Good friends and laughter can only describe the evening I had yesterday. I am thankful for my friends, they mean the world to me. The afternoon started around 2:30. The five of us met at a friend's house. We left around 3:00 for afternoon Christmas tea in Atlanta. My friend has a van that seated us all comforatbly. Only one out of six of us had gone to afternoon tea before, so it was a new experience for all of us. We are a low maintence group of women so tea at the Four Seasons was such a treat. The restaurant in the hotel is Park 75. It was so elegant and beautiful. Absolutely gorgeous! They brought out boxes that held little bottles of the sample of tea for us. We loved the scent of each one. I chose masala black chai tea. WOW! It was fantastic! One of my friends and I got the vegetarian tea sandwiches, which included pasteries, chocolate truffles, cucumber tea sandwiches, tomatoes with hummus, raspberry rolls. Absolutely delicious! We had a gift exchange. The atmosphere, ambiance, was so great. There was a wedding going on, we got to see the bride briefly walk from one room to another accompanied by the groom, and someone from the wedding party. All elegantly dressed, the other woman with a pillbox hat cocked to one side of her head. There was another woman with her miniature dogs with their designer leopard print carriers out front. Valet brought the van around and we got in. We drove down Peachtree. I was thinking about fifty years ago to the night was the premiere of Gone With the Wind; that very street lined with cars, paprazzi, a grand time for some brilliant actors. We passed the High Museum, Savannah College of Art and Design, Atlanta Campus, (SCAD) many well known restaurants. The mansions of Peachtree were lit in all their beauty of Christmas lights. We rode through many streets of Atlanta, then made our was to West Paces Ferry Road where we looked in awe at the Governor's mansion. Very beautifully decorated. I cherish the memories made of last night, the laughter, and the connection to good friends!
I've set my mind and made a decision about my health. As of today I'm going to adopt a vegan lifestyle and excerise daily. I do not, let me say that again, I do not like to exerise at all. I do like to hike and walk at the park. I've thought of eating vegan before and found the idea daunting, but being a vegetarian already becoming vegan will be easy. It's all a mind set. So I've changed my mind to thinking of 100% vegan lifestyle as easy and excerising is something I enjoy. All of my life I've struggled with my weight, I'm a size 14, so I've always considered myself chubby, not obese, but by Doctor's standards I am obese. Within the last few days I've had several incidence that have called to me. I know that these are signs, my intuition telling me to make lifestyle changes. I teach First Grade and love it. On Friday the classes had Grinch day. The students were able to wear green shirts, Santa hats, make Grinch masks to wear. My class watched the Grinch movie while eating pickles, green candy canes, green mints, green gum balls. There were Grinch T-Shirts at Wal-Mart that I looked at. All of these shirts were in junior sizes, therefore I didn't get a shirt for Grinch day, but wore a green fleece shirt, which was cute. Yesterday I was at the mall and tried on a few dressy shirts because I was looking for one to wear to a Christmas tea next Saturday. I found a beautiful red shirt at Macys with red sequence on it that I can wear with black pants and look appropriate for the tea. I did try on four of five shirts that were too tight on me. I made a choice for this to not spoil my day, the shopping trip, but also made a determined decision in my mind that I would get healthy by releasing weight.
This morning I've stretched, worked out for forty minutes, stretched again. I did four reps of twenty with hand weights, fifteen minute cardio dance work out, stretched with a pilates stretching band, and 500 crunches. This may seem a bit extreme, but when I make my mind up to do something, I do it whole heartedly. I ate a veggie burger with lettuce, tomatoes, veggie cheese, no bread, just the veggie pattie with toppings, and a side of broccoli. I've had 24 oz of water today. This evening I will be making smoothies for the week. I want to have a smoothie each morning for breakfast. The best way to do this is if I make them Sunday evening. I'll have five 8 oz. cups that I'll freeze the smoothie in and take out the night before, putting in the fridge for it to be ready to drink the next morning. It won't take much to veganize my life, because I was already pretty much there. I do have a four pack of Frappuccino Mocha from Starbucks that I'll give to one of my friends that I work with. On my to do list is to pack the mocha up and take to her tomorrow. I will not struggle with my weight any longer. I'm on a path to healthy living where food does not control me. If I give myself only healthy choices then there's only one option and it'll be easy.
I love Maya Angelou! This quote by Maya Angelou is so profound and wise:
"In the sweet shadow of Thanksgiving I am giving forgiveness to everyone I thought had ill treated me. I want to enter the Christmas month with a clean slate. I want to think that everyone I know can enter the last month of this year free of any ill will between us. Let us all go into December 2012 free, giving and expecting the good thing."
Last night, I liked this quote so much that I posted it on Facebook. I had a friend who made the comment that it was a nice quote, but sometimes the hurt someone has inflicted onto you is too great, hard to move past. I agree that it can be difficult to forgive and we hold onto it. So my response to her on Facebook was I agreed and that it takes time. I didn't want to seem "preachy" but wanted to say to heal does take time, but once you realize that holding onto the grudge and not forgiving only hurts yourself, then you let it go. I believe the other person who has done the hurting has moved on, its finished, the story has ended for them. We are so wrapped up in our hurt, and accusing, that we literally hold onto it in our bodies. This brings bigger health issues to us. Just release, let go, talk to God, forgive, heal. You, your health, your mind, your body, your soul will be better for it.
So I let go, forgive, release, and enter the Christmas month with a clean slate. Life is good, I feel the Magic of the Season!
When reading about the writing process people talk about word choice, using the perfect words. I'm not a verbage snob. For me, the purpose of writing is the feeling, motivation, and the purging behind a piece that makes it profound. Writing can be the healing process behind many of life's ups and downs. I acknowledge there should be a balance between writing from feeling and focusing on word choice. I have a method, a process in my madness when I write. First, I write for feeling, it's my spark writing where all the juicy images emerge. Then, I re read, edit, and re write using more effective, more interesting, and a variety of words that helps the fluidity of the story. The main purpose of writing is the enjoyment of the process and I do love writing! It provides me with an outlet to put my life to paper in a meaningful, enriching way.
It's Evenings Like This:
I've been out running errands, but made a stop in Barnes and Noble for a peppermint mocha and a few minutes of reading. I sat at a window table reading Jane Austen's Persuasions. It's chilly outside. This week it's been near the mid 60s, but the last few days the high has been in the 40s. As I walked out to my car, whether from swooning while reading Persuasions or from being chilly I was suddenly aware it's on evenings like this I wish I had a significant person in my life. I would love to come home, share a bottle of wine while cooking dinner together. Feeding each other sample spoonfulls of steaming food while it's still cooking. The aromatic smells of dinner along with the occassional nibble of what we're cooking, and more wine making us giddy and flirty. Then eating dinner together. After dinner cuddled on the sofa with a blanket over us, pjs on, talking, laughing, sharing, watching TV, reading to one another. Someone reading poetry to me and me reading to them is on my list of must do's. Eventually evening giving way to night, drifting off to sleep, cozy and content. It's evenings like this that I long for closeness on a chilly late Autumn night.
It's Thanksgiving Day and I'm so very thankful! After a wonderful Thanksgiving lunch with my family I sat on my patio in the sunshine writing. It was such a warm, and gorgeous day today! I know that every day is perfect, every moment of everyday is perfect, every second, but in moments like this I know that is true. I feel the perfection of this moment, not because of any previous good meal earlier in the day, or any man made contriving, but because the second is full of life. Here I am sitting in a bright yellow fold out camping chair, a pair of tennis shoes on, white, comfy socks, jeans, green fleece shirt, my hair is fixed cute, but I'm not wearing makeup. Sitting here in the cool late Autumn sunshine listening to neighborhood kids play a pick up game of football, falling leaves rattling as they fall through the branhes to the ground, squirrels making noise. Yes, this moment is full and perfect and for that I'm so very thankful, bless, and grateful! Peace and contentment! Thank you God for blessing me abundantly and unconditionally!
These photos were taken of my dining room and table decorated before Thanksgiving lunch and photos taken during my walk a few hours after lunch.
One of the ways that I'm surrendering to the moment, pushing my boundaries, stepping out of my comfort zone, and BEing in the present, is by engaging in free writing. I like to call this my spark writing. These short vignettes provide me with kindling to fire the creative writing process. It literally frees my creative side in a playful, whimisical, and interesting way. These pieces take me out of the cognitive side of writing into the feeling, emotional, enriching stories that provides a meaningful support to deeper writing. I write short stream of consciouness so I can dig deeper to find the well of creativity that is bursting to find a voice. Spark writing enables me to get to the root of writing where the nourished, juicy parts are ready to be revealed.
I woke up around 7:20 with the sunshine glowing golden in my bedroom windows. The beautiful blue sky glistening down on me through the blinds. I lay in bed enjoying the silence and the warm cocoon I was in. Around 7:40 I got out of bed. I opened the curtains and blinds to Autumn's beauty, seeing the golden trees, blue sky, sunshine, and the wind blowing. The day opening absolutely breathtakingly beautiful! Thankful beyond words, only the flow of feeling.
I'm at a place in my life where I want adventure. Starting with small steps with gradual changes will increase the chances that I will continue to add flavor to my life. I love consistency and routines, but there also needs to be spice to life. Routines lull, their false sense of safety and comfort stifling, create fear. The safety net has been flung aside, I am jumping fearlessly into life. I trust and surrender to All that is. To BEing. Life is a beautiful gift to be lived to the fullest! Life is to BE lived out loud! In vibrant color!
So to celebrate life and the part of me that craves adventure I decided to start going on hikes. I joined a group a couple of years ago but never went on any of the hikes because I was apprehensive about the challenge of the hikes. The other day I chose to finally go on one. I've been on two so far. The first hike was at the beginning of September at a park. It was 2.5 miles and relatively easy. The second hike was in October. It was 2.5 miles but a little more challenging with rougher terrain, deeper in the woods. There were rocky sections that I had to scramble up, narrow steps that dropped to a stream below, a suspension bridge. My adrenaline was pumped several times, but I loved every second of the hike. There were 12 women in the group. We talked, walked, laughed, stumbled, tripped over the roots of trees, laughed some more, talked about our lives, and families. All different, but the same. Everyone seeking the challenge of the hike, to connect with nature, and one another. I pushed my boundaries because I didn't know anyone on the hike, out of 12 people only 2 people were acquainted. I also pushed my limits by hiking. Being a self proclaimed introvert I forced myself outside my box of comfort by meeting 11 new friends, and physically forcing myself to hike 2.5 miles. We stopped half way through and ate snacks, talked, laughed, got to know one another. I cherish the day.
I will continue to live outside my comfort zone in small ways, getting the blood to flow scortching hot through my veins. Knowing I'm living the life God intended for me to live. I'm reminded of the quote by St. Catherine of Siena which she states most beautifully and eloquently, "Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire."