Health Really Does Matter – The Medical Do-over

Month  2 of my weight loss journey - Celebrating 25 years  of marriage

Month 2 of my weight loss journey – Celebrating 25 years of marriage

The movie industry is finding a way to bring back old classics.  It is the prequel.  Oz is the story of how the man made his way behind the curtain. Stars Wars, the Hobbit, Star Trek and I am sure I could think of more all took on the how did they get there.  My last post was about the annual resolutions and my weight lost journey. So well you guess it this is the prequel to that journey.  What finally got me on the road?

Every year my company provides a program formerly known as Healthquest now called Health Matters.  The program gives us access to routine health checkups at work in about 20 minutes or less free of charge – no co-pay.  Height, weight, step test, BP, pulse, a few tests for free if you are of certain age and then a menu of blood work up to a certain cost all for free. Then additional tests for a nominal fee.  For years, I have participated and as a leader in the company, I have encouraged my employees to take part.

Nevertheless, two years ago, I did not.  I did not want to get on the scale in front of someone because I knew the scale would be heavier than the year before. And really, for the first time in the many many years I have been overweight (and now morbidly obese) I stopped believing I was healthy.  I do not know when or why, but I actually thought that 150+ pounds overweight I was still healthy. So what changed?  I really do not know what the actual trigger was but I do know that along with dumping of some personal emotional baggage and this program, it created the perfect storm.

In 2011 our executive management began a competition on the highest percentage of participation in the program, which included an on-line survey.  Our organization won.  And I could not celebrate; I was not a part of that win.  I remember sitting in the February leader meeting and feeling like a hypocrite.  “How could I celebrate and encourage my employees to participate when I didn’t myself!” Unless I changed, I could never encourage others that their health matters when mine did not even matter to me.

About a week after the meeting, I was invited to a tasting party.  Due to a comedy of errors on my part like showing up on the wrong day, I was not able to attend but my friend persisted.  She introduced me to an amazing organic lifestyle.  And I began my journey on March 15, 2012.  My first day without caffeine, processed foods, sugary drinks and reduced dairy products. It was also the day, my husband was rushed in for emergency surgery.  I remember badly wanting my Coke Zero (I had a 96 ounces daily habit)  and oh how I wanted some comfort food. Just like I imagine an addict of drugs or alcohol would want during a stressful situation. But I did not give in! I kept thinking now more than every My health matters.  When the doc came out, he said to me, “Your husband has to change the way he is eating or he won’t be so lucky next time!”  in that moment, I knew  as the mom I have influence over the entire family and their Health Matters!

Over time, I have been able to change the way the family eats and introduced more fruits and vegetables and the Isagenix supplements our entire family is a little healthier.  My two older children go to the gym with us and we take family walks so my six-year old can participate. However, we have a long way to go but are on the right road to the land of Oz.  And if you were wondering, yes I participated in Health Matters last year.  My weight was down from two years prior and for the first time ever I took the step test and was told I was normal. And Yes, our organization won the trophy again and I was a part of that!

Does your company have a program like this and do you use it?

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New Beginnings – The Annual Do Overs

Weight Loss Journey

Forty-five percent of Americans each year make a New Years Resolution according to the Strategic Brain website citing the University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology article from 12/13/2012. The Top 10 Do-Over goals are ones we can all relate to;spend more time with the family, get organized, quite smoking, spend less save more and time and time again the number one resolution is to lose weight. Only eight percent are successful in achieving their resolution. So why do we continue doing it?

Human nature simply produces the desire for us to begin with a fresh slate. We call for a do-over and pretend what got us to the place we don’t like will simply disappear! 75% of us can keep our resolution for the first week and past six months 46% of can hang on. So why are the 8% successful. Most of the time they use the five steps of goal setting Make it specific. Make it realistic. Make it known. Make it measurable by time. Make it fun and rewarding. Many organizations use these steps to make their clients successful.

However, there is something deeper that one must reflect on. There is a core reason you are where you are. Sometimes, well most of the time, it may be a behavior or attribute that has seems to derail you. For me it’s consistency. In every area of my life I lack consistency. I have learned one of the reasons is simply my personality. I get bored quickly and move from one project to the next and then back again.

It became very apparent that consistency was my Achilles heal last year during my weight loss journey. I came out of the gate like gain busters! I followed my nutrition plan, actually found myself loving the gym and down 69 pounds in 6 months. Then, I became bored. I would sometimes follow, occasionally go to the gym and my weight loss slowed down only 11 pounds in next 4 months. I tried to blame other things but it came down to consistency issues.

Resolutions are great theories but difficult to execute. We cannot use that excuse to keep up from improving ourselves. We have to deal with the emotional baggage we all have, use the five steps to goal setting, pray, deal with our deficient or destructive behaviors and hold ourselves accountable. Here is to getting back on track. What keeps you from keeping your resolutions?

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Scholarship, Leadership, Service and Character plus Citizenship

Very powerful words!  Adjectives and/or verbs that  demonstrate high achievement.  Words on February 7,  I heard to explain why my 12-year-old beauty was invite and inducted in National Jr. Honor Society.  After listening to the standards for Miss Mackinnie to be invited and learning through guest speakers the history of National Honor Society and NJHS, I wanted to know more.   So off to to start my education.

In 1921 under the leadership of Principal Dr. Edward Rynearson of Pittsburg, PA the National Association of Secondary School Principals began forming chapters. And by 1930 grew to more than 1,000 chapters. Four main purposes have guided chapters of NHS from the beginning: “To create enthusiasm for scholarship, to stimulate a desire to render service, to promote leadership, and to develop character in the students of secondary schools.” (from the NHS Constitution) These purposes also translate into the criteria used for membership selection in each local chapter.  In 1929, the organization moved to include middle school and the National Junior Honor Society was formed to recognize middle schoolers in their second semester of 6th grade,  or any 7th or 8th grader for their efforts in the four areas.

The minimum GPA standards by the organization is a 3.0.  However, the local chapters set their own and can be higher.  Estrella Mountain Elementary School is 3.5 or higher.  A very lofty goal but EMES still boasts the highest number of members in our school district in addition, among the highest percentage of kids in junior high.  But more than the academics I am proud of my daughter’s character.  Though as a mother of pre-teen girl I can assure you, I question her’s often.  However, I know that how a child behaves when their parents are not around is the true test of  what a parent has tried to instill in their children.

Mackinnie’s ceremony had great words of wisdom.  The most thought-provoking was about seeking honor.  Seeking honor leads to self promotion, which can lead to tyranny, but seeking to serve to others is selfless.  The selfless acts of service provides building blocks of a strong character.  Strong character leads to stronger leadership which reflects in ones citizenship. 

I am still in awe of the organization and even more awe-struck that my daughter was invited to be a member.  Surely not because she is not capable or deserving, but that at such a young age she is genuinely excited to serve others.  In the generation of self and instant gratification my daughter is making plans to attend volunteer training for the new crisis pregnancy center coming to our neighboring city of Avondale.  This a project outside her NJHS chapter, is now looking to spread to others in our family including her newly adopted older sister.  She is already talking about our churches Thanksgiving Day breakfast for the community of Buckeye.  It’s heart warming to see a fire lit in your daughter.  A normally shy, publically quite girl now taking charge and organizing family volunteer days.  We can only imagine how far this beauty will go.

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Another Year Gone By

It has been sometime since my last post, but work and motherhood has been shine on crazy! I can’t even believe 2011 is in the past and 2012 is on its way to being one twelfth over. As 2011 crept to an end, I became the mother of an adult. Well at least by the legal sense of the word. Talk about reflecting on the do-overs of parenthood.

The closer December 21 came the more I worried about sending my eldest child, my only son off to college and into the cold hard world. Will he figure “IT” out and be okay? Larry and I worry about the boy and the fact he isn’t focused. We were holding on our faith that Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” was written for our son, too. As I thought about the areas in which he appears deficient, I began listing what I wished I had done differently! So many things I listed that I would call for a ‘do-over’. I prayed he will be okay. But as always in God’s perfect timing, I began learning just how wonderful and big hearted a child we raised.  With that came the assurance of Drew’s future is just fine.

Just before Halloween, Drew approached his dad regarding a friend in trouble. A young girl fairly new to EFHS was having problems at home. Drew explained the family’s culture did not align with decision his young friend was making. Of course how many 16-year-old girls don’t butt heads with their parents would be a better question but we had to ask for more information; question after question and Dad’s list went on and on. After all the questions were answered, Drew looked at his dad and said the most adult thing I believe he has ever said to either of us. “Life is about relationships and helping a friend is far more important than what we do for a living. You raised me to take care of family and friends and to be selfless. I can’t not help her!” He asked if his dad would we consider helping her. And a few days later we welcomed a 16-year-old daughter into our home. (The details and that roller coaster are for another time).

My son is often called lazy, unfocused, unorganized and irresponsible. However, many of the same people who would label him with the negative adjectives would also say he is caring, loving, kind-hearted, thoughtful, loyal, empathic and an awesome big brother. If you know anything about true colors test, you will recognize the words people use to describe Drew make up the personality of a blue. A caretaker, optimistic, passionate, a true blue friend are descriptors experts use to illustrate a blue personality. My son may have difficulty with task and results, but I am confident people are his thing. And bringing Iqra to a safe place to live demonstrated they aren’t just words but they are who our son is.

So I have to ask myself would I do anything over. If I could change him having cancer, would I? Honestly, I don’t know the answer to either question if given that opportunity. I am a strong believer everything that happens in your life even though we have free will to make choices, is ultimately designed by God to make you uniquely you. In spite of parenting mistakes, God has used everything even the mistakes to grow Drew to be this wonderful young man! From the time he was little, Larry and I have been confident that God gave him the gift of teaching. He has been teaching us for 18 years!

As another year has gone by, I realized Drew was born a fighter. Surviving the loss of his twin, a stage 3 neuroblastoma cancer, chemotherapy, being hearing impaired, and bullied. I know God’s plan for him is HUGE!

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Extreme Couponing

Last Sunday, I had the pleasure of welcoming home my favorite little neighbor boy, who has grown up and is fighting to keep you and me free. During the evening his Minnie, which is his grandmother, but we dare not implicate she is old enough to be one, let alone a great-grandmother; reminded me that before all extreme couponing was the thing to do, my mom was a pro at it. Boy that is the truth. Mama was a stay home mother that could stretch a dollar till it cried “Uncle”!

For as long as I can remember, Mama never paid full price for much. Who knew she would be a trendsetter for the families experiencing this prolonged recession. It is the “In-thing” to do evident by the number of articles found on the internet about coupons. If you search the word coupon on you will return a result of 22,500,000 hits.  Articles trying to give you advice on how to make your budget stretch, companies trying to have you sign up to their service for a fee or  wanting you to download their coupon to get you to buy their product flood the World Wide Web.

In the 1970’s,  you did not have the luxury of having the internet to assist you with finding the buys or telling you how to best use them.  So those that made it an art had to be a bit of a dective to find how to best use them.  The one the 1970’s had over today was coupons did not have expiration dates or limits. Many times, she would walk out the door of Alpha Beta and they paid her.  I remember  once they payed her $20.00 and they were “WOW how you do it?”  She said it is all about planning. She would smile and walk out having shopped for her family of 5 for two weeks and they paid her.  I am sure her motivation was to take the grocery money and move it to her “Mad Money”.  That was what she called her allowance to purchase fun things she wanted.

My mom with only a GED was smarter than many of the women that hold a degree and are half-century younger.  She understood the importance of planning, frugality and rewarding yourself for a job well done.  Today, so many times with the demands of work and family, these have gone by the way side, especially planning.  Many of us walk in the store and  aimlessly roam through the aisle with a deer in the headlight look.  Yes, I may be over generalizing but I do believe there is some truth in that for all of us.

My mother planned a back to school budget, presented to my dad –
then spent about half the budget by going to Goodwill, Value Village and
Salvation Army.  Then a few things from the department store.   Where did the remaining budget go – “Mad Money”, which usually was spent on at least one fun outing for the two us.  Brilliant, wasn’t she? Something I never  appreciated then but do now.

Until recently, I did not pick up these habits, but due to our financial commitment to assist others in our family – I have learned to plan and emulate my mother.  Buying the Sunday
paper at the $1 store for the coupons and spending time at Savers or Goodwill looking through the clothes finding a jackpot buy like “Justice Just for Girls Jeans” with the tags still on!  Love those treasures.  The planning can be a pain whether a trip for groceries or for a new article of clothing!  However, what is priceless is seeing your daughter at 11 get what took you nearly 42 years to get.

The greatest treasure is that somehow passing down Peggy’s legacy of planning, frugality, and learning to reward yourself to Macki fills the void of her never knowing her Grandma Peggy.  When I mention going shopping, Macki gets giddy and asks if we are going to Goodwill or Savers.  Rarely does she ask to go anywhere else.  I am pretty sure my mom would be proud.  Thanks Mom for still teaching me from heaven.

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Today, children and young adults seem to feel entitled to things.  By the time children are in elementary school they begin to expect a cell phone, a gaming system, a TV in their room, a car at 16 and of course the college of their choice.  Lately, my husband and I have been talking about the frustration of the kids not caring about meeting our expectations.  Yet  they act as if MOM and DAD equal ATM.   I am sure I had to be asked a couple of times to do things on occasion, but to be repeatedly told something like feed the dogs was not acceptable or tolerated from my father or mother.   The same could be said for my husband and his sisters.  Larry and I have talked about the respect we gave our parents without question.  Though we both had fathers that didn’t attend sporting events and put other priorities over family on a regular basis and respect was expected anyways.

Apparently, our children are not the only ones that seem to be lazy!  In the blog From the Trenches of Public Ed, Nov 17, 2006 post, the education blogger discusses lazy students and their need for instant gratification.  The teacher turned blogger points out that Booker T Washington walked many miles and slept under porches for the opportunity to go to school and Abraham Lincoln greatly valued books although he had no formal education. Something as a teacher they rarely see.  I would agree.  My children cry and whine about walking less than 1/3 of a mile to school.  I am happy to say all my children love to read but for enjoyment not for learning.

Our generations, including Larry and I and culture have made this a generation lacking in motivation.  Motivation is defined as the act of motivating; while the definition of motivating is provide an incentive; move to action.  Provide an incentive.  Really, I don’t recall being giving incentive to do what was expected of me.  While intellectually I knew the definition of motivation, I never associated the expectations as a kid to complete my chores with an incentive.  I had to really pull out my leadership skills to sort this out. Which I knew from multiple leadership trainings, everyone is motivated by a different incentive type.

I guess, Larry and I were motivated by not having consequences for not completing chores, since we both searched our memory bank to try to see if we were promised anything other than not getting ‘spanked’.  Nope, nothing promised and Yes, we were spanked which would be classified by today’s standards as a beating landing parents in jail for child abuse.  Maybe it was the sense of accomplishment when we looked around the house and saw a clean, cheery home.  I am not really sure.

I don’t know why my kids aren’t motivated by the sense of accomplishment. I don’t know why we have to have yelling matches to get the dogs fed or the dishes done.  I am not sure why they are afraid of hard work.  We provide consequences for lack of the behavior.  Currently, we are paying insurance on a car that is sitting in the garage and an XBox has been hidden.  And no desire to retrieve those privileges.  I truly know my children are pretty good kids.  I have friends that kids are in trouble at school, with the authorities and are constantly challenging their parents.   I know this, but having kids that aren’t intrinsically motivate is frustrating.

I ask the Lord for wisdom in rasing them yet I fail everyday.  I allow them to not follow through; I ask them  multiple times to begin a task and then allow them to take as long as they want to complete a task.  What I have learned through my prayers and tense discussions with my husband is the consistency in my behavior is the only thing I can truly control.  I need to ensure I set the expectations and hold them accountable.  I am the one that cannot take the easy way out; doing the chore for them or not addressing them. I am calling for a do over!  I will be holding them accountable and I will be consistent.  I need my children to respect my role as a parent.   Proverbs 22:6   Train a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not turn from it.  Training them to work hard and do a job well, finding motivation in the sense of accomplishment is my #1 parenting do over!  I just hope it’s not too late.

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A Not So Happy Anniversary

Today was full hectic activities. I woke up this morning dreading the day.  18 years ago today was the day my father called me to tell me my mom, Peggy, lost her battle with cancer.   She had only been ‘officially’ diagnosed exactly two-weeks earlier.  I was 24 years old,  six and half-months pregnant with my son and complete scared to death.  Just a two months earlier, my mom was with me in the doctor’s office holding my hand as I lost Drew’s twin.  Now, I had lost her.   I really can’t say I think about her everyday and time has healed some of the pain.  But I do miss her dearly especially on a day like today, the dread anniversary.

Busy activities kept me busy through my work day.  However, tonight has been flooded with memories.  I just returned from my next to the last meet the teacher night with Drew.  As we walked from class to class, I wondered; What would she think of her youngest grandson being a senior?; Would she be disappointed I did not ground him in our faith better?; Would she be annoying and tell me everything I should or shouldn’t be doing?  Questions that have no answers.  As I watched my son occasionally roll his eyes or get a little frustrated with me, I remembered me how annoyed I was with my mom all the time in those high school year.  I hate to admit I was pretty unpleasant to my mom.  She wasn’t cool or at least I didn’t think so.  Her sole purpose, so I thought, was to embarrass me.  Would you believe she showed up to school sometimes with her hair in curlers, but even I have to admit always with a fashionable scarf on.  Before I could drive, she  occasionally drove me to school in her house coat, slippers and yes, the curlers.   I wasn’t allowed to date or even attend a dance until I was nearly 16 years old.  Make-up was out of the question until my freshman year.  And I had to beg her to let me shave in junior high!  I really needed to shave badly!  Luckily, I was a blonde. Totally uncool!  Oh and I forgot to mention the polyester pants!  We lovingly referred to them as Peggy Pants!

If I could call for a do-ever, I would have appreciated Mama’s wisdom more than I did. I never saw her as a strong women, but I do now.  She raised me, didn’t she?  She’d have to be.  I would have paid closer attention to her when she was making “Big” Grandma’s fried chicken recipe (that is what we called my Grandma Dobratz).  I did luck out and paid close enough attention to learn to make her cornbread dressing and dumplings, but her fried chicken.  So many things I wish I would have taken a little more time to appreciate about my mom.

Funny the things that drove me nuts the most are the things that I remember most. Like the curlers, the color of them, how she parted each section and the smell of dippty-do.  That smell takes me instantly back to the hallway outside the bathroom (six of us shared one bathroom, BTW),  having to copy Bible verses as punishment or her little sayings like “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should” or “Just because it’s the right thing to do, doesn’t make it the easy thing to do.”  I would have spent more time with her and most of all let her know who incredibly grateful I am to be her daughter.

Do me a favor, call, write, text or e-mail your mom and tell her how much you appreciate her before you experience the Not So Happy Anniversary

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