Journey To A Healthier Version Of Me

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I have recommitted to being a more fit version of me these last 2 months. I am working out with friends, using the outdoors as my gym, and exercising at home on my own as well. I even signed up to do 100 miles of walking/jogging, in the month of May, to raise funds for Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

All of this has helped me come to some realizations or “Ahh-Ha” moments.

#1-I like the way I feel after exercising. This happens despite the fact that I
may go kicking or screaming or I may go dragging my tired self for exercise.to a park
#2-I do see some differences. It is slow progress but I see some changes and I like it. Changes are encouraging.
#3-I am a part of a group that supports and encourages one another on this journey to being better versions of ourselves. This is so refreshing since, very often, women feel in competition or tear one another down.
#4-My push or drive comes from my daughters who encourage me each day. Their drive and determination makes me want to do this even more. Very often, they accompany me to fitness events or assist me in finding new workouts on Pinterest. I truly want to make them proud and inspire them in some small way.
#5-I most likely will not run a marathon or do a triathlon and I am ok with that but I will continue to set goals and achieve them.
#6-Inspiration is all around me. Living in the moment and staying true to who you are remain 2 goals as well as philosophies for me in my life. The latter one is somewhat easier to keep because life can get in the way and cause us to focus too much on the future and stray away from the moment. The present moment remains all we are guaranteed so worrying about the future robs us of that.
#7-Being in my 40’s, and I cannot believe I am writing that fact down, has brought challenges and gifts. These gifts include the idea that I no longer want to be a part of any drama and I will remove myself from situations that are drama filled or unhealthy for my quest to grow with a more positive outlook. I simply am following the same advice I give my twin daughters. I try to look at challenges as lessons in life and move on from them as they occur. Dwelling only breeds negativity.

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In addition, I am excited to try new things without second guessing myself and stepping out of that all too limiting comfort zone. I love the freedom that comes with this age and I am now less concerned with what others think. Hopefully, I won’t cause my children much embarrassment as demonstrated, this past weekend, when I broke into song while walking through the streets of a town that was hosting a classic car show. Can I help it the DJ played great music?

I look forward to many new adventures, and lessons learned, as I continue along on this journey to a healthier version of me. The obstacles will be there but they will get smaller with each experience and each attempt.

As the title of my blog states..I am an optimist in training.

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Blank Slate

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imageI love this time of year when the days get longer and we have more daylight. It is also the time of year when my soul longs for a change or growth in a new direction. A feeling of being stagnate is one I try to avoid but one in which I find myself in on occasion. I have made efforts, to get out of my comfort zone, and stretch my idea of who I am but I am feeling that it is not enough. Change is in the air. I am not sure where it will lead or what direction it will take me. I only know I am ready. I am open to new ideas and ready to pursue my passions. All of which are good for the soul!

 

 

A Letter To My Daughters

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blogDear Girls,

As we begin another school year, I want to take this opportunity to impart some advice, thank you both, and surround you with love. This is another big year, for both of you, in so many ways. The future awaits you and is ready for the dreams, skills, talents, and plans you will bring to it. May you never lose your desire to learn. There is so much out there and so much to be discovered, read, and shared. Follow your dreams and never let another discourage, belittle, or alter those dreams. You are in the driver’s seat. Your future awaits! It is okay for you to change the dream a bit or to come up with a completely new one. As long as YOU are the one who decides. Explore your interests! Join a club or two. It is alright if your friends do not join the same clubs. Varied interests can keep a friendship fresh and renewed.

Take time to be silly or to have a really good belly laugh! It clears the “cobwebs” in the mind and helps with a fresh perspective. Find your own path but know that those that love and support you will be there along the way. Remember to reach out and grab onto one of them periodically. We become stronger when we reach out to others. It is better to do that than to become overwhelmed and frustrated. When you make decisions, that effect your future, be sure to do them after careful consideration and consultation. Never make a decision based solely on what someone else thinks or feels. You will only let yourself down if you do that.

We have always used the expression, “Be true to who you are” in our house and this quote sums up the central beliefs that this letter sprang out of today. If you both stay strong and positive and grow from each learning experience, there will be no stopping the goals you both hope to accomplish.

Thank you for all you continue to teach me. I love you both and I am incredibly proud of all that you have accomplished thus far.

The best is yet to come! I am so excited to see what the future holds for you, my lovely daughters!

Love,

Mom

What I Know For Sure

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“In school, you’re taught a lesson and then given a test. In life, you’re given a test that teaches you a lesson” Author unknown.

I came across this quote in a  magazine this week. I immediately stopped and spent some time thinking about it. It is appropriate,for this time of year of new beginnings, as people begin prepping for a return to school. When I looked at this quote, I also thought of it as a backwards approach. This can be a more difficult approach to grasping life’s lessons. When you are taught a lesson, in school, you are instructed several times, receive notes to study from and quiz yourself on, and you may also have a practice test or two to check on how much material you have grasped. If there is a lack of understanding, then there are other opportunities for strengthening areas of weakness and possibly retesting.

In life, as I mentioned, we start backwards. The tests are presented without any prior background knowledge, note taking, or quizzing. There are no opportunities for a retest. This is a difficult concept to grasp and to embrace. It also takes time to reflect upon each test and to see them for the gifts that they are in each of our lives. Tests can have a tendency to overwhelm and keep us down or to stagnate us. These are all the results of not comprehending why these tests happened upon us. Close proximity, to the test, can cloud us from seeing the “big picture” or the intended lesson. Distance and time can be key factors in removing the clouds so that the lessons are finally evident to us. I believe this skill of understanding comes from a heightened awareness, a living in the moment approach, and an attitude of gratitude. Goals to aspire to in all of our lives.

I have had many tests, in the last few years, and some lessons have come easier than others. But, I know one thing for sure and that is I will keep looking and learning for the lessons in each test.

Turning Points-Catalysts For Change

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Back in May I decided that it was time to put some focus on me. It sounds selfish but the root of it is for my family. I wanted to work on me physically, spiritually, and hopefully develop a more positive outlook. This blog was one piece of it and it is a work in progress, although progress can be a bit slow.

I want to encourage others to think about what is their “catalyst for change” and hopefully use this as a spring board for change. It is so important to not let these events keep you stagnant or let them define you as a person.

Confession time: I have been guilty of both becoming stagnant and of letting these events define me over the course of the last 3 years. This time of year has been difficult because 3 years ago my life was shaken to the core. My husband, at the age of 46, had a stroke. I still have trouble verbalizing that fact. It felt like the floor had collapsed below me. During that time I could not or would not process the event and diagnosis. What we thought was simple dehydration, from working outside all day, had turned into the unfathomable. Thankfully, he was not left with any lasting effects. We did however find out he is a diabetic and he was finally able to immediately quit smoking.

Within months of this event one of our daughters, as I have written about, became injured. This in turn ended her softball playing days and she had to endure 3 surgeries and countless physical therapy appointments in less than a year and a half. Most recently, this past winter, she successfully stumped her team as to why things were not stable. I am happy to say that there has been some progress in that area and we are cautiously optimistic.

Fast forward to this Spring when it felt like I was finally able to let out a sigh of relief, dust myself off, and begin to develop the new me. I jumped back into hobbies I had previously loved and I began to venture into becoming healthier and more fit. By making this decision, I am exploring many new possibilities and even taking new exercise classes. As a result, I hope to encourage my own children to develop themselves and always explore new possibilities. I was also fortunate to reconnect with an old friend who has formed a wonderful group of women, with similar interests, who are encouraging one another in the areas of exercise and nutrition. This would not have been possible if I didn’t decide to be open to change and let that “catalyst” move me in the right direction.

The future is looking bright!

What Happens When We Do Not Assign Labels?

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I have been reflecting on the idea of assigning labels and putting everything, including people, under a specific label umbrella if you will. In another entry, some time ago, I touched upon this topic but I would like to revisit it again and expand upon it a bit.

I recently, within the last 5 weeks, became part of a group of women who encourage and support one another when it comes to fitness goals, nutrition, and motivation. We believe in one another and build one another up. No questions asked. It is simply one of the philosophies of the group. How inspiring is that? The woman whose “dream child” this is, is a childhood friend and, in fact, our mothers have been best friends for over 60 years. This new group serves as a source of encouragement and these new found friends serve as a wonderful support system. I have tried 3 new types of exercise classes and participated in 2 exercise challenges. Not bad for someone who was never labeled and “athlete” or a “gym rat.!” I did not feel intimidated, without these labels, only empowered as I tried new things and succeeded.

Just think if children did not impose labels upon one another. Would they be more accepting of one another? How about labels such as “meek”, “shy”, or “reserved?” An individual who is of this nature should be valued and and not penalized. I am speaking from personal experience and I have seen it in action. Everyone has gifts and talents. It is time to let them shine! As an educator, I have seen students thrive when they know they are not constrained by labels in regards to intelligence or talent. The student who is good at sports can also be good at art or the more reserved student can deliver an empowered speech in favor of the music program at a school board meeting.

This idea of no labeling can be applied to all areas of life. When people do mislabeling it is simply a matter of over generalization

We need to rid labeling as a practice. Who knows it may just put a smile on someone’s face when they feel encouraged. What a great thing!

Lessons Learned and Forward We Go!!

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Melita Bloomer - Coming Year

Happy New Year!

A chance to analyze, look at lessons learned, begin again, make new goals, and focus on achieving those goals. It is similar to what the month of September is to students everywhere.

What I learned in 2014:

1) My family continues to amaze me.

2) My children have an exceptional work ethic and compassion for others.

3) Worrying does not change a single thing.

4) Worrying causes today to become lost in the shuffle.

5) Never stop learning.

6) Always strive for new goals.

7) God provides strength in the most difficult of circumstances.

8) People are place in our lives to serve various needs and purposes. One needs to simply step back to grasp these meanings. Sometimes being too close, to the situation, obscure that view that we need.

9) Do not lose yourself in the “muck” of life’s hardships. Grab onto that life preserver whether it be a new goal, a friend, a hobby or a piece of music. I will admit that I am guilty of failing at this step in recent months. I may have gotten stuck in the “muck” and lost my goal/focus. My goal is to acquire that focus back and by doing so I will continue to move forward.

10) Unfortunately, bad things happen to everyone. Trying to find reasons for their occurrence  is fruitless. This is another thing I am guilty of in life and it is a quick way to get stuck in that “muck.” It robs us of our faith and our strength that comes from many different areas. Why  give the bad things more power to expand and cloud our outlook? Recognize when they are present, even roll your eyes a time or two, and MOVE ON!! Where there is movement there is progress. Progress is always consistently a GOOD thing!

11) Find a passion or two and you will find yourself flourishing as you grow in learning and applying these passions.

12) Prayer is the ultimate tool for coming out of the muck I mentioned in point #9. Ask others to pray for you, as well, and storm heaven. as a friend of mine has described it.

What I hope for in 2015:

1) To form new goals.

2) To take necessary steps to achieve them.

3)To live in the moment.

4)To take chances.

5) To see my family happy and healthy as they go through the new year.

6) To finally see my daughter have an end to the chronic shoulder problems as she faces possibly another procedure. This has knocked us off our feet, in the last 2 days of 2014, because what we thought was fixed is in need of reevaluation.

7) To develop new passions and rediscover who I am!

What thoughts and goals do you have this first day of 2015?