Tag Archive: positive


It’s another beautiful morning! It doesn’t hurt that I’m feeling skinnier already. Day 2 of the 5-Day Inferno. I’m feeling great and ready to do this! Last night I ended up doing the workout, FIRE 55EZ (don’t let the name fool you, there’s nothing easy about it) and Stretch 10 pretty late, but it felt great. Love, love, love TurboFire!! I’ve done a LOT of exercise videos over the years and this is by far my favorite, with Chalene Johnson’s other programs, Turbo Jam and ChaLEAN Extreme, coming is as a close second. Yep, they’re tied. If you want to try TurboFire for yourself you can get it through my facebook fan page AND I’ll be your coach AND you get a free bonus workout by getting through a coach…AND you’ll pay less for shipping than if you order through the regular Beachbody website. Just sayin’.

8:30am – Breakfast, which consisted of 6oz strawberry yogurt (the plan calls for lowfat, but I used Yoplait Light which is nonfat), 3/4c. cubed canteloupe and 1tsp. honey (I also added two smallish strawberries, quartered, because they were left over from the kids’ breakfast of Chocolate Banana Shakeology and strawberries).

10:30am – I was pondering if I should drink my Shakeology which was the AM snack and then try to get some more sleep or sleep first and then drink it. I opted to wait on the Shakeology because I know how much energy it gives me and was concerned that I wouldn’t be able to fall asleep which has happened before. So I drank some water, about 20oz and went to bed.

2:30pm – Back up again and having my Chocolate Peanut Butter shake! Yumm! If one would consider this eating plan a “diet” then this feels like cheating.

5:15 – Started my workout. FIRE45, HIIT20 and Stretch 10. WOW!!! Drank almost 40oz water.

7:20pm – Had my second snack, celery with peanut butter (no raisins because I didn’t have any and I was going to use Craisins, but was fine with just the p.b.) I was so ready to eat. Those workouts really kicked my metabolism into gear!

8:15 – Dinner – ginger short grain brown rice, garlic sesame bok choy, grilled pineapple and grilled teriyaki wild salmon.

10:45pm – Was feeling hungry again so I had my final meal and it really hit the spot. This would’ve been lunch if I hadn’t taken that nap. My friend and I found these great whole wheat low-carb tortillas at Costco (and also saw them at Winco, but of course Costco had a much better price) when we were out shopping for this together. They have 12(!)g fiber and 8g protein and they’re only 80 calories. That was topped with 4 slices (4oz) turkey, 1/2 tomato, diced, 3 Romaine lettuce leaves, chopped, 1/4 large avocado, sliced and 1Tbs fat-free Italian dressing. I have no idea how in the world I wrapped that all up, but I did and it was tasty. The avocado made all the difference. To keep the rest of the avocado from turning completely brown by the next time I use I put the two halves back together with the pit still inside and wrapped it tightly in plastic wrap before putting it in the fridge. I was also very pleased with the paper bag method for ripening. When I woke up this afternoon all the avocadoes were still hard so I stuck one in a paper bag and closed it up. By the time I made the wrap it was perfect.

I’ll probably be going to bed soon and plan on drinking at least another 20oz water before I do. Still feeling great and looking forward to tomorrow!!

TurboFire 5-Day Inferno shopping list

Day 1

Day 3

Day 4

After noticing yesterday that I tended to reach for more calorie-dense foods at night out of habit I was determined to make an effort to fill up on more veggies. I did better, although there’s still some room for improvement. One big step in the right direction was having the burger patty with just A-1 sauce instead of putting it on a 180 calorie bun. Yay for me!

1 “Cutie” mandarin orange – 35

1 angus beef patty with 1 Tbs A-1 sauce – 215

1 roma tomato and 1 large cucumber with 1 Tbs Wishbone dressing – 90

1/4 bean and cheese quesadilla – 150

1/2 oz tortilla chips – 70

9oz edamame including pods – 150

whole wheat and turkey and cheese – 200

p90x Cafe Mocha protein bar – 250

Once I went to bed at 4am and then got back up a little after 7am, I threw my whole schedule off by venturing out for a walk instead of going back to bed. When I returned I posted 55 of the photos I took. It was a gorgeous day and I just had to share. As soon as I got back from the walk I had some Shakeology which was a great start, but the weird schedule really threw me off.

Breakfast – Chocolate Shakeology, Bananas Foster Recipe:  6oz water, 4oz Silk Vanilla soy milk, 1 scoop chocolate Shakeology, 1/2 large ripe banana, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4-1/2 tsp rum extract (didn’t measure), 1 scoop Fiber Boost, 4 ice cubes. – 275

I was in the zone posting all those photos and completely forgot to eat. When I was done I was HUNGRY (and tired which always makes hunger feel 10x worse) so I started grabbing food. My husband also came home hungry (it was about 3:30pm by this point) so I made food for both of us.

Lunch + whatever I shoved in my mouth while making lunch – 1 slice whole wheat bread and 1/4 c. hummus – 210

2 slices American cheese – 120

Yakisoba noodles with chicken, green beans and sauce – 350

Another burger patty, but this time I did eat the stupid bun which wasn’t that good and definitely NOT worth the extra calories and another slice of cheese with ketchup and mustard – 550 ugh!!!

Dinner – I decided to just have another Shakeology because I knew I needed something a lot healthier than what I’d been eating. This time I made a Mocha recipe because even though I don’t normally drink coffee I knew I needed to get some more things done and I was really feeling the lack of sleep. Plus, it was quite warm and I just wanted something cold and refreshing. It definitely hit the spot and gave me the energy I needed to deal with the rest of my day/night. I used 8oz Silk Vanilla soy milk, 1 scoop Chocolate Shakeology, 1 rounded tsp instant coffee, 1 scoop Fiber Boost and 5 ice cubes – 275 and delightful!

Total calories – a whopping 2940!! Yikes! Good thing I took that nice, long walk which burned around 800-900 calories so I probably broke even for the 24 hour period. Just goes to show how much easier it is to eat right when you get enough sleep, plan ahead, and eat every few hours instead of going for long periods of time between meals. Well, tomorrow is another day!

Hard to Say I’m Sorry

For as long as I can remember I’ve had a hard time apologizing to people and I know exactly why. I’ve mentioned before that I grew up in an abusive home after my parents divorced and my mom and I moved in with my grandparents. Though she did not have a job, my mom kept herself quite busy out and about which meant I spent a lot of time with my grandmother. I don’t know the details, but it seems my grandfather essentially rescued her from a bad family situation when he married her. Translation…she had a lot of issues. And it seems she took those issues out on me. I was not the perfect child. I’m sure I had my moments that would drive any parent crazy. But I did not deserve the treatment I got. No child should ever feel afraid in their own home because of their own family.

More often than not, those times when my mom was gone and my grandfather was either gone or in the basement working on his inventions turned into episodes of violence and intimidation. It was like she had two completely different personalities, like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. One minute she’d be out of control, screaming and hitting and pulling my hair, and then the phone would ring and she would answer in the sweetest voice as if everything was just fine. No one outside our home had a clue…and neither did my mom. Every time she came home my grandmother would make sure to get to her first so she could tell her version of the day’s events. That always resulted in me having to apologize to her and tell her I loved her. Even as I’m sitting here typing this my heart is racing as those memories I normally choose not to dwell on are still vivid, like it just happened yesterday.

So I hope you can understand why I have a hard time apologizing. Over time it’s gotten easier, but it’s most difficult with the people I’m closest to, my family. My early experiences definitely created a roadblock or wall which, to others, probably looks a lot like a stubborn streak. It’s just not always easy to separate those times when I was forced to say I was sorry when I really, really wasn’t from the times when I want to say I’m sorry because I really, really am.

Now that I’m a parent and trying with all my might to make sure my kids have a better childhood than I did, I’ve started to try to see our life through their eyes. What is it like to wake up in their beds with me standing in the doorway telling them they need to get up? How do they truly see me as I’m pushing them through their morning routines? I know they’re not afraid which is truly a wonderful thing, but do they mostly see me smiling or frowning? Do they really know how much I love them and appreciate how great they are even if getting them to do their chores is like pulling teeth?

Thinking about all these things has made me realize that I have to consider the possibility that my grandmother never, ever asked herself how she looked in my eyes. She was always so concerned with how everyone else saw her and our family. She made it very clear that I was never to tell anyone what went on in our home. Obviously on some level she knew it wasn’t ok, but I think it’s possible that she really didn’t understand how bad it actually was and how much damage she was doing. Maybe because of her past it all seemed fairly normal, just nobody else‘s business. Or maybe she so identified with the person everyone else thought she was, she just assumed no one would ever see her differently no matter what she did.

I’m in no way saying it was ok, but now I’m seeing how easy it is to behave in certain ways without realizing how we’re coming across to those around us. And let’s face it, our family sees us at our worst. There are days when I’m grumpy and irritable and make very little effort to think before I speak, but somehow when I’m around other people I manage to control myself. Sometimes I can be impatient with my boys because I know they’re smart and capable of so much. Yet I would never speak to someone else’s child in the same tone of voice.

So I ask myself again, what does life look like from their perspective? Do they see a mom who is loving and happy and cheerful most of the time? I actually am very happy with my life now, but I wonder if that’s what they see or if most of their interactions with me have a negative tone. When I talk to them about life and how to navigate through it with goals and a positive attitude do they see how passionate I am about making sure they understand because I want what’s best for them or do they just see it as nagging? Other people say I inspire them (which is extremely humbling considering how I’ve lived most of my life), but do I inspire my kids or do I make them feel like I’m not happy with them the way they are?

You may be reading this thinking I’m beating up on myself, but I’m really not. I’m just trying to ask some hard questions because the last thing I want is to be one person to everyone else and another, completely different person to my family. When I really concentrate and imagine that I’m each of my boys I see a picture of me that I’m not entirely happy with. And that’s great! Not because I haven’t always been perfect, not one of us has, but because I can see clearly where I need to improve and what I need to apologize for. Not once when I was growing up in my grandparents’ house did my grandmother ever apologize to me. And it didn’t happen after I grew up and she mellowed out a bit, either. What a difference a simple “I’m sorry” would’ve made. Not a meaningless one, like all those I said to her over the years, but one from the heart knowing she needed to do better.

I guess part of me has always felt like apologizing is a sign of weakness, but now I know I couldn’t be more wrong. It takes courage to be willing to look at ourselves and come to terms with the fact that we have things to be sorry for, especially with our families. They see us at our worst and love us anyway. That doesn’t mean we should take advantage of the situation and continue on as we have been. It means that they deserve to know that we “get” how much we’ve hurt them even if we didn’t realize it at the time. They deserve to know how much we appreciate them for always being there through the good and the bad. And I can’t think of a better way to show our love and appreciation than by saying I’m sorry…and meaning it, no matter how hard it is.

Wanted to go a heavier where I could (our heaviest weights are 25lbs) and I did! It feels great to know you’re making progress!

Sumo Squat – 25lbs each hand/8 reps (same as last week)

Single Arm Row – 25lbs/8 reps (same as last week)

Chest Fly – 20lbs each hand/8 reps (heavier, same reps)

Bowler Lunge – 25lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last week)

Double-Arm Bent-Over Row – 25lbs/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last week)

Bench Press – 25lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last week)

Single-Leg Sumo Squat – 25lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last week)

Reverse-Grip Bent-Over Row – 20lbs/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last week – still find this one tough, but will go heavier next time)

Long-Arm Pullover – 22.5lbs/8 reps + 3 extreme (heavier, same reps)

Just one more week until I start the Lean Phase!

It’s been a while since I’ve gone out, taken photos and actually posted them. Today was absolutely gorgeous and one of my best friends and I took advantage of it with a 2 hour walk. If we count Brodie, her sweet and adorable pit bull, we were an official walking group. Of course, I had to take a picture of “the tree”, which will never really change because it’s dead, but everything around it is constantly changing. If you look back over previous posts you’ll see what I mean. One of the things I love most about walking with friends is that we get to catch up on everything going on in our lives. Sometimes it’s the best kind of group therapy. And everything seems better when you’re out on a perfect day. Bright sunshine, blue skies, fresh air and a cool breeze make it difficult to hang onto stress. 

As we arrived at Alton Baker Park, I was pleasantly surprised by all the plants and trees exploding with color.

As we continued past the park and along the river we talked about how people tend to assume that others will react to situations the same way they would. Well you know what they say about what happens when we assume. It’s not good. Ha ha! Seriously though, relationships are truly the most important thing  in life and sadly we’ve all put strain on them by making assumptions about others based on what we would do, even our relationship with God. If we can pay a little closer attention to how we’re seeing a situation and open up communication we can save a lot of heartache from happening. Forget about what you would do and find out what they would do. It’s not hard, just ask.

Brodie was looking thirsty so we stopped at a bench and they headed down to the bank while I took more photos.

And then we headed back. Poor Brodie’s feet were starting to hurt and we a long way to go.

Almost back to where we started. Looking forward to our next “group session”. 🙂

One of the most interesting and exciting things about being human is that we have the power to change our circumstances by changing the way we think. Once we catch a bit of inspiration and turn our new thoughts into new behaviors incredible things happen. Since it is so easy to fall back into our old ways of thinking, it’s critical to protect our new, fragile, positive attitudes. Sadly, the people closest to us can be the ones who present the greatest danger.

In the past week, I’ve seen several instances where a friend was talked out of something that would’ve been so good for them by a friend or family member who probably thought they were protecting them from failure or disappointment. The problem with that is that if we don’t push ourselves to try new things or try something again after we’ve failed we will never change anything!

People think they know us and want us to feel good about ourselves. Unfortunately, the way they go about it isn’t always helpful. If I’m saying negative things about myself because I feel like I’m failing, I don’t need someone to baby me and say it’s ok to think that way. I need someone to tell me to stop it because they know I can do it! We need to encourage each other to be better, do more, and make positive changes; not to feel that it’s ok to beat ourselves up and stay where we are in life. I saw a perfect example of this on facebook the other day and I know the person meant well, but the situation made me want to scream.

If you’re trying to make positive changes DO NOT listen to people when they try to hold you back even when they think they’re being supportive. They probably don’t even realize they’re doing it. Just be aware of what they’re really saying and move on. If what they’re saying is reinforcing your negative self-talk, push those thoughts away and replace them with positive ones. Like Chalene Johnson says, “be your own biggest cheerleader”. You can do amazing things, but not if you continue to think about yourself and your life the same way.

If you’re one of those well-meaning friends or family members who feels like you’re protecting someone from disappointment please reconsider the way in which you show support. Instead of encouraging them not to try and to keep thinking the same way, show support by telling them you believe they can succeed. You have no idea how much that means to someone who’s decided to face a challenge and push forward. Not to sound cliché, but be part of the solution, not part of the problem. They will have moments when they want to quit because nothing worthwhile is easy. They way you show your support can be the difference between their success or failure. If deep down you’re afraid that their change will take them away from you, by being there and encouraging them through the tough times you’ll earn their appreciation, love and respect bringing you closer together. If you make every step they take that much harder you’ll drive a wedge between you which may result in the thing you fear the most.

I am very passionate about this topic because I’ve struggled with my weight my whole life and I’ve let friends and family hold me back because I listened to them when they said things that made me feel like I could never change. I’ve also cultivated a habit of not finishing what I’ve started and no one has ever held me accountable. They didn’t realize it, but what they were really saying to me was that they didn’t believe in me. We think and do based on our habits so it’s time to start paying attention and to form new ones. We need to stop being afraid to take on challenges and follow through. Sure we may fail, but then we pick ourselves up and try again and again and again. If we quit or never even start we guarantee failure, but when we keep going no matter what we will succeed!

Actually did this one yesterday and Burn Intervals/Ab Burner today. Wow, I started counting the squats and lunges today for the 3000 in May challenge and stopped counting at 100 which is my goal for each day, but I have no doubt that I actually did at least 200, though. Love it!

Standard Overhead Press – 20lbs each hand/7 reps (same as last time)

Single-Leg Lunge – 25lbs each hand/8 reps (same as last time – 25lbs weights are the heaviest we have)

Standard Reverse Fly – 12.5lbs/8 reps (same as last time – pretty sure I’m ready for 15lbs next week)

Standing Arnold Press – 20lbs each hand/7 reps + 3 extreme (heavier, fewer reps)

Single-Leg Dead Lifts – 25lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last time)

Bent-Over Lat Raise – 15lbs/6 reps + 3 extreme (same as last time, better form)

Frontal Shoulder Press – 17.5lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last time – going heavier next time)

Single-Leg Tap Lunges – 17.5lbs each hand/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last time – I was FEELIN’ it with all those extra squats and lunges I’ve been doing!)

Lateral Delt Raise – 12.5lbs/8 reps + 3 extreme (same as last time, better form)

Looking forward to Push Circuit 3 tomorrow! Love the chest work on the floor! The Long-Arm Pullover is still my favorite. 🙂

Busy Mom Balancing Act

I had this idea that when I quit working outside the home somehow I’d be less busy. I suppose in some ways that’s true because technically I could sit around all day and do nothing, but doing nothing means nothing gets done. Ok, maybe that’s kind of obvious, but when my kids were little I managed to spend day after day doing just that. I didn’t neglect the kids, but I only did enough to make sure they were taken care of…and nothing more. Now they’re older and in school and without a job to go to my days all begin the same way, as a blank slate. I could just sit around playing games on facebook or watching TV, but I have actual goals now, things that matter to me and my family. Since I don’t have anyone telling me what to do all day long it’s up to me to make sure I’m getting everything done and you know what? There’s a lot to do.

I could spend all day working on building my fitness coaching business or blogging or walking around outside taking pictures and working out or cooking and cleaning, but that would mean neglecting everything else. For a while I thought I had it figured out. I went to bed at a decent time, got up early to get the kids off to school, started the laundry, took a walk, blogged about the walk and posted photos, worked out, had lunch, spent the afternoon working on my business and finishing up the laundry or cleaning, took the kids to basktball or karate, made dinner, helped the kids with homework, relaxed a bit and then headed to bed to start all over again. It was great and I was getting things done, moving toward my goals, but there was something missing…my husband.

Because he lives and works on a completely different schedule the only opportunity I have to spend quality time with him is late at night. Going to bed by 10:30, I was missing out on that and I felt us growing apart. One of the main reasons I decided to build a business is so he doesn’t have to work at night, allowing us all to spend more time together and for him to be able to sleep more than a couple hours at a time. If our relationship falls apart while I’m building it then it would all be kind of pointless. No amount of money can replace having a close, loving family.  I knew I had to make some changes and start balancing things better.

The first change I made was to stop walking at 8:15 every morning. Other than the occasional friend, no one was showing up to come with me from the apartment complex. I still get to walk, but I’m free to do it whenever it works and I can stay up later to spend time with my husband because I can go back to bed after everyone leaves for the day. I can tell he appreciates the time we spend together and our relationship is getting stronger by the day (or night). Now I have to shift my thinking  just as I’ve shifted my schedule. I have to get used to the idea of being more productive at night while I wait for him to be done working. I have to admit I’ve let some things slide with this transition.

I was thinking about all of this the other day while I was walking around the track at my son’s school, trying to figure out how to find balance again with all the things that need to get done. Then it hit me. The same thing that helps us balance physically helps in all aspects of life…a strong core. The core is the center of who we are, the things that drive us, our priorities. Some things are just more important than others and when we focus our attention on what matters most the rest will fall into place. I knew I had to go back to the goals I had made and look at the top priorities in my life (something I had done when I did Chalene Johnson’s 30-day Challenge…I highly recommend it) to figure out what to spend my time on and what could be pushed to the back burner.

Now that I’m seeing more clearly what I need to do the next step is to design my day by making a to-do list (also a valuable tool learned from the 30-day challenge). I used to hate the idea of a list controlling my day, but I’ve come to realize that you control the list…it doesn’t control you. By figuring out ahead of time what really needs to be done and checking back throughout the day to stay on track you actually create more free time because you get things done much faster. It’s really a beautiful thing, if you do it.

For someone like me it’s definitely a new habit that needs to be formed which isn’t always easy. But after experiencing the life-changing power of the list (that’s right, I said it…and mean it) I know it’s worth the effort. The key is to do it properly and the person to learn that from is the Queen of the To-Do List, Chalene Johnson. So if you need some help with balancing your life and figuring out what it is you really want and how to get it, click on the link for the 30-Challenge and get registered. What you will get from it is priceless (and it’s free). I’m done talking now and am going back to bed so what are you waiting for? 😉

Decisions, decisions…help me

It’s been a few days since my last post. Sharing about my marriage was great, but I felt like I kind of needed a little break. In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about lots of things I’d like to write about including but not limited to more thoughts about marriage, the things I wish I’d said to my parents before they passed away, the myriad of things I’ve taken for granted over the years, why it makes sense to invest in a high quality fitness program instead of buying cheap videos from a super-store, the dangers of monotony, and dealing with the effects of negative self-talk. Plus, I have photos of food I’ve eaten that need to be posted. I even started that one and titled it Food Journal Friday. Guess I kind of missed the boat on that one, but I still like the idea.

Please let me know what you’d like to hear about next from the list above or throw out some suggestions of your own. I’d love to hear from you. Otherwise, who knows what I’ll end up writing about. Maybe I’ll just talk about all the disgusting things I’ve seen and smelled in the elevator over the weekend. If you don’t want that, speak up! 😉

A Breakthrough – Part 2

Ok, where do I start? Before my husband and I got married or were even a couple we were close friends. As a matter of fact, our friendship meant so much to us it almost kept us from getting together. We were afraid if we took our relationship to the next level and it didn’t work out we’d lose the friendship that meant so much to us. We would spend hours talking about anything and everything and even though we didn’t always see eye to eye we listened to each other’s point of view out of respect. I found him to be intelligent, charming and challenging.

We all have hardships and go through tough times, but my husband has had to deal with more than the average person. For our friendship, that meant a lot of the time I was helping him deal with the emotional aftermath of it all and that was fine with me. It made me feel needed and like I was making a difference. The more he let me in the more we connected and eventually I knew I could no longer be just friends. He felt the same way and we became an official couple in August 1995 while visiting San Francisco with my mom.

Through unforseen circumstances we ended up living alone together, something I would’ve never chosen and don’t recommend. But that’s what happened and through the daily stresses of life and the nagging feeling that we had taken things in the wrong direction our relationship started to break down. The mutual respect eroded away and instead of being the close friend he could go to for support I became the one who took the brunt of his frustrations. What was once a life that felt perfect and almost magical became a mentally painful and unhealthy existence. But I was committed to him and making it work. I couldn’t handle the thought of losing him and the friendship we once shared.

Looking back, I have no doubt that a regular person would’ve left many times over and moved on, but because I grew up in an abusive home I had learned to put up with more than anyone should. I can’t blame him for the state of our relationship, either, because we teach others how to treat us. If I had stood up for myself and made it clear that some things were unacceptable, things would’ve been different. He either would’ve respected me more or ended it, but I didn’t. I became less and less the person who had overcome her childhood and more and more a doormat who was losing her identity all because I was afraid to lose him.

At this point, you may be thinking that he’s a horrible person. I hate to portray him that way, but the truth is that he did do some horrible things. He never hurt me physically, but he caused a lot of emotional pain. That’s what happens when two people with  lot of unresolved issues get together and become each other’s world. Being so young and living together was like putting our relationship in a pressure cooker and neither of us held up under the stress. There were times when I hated him and I’m sure he felt the same about me, but I never stopped loving him deep down. Many times we almost ended it, but decided to stay together despite everything. It was like a crazy roller coaster ride that I didn’t know how to get off and didn’t really want to. I just kept believing that somehow we’d work through it and get back to the way things used to be.

Despite all the red flags, we ended up getting married in July 1998. I hoped that making that commitment would allow things to settle down. We left California and headed for Oregon for a new beginning. But old habits don’t stay behind. We moved in with family by marriage on my husband’s side, but things continued to be the same. There were bright spots. There always were. Just enough to keep my hope for a happy life together alive. Then I found out I was pregnant. For most, that news would’ve brought joy and excitement. For us, not so much. The added stress almost ended our marriage, but again we decided to stay together and try to make it work. We moved out on our own and it was tough. A new baby in a healthy relationship can be difficult, but for us…well, I’m sure you can imagine. Eventually I lost count of all the times we almost split up.

That sweet little baby brought a new sense of purpose to our lives, though, and slowly we began to figure things out. Just when we started to gain some momentum in the right direction I found out I was pregnant again despite our best efforts to keep that from happening. When he was born I fell in love all over again, but the stress of providing for our growing family was driving a wedge between us again. Our relationship was nowhere near a place that could handle more strain and we ended up separating. We had both had enough and as much as it killed me to let go of the hope I had for us I just couldn’t do it anymore.

I can’t even tell you now exactly what it was that made us decide to go to counselling and get back together. I’m sure it had to do with the kids and not wanting them to grow up with divorced parents like both of us had. And despite everything I still loved him. We didn’t stay in counselling as long as we should have and so even though we were making some progress there were many times when it felt like we’d move one step forward  then two steps back. Then I was introduced to a book that gave me the tools I needed to make some changes that finally pushed us out of that rut. That book was The Love Dare. When I started it my husband wasn’t even speaking to me and for what seemed like the thousandth time I was sure our marriage was over. But I took it seriously and by the second week not only was he speaking to me again, but he was buying me flowers for no reason. Things were starting to feel a tiny bit magical again.

I wish I could say that I’ve continued to do everything I learned from that book everyday since I read it, but old habits are hard to break. As much blame as I can lay on him for the problems in our relationship, I have to accept responsibility, too. Our friendship, the foundation of our relationship, was broken down from both sides. Along the way, I stopped listening to him and trying to see things from his point of view. I started feeling like I already knew what he was going to say and would cut him off before he could finish his thought. That made him feel like there was no point in talking to me so the two people who once shared anything and everything suffered a complete breakdown in communication.

With the help of my wonderful, supportive friends I realized that I couldn’t continue to be a doormat and expect our relationship to heal. I had to start respecting myself if I wanted him to respect me. Going back to work played a huge part in that as I felt like I was contributing not only to our family, but to the businesses I worked for. I was able to start lovingly, but firmly communicate to him what was unacceptable and what I needed from him even though sometimes I felt like I was talking to a wall. Then I discovered Turbo Jam and Chalene Johnson. Her outlook on life has pushed my “recovery” to a whole new level and my life has completely transformed.

So what does all this have to do with staying in bed with my husband until 3-something in the afternoon on a day he should’ve been at a job fair giving his resume to potential employers from all around the country? Well, despite my new outlook on life and the vast improvements to our marriage we’ve never found our way back to the friendship we once had. Of course, after all the years of trials and heartache I know it will never be exactly the same as it was, but I believe in some ways it can be even better if we can rebuild it. One of the most frustrating things has been that I’m learning how to be happy and successful and even though I’ve been able to share that knowledge with my friends I haven’t been able to with him, the person I care about the most who needs it the most.

The alarm went off when it was supposed to, but neither of us got up. Then it went off again with the same results. Finally, it was time to get the kids up and off to school so I got up and took care of that. He still wasn’t up despite much nagging and pleading from me. Taking into consideration that he normally only gets 3-5 hours of sleep on  weekdays and that we had stayed up until 4:30am getting everything ready for the job fair, I wasn’t at all surprised that he wasn’t getting up. I climbed back in bed and quickly fell back asleep next to him. The next thing I knew we were both waking up and it was after 1:00. So much for the job fair.  

Out of nowhere he started to ask me some pretty odd questions saying he just needed me to answer even though it didn’t really make sense. I went along and that led to a conversation about why he does what he does…including skipping the job fair even though we spent all night preparing for it.  A real conversation. Both of us taking turns talking and listening. He was opening up and asking for my help and I finally had answers for him. It was amazing…dare I say, magical. The conversation even turned to me when he asked what kinds of things I was dealing with. I realized that I couldn’t remember that last time he had shown that kind of interest in my well-being and it took me off guard. I’ve spent lots of time talking with friends about my issues, but in that moment I didn’t know what to say. Finally, I found a way to open up to him and trust him with my vulnerability. I think he sees me differently now, in a better light because he’s realizing again that we’re in this together and need to lean on each other the way we used to all those years ago.

At one point, he started to say something and I felt like I knew what he was going to say so I cut him off. Instead of shutting down, he pointed it out and asked if he could finish. When he stopped talking I asked if I could respond and he said no. He could see it was killing me and explained that that’s how he feels when I don’t let him talk. It was the most vivid “a-ha moment” I’ve had in a very long time. I felt such remorse for making him feel that way for all these years that saying I was sorry didn’t feel like enough. Over the years, I’ve apologized for many things that I ended up doing again and again so I know the words probably didn’t mean much to him. But the point hit my with such clarity that I can’t imagine doing that to him again. Not that the temptation won’t arise, but the understanding I have now will always make me think twice before I open my mouth and close my ears.

Yes, he missed the job fair, but it worked out for the best. We had a major breakthrough in our relationship which to me is more valuable than all the money in the world. There will be other opportunities and I know he’ll end up where he’s supposed to. The important thing is that we’ll be there together, happier than we would’ve been if things had gone as we planned, and for that I am eternally thankful.