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"Don't Let the Setback Set You Back Forever"

A friend of mine posted that saying on their FB wall last night and it really spoke to me! So many times we start something, whether it’s a new habit or trying to quit an old habit, and once we “fail” we simply give up. But why do we give up?

Read more over on my other blog: https://midlifermamas.wordpress.com/2020/01/16/dont-let-the-setback-set-you-back-forever/

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Moms, Wives, (Heck Everyone) Needs Time for Self Care

Kudos to all those ladies who are able to get mani pedis, facials, massages, workout, go to yoga, go out with their gal pals for wine lunches and shopping week after week. I’ll be the first to admit I’m a little green with envy!

Honestly though, they are doing EXACTLY what we should ALL be doing: Practicing Self Care!

Why? You’ve probably heard it before but I’m here to remind you…it is super important to practice self care…you can’t be there for your family if you are mentally drained, burned out and end up sick. (Who will wash the clothes?!)

I’m gonna break it down for us all and explain what self care is and how to find the time to practice it.

What is self care? I feel Dictionary.com defines it best: “care of the self without medical or other professional consultation.”

What are some self care ideas?

I’m glad you asked! There are lots of things that make people happy and most importantly help people relax and not just the one’s I mentioned above. And some of these can even be done for free!

Reading a book in a quiet room.

Relaxing in a bath tub full of bubbles.

Going for a ride on your horse.

Taking a walk with your dog.

Listening to a podcast.

Taking a drive out in the country.

Now, how do you find the time to actually practice it?

Like any other important meeting and this should be considered as important, you should schedule it. Write it done on your calendar, put it in your phone. That’s an easy way to ensure you make the appropriate effort for yourself!

So, grab those calendars, that glass of wine (or water) and figure out the best time to RELAX and RECHARGE!

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I Don’t Want to Diet Anymore

8 Steps To a Better Me!

I just want to feel good in my body. I’m tired of the fads. Tired of losing weight and then gaining it back and more.

The more I read about eatin’ “right,” there is a lot of research backing endless studies on the best ways to lose weight. Some say it has to do with how many calories you put in vs what you expend. Others say it’s the types of food you eat. Or the types you don’t eat. And so on and so on.

But why can’t it just be easy? Well, I guess as they say, life can’t always be easy! Lol!

In multiple articles, I’ve found that making small changes in your diet can make a big impact over all. So, I’ve come up with eight ways I plan to incorporate into my daily routine that should work for me feeling good in my jeans again:

1. Give up all diet drinks. Drink a lot of water instead.

2. Drinking hot lemon water in the morning before eating anything to kick start my metabolism.

3. Meal prep work lunches instead of hitting Sonic for my favorite grilled cheese!

4. Walking everywhere as much as possible. Goal is over 10k steps 5 out of 7 days a week.

5. Walking 2 miles 4-5 times a week until I’m released from doctor and can start running those miles again. Will start strength training then too.

6. Not depriving myself of treats anymore which when I do tell myself no…it only makes me want them more!

7. Make better food choices overall. Less fried and processed…more raw and fresh!

8. Quit weighing myself every day! My weight fluctuates between 2-4 pounds daily. Why keep making myself feel bad when it hasn’t changed?!

Would love to hear what you’re doing! Let’s work on feeling great together!

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Almost 47

Turning another year older next month. Not sure how to feel about it. (I remember as a teenager thinking anything over 40 was OLD!) Of course, 47 is just a number BUT it’s a number that’s awfully close to 50. 😳

It’s funny how my Pinterest or Google searches have changed over the years…there are now more searches for how to cover the grey in my hair and how to live with knee pain.

My face is showing signs of age. A few more wrinkles here and there. More aches and pains than there used to be.

My 40s so far have been really pretty good. (Heck, my entire life has been blessed.) I wouldn’t change a thing…well, maybe that whole cancer thing could not have happened. But I’m on the other side of that now.

What’s on the horizon? My son will be graduating high school next year (and I am promising you now there will be tears once this school year wraps up and his senior year kicks off!).

There are many unknowns obviously but I’m guessing 47, 48, 49, 50 and hopefully the next 40 years will be good, as long as I’m breathing and more importantly, living!

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Midlifer Mamas: 7 Podcasts You Should Check Out

I’ve been on a podcast kick lately and if you’re like me you have a wide variety of podcast types that you like. I love the ones that make me laugh, make me think and feed my soul! Here are the top seven I’ve been recommended, found on my own and definitely enjoyed so far:

1. Terrible, Thanks for Asking – I adore this one! It covers all the messy, un-Instagram worthy moments of life!

2. Midlife Mixtape – A podcast to celebrate midlife with humor, heart, and a really good beat. (The host loves music!)

3. Pop Goes Your World – This is one of a guilty-pleasure-kind-of-podcast with a millennial and a Gen-Xer talking movies, TV shows and music.

4. Shameless Sex – Yep, it’s pretty much what you think it is!

5. The Real Talk with Dana – Dana is a clinical nutritionist who chats about food, health and your mental state.

6. Forty Thrive – This one is for women 40 and above looking for connections and resources, and dare I say it, ways to thrive!

7. The Rewatchables – A great close look at the movies we all have either loved or hated. It’s like sitting around with your friends chatting about the movie you just watched.

So that’s just a few of the ones I’m currently digging while walking or working. Would love to hear what your listening to!

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Turned Upside Down

A friend of mine was diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time as I was so we’ve been on a similar journey.

She commented not long ago that her biggest issue is that cancer has turned everything upside down despite her efforts to not let that happen. And I couldn’t agree more.

Everything changes. Even for those of us with the best type of “cancer” to get.

Obviously the physical side is effected. I’ve had a couple surgeries that included the mastectomy of the left breast, breast implants (so they match), liposuction from my hips where the fat was put on top of my left breast to make it look more “real,” and, most recently, a nipple reconstructive procedure. (Sounds as fun as it was. 😳)

Now lets talk about the mental side. I know I’m blessed to have such a “minor” cancer but my body “image” has completely changed which affects other areas of my life.

I also still get stuck in the “what if” convo in my head: “What if I get it again?” happens quite often.

So what do I do to combat the BCB (breast cancer blues)? Well, crawling in a hole and not coming out isn’t an option unfortunately, I’ve asked.

And beating myself up isn’t an option either.

I know it’s gonna take some time to get over this feeling of…hmmmmm…maybe, it’s inadequacy? I don’t know. But what I do know is that when these feelings come again, I need to remind myself to relax…that it’s going to take some time to get back to feeling good about myself again.

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Bullies Aren't Just in High School

Something that’s been heavy on my mind lately: Bullies. They are not only adolescents. They are adults and they are everywhere. You see them as overly aggressive drivers, there are those jerks on social media who attack folks for their beliefs and, of course, there are bullies in the workplace.

Like high school bullies, adult bullies use intimidation, public humiliation, and underhanded insults to manipulate those around them.

There have been lots of bullies in movies including a pretty famous one, “Mean Girls.”

“There are two kinds of evil people: people who do evil stuff, and people who see evil stuff being done and don’t try to stop it.” – Janis from “Mean Girls”

To be fair though, in the movie, Janis wasn’t exactly being nice when says this but whatever her motives, she’s totally onto something. Bullying is not always straight forward. Anyone who laughs along and joins in, or even turns a blind eye, makes a decision to do so. So joining in with bullying is just as bad as initiating, and anyone who sees evil things going on has a responsibility to try to stop it.

So what do you do to deal with a bully as an adult?

It’s obviously important not to take any crap from anyone. But it’s also important that it’s better to be the better person. Especially understanding that God is always on your side. As it says in Isaiah, 41:10, “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

Always choose to take the high road. Be the bigger person. After all, the only thing worse than a bully is a bully-convert. Support your friends who might be the subject of a bully. Encourage them to take up for themselves. Let the bully lie in the bed he or she’s made. Rest assured you won’t be the only one to notice their childish behavior.

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Doreen’s Story

Christmas 2019 was good for me! Some amazing gifts from my family this year and a couple of them were very meaningful. (Now I know not everyone will think this is cool but my family might dig it.)

First, a beautiful jade necklace that was my great Grandmother Gracie’s. The story is it was brought over from China in 1931 by my step-grandfather Grover. Rumor is also it was smuggled in! (Lots of awesome stories circulating around about Grandpa Grover’s younger days including gun smuggling with Pancho Villa. True or not…we will never know! But it’s pretty cool to think about.)

I am Incredibly blessed to be given the necklace by my aunt and I will cherish it always.

Secondly, a booklet from 1984 that I had given to my grandmother Doreen when I was 11, titled “The Grandparent Book.”

It’s a question and answer book to help my Grandmother tell her story. With questions like “what do you remember most about your mother from your childhood” and “what were one or two of the worst times in your family like?”

As you can see, she answered a lot of the books’ questions and then she ended up using another notepad to be able to write more! I’m so excited to be able to sit down and read these! It’s like she’s sitting here with me as I read. (Is someone cutting onions in here???). I can hear her voice and see her smile!

In the inside cover she had written:

“I love all of you – wish you all, nothing but the best. I only hope your life is as fulfilling as mine has been. A few trials and tribulations, but mostly great. I’ve loved my parents, brothers, cousins and friends. I’ve adored my grandchildren (seems they get smarter and cuter) and of course my children have been A-1 with me and the joy of my life. And then there has been my nursing, what a joy that has been. I’ve loved almost every single moment, every job except 2 short term jobs that were the pits. I have so many great memories. A wonderful childhood, adoring family, dancing (one of my passions) and the relationship of folks that I love, the good books I’ve read and the camaraderie of family, friends and patients that have made my life GREAT! Love to all of you- Doreen”

(I’ve got full on tears streaming down my face now!)

Such an amazing woman! She really did love us all so very much! I definitely will be sharing more of her memories over time.

DoDo, as many called her, was one of the hardest working women I ever knew. Once her husband died in a car accident at an early age, she was left with 4 kids to raise (3 girls – my mama is the oldest – and 1 boy). She worked as an RN for well over 50 years. She passed away in 2002.

Man, do I miss her.

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My Tribe is Good for My Soul

I am convinced God puts the right people at the exact moment in your life for a reason. He knows what we need.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve realized how important it is to be around people who are good for my soul. I’ve been blessed to have many of those.

From old high school friends who I’ve grown up with to my workout “beast” friends a few years ago to my current tribe who were there for me when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. I’m also blessed to have a husband as my best friend. He’s been my rock and I know I can always count on him. But it’s also important to have a group (which may consist of two, three or in my case right now, five) who you can call on at any time.

I read somewhere that when we’re going through a tough time, “we need to speak to someone who feels just as deeply as we do, someone who won’t say ‘just get over it,’ someone who takes the time to analyze and inspect every facet of the experience and the feeling in order to help us get through it.” And I believe that is absolutely true.

I know that I can call on my current tribe and I know they will pray for me, pray with me, laugh with me, cry with me, stand by me against a “bully” or be my truth tellers. I also know I can and will do the exact same for them.

Thank you God for always making sure that I have special friends when I needed them in my life. #FoundMyTribe

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Having a Purpose

Having a purpose in life. Many don’t know what that even means. Google it and it says: “When you do something with purpose, you do it with determination. When your activities have a purpose, you have an aim or intention in mind.”

Many found their purpose early in life. Others later. I believe you can even have multiple purposes in your lifetime. I’ve had at least 3 so far and I’m not done yet by a long shot.

In 1997 I began my first real “purpose” by becoming a wife. And in 2003, I became a mama and those two titles will always be my most loved.

Another one of my most fun purposes involved Texas and Red Dirt music. Helping artists reach the next level of their careers was a highlight and not to mention an absolute pleasure.

Granger Smith, a much younger me and my son, JT

It’s been a few years since that run and my job title and work environment has changed. I absolutely love what I’m doing now and the people I work with.

But there is something more I feel I need to be doing. Not sure what that is yet. What I do know is cancer didn’t slow me down this past year and that shows me God wants me to be doing something more!

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Tamoxifen: To Take it or Not?

Ugh, it’s almost time to start taking the Tamoxifen that I was given by my oncologist and I’m really, really dreading it.

Let me back up a little and explain. After my breast cancer diagnosis and then the hormone therapy treatment plan was given, I immediately started “researching” on Google everything I could find on breast cancer. And that meant learning about the pros and cons of taking Tamoxifen. (And yes, just like with anything else, you should only go by what your care team tells you because the World Wide Web can be a scary place.)

However, learning about the side effects of taking Tamoxifen have me slightly freaked out.

According to the American Cancer Society: Hormone therapy is often used after surgery (as adjuvant therapy) to help reduce the risk of the cancer coming back. Sometimes it is started before surgery (as neoadjuvant therapy). It is usually taken for at least 5 to 10 years.

It’s the side effects that are worrying me:

• Hot flashes

• Some women with cancer spread to the bones may have a tumor flare with bone pain . This usually decreases quickly, but in some rare cases a woman may also develop a high calcium level in the blood that is hard to control. If this happens, the treatment may need to be stopped for a time.

Rare, but more serious side effects are also possible:

• Blood clots are another uncommon, but serious side effect. They usually form in the legs (called deep vein thrombosis or DVT), but sometimes a piece of clot in the leg may break off and end up blocking an artery in the lungs (pulmonary embolism or PE). Call your doctor or nurse right away if you develop pain, redness, or swelling in your lower leg (calf), shortness of breath, or chest pain, because these can be symptoms of a DVT or PE.

• Rarely, Tamoxifen has been associated with strokes in post-menopausal women, so tell your doctor if you have severe headaches, confusion, or trouble speaking or moving.

Depending on a woman’s menopausal status, Tamoxifen can have different effects on the bones. In pre-menopausal women, Tamoxifen can cause some bone thinning, but in post-menopausal women it often strengthens bones to some degree.

The explanation on the website ends by saying: The benefits of taking these drugs outweigh the risks for almost all women with hormone receptor-positive breast cancer.

I’ve also read about weight gain, joint pain, nausea, bone pain, cataracts, chest pain, headaches, hair loss and so on and so on. (It’s like the drug commercials you see on TV and the list of side effects always sound worse than the illness being treated.)

Needless to say, I’m super nervous that I will have horrible side effects because my recovery from my two surgeries has been really good!

But ultimately I know that it is pretty stupid to feel this way because there are so many others who are dealing with REAL pain and suffering from cancer and it’s treatments.

And THAT is the very reason why I will suck it up and start taking the pills in a couple weeks following my final breast reconstructive procedure. I know that I have to, not just for myself but for my family. I want to be here for them for as long as I can.

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The Big 2020 is Coming

How will you be better?

With the new year fast approaching, many are planning their resolutions. Lots of social media posts, articles and blogs are circulating around about what people are planning to do in the new year. I’ve read everything from weight loss and fitness goals to the betterment of personal finance to attending church more often.

But one particular blog really stood out to me, instead of working on the same ol same ol when it comes to resolutions like the ones I mentioned above, this particular blog writer is planning to work on becoming a better person.

Let me type that again so it can sink in for you like it did for me. Becoming a Better Person. (Holy crap! What a damn good idea!) The blog writer mentions 12 challenges she is going to work on including patience, reading, saying “yes” and saying “no” more and giving back. (Read her blog here: https://lifeunfiltered560.wordpress.com/2019/12/30/i-challenge-myself-in-the-new-year-to/)

This idea fascinates me and I actually dreamed about it last night. Wouldn’t we all succeed in our lives if we tried a little harder on just being a better human? And furthermore, couldn’t being a better person also ultimately affect one’s health and even their wealth status? I say heck yes it can!

With the New Year fast approaching, I knew that I wasn’t interested in the usual resolutions that I’ve tried over and over again and ultimately given up on. And as I get older I DO want to strive to be a better version of myself.

It’s not going to be easy. I will need to remind myself that I will always be a work in progress. And when I “fail” at one or more of my challenges this year, I’m not going to completely give up. Every day will be a new chance to try again.

Where to start? Of course, I am not a perfect person (no one is), so I have many faults but here are some things I want to work on this year:

Having More Patience – with my husband, my son, my co-workers, horrible drivers, people in Walmart who block aisles, and of course, having more patience with myself.

Being Kind to All – even to the people I can’t find any reason to like.

Being Thankful. Sometimes I get caught up in the day to day stuff and forget how great I really have it.

Help People More. Find a way to help the people in my community more.

Stimulate My Brain. I will quit relying on social media to be my “source.” I will search out books, podcasts and blogs that I can “learn” from.

Really Take care of Myself. Change the way I treat my body. (It is a temple, you know!) Learn how to eat better and find ways to get in more exercise (walking, weights, etc,). No more diets!

And finally, Remind myself everyday that I can Do and Be Better.

Here’s to a great New Year for us all!!

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