Tag Archives: gratitude

A Morning Devotional

“Don’t live frozen in the glory of some distant memory or in the promise of some faraway future. Make the most of every moment TODAY.”

Think about that statement …

We only have this moment right now. The truth is, our past is gone and we are not guaranteed a tomorrow.

Seek to live life awake and fully present, instead of allowing regrets, distractions or even hopes to interfere with what God is calling us to do TODAY.

Ephesians 5:15-17 says, So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do (NLT).

… be intentional in the way that you live, realizing that every breath is a gift from God!

“Sorry”, not Sorry …

fingerprints1Death would be the ultimate “identity theft” – in my life.

Grieving would take me on a journey of reclaiming my identity. An identity that would no longer include – my husband. My relational base. Scary, confusing – frustrating. I would grieve the loss of a shared identity – of over 30 years. There would be no one at home – waiting for me. No one to sit beside me – no one to hold my hand – no where to find the unconditional love and support I had known for more then half of my life.

My name was still the same. The person looking back at me, in the mirror, still looked the same, but who I was – had been irreversibly changed forever, in a single moment.

It propelled me into an emotional vertigo. I remained suspended for quite a long time. I existed somewhere between vertigo and apathy.

It was a constant struggle to find a place where I felt I belonged, fit in …

You see, the life we knew – before death occurs, continues on – people return to “their” normal. However, your normal has ceased to exist. All of the what you knew to be safe, secure and loving has simply vanished. In retrospect, I know now that returning to the same practices only further magnified my loss. There were many who could not or chose not to understand how profoundly I was missing my Dave – grieving his loss of life in mine. My absence was met with nothing but harsh opposition. The exchanges, were down right cruel – and I found that the dismissal of my feelings, my brokenness only further deepened my sense of loss and despair.

Taking responsibility for my own pain – my own loss, the death of my husband, was the first step in my journey of recovery both in my sobriety and my process of grieving.

I quit apologizing for loving my husband and grieving his death.

I quit apologizing for not having the capacity to function.

I quit apologizing for crying – randomly.

I quit apologizing for not being to be emotional available – for family and friends.

I quit apologizing for feeling such a deep sense of sadness.

I quit apologizing for my broken heart.

There was such a release in my moment of clarity. I found the freedom to move through all of the broken places. It no longer mattered how my behavior was perceived. I spent the time collecting, gathering my broken pieces – found the courage to carry them to a place of healing. It was like putting a puzzle together …

Grieving, although a universal territory is but a very unique journey.

I learned that embracing those really bad days, allowed my heart the opportunity to heal.

I discovered the importance of surrounding myself with people who “just got it.”

Eventually, I emerged from my long slumber – the fog of denial, with a heart of gratitude and peace.

Knowing how lucky I was, to have been loved so deeply by a man who gave of himself so freely.

Gratitude, that I have lived through the unimaginable, and along the way – I have stumbled onto a strength that I might not have known otherwise. Gratitude, for loss has taught me, the value and purpose of life.

It would be a year ago that I would take my last drink.

There is something so powerful that begins to take place, as I began to confront my pain, loss and despair. And the healing that seemed to be elusive, began to find its way, when I could be still long enough to let it catch me. Moving through it and not around it has not made everything perfectly fine. It has only allowed me to live a life, wholeheartedly.

Lets get physical

The moment you begin your workout, every part of your body is working together to make your movements effective. For instance, your heart will begin to beat faster in order to pump blood to your muscles, while your digestive system slows down, not being the body’s main priority. The first ten minutes you immediately feel the changes, your heart pounds, your muscles tighten up and your breath feels shallow. Fortunately, once you have hurdled that initial shock to your body – your workout will seem as comfortable as an evening stroll.

“The body follows the mind”

Staying in motion, will require commitment and dedication. Especially when you first begin your daily exercise regimen. There is actually something happening inside of you beyond the simple inertia – when you choose movement – fitness.

Your body is attempting to accomplish three main things;

  • increase oxygen flow
  • eliminate metabolic wastes
  • eliminate heat

As a result of trying to make all three of those things happen, your body creates something called ATP. Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the basis of function for your body.

Depending on what workout you are doing, your body will kick into on of the three states;

  • phosphagen system
  • glycogen/lactic acid system
  • aerobic respiration system

Let’s go through it.

Phosphagen System: In this state, every one of your cells has enough ATP to last 5-15 seconds. It is crucial because it helps you react immediately in any situation. Such as running away, or throwing a punch. Within the first few seconds of intense physical movement – your body is ready to react.

Glycogen/Lactic Acid System: Since 5-15 seconds of physical movement gets used up quickly, your muscles do have a reserve called glycogen, made up of a chain of glucose molecules. It takes 12 different chemical reactions to create ATP – a slow process that lasts for about 90 seconds. This state doesn’t last very long because of the lactic acid build-up, a soreness or burn that is felt in the first minute of high intensity movement. Sprinters use this system the most.

Aerobic Respiration System: A workout lasting over two minutes your body realizes that you’ll not be stopping anytime soon – it responds with oxygen, an aerobic respiration. It helps break down glucose into carbon dioxide and water. Glucose is available from glycogen in your muscles through the blood stream, and from the food in the intestines. Aerobic respiration allows you to work out for a much longer time, then that of the first two systems. Gathering its energy from carbs, fats and if necessary – protein.

Our bodies will naturally know which system to use when we work out. Professional athletes will train specific systems to improve in their sport. Understanding each system will also allow us to manipulate our routine to match.

… but what’s happening to the rest of our body, when we start to move?

Blood Our blood flow increases as your body supplies additional blood cells to your rapidly beating heart.

Skin During your work out your body is trying its best to release heat. Blood vessels dilate, bring heat towards the skin, and then release it. That is why your skin feels warm – it is your body’s way of releasing its internal heat.

Muscles The system to gain energy and ATP as mentioned above, there are “micro tears” that occur during your workouts – don’t worry these tiny tears take a day or two to rebuild. The tears explain why your muscles feel sore – the rebuilding is how they become stronger over time.

Lungs VO2 Max is a term you may have heard around the gym, and it represents the maximum amount of oxygen that a person can use. When you work out, your lungs work quickly to take in all the oxygen that your body requires. Over time, as you get more fit, you’ll begin to notice that your V02 Max will increase.

Heart Working out for more than two minutes takes your body into aerobic respiration? This means that oxygen is needed throughout the whole body. As a result, your heart rate will increase to efficiently move the oxygen to your muscles.

Brain The extra blood and oxygen helps you become more alert, awake, and focused. It releases endorphins, the “feel good” hormones in our body.

The American Heart Association recommends 30 minutes a day, of activity to stay Heart Healthy.

My Inner Circle

“One of the most fundamental human needs is the need to belong.” – Abraham Maslow

Building your Tribe

Belonging, identified as one of the five basic needs we all, as humans desire. We want to be part of a group and to feel loved and accepted by others. To be a member of a tribe, a clan, a pack, elected family, posse, crew, a network of true friends. A group of people who share common interests and values, who show a genuine appreciation and care for each other.

One of the most precious gifts I have received, in my journey, is an amazing group of friends. As cliche as it sounds, friends are truly the family you choose for yourself. I’ve been very blessed with a pretty cool tribe. It has also translated to a solid support system for my children as well.

My Inner Circle ~ “My Tribe”

Members who accept you just as you are, and want the very best for you. They are the individuals in your life who not only celebrate your successes, but applaud them with a sincere enthusiasm. They encourage you to go after your goals and pursue your dreams. More importantly your tribe – your inner circle, help you to get through difficult times, providing you with a sense of community and support. They drive one another to explore the extent of their talents, creating a synergy that allows something much greater to occur – then any one of us could have accomplished, individually.

“Call it a clan, a network, a tribe – a family. But whatever you call it, whoever you are – you need one.” – Jane Howard

Listen to your inner voice and trust your instincts.

When was the last time you had a “gut feeling” about someone?

Keep in mind that the people you hang out with, will have a huge impact on every aspect of your life. From your level of income, (several financial authors – argue, that your income is equal to the income of the five closet to you) to your level of happiness, contentment. Studies show that happiness is contagious, and we have a subconscious tendency to model our behavior of those around us.

So choose your Tribe wisely. The members of your inner circle are your allies in your life journey. Surround yourself with people who will lift you up, boost your energy reserves – inspire you.

Not everyone should have access to your inner circle.

Some relationships constantly drain your energy, in both obvious and subtle ways. There are several types of people who will exhaust you and/or deter you from your path to living a fulfilled life. You want to identify and release toxic relationships, having no intrinsic value, the question becomes, “why would you expend your energy?”

The Blamer
The friend or family member who simply likes to hear their own voice! Who consistently complains about what isn’t working in their life. And yet, gains their energy from complaining and dumping their frustrations and life’s disappointment on you.
The Drainer
The needy individual who calls to ask for your guidance, support, information, advice or whatever they need to feel better in the moment. Because of their neediness, the conversation often revolves around them, and you can almost feel the life being sucked out of you during the conversation.
The Shamer
“Hazardous to your Health” … The shamer cuts you off, but not before putting you down, or issuing a formal reprimand. You become the butt of their jokes, and of course “they’re always just kidding.” They often ignore boundaries and try to convince you that their criticism is for you own good, sharing honestly is indeed loving and supportive. The shamer is the kind of person who makes you question your own sanity, your own abilities. The shamer’s ploys are very subtle.
The Discounter
The person who discounts or challenges everything you say. Often, there is a strong need to be right and fault can usually be found in any situation. It is exhausting to have a conversation with the discounter, eventually you end up giving in and deciding to just listen.
The Gossip
Avoids intimacy by talking about others. The gossip gets energy from relaying stories, opinions, and the latest “scoop.” By gossiping about others, they create a lack of safety in their relationships, whether they realize it or not. After all, if they’re talkin’ about someone else, chances are they’re talkin’ about you …

Soulful connections require the investment of time and energy. Vulnerability and authenticity demands the courage to be transparent with our emotions and our thoughts. But we can only enter into that realm of our relationships to one another when a mutual respect and a shared responsibility, is present. It is there where trust is established and life long friendships, relationships become our reality – become what I know as “my Tribe”

Self-care is not selfish. In fact, taking care of ourselves must be a priority. Especially when you are recovering from trauma in your life. So, you’ll want to choose the people who you spend the most time with – those who make up your world, carefully – wisely.

It’s made all the difference in the world to me, in my road to recovery – sobriety. In my journey of loss – grieving!

“Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.”

– Brene Brown, Gifts of Imperfection