Friday, October 3, 2014

Forgiveness


The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur started tonight, and for those unfamiliar with the holiday, it is the holiest day of the year. The holiday is meant to bring about reconciliation - both amongst people and between individuals and G-d - and is the day that G-d decides the fate of our next year and whether we shall be written into the book of life.

Note: Im a believer in G-d, Judaism and what they stand for, but I personally don't actually feel that our fate is decided directly by G-d and only once a year, I think that we all have a say in our own destiny on a daily basis.

With that, the topic of forgiveness has been at the forefront of my mind so much recently, and not just because of the holiday.

What is forgiveness? Google defines forgiveness as "the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven". Okay, easy enough, but that doesn't really tell us too much.

If you look deeper into the meaning/process, it is generally defined as a "conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness"

And that is where forgiveness is hard! I can easily say I forgive someone, but that won't release the feelings, so how do I truly get to that point where I can forgive someone especially when they don't deserve to be forgiven.

I grew up with the understanding that forgiveness was a two-way street. The person who has done the wrong should understand what they did wrong, apologize and take steps towards not doing it again, and the person who was wrong forgives. For instance, in this scenario you don't tell a kid to say I'm sorry for hitting someone when that's the 10th time they've done it - they aren't actually sorry and aren't learning to stop hitting from stating those words.

So when the first part isn't there - especially all 3 aspects of them understanding they did something wrong, apologizing and taking steps to not do it again - and more so they continue to do the same "wrong" over and over and over again, as in the above scenario, how do you "let it go" and provide forgiveness?

I truly understand that forgiveness is less about them and more about the individual offering forgiveness (me), but no matter how much I want to be able to, I can't. I still feel that the act of forgiveness is about more than just me. If I forgive someone and just let their antics fall to the wayside, what lesson is this person learning other than that they can continue to act that way and get what they want?

Again, I know that's not what it's about, but when you have continuously forgiven someone only to have to forgive them for the same behavior, they aren't actually sorry or going to make changes. If I offer my forgiveness, all I'm doing is closing one door just for it to continuously reopen.

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result - so if I'm providing forgiveness over and over again - even if I never express that forgiveness outwardly to the person - I'm just setting myself up for a different type of internal struggle.

What has worked best for me in the past is to just drop that person from my life and let distance and space provide the opportunity for everything to just clear the air, and if it's meant to be for that person to be in my life, eventually an opportunity will arise that brings them back in.

But what about when you can't just completely cut someone out of your life and you have no choice but to let them continue to hurt you? Maybe one day in the distant future I can find that place in my mind and body to forgive someone who truly doesn't deserve it for my sake. In the meantime, I will allow G-d to offer that person his forgiveness and I'll just continue to work towards becoming the best me I can be! Hopefully that will be enough to get me inscribed in the book of life for another year :)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Very thankful

Tonight, as I prepare to go to bed, I'm reminded of just how lucky I am and how much I have to be thankful for.

I'm thankful that my mom is now able to help out with the kids and is helping me save a little bit by watching the kids for the 2 weeks between camp and school.

I'm thankful for the precious few years I had with Zayde. I wish I had seen him mor and gotten to know him better, but I'm thankful for the time I did have with him and thankful he got to meet my children.

I'm thankful for all the extended family I have - even (and especially) the ones that no longer have any blood/marriage ties to me.  I thoroughly enjoy every minute I get to hang and/or chat with them and I'm glad I can introduce Sara and Nathaniel to all of their family.

I'm thankful for Charger and his (annoying) habit of barking at anyone who comes close to the home. Thanks to Chargers barking, the person who attempted to break into my house was unsuccessful!  Now charger will always be allowed to stay out of his crate at night :)

I'm thankful for all of my friends and family and the great support system I have built around me!


Saturday, August 9, 2014

Yup - I'm going there...vaccinations


There was a post today on one of the moms of multiples pages I follow that asked about people getting the dtap vaccine (pertussis/whooping cough) because her doctor was recommending it.  Normally I stay away from these kinds of posts because I don't feel like getting into the debate with someone who doesn't agree with vaccinations because I know nothing good will come out of the debate.  For some reason today I decided to comment, and was actually shocked and happy to see that there were tons of likes to my comment with no one trying to argue. Now I'm testing my luck and blogging about it because I can't get it out of my head!


I personally have always believed in vaccinations, which is somewhat ironic because I've never gotten the flu vaccine for myself - which I may have possibly changed my own mind today while thinking this all through.

Here is the jist of vaccines - there are diseases out there that have had major outbreaks and caused hundreds of thousands of deaths, and with the development of medicine and technology, there are researchers who were able to come up with ways to "cure" the diseases.  Now people who live in vaccinated areas and countries almost never hear about those diseases.

That is until some physician skewed statistics (and later admitted it people!) to say that vaccines were the cause of autism, and now people are blaming vaccines for anything a child starts to show signs of after going through their childhood vaccinations.  The result is that these diseases that haven't been seen in vaccinated areas and countries are now making a comeback and causing children to become deathly ill because their parents didn't want to vaccinate.

I feel strongly that everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated. Yes, there are side effects, but the side effects of the disease are MUCH worse - such as DEATH - than the POSSIBLE side effects of the vaccine. Further, the point of vaccinating isn't just to protect yourself, its also to protect all the people who can't be vaccinated, such as infants that are too young or people with allergies such as eggs. So when a family decides they don't need the dtap vaccine because they never get sick, they are putting all the infants they come in contact with at risk, as infants lungs cannot handle whooping cough and don't show the signs as clearly as adults.

According to the CDC, "During 2012, 48,277 cases of pertussis were reported to CDC, including 20 pertussis-related deaths. The majority of deaths occurred among infants younger than 3 months of age. The incidence rate of pertussis among infants exceeded that of all other age groups. The second highest rates of disease were observed in children 7 through 10 years old. Rates increased in adolescents 13 and 14 years of age." For further stats, go here.

With that being said, pretty much everyone reading this lives in the United States or another country where you have the right to make your own health choices and therefore vaccines can't be forced on anyone, which is where my comment on the facebook post comes into play.   I said:

"Yes, I got the shot. Everyone can make their own decisions but in all honesty, the only reason a lot of these issues exist is because people don't vaccinate. We all eat foods that are worse for us with no benefits with very little issue, yet we have issues with vaccinations that have less side effects and more benefits than the chemically processed food we eat?"

So if you eat anything that's processed or use the microwave to heat any of your food, especially in plastic, I'm certain you are ingesting things that will have worse side effects over the long term.

Now don't get me wrong, I use the microwave ALL THE TIME, and my kids and I definitely eat processed foods. Over the last year, my eyes have opened to this a lot more, and I try to limit it as much as possible and there are certain things I try to avoid such as high fructose corn syrup and food dye, but I don't always do it, and sometimes I eat things that I know are horrible for me.

What I'm not saying in this post is that everyone should eat the way our grandparents did (because the microwaves and processed foods didn't exist then). I'm just using our other bad habits as an example of something we continue to do because its cheaper and easier on us, even though its worse for us.

So, bottom line is that if you feel the need to ignore and dispute any vaccination, then I at least hope you are living a "granola" lifetyle and doing that with everything you come in contact with.

Okay - rant over. If you don't agree with this, don't bother trying to engage in a debate, I will ignore you and depending on the comment I might just delete it - because just like you have the right to not vaccinate, I have the right to delete comments on my blog and facebook page :)

Monday, August 4, 2014

Listen to your body

Even though I have become much more fit, I'm still not exactly where I want to be, I will always have goals to reach. My goals are not necessarily weight loss anymore as much as toning up, staying fit and eating healthy (the majority of the time).

With all of those goals though, I'm constantly reminded to listen to my body.  I decided that yesterday, since I had the majority of hue he day to myself, that I was going to get in a nice long walk.  A long walk to the majority of people is not a long walk to me - I've trained for and walked half-marathons, marathons, and the 3-day (a 60 mile event).  That means I've walked over 20 miles more times than I have fingers to count (albeit just slightly more) and I've walked double digit miles way more than I can imagine. So when I decided I was going to go for a long walk, I set my sights on 10 miles.

Sunday morning I woke up a little late, but after I got the kids out the door, I decided to do my PiYo exercise for the day (plus the one I missed on Saturday). By the time I had finished, the morning rain had died down and I got ready to go out with my dog.  Before leaving, I trimmed my goals down to  a 10k because I had a lot I wanted to get done for the day and I wasn't up for taking 2.5-3 hours out of my day.

 Ow my walking route for the day was a couple loops, this way if Charger needed to stop I could drop him off at home, so we were going around the first long loop and we were about 1/2 of the the way through and I was feeling great!  My times were much better than I expected since I haven't done serious walking since I did my last even in April 2013.  My goal is always a 15 minute mile, but usually I'm at about a 16.5 min mile when I'm not in training.  I got out and my first mile was a 15.5 min/mile, I figurd it would slow down, but the second was just 10 seconds slower and the third was 20 seconds shorter, so I never lost my stride.  I was confident I'd complete the 10k no problem.  Then I went a bit further, getting about 2/3 of th way through and my knee started to bother me.  It's pain I've had and I'm quite used to, so I decided I'd walk through it.  And then as we hit the 4 mile mark, charger started to really slow down (I later realized I was actually speeding up and he just couldn't keep up).

That's about when it started to hit me.  Why power through the walk and risk injury to my knee just to complete a 10k? Just to say I did it?  I'm really getting into health and fitness and being a coach, what yep of example am I setting by pushing through no matter the cost? And so, I decided that I was going to finish out that loop and call it a day.

So remember, push yourself to stay fit and push yourself to eat healthy, but know what your limits are for that day and listen to what your body is telling you.  Set goals and work towards them, but don't expect to reach them in the first day, it takes training and dedication. And when you hit your goals, don't stop there.  Your body wants more and you should listen to it.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

For Adoption: Kalas - an lovable, cuddle, energetic dog

It is with an incredibly heavy heart that I have made this decision and am finally following through on it.  Due to my current circumstances I am looking to place Kalas in a new home.

Kalas as puppy used to cuddle like this
Before I give more information on him, I want to explain the decision, as its important to who adopts him. I am currently a single, working mom of toddlers and 2 dogs. Since its just me, my dogs are stuck in the house for 10-11 hours alone and then when I get home, my attention is devoted to my kids and then getting things done and don't have the chance to sit down and let Kalas cuddle for more than a couple minutes. Kalas needs a home that can provide him more attention, so I am looking to place him in a home where someone is home all day with him or he would only be crated for 8 hours or so.  This home should also be able to give him attention and cuddles when they are home. As long as he gets that, he is a calm, well-behaved dog.  If unfortunately he doesn't get it, his energy bundles up and he starts to get jealous and demanding.  These are all behaviors that are non-existent and non-problematic for me, but I want to be up front and honest.

Kalas is the most sweet, lovable dog you could ask for. He thrives on being by your side and sitting right next to you and cuddling with his head rested on your lap.  We adopted him when he was approx 3 months old from a rescue in the Carolina's, but he was pretty much born into rescue, so he didn't have any issues adjusting.  He gets along great with his fur-brother as well as my two kids, whom he has been around since they were born.

Kalas cuddling with baby Nathaniel
Kalas cuddling with baby Nathaniel

Kalas cuddling with Sara and I

He walks decently on a leash, and knows a couple basic commands, is crate-trained and house broken. With that he does have a few bad habits that I can directly relate to not getting enough attention from me (see first paragraph)
Cuddling with his fur-brother

He is neutered, up-to-date on all vaccines and microchipped, and I will provide his vet records, crate, blanket and some bones, toys and food.

Additionally, I want to make sure that he is going to a good home that is the right fit for him, so I will require the following:

  • that a vet reference be provided (if you previously have had pets)
  • that you allow me to do a home visit/interview to check out his home
  • you provide a $108 donation to an animal-related non-profit, organization, rescue, business etc of your choice.  
Any rescue will requite these things (references, visit and donation), and I want to make sure that whoever adopts him is serious about this decision and commitment. With that, I want to also make sure that the adoption works out, so I will offer a foster-to-adopt where you can foster Kalas for 2 weeks before making the full adoption commitment to make sure he settles in well to your family and schedule.

If you have ANY questions or are interested, please email me at LyndaALyons@hotmail.com.






Sunday, May 11, 2014

A happy - but emotional - mothers day

I needed to journal and get out my thoughts and feelings, except I don't journal, I blog.  So here is my post and a little bit about whats going on in my head...

After writing my last blog post, I was so proud of what I wrote. It was the best writing I have ever done. It was all completely pure and genuine - I didn't even have to do a bit of editing - and I was able to just share my happiness and none of the "dirty" details of what led us to that ending.  Unfortunately, I'm not quite sure where today's post will take me, or even whether I will press publish at the end (of course if you are reading this, it means I did).

I've got a lot going on in my head right now and its a mix of many emotions.  Today is mother's day and so far it has been great.  My kids woke up happy, since its beautiful weather we got to play outside after breakfast, the dogs have been well behaved and I had a lovely brunch with my family and now they are taking their nap.  But on my drive home from my brunch, the emotions started to hit me.

This is my first of many mother's days as a single mom and its usually the dad's job to get the mothers day cards and get the mom a little gift to show she is loved, but as a single mom with an ex who barely grasped that when we were together, I don't get any of those little tokens of joy.  Don't get me wrong - I get plenty of love from my kids and that is much more valuable than any card or gift, but I am still an emotional woman who did not willingly chose to become a single mom.  Instead of those tokens of appreciation, for this mothers day, I get an ex who decided to hire a lawyer and tell me about it at the start of mothers day weekend (after we both agreed - or so I thought - that we would try to work through everything without involving lawyers and courts because that's the least we could do for the best interest of our kids).  Instead I got an ex who, on mothers day weekend, is choosing not to provide me with the monthly paperwork required in our agreement that shows he isn't lying to me about his income.  Instead I got an ex who, when offered to tell the truth about his income since it sounds like he is lying by not providing the paperwork, ignores the chance of "redemption". Instead I got an ex who, on mothers day weekend instead of showing that he is a decent man and really does put the kids first and send me a mothers day card from the kids, decides not to pay his child support payment (maybe he will tomorrow, but I reminded him yesterday, and still nothing in the bank account).

Don't get me wrong, I am so incredibly happy to not have him in my daily life, and I will do everything in my power for the kids to not learn all the "dirty" details about their dad from me, my family or my friends. I will remind them that their dad loves them, and I will do my very best to never say a bad word about him in front of them. I know that it is in the best interest of the kids for me to not disparage their dad or influence their opinions of him.  I'm sure as the kids get older and can figure things out for themselves, they will see the true person their dad is and they will make their own choices about him - assuming he continues down the same path he has followed his entire life.  Maybe by that time I can learn how to forgive someone who truly doesn't deserve it, and will be able to teach my children to do the same when the time comes.  

Unfortunately, I'm not at that point yet.   I have made a ton of changes in my life since my husband chose to leave his family for an easier path where he isn''t held to any basic standards - such as honesty, communication and dependability. I also know that I still have a long way to go - especially with forgiveness of others.  I listen to a lot of self-improvement and personal development, and right now I just don't understand how someone can forgive someone and have no ill feelings towards them when they have caused so much pain and hurt and have no outward signs of regret or change. I will continue to work towards that point, and hope that one day I will attain that level of self improvement and positivity within myself.  I hope that one day, I can be so happy with where I am and what I have done with myself, that I can just not care what someone else has done - that I can just forgive them for all the pain they have caused.

But like I said, Im just not there. I will make sure my children don't hear the negatives of their dad from me - or anyone in my network - but until the day comes that I can make peace WITH him and everything he has done, I will continue to be open to my family, friends and my "journal" about my feelings and the roller coaster ride he is putting me on.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

My “coming out” story...

The agreement is signed and life is completely changed, so its time for me to officially “come out” with the news that rocked me hard 5 months ago and changed my life – and in 100% complete honesty I am so incredibly happy and accepting with the way things are now.

The questions are where do I start? and how do I share my story without sharing too much?

Do I start 6 years ago when I met the person who would alter the course of my life? Do I start 20 months ago when things really changed for us? Or do I start 5 months ago when the final decision was made?

In an effort to stay true to the new me, Ill start with the later, so as to avoid sharing publicly any of the behind the scenes content of what turned “we” into “me”.   On November 7th, 2013 my husband told me that he was no longer interested in resolving the issues that existed in our marriage and instead wanted a divorce.  I was so afraid of that word.  That word meant I failed – I failed myself, I failed my children, I failed my husband, I failed my marriage, I failed my parents and family, I failed everyone.  In my heart I think I knew for a while that this was what the marriage needed and what I needed, but I wasn’t able to accept failure and therefore I fought for the marriage – and I FOUGHT!

I went through all the emotions. I was angry, I was hurt, I was sad – and I was like that for a couple months.  I had no clue how I was going to do it - raise two children on my own, afford to cover the expenses for two kids, two dogs and myself, afford for us to continue to live on our own, manage everything that was on my plate as a newly-single, working mom with student loans, a mortgage, a car payment and other debt. 

I continued to see the therapist that we had seen as a couple and he helped me to accept that I did NOT fail anyone – and most especially myself.  He reminded me of everything that went into the marriage dissolving and how I really did not have too much control of its fate.  He helped remind me of all the support I did have, how strong of a person I was and how I really had been doing most of it for a long time.

After a couple months I was doing a lot better emotionally.  I realized that I had survived the first month (and then two, and now five), being the primary caregiver to the kids and taking care of everything.  I had (finally) learned to accept that I couldn’t do everything and that some things (IE constantly cleaning the house) wouldn’t get done as much as I wanted.  For the first time in a very long time I was happy more often than I wasn’t.  I wasn’t killing my nights fighting, and I wasn’t stressing or worrying about what was gonna happen that day to cause a fight. I was able to finally be at ease all the time and fully enjoy every precious moment I had with my children.

I was happy, but there was still something missing.  I was worried about my finances and how I was going to do things. I was afraid to look at bills until I absolutely had to. I had made the difficult decision that I needed to quit Shakeology and Beachbody because I had to cut any and all extra expenses – no matter the benefits those items brought me.  I told my coach that unfortunately I just couldn’t afford it anymore and I was going to quit.  I'm not sure what I expected her to say, but her response wasn’t what I expected.  She said okay, explained what the process was to leave coaching and said something (I honestly don’t remember) that pretty much was a last ditch effort to have me give it one more month.

I delayed on cancelling because I just didn’t want to, and then I decided I would give it one more month. I would see if there was anything I could do (although I wasn’t really doing anything) to make the business-side of Beachbody work for me.  And that’s when life changed!

I was invited to join a coach training group – one that I had looked into a few months prior - and decided that this was gonna be my last shot. I was gonna give this group a try and see what it could do for me. That group was the best thing to happen to me. Although I had been a coach for about 14 months, I had been ignoring one of the big items that Beachbody pushes for its coaches to do – personal development. I remember reading that when I first signed up and thinking “whatever – I don’t have time for that”. The coach running this training group recommended that I listen to podcasts or Cd's during the 2 hours a day that I'm in my car commuting and I figured that was easy enough.

Personal development has changed my life for the better!  Almost every weekday I listen to a podcast to and from work and it helps inspire me to do all the things that I want to do.  It’s what brought me to the 21 Day Fix and made me realize how much I missed and loved exercising.  It’s what’s made me realize I have some big dreams and goals and I need to find the time to focus on those dreams and goals. Its what helped me realize that my life isn’t just good, its GREAT, and that I am surrounded by some wonderful and amazing friends, family and co-workers and even if I struggle financially, I know that I will find a way to make it work.

I still have a lot of progress to make on my dreams and goals – with the biggest thing being to actually sit down and write it all out and write out exactly how I will get there, and get back to scheduling out my days so I can find the time to focus on those dreams and goals.

But even though I haven’t even made that HUGE first step – I am a different person than I was 5 months ago. Do I still have feelings of failure? Yes, most definitely. I have high expectations and I am harder on myself than I am anyone else. But even when I feel that way, I KNOW that I have not failed and instead I’ve done the complete opposite.  I have taken a tough situation and I have made the very best out of it.  I’m a woman who wears MANY different hats and has many different interests – but Ive found some new focus, “balance” and strength. 

I still have a lot of tough times ahead of me, but I know that I have the strength inside of me to power through – and I have a lot of people to thank for that!

First and foremost, I have to thank my ex. Although our relationship was not as strong as I thought, nor did it have the ending I wanted – it gave me three amazing gifts.  The first two gifts are the most obvious – my children.  No matter how unhappy our marriage became it gave me the gift of motherhood – and even more amazing the wonderful opportunity to be a mother of multiples.  The third gift is the gift of peace and happiness.  I did not have the strength to give up on our marriage because I was afraid of what that future would be, but your ability to do so gave me greater peace and happiness than I have had in a long time.

I would like to thank my wonderful and amazing parents. They have been my rocks in getting me through the tough times.  They reminded me how much they loved me no matter how things worked out and how they were always there for me. They help me with the kids when I need some self-care time or just needed to run errands on my own or was traveling on business.  They have helped cover basic needs so I can make sure I have the money to cover all the bills.  I couldn’t have possibly gotten through this without them by my side.

My sisters and brother-in-laws for reminding me that our family is strong and supportive and that we always have each other. I am very thankful for all the things that you guys do and all the help you offer.  Sara and Nathaniel have some great aunt’s and uncles.

My “ex” family for reminding me the true meaning of family – and that there are actually people in this family that know that.   We might not technically be family anymore, but you continue to remind me that indeed we ARE family, because it really has nothing to do with the actual blood and marriage lines. I am so thankful to have married into this wonderful family – and although I will eventually be divorced from my husband, I will still have you guys to call my sister, aunts, uncles, cousins and Zayde.

My therapist for helping me see things so much clearer and helping me to find this peace and happiness.

My best friends for always making sure I'm okay and offering to drive down/up to confirm I really am okay. You have been there for my calls and emails to just bitch about what’s going on and you have continued to tell me how amazing and strong I am – which has just continued to enable me to be that strong person.

My Beachbody family – you have helped me find that side of me that I lost and I thank you for your continued support, encouragement and motivation. I have gotten so much from Beachbody and I will do my very best to help others lose the weight they want to lose, find the happiness within themselves to succeed, or whatever else they need to do to become a happy and striving individual.

And to everyone else – my coworkers, friends, etc – even if we haven’t talked in a while or aren’t best friends, some of you have known whats going on or have seen/heard enough to know that something is going on and those little notes checking in on me or sending me words of support and wisdom have truly been amazing. Hearing things like “you are amazing, I don’t know how you do it all” puts such a smile on my face and reminds me that I can continue to move forward.