Pay Attention to Detail-Hair Clips Can Kill


At Army basic training, we were grilled with the phrase ‘Attention to Detail.’ They drilled it into our heads repeatedly. Over and over. Look around.See what you are doing. See what others are doing. Where are you walking? Where are … Continue reading

Go Ahead, Astound Yourself


“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”
~ Thomas Edison ~

Most people have something they struggle with. For many of us, it is weight, and I am no different. Being in the Army, weight is not just something this girl fusses about. Yes, of course I want to look all cute in a bikini or a pair of jeans just like every other girl. However, my weight stress goes past that, way past that.

Being overweight in the Army can have severe consequences. If you are over the weight limit for your height, you are “taped” to determine your body fat. Every age and height and sex has predetermined range that is allowed.

For 15 years, I have struggled with this line and been dangerously close, and once was even two percent over the limit. This fact led to me being “flagged” and having a bad mark put on my permanent evaluation. Of note, it was right after I re-deployed and was dealing with a divorce and adjusting to a new job and place to live. It resulted in stress/depression eating that I thought was a better coping mechanism than other options like violence, drugs or alcohol. In hindsight, maybe I should have differently…

Anyway, It is a constant stress that I would love to get rid of. Yet, every year is the same story-too close for comfort, but I tend to pass, but barely.

Most people think I am just whining when I talk about weight though since I am pretty fit, appear to eat healthy and am not grossly obese. I run occasional half marathons and mud races. I swim laps periodically with my boyfriend. I play paintball with my son in the fall and go to paddle board yoga classes in the summer. I regularly eat salads with flax seeds and drink coffee with coconut oil. I even own several pairs of yoga pants! Come on! What else does a girl need to do here?

Nonetheless, I am always worrying about this. I am not talking like tons and tons of weight. It is usually 5-15 pounds or 1-2% body fat. Most people roll their eyes and say, “So what, what’s the big deal?” The big deal is I could lose my job. I could loose a retirement that I have 15 years of blood, sweat and tears invested in. The could lose my ability to be a Soldier. More important than all that though, is that I would fail a challenge against myself, one that is seemingly easier than others I have accomplished.

You would think all of the reasons above would make me do it, make me find a way to get far away from that max weight/body fat line. Yet, I still struggle. Yes, I do have a few obstacles that don’t help me that I can’t control. I am short. I have a medically diagnosed slow thyroid. My family has a history of diabetes and extra weight. Oh, and I freaking love eating food, cooking food, and baking food. Fortunately for me though, I do like working out too.

But enough is a enough. I am tired of the stress. So, I have to do something to break the walking-the-danger-zone line game. So I have joined my friend on a 6-days-week/2-month Piyo challenge where she will hold me accountable, daily. I signed up for a half marathon in March and an obstacle mud race in April that I need to train for as well. I am filling my calendar with fun ‘bonus’ work outs: TRX last week, paddle board yoga (in warm pool) this week, and an Insanity class the week after. I wear a pedometer with the goal of getting 10,000 steps a day in just daily movements. Then, the hardest part….eating. I eat tons of healthy stuff, I really do. But I also eat occasional bad things too or just too much in general. Can you really be a glutton with zucchini or endamame though?

I am tempted to just not eat, but I know that I can’t do that and it will not help me in the long run. My metabolism is slow enough already. So, all I can do is plan and work harder and smarter. And there comes a point, where I have to believe I can accomplish this one personal goal. I have accomplished a lot more difficult tasks in my life, so why not this one? How can I let 5-15 pounds beat me? I can’t. I have come too far and done too much.

As I struggle with this new plan (that has the goal of altering my daily habits), I came across a quote from Thomas Edison. “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”

Good point Mr. Edison. Good point. I got this. I can do this. Watch out self and get prepared to be astounded.

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To see this week’s posts from both challenges above, just click below.

Be Wow

Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Simple Joys, Simple Steps to Dreams


I have big dreams. I want to travel the world on my lottery winnings (that I have not won yet). I want to write a book. I want publish a photo for National Geographic. I want to always have gorgeous hair. (Winning the lottery may actually have higher odds than consistently gorgeous hair though.)

However, before all these dreams can happen, life moves on. Bills roll in and therefore I work-two jobs at that. Now balance those two jobs with an occasional photography assignment, a child preparing for college, another child in college, a wonderful new relationship, settling into a new home, and a list of ever-increasing demands, I can get a little busy.

Busy is the killer of dreams. And frankly, I don’t have any more time to wait. So if I want my dreams to happen, it is up to me. Granted, I need to be realistic.

My world travel plan has not yet happened since the winning lottery numbers continue to elude me. And more often than not, the buying of the lottery ticket eludes me too. In lieu of this downfall of money, I just travel on a budget. I utilize special offers, Groupons, and the like. I almost never go anywhere or do anything at full price. And when my military assignments have me hit the road, I explore. They may not send me to Paris or Sweden, but I have seen spectacular local sights I may not have otherwise found. And if you count deploying three times…well, I have traveled parts of the world indeed.

My book writing career is very stifled as well. However, I am doing more writing now than I have in decades. I blog articles, poems, fiction and random ramblings. My Army Reserve job required me to write articles a few years ago, and now that I am done with my command job, my new assignment will allow me to write again too. I am also working as an editor in my civilian job. Granted, I edit military manuals. So unless you are interested in mobile gun systems or parachuting, it may not be page-turning suspense.  Nonetheless, all of these things are helping me become a better writer, or at least I like to tell myself that.

I am also reading more. (Fun books that is, not just technical manuals.) I have a list of books that I want to read and I am actually working through it, and not just saying one day…

I find that the more I read, the more I want to write. I love the way words offer images, show emotion and call me to action. I am inspired how some authors craft their stories with such elegance. I don’t know if I will ever reach such level of mastery at this point in life, but that will not keep me from trying. Either way, every step I take now is a step closer to the writing I put off year after year.

Odd fact. When I was young, I dreamt of being a writer. I even have stories and poems I wrote in elementary school still. (Maybe I will share a few of those one day.) Not once did I ever think about photography though. That dream didn’t surface until I joined the Army Reserve at 29 years of age.

It was then I learned my pictures could be stories in themselves. My pictures were like a canvas (only better since I suck at painting). I also learned that I was pretty good at it. Of course, there are some really amazing photographers out there. I would not say I am amazing per say, but…I do get paid to take a picture from time to time and had some pictures published. So, I guess I am doing pretty good for someone who didn’t start until they were 29 and really isn’t that technical. Considering these facts, I am realistic about my National Geographic dream. To come close to that dream, I need to work. I need to take my fortunate gift of a good eye, and expand that with technical skills. I have to push myself to learn more whiz-bang, geek-speak stuff. I should understand bracketing and slow exposures. I need to try to master the use of a flash. (I hate flash photography since it vexes me.)

Techical aspects are hard for me though. I don’t like them. I am not a technical person. But…I am trying. What is refreshing is that what I am learning is slowly paying off. I can see my photographs evolve. I am slowing down to work on quality photos rather than quantity. (OK, I still take a crap ton of photos when I go out, but I am getting better quality each month. In my defense though, when the Army sends us out to document events, we shoot like crazy. Every element, face and task…) So before National Geographic gives me a shout out, I will prepare through my photography blog, taking classes and picking up my camera to experiment whenever I can.

I guess the point of my rambling is that my dreams won’t happen if I don’t take steps towards them. Albeit they may be baby steps, but that is ok because if I don’t reach dream-level success, I will still be happy. I can’t help but be happy as I look around at my life. There are so many changes for the better now. I am actually doing things I put off time and time again. I am embracing the little moments I get and taking all I can from them to get a bit closer to my ultimate goals.

Oh but wait. I forgot my gorgeous hair goal….hhhmm. My baby steps for that dream is to regularly brush it, wash it, cut it …and well, drink some wine while reading a book. I figure, if I drink more wine, I will eventually believe my hair really is quite gorgeously styled after all. And, if it is not…I will just go back to reading.

 

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For Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge ~ Black and White.