Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Thy Will

Well, I'm still here. It's been about 2 years since my last blog post. I've been busy. No, honestly, like super busy. That, and no one reads this anyway. But with everything going on in my life right now, I figure writing it out might make me feel better.

So, where do I begin?

For the past two days, I've been listening to nothing but Air1 radio. Not really sure what put me in the mood but I just felt this tug on my heart to listen to the actual radio for a bit instead of the Sirius XM. For two days in a row, as I start to drive home from a long exhausting day at work, this song by Hillary Scott titled 'Thy Will' comes on. I don't normally cry in the car but I've come close recently.

Why this song? Why all of a sudden? Well, there's a lot going on. For the past few weeks, I have felt like everything in my life is up in the air and just out of reach.

But Jessica, you have so much going for you! Yes, I know. I can still feel off balance.

Without sounding like I'm complaining, let me give you the run down:
- For the first time in my career, I'm not happy at my job and it's scary.
- I've gained 6 pounds over the past few months (don't laugh) and I'm terrified of going back to where I was. I'm seriously having nightmares.
- I'm in a new long distance relationship. While things there are very good, there's still the uncertainty of where it's going. Plus, I have most of the people in my life questioning it. (Not cool people)
- I'm beyond scared that my melanoma is going to come back. Every time I look at my skin, I freak myself out.

So again, why is this song out of every song playing on Air1 standing out to me? Because I have no control over my life. The reason I feel that everything is out of reach is because God's holding it right above my head molding everything perfectly together for me before handing it back. I feel like the short kid who can't get the cookie jar out of the cupboard because it's too high.

It is God's Will, not my own that things are done. It is on God's time, not my own that things are taken care of and figured out. If you know me, I'm a little impatient so you can see where my struggle is coming from, right?

I want to know what to do about my job. Do I stick with it and just keep my head down or do I look for something new?
I'm working on my fitness and nutrition but nothing is happening. What do I do? Is this the new normal?
Where is my relationship going? What is the lesson of being in a long distance relationship? Do I pack up and move to a new state and just figure it out? How do I ignore the doubters?
Is my melanoma gone for good? What am I supposed to be witnessing to people about with this experience? How do I not get discouraged and be able to encourage others?

All of those questions listed above? God's Will. Thy Will Be Done!

Until Next Time,

-J

P.S. The kitties have been fine. Fat, Spoiled, and Happy.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Going the Distance

I dislike running. I mean, you go outside, in nature, and just start running. Nothing is chasing you and unless you're in a race that you pay an absorbent amount of money for, there isn't usually anything waiting for you at the end except for a couple of Tylenol and a hot shower. But, in the long run (hehe), it's worth the feeling I get afterwards. The feeling of accomplishment that I have when I collapse into a chair or get that t-shirt or medal afterwards.

If you've known me for awhile or even for a short amount of time, you know that I've gone through some big changes over the past two years. A Master's degree, a love lost, and shedding just over 200 pounds. Having the gastric bypass surgery has helped me do things that I never thought I would ever do. And I will tell you that even though I made the decision to have the surgery, I still accomplished this by a lot of hard work and determination. It was NOT easy. I didn't sit on my butt and do nothing. I got up and started moving. I started making better choices. And while I still make bad food decisions, and there are days where I'm super lazy, I have still accomplished more than I ever thought possible.

So, the running story. I've never been a runner. I was in band. No running involved but I could a 12min field show, while playing the piccolo with no problem. A different kind of fit for sure. When I started losing all the weight, I started getting a feeling that running could be something that I wanted to do. I was getting into hiking but because of previous knee injuries, hiking on rough terrain was too hard for me. So, why not try running?

My first run was at CSUSB. It was a color run. A 5k. 3.1 miles. March 2013 was when the race took place and I didn't even finish. I only did two out of the three laps because I was so out of shape that my body (mostly my head) gave up. Even though I didn't finish, I was still proud of myself that I went out there and did something out of my comfort zone.
March 2013

After my first race I kinda got hooked but didn't know where to start. Contrary to popular belief, running is expensive! Almost every race costs some kind of entrance fee and then there's parking and usually breakfast afterwards. Not to mention the gas it takes to get to each race. And don't even get me start on the running gear! I have never spent so much money on shoes before. AND they only last for a few hundred miles before you have to buy new ones. Like seriously, I need a second job to just afford all this.

So after my first race, I continued to do my regular workouts and kept losing as much weight as possible. I didn't have another run until October 2013. It was technically a walk but let's just all admit that most of us are all super competitive and want to do better every time. I participated in my first NAMI Walk with the encouragement from a couple of my weight loss friends. NAMI is the Nation Alliance on Mental Illness. Something I'm very passionate about. I also barely finished this. I wore pants (stupid me) and didn't bring enough water. Needless to say, I didn't create any personal records that day. I was just happy I finished.
NAMI Walk 2013



Again, I felt amazing afterwards but still didn't know how to get into running a regular basis. Enter my friend Jessica who started her own weight loss journey and started running on a regular basis.She has helped me so much and has been a wealth of information and support while I've been doing this. In February of this year (2014), she talked me into singing up for a 10k. At Disneyland no less. A 10k! That's 6.2 miles. But she assured me that I had plenty of time to train and I'd be ready by the end of August to do it.

So, I started training. I signed up for the gym and started hitting both the treadmill and outside running. I started hiking an easy trail on the weekends. Something that was about 4 miles round trip just to give my body a breather from the running. And of course starting to do more weight training for my legs.

You have to understand that I'm on my own here. I don't have friends who live close by who are willing to work out with me and I can't afford a personal trainer to push me into doing more and showing me that what I think my limits are, are not actually my limits. So I have to figure things out on my own. Are these excuses? No. Just the reality of my life.

I started signing up for more races. I knew that the only way I could really prepare for this 10k was to do more 5ks to help with my training. This year (so far) I've completed 5 5ks. Each time my times are around 45min which isn't too bad but I know I can do better if I had the discipline to train like my other friends who run. I tried to do a race each month leading up to the 10k. And I almost did. I missed June. Each race I felt myself getting stronger and I could go longer and longer without feeling like I wanted to fall over. Still about 40-45min to finish but I finished and to me, that's all that matter.

 March 2014


 April 2014 (My first medal!)


May 2014

 July 2014 (Soooo hot outside!)
August 2014 (My second medal!)

So finally, it's the end of August and my Disney 10k was finally here! I was so nervous. I knew I hadn't trained as well as others. I didn't follow a training plan. I probably didn't do a lot of things that I should have done while training for a longer race. Or at least a long race for me.

I went to the expo and picked up my packet. And then I met Sean Astin who told me to not just run until I feel tired. I needed to follow a plan. Considering this was the day before my race, I was thinking 'great, everything I've done for the past 7 months was stupid and I'm going to crash and burn'. But then he told me to keep going. No matter what I felt like, I trained hard and I've been through too much to give up now. It was amazing advice.


I also met Jeff Galloway who is the guy who started the run/walk/run program. I asked him if he had any advice for since I did all my training on my own and while I do technically run/walk/run, I didn't do it to his program. So, he told me to listen to my body and to do each run/walk/run for 30 seconds and I would see an improvement in my running because I'm not exhausting my body right at the beginning and I'll be able to do longer without feeling like I was done. 




Leaving the expo I felt good. Ready for what was ahead and praying that I finished. That was my goal. To finish. To prove to myself that when I set my mind to something and when I dedicate myself to something, I can do it.

And I did. I completed a 10k! I won't go into details about every mile because the only person it's important to is me. But long story short is I did a lot more running than I ever thought possible. My poor friend Jessica probably did a lot more running than she would have liked to but no matter what, she still stayed with me. And we both finished at the same time!

Finished!
 
Official Time



If I've learned anything from this experience, it's that no matter what goes through my head; my self doubts, and self hate, I can complete anything that I want to. I've worked hard to accomplish a goal that I didn't thing I would be able to do.

I have signed up for another Disney race. This time though, it's the Tinkerbell Half Marathon for May 2015! BUT I'm going to do a lot better this time. I'm going to do an actual training plan, read as much as I can, and do a couple more 10k races to get ready. I'll be even more ready for the next race.

In the end, I still dislike running. But I love the feeling of accomplishment even more.








Sunday, April 27, 2014

Crock Pot Sausage and Cheese Tortellini

I'm always trying to find new things that I can make in my crock pot. As a busy professional who has recently gotten addicted to working out (even though I still hate it), I need quick and easy things to make that are done when I get home 7-8pm every night.

I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course). The original link is here Original Recipe. I'm posting it to my blog simply because it may be easier for you to just go to my blog instead of searching through all my pins. Also, I've made a few changes to the recipe to fit it for my taste buds.

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Italian Sausage (I used the mild kind and then added chopped onion and hot chili pepper.)
  • 20 oz. Frozen Three-Cheese Tortellini (The Buitoni kind is in the specialty refrigerated case in the deli area of the grocery store. I popped them right in the freezer when I get home.)
  • 32 oz. Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes – The kind that are seasoned with basil, garlic & oregano. If you don’t have the seasoned ones, you’ll need to add in your own seasonings.
  • 8 oz. Cream Cheese or Neufch√Ętel Cheese – I used the low fat kind of cream cheese.
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese (not pictured) for topping.
 Step 1: Brown your meat first. This is where I also added my onion and chopped up my peppers. I de-seed my peppers. It's a trick I learned when I used to make my own salsa. All the heat is in the seeds so to cut it down a little, I take them out.




Step 2: Add the sausage and tortellini to your Crock Pot. Pour the tomatoes, liquid and all, and broth over the top. Add your cream cheese to the Pot in chunks. (I have a smaller crock pot so I ended up not using all of the broth only because I didn't want it to overflow. I used about 3/4 of it though.)

Step 3: Give your Crock Pot a good stir to get everything evenly distributed, making sure the liquids are adequately covering the tortellini.
 

 
Step 4: Cook on LOW for a total of 4 1/2 hours. Stir at 2 hours, and again at 4 hours, removing the lid for the last 30 minutes of cooking ( I just set timers on my phone to remind me). This will give the sauce some time to thicken up.

My Review:

I had to move everything from my crock pot to a big pot on my stove after 2 hours. I have a smaller crock pot and so I ended up putting too much inside and it started to overflow. I set it up to simmer for about 30min before I removed it from the heat. I then let it sit, covered, for another 30min before eating. The sauce isn't super thick but not watery either.

It tasted amazing though. I had one small bowl and I was stuffed. I also have a much smaller stomach so I'm thinking for a normal person, one full bowl would be okay as a serving size. I have enough to last me for the whole week.

Overall, I will make this again but I'll scale down the amount of ingredients I use unless I know I'm having a lot of company over.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Living and Loving the Single Life

It's almost been a year since I officially became single. For the last year of the relationship I felt like I was single but we were technically still together. There was a disconnect there however, I knew it was ending. I didn't want it to end though because I didn't know what I would do. I hadn't been single for almost 6 years. 
How do you 'be' single? 
What does it entail? 
What do you do by yourself?

These are questions that I asked myself right after it happened. When I felt like my whole world just crumpled up and threw itself in the dumpster. I had to start over and I had to redefine myself.

I've learned so many things about myself over this past year. What I like and what I don't like. What I'll stand for and what I won't stand for. I've been on quite a few dates but nothing has really worked out. I know what I want out of a relationship and I know that for me, if the first date doesn't go well, it's probably not going to work out.

Over the past few months though, I've come to realize that I like being single. Yes, I said it. I like being single. I don't have to impress anyone, I don't have to shave my legs if I don't want to, and if I want to just come home and veg out, I can. I don't have to please anyone but me.

I was recently ask what goals I have in my life and I honestly couldn't answer the question. I've reached all my goals that I've had so far. I finished school, I have a great job, I paid off my car, and I live on my own. I am happy and content. I am still working on my weight loss and my mental health but I know those are always going to be ongoing.

I feel that now I've come to this realization, there's a burden that's been lifted off of me. I don't WANT to be in a relationship right now. I don't NEED to be in a relationship right now. I know God will lead me to the right man but I just need to be patient and live my life right now. I found this quote on Pinterest and I absolutely love it.


After reading this and agreeing with everything it said, I knew that I am at a place in my life where I am okay with being single. For now, I'm good just living my mid-twenties to the fullest and loving the single life.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Adventure Onward: One Year

It's been one year. 365 days. One year since I had the surgery that changed my life. On September 21, 2012 I underwent RNY Gastric Bypass surgery. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life. Over the past year it's also been the biggest challenge of my life.

I had surgery because I needed the help. I couldn't lose the weight on my own with nutrition and exercise. I honestly DID NOT want surgery but I knew it was my only chance at being able to lose the weight that I needed to. I didn't have any health issues related to my weight but I knew that wouldn't last long. Even the day of my surgery, I didn't want it. One year later, I'm glad that I actually went through with it.

I've done well over the past year. I've lost 149 pounds since surgery as of the time I'm writing this. I went into surgery weighing 382 pounds. I now weigh less than I do when I went into High School. I wish I looked the same as I did in High School but mother nature is kinda in a screw you mood and let gavity take hold of pretty much everything.

I think the biggest thing I'm still learning is that I have an eating disorder. Having this surgery does not change that fact. I struggle every day with what to eat, how much to eat, and being diligent about taking my vitamins. I still have a long way to go obviously but I'm overall happy with where I'm going.

September 7, 2013
September 9, 2012

I've done a lot of other things in this past year. Not only did I lose a whole person with my weight loss. I lost 2 people. I lost a boyfriend as well as a whole person of weight (ba dum *tish). Yes, if you've read my previous posts, Ryan and I broke up after almost 6 years together. It was his decision although I knew it was coming. I've had my ups and downs since then. I've gone on dates and wish I hadn't gone on some of them, but it's been an interesting experience being single. I never knew how much my life revolved around one person and now I have to live my life for me.


I also did something I thought would never happen. I graduated with my Master's Degree in Education! It was an extremely tough two years. Lots of tears were shed and a lot of sleep was lost but I completed it. I learned not only a lot about our educational system and how broken it is but I learned a lot about myself and what I find important about Higher Education and how I can start to make a difference.

My Pretty Diploma
I've been told, not out right, but in a secondary way, that I've had everything handed to me because I've completed not only my B.A. but also now my M.Ed. and because I have a full-time job working in my field by the time that I'm 26. I never really respond to these things because I know everyone is different and everyone completes things in their own timeline but I do want it known that everything I have gained and accomplished is because of my willingness not to give up no matter what. Some people don't know this but I started graduate school on academic probation. I was admitted on a chance. I had to make sure the my GPA did not drop or I would be cut from the program. But I didn't let that stop me. No, I didn't have straight A's but I did my best and it shows not only in this nice looking piece of paper but also in my gained knowledge and the fact that I've had increased responsibilities in my job. I also have a family that supported me 100% in my goals and was there for me no matter what.

While it's only been one year, it feels like it's been more. I've accomplished so much in so little time I almost can't wrap my hear around it. But I know that the next year has even more in store for me and I cannot wait to see what it is.

That's about all I've got for this one.Thanks to everyone for your continued support through this entire journey.



Sunday, May 5, 2013

Springing Into Action

Like the title? I though it was clever.

It's been awhile since I've written and I've just had this desire to write about what's been going on since December. So, here it goes.


Weightloss:

As of today, I've lost 113.2 pounds. It's been hard and crappy but I couldn't be prouder of myself. I've done from extremely obese to obese II according to the BMI chart. That stupid little chart will always tell me I'm overweight by the time I hit my goal but nothing feels better then being able to fit into whatever car/ride/tight space I want to. It also feel great to be the same weight I was in High School and KNOW that I'll weight less than even that soon. Watch out 10 year reunion! (In 2 years)

As for diet, I haven't been following the protocol like I'm supposed to and I think that's my biggest challenge. I'm making a re-dedication to following what I'm supposed to. I haven't had a problem with a lot of starches though which is why it's hard. Thick bread, french fries, mashed potatoes, and flour tortillas have given me problems so I stay away from those. But I need to cut back on making pasta just because I don't want to grill chicken for dinner even if I only make 2oz. of pasta. If I do end up still eating the things that haven't bothered me, I'm making a point of buying whole grain so it at least has a better nutritional value.

For my exercising, I fell out of it again. For some reason, my depression gets worse when I start to exercise on a regular basis. I need to call and make an appointment with my doctor to see if we need to adjust something.

 Personal Life:

I know this is the section everyone is excited about. 

It's been 4.5 months since Ryan and I broke up. Honestly, I'm still grieving this relationship. And why shouldn't I? It was a 6 year relationship! I don't know when I'll stop grieving but there shouldn't be a set point in time where I have to go "okay, I'm over it". Right now, I'm trying to do as much as possible to take care of myself not only physically but emotionally as well. That's really all I have to say about it.

Since the end of the year, I have been getting out more. I've been going to Disneyland as much as possible and hanging out with friends. It's been nice to actually live what I have left of my 20s. I've been going out on dates as well. I'm not looking for anything. I'm not emotionally ready to pour myself into another relationship; but who am I to say no to a free meal?
I've also been going back to church. I found a church that I love and I always feel better after I've gone. I feel better when my relationship with God is stronger and I feel that I can do more and that I don't have to worry as much when I just give everything to Him. It's really been a breath of fresh air after so long.

I'm also almost done with school! Over the next 12 weeks though I'll be working on my big paper so if I'm not around, that's why. I was able to walk with the rest of my cohort on April 18th. The best thing about that day was that my dad showed up. We all though that we wasn't going to be able to make but as I walked down those steps to where we had to sit, there he was waving at me. It was the greatest thing to have possibly happened.

So, I'm still here. I'm making positive changes and I'm looking forward to what's in store for me over the next few months. It's going to be one heck of a ride.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Kitchen Adventures- The Quest For Clean

Lately I've been in a home improvement mood. It could be because I'm now single and so I can't have a honey-do list anymore OR it could be because I'm realizing all the things I put on hold because I was too busy being gone every weekend. The jury is still out on this.

Whatever the reason, I have until January 2nd off and I decided to do some cleaning. My living room doesn't really have any problems other than needing a good coat of colored paint but I live in an apartment and I'd have to permission. It's just a big mess. Once I get a new TV though, I'll probably re-arrange some things.

The next rooms in my apartment are my kitchen and dining/office area. My kitchen is fairly organized. There are things I would like to change but I do not have the monetary means to do so yet. Have I mentioned I LOVE tax return season? Getting back on track, I decided to tackle my kitchen today.

If you know me well or have listen to me talk about my apartment, you know that I hate my electric stove/oven. The stove part is really okay but it's the oven I hate. This thing burns everything! I have to set the temperature down to 200 degree no matter what I'm cooking and it still get's too hot. Needless to say, I do not do a whole lot of baking. I do cook a lot though. This left my stove top really nasty.

First I unplugged the burners and put the drip pans in hot water is some cleanser.
I let those sit while I cleaned the rest of the stove. I still had to scrub them forever just to get them to look semi clean. I'm going to end up getting some actual over/stove top cleaner when I can so they look like new. Until then, they are at least grime free.








The next part was to clean under the stove top. I had to lift the stove top up and unbelievably, it stays up by itself! I did not know that. This is what it looked like before I scrubbed it.
Before Scrubbing
I used Dawn dish soap to scrub everything. I've found that Dawn actually does cut a lot of the grease on things. Again, I want to use some actual cleaner but that will probably have to be for Spring cleaning. This is what the stove looked like after scrubbing.
  
After Scrubbing

I'll spare you the details of cleaning the panel of my stove but all you have to do is take the knobs off, use some spray cleaning and wipe everything down. I then put everything back together. Here is the finished product.
It's not perfect but it looks A LOT better than it did before I started. I still have more to do in my kitchen and I need to move things out so I can sweep and mop the floors really well. Until next time!

-Jessica