Alphabet Soup: Two Js That Work, One That Doesn’t

letter jIf I recall correctly, I have reached the letter J in my alphabetic explorations of words and concepts that help me effectively manage my weight. And it only took me a year. Good thing I wasn’t on a commission.

Only two helpful “J-words” come to mind, but they’re a big two, if you know what I mean. Together, they’re pretty foundational for my success.

While I’ve always been a fairly exuberant type of person (or as one friend termed it, annoyingly cheerful), I was pretty glum about the whole “diet-y” thing. That was back when I made elaborate plans and tried to overhaul my entire way of living in one day. Who wouldn’t feel bleh about that?

Approaching weight loss/management from a mindset of abundance turned everything around, and I found joy in focusing on what I had and what I could do.

I’ll confess that lately I’ve felt…well, not bleh, but not necessarily joyful either. I don’t know if it’s lingering stress over the ups and downs from 2014 or just a phase, but it’s certainly not how I want to live. I like bouncing out of bed in the mornings.

In thinking it over the past few days, I realized that what’s missing is that expectation that “something wonderful will happen.” Expecting good things to happen, believing good things will happen, will have me bouncing in no time. In fact, I feel better already. :)

empty jolt bottleJOLT
After years and years of trying to change everything, I finally found success in changing Just One Little Thing at at time. Some changes took place over a matter of days, some took longer, and others–well, I’m still working on those.

I keep this bottle on my office window sill as a reminder that change doesn’t happen overnight, but I can make a lot of progress with a simple JOLT here and there.

So those are two Js that help me. Here’s one that hasn’t been working so well for me: January. This one has been particularly gray and cold, with only a handful of sunny, mild days to keep me off the ledge. I suspect that’s a large part of my recent less-than-joyful temperament.

But it’s February now, and I made it through. With my recent contemplations in mind, I’m focusing not on the cold, but all the wonderful things that this month will bring. Like temps in the 60s on Saturday!

I’m also focusing on getting some early spring cleaning done, and I’d better get back to it. I’m having new internet service installed tomorrow, and I’d rather not subject the installer to what’s bound to be a mountain of dust bunnies behind my desk. :)

Okay, your turn! Anything come to mind with the letter ‘J’?

An Above-Average Start to the Year

This is my first post of 2015, and I’ll start out by wishing you all a very Happy New Year! I hope you have sufficiently recovered from all the year-end/new year festivities. If you’re like me, you were more than ready to get back to normal, everyday life.

My new year started off okay–not bad, not great, just okay. But a few days into it, everything kicked into high gear, and believe it or not, it all started with a compliment I received waaaay back in 2011. If you were reading this blog back then, you were here for it, but unless your memory is 1000 times better than mine, you won’t remember it. I hadn’t even thought about it in years.

Short version: A very nice man at my then-gym introduced himself as a personal trainer and suggested I might benefit from working with him. Having recently finished working with trainers for over a year, I felt comfortable on my own and said so. He was great with that–not pushy at all–and we continued our respective workouts.

As I was working my way through my second circuit, the same nice man came up to me and gave me one of the best compliments I’d ever received:

“Save your money; you don’t need a trainer. You’re definitely above average.“

I get shivers even now just thinking about it. (Yes, I am a gym nerd.)

Fast forward four years. Over the weekend, a new friend from my Facebook resale group asked if she could post an ad for her husband’s business and included a copy of the ad. You probably guessed that the ad was for that guy from the gym It turns out he’s her husband! Small world, isn’t it?

While we were OMG-ing back and forth, I remembered The Compliment and that I’d blogged about it, so I tracked down the entry. As I read it, that same sense of pride and awe that I’d felt back then washed over me. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I considered being labeled “above average” by a trainer to be quite the accomplishment. Just a few short years before, I’d been a complete couch surfer who couldn’t even do a single push-up.

Rereading that post was a happy memory, one that carried over into that afternoon’s workout. As I approached each exercise, that “above average” memory floated through my mind and I either increased the planned weight or the number of reps or both. I’ve been having good workouts–average, you might say–but I’m “above average” and it’s time I acted like it. And I did. :)

Funny, in a wonderful way, how one little compliment from four years ago has resurfaced to inspire and motivate me today. There’s a lesson in that, for the gym and beyond.

Have you ever had a compliment from the past resurface to inspire you again?

Lessons from That Old House

There’s been a great deal of drama (and a fair share of comedy) in my neighborhood this week. We’ve had news crews camped out and helicopters circling overhead. Residents have set up lawn chairs to watch the story progress. Or not progress, as it turned out. And it’s all because of what everyone’s calling “that old house.”

It seems the Wills family sold some property they owned in a commercial corridor. On that property was an old farmhouse listed on the National Register of Historic Places. To save the family home, they decided to move it onto a residential lot they own about a mile away.

map routes for kirby farm house move

As you can see from the map, there were two possible options. The blue route would take them down a wide, heavily traveled road and would likely require the temporary removal of two sets of traffic signals. The gray route would take them through a subdivision with wide streets. The chose the gray route to minimize “inconvenience.”

The map shows it to be a 3-minute trip either way by car (21 minutes walking, unless you’re me and then it takes about 18 minutes), but naturally you expect it to take longer when you’re hauling a house. A couple hours? A half-day, at most. NO ONE expected it to take three days.

Getting started was the first problem the movers encountered. That old house was adjacent to some railroad tracks, and for a short time, the house was stuck ON the tracks.

Once they cleared it and made the wide turn into the subdivision, the truck’s axle broke and the truck and house were left to block the street overnight. Thus ended Day 1.

The house moved about two blocks on day 2. I’m not sure who measured everything (it wasn’t me), but apparently trees, mailboxes, fire hydrants and streetlights were not taken into account. As the house inched (literally!) along, every obstacle had to be considered and cleared. This sometimes required chainsaws and jackhammers.

The house did suffer a bit of damage when the crew cleared the limbs of a threatening oak tree but seemed to miss noticing the stately magnolia on the other side of the street. Fortunately, the damage can be repaired. At the end of Day 2, the house approached a fire hydrant, too big an obstacle to be cleared that day.

On Day 3, that old house finally affected me. As it finally(!) approached its new home, it was stuck while utility crews temporarily removed some power lines that had also apparently gone unnoticed in the planning phase. Since I had no electricity, I moseyed over to check things out personally.

that old house blocking the road

Yep, it was stuck. As I stood there watching the house going nowhere, it occurred to me that there were lessons to be learned from its journey.

  • Planning is important in any endeavor. Anticipate the obstacles before you begin.
  • No matter how much you plan, there will still be surprises. Be prepared for them.
  • Some obstacles are so large, it’s tempting to abandon the journey. Continue. Always.
  • Sometimes you can get so focused on one obstacle, you miss another one completely. Both the big picture and the small picture are important.
  • No matter which route you take on a journey, someone is going to be inconvenienced. Life isn’t always convenient.
  • Some journeys take a lot longer than anticipated. Be prepared to wait.
  • Some progress is measured in miles, some in inches. It’s all still progress.
  • Even when you arrive at your destination, the journey isn’t over. Keep your bags packed.

At around 5 last night, the house was on the lot. It’s still on the truck because there are repairs and fine tuning that must happen before it’s set into place. The project took longer than anticipated, but the house got to where it needed to be…eventually.

As will we all. :)

“Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence, they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
― Ben Carson, Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story