Wednesday, June 24, 2015


My 94 year old aunt was a witty, wonderful woman.  When you asked her how she was, she would reply with this quip, "Consider the alternative."  In other words, she meant that she is alive, she is upright, she is breathing. Considering the alternative to that would be death.

I wouldn't say that the alternative I'm thinking of is death.  I'd say that the alternative for me, at this stage of my life is back to living a life of pain and muscle aches; pain and weakness; pain and frustration; pain and giving up.

I have been blogging my journey to healthy living which started out a year ago.  It started with a curiosity about a place called Motions Fitness, and my quest for finding answers to living without so pain which I hoped would help me to get back to participating in life.

I have written many posts about my feelings of fear and the changes in my life when I said yes to becoming a client with a personal trainer at Motions Fitness.  Now I am celebrating one year there.  The one year anniversary to me is the "first year of the rest of my life."  But now that I am past the first year, it doesn't really get easy.

A taste of the alternative came to mind as the temptations of relaxed living and eating for fun could have been my choices on an 11-day vacation to meet my new granddaughter.  The alternative could have gotten me right back to where I started, not just a year ago, but years and years ago.  The alternative for me is to turn my back on all the hard work and efforts I have invested in myself, in choosing a healthier lifestyle.

Though I wasn't completely innocent on vacation, having spent some time relaxing and eating foods I no longer eat or the kinds of foods that will lead to bad habits again, I was conscious every moment of the alternative.   I knew this was a big test for me - was I mentally, emotionally, physically strong enough to face my weaknesses and rise above them, now while out of town, away from my support system at Motions.  A little voice kept testing me, and asking me if I could do this, and pushing me to ignore my healthy choices.  But when I looked at myself in the mirror every day, and saw the new person I had become, I knew my strength was more than muscle.

A taste of the alternative was like seeing myself - a person with pain, and many inabilities - walking along side of myself in the airport; lifting luggage; playing on the floor with my 2 1/2 year old grandson.  A taste of the alternative was reminding me of the special accommodations needed to help me sleep comfortably while away.   I realized that I did not want to taste the alternative.  I had indeed what it takes to be strong to face my weaknesses and rise above them.

There will always be challenges, some more complex than others.  There will always be the need to keep on the right path.  There will never be a time when letting my guard down and living a carefree life will work, if I want to stay healthy.  I still have pain, but I understand it now.  And with the pain I also have perseverance, but that will not last unless I am in it for life.

I ended up losing 2 1/2 pounds on vacation.  And looking back I had to ask myself if there was any time I felt that I was missing out on all the fun times and special moments this vacation was about.  I don't think so.  Its taken a year to set the footings in place, to help me realize that celebrating is more than food.

I am celebrating this week with all the others that have been choosing healthy living, working out along side of me in class every week; those that I've never met, never spoken to, but I have seen them putting in the effort and keep coming back.   I have learned that you can't be an inspiration until you are ready to leave your pride behind and let your passion show through.  So, to my personal trainer, Lisa Mills, and all the trainers and clients at Motions Fitness: Let's Do It!  Let's keep being an inspiration to each other and the world!  Thanks for inspiring me!  


I have been inspired by my 2 1/2 year old grandson.  I had an amazing opportunity to spend 11 days with him, and his parents and his new baby sister.  He hadn't seen me in person (versus a face on a computer screen) for about a year, so I wasn't surprised that it took awhile for him to realize who Gramma really was.  When he finally figured it out, he was stuck to me like glue.  And even though I had about five of the 11 days stay left, I made every effort to play, talk, and spend time with him.

Evan is a smart little guy.  He's actually closer to 3 years old (August 27) than to 2 1/2 years old, but when you describe his age to any other adult, saying "he is a 2 1/2 year old" it is clearly a definite description of a rambunctious, curious, strong willed child.

If any one of us had to deal with the changes in Evan's life since his sister was born, we probably would have had to lean on some of our vices to make it through the day.   You see, it wasn't just that Evan was now a big brother to a baby sister.   That in itself is an adjustment for any child, especially a child that has had Mom and Dad's attention all to himself.  But now his mom is home every day.  She is a 12-month teacher in a private school, and is on family leave for the summer.  Until now, Evan has been cared for by two pre-school teachers.  That was his every day, Monday - Friday, with Mom and Dad and sometimes other family on the weekends.  Adjustments for Evan have also been to learn the rules of being a big brother, nap time at home, eating snacks and meals at home, and having Mom every day of the week.

During the time I visited them, Evan's dad was also on vacation.  So we'll add having dad around all day, every day for 10 days, too.   Is it any wonder that when Evan saw Gramma at his house for 11 days, sleeping in his bed, with her suitcase in his room, sitting at the table eating with them, and riding in the car when they went places, that he was a bit confused overwhelmed?

Yes, I was inspired by Evan.  Had I had that many changes in a matter of days in my life, I would have been out of sorts to say the least.  Of course, we know as adults that we have developed our own coping systems when the changes and stresses of life catch us off guard.  But what does a 2 1/2 or 3 year old child do when everything as he knows it, changes?   He sings.  Evan sings all the time.  In my opinion, Evan has nearly perfect pitch for a child.  Singing is part of our family heritage and history.  It is what has been done at family gatherings for generations, so hearing Evan sing and sing so well, really warms my heart.

As you might imagine during these 11 days that I was visiting Evan and his family, there were a few occasions of frustration that were just too overwhelming for Evan. But Evan wasn't the only one that was affected by all the changes in their household.  And on one day in particular when emotions were just a bit more evident than usual, it was Evan who set the tone for recovering from a mishap.

About the time in our car ride when tension was high and all were stressed out, when nothing could be said to settle the situation, Evan began to sing.  "We are family.....we a happy family......."  Evan's voice was the gentleness we needed at the moment.  Evan was the saving grace.  Evan was the blessing we all needed to snap us out of frustration and into the joy of why we were together - for the love of our children.

I haven't stopped thinking about Evan's gentle voice that afternoon.   There have been some tense moments in my own life, now back at home and participating in small town life. Evan's song has inspired me to stop my own frustrations and remember that little child's voice singing "we are family.....we a happy family"  Even if my rough moments aren't about family conflict, I recall the easing up I felt with his voice, which reminds me to let go and stop trying so hard to make things work out. are an inspiration to your grandmother....even at nearly 3 years old.  And I thank God for you, for your innocent singing that day, and your sweet self!