Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Priority Check

Brushy Mountain Trail - GSMNP
November 10, 2012

I could write about successfully navigating the next six weeks while remaining true to your healthy eating plans, but it seems everyone else is writing those posts and there is absolutely nothing I could write any to offer anything different and certainly not better.  For me right now, the issues seem to revolve around another set of priorities causing me to take stock and carefully consider the ways in which I am spending my time.  What are the things about which I am most passionate and are those the BEST things?  What, if anything, has become a time gobbler (pun intended!!) that needs to be refined or changed?  

In the 2 1/2 years that I've been writing this blog, I've only been through a "blog" crises once, but knew even at that time (as I know now) that stopping wasn't an alternative.  I love writing the blog and have no desire to leave BlogLand anytime soon.  If anything, the ideas keep coming and I look for ways to expand.  But I've got to do a better job with time management because, as we all know, writing and reading blogs can become quite addicting at the expense of other real life things calling for our attention.  

For me, the thing that suffers when my BlogLife gets out of whack is my morning quiet time.  For decades, this ritual has been the most important hour of my day.  As my morning devotional time goes, so goes the rest of the day.  Until the blog came along, it was a non-negotiable.  And it is STILL a non-negotiable.  But over time, I've developed the habit of "checking the google reader" before settling in with my Bible and/or whatever devotional material I'm working with at that particular time.  And funny, how there's so much good stuff in the reader that I glance at the clock and an hour has past.  It's time to get Bill up, make the smoothie and head out for our walk.  

So there's priority check #1 - Nothing else happens until the morning quiet time is done.  On busy days, this may mean I NEVER get back to the google reader or to a post I'd planned to write.  I reinstated this priority a week ago and was immediately able to tell a difference in my attitude, actions and behavior. 

Tomorrow, I will reach my 350 mile 2012 hiking goal and that's another explanation for my very sporadic blog posting.  I am hiking the heck out of these two feet and loving every minute of it.  We've had a phenomenal autumn with ideal hiking weather and it's not over yet.  Remember that there was a time back in September and October when I was questioning whether I'd be hiking at all because I was in so much pain from an unexpected Rheumatoid Disease flare-up.  I am so full of gratitude for the turnaround that I make no apologies for the fact that being outside right now is a top, TOP priority.  Those who truly know me, understand that I feel most alive and in touch with both myself and my creator when out on a trail.  I am thankful for a spouse who doesn't fully "get it" about the hiking, but knows he experiences the same "high" when he steps out onto a stage and raises that conductor's baton to lead a group of musician's in a masterful performance.  He goes with me when he can (as long as it's not over five miles - LOL!), but has NEVER minded my going with others or resented the time I spend on the trail or the amount of gas I use getting there.

Priority check #2 - I will maximize every opportunity I have to spend time outside.  Everything else can wait.  I'm a good organizer, planner and disciplinarian.  The laundry will get done, the bills will be paid, we won't starve and no responsibilities to anyone will be neglected.  I'm not selfish - I just know that I'm better when this passion is fulfilled.  You either understand this or you don't!!

Priority check #3 is going to be a bit harder to explain, but I'll try.  In the past year, I have lost the extra weight I had regained since my 65-pound loss in 2006-2007,  I have now maintained at or very near goal weight for several months.  I am thrilled with those new healthy eating habits.  I became ecstatic in July when Bill joined me in changing some habits and starting a regular walking routine.  Not only did he feel better almost immediately, but it gave us a built-in 40 minutes every morning to communicate with each other.

But the one thing that doesn't seem to have changed is that my life and thought patterns still revolve almost 100% around food.   Yes, the thoughts are much different, but I'm still TIRED OF IT!  I can't get away from it whether it be my surroundings or my own mind.  Over the past year as I've reassessed and reevaluated, I've come to learn that I am actually a very simple eater.  I don't need or demand a three-course dinner every evening.  I'm not, nor will I ever be, passionate about cooking even though I've come to realize that it's something I can do well when I choose to.  I'm just as happy with a bowl of cereal for dinner as I am when Bill (an excellent cook who LOVES doing it) prepares one of those three-course dinners.  Problem is, I can't get away from it.  Everywhere you turn, it just seems as if life revolves around food.  

Disclaimer:  Please don't anyone take offense.  This does NOT in any way, shape or form apply to any of you, my precious friends who write about food.  That is the focus of your BLOG.  For the most part, I only know that aspect of you.  There is much more to you than your blog and I strongly suspect, there is more to your life than what I see you write.  

So my last Priority Check for today is a concentrated effort to reframe my mind and my conversations towards subjects other than food.

I want to wish each of you a joyful and happy Thanksgiving.  I hope that it is a day you anticipate with a smile and warm memories.  We certainly do.   For us, this Thanksgiving has taken on a more somber note as twice in the past two months, we've personally dealt with a tragedy in life of someone we care about.   On September 16th, this accident changed forever the lives of two people we've known since they were teenagers.  Jeff's wife, Kim, who was driving in front of the van and witnessed the accident which killed her husband, was a member of the youth group at a church Bill worked at during the 80's and early 90's.  Jeff came along a bit later and as you can see, they had grown into adults working as Youth Directors in a church of their own. On Monday, one of Bill's students was killed in a horrible house fire leaving her three children without either parent.  Music majors, because of the time required spent together, become a tight-knit group and this was no exception.  Bill is totally exhausted after two days of dealing with his own grief while helping bewildered college students (many of whom this is their first experience with death) begin to cope with theirs.  Kristina was with them one day, gone the next.

I don't write any of that to be morbid.  Thanksgiving is a day of joy and these things serve to make us even more grateful for the gift of being able to approach it in that way.   My family is healthy and happy.  My heart almost explodes to think about it.   I have friends here and all over the US who love and care about me.  What more could I possibly want?  Absolutely nothing!

But that isn't the case for everyone.  Somewhere close to you is someone who looks toward the holidays with dread, sadness or a myriad of other emotions.  I'm asking you to think through your life and find at least one person who might NOT be looking forward to Thanksgiving and even less, to Christmas.  Make a call, give a hug, write a note, do SOMETHING!  Just don't close your eyes to the suffering around you while luxuriating in your own pleasure!  

Share with me one non-food related priority you'd like to reevaluate!


  1. LOL. If you need to take a break from my blog for a while, I understand!! There are some blogs that I need to take a break from sometimes too! But actually, I get what you are saying about not wanting every waking thought to revolve around food!

    And I am with you on resolution #1. Attempting to get that back in order in my life as well.

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Sharon! Love the trail pic.

  2. Whew. For a few seconds there, I was afraid this was going to be a 'farewell to blogging' post!

    I agree wholeheartedly on maintaining priorities and boundaries. My morning time is sacred. I might not make it to the gym on any given day, but I will have had my pondering time!

    Wishing you and Bill a joyful Thanksgiving, Sharon!

  3. You ask which priority I am re-thinking and the one that has been on my mind for a long time is work. I am very fortunate to have a wonderful job from home and can also retire whenever I want. Giving up work is hard for me.

  4. Selected anonymous only because it's the easiest way to comment without signing into something. It's Michele commenting live from Little Rock. I'm so happy to see you recommitting to your personal quiet time before doing other things. I also find that preserving time for myself at the proper time of day makes a critical difference in my entire life.

    Happy Thanksgiving to you!!

  5. It's good to set priorities for your life - they are compasses that guide you. Wishing you and your family a happy Thanksgiving!

  6. I am sorry for those tragic losses in your life. Things like that have a way of forcing us to re-evaluate. Only you can decide what is right for you, but for what it is worth, I think you've got your priorities right.

    I've missed you, and thought you were hiking away in those mountains. It has been an exceptionally nice fall down my way too. Enjoy it while you can.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  7. I get the food thoughts. I think a lot about food still. It's just kind of who I am, but I also get tired of thinking about it.

    I need to relax more. I work very hard and have a hard time taking time off because I totally control how much money I make since I am paid on production. John wants me to relax more. It's just a matter of doing it and being okay doing it (the harder part).

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving Sharon - and thanks for stopping by my little part of the world :D

  8. Hello Sharon, thanks for the encouragement. I am so pleased that your rheumatoid is under control again. Priorities, well, it's so hard to keep them straight. We turn our heads and they're all out of sequence, aren't they? Good luck in getting yours back in line...your plan sounds good.

  9. I was just thinking about you yesterday, Sharon. You, and the many other bloggers I was thankful for on Thanksgiving. I'm so sorry to read about such tragedy. It makes my heart ache; I think we all know too well how precious life is. Your post is a good reminder of this.
    Hugs and love to you!

  10. If you haven't read "The Happiness Project" yet you should pick it up, I think you'd enjoy it. I hate to break it to you, but it's been 8 years now for me since I changed my life in relation to food and it just kind of remains in the top of your mind forever. It kind of has to in order for the changes to be permanent, but sometimes it does get old. Whenever it does, just remind yourself it's better than stopping thinking about it and watching it all slide away. Going gluten free gave me a great reason to skip the stuffing and gravy this year, not to mention the pie!

  11. The holidays are so packed with food being the star in every situation, it IS almost impossible. I agree. :) As for people not looking forward to the holidays, I have found that MOST people don't. I think, perhaps, when you're a child it's all fun. Food, family, friends, all the excitement! When you get older it becomes more about which relatives you have to put up with, which foods you don't want to eat or walk off or hear about, which people are going to be offended if or when or whatever. It becomes not fun, and that is depressing for most people facing the holidays. The ones with tragedy in their lives, that's a whole other level of misery. :(

  12. Hey, friend! You got me on number one. My daily quiet time has too often gotten squeezed into whatever timeI had left over after so many other less important things got done.

  13. When I need an escape from the real world, I come visit you and look at your amazing picture!! Thankyou for sharing!!
    Today I noticed (I know its been there all along) the state map on the left that you color in for where youve been. Where did you find that?