Tag Archive | balance

my balanced life (or 95 days of movement)


There are ninety-five days left in the year.  I’m making a vow to myself and my body to make them ninety-five days of movement.

silhouette of running woman

Four years ago, I started taking yoga classes.  Yoga saved me.  During the lowest time of my life, yoga was my safe haven.

In 2011, things changed and I couldn’t make it to as many yoga classes.  So I started walking.  And then I started running.  In September 2011, I walked and ran my first 5K.   I finished.  Last.  But last beats the quitters behind me who stopped.  Even the quitters beat all those who didn’t start at all.

I walked or ran two 5Ks last year.  I kept running until November, when I fell and threw my hips out of alignment.

This year, I’ve struggled to get back into my groove.  The yoga studio closed while Carrie uses all of her energy to beat cancer.  There is a yoga class I take on Saturday  mornings, when I’m home.  And healthy.  I haven’t been since…when?  August?  Maybe July?

The last time I ran was the night before Nature Boy got mad, ran down the stairs, jumped over the gate and got bitten by my Rocky dog.  It was one of those hot, late night runs that sustained me through 2011 and mostly eluded me in 2012.  A slow, hot mile in shorts and a sports bra.  Nobody out but me and the moon.

After that, I went to bed each night thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the morning.”  And every morning, I’d wake up thinking, “I’m too tired.  I’ll run in the evening.”

There are ninety-five days left of this year, and I’m done with excuses.  I’m going to fill those ninety-five days with movement.  If I’m too tired to run, I’ll walk.  If I’m too tired to walk, I’ll ride my beach bike.  If it’s too rainy to go outside, I’ll go to my yoga room and pretend that Carrie is there to push me to hold that position just a little longer.  Breathe just a little harder.

Between my birthday and the end of the year is when most people put on weight each year.  Between Halloween candy, Thanksgiving feasts and Christmas goodies, it’s a challenge to get through the year without plumping up like that Thanksgiving turkey.

I used to say I dieted and exercised to get my old body back.  I’ve changed my goal.  I don’t want my 25-year-old body anymore.  I want a different body.  A better one.  One that is soft yet firm.  Toned and healthy.  Lungs that can fill me with oxygen.  Heart that beats strong and sure.  Legs that carry me to the finish line.  Arms that hold me in a handstand.  That’s the body I want to walk into 2013.

Move with me!  Let’s end 2012 in triumph and start 2013 in the best shape of our lives! 

My balanced life (or everything happens the way it’s meant to happen)


 Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.  Soren Kierkegaard

I had dinner with Sweetness and three of her girlfriends in Charleston this week.  Smart, beautiful girls with their whole lives in front of them.

As we sat at the bar waiting on our table, one of the girls told me she’s graduating in November.  The worst possible month to try to find a new job.

I assured her everything happens the way it’s supposed to happen.

That doesn’t mean we understand why things happen the way they do.

It doesn’t mean things happen the way we want them to, necessarily.

But they do happen the way they’re supposed to happen.

When I graduated from law school twenty years ago, I was pregnant with Sweetness.  She is one of those babies who was planned for, tried for and given up on.  Then she came along, in her own sweet time.

The plans her daddy and I made for our lives changed the instant the doctor said, “I know why you’ve been so sick.  You’re pregnant.”

Plans to move from Camp Pendleton to Florida to take the bar exam and find a job.  Plans for her daddy to get out of the Marine Corps and go to school full time.  Plans to buy a Miata because if I couldn’t have a baby, I should at least get a convertible.

Morning-noon-and-night sickness made studying for a bar exam impossible.

A new baby on the way convinced her daddy to stay in the Marine Corps.  I don’t remember having a vote in that decision, but twenty years later, I know it was the right one.

A two-year hiatus between graduation to my first job as an attorney.  Two years of explaining to people, yes, I’m a lawyer.  I graduated from law school.  I just can’t practice law in this (or any other) state until I take the bar exam.

Looking back, the time I spent at home with Sweetness was the best time of my life.

I look around my life now, my big, wonderful, glorious life filled with love and laughter, and I know I wouldn’t have this life if Sweetness hadn’t come along exactly when she did.

That other life, the one we planned out so carefully, probably would have been a nice life, too.  But I wouldn’t trade it for this life for a second.

Having the opportunity to tell this sweet girl not to worry, things happen the way they’re supposed to, is an opportunity to remind myself as well.

I was married for twenty-three years because that’s the way it was supposed to happen.  I don’t know why, but I know that’s true.

I left my marriage after twenty-three years because that’s the way it was supposed to happen.

Coach came into and out of my life in less than six months.  Lessons learned.  Purpose fulfilled.

Life is a giant puzzle.  Thousands of pieces fit together to make the whole.  Any given piece may make no sense.  It’s only when we fit the pieces together that we see how everything works together to give you the life you have.

Kierkegaard said, “Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forward.”  Looking back twenty years, I understand clearly how things worked out to give me the life I have today.

Question:  Do you believe things happen the way they are meant to happen? 

my balanced life (or my HCG diet experiment)


I have probably tried every diet under the sun!

Before and after pictures for HCG diet experiment

before and after

In theory, any diet works if you work the diet.  I’ve lost weight any number of ways over the years but the pounds never seem to stay off for long after the diet is over.

Last month, I ran into two different friends who used the HCG diet to successfully lose thirty pounds in six weeks.  Since that is almost exactly how much I want to lose, I decided to give it a try.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

I hadn’t weighed myself since sometime last year, so I was disappointed when I stepped on the scale and saw how much weight I’d gained since last year when I was training for two 5Ks.

But then again, I dress myself every day, so I wasn’t particularly surprised to see how big the number was, either.

The HCG diet seems to be one of the “it” diets right now.  I did some research (a/k/a googling) before starting the diet, and found more bad things than good.  But I couldn’t discount the two friends who had successfully lost weight (and kept most of it off for several months.)

In essence, the HCG diet consists of the HCG hormone, taken either through shots or drops taken orally.  I did the oral drops, six drops four times a day.

I took the drops religiously.  I even set a timer on my iPhone for each of the four times a day so that I couldn’t forget.

Following the diet was more of a challenge.  Two meals a day (lunch and dinner), consisting of one vegetable, one fruit and 3 ounces of lean protein.  And therein lies my diet fail!  Five hundred calories a day did not work for me.  At all.

The bigger problem is that one week after starting the HCG diet I got sick.  And stayed sick for the next three weeks.  A stuffy nose turned into a hacking cough, which turned into bronchitis.  I haven’t been that sick, for that long, in years.

My first week on the HCG diet, I lost five pounds.  Cue the celebratory confetti!

The next three weeks consisted of me gaining and losing the same two pounds, so that at the end of four weeks, I had a net five-pound weight loss.

I was so sick the last three weeks of the diet, the only exercise I participated in was coughing hard enough to bruise my breastplate.

Even though I only lost five pounds, I consistently saw a difference in my body each week.  Every Friday morning, I took pictures in the same bikini.  For once, I wanted visual proof of the effects of my diet!

At the end of the fourth week, I decided I’d had enough.  I’m too busy to be that sick.  And my body couldn’t seem to get well while I was on the diet.

I haven’t given up the desire to lose thirty pounds.  (Well, call it twenty-five now, thanks to the five pounds I lost on HCG.)  But I am determined to find a way to lose the rest of the weight without throwing my body into a tailspin!

Question:  Do you struggle with weight issues?  If so, what are your best tips for taking off, and keeping off, extra weight?

my balanced life (or my frozen lungs)


Grandma and Grandpa Banis on their Hawaiian vacation

Grandma and Grandpa in Hawaii

My chest feels like someone has been beating on it with a ball peen hammer.  Like someone is trying to get in.  Or get out.

Bang.  Bang.  Bang. 

 

Each deep breath is punctuated by face-reddening, uncontrollable coughing.

Hack. Hack. Hack.

 

I am sick.

Bronchitis, I think.  The good doctor who loaded me up with steroids, cough syrup with codeine and antibiotics didn’t say, specifically.  But he talked about reducing swelling in my lungs.  Sounds like bronchitis to me.

Ancient Chinese Medicine teaches that each major organ in your body relates to an emotion.  The lungs represent grief.

As I lay in bed, feeling the effects of the ever-present tapping on my breastplate, I wonder which grief has frozen my lungs.

The death of a marriage.

The disappointment of a lying boyfriend.

The literal death of my grandmother.  My last living grandparent.

Grandma Banis stood next to me that summer day I pulled in more than my share of fish.  She loved telling the story over the years, imitating my girlish delight with each caught-fish. Wheeee!”

She taught me to sew, a meticulous taskmaster who still managed to make it fun.  I remember scouring through patterns and fabrics with her for hours.  Picking blouse and skirt patterns that would be easy enough.  Choosing different fabrics so that once I had a pattern set to my measurements, I could make it over and over.

I remember my first lesson on zippers.  I think I ripped it out six times, because as Grandma said, “We don’t do no half-ass work around here, Gina.”

After that first lesson, I never ripped out another zipper.  I wish all of my life-lessons were as effective as her lesson on zippers.

Grandma’s passing wasn’t a surprise.  Over three years in a nursing home left her a shell of her former sassy self.  I don’t like to remember her like that, and hate some of the pictures posted of her with her face sunken because the nursing home lost her teeth.  I prefer remembering her with her hair just so, make-up carefully applied, smart pantsuits (that she most likely whipped up on her trusty sewing machine.)

A widow-woman for the last ten years or so, as far as I know she never dated or even entertained the notion of being involved with another man.  I think she was content to wait to reunite with Grandpa Banis.

And now she has.

Good-bye, Grandma.

my balanced life (or bring on the joy)


Do you remember what joy feels like?

little blonde girl in a grass skirt running in the surf

I spent the weekend at the beach in a one-bedroom condo across the street from a perfect stretch of beach.  My sister and her husband came down for the weekend, with my three-year-old niece.

If you ever forget what joy feels like, spend the weekend with a three year old.  Dress her in a grass skirt and watch her run along the shoreline, kicking up water, laughing and giggling with the glee of the ages.

Three year olds are as tickled by the dead fiddler crab as she is the live hermit crabs.  That kind of exuberance is contagious.

Three year olds don’t worry about how they look in their bathing suit.

little blonde girl buried in sand

They don’t worry about getting covered in sand.  Although if you bury them in it, they may exclaim, “Daddy, that’s gwoss,” before shaking themselves free and galloping down the beach again.

If you’re lucky, they are as happy to take a long nap after a morning on the beach as you are.  And you might find, if you wake up with a little hand holding yours, a little bit of their natural joy seeped from their hand to yours while you slept.

Question:  What brings you joy? 

my balanced life (or finding my margin)


keep calm and go to the beach

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the need to find margin, that slice of space needed to prevent overload in a busy life.  Michael Hyatt writes about it here.

Margin is not something that comes easily in a busy life. I’ve been feeling the crush of deadlines and responsibilities the last six months.  I’ve talked a lot about needing to get away.  To create a little margin away from my day-to-day responsibilities.  But being able to actually make that margin in my life just wasn’t happening.

Right now, my business schedule doesn’t allow me to be away from my office for more than a day here and there.  That is a reality that won’t change in the near future.

Which means the most margin I can carve out right now is a little weekend trip.

When I do get away, I need to find somewhere close.

It also helps to know which setting is most relaxing to me.

For some people, it’s the mountains.

For others, it’s a big, bustling city.

But I find peace at the beach.

sunrise on Hilton Head Island

I am blessed enough to live fifteen minutes from the beach.  But even that entails packing a day bag, towel and chair, snacks and water bottles, and then sitting in traffic.

This weekend, my friends were sweet enough to lend me their one-bedroom beach condo on Hilton Head Island.  The commute to the beach was grabbing the beach chair and my beach bag and walking across the street, over the boardwalk and across the sand.

I was there to watch the sun set behind the beautiful condos dotting the beach, watching the sky change from blue to pink to black.

I was there to watch the sun rise above the pine trees and sea grass.

The most strenuous responsibility I had was holding my book up high enough to avoid the waves and moving my chair in and out, following the tide.

A nice long walk at end the day.  An early morning jog to start the next.

Short walks back to the condo for naps as needed.

Paradise.

Margin.

Peace.

Whatever you want to call it, I found it this weekend.

I have a few hours left before I have to make that big fifteen-minute commute back home.  My teenager awaits my return.  As do my four dogs.  And my fifty pound backpack of responsibilities.

But for now, I’m going to grab my beach chair, beach bag and beach read and head back to enjoy the last of my time away.  My margin.

Question:  Do you schedule margin in your life?  That break from your responsibilities that gives you the chance to recharge and rejuvenate? 

live your dreams or live your fears


In this small Southern town I live in, everyone knows everyone.  Everywhere I go, chances are good I’ll see someone I know.

beautiful Southern sunset over the May River

Darryl is a server at two of my favorite restaurants.  We also run into each other in the evening at other restaurants and at the Farmer’s Market.

(Farmer’s Market is a pretty big deal around here.  We do it Southern style, which means that in addition to fresh fruits and vegetables there’s also live music, fried shrimp, and the crepe lady who is really and truly French.)

Darryl always asks how I’m doing.  I always tell him I’m doing great.  For two reasons, really.  Great is my standard answer to how I’m doing.  And I usually am doing great.

One day at The Cottage, after I told him I was doing great, his response was, “Living the dream?”

I assured him I was.  And I am living the dream.  I have an incredible life.  Counting my blessings could take all week!

I asked him if he was living the dream, and he responded that he was dreaming the life.

I wonder how many of us dream the life instead of live the dream.  What holds us back from living the dream?

A few days ago I was reading something by Joyce Meyers that talked about living your fears.  It made me think of Darryl, who’s dreaming the life instead of living the dream.

What’s your dream?  Are you living it yet?  Or just dreaming about it?

If you’re still just dreaming about it, what’s holding you back?

I have a friend who wants to be an author.  Every year, the goal of writing a book is on the resolution list.  He’s a successful attorney with two beautiful children, but he still has a dream.

I don’t know Darryl well enough to ask him what his dream is, but I know from his answer that he isn’t living it yet.

No matter how old you are, it’s never too late to live the dream.

Salsa dancing at 84 like abuelita, my friend’s mother.

Kayaking at 55 like my friend Denise.

Starting a blog and writing my first book.

Riding a zip line and whitewater rafting.

This year has been my year of living the dream!

I wish I could take everyone by the hand and drag them into the dream with me.  But it’s a step you have to take for yourself.

Question:  Are you living your dream?  Or living your fear?  Living the dream?  Or dreaming the life?