Sunday, February 27, 2011

Debra Joy February 27, 2011 at 1:11 pm

Day 27 of my journey… and an interesting turn of events. And the purpose of any journey is to travel and discover, for better or worse and to become wiser for it.

Today,my dear friend (and companion to Africa,) spoke his truth. And.. in turn I had to ask ” What is my truth… as best I know it … for now?” Even in this last question, “What is my truth?” had me imagining eating a giant bag of flavored Doritos that I saw in the Sunday ad section!

The anxiety of ” seeking my truth,” let alone, stating it… grips my body and wants to “stuff’ my emotions.”

And, since I am having a colonoscopy tomorrow, liquids are my only choice today.
No chips, no grease, no cookies, NO CRUNCH!!! What do I do with the anxiety? what do I do with the anger? What do I do with the fear? What do I do with the disappointment? What do I do with pivotal decision making?

Well, the good news is….thru my 7 month dark time, I took the risk to be present… and feel my feelings. I took the risk, to’come apart’ for awhile. Recently, I took the risk to stand/speak of my own eating /health truth… and make peace with “their way(eating habits) may work for them…but not for me…now now.”

Currently in Uganda, it is a ‘hotbed’ of political and religious fanatics, whose message is” If you are gay.. you should be dead.” They are not even at the point of ‘ Hate the sin, love the sinner.” This is like the Holocaust to me. And, excuse my pun… but all of this may be fueled by more recent discoveries of a gadzillion barrells of oil , just found under their country.

I was one of the first home nurses in Champaign County, that did not refuse going to see AIDS patients. I upset many other nurses, doctors( at that time) and co workers and friends by my seemingly careless attitude. On the contrary… I was so concerned about my patients that I removed as many emotional, physical, spiritual and ( what I deemed unnecessary) medical barriers to give them some quality of life in the face of others’ fears and fallacies.

I think about my journey of eating and how often I must have eaten according to others ideas of what is good for me… and’ for everybody.” I think how I ate to please people. They are long gone from this world… and I still have those inclinations. I was taught by example and word.

Each of us, whether we have labeled this a 100 Day Journey or not, are on a path to seek balance and truth in our lives. Some people go out of balance with food, drink, work or money… still seeking that internal and eternal balance of acceptance of ourselves and others.

I tried lying to myself that I am only going there to help and work in HIV/AIDS clinics and not to be politically involved. I would teach humor and lead laughter. I find nothing humorous about turning away people from healthcare based on their race,gender, religious or political beliefs. I didnt turn anyone away from their due health care in the 80′s, and early 90′s…and I will not do it now.

So, in good conscience I cannot go to my originally planned destination of Uganda.
After processing this morning all my information, I said,” This God or something better. ” I have faith, that standing in my truth and changing direction is healthier than ( tho not without disappointment) standing in another’s darkness and ignorance.

My friend and I are working on another destination to serve HIV/AIDS patients and hopefully still in Africa.

I am still on my 100 day of health and wholeness… and this is part of the process.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

My daughter and I had some serious financial discussions yesterday. I've been in her shoes before...many times.

If my "reactionary meltdown" wasnt about money( which it has), it was about relationships. My melt-downs( or eruptions) were about husbands( both ex and present), family members or... as in the past,romantic interests. I've had health scares ( think: cancer, stroke and the 2 things growing in my brain) and volcanic eruptions about employment. Religious affiliations (not spiritual) have helped to grind my teeth at nite.

I confess: I have thrown my scale out a second story window( with the window open),eaten my weight in potato chips and spent my weight in frivolous gifts. I have drunk my weight in alcohol ounces( waaaaaay in the past)and expressed my body weight in anger and rage.

Corollary#539: When my weight went up, my self esteem went down. Simple Geometry.

Corollary #3: When eruptions, explosions,falling in a holes,hitting bottom, overeating and feeling the weight gain pain, blackout drinking, arguments with 'whomever', over extended hospitalizations," I-Hate-My- Job" noises, and " I -have-no- money- again", makes way for opportunity to change.

Again: Simple Geometry: Crisis= Opportunity

My daughter thanked me for acknowledging her growth.... My daughter acknowledged her part( i.e. did not defend or deflect her actions. And, on the spot... took immediate action. She did not put it off for another day, week or month.

She is my hero for today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Day 14 on my 100 day journey… and I confess I do not like Valentines day…

Valentines Day was always( even as a young child) a major source of anxiety. I loved decorating the boxes in preparation to receive a valentine…but my angst about giving and receiving, disappointing others and being disappointed was horrendous. I was scared that I didnt give the “right’ homemade or store bought valentine to my favorite friend and like wise, would I get one from my secret crush? And, after eating a lot of those heart shaped sugar cookies( think back to grades 1-3) with the pink , red and white frosting.. . to stuff my nervousness …I was the one who threw up in class. Pitiful, wasnt it!?

One year, ( ok, I admit , when I was in my 40′s) I spent $86.52 on valentines… what was I thinking???? And the angst was still present and I was eating chocolates to ” stuff” my nervousness.

Finally when I got to my 50′s… I admitted to myself and others..I dont like Valentines Day. Dagnabbit.. and my last name is HART!
BLESSING # 253: My best friend /neighbor doesnt like it either! We celebrate not celebrating! And Blessing# 254: Both our husbands understand.

And Heart /Hart Healthy activity the past 2 days: I cleaned out ALL outdated/unused/scrappy jars, bottles and frozen foods from my refrigerator and freezer. My refrigerator looks slimmer and feels better. Like me.

May your day be HART/HEART healthy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This week I took a courageous step on my 100 day health and wholeness journey.

I told the truth. Not just any truth, but one that involved me being vulnerable, gentle and protective of my own needs.

The truth: As much as I wanted to be( travel) with my husband, kids and grandbaby, I feared that it would take me off course of my diet. Their eating habits( at this point) are different than mine. And, I suppose as a mother, woman and person who says often" oh dont worry about me", I had more than an inkling that I would succumb to veering off course.

First, I told my husband. He knew something was up and serious when I turned the volume down on the TV. Then I told the truth to my step daughter. Both were supportive and understanding. I am so used to " serving others" that I feared that I would upset the proverbial "apple cart" by doing something different. I humorously reflect," Thank God I am not the center of their universe." Then I realize,' Who ever said you were????" ( sometimes the truth hurts , dont it Deb????)

I have often said to others , as well as myself," When needing to make a difficult choice between 2 things... always go with the one that gives you more peace of mind. Even if it is scary." I did and I am at peace. Another step on my journey of health and wholeness.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Day 5...95 days more to discover, uncover and explore health and wholeness.

Report for you bottom-up dieters...
I got on the scale today and I weighed 180.8. This is a 2.4lb loss in the last 4 days...A loss of 2.4 lbs. Calorie range from 1268-1730..

Report for the top-down crowd...
I have been very mindful of portion,plating and peace.

I have been letting myself" feel" supported. And asking myself, what does " support' mean? What are the different kinds of support I get?

Yes, my wise cracking self says," A bra gives me support." I dont really pay much attention accept in the morning as I put it on or take off at nite. Occasionally itching in between.

Last nite, best friend X asked, ( about my upcoming trip to Africa and needing certain medical supplies) "What about your friends that are not on facebook.. Will you send us something via email?"

I suppose asking for support is all in the communication of intensity,poignancy and timing. I told best friend X, that her emotional support for me is more than enough. Letting me vent about issues as they come up is what I need most from her. Yet, I suspect, she would like to contribute in a physical way too. She would also like to tell others. It is an opportunity for people to" pay it forward" all the goodness that has come to their life.

Using my best diet analogy," I will being asking for support from a bottom -up' approach. Translation: Looking into ways people can sponsor" medical supplies." and money for transporting those medical supplies.

For those that are supporting me from the " top-down".. aka emotional, spiritual and intellectual... I am grateful for your love, presence and ideas.

I promise to have a " list" of sponsor ideas and costs very soon...

Thursday, February 03, 2011

I have been experimenting with my eating these last couple of " snow days."
Can I eat 1/2 as much as I had been? Will I be wanting more? Will I feel full? Will I go crazy from hunger? (Ok.. maybe crazy is an exageration...yet...)

Up to this point I had already started taking most of my meals on a smaller plate ( 1/2 the size of a dinner plate). Special treats I eat with a tiny spoon.( 1/2 the size of a teaspoon..its gold colored and 'makes me feel special.') About a year ago I wanted to cut my caffeine consumption and stated making my morning coffee 1/2 caf, 1/2 decaf. I even do this when i am cup caf, one cup decaf.Believe me, the waitresses are glad someone is drinking it and using up the pot. I cut my shoe collection in half, ( ok, I confess..). For the most part, when I buy a piece clothing, I look in my closet, take something out and donate it.

I go out to eat and go out for coffee 1/2 as much as I used to, to save money.

Eating these past few days has been an adventure. 1/2 of sprouted grain muffin, 1/2 cup yogurt, 1/2 tbl.spoon butter. 1/2 the amount of oil and ... yes even 1/2 as much popcorn.

I havent felt the urge to eat more and I felt comfortably full. YAY ME!

Perhaps all my 1/2 off practice has paid off... (and who doesnt like a sale????)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Day 2 of my inside out journey. A friend from my diet support group wrote me. Both of us agree: its the journey, not the outcome. Sure, I lost 20 lbs before... and then packed it back on...yet now I am more about the process than the goal. I have learned many tools since 1992 when I shed those lbs. I trust my knowledge and , I have learned its ok to lean on others when they offer. I can ask for help. I am not alone emotionally. I think that is the worst.. feeling discarded in friendship and love.

These snow days have been wonderful for me. I have spent the quiet time asking myself," Are you hungry?" " What do you REEEEEEEEEEEEAALLLLLLY want?" I have been satisfied with all my choices. I measured out 1 glass of red wine last nite. I took out the ole' George Foreman grill and had a small swordfish steak. I measure out real butter on my toast. Had a blueberry smoothie, yesterday and today...

When I travel( which I love) everyday I ask," How can it get any better than this?".. and it always does... So today( and just for today) I have stayed focus, enjoyed the ride, had a diet buddy email me and I have on my flowered spring socks on my feet... How can it get any better than this..???

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

A new journey starts with a single step.....

I am on day 1 of my 100 days of Wholeness and Health.

This came about by listening to another diet group member talk about her 100 days to change her levels of blood glucose in her system. She read somewhere it takes 100 days to regenerate cell, certain cells in her system.

I admit yesterday I had a moment of," What did I get myself into?????"

I said to myself... this will pass... breathe.

I made a special book/journal to write down everyday what I have eaten.
I decorated it with stickers and inspiring words.
I told myself," Im worth it," since I usually only make things like this for others...

I made sure my food scale was working and my " go to" book of calories was in place...

I have been drinking between 32-64 ounces of water daily this past week week and have bottles that I fill to remind me what needs to be done.

I have experimented with my diet over the past year.. and realized i have a bit of a gluten intolerance and do much better with sprouted whole grain or rice noodles.

I have not had ( but 1 time) in the past 3 years cheese. Looks warm and cuddly... dont need it. I can have a little milk and my body does tolerate greek yogurt.

I will be honest as I write .. and I will tell my weight...( pretty gutsy of me heh?)
Today I weighed 183.2 lbs...( 4 years ago I was up to 192...)
I will count my calories( 1700/day for now) " religiously" and will weigh and measure.
That is my goal for the week.

However, this isnt all about weight... its about WHOLENESS... so the other assignment for myself..
Be compassionate to myself...

Saturday, January 29, 2011

What tickles you?

I dont mean in the way your Uncle Hershey ( well, I had one of those) would tickle you on your ribs 'till you cried out " uncle" or whatever...I usually was in so much pain and embarrassed by... well, those of you reading this know exactly what I mean!

I mean: What tickles you emotionally , and helps make you laugh during the day?

And, do you wake up saying," I want to find the 'funny' today."

Do you look for the"tickle" in the day? Even when you feel emotionally awful?

To tell the truth, I dont either. And I write about this stuff.

During times of depression, that is not the first thing on my mind.

Since I am starting a 100 days of health, I want to be like my best friend X. She's going thru a rough time and my heart goes out to her. She listens to NPR " Car Talk." and " Wait, Wait dont tell me." That is her Vitamin " h' for the day. Its not always the laughter or " humor". She listens to the emotionality of what is going on. And because the emotion or Mirth is what she is listening to... it lifts her emotions and is comforting.

What is your Vit H for the day? Is it watching determined squirrels slide down the birdfeeder pole, coninuously? Perhaps its your grandchild giggling for the first time? I know these are 2 of mine. I listen to Tom Lehrer a lot too.. and kids songs... they make tickle me. more than that, its the sound of genuine happiness that does my body good.

I hope everyone reading this takes a dose of Vit H today... and you can " get your giggle on!'

Thursday, January 27, 2011

WOW again!
And to have 2 WOW mornings in a row...well, I wish that for all of you!

Thank you again Sandra( and Joanne and all my peeps on the Tuesday call.
Donating $2 to my Uganda Hiv/Clinic trip via your business, Sandra?.. WOW! I think I need a T shirt or sports car with supportive sponsor business stickers...( ok..just dreaming)

Yesterday, I spoke to a fantastic group of Health Career student and staff at Parkland Community college. I put the challenge to them. No worries about raising $1000 dollars... how about raising 1000 BANDAIDS? I think they are going to do it!

Many of you dont know this: I am a Humor Advisor for the Humor Academy via Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor (

Last nite was my first meeting with my group. I raised the question," How many of you were class clowns? Not all of them were. The discussion continued about when you are, " the funny one", you are expected to " be on" all the time. Several of us spoke about people asking" whats wrong?" if our" funny bone' is not in high gear. I have been in that position many times.

Bluntly put, sometimes it sucks to be an extrovert. Especially when( as in the past 7 months) I had to take time to go within and uncover, discover and rediscover parts of me that I gave all sorts of labels to( some not fit to print!).

I know of several of my funny buddies that are going thru tough times and their " recharge" takes longer. The expectations we place on ourselves "to be something we are not" at that time" is a heavy burden to bear.

Doing " funny" on demand is not easy. It's like expecting a Geo Metro ( 16.2 sec going 0-60) to perform like a Porche GTS (4.4 sec for the same). And Yes, I asked my husband about these car references.

I know as a funny person, spontaneously or.. writing material and testing it out... some days I am a Geo Metro, some days I am a Porsche GTS.

I appreciate all the people in my life that have taken a risk to step outside of their perceived selves, all those that have had to take a dose of their own humor medicine, all those that have had hardship foist upon them and ask themselves some very hard are the people that I take into my heart today.. you are the people that inspire me, you are the people that educate me and you are the people that I take on my journey...whatever I am driving...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

I am filled with gratitude....
WOW.. sums it up. My diet support group WOW'd me yesterday.
The image of them supporting my butt, pushing it over the 20lb wall WOW'd me. Then I thought" ewww, they are touching my butt." Yet, the fact that they are willing to help me with my struggle... touch what I admittedly think of as 'ugly', possibly 'smelly'... fills my heart with gratitude....and refilled it today.

And, I ask myself this," How many other times have people, both seen and unseen, thru their prayers and well wishes...helped my proverbial ' smelly butt' over a wall of shame and self loathing.

Many years ago, Alli Ponder told this story of when she was in coma after a car accident.This is the part that has always stayed with me:
Peoples prayers were little stars and they filled and refilled a pitcher. When I needed strength, the pitcher would pour over me and all the prayers would fill me."

Please know that any of you reading these blogs... your well wishes and prayers, your gentle smiles, sly winks or hearty laughs... are all stars in my pitcher.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Hello All Humor Filled, Laughter Lovers and Mirth Medicine People!

Its been awhile since I " blogged" , " posted" or just stopped in to say hello.

Starting Feb 1 I am going to take and start a 100 day health challenge. I will be recording it right here, with humor and grace and a smile on my face!

And what prompted all of this. Well, for the past 7 months I have been on an inner quest for peace from my inner voices of blame and shame. I took a risk to " come apart" for awhile. As an extrovert, this means I was risking the possibility of abandonment. As a human bean, who purports humor, laughter and mirth for healing, I was having to swallow many doses of my own medicine.

As a humorist and " funny lady", exploring shame and blame( which give rise to a lot of great funny material) is not easy. Frustrating my therapist was a weekly occurrence.
I am a story teller... and the therapist would often say, "You are story telling.. How do you FEEEEEEEEl?" I was grateful that she never asked " Would you just get to the point!?!"

Back to my 100 day health challenge. Last week, I mended fences with a family member. I felt like I dropped 20 lbs of emotional weight. I want my body to catch up. And, I want to be in shape ( round is a shape, right?) for my volunteer trek to Kampala, Uganda, Africa ( more on that later)

I have a whole bunch of really awesome women friends via Sandra Ahten's Reasonable Diet ( that want to 100 day journey with me. They are supporting me emotionally, spiritually, financially ( for my volunteer experience) and any way they can.

I am asking any that read this, hold me in the light as I start this healthy journey Feb 1-May 11, a 100 day journey toward health. I would love it if you would walk with me even 1 day(metaphorically speaking... or thru exercise)
Stay tuned for more and thanks..
blessings of laughter and love, deb