Friday, August 9, 2013

Allow Me to REINTRODUCE Myself...

As I had mentioned in my previous post --I am taking this blog in a new direction. A new direction here but a lot closer to my heart.

I want this blog to be a place of positivity and self -affirmation. I want people who stop by here to feel good.  It has taken me a long time to get to this point in my life. The point  in life where I am comfortable in my own skin and with who I am.  It has not been an easy journey to get to the here--this moment--this space in time where I feel wholly comfortable in WHO I AM . Confidence was never my forte.  So here at long last some 30+ years into my life I am finally, finally getting comfortable in my own skin.

Let me take you back a bit through my life. I was an extremely shy child, an introverted teenager with HUGE self esteem issues, and a lost twenty something. I married at 30 and thought that was my happily ever after. Problem was I was not in a place to be happy with myself and so a life long struggle with depression took over and the emotional eater that I had always been went into overdrive.  

Long story short--I ballooned up and over 300lbs. My health was in serious risk. I was pre- diabetic  had high blood pressure, high cholesterol  had arthritis, bad knees, bad hips, and lower back pain that was excruciating and I was also on my way to a serious coronary episode. My doctors told me if I didn't do something soon--I would have a heart attack within months. But that was the only scary thing they told me they also said because I was morbidly obese I would never be able to get pregnant or carry a child to full term. (I had ALWAYS wanted to be a mother so that bit of news was especially devastating and more frightening than a pending heart attack.)  I had to do something. I was slowly killing myself and I realized I did not want to die. Not this young, not like this, not with so many wishes and dreams unfulfilled...I was beyond scared. 

So in order to avert annihilation --I opted for a drastic last resort. I chose surgery. Gastric Bypass to be exact. (And if anyone out there DARES to say it was the easy way out than you know nothing about this surgery. It was anything but easy!!) Gastric Bypass is not a cure all. It helps you lose a lot of weight in a short amount of time. It does not cure you of a food addiction or solve all your problems. It is not even a guarantee of being skinny. It is a tool to help you get healthy when you are in desperate need of being healthy. 

So I lost a significant amount of weight (176lbs to be exact) but that didn't change me on the inside. I still grappled with who I was and who I wanted to be. I wasn't loving myself--I didn't know how. The outside was different but the inside was still the same twisted wreck as always.  

Then came an event that changed everything for me. I was physically assaulted  terrorized, and almost killed by a psychopathic loon. In one terrifying night I finally saw the light. I was worth more than I ever thought. It was a strange epiphany to be having when you are fighting for your life, fighting for air to breathe as it is choked out of you...fighting as your head is slammed over and over into a wall and then thrown onto the floor...feeling myself dragged across the floor...I kept seeing myself as if I was floating above the nightmare...watching the bruises form...knowing the unspeakable was happening ...hearing the horrific words he kept yelling...knowing death was going to come too slowly...he was enjoying the pain I was in too much. He was gleeful. I was cold.

 I have never known such raw fear in my life and I hope no one ever has to experience that heinous fear. I was alone more so than I had ever been and yet at some point a feeling of peace came over me because...In the misty haze of that night I knew only one thing--if I got out alive I would be different. 

I am different now. My life has a feeling of being split in two. There is the life I had before that night and the life I have after. I am not same person I was before that night. She is long gone--a forgotten memory, floating off into the night sky. With her went a lot of my internal battles. They were meaningless battles after that night. 

No, I did not just wake up and find myself in this place. There was a lot of work to get here. But I got here and here is a good place to be. 

The dawn did come for me. A new day arose and here I am three years later--a very proud Mommy of a very precocious 2 year old. I survived. I made it through the dark and found my light. And in the process I found myself. 

I am no longer as thin as I was before I was pregnant. I am okay with that. This body I have now --she is a warrior, a survivor, and a goddamn goddess!! Five years ago I would have lamented over my lumps and bumps--now I celebrate them.  I used to compare myself to every other woman out there--now I just smile and think "Hey, they are gorgeous, too!" 

This is why I am changing the direction of my blog. I want to celebrate and empower women to feel good about themselves at any size! I don't want any girl to ever feel as worthless and low as I did.  

There is no reason for it.  We are all amazing, wonderful, fanciful, stunning creatures--no matter our age, our size, or our shape. Who cares what the scale says or the label in the dress?? Do you feel sexy? Do you feel good about yourself?? Well you SHOULD! because it really doesn't matter what anyone else thinks--all that matters is that you KNOW you are beautiful!

So from here on out this blog will be about celebrating women of all sizes and shapes and ages. I want it to be a place where fashion meets positivity and creativity meets confidence! I hope you will come along on this journey with me!

Ciao Bellas!!!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

New Directions

I have been contemplating a change in direction for my blog. When I first started TWO PEAS AND A POD, I was expecting my darling sweet pea and was planning on being a full time SAHM (stay at home mom). I thought I would delve into the world of "Mommy Blogs" and find a nice little place to blog about the ups and downs of motherhood.

 Alas, God had other plans for me when my husband was  first laid off, then hospitalized and out of work --it necessitated a plan for me to go back to work full time. We just could not swing it financially if I stayed home. 

So back to work I went, thinking I would then blog about being a working mommy. However, it never quite fit. I always felt like I didn't fit into the "Mommy" blogosphere anymore because now I had to work. I kept reading these mommy blogs and they were full of cute homemade lunches,slow cooker dinners, crafts and homeschooling ideas and there I was trying to figure out how to pay for child care! Also, because I am a teacher my job just doesn't end at 3 pm...I bring it home with me every night so the blog was neglected and I felt even further removed from  the "Mommy" blog-verse. 

The last few posts here have been almost like diary entries--writing down a snippet from my life here and there but that isn't what I want my blog to be about either. I thought I would try to make it more personal and deep with thought provoking discussion on politics and world events-- and although I am interested in those things  that wasn't really a great fit for my blog either.

 This blog does mean a lot to me. I truly want it to be my own special place but for a long time now I have been feeling like I have been forcing it to be something it is not and that isn't much fun.

I want this blog to be about who I am and the things I enjoy. I want it to be a fun, positive place that I look forward to posting and engaging with other bloggers. I am thinking that I will be incorporating more fun and less forced topics into my blog from here on out. I am going to focus on what matters to me and be true to who I am.

I actually do have a plan of what I want the focus of the blog to be from here on out...just working out a few kinks and then voila! I will unveil the new format for all to see! I am very excited to be putting this into action-it feels very much like "me" and not forced at all. I am just going to bring the things I love to the foreground and keep blogging on my terms and not how I "think" someone or some group "thinks" it should be.

 So keep a lookout because in the next few days the new feel to the TWO PEAS AND A POD blog will be up and running! 

Ciao Bellas!!!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Time and the Living is Soggy and the Skies are Empty

Anyone else tired of this rain already?? I am so over going outside and feeling like I am being smothered by the humidity. I feel like we haven't seen sun in eons. Sigh, But I know that once the sun is back I will just be complaining about the heat and high temperatures. Even though my birthday is in the summer I am not a summer person. I was not made for heat, humidity, and sweating when not moving. I am as pale as Caspar and I have naturally curly hair--I DON'T do summer well.

It is the week of July 4th and as long as I seem to be ranting here let me rant about my utter disappointment with the city of Pottstown for not having the fireworks this year. I am utterly flabbergasted by this. How can the entire City Council get brand new iPads but we can't have community fireworks? I thought the borough management and city council were about bringing this town UP not dragging it down. We need events like the 4th of July Parade AND fireworks to build up community support for improvements around town.

I mean have you walked down High Street lately??? OMG--you have two nice blocks and then a crap load of crap afterwards. How are we supposed to turn this town around with such apathy living in town and handling the city council as well. The improvements and turn around of this town can not rest on the shoulders of people like the proprietors of Grumpy's and the Pottstown Karate Club. It needs to come from within the power structure itself and involve the community.

This is not just about no fireworks but what that means for the community. When the council and town government say no fireworks for Pottstown. What they are saying is we don't care enough about the citizens or the community to find a way to fund this event. Yes, there are some serious lowlifes in the town (But there are low life's in every town)--however, there are so many good hardworking families in this town who love the parade and the fireworks and the sense of a joined community that the July 4th events bring to all.

I lived in Philadelphia all my life until 4 years ago when we bought a house up here. I though Pottstown was such a quaint little town with so much potential. But there is definitely a vast underlying apathy and pessimism in this town that clouds a lot of people. I wish there was a way to make people see how great our little town can be--how much we can accomplish together if we just work at it a little more.

I wish City Council did not have only their personal agendas to attain and were looking out for us--the hardworking people and families who are trying to make a home here in our town,.

It's not just about a lack of fireworks in the sky--its a lack of fireworks in the people's souls here in Pottstown.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spring and the Promise of New Beginnings

So finally the spring is beginning to feel like it will arrive in days not months and months! 

First official sign of Spring for me since moving to Pottstown a few years ago is the influx of classic cars on the road and the promise of the First Saturday car shows on High Street loom ever nearer. The hubby and I really do enjoy strolling downtown on those lazy summer Saturdays looking at all the cars and smelling all the food from the different vendors ...oh such fun! 

And with Spring here the allure of summer looms and I can't wait to indulge in some fun times with the little one this summer! She is mobile and so interested in different things that I just know that this spring and summer in Pottstown will be full of fun things to do.

I love Spring because it ignites a spark in me. I feel full of possibilities and look forward to the days I can spend doing activities with the sweet pea and taking some time for myself as well. 

This spring I am going to start training to do some 5ks in the area. I am going to start small and keep working towards my goals. But I definitely feel the need to start running and get back into pre-baby shape. She is 18 months now and I really want to get back down to my goal weight so this spring and summer that is definitely on my list of things to accomplish.

I love the sweet smell of Spring and all it whispers and is one of my favorite times of year. How do you celebrate the coming of Spring?

Till next time!!
Much luv!!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Living Life in the Toddler Lane

So, my last post was about how my life has suddenly taken on a rate of speed unlike any I have ever known. And it has truly been like racing full speed down a mountain with no way to stop!

The SweetPea is growing so quickly and changing everyday it is at times hard to keep up! She has definitely found her personality and it is best described as "sassy" and a little bit mischievous. She is quite the character on a daily basis, but in the last few weeks she has really amped up her personality and her demeanor. We are quickly coming to the realization that she is not going to follow any body's rules EVER. She is her own little person with her own little way of doing things and at this point it is pretty much HER WAY or the HIGHWAY.

Such is the life of a toddler. My house usually looks like it has been hit by a hurricane or a tornado depending on the Sweetpea's mood. She loves to pull out every single toy she owns and spread it across and through every room of the house. God forbid I start picking anything up--she will be right behind pulling it all out again! LOL

She makes me smile though. Today her daddy was listening to music in the back room (Which doubles as an office/exercises area) and there she was up on the treadmill like it was a stage dancing around,  laughing, and singing in her little toddler way to her hearts content. And then she was climbing up onto the couch and standing at the window yelling at the birds in the back yard. Whatever catches her fancy and makes her happy is all good in my book!

She does have one slightly troublesome quirk though that I can not find a resolution to no matter how hard I try. She hates, HATES, HATES with a  fiery passion sitting in her car seat. She is good for about 5 minutes and then all hell breaks loose. She does not like being strapped into anything! Her stroller, the buggy at school, the high chair...she hates the straps and being buckled in but it is worse in the car because there is no way for her to scooch out of the straps. Driving anywhere that is further than ten minutes these days is headache inducing for both me and the hubby. I need to find some way to get her over this hump. We tried toys, a mirror, sippy cups, cheerios, music....nothing works. Sigh--any advice out there?? It would be much appreciated!!

Overall though she makes me smile more than I have ever smiled in my life! She continues to amaze and fascinate me every day and so I don't mind the messy house (OK OK I do it bugs me to no end!!!) but I do love her little face to pieces so I'll just keep running after her and cleaning up the messes as they fall! It's what makes Mommyhood so rewarding....and exhausting!!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Less Like a Journey and More Like a Race

So here is the thing I have figured out since becoming a mommy to a VERY active toddler...gone are the days of leisurely naps and snuggling, playing quietly on the play mat or spending hours at a time in an excersaucer, or swing. Life has sudden taken on a quality that can only be described as going full throttle into hyper speed! 

The Sweet Pea now wants to do everything her way and on her schedule. For a 16 month old she is surprisingly independent and fiercely so.  She has her mind set to do certain things and there is no swaying her. Now I am all for letting her stretch her wings and explore her world and utilize her creativity and problem solving skills, however, these are best left for when we have LOOOONNG stretches of time before us and not at six am when I am trying to hustle my husband, myself and her out the door for work and school.

Yes, I returned to work in September and the learning curve for me on the balance of motherhood and working has been steep. I had a terrible time of it at first, trying to manage my time and get everything done. We have sort of hit a nice rhythm these six months in ,but the Sweet Pea's need for independence is beginning to throw a wrench into my carefully timed mornings. I literally need to be dropping her off at child care at 6:30 am and be back on 422 by 6:45 in order to make it to work on time. (Because as most of us are well aware --422 is just a joy of a road to be on in rush hour traffic!!)

So yes, less of leisurely journey through motherhood and more of a NASCAR race to the finish, but at the end of the day when I go to pick her up and she is so joyfully happy to see me yet doesn't want to leave all her new friends I know it was the right decision to go back to work.

So yes, more to come on the joys, wonders and trials of being a working mommy to a fierce yet adorable little toddler!!

Till next time!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Finding Miracles

Sleep eludes me for long periods at night. It is not so much insomnia as it is my own mind racing with all the thoughts that clamber about in my head. Thoughts about my role as a mother, a wife,a daughter, a sister a friend. Thoughts about my place in this world and what legacy I will leave my daughter. Thoughts about my career path, my new position in a new school, my life as it were in general. I think about writing, about words, stories, characters, plots that drift through my slumber and are so real, so vivid it is as though I am there on the page in my mind with them. I've written a hundred books in my head only to have the words dissipate as I awaken.

My thoughts consume my night hours. My worries overwhelm, my anxiety heightens, as I continue to race through the minefield that is my mind. Stress aggravates my nightly thoughts (Big surprise there I know) but so does the quiet. The infinite stillness that night brings when I only hear the rhythmic breathing of my husband and my baby as they slumber brings forth a cacophony of noise in my mind. I lay restless. Tossing, turning, writhing with need for deep uninterrupted sleep with no thoughts, no dreams. For there are the times when sleep comes heavy upon my mind and then lashes me with an assault of nightmares. Doctors say when you have experienced a horrific event it stays with you. Time does not always heal all wounds but time does lessen the sting. Or so I am told.

I have learned to "Be Still" and know that God is there. To release my racing heart, my fleeting thoughts, my fears and find peace. I turn to a place in my heart where I know miracles exist and can be called forth. My miracle? I have had many these past few years --the most thrilling miracle of all is my daughter. I am blessed. I know that. But still the mind yammers with a deluge of thoughts. I haven't learned to quiet all the external noise just yet. But I am working on it everyday. I am guided. I see true miracles. Yet,I know I still need to let go of the external hurt and pain and just live in the quietness of peace.

Returning to a place of love isn't always easy. Letting go of past hurts, of pains, of anguishes isn't easy. But there comes a realization that one must find a way to have peace within themselves or life will always be a struggle. I don't come to peace easily. I spent most of my young adult life worried about how I was perceived. Was I pretty enough? Smart enough? Charming enough? Talented enough? Did it matter that my IQ was 144--I sucked at math I must be defective. I was not outgoing, I was shy. I must be defective. I couldn't play sports. I must be defective. I wasn't blond. I must be defective. I went to a public high school. I must be defective. I didn't have a boyfriend. I must be defective. And on and on and on. A litany of self loathing that I internalized and used against myself.

Until there came an event that changed everything for me.( Near death experiences have that effect on people I am told.) It was as if my entire life came sharply into focus and I said "No more". No more self loathing, no more being a victim of life. It was time to actually LIVE the life I had.

As are most things in life, this was easier said than done. It takes time to reevaluate and refocus your life for the good. It isn't easy. I often liken it to a twelve step group. I have to work my way through each level and learn and grow before I can move onto the next step. Its a slow process. Thus, my sleep struggles continue.  I have issues with trust. Trusting others. Trusting myself. I am working on it. I was a grudge holder for a long time in my life. I've let go of the grudges. That was very hard. To forgive and truly let go is not easy. Some forgiveness is still being worked. Some pain has not yet been forgotten. But I am working on it.

Miracles happen. Everyday. Not just to me but to anyone who wants one. You just need to believe in it. Truly without any hesitation-you must believe. Some situations are easier than others. But at the heart of all miracles is love. Find it and return to it. Let the angels guide you. They are here watching and waiting for you to ask for their help. Obviously, I have found a deeper meaning in my faith since this all began. It is more than just praying. It is developing a deep and abiding relationship that guides me through my life. My faith is extremely important to me now in a way that is more meaningful and more loving than ever before.

 As stated in the Course in Miracles--"Miracles are seen in light". You have to move past the darkness to find the light. Only then can you give and receive miracles. Because "light and strength are one." I found my strength when I moved into the light and let go of hate. There is only love. God is love. We are love. It is with that knowledge that I find miracles.

Miracles are not once in a lifetime phenomenons. They are everyday graces that we must be open to receive. Open your heart and miracles will come your way. The biggest miracle was my daughter. She has opened up my heart in ways I never thought possible. The way I love her is a love like none on this earth. She is a gift from God and the biggest blessing I have ever received from Him. Her birth brought a litany of miracles to me. Everyday I am graced with such love and happiness. That is a miracle. Each time she smiles. Each hug. Each cuddle. Each time she says "Momma" it is a miracle. Miracles are everywhere. You just need to know how to find them.

Love may be the greatest miracle because it is love that brought me back from the brink. It was love that brought forth my daughter. It was love that propels me forward each day. So yes, the night and its infinite darkness may be long at times but I continuing the journey towards the light and finding miracles along the way.