Thursday, October 28, 2010


There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.

~ Edith Wharton

I received an email this morning which began with this quote and I was struck by its simplicity.  "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it."  I have had these words rolling around in my head since reading it.  I wonder how often am I the candle and how often am I the light.

Being the candle means sharing my "light" with those around me.  This light can be positive or negative.  I can choose to be positive, encouraging, loving, giving, patient and understanding or I can choose  to be negative, hurtful, angry or even vengeful.   The candle light from both of these options will affect everyone I come in contact with and may affect how they shine their light on those in their lives as well.  A candle's light can illuminate and show the way or it can burn and damage all that is around it.

As a parent, I pray I have been both a beautiful light and mirror for my children.  I have always attempted to do my best to teach them the valuable life lessons they need to live positive, loving, joy filled, successful lives.  But they also have seen my light dim and flicker as I struggled with hurt, anger and disappointment.  Those times did  not reflect the light I wished for them but they were no less valuable lessons.   My children have done well and I am very proud of the young adults they have become.  I have been both the candle, showing them the way and the mirror, living by example.  I have done my best.

My hope is that I live my life with a loving, positve, joyful outlook that allows my candle to shine as a bright and beautiful light illuminating the way for those around me and that my mirror reflects the same allowing others to see themselves as I see them.
How will your light be reflected?

Monday, October 18, 2010

To the weight I have lost...

If you know me personally you know part of my story.  If you have been following my blog you have barely touched the edges of me.  Today I can share with anyone who wants to read this, a letter I wrote to the weight I have lost.  This letter was written after weighing in at my usual Weight Watcher's meeting and realizing I had lost more weight than I currently weighed.  The realization that I was less than half of who I once was overwhelmed me and so I tried to put those feelings into words. 

To the weight I have lost:

You are gone, good riddance!  I lugged you around way too long overwhelmed with the enormity of you. You no longer have any control or power over me.  I gave you way too much of my time and my life.  I hate you!  You stole years from me that I can never replace and filled me with frustration and sadness.  You made me feel ugly and stupid and inadequate.  You made me ashamed of myself.  You cheated me out of play time with my children as they ran through the sprinkler in the front yard and begged me to join them, when they climbed trees and when they built “forts” out of discarded furniture boxes which were far too small for me to get into.  You embarrassed me when we went to amusement parks and I was too large to fit into the seats of the rides.  I hate you!   You made me hide in public places.  You kept me silent when I wanted to participate in a group for fear of drawing attention to myself.  You cheated me out of the joy of a plane trip with my husband and instead filled me with dread as I wondered if the seat belt was going to fit around me or if I was going to have to ask for an extender.  I hate you!  You made me embarrassed to laugh and dance and enjoy myself for fear of being laughed at or ridiculed.  You made me a shadow in my own life. 

 Those days are over.

 I have reclaimed my power over you and I will never see you again.   I am now less than half of what we were together.  Today I am saying good riddance to the half of me that once was you, forever.  I will not waste a minute mourning your loss nor will anyone else who has carried the burden of you.  You are dead and gone.  If I look back at you it will only be to see how far I have come.  I will be reminded of how strong and powerful I am.  I will walk another half marathon and I will improve my time.  I will fly to exotic locations with my husband.  I will look forward to someday playing with my grandchildren and teaching them how to climb trees and build forts from refrigerator boxes, and I will be in the fort with them playing and telling them about their mom or dad.  I will continue to put on my bathing suit and teach water aerobics in front of strangers who are now part of my family and I will not give a second thought to my flabby arms or sagging thighs- remnants left by you.  Instead I will rejoice that I have arms and legs that work and let them show as a prize won after a battle which lasted way too long.  I will continue to encourage others to get rid of you forever and I will support them when they come up short and try again and again and again until they too are rid of you and I will dance.  Oh, how I will dance!!  You see in the process of losing you I found me.  I will never again be a shadow in my life.  I will hold my head up and look to the future with anticipation and joy because now I know without any doubt that I was, and will continue to be worth the effort.

Before 376 pounds.  After 180 pounds!  Lost 196 pounds without surgery or drugs.  

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How I got a black eye at my dad's wake

The memorial service for my dad was held last Saturday.  It was a beautiful morning with a Carolina blue sky, slight breeze and perfect temperature.  We met at the church prior to the service for the committal  and sprinkled Dad's ashes in the memorial garden at the church .  The memorial service was beautiful and uplifting.  I did share my blog, "Things my dad taught me", and even managed to get through it without too much difficulty.  Two of my nieces spoke as did my nephew.  My youngest brother, Doug, decided at the last minute to share memories of our dad and our family as well.  He told me after the service he realized if he hadn't he would have regretted it forever.  He did an awesome job and I know my Dad was as proud of him as the rest of us were.

After the service we all headed back to my parent's home, changed our clothes and had a great time watching college football.  Both the Clemson and LSU games were televised so it made for some interesting watching and enthusiastic comments.  We ate well enjoying pulled pork sandwiches, slaw, chips, wonderful deviled eggs as well as too many cookies.  It was a joyful celebration of our families love for Dad and each other!

As the games ended and the building fatigue caught up with me I realized it was time to gather my things and my family and head for home.  I still had one more thing I needed to do.  The funeral director had dropped off the rest of Dad's ashes at my mom's after the service.  My brother's and I had told Mom we wanted part of Dad to take with us and she was fine with our decision.  I simply needed to put some of his ashes in a Ziploc bag (no I did not come prepared with a better container), say my good byes to everyone and head for home.  Not sure of how his ashes were packaged and not wanting Dad to experience being swept up by the vacuum cleaner I decided to take the cardboard box containing his ashes outside to the patio and do my transfer there.  I quietly picked up the box, my Ziploc bag and a plastic cup and started out the door to the patio.  Here is where the trouble starts.  

After the service at the church we all changed clothes.  I put on a nice pair of black dress pants but stayed barefooted.  I was comfortable!  Two steps out the patio door my big toe caught in the hem of my pants and I was immediately aware I was going to fall holding Dad's ashes!  In the microseconds between the realization of the impending fall and hitting the ground I visualized the box of ashes becoming airborne and Dad becoming a cloud much like the one at Hiroshima.  I could not let that happen, so I held tight to the box, banged the left side of my glasses on the concrete breaking them, hit my left cheek on the ground and bit my left lower lip.  Dad was safe in my hands in the box!  My lip was bleeding, my left cheekbone was sore as all get out and swelling and I was able to put my glasses back together.  No one in the house had noticed.  I opened the cardboard box to find a sturdy plastic box which required prying open with a knife.  Inside the plastic box was a plastic bag tied tightly shut- Dad would not have gone anywhere if I had dropped the box!  I took some of his ashes into my Ziploc bag, put everything back together in reverse order and went back inside where I put ice on my lip and cheek.  My eye was already changing colors!  So that is how I got a black eye at my dad's wake.  The one thing I can be certain of is my dad was there holding his sides laughing!  I, on the other hand, kept hearing Elvis singing, "all shook up"!