Category Archives: blogging

I’m Still Here!!

I have a few posts I need to catch up with. I have some great photos of modern quilts from QuiltCon that I need to share, as well as an update on my first Marathon Relay, and an awesome benefit for the animals of Austin!

I will try my best to get those up this week! Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Of Guest Posts and Shed Pounds

Happy Tuesday Everybody! I’m so excited to have my first guest blogger, Sasha, visiting today to talk to us a bit about her weight loss journey and what she has found to work for her. Please take some time to get to know her a bit here then hop over to her blog to read more about this inspirational woman!

From July 2011, currently down to 246.

Hi, Sasha, and welcome to my blog! I’m happy to have you as my first guest blogger.

Thanks so much for asking me to be a guest blogger, Tammy. You have no idea how much it means to me to be able to share a little of my experience.

Tell us a little bit about your history. Have you always struggled with your weight or is this something that has happened at a later stage in life?

I have always been overweight, my entire life, I have always also been rather tall and somehow that always compensated for it especially since I was always fairly active and muscular. My serious weight gain didn’t begin until I was well into my late 30s.

What was your rock bottom moment? That moment that pushed you to start your weight loss journey?

When I got to the point where I looked at a set of stairs with no banister with dread and when I starting avoiding unfamiliar restaurants because I was worried I wouldn’t fit into a booth, I knew things were way past out of control. Besides, I just got tired of feeling tired. Carrying around almost 400 pounds is a huge chore!

When you began your journey, did you tell anyone your goals or did you just jump in and let the current take you where it wanted?

When I first started out, I knew only two things for certain, first that I was absolutely not going to do a traditional diet of lowfat/nonfat foods/diet foods and, I was determined to be physically active again. My husband was the only person who knew what I was doing. I downloaded an app on the iphone called LoseIt a few months after I started my weight loss, it’s a simple tool and that’s about as “organized” as I get with my weight loss. I try to keep my goals fluid so I don’t get discouraged or frustrated. Very important to keep in mind.

What has been one of the hardest things you’ve had to face since starting? How were you able to push through/cope?

The most difficult thing for me occurred early on in my weight loss and that was the point where I realized that my desire didn’t match my physical capabilities yet. I wanted to do so much more than I was able to do, my mind was already thinner and fitter than my body and I really had to push myself to get to where mind and body were more evenly matched. I still have this issue but not to the extent where I get as frustrated.

To date, you’ve lost about 130lbs, is that hard for you to wrap your head around? I’ve known some grown women who didn’t weigh that much! That’s a huge accomplishment.

Yes, the fact that I’ve lost 130 pounds just blows my mind sometimes. I’m at turns proud of myself and disappointed in myself for allowing myself to get that obese. It’s a mixed bag but mostly I’m enormously relieved that the majority of my weight loss is in my past.

How long has it taken you to get where you are now?

It’s taken me two years. If I had thought about this fact in the beginning of my weight loss I probably would have been overcome by impatience and possibly too discouraged to begin but I tried to acknowledge the timeline only occassionally. If you busy yourself with enjoying the process instead of focusing on “where will I be X number of months/years from now”, it helps.

Tell us about some of your non-scale victories and how that has motivated you to keep on trucking.

Those non-scale victories are certainly icing on the cake. Giving away huge bags of clothing to charity over the past two years has been a big incentive and I still have bittersweet feelings over giving away rather expensive shoes that no longer fit me after I lost an entire shoe size. Gaining strength is still my biggest incentive though. Every time I scale a hill on my bicycle that I had trouble with before or take on a longer hike, I gave huge amounts of self-confidence.

Speaking of motivation, what do you do when your motivation has left you? I know I have many times where I have no motivation to work out or watch what I eat. However, if I wait for motivation to strike I’ll be waiting a long time, and probably gain a few pounds in the process!

I talk about motivation often to people because I’ve noticed that they often allow motivation to be their basis for losing weight. This, in my opinion, is setting oneself up for failure. As you say, if we wait for motivation we’ll often find ourselves simply sitting around packing on pounds and getting weak when we should be drawing on self-discipline to compensate. Self-discipline is my fallback and I often find that after I push myself into doing something, the motivation comes back very naturally. I guess it’s a chicken or the egg thing.

How has your life changed (outlook, hobbies, etc.) since the day you made the choice to live healthier?

I am a happier, more confident person in mind body and spirit. I went from serious couch potato to enthusiastic outdoorsy girl. I love my hiking, bicycling and just being outdoors in nature. I live in the Pacific Northwest which has beautiful mountains and opportunities to play outdoors so it’s become my own personal playground now. I can’t believe how I’ve changed in this respect and I have great appreciation and gratitude for this change. 

How do you reward yourself for reaching goals?

My favorite ways to reward myself; hiking and bicycling gear and clothing. Being able to purchase a new bicycle because I’ve “outgrown” my old comfort bike or buying a backpacking backpack because I’m finally fit enough to go backpacking –these are my favorite rewards and they inspire to do more. 

What is your current goal you’re working toward?

Currently I’m working on toning and strength. I figure since it’s been awhile since I’ve lost any significant amount of weight, I’ll take advantage and work on shaping my body. When you lose a huge amount of weight, your body really droops. It’s been through a shock and needs a little tender loving care and that seems to be where I’m at right now. I’m seeing results in inches and appearance which is a big confidence booster. Weight loss isn’t a straight line and this is just part of the process as I’m discovering.

What 1 tool/item has been indispensable in this process?

Is self-discipline considered a tool? Because honestly, of all the things I’ve needed over the past couple of years, this has been my bottom line. The best part about it, anyone can have self-discipline, it’s like a muscle, the more you use it the stronger it gets and the easier it’ll come to you.

Do you have any pearls of wisdom for people who may be where you were? Or for people who feel the task at hand is just too great?

Be persistent, be consistent, keep moving forward. This has been an important motto for me and it applies to all stages of the journey. Be prepared for rough times and emotions, push past them, ride them out, do whatever it takes, just keep going and it’ll happen.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk with us! I’m looking forward to seeing your journey continue to unfold!

These were wonderful questions and I appreciate the opportunity to help. Anyone can do this, I promise!

Fear and Heavy Equipment Auctions

My husband is one of the quirkiest, kindest people I know. He wanted a big chunk of land when we first started dating and now we live on 30 acres of untamed timberland. Now, it would make sense that some sort of farm equipment (e.g. a tractor, a skid steer) would be purchased about the same time. However, that wasn’t the case. We are still sans tractor. Mike and I have looked over the years for a skid steer to whip the land into shape but the prices are a bit high and given the fact that we know nothing about heavy equipment, it’s hard to tell if a used skid steer is actually worth what the seller is asking for it. That being said, today Mike is facing off against a crowd of 1000 strangers in a place he’s never been, by himself.

He has been talking about going to a heavy equipment auction for a while to see if we can get a decent deal on a skid steer. Normally, I would go with him for moral support because…well…it’s less intimidating to get out of your comfort zone when you have someone to share the experience with. Unfortunately, today I had to work. I fully expected him to put it off until the next auction when I’d be able to go with him. To my surprise, he went by himself into the great unknown and I have never been more proud.

Seeing him push aside his comfort to step outside the box is encouraging. This action shows he’s not willing to just sit by and let life happen (staying in his comfort zone) but rather is going to push the envelope, no matter how uncomfortable it may be at times. Granted, we may end up with some odd piece of equipment he bought at an outrageous price from being out of his element at the auction, but that’s ok. I’ll gladly eewww and ahhh appropriately as he shows off his “steal”!

So often we let fear or anxiety keep us from doing what we want. Many times we’ll stop before we even get started. As Kristen Lamb stated in her Dance with the Devil blog:

Fear is the dream-killer.

Nothing great was ever accomplished in the comfort zone. The very nature of creativity is risk. As writers, we experience this every day. We face off against friends and family that can be benevolent dream-stealers. They mean well and they don’t want us to feel the sting of failure, but we can never be big winners if we don’t take a chance.

Once we do take the chance to write, there is always the fear of rejection that comes along when querying our work. Here, we’ve spent months if not years working on our novel and when the time comes to send it out into the world our fingers start to itch and the “what if” parasite infests our grey matter.

“What if they don’t like it?”

“What if I’m not as good as I thought?”

“What if…..”

You get the picture. Add to all of that the social media aspect of being an author and it’s enough to make people run for the hills. Thankfully, there are plenty of people/authors willing to help on the journey. Kristen Lamb has a couple of books specifically about social media  and bloggingfor writers as well as having started the #MyWANA hashtag for twitter. “We are not alone!”

Jody Hedlund’s blog is also fantastic resource for writers in all parts of their journey. If the idea of twitter/blogging/facebook overwhelms you, she has a helpful post on how much time you should be spending on social media.

Every time I sit down to work on my WIP, fear and doubt try to take over. Fear is nonproductive and unwelcome. When I feel it creeping up, I have a conversation/pep talk with myself:

Practice makes perfect. Just keep writing and eventually the confidence will come. So what if my first attempt ends up poorly received? What’s the worst that will happen? I will have learned from the writing/editing process. I will have created something! No one is going to take away my computer and forbid me to write because of this bump in the road.

So, no matter how much we may doubt ourselves at any given time, the only way to improve is to practice. Write, write, and write some more!

What do you do that helps you overcome the fear of putting yourself out there?

Mmmm…Candy

It is that time again! Time for the Blogger’s Quilt Festival by Amy. Last time I shared my moose quilt, this time I’m going to share one of my worse quilts I made. You can read the entire story here, but I’ll give a general recap. It was coming up on Christmas time I had decided that I was going to make my Nephew a quilt instead of buying books like I normally do. What a great idea! My nephew takes after me in that he LOVES sweets! So, I had found some candy fabric I wanted to use. I also bought some solids as complimentary colors.

 

Without putting much thought into the overall pattern, I went crazy making pinwheels. When I had finished with the center, I decided to put larger pinwheels on the corners of my borders.

 

HOLY COW…what on earth was I thinking?  Not only did I break the newbie rule of using big borders to get the size I want for a quilt, but I became the poster child! If I remember correctly, I believe the borders were 7 inches or wider. Well, I had everything done but the binding in time for Christmas. My Nephew tore into his present, quickly assessed that it was some sort of clothing product and therefore not worth his time and threw it to the side to continue his search for toys. I was crestfallen, but learned a valuable lesson here. Do NOT make a quilt because you expect the person you’re giving it to to appreciate all of the work that went into it. Make the quilt because YOU want to and understand that non-quilters do not necessarily understand everything that goes into making a quilt. I was able to get a picture of him with his quilt, looking like he was happy:

 

As soon as the picture was done, the quilt was in a pile with the other clothes he got and he was playing again with his Star Wars space ship. I took the quilt back but didn’t finish the binding until 2 years later. He seemed to appreciate it more at that time. Maybe I just jumped the gun a little too early!

I had a great time putting this quilt together. I ripped many seams from putting my pinwheels together wrong, and I had plenty of wriggly stitched lines, but I learned quite a bit from this endeavor.

#1: It’s best to have some sort of plan before you start, otherwise you may make choices that don’t enhance your quilt design.

#2: Don’t expect a non-quilter to ewww and ahhhh over all of the tough stitches and multiple seams you had to sew through. They just don’t understand! To many of them (not all) it’s just another blanket. So, don’t get your hopes up and you won’t be disappointed with their reaction.

#3: Do NOT make up size in a quilt by adding humongous borders! It just looks silly…put multiple borders if you like, but not one big mamajama border!

#4: Appreciate the process as a learned experience. With every creation comes new knowledge!