Monday, November 29, 2010

Happy Girl!

View from Sugarland Mountain Trail - GSMNP
November 27, 2010

Oh yeah, I was a Happy Girl on Saturday morning when two friends and I set out to hike the Sugarland Mountain Trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park.  To avoid an extensive shuttle in a crowded National Park on a holiday weekend, Mr. B graciously rolled out of bed and took us to the trailhead at the top of the mountain off Clingman's Dome road.  This road closes for the season on November 30, so this was my last opportunity this year to hike this new-to-me trail.  For those who might not know, a shuttle hike is one that requires two vehicles because the trail does not start and end at the same place.  Without Mr. B's help, we would've completed an 11.5 mile, then had to drive all the way back up the mountain (about 25 miles) to retrieve our other car at the starting point.  It was a cold start, but the day was perfect and the views limitless.  It was a day I needed!

I find myself in the midst of a struggle and that's not where I want to be at this point in time.  As a Christian, the season we are entering is one in which I want every act and activity to remind me of the reason I am celebrating.  It is not even December 1 and I confess I'm already feeling overcommitted  and tense.  The introvert in me wants to make a hasty retreat to a place where I can "be still," but things I've agreed to do keep me from finding that place. 

For example:
  • The young lady about whom I wrote a couple of posts ago eagerly agreed to a Bible Study with me.  The study lasts 40 days and takes about an hour a day.  It was my bright idea that we begin on November 23 so that Day 40 would fall on January 1.  So where did I think I was going to find another hour a day when I've already mentioned that my own personal devotion time was slipping!
  • Our Christmas program at church is Sunday night.  In the past two weeks, there have been three extra rehearsals with a 3-hour dress rehearsal this coming Saturday morning.
  • MIL has re-entered the picture making some unspoken, but very real demands on my time and for the first time since FIL died in August, has begun talking about how hard things are and making it through the holidays.  She has also asked that I help her with her shopping.  For the first time, I'm feeling just a bit "put upon" to use a southern cliche.  She has been running all over town by herself - she doesn't need my "help."  It's just a reason to be with someone else and I happen to be that person.
  • My own shopping has to get done sometime. 
  • Mr. B's schedule is relentless until he finishes school on December 17.  
  • I'm trying to get a trip to Florida planned that this year, will include MIL.  That requires some venturing into less familiar territory as she isn't exactly interested in the same kinds of activities as we are.
  • My oldest niece will graduate from the University of Tennessee in a couple of weeks meaning more parties, activities and company that weekend.  
  • I have not been feeling quite up to par, so have several doctor appointments scheduled over the next couple of weeks.  Nothing serious, just some nagging fatigue along with some aches and pains that could be caused by who knows what and therein lies the frustration.
  • I really, really, really want to write a blog post more often than once a week.  All these thoughts are floating around in my head and I simply can't sit down long enough to get started.  
All these things, plus several others = FRUSTRATION!   Overcommitment, feeling backed into a corner and the frustration that causes will most often lead to disaster for me.   And it has!   I knew the "eat when hungry" and "stop when full" wouldn't work for me long term and it didn't.  Surprisingly, I didn't gain any weight over the holiday, but I have gained since last month.  And unfortunately, that was also a gain from the previous month.  And here's the scariest part of all - in all honesty, I am in a phase where I just don't care. 

How I wish I could go back to August 21 and NOT take that first bite of the yummy congealed salad that was brought in after FIL died.  It had been weeks since I'd eaten off-plan and the scale was starting to move following a lengthy plateau.  But once it started, the snowball effect took over and three months later, I'm still paying the price for that one single bite!

So there you have it!   And as I was debating whether to lay all this out or just type up a quick post about my wonderful hike last Saturday, Martina McBride's Happy Girl  came to mind and I found myself singing the lyrics................................    
And i've come to know
That the world won't change
Just 'cause I complain
Let the axis twirl
I'm a happy girl

Headed into what's normally perceived as the "busiest" time of the year, are you feeling overcommited, pressured or handling things pretty well?


  1. I can relate to parts of this post. I too am an introvert!Some years the holidays have felt like all work and no fun!

    I spent today running errands for my daughter who is in Spain. I know that when she comes home for winter break I will be busy doing things for her then too.She has already given me a list of meals she wants me to make as well as some baked goods. I told her I would be happy to let her do the baking and learn how to make those things she desires. I am happy to do it but I also have all of my other obligations to attend to so she will have to be in the kitchen as well if she wants those things.

    Here is what I have to do to keep my sanity. Make a list of what needs to be done (you have yours already) then plan out on paper when I will get them all done so I can see how it will all fall into place.

    I have also learned how to say no when asked to do things for others and to delegate some things on the list to others when possible.

    Last year I didn't send out Christmas cards because it was one thing too many on my list.I also didn't do much holiday entertaining as we were already very busy. It saved me a ton of time and stress by making those choices.

  2. The stress you described, of over commitment, over involvement etc., is exactly the stress that leads me to eating out of control.

    I have been avoiding Christmas in every sense, besides a few concerts I have to conduct. I can't bear to get busy!

    Hang in there...we'll get there.

  3. After I read this post, I wondered if you were a person who likes hotbaths, because thatis what I would recommend. They are so calming. Yes, an intense schedule you have laid out for yourself. Would you be happy doing less? If so, par down. If not, keep hiking and take long and soaking type baths.

  4. I LOVE that picture!!!

    I can so identify with you thinking about backing up to that one thing you ate. I just did that today. And, while I would not say that "I don't care," about the wrong turn I have taken, so far off course, I certainly have lost something that was driving me. Maybe it is this time of year, knowing how often there will be food around me that will tempt me. I hope with all you have going on that you find the time to blog... not for us... but for yourself. I hope your doctor has some answers for you.

  5. You've got a lot going on Sharon. I have to say that I have backed WAY away from overcommitment. Sometimes I think I have gone too far. But I know what happened when I overcommitted before, and I am determined to never do that again (to myself or others.)

    I also have determinedly minimized the hoopla at Christmas. Very little present buying. Minimal commitments, etc. And I do have time to celebrate with the One who is the reason for the season. Now, sometimes I don't do as good with that as I should, and that just makes me mad at myself!

    John Ortberg asked Dallas Willard what he could do to grow in his spiritual life. And Dallas Willard said "you must ruthlessly eliminate hurry from your life."

  6. I used to annoy my friends by singing that 'Happy Girl' song--a lot! :)

    When I start feeling overwhelmed, I make a list my to-do's and put an asterisk beside those that are musts. Quite often I find one or two things that can be moved to later. I stare at the list some more, and eventually one or more items will volunteer themselves to be moved to later as well. I hope you're able to weed out some of the unnecessaries, too!

  7. "And here's the scariest part of all - in all honesty, I am in a phase where I just don't care."

    Yes, this is the scariest part. It will be hard to progress if your mind is not committed to what you want. It seems you really enjoy this time of year and certainly get involved in it. Dive in, enjoy it for all you can. But remember to enjoy it. If you are taking in to may commitments and frustration replaces enjoyment, then it would seem you need to commit to less. Can you do that? I know that is easier said than done in some cases. But it is a choice you get to make for yourself. In this season of giving, we still need to do what is right for us as well.

  8. I am horribly over committed for me. I have something every night of the week, and have had many of the same feelings you've expressed about wanting to retreat and wanting to blog more. What to do, what to do...

    I wish I had the perfect words of wisdom for you like you've had for me, particularly with the not caring phase, but I really don't. I also think that you do care, or you would not have mentioned it. Maybe you can give yourself a break from losing weight for now, and just concentrate on not gaining weight. That is an attainable goal.

    Also, regarding your MIL, have you explored any grief counseling for her? One of the groups J-boy and I facilitate is a grief group. Email me, and I can give you more info if you're interested. This is a difficult time for both of you, and boundaries must be established early.

    Keep blogging, you've got a lot of people pulling for you.

  9. I do understand how overwhelmed it can be when everyone seems to want a piece of your time. I have always been the 'go-to' girl in my family and I can feel put upon a lot of the time. I've been more demanding regarding my own time lately, though. Caring for my mother since her accident has been mostly my job even though I have 3 other capable siblings to help. It is so hard to say 'no' to the people we love but if we don't take care of ourselves, it simply will not get done. Good luck with your struggles, remember to focus on you and wehn you need a break, take one because I'm sure you more than deserve it.

  10. Sharon, thanks for stopping by my new blog. I had to disappear for awhile to get a grip on life, but I am back now. I know I need to write (blog) and I need a community of support to keep up with a healthy lifestyle. Thanks for being part of it, I will return the favor. :) You are so beautiful, I just love that picture!!

  11. That is a beautiful photo! This time of year can be really stressful.

    Don't be afraid to take a time out from some things. Unless you tell people you are overwhelmed, they will just assume you are okay with it.

  12. I felt like I would burst last week - I had to just talk myself through each "event" ... sitting here at the computer I was just thinking how this is my first time in over a week to have nothing that I have to do...Awesome!

  13. I'm sorry you are feeling such pressure. So many have said what I would say, the comforting and encouraging words. So, I will just key on the practical.

    Is there any way to simply back OUT of some of the commitments??I know for me, when I say I will do something, it totally goes against my grain NOT to do it, regardless of what it costs me. So I get it that backing out of commitment may sound horrible to you. But ya know... I really think that is what you need to do.

    Only you can know if that is doable.. or which ones you could let go. If you tripped and broke both legs, would the world go on without you?? Your spiritual and mental health is vital and foundational, and will spill over into your physical health.

    Gee... ask me how I know!?! Anyway, I will lift you up in prayer, and ask the Lord to fill you with wisdom and the oomph to DO what you decide is right.


  14. You are probably like me in that if you say no, you feel guilty. But I have already said no to a couple of big events, and have convinced someone else to host another. I am having my family of about 15 people at my house, but I am not decorating to the level I usually do. I'm sending a few Christmas cards, and handing out a few more. The baking? Well, I enjoy it, but will probably scale it back. We can do it!