One can for every pound I lose...bring it!

Friday, September 9, 2011


It's all a matter of how you look at it, right? Isn't that what "perspective" is?

I'm usually a "glass half full" kinda gal. I try to look on the bright side of things, having been through plenty of trials and tribulations. I try to cultivate an attitude of gratitude. I want to have a grateful heart, and to realize I'm blessed.

Sometimes, though, that's hard to do. Really hard. Like, impossible.

We've had some ridiculous flooding here the past few days. Our basement had water literally pouring into it. I shop vac-ed it for over 4 hours while my husband was stuck at work. It was not fun. Thankfully, we had nothing down there that could get "ruined" - it was a space to be finished off 'someday.' But I was still so mad it was happening. The shop vac was way more than half full, but my glass was half empty, BIG TIME.

Today as I drove around, I passed at least half a dozen houses whose driveways were LITTERED with debris, trash, furniture, toys, etc. - evidence, I am sure, of feet as opposed to inches of water in their basement. One of my employees had FIVE FEET of water in her 1st floor apartment - her belongings all floated away. She lost everything. Everything.

Perspective. Gee, my few inches of water on concrete didn't seem that bad now.

I can remember back, early in my weight loss journey, when I would be feeling sorry for myself (usually when coming out of a dressing room) and then see someone in a wheelchair. I would immediately think to myself, "At least you're able to walk!"

But, when you put it in perspective, that person being in a wheelchair does not make it OK for me to be overweight. It makes me grateful for my healthy legs, yes, but I can't use it to excuse away MY problem. And yes, friends, it's a problem. Most of you who struggle with weight loss have been educated on the health risks of being overweight so you know what I'm talking about. I've used "unhealthy" perspective against me - for example, I have a faint memory of getting some ice cream to celebrate my healthy legs after the above incident. Absurd and not really sure I wanted to share it, but there it is.

I can use a healthy dose of perspective to snap me back to reality. We all can! I am grateful I have food to put on my table - and find it hard to imagine mothers who have no choice but to put  their children to bed hungry. Putting THAT in perspective helps me not take food for granted (I do try to remember to say Grace wherever I am) - and to try not to take more than what my body needs. That's hard to do too. I can be a little too grateful sometimes. (-:

With the recent loss of our beloved Peter, I have been at times drowning in my sorrow. I know there is worse loss, and I have experienced that too. However, this was truly heartbreaking for me, bringing back memories of my Dad, and causing me to have doubt in my heart about "letting him go." It doesn't seem real, and it doesn't seem fair, since he was an innocent party in our decision, and I just couldn't even bear the thought of what happened. Friends, you know I am a tee-totaler, so instead of drinking, I turn to food. I am somewhat proud to say that I ate just a few cookies and got just one "mini blizzard" to "comfort me" (unhealthy perspective told me it would make me feel better and that I deserved it cuz I was so sad.)

But, when I relayed Peter's story and my raw grief to a friend, she said, "Wow - 17 years old! What an awesome gift that God gave him to you for so long."

Ah, sweet perspective. I needed that. It made my heart hurt a little less. I was having a pity party, party of one, and not realizing that he was a glass-half-full gift for his entire existence.

I've been having some conflict with someone close to me. We just can't seem to see eye to eye on something. I have my perspective; they have theirs. I believe there's a lot of love in between that space of discord too. It's hard to feel when there's not harmony, but it's there. I can think of plenty of things that make our problem seem trivial; the recent events in the surrounding area, the painful anniversary of 9/11 this weekend that widows and parents and children have to bear; sickness and war and abuse and death. Healthy Perspective tells me just because it's not those things, doesn't make it less important to figure out and come to terms and have peace with. I understand it's a work in progress and when you love someone you have to be willing to look at things from their perspective. What a tough thing to do. But necessary, and I'm learning it's an act of love. You just have to be willing to see things from another's perspective to start the healing process.

When I was first starting my hotel career, I remember getting a banner made up, with bright pink and aqua letters, that read: "Customer Perception IS Reality!!" It was a way to remind my staff that what the Guests thought was real, was real to THEM. We might not understand it or believe in it, but it was their truth. It's so hard to apply that to life. My perception is MY reality. Your perception is YOUR reality. And then there is perspective that comes when you need it most. On a particularly gloomy day (inside and out) I asked my Facebook friends to "tell me something good." I was overwhelmed with responses - one friend even brought me muffins within the hour! - a far away friend was having twins! - another friend was expecting her 2nd any day now (hi Megan) and people reminded me that yes, Jesus loves me. Putting it into perspective, I realized there's plenty of GOOD in this world - and in MY world - and that it's all a matter of perspective. I'm still struggling with my healthy choices and finding time to run (which I have found to be nature's therapy). I still think how lucky I am that my child is healthy when I see a friend's child struggling to walk and talk at the age of 5. I will always take God's examples that He puts in front of me as a way to cultivate my attitude of gratitude. But what I can't (and by His grace, won't) do is allow perspective to skew my view on what "I" still need to do for "ME." Think about that the next time you're tempted to excuse away bad behavior because of someone else's misfortune, and try to maintain a healthy perspective on life.

Raise your glass - Cheers! What do YOU see?

Still looks half-full to me (-:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Letting go...

Today brought to light just how hard it is to let go. I think we are all reminded of that in some way or another.

Over the past few years, I've let go of a lot. My Dad, 7 years ago, was the hardest. Our beloved Doberman Kobie was another devastating loss. These losses still linger, and always will. 

I've learned to let go of bitterness and resentment over a friend's betrayal, and learned to let go of quite a few fears that were holding me back from truth, honesty, and being myself. I've let go of bad habits and negative thoughts that were hindering my weight loss and I let go of my idea that I had to be a certain number on the scale to be happy.

Today, it was time to let go of Peter.

17 years ago, I bought Peter as a gift for my then 11-year old brother. I knew my Dad would appreciate having a dog in the house again, and I knew that a Bichon was one of the dogs my mom would allow in the house, since our neighbors had bought 2 of them from the same litter and she thought they were sooo cute.

This is what Peter looked like when we brought him home:
A little white furball who was instantly lovable, he worked his way into my family's hearts. My Dad, who at first called him a "little white rat", soon began taking Peter everywhere he went. He became my Dad's best friend, and was in the passenger seat for almost every car ride. He even served as a sort of "mascot" for AA meetings, as my father would go and set up the coffee. Peter was in many a prayer circle at those meetings. I like to think he helped my Dad stay sober.

A few months before my Dad died, he was coming out of anesthesia from a procedure, and was calling for Peter. The nurse asked if that was his son, so he said "Yes" - I will never forget the laugh we had when he told me to say Peter was my brother if anyone asked. Months later, as my Dad struggled with letting go, I will forever be grateful to the ICU staff at the Hershey Med Center for allowing Peter to be brought into my dad's hospital room; it was an amazing grace gift for my Dad. He couldn't speak, so mouthed the words "good boy" over and over as Peter obediently kept vigil in his lap, not wanting to leave his Master's side. We had to peel him away, crying and whining, when it was time to go.

After 17 years, it was time to let Peter go. As much as we want to hold onto something for "us" it's a matter of mercy to know when we have to let go and "let God" - I've been struggling with this a lot lately. Letting go of Peter was tough, because he was the last piece of my Dad we had with us. We wanted him for us, but we knew it was time for him to go. As my brother held him, and my family surrounded him with love and caring words and tearful goodbyes and sorrowful hearts, we let Peter go. I like to think that God allowed him to be a little perfect white puppy and run into my father's waiting arms in Heaven. As a matter of fact, I believe that's exactly what happened.

So we'll remember the little white furball who ran like a rocket after his baths, and be grateful for the gift of 17 years of his life, and somehow navigate the waters of grief again with loved ones and memories. I know there are many tragedies in life; today my husband told of a colleague's brother's wife who had a stroke and died at the age of 32. My friends and family still grieve the loss of a special young man on New Year's Day this year. There can be so much sorrow, and letting go...well, letting go is one of the toughest calls we'll answer. Without my faith, it wouldn't even be a possibility. But I believe in a merciful God, and I believe that He will allow the sun to rise in the morning after this dark night. I believe His promise that

"...weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning."
-Psalm 30:5

Life is short, and I for one still have some "letting go" to do. By the grace of God I'll continue to count my blessings while I have them in front of me, not take any day for granted, and not miss an opportunity to take care of myself and others, for this is the only ride we get. This is it, and there are so many beautiful moments to treasure. Peter was one of those moments, and he'll live in our hearts forever.

Go Peter Go...