these CHANGES are to build a better Weight Watchers for all of us to succeed. They DO want US TO SUCCEED! By now, you’ve probably heard millions of complaints about the new plan…”It isn’t working…I can’t log in…” And — “Why did they change something that isn’t broken?”

Correct me IF I’m mistaken, but Weight Watchers is interested in the self-worth of a person…not only is it a corporation established to help those who are struggling to lose weight…Weight Watchers is helping us to BELIEVE IN OURSELVES!

We’ve had discussions about Belief. Self Discovery…and How We Can Break the Plateaus. Activity…Mind Over Matter…How to Cope With The Holidays and Social Events…and so on. All of these weekly discussions are building us to truly find the person we want to be. None of this is related to Oprah Winfrey. These “changes” were in the works earlier this year, not when Oprah signed on.

Speaking only for myself, Weight Watchers has changed my life for the better. Yes, I am eating healthier. I am more active – able to walk the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge…able to dance and to sing. I have found a new and better person previously locked away, deep inside my soul. In March, 2011, Jennifer Hudson was the spokesperson. I was struggling to lose more weight, and I kept telling myself — “One day, I plan to walk that bridge.” For those of you who do not know, that bridge [Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge] opened in July 2005. Just WHEN would I walk it?

In 2011, my life changed for the better, and I feel confident that the New and Improved Weight Watchers 2016 will lead the way for me to embrace the change and get going with my weight loss. After all, I have goals (secret goals) I will not share – yet. Hopefully soon, I might share a few of those goals on my site.

Today, I will go on record to say – Hello, 2016 — it is ready, and it is time for me to move on with my writing and my story, “Chattahoochee Child,” and it is time for me to get moving more with Weight Watchers. Many members are throwing their hands in the air, as if to say — “I’m done.” The question they should answer is this — as a member of Weight Watchers — online, or a weekly member who attends meetings — are you really ready to give up on yourself? Think about it. Change is good. I embrace it!

 

 

 

Happy New Year…2015


Hello Readers and Happy New Year:

Just wanted to take a moment to wish everyone a fresh and Happy New Year, 2015. Today, all of us step into a new journey in our lives…a new year.

What will happen to our world in 2015?

What will we accomplish?

No one has a magical looking-glass to glance into to find out, or predict. Some people have the power to predict what might happen, but none of us truly know.

We must face each morning with a new outlook. A new beginning…A new breath.

I wish all of my readers a Happy and Healthy New Year. May all of us step into our new year with a fresh outlook. A positive attitude. Faith. Belief. And most of all, may we appreciate those we know, and those we will meet this year.

May our lives be blessed just to know, appreciate and love one another! May we all dance to our own music. May we see and appreciate the sunrises and sunsets in our lives and most of all, may we face each day with a new beginning!

Happy New Year, 2015!

Merry Christmas to All!


Dearest Readers:

Merry Christmas! Today is the day to give thanks to the world for our Savior and his birth. May your day be filled with many blessings. Much love, and much thankfulness.

To our troops away from home, I say thank you…for your service to our Country…thank you for dedicating your life to the missions and I hope you have a Merry Christmas while away.

I remember the Christmas my husband was away, fighting a war that America refused to support. It was a lonely, sad year for me, and the saddest of Christmas holidays. No e-mail existed. No cell phones. The only communication we had were letters that took 10 days to arrive…an additional 10 days for a reply. Somehow we survived those sad times and each year, I give thanks that we have celebrated another Christmas holiday together.

For me, it is the little things that matter during this holiday season. A smile from a stranger. A nod. A simple “Hello,” or “Merry Christmas.” Those simple, kind moments mean the world to me.

If you are alone at Christmas, make a phone call to a friend. If you have family or loved ones in nursing homes, make the time to visit. Just take one moment from the ‘busy-ness’ of the day to say three words, “I Love You!”

In life, we never know how long we will live. We awaken to a new day, procrastinating until tomorrow for simple things we should do daily. Please take the time and reach out to someone who is alone or lonely during this Christmas holiday season.

Merry Christmas, from our home to yours. God has blessed us with this day. Let us make the most of every moment at Christmas and always! Merry Merry Christmas!