Full Circle

“No matter the deviation, all things come full circle. You begin and end your journey in the same place, but with a different set of eyes.” – Abram (Jennifer DeLucy, Seers of Light (Light, #1))

This time last year we were in the midst of a ferocious battle of closing what should have become our dream home.

We began to plan our dream wedding. Live the dream life.  On the lake. With a picture perfect view.

Our plans all laid out. Exactly how WE wanted.

It was made known to us very quickly in 2014 that this was not the plan God had in store for us. No matter how hard we tried.

In February 2014 I feel fear, failure and intense anxiety as one of the last times I pull into the one kilometre lane that is to take us to our dream home. It is dusk. Darkness ensuing. It feels like our world is crumbling before us.

As I pull in the lane, I see in the distance my husband sitting in a Bobcat. Uncovered. Temperatures hovering in the -30C with windchill. The wind bites my cheeks. It sends a chill through me as I walk down the lane to summate if my husband will be able to have the snow filled, long lane cleared to the standards needed for the mortgage inspector the next day.

It doesn’t look good. It looks grim. I feel a wave of hopelessness.

I ask Steve into the car to warm up. He is covered in frost and snow.

I ask him. “How bad do you want this?”

He gives me a flicker of hope. He thinks he can have it done.

He wants this. So do I. We’ve come too far.  We have entered into a committed agreement we will not fail at.

There are these beautiful pictures we have drawn in our minds and on paper over the past 3 months of how this will turn out.  It has to be that way. No exception.

We kiss good bye. I ask him to keep me up to date. I drive home with the dogs in tow.

4:00 a.m. the next morning I wake with a jolt. I roll over. I reach for him. He is not there. Is he OKAY??  What has happened?

I text him. I call. We finally connect. The news is not good.

Throughout the night the snow continues to blow across the lane. With the darkness of the night it is hard for Steve to tell how far he has progressed.

As the sun breaks the horizon he is in shock. He is no where near completion. He calls on a dear friend for help. When all is said and done, the lane is cleared in time for the inspector.

Once again we believe the end is near.  Our dream will finally come true.

Within a few weeks we will begin the renovations and transition to our dream home.

Fast forward to a few weeks later.

It is Thursday, March 6, 2014. I am at the Diabetes Education Centre until 9:00 pm where I work as a Registered Nurse.

The whole reason we found our dream home. The only reason why we plan on leaving our hometown.

In the past week a series of events (which I cannot share due to legal agreements) have occurred in which I’ve been waiting for a phone call telling me that despite a series of unfortunate circumstances beyond our control, we will finally close what will be the home of our dreams.  Our resting place.

My cell phone rings. It is our Real Estate Agent. The tone of his voice does not give me hope that all is good. He apologizes. He is so sorry. He is informed that our dream home has been sold to someone else. The selling of our dream home is beyond our control and there is nothing we can do.  We have a sense of the wrong doings of human beings that have caused this BUT there is nothing we can do to get our dream home back.

I sob uncontrollably. Our house is sold. Our dream home is gone. Our wedding plans no longer.

I am in shock.

But I’m not.  There has been this whisper for sometime telling me this wasn’t going to end up the way we planned.

Going back to that cold, hopeless night at the lane something or more appropriately Someone was shaking His head. I could sense it.

I suspect He was saying to Himself:

“How many roadblocks do I have to put up before they realize this is not part of My plan for them?”

The next step was to call Steve. I have to tell him we lost ‘the Cottage’.

We need to find a home now. A home we didn’t think we would have to look or settle for.

We have three months to come up with an answer whether we purchase or rent. Our current home is piled high with boxes.  It has been for two months.  The thought of living out of boxes for three more months seems overwhelming and unbearable.

The next most important discussion we have after shifting gears is how committed are we to my career at the Diabetes Education Centre. It is becoming evident the two hour daily commute is taking a toll on my heath.  The past year has been the most sick I have been in several years.  The stress of the drive and long days does not pair well with my diabetes.

As equally important which marries with our career discussions is; what direction are we heading with Steve’s business “VERGEbuilders”. Steve’s business is growing fast on the commercial and residential side. As the year rolls on so does the work, resulting in hiring more employees.  We did not anticipate the speed of growth.  With that we have to decide where our residence best supports his business.  We see this as critical.

At the end of a series of conversations we decide it is best to stay in our home town. We feel that is where we belong. It is hard for us to imagine moving out of the area we called home since our childhood.  This is also where 2 of our 3 children live for the time being.

It isn’t a simple decision. But, at that point we know my career at the Diabetes Centre will not be long term. We don’t know what, when or how but we are hopeful another opportunity will eventually present itself. We create a long term deadline for my current career with a ‘plan’.  In the meantime, I will continue to commute.

This is our plan.

Little did we know we don’t need to make any plans. It is already in the works.

We begin our search for a new home.  Nothing clicks.  We feel defeat & frustration. Fortunately, the purchasers of our current home agree to extend closing by two more months.

In the meantime we begin to discuss wedding options. The caterer and photographer are booked for our dream wedding in July at our dream home we no longer have. It is another dig at the wounds of losing our dream home as I cancel them.

When we originally discussed wedding plans, all I could envision is Steve and I on the beach together. I could picture the dress, the sandals, the peace, the simplicity of it all.

As time goes by, I ignore what I really want. I begin to sacrifice what I always imagine in order to accommodate to my thought of how happy others will be taking part in sharing our vows. My compromise is getting married on the lake at our dream home.

As we cross paths with our family and friends we hear comments…”Are you guys married yet?” “When are you guys getting married?”

We want to get married but not to ‘just get married’. We want it to be the right time at the right place. We also agree we won’t do it to please others. It has to be for us. Isn’t that why two people come together in matrimony?

As we search with painful disbelief for the perfect abode we discuss the options for the perfect time and place to legally become husband and wife.

It circles back to a beach far away.  Just the two of us.  Simple.

This decision seems the easiest to make among all the others before us. We decide to announce our intentions.  Of course the ones we love give us their blessings and support.

April 2014…we spend the day with our Real Estate Agent again. We look at houses. Nothing feels right. It just doesn’t feel like home. I’m sure mostly because I’m bitter and still in disbelief.

The last house we look at is a newly built home in a subdivision development. Despite it being bright & open, the rooms are too small, the choice of decor is not what I would choose for our home. It triggers a curiosity within me that leads me to ask our Agent if we can view the model home to see what other options are available.

We arrive at the model home. We tour through it. I love it. I can picture us living in a home like this.  It has big windows, an open concept and we can reconfigure it to accommodate to our needs.  The only con is the 40 foot lot.  With all the benefits it has and where it is located, the small lot in the city I can live with.

We talk with the Builder’s Sales Rep. There is only 1 lot left. There are others preparing to put a deposit down. We go home and grab the cheque book. The lot is ours.  The Sales Rep is surprised at our timing.  There were no other opportunities available for quite some time that suits our needs.

Both Steve and I have built before. I throughly enjoy the process. For Steve the process itself is a means to an end.

Knowing our current home and the closing of our new home will not coincide, I begin the search for a short term rental property that will accept our fur babies. It is no easy feat. No one wants short term tenants or fur babies.

In desperation I place an ad on Kijiji. I search on line every night.  A few months go by. Then, one day I receive an email. It is a response to my search. We arrange to meet. As we finish introductions, the owner informs us we will probably not get the rental as he has people viewing the property who are interested in long term. We take a deep breathe, quickly look through the main floor of the tiny bungalow. If we can get it, it will work just fine. I am thankful the kitchen is huge compared to our current home.  I have a tinge of excitement at this.  We are told we will be notified either way in two days.  Just the thought of being told we won’t get the rental seems to be too much right now.

Less than 12 hours later, my phone rings. It is the owner. The rental is ours!  What a break!

In the meantime we decide to get married on a beach. Just the two of us. We begin to plan. It feels good to not have the burden of guest lists, decorations and agendas. We keep it simple by booking with an on line wedding agency. We decide to get married on Magen’s Bay Beach in St Thomas in May.

DOW_0420

Despite all that happened in such a short period of time and the about face we have made with major life plans, we feel like everything is going to be ok.  The day of our wedding is so perfect it seems nothing can take us down.

Throughout these changes and plans, we decide it best for me to start researching alternate career plans. With Steve’s business we decide it a consideration for me to look into a career in Real Estate. I have felt for some time I need to take a break from the world of diabetes (minus my own and my sons) and the daily two hour drive.  This past winter road conditions were too much.

I consult with our Real Estate Agent to gain some insight as to whether this career choice will be a good fit.  As I make my way home from work I discuss the pros and cons with him.

Then, another change in plans we are not part of.

I arrive home that same evening I am on the phone with our Real Estate Agent. I hear an email come in on my phone. I open it. It’s from an old colleague who is a Sales Rep for Bayer. We occasionally partnered when I worked for Medtronic as a Territory Manager. It has been about 1 1/2 years since we have been in contact. It was at that time I went through an interview process with Bayer. In the end, after four interviews it was between me and one other person. They chose to hire the other person.

In my Colleagues email she introduces the fact the person that was chosen over me that previously represented the territory which is small and close to home resigned. She asks if I’d be interested in applying for the position once again.  It is Medical Sales in the Diabetes Division.

I give Steve a brief summary of the conversation I had earlier in the evening with our Real Estate Agent.

All of a sudden we have two career opportunities presented in one day that permit me to shorten my commute time and balance my personal and work life.

We decide that the pros of going back into Medical sales is way too good of an opportunity to pass up. I keep trying to escape from the professional world of diabetes but I see it is also not part of the plan for me.  I apply and am subsequently offered the position.  My role as an Diabetes Educator to Health Care Professionals seems to be a big part of the plan in my life.

In a matter of a few weeks in May, I am offered a new job, I resign from my position as a Diabetes Educator, we begin the process of building a home and we fly off to the Carribean to be married.

We return from our wedding/honeymoon starting my new job.

It all sounds like it’s coming full circle, doesn’t it?

Well, almost.

In all of these plans that have came before us there comes another ‘glitch’.

With my new career comes a probation period. My probation will not end before we need to close the house. It will impact the type of mortgage and down payment required.

I stress over how to get around this. I approach the sales rep for the Builder. I ask if we can extend the closing. It has been extended three times already by the Builder. We are only one month difference between closing and my probation ending. No deal. The closing date will stay as is.

I throw my hands in the air. Once again I have no control. I have to pray and trust that what will be, will be. I put an alert out to our families. We need a lot of prayer that somehow the closing date will be extended.

Two weeks prior to the closing date a miracle happens. I can’t disclose the events which unfold due to a waiver I signed with the Builder. What I can say is despite the stress of what occurs next, which in the very moment of realization feels like another broken shoelace, comes the answer to our prayers.  It takes a few months for me to understand this is in fact an answer to prayer.  In the first 4-5 weeks it looks like our world has fallen apart again.  So much so we begin to look at options of where to live.

As a result of these circumstances our closing date is extended two weeks past the end of my probation.

Amongst all of this we also experience a dramatic shift in two of our children’s lives. One moving to Edmonton, Alberta and one to Wellington, New Zealand.

So here it is, after all is said and done. In 2014 there are many major deviations in our plans. Most times we can’t make sense of why.

The stress, sadness and changes are unbearable at times.

Regardless of the changes of events from our original plans at the end of 2013 and into the beginning of 2014, the outcomes stay pretty much the same.

We are married. I began a new career, shortening my commute time. In a few days we will take possession of our beautiful home in our hometown. Steve’s business is flourishing.

Besides the plans, how did our view of these events occurring in 2014 change our point of view?

1.  Our faith.  God has the right plans for us.

2.  Our acceptance that we do not have the control in our lives we think we do.

3.  We don’t always have our own best interest at heart even though we may think we do.

4.  Understanding. When a situation occurs, the outcome will be what is meant to be even if we don’t see it yet.

5.  To see that in the end of every journey, every circumstance, big or small, there is a lesson that will help us see with a much needed different set of eyes.

To bid 2014 adieu, we stand in the Andes Mountains at an elevation of 15,100 feet.

I try to absorb the grandiosity of what my eyes see and the complexity of what happened in 2014.  In these moments I try to realize that I will always have the ground under my feet, the sky above me, water abounding, food on my table, a roof over my head and people that love me.

IMG_2012

Here’s to seeing 2015 with a new set of eyes and having the faith to allow the plans that are in the works for this year be according to His will, not mine.

A New Year, A Lifetime of Change

January 1, 2011 was the beginning of a New Year.  I did not realize that my ‘year’ would last three.

Today is January 1, 2014.  It is traditionally the beginning of a New Year.

Thoughts, discussions, intentions and commitments for change shared. Summaries spoken and written of the year gone by.  Sentiments of regret and thankfulness for the past year or for the start of a new one expressed.

The thought of taking one year out of my life, summarizing it as a huge event and determining what the sentiments of regrets and/or what I am thankful for seems like such a small measurement of time in the 44 years I have been on this earth.  My ‘year’ is defined as a stage as opposed to a calendar year.

My last ‘year’ began in 2011.  Many events and themes which I did not want and which I thought would never happen occurred.  These events and themes have been on the front lines of my life since 2011.

My Mom and Dad gave me this coffee cup for Christmas.  When I opened it I fell in love.  It will be my ‘go to’ cup for my new ‘year’ because since I was a little girl it is who I am.

In my ‘year’ I have experienced death of a marriage, loss of a six figure income job, multiple, costly court hearings, moving 3 times, unemployed with no income for 2 years, major illness, major surgery, a sick parent, new love, the purchase of 3 houses, selling 2 houses, new job, managing a rental property, becoming engaged, living with my fiancé, moving my daughter twice back and forth to Toronto, my daughter living out of province in a remote area that provided little communication for 8 months, my son’s up’s and down’s as 20 year olds do, ‘adopting’ another son, on-line harassment for the past 2 years by my fiancé’s ex, commuting 2 hours a day, acquiring a puppy and a 4-year-old kennel dog and finally, living with Type 1 diabetes for 38 years and being a Mom of a young adult living with Type 1 diabetes.

In my ‘year’ I cried, I cursed, I have been so angry and so sad that I said things to people I didn’t mean and regret.  I made decisions that I regret.  I beat myself up daily and wish I could say and do differently in certain situations.

Why do I write this and open myself to you?  I do believe that I need to share my experiences to help others.  I have decided this is the end of this ‘year’ of events.  I want to move on.  It’s time for a new stage in my life.

Even though I feel it is time to start a new year and celebrate this, based on the events and experiences of the past 3 years I have learned some very important lessons.

1.  Change is inevitable.  Despite posts and quotes online about the fact one CAN control their life and think themselves into the perfect life, I don’t.  I can plan all I want but my plans are not God’s.  That is different then having a cup half full attitude.

2.  Acceptance creates change.  Acceptance of what I can’t control allows for freedom to focus on what’s important and what I can change.

3.  Let go, selectively.  In my life, I have experienced 3 lives.  My childhood, my first marriage with my children as a family and my current life with my fiancé Steve and blended family.  Advice is abounding, telling us that if one doesn’t let go of the past and move forward then one will never grow.  I refuse to ‘forget’ my past and ‘move forward’.  If I did that I would be letting go of the experiences my children and I have had that are important to us, good and bad.  My past has made me and my children who we are today.  When I dwell on a moment and it creates an emotion, I have learned that it is time to decide why I am dwelling on it.  What is the lesson?  How can I use that moment for my present life?  I believe past and present are a marriage which promotes personal growth.

4.  Always know there is a Plan B.  I am a dreamer.  Dreams come true.  Dreams stay dreams.  When the dreams don’t come true, know there is another way or leave it as a dream.  Not all dreams come true.

5.  It is okay not to be spontaneous.  Spontaneity is fun and I will always be a spontaneous person.  BUT, I have learned that when I really think I have a brilliant idea I want to carry out NOW, it’s time to step back and give it 48 hours.  I have a team of people I trust that I consult with.  I get their thoughts which gives me a different perspective which allows me to make the right choice.

6.  Be thankful everyday.  After I think of all the people and ‘things’ in my life, I imagine all of those that are less fortunate than me.  Those that are lonely, abused, destitute, unloved, sick, dying and sad. I have met those living in such circumstances and they are thankful for what they have.  They have a ‘cup half full’ attitude.  I ask myself, what reason do I have to think my life is anything less than abundantly blessed?  What reason do I have to express less than a ‘cup half full’ attitude?

7.  Act on it.  What I have learned in my past ‘year’ is by delaying action on deadlines not only causes inconveniences for others but consequences for many levels of mine and my loved ones life.  I have learned in this ‘year’ that the stress I have caused over the years by choosing to delay the demands of life has been far more painful than acting on it right away.

8.  Move.  From 1992 to 2011 I have taken very good care of my body by moving.  Through various sports and activities I kept myself well and in good shape.  In this ‘year’ I have put that on hold.  I conjured up many excuses as to why it was okay not to keep the commitments I made to my body.  I am only blessed with one body.  I may think it feels good to sit around and relax after all of the stress is laid before me instead of moving but after a few years my body has sent me a very different message.  I am re-learning that if I move my face glows, I sleep better, my muscles ache from stressing them from movement, they become stronger, my thoughts flow easier, my mood is brighter, my motivations increases.

9.  Try to keep it simple.  Living in this day in age is so complex. I’m learning in this ‘year’ it’s okay to let go of what isn’t important.  It’s okay to do nothing.  It’s okay to not always be thinking about something.  It’s okay to turn off the radio in the car and have it silent.  It’s okay not to worry.

10.  Love.  Don’t let past experiences stop you from falling (in love) again.  It feels so good AND yes it hurts sometimes.  And some loves that are no longer will cause sadness to the end of time OR until you cross paths again.  Don’t hold grudges over past loves unless you are committed to change it, they don’t know you are.  It only takes up space in your mind and robs your energy.

11.  Own a hairy or furry pet that is not nocturnal.  I have always had dogs and cats in my life.  In February 2011 I had to leave my dog behind but took mine and my children’s 3 cats.  I thought that would be enough.  It was not the case.  In October 2012 we brought 8 week old Samson into our lives.  In May 2013 4 1/2 year old Belle became the newest addition to our Samoyed husky family.  With 4 cats & 2 dogs our home can be a hairy circus but the personalities and activities that entertain us every day keeps us laughing and counters the work involved.  I can feel the stress leave my body as I see their excited faces looking for me as I ascend the steps to enter through the door returning home.  As I walk into the house and see their ‘smiles’ I feel an overflow of joy swell up within me by their unconditional greetings.  As I pet or hug one of our pups any stress I have experienced melts.

This is my ‘year’ in summary.  These are the lessons I have learned.  I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life.  I open my arms to the events that will unfold and the lessons that will be re-enforced as well as the new ones I will learn.

Happy New Year and Cheers to you and yours, Tracy

Making Diabetes Sexy

Image

Making Diabetes Sexy

Pictured is my “Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag. If you saw it in my purse you would think it was a make-up bag. It’s pink, it’s pretty, it’s girly, it’s sexy. It has character & looks glamorous. But, that is not the sexiest part of this bag, what is? The contents contained within.

Inside is a back up infusion set, tubing, cartridge, Tegaderm, AAA battery, pen tip, lancet, 1/2 unit pen with rapid acting insulin, test strips, Dex 4 gel, SweetTarts (in it’s own sexy container), ketone meter, ketone strips, BG meter & gum. GUM?!? Yep. What’s the one thing that is so not sexy when you have a high sugar??? Bad breathe!!

So why are these items that are products to support my diabetes in a time of high or low blood sugars sexy? Let me convince you they are by telling you what is not…

1. In 1995 I worked full time at a daycare. Driving home from work I realized that I was going low. All I had with me was a really ripe banana. Cayla & Kurtis were in the car with me. I managed to eat the banana & arrived at a convenience store only to discover I had no money on me. At that time there was no debit, no cell phone. I decided I could make the 15 minute drive home to get the juice I so badly needed. I don’t remember driving home. I could’ve killed my children, someone else or left my children without their Mom.

2. Just this past November we attended a Christmas dinner. We stayed overnight. About 2am I woke feeling very, very sick to my stomach. I tossed & turned until I realized I should run to the bathroom. I didn’t make it. From that time until about 8am I continued to vomit violently. My muscles ached, I couldn’t shake it. My BG’s were between 12-15 mmol/L. I determined they were high because of the stress of vomiting. I thought for sure I had food poisoning as the salmon I ate dinner was a bit ‘funny’. I continued to correct & at one point did see my BG drop to 8 mmol/L. Finally at 8am when I was struggling to breath, my chest felt so heavy, every breathe I took burning like acid, I turned to my fiancé & asked him to take me to the hospital, something was really wrong. It was at that moment I picked up my pump to correct a high one more time & realized I could feel the wet insulin coming through the tubing at the connection of the cartridge. It was only then I realized I was in DKA. Thankfully I had an extra site change, tubing & cartridge with me. I changed it up & took a sufficient bolus to avoid hospitalization. I reversed the DKA fairly quickly on my own. I had no ketone meter & no ketone strips to test & avoid this. So not sexy…my fiancé cleaning up after me every time I threw up not knowing what else to do.

What’s else makes our diabetes look unattractive?

1. Having a low & asking someone for something… anything… because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

2. Running out of test strips & ‘guessing’ BG’s only to find out they were out of target & resulted in being sensitive to someone that was unnecessary…or thinking you’re low when you’re high, treating & ending up being really high…because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

3. Being stressed because the infusion set tore out & now acutely making a Plan B to get insulin by injection or an infusion site….because we didn’t have our sexy bag.

4. Having the insulin pump run out of insulin & no access to any for several hours…by the time you get to some you are very high, feel sick & really, really crappy…ugh!! Not sexy!

5. Having the lancet device in your ‘poker’ bend (believe me it’s happened!!) & have no way to check for a full day because there isn’t a sexy bag with a back up…refer back to #2.

6. Having your infusion sweat off to the point of you having to hold in place for hours because the ‘sticky’ stuff is no longer working or accidentally ripping a stainless infusion set out when taking off your shirt to put on a gown for an x-ray. Sexy is having a Tegaderm & infusion site to to stick it down or replace it.

All these events don’t sound so attractive do they?…quite frankly, if you stood back & watched someone have these things happen AND they had pulled out their “Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag you would’ve thought to yourself…wow, that person has it together, even living with a 24-7-365 disease…that’s attractive!! AND…what is so good looking & sexy about a plain old blue or black case that stores your pens, meter & pump stuff?? Dress them up, make them yours!!

SO….go shopping!! Have fun picking out a bag that says who you are. Fill it up! It’s time for you to own “_____________(insert your name) Keeping Diabetes Sexy” bag….it’s time to make your diabetes sexy!!

Eden’s Worst Nightmare

Image

Eden's Worst Nightmare

Below is a mind-blowing 2 minute read.  Eden’s diagnosis of Type 1 diabetes came at the age of 17. After gaining a lot of weight & feeling she did not have the support from the health care profession she needed to empower herself, Eden set out on her own to learn & discover how to live life with diabetes beyond borders. Eden has a very busy life, finishing her degree at University as well as setting goals to manage her diabetes & lose weight in a healthy way before her graduation in May.

Support Eden as she moves forward daily in her journey to empower herself living with diabetes & successfully meet a weight that is healthy for her body. What she is achieving since being diagnosed 4 years ago is nothing short of amazing!

“Hey Everyone,
Sorry I was away since Thursday with the family for a weekend shopping trip! We had a lot of fun.

So I thought I would write on a mix of things today !

When I was away this weekend I tried to behave the best I could (even though some regular chocolate just happened to work its way in their LOL) I got some diabetic/sugarless candy from my family today ….I had chai tea candies…soooo good! Go to Bulkbarn and get some!

I thought I would share some more personal stuff, since I know everyone grapples with this when trying/thinking about losing weight.

One big deciding factor when trying to lose weight is …why are you losing weight? I do not know about you, but just saying “to be healthy and be slim” can be a very vague reason to start to lose weight….Plus this is a LONG term goal.

A HUGE recommendation I have is to sit down, with a pen and paper and write small term goals to lose weight. For example here are some of mine (some I have already accomplished, some I have not)

1. Be able to do the stair master for longer then 10 minutes (I can do 45 now!)
2. Test my blood sugar 4-5 times a day (I have been good on this lately)
3. Go to the gym 4-5 times a week (finally getting this habit)
4. Get to second goal weight 165 (I hope to be here around May 10th this year)
5. Drink 8 glasses of water a day (very hard to do ….lol and not much fun)
6. Take vitamins every day
7. Be able to feel confident when I am in public
8. Be able to wear clothes that are comfortable and make me look and feel AMAZING
9. Have more self-confidence when doing day-today stuff
10. Be fit and ready trying on wedding dresses.

OK I wrote 10 of my 20 down lol Some of these are going to take a lot of work for me (especially 7 and 9). I have always struggled with self-confidence issues. But one incident that really hurt me I will discuss since I think most have gone through a similar situation.

Two years ago during the summer my boyfriend (who is beyond amazing in every way) and his friends wanted to go to the beach down the street. Now a big girl with confidence issues does not get excited about this! I literally felt my blood sugars go up from stress and I did not want to go. This would involve me being in a bathing suit, wet and in front of people in shape….needless to say WORST NIGHTMARE.

I decided to go since I also did not want to be home alone (which would make me feel worse). So I went…I sat on the beach with jeans, a black hoodie and tank, and running shoes (put in mind it was 30 degrees out!) I was hot, I felt fat and awful and everyone was having a great time in bikinis swimming. I luckily had sun glasses on because I started to cry.

Every time I feel like eating something like a whole cake or a bag of chips, I think of that day. I felt so left out, and awful! Yes everyone cheats once and awhile, but I refuse to ever feel like that again. So I hope you guys push yourself, like walking an extra 5 minutes, or eating popcorn instead of cake, etc etc.

I thought I would share ! Hopefully I keep inspiring you guys: :)”

Saying No.

Image

Saying No.

How can one word cause so much stress?

Is it the concern of being selfish? Is it the fear that we are not allowing ourselves the opportunity to have new experiences and challenges? Is it the fear of believing there is no one else that can do what you’ve been asked to do? Are we afraid to disappoint? Do we need to prove a point to ourselves or others? Are we afraid of conflict and burning bridges?

In this day and age the pressure we are living under to perform, accept, accomplish, respond to, access and be accountable for is too much, not just as adults but teens and young children are being subjected to this prematurely. Our private lives are jeopardized by the creation of global urbanization and technology with the expectation to keep up at all costs.

Yes is stress. But saying no is too. How do we find balance?

Take a look at how stress can influence our health:

1. Stress hormones raise blood sugars
2. Stress contributes to insulin resistance
3. Stress leads to weight gain
4. Stress can increase blood pressure
5. Stress can suppress the immune system
6. Stress can worsen or create allergies
7. Stress can increase the risk of heart attack and stroke
8. Stress can impair fertility
9. Stress can accelerate the aging process
10. Stress can create psychological imbalances such as anxiety and depression
11. Stress can cause or enhance addictive behaviours such as drugs, alcohol, sex, exercise etc.

Here are some guidelines to assist in determining when it is right to say “No’ and find or keep your balance.

1. When you have a bad feeling and your gut says “this doesn’t feel right”…trust it!!! Be true to yourself!
2. Thinking about saying “Yes” to the request causes you to feel overwhelmed before you have even committed to it.
3. Your principles, ethics and/or beliefs are in jeopardy.
4. The financial expense doesn’t fit your budget.
5. It is not fulfilling the goals and objectives you have set for yourself.

It’s OKAY to say “No”. Words and body language are our most powerful ally. How you respond will empower you and the person who has asked.

“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” – Stephen Covey

Home Away from Home

Image

Home Away from Home

Everybody needs a holiday
Everybody needs a holiday
Everybody needs a holiday

Close your eyes
And hit the sack
While your asleep
I`ll watch your back
Grab a chair
Have a seat
I`ve got the wheel
Rest your feet

I`ll stand guard
And keep the wolves at bay
Watch the fire
While you dream away
Earned a rest
I know you worked all day
I know
And everybody needs a holiday

Take a break
Shake that frown
Re-assess
What`s going down
Spare a thought
While you sit
Reconsider
And admit

I`ll stand guard
And keep the wolves at bay
Watch the fire
While you dream away
Earned a rest
I know you worked all day
I know
And everybody needs a holiday….

(taken from the lyrics & song by B.a.d. Big Audio Dynamite – Everybody Needs A Holiday)

My home is everything I have dreamed of since I can remember. My home has the characteristics of another era, a history that is rich. We have considerately and lovingly decorated it to portray the past but accommodate for the present. Colours on the walls are thoughtfully placed and abundant.

Friends and family come into our home and comment how warm and cozy it is. They express that they become so relaxed once they sit down they don’t want to leave.

With the comforts and reprieve of our home are also the stresses of outside forces attempting to penetrate the walls of where we find peace. With social media now at our finger tips and its essential use to promote career, the loosening of boundaries as far as working from home and the blurred lines of when work begins or ends, taking a holiday is essential for health and well-being.

Blessings abound when it comes to vacation options. We have a dear friend who has a home 45 minutes from ours. The picture posted is a brief glimpse of his beautiful abode. This earthy, eclectic, rustic home sits on 200 acres with trails, pond, cabin and a lake. We are so blessed as we are welcome anytime.

This weekend we decided to go on a holiday. With food, drink, dog and warm clothes packed, we headed to our home away from home. We ate, drank, walked, snowmobile, gathered wood, took pictures, shared stories, ideas, laughs and learnings. We go there and we feel like we are worlds away. The stress melts.

We are returning this week for a few days. The sap will be flowing from the maple trees and its time to make syrup.

Although it was so good to walk in the front door of our home and take it all in, I look forward to staying at our home away from home again.

Finding Balance

Image

Finding Balance

I just completed The Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale.

In 1967, psychiatrists Thomas Holmes and Richard Rahe decided to study whether or not stress contributes to illness. They surveyed more than 5,000 medical patients and asked them to say whether they had experience any of a series of 43 life events in the previous two years. Each event, called a Life Change Unit (LCU), had a different “weight” for stress. The more events the patient added up, the higher the score. The higher the score, and the larger the weight of each event, the more likely the patient was to become ill.

Below is the score Interpretation

300+ You have a high or very high risk of becoming ill in the near future.

150-299 You have a moderate to high chance of becoming ill in the near future.

<150 You have only a low to moderate chance of becoming ill in the near future.

Upon taking the survey, it did not consider that I live with diabetes, I have a 19-year-old 'child' living with diabetes who has recently experienced complications, I am still going through court proceedings trying to settle with my divorce, starting two new businesses AND most recently after months of severe undiagnosed pain I finally have a diagnosis in which I will be going for major surgery for in April.

So, not including the above mentioned, the score I 'achieved' is 687. Of the 43 items listed, I have experienced 22 in the past 2 years.

I am not writing this to have you think to yourself "Oh poor Tracy".

I am writing this for 2 reasons:

1. Understanding that everyone has life events that are very stressful. Sometimes when in the middle of it all, as these events pile up one on top of another, it is very difficult to step back and see what has occurred. It is even more challenging to see the positive or how to take care for yourself in the midst of it all. There are many events in life that we cannot change. It is important to accept this and decide ways to find balance by taking care of ourselves.

2. I need to write this to help me. I have wanted to do the survey for a while. I knew the score would be high, so it was not for that purpose. I took it today because I am so tired. So tired, I needed to make myself take the survey so I could sit down & figure how I could find balance among all of it. I am not taking the best care of me as I have in the past. It's time to change that.

The picture posted is from my walk yesterday. I had 2 choices yesterday; sleep or walk. My body felt full of toxins from the stress. I haven't been listening to my body as I should. Although I was extremely tired, my mind urged me to go for the walk. I needed to get the blood flowing and help my body clear out the toxins and my mind.

We ended up driving to a park in the city. We took the puppy and started through the park. I felt like I was in the country. No traffic noise, lot's of trees and snow. We didn't talk much. We both just needed to 'be'.

Initially in my mind, I didn't want to go far. I have an ongoing list in my head of tasks that need to completed at home both on a personal and business level. But as I walked further, I realized that this list never has nor will it be finished. That's life. For this walk I needed to let that never-ending list go and enjoy the moment for my health's sake.

We ended up walking 10 kilometres over 2 hours. Towards the end of the walk, the tightness in my chest and my inability to take a deep breath began to disappear. It felt so good to take a deep breath.

Today we will do the same. I will leave that list behind. I will leave the items I have marked off on the survey behind. I will envision taking these items and tucking them away in a closet only to taken out when absolutely required. But not on the walk.

I urge you to take the survey. Determine where you are at in your life when it comes to stress. Then, decide what you can do to balance these items. Whether it be reading, going to the gym, taking a long walk, yoga, stretching, having a long relaxing bath, lighting some candles and listening to music, playing with your kids, hugging the ones you love.

"Take rest; a field that has rested gives a bountiful crop." –Ovid

"Its not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it."
–Hans Selye