Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Noticing the Beautiful Bank Teller

There is a certain teller at our bank that greets me with an enthusiastic hello and smile each and every time I come in.  Each and every time.  She listens to WJTL (the radio station that I work at)  and was more than excited when we moved to the area and started coming in to her branch.   I often leave the bank feeling joyfully overwhelmed by her friendliness and sincerity as she asks questions and mentions favorite songs.

Today when I walked into the bank I was being taken care of at another window,  but heard a familiar friendly voice nearby.  There was my friendly teller with a big smile, a brightly colored scarf around her neck and a head topped with beautiful glowing baldness.  How had I missed it.  She had been gone several weeks as she was treated for chemotherapy.  Before I had the chance to say hello first, she asked me about Lisa Landis,  one of my co-workers who has struggled with her own health battle this summer.    I updated her on Lisa and she then shared how the timing coincided with her own journey with Cancer. 

I had to wonder how many times she had served me in the Spring with her friendly smile while dealing with her battle on the inside?  How many weeks was she fighting back tears while I possibly not so patiently waited for her to handle my deposits and banking needs?  As I left the bank,  I teared up a little as I was reminded that we are all fighting our own battles on the inside.   I know there are days that I struggle with my own things that make it a little tougher to smile and be friendly.  Sometimes you want someone to ask and sometimes you just need someone to smile back.

It was another good reminder to love my neighbor, extend extra grace, and give the benefit of the doubt.   I want to walk around with my eyes open and notice when someone needs a little extra.   Those are the moments when God is able to move through us ... when we notice the beautiful bank teller, the clerk at the grocery store, or the tired person walking past on the street.

Friday, September 06, 2013

Getting There: The Journey Explained

Last night I posted this before and after picstitch on Facebook and Instagram.  It was so encouraging to see all the likes and comments.  I have good people in my life who have loved me well along the way.

The before pictures were taken back in 2002/2003 so it's been a good 10 years, about 100 lbs, a large intestine removal,  and half a thyroid removal under the bridge since I was at my heaviest.  :)  Since then,  I roller-coastered on the Atkins diet (losing 100, gaining back probably 50 or 60 of that) and for a while after that continued yo-yo-ing my weight.  I had been on diets/weight loss plans/drag your ass out of bed and go for a walk schemes since I was in grade school. Sixth grade: Weight Watchers.  Nuff said.

It's been the past few years where I have re-lost the weight and found a steady-ish pace of healthy weight loss and maintenance.  I am actually, finally proud of myself when I look in the mirror.  I had been too embarrassed to show the worst of my before pictures for quite a long while.  Then I came to the point where I carried them around with me for reference to show how far I've come... then pulled them out to show people here and there and now posting for all to see.    I admit that there is still that part of me that fears that when people who "didn't know me when" will judge me when they see them.  But again, I was also on prednisone and struggling with Ulcerative Colitis at it's worst when I was at my heaviest weight.  (but also eating junk food like it was my job).

I am a small framed person, and I realize that I still have a good amount of weight to lose to be at a totally healthy size for me.  But, I'm actually getting there!  In the past couple of months it has been especially encouraging to have a few people who struggle with their own weight actually ask ME how I did it.  Weird but awesome.

First of all... God.  Hours and tears and prayer and comfort and whispers from the Holy Spirit are the most important thing that I have in every aspect of my life.  It is possible (for many reasons) that I would not be alive if it weren't for God's strength both in my health and emotions. He gets the glory for this and for everything. 

Also, I found activities that I enjoy and they led me to finding other activities that I enjoy and so on.  Then it went from fun to wanting to challenge myself.    I started swing dancing and blues dancing very regularly.  Then,  my friend Erica introduced me to my favorite work out ever:  Les Mills Body Jam at  Universal Athletic.  LOVE IT.    There are 3 instructors in particular (Kate, Sarah, Sheldon) that make that class especially fun and motivating for me.  I started adding in Body Pump and trying out other classes.  Then, 2 years ago I went through the Couch 2 5K running program.  I NEVER HAD RUN!   I decided I was done with the word can't and figured I'd try it out and even signed up for a 5K to work toward.  I have now run tons of 5ks, 5 milers, some 10ks and am training for my 2nd half marathon in November and even looking ahead at challenging myself to running a full marathon, hopefully before turning 40 in December 2014.

So, I guess I am posting this for a few reasons... to acknowledge where I've come from.  I'm proud of myself.   Grandma might think that this was inappropriate to say out loud.  :D  But I think this kind of pride is ok once in a while.    Also,  I hope this encourages or inspires someone to have fun on the journey... get active and eat healthy but enjoy it!!!  Then challenge yourself beyond what you think you can do ...  and heck yes there are lots of days where you just have to go do the hard thing... but it's so worth it when you realize you are actually doing it and getting there!!!

Swing Dancing at The Quarter in Harrisburg 2009

Kate teaching Body Jam at Universal
My first ever 5K:  Race Against Racism 2010

Finishing OBX Half Marathon 2012

Playing a silly game at a family reunion summer 2013