Sunday, October 18, 2015


So, I did it!!!  I wrote my final paper, did my last presentation and went to my last class for my CAGS (that's a fancy way of saying 2nd Master's Degree).  The only thing I have to do is start my stupid journal and log my hours for my field experience.  Part of me feels like just starting from scratch because going back since July 1 to write about everything I've done the past four months seems daunting.
After class, I went out with my classmates, Cyndi and Abbie.

That said, in spite of being done with my coursework, I am not feeling inspired.  I was writing two - three posts per week - my last post was over a week ago.  I just don't know what to write about.  My posts are inspired by something I'm experiencing, an encounter with someone, an obstacle I overcome, or a conversation with Dmitriy.  (Dmitriy is probably responsible for a good number of these posts.)

A couple weeks ago, I wrote about being at a Crossroads and the challenge it is presenting me, which was followed by Back to Basics, where I wrote about the new goals I'm contemplating for my fitness routine. 

I battle with anxiety, which sometimes turns itself upside down.  If you've have or suffer from anxiety, you know exactly what I mean.  Lately my anxiety has been through the roof, which has been zapping both my motivation and inspiration.  The best way to describe it is that I often feel like I'm being strangled, like my chest is in a vice grip.  Add to that, I have had several sleepless nights, so fatigue compounds the problem.
If I wake up really early, I'll go to the gym and do a CORE workout.  I did that last Tuesday.  Thursday I woke up again and could not sleep, but I was not going to the gym at 5:00 a.m. twice in one week.  Instead, I did got my yoga mat out and did my own CORE workout with my stability ball and weights.  Two CORE workouts in one week left my sides sore.  I just wish it would tire me out enough to be able to sleep!
I wish I had a solution.  In the past, I would drown my anxiety with food.  Buckets of ice cream with chocolate sauce were my best way to feel better.  When I got like this, I did not feel like cooking, so we ate a lot of take out.  Pizza or Chinese food was always the best pick.  Now, my best resolution is to try to keep myself busy.  If I tire myself out, the strangling feeling goes away.  I had a glass of wine the other night, which made me instantly realize how self-medicating leads to alcoholism.  Yeah, I'll stay away from that trap.

Had a celebratory glass of Cabernet Sauvignon.  My favorite red.  Just one glass, thank you very much!
Since I'm lacking in inspiration and don't have much to say, I thought I'd share with you what I've been up to lately.

HIKING - my 2nd favorite outdoor activity
Skinner State Park
Last weekend was GORGEOUS!  My son, Joey and I really enjoy hiking together.  We typically go to the same places over and over, so we decided to venture out and hit some new trails.  Last week we climbed to the Summit House at Skinner State Park.  It was a breathtaking view.  A pretty rigorous climb, too.  There were some narrow areas on the trail that had pretty steep cut offs.  If you lost your footing, you'd slide right down the mountain. 
CYCLING - my favorite outdoor activity
It was gorgeous all week last week.  I wish I had gotten more cycling in, but I had that paper to write, so I stayed home.  Friday night I went out for a spin.  It was amazing.  Hadn't been out for two weeks.  I was surprised I did so well.
More hiking...headed to Monument Mountain
This was our view on Saturday!

See those rocks?  They went out a few feet, but then there was a drop off all the way down.  I was very happy to stay away from the edge.  Joey was a little more adventurous.  I was having a bit of a panic attack.  I said, "Joey, that's it for me.  I'm going down to lower ground.  I feel like I'm going to throw up."
It really was breathtaking there.  This was about as close to the edge as I would get.  On the other side of that rock was nothing.  Straight down to the bottom of the mountain.
I love hiking.  The sunlight is so good for the soul. The cool, crisp air, the smell of the leaves, the peaceful quiet.  It's exhilarating.

And even more hiking...this time to Mount Norwottuck
Today it was really COLD!  Stopped and got coffee to bring on the way up.  It helped a lot.
By the time we got to the top of the mountain, I had a good sweat going.  It was pretty windy, so I was cold!
The view DOWN.  This looks steep, but Monument Mountain was a sheer cliff down.  My heart was in my throat the whole time.  Today, I was like, "Cool!" and I sat right down on the edge. 
Exploring the rocks

Between those rocks was the trail.  Yes, we had to climb down through the rocks.
The way down was colder!!!  Had to bundle up.  We had so much fun climbing through the rocks.
The trails were marked VERY clearly, which made it easy to get through.  Someone must have been bored and put faces on our markers.  :-) 
Taking care of me... 
I started this Bible study.  When I wake up at 2 or 3 a.m. and can't go back to sleep, my plan is to do one chapter of this Bible study.  Interesting quote from the book:  "The origin of the word worry when it first appeared in Old English meant 'to strangle.' ... Eventually the word was understood as 'to harass or vex.'" 
WOW, does that describe my anxiety perfectly!!!
A friend of mine suggested I read this book.  I haven't read more than the introduction yet.  Basically, the point is to start seeing God's hand in the details of life.  This is something I need right now to help me get through...
Speaking of seeing God in the details.  On our way out to Mount Norwottuck this afternoon, I noticed some hawks flying over our neighbor's house.  I stopped and counted.  There were SIX of them!!!  I tried to capture them on my camera so you could see, but the most I got were three.  SIX hawks hovering over my neighbor's house.  I wonder what that meant?  I'm trying to listen God's voice right see Him at work.  I just need to be quiet enough to hear him.
Listening to music... 
Forever (LIVE) by Kari Jobe
We sang this song in church last Sunday.  
Tears poured down my cheeks.   The chorus gives me shivers, every time I hear it.
Now death, there is no sting. 
Our resurrected King has rendered you defeated.
Forever He is glorified.
Forever He is lifted high.
Forever He is risen.
He is alive.  He is alive.
If you are brave enough to click on the YouTube video and listen to the song, listen to the whole thing.  At minute 6:45, Pastor Isaac Wimberley recites his poem, "Jesus Is Forever."  This one portion of the song has spoken to me and given me peace more than anything else.  It's well worth the few minutes.  Trust me.
I also added at least 10 new songs to my workout playlist.  My three new favorites are ...
"Cool for the Summer" by Demi Lovato
"We R Who We R" by Ke$ha
"Lean On" by Major Lazer, featuring MØ & DJ Snake
What else have I been up to? 
I was missing my son, Mitch, so much last weekend.  My heart felt empty, so I took a drive out to visit him in college and took him out for a late breakfast.  I didn't take any pictures (wish I had) to share with you of that visit.  I just needed to see him.  Being around my family helps to deal with the unsettled feeling.
Working out.  Been hitting the gym as much as possible.  Today I gave it everything I had and left feeling half dead.  That's the best kind of workout.  (Since I'm not a big fan of gym selfies, I don't have any pictures to share.  That said, I actually appreciate other people's gym selfies, but I am uncomfortable taking pictures of myself in the gym. I feel like everyone's looking at me like, "Who does she think she is?"  That said, I do take them occasionally, but not very often.)
 Trying new recipes.  I've been experimenting with recipes, trying to make them healthier.  I've been making flour out of steel cut oats and using it to make various goodies.  I made some protein chocolate chip cookies that ended up being blonde brownies.  I made some protein pancakes (these actually were healthy).  I made an apple cake, substituting 1/2 applesauce and 1/2 coconut oil for the vegetable oil.  The problem with the baked goods is that they call for sugar, which pretty much makes them unhealthy.  Sugar makes everything taste good, but throws the calories and carbs off the chart.  It's all good.  I'm having fun and learning to be self-disciplined with the stuff in the house.  If I log it into MyFitnessPal AND have the calories and macros to eat it, I don't have to feel guilty.  Trick is sticking to one or two servings, which is HARD!
I'm trying to look at this phase I'm going through as an opportunity.  I know that sounds a bit crazy, but ... I've been through times like this before and I used to eat, watch countless hours of TV and feel basically paralyzed.  I'm a new me now, so I'm using what I've learned to help me through this time.  Instead of eating and feeling paralyzed, I'm taking steps to take care of me as best I can.
I'll close with this Bible verse I'm trying to memorize from my Bible study...
That they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me.  I am the Lord, and there is no other.  I form the light and create the darkness, I make peace and create calamity; I, the Lord, do all these things.
Isaiah 45:6-7
Questions for you... (Answer in the comment section below)
Do you have anxiety?  If so, how do you deal with it?
What fun things did you do this weekend?
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