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F is for Freedom

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I remember saying that the word for the year 2014 would be freedom. Little did I know in how many different ways that would ring true.

I meant financial freedom and freedom from a job. Not that I would have necessarily built my business big enough to be out of debt and able to quit my job, but that would be the focus for this year, to work towards that end. It still is, only now I have my husband to double that effort with.

But then came April, and another meaning to the word. It was my first year celebrating Pesach (Passover). I’ve started learning and observing various jewish practices. Pesach was the first holiday I experienced. It is a remembrance and celebration that the curse of the first born child being killed among all those in Egypt was not carried out to first borns in Jewish households. It is also a celebration of the Jewish people being led out of captivity from Egypt. I thought again of freedom.

And finally a much bigger meaning that this word has come to mean this year is in regards to all that I am learning about Jewish law and practice. Growing up I always saw all the laws of the Torah as being restrictive, “old-school”, irrelevant and enslaving. It is easy to see that when one looks towards them as individual rules rather than a collective whole. But as I have begun to understand them in context and with the idea that they’re not designed for restriction but for freedom. The freedom to draw near to my Creator and to be closer to holiness.

I had heard of a study done about children playing on a playground with a fence and then playing again after it was removed. I went searching for a source and found several articles that referenced the study, but none that clarified the source. The study concluded that when the fence was in place, the children would play freely, knowing exactly where the boundary was, and feeling safe within the boundary. When it was removed, they would stay closer to the building or their teacher and not venture as far.

Having no fence held them back from experiencing a feeling of freedom.

For a long time I threw around the word “legalism” and scoffed at people enslaved by some old code and tradition they didn’t have to follow anymore. But who was I to say what people had to and didn’t have to follow any more? Who are any of us to edit out parts of the book many of us claim to be holy and inspired? What I have found in Orthodoxy is more freedom than I ever had trying to do things my own way. I know the bounds I can live within for health, for a blessed marriage, for safety and favor. And for holiness. It isn’t legalism. It is life. It is my freedom.

Written by No More Tomorrows

August 1, 2014 at 1:33 pm

E is for Entrepreneurship

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When I was young, I was obsessed with the Baby-Sitter’s Club books series by Ann M. Martin. It was about a group of teenage girls who started a Babysitting business. They held meetings, took minutes, had a treasurer, and really ran it like a business. I got inspired and decided to start my own. We had one meeting and nothing ever happened. That seems to be the story of my life in many ways. I have had great ideas a lot in my life. But not much has happened with most of them. However that one business idea (though admittedly stolen from a book) was not my own business idea through the years. Even to this day I continue to think up business ideas and ways I can (legally and ethically) make money without having to report to a boss or be away from home and from my husband for 40 hours a week. My heart has always been pulled towards Entrepreneurship.

When I was in college, there was a minor you could obtain, Social Entrepreneurship. It taught you to start and run a non-profit. At that point, even though I was not in that program, I started to dream of non-profits that I could start. In one of my classes we were tasked with designing a youth ministry, from the mission statement, doctrinal beliefs, budget, schedules, etc. I dreamed up the concept of a coffeehouse/youth center for inner city youth to come and hang out, help run, study, do homework, etc. It was pretty detailed and I really wanted to make it a reality. I had the idea to start visiting nontraditional youth groups/centers to observe and study them to help contribute to my future place. Perhaps it can still be a vision for the future.

I am a fan of entrepreneurship. Although I’ve always been told I’m a great employee and I have many wonderful references from former jobs, I have never quite felt like I “fit” in the job world. I’ve always had the desire to do things on my own terms. It’s not that I don’t want to work or am lazy, it’s that if I’m putting my effort into something, I want it to be my own.  It is also something my husband shares, and it is something we both wish to impart on our future children. In addition to the full time jobs each of us have, we also own a business together. It is one of many we’d like to be a part of. It is a Direct Sales/Network Marketing business. It is what we plan to use to fund our future dreams of business ownership. He is into photography and film. I want to write and potentially start a publishing business. We both want to be home with our kids and watch them grow.

In the 21st century, quite a few things have changed and the sky is the limit for business ownership. You can still do that traditional brick and mortar business, or you can get creative, find your niche, and create a business. Find a great business idea, see if it fits a need, if there’s already someone doing it successfully and decide if you want to try and do it better, or if you’re filling a need that hasn’t successfully been filled.  Do you have experience in office/secretarial/data entry type work? Join a virtual assistant website and start to build your portfolio. Then branch out into your own company. There’s network marketing and direct sales (also known as MLM and crazy pyramid scheme things… a reputation not so wrongfully earned but also not completely accurate). Get crafty and set up an etsy site. Take a skill you have and market yourself to help others with that.

If you enjoy working, there’s nothing wrong with that. If you don’t have the entrepreneurial bug, there’s nothing wrong with you. We can’t all be business owners. If we did, the restaurants we eat at would be run entirely by the owners with no employees, hospitals would have no staff, and the world would be crazy. My jobs have taught me amazing skills, and I’ve had the opportunity to meet people, to serve people, and to grow as a person. Every thing I have learned I will put into practice in my own businesses. I am thankful for the jobs I’ve had, and the lessons I learned.

But if you do have the entrepreneurial bug, scratch the itch. Don’t let it sit and stir within you without doing something about it. Even if you’re afraid. Especially if you’re afraid.

 

I know I got way behind on this project. I refuse to let this be another one of those things I said I was going to do and then let drift off into forgotten ideas of nothingness world. Yeah, I don’t know what that is either. But you get the idea. I will get caught up.  

Written by No More Tomorrows

July 31, 2014 at 10:49 am

Responsibility in Marriage

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Oftentimes in my life when I learn a lesson, I sort of become obnoxious about it, like I suddenly have all the answers in the world and you HAVE to listen to me and HAVE to do as I say because it is the ONLY way. I’m learning ways of transferring my lessons to willing eyes and ears without presenting it as the only way. Hopefully lessons I learn will help others along the way not make as many mistakes, or see things differently. Take it for what you will.

I have been married for two months, so of course I’m an expert on the subject.

Where’s the sarcasm font?

Truthfully most of the time I feel completely lost, out of control, and a huge failure. And when that happens, I usually pick a fight and blame my husband for my feeling that way. He, even with his faults as no one is perfect, is pretty amazing. I oftentimes feel pretty unworthy of him. That is my own insecurity, but I lash out and present it that HE is MAKING me feel that way. Because of course, we know, that others are completely in control of our thoughts and emotions.

Sarcasm font.

I have learned a lot of lessons in a short time. I will learn many more through the rest of my life as I navigate being a wife. Marriage is hard. Really hard. It’s even harder when you are determined to fight to make it great. Walking away is the easy part. We have a society that has shirked accountability and responsibility, not only in marriage but in all aspects of our lives. We like to take the easy way out. But what does it take to keep fighting, to face yourself and fix in yourself whatever it is that is making your marriage difficult? But what if it’s the other person, you ask? Well, you’re not responsible for the other person’s actions. You’re responsible for your own.

Rabbi Shalom Arush writes a book targeted towards men called The Garden of Peace. He also writes one for women called Women’s Wisdom. I have only read Women’s Wisdom because he makes it very clear that we are not to read the one targeting the opposite gender, as our purpose is not to hold his words over our spouse’s head, but to work on ourselves and what we have control over. In Women’s Wisdom he states that the responsibility for peace in the home is 100% on our shoulders. But wait… shouldn’t it be 50/50? No, it shouldn’t. His point is that if the wife believes that the responsibility of peace in the home is 100% her responsibility then she will be more likely to act selflessly. If the husband also acts in a way that he takes 100% responsibility for the peace in his home, he will seek to act selflessly as well. Two people always putting full effort into making their home happy and not blaming the other for their problems, means that they will focus instead on improving themselves, bringing a better person to the marriage each day than the day before.

That is much easier said than done. But I believe fully that it is necessary and possible. It is what I strive to do every day. And trust me I’m currently failing miserably at it. But my goal is to always be improving. My husband isn’t perfect, but if his desire is to have a peaceful home, he will focus his efforts on himself. I don’t need to focus on him. I don’t have time to be trying to improve anyone else. I have plenty of imperfection in myself to deal with.

Written by No More Tomorrows

July 31, 2014 at 10:11 am

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Getting Ahead… of Myself

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The other day I was driving home from work and two different songs came on. I could picture both of them being a part of my “after” video. I saw pictures, and I put it all together in my mind.  

The problem?

I’m not an “after” yet. I’m still a “before”. 

On the one hand, thinking about the future I think helps visualize what is possible. It puts hope in my head that I won’t always be out of shape and unhealthy. However, on the other, bigger hand, you can visualize all you want, but if you stay sitting on the  couch eating oreos, the image you dream of will never come to  pass.

I haven’t been sitting on the couch eating oreos. I’ve  been eating  pretty well, but I’m still sitting on the couch much more than I  should be. It seems like it’s either/or with me. At the beginning of 2013 I joined a gym and was going 4-5 days a week for a few weeks. And I was eating  McDonalds and Wendy’s a few times a day. Then when I started to slack off on the gym, I changed my  eating to be more healthy. But I wasn’t really burning any calories besides that which I burned at work (which I’m lucky to have such an active job. I can now lift and carry 70 pounds on my own.. kinda crazy)

I’m guilty of dreaming a lot. That in itself isn’t bad. I fully believe it’s the dreamers who change the world.  But nothing happens to a dream when there is no action. It’s just a feel good experience and  then on continues life without change.

So, that is what I am continuing to work on. Letting my dreams turn into small goals that I can reach. Working every day to be a little more focused on doing and a little less pre-occupied with dreaming. 

I think once I get that together, I will rule the world.

Written by No More Tomorrows

April 28, 2013 at 12:19 pm

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This is My Now

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Wowsers. I cannot believe it’s been 2 weeks since I’ve written anything. I go to other pages and see they haven’t written in awhile and I get worried that they’ve slipped and aren’t doing well in their journey. However, if you follow my facebook “fan” page (weird to call it that) you’ll see that I’ve actually had a GREAT couple of weeks.

11/20 Weighin – down 4 pounds

11/27 Weighin – down 2 pounds

So, since I kicked things back into gear this month, I’ve seen results. And it feels amazing. So far on this journey I have lost 26 pounds, which puts my current weight at 294.  It still sucks to put that high of a number down, and to know it could be so much lower had I stuck to my hard work and not let myself backslide. But I made a decision when I started this journey that I’m not going back. Every pound that comes off my body will never be put back on. I’m not going back to what I used to be.

There was a time I packed my dreams away
Living in a shell, hiding from myself

There was a time when I was so afraid
I thought I’d reached the end, baby that was then
But I am made of more than my yesterdays

I got off work early and headed for a walk/run. I went to the track that’s a couple blocks from my house. I’ve been jogging the curves and walking the straights on the track, until I build up to be able to run entire laps. Half way through the workout I was almost in tears. Finishing up and walking back home, the tears were harder to ward off.

I had to decide, was I gonna to play it safe?
Or look somewhere deep inside, try to turn the tide
And find the strength to take that step of faith?

It’s not easy to push through exhaustion. It’s been my thing to give up on everything that is hard. It’s been the thing I do to take the easy way out. Making myself continue running when my lungs and legs are burning is uncomfortable. I don’t enjoy it. The other day I was holding plank (in yoga) and set my knees down when it started to hurt. I had to berate myself “Carrie, stop quitting!” And I got back up and held it the rest of the time, while I was shaking, and hurting, and struggling.

But I have a courage like never before, yeah
I’ve settled for less, but I’m ready for more
Ready for more!

This is my now and I am breathing in the moment
As I look around I can’t believe the love I see
My fear’s behind me, gone are the shadows and doubt
That was then, this is my now!

But as I was walking home from the track that day I had to face facts. This wouldn’t have been so difficult if I had started before now. I was overweight my whole life, but for about a third of it, I was the same weight plus or minus 10 pounds. It wasn’t until a year ago, at the weight I swore would be my heaviest, I put on an additional 40 pounds in less than 6 months. Call it stress, call it depression, call it whatever you want to call it, but if I had started then, I wouldn’t have had those extra 40 pounds to take off.

Now, instead of 140 pounds I wanted to lose, I have 180.  Now I have that much harder to work, when it could have been just a little bit easier before to start and get it done. I never would have had to know what it was like to see 300 on the scale. Do you know what it’s like? It’s hell. That’s what it is. It’s facing the fact that you’ve completely lost control.

So this is it for me. I refuse to look back a year from now, 50 pounds heavier, and wish I had started now.  And I’m asking you to do the same. Don’t give yourself a holiday pass. Don’t wait for new years. Don’t wait for the money to get a gym membership, or the doctor to call you back about surgery, or your chance at the Biggest Loser, etc. Start now. Whatever it is.

This is my now, and I’m not looking back. And I’m asking you to join me.

*Lyrics for This is My Now, performed by Jordin Sparks

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

November 30, 2011 at 3:11 pm

If I eat a cookie in the woods and no one is around, do I still get fat?

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In hiding. In secret. Secret stashes. Waiting to be alone. Preoccupied with the thoughts of wanting it. Throwing away the evidence. Nobody will know. It doesn’t count if nobody sees. Waiting for the next hit. The next high. I need it. Needing a shot of it. More. Never enough. Never satisfied. And then the regret. Never again.

Until the next time.

And the cycle continues.

I am not an alcoholic. I am not into heroine or meth, crack or pills.

But I love food.

I think love is the wrong word. When I say I love my family, my son, my boyfriend, I mean that I appreciate that, that I have a respect for them, a deep emotion to take care of them.

To love food is to appreciate it, real food, the stuff that nourishes and sustains your body. The stuff that you eat and it makes you feel good, strong, healthy.

I have an obsession with eating. That’s what it is.

For my entire life I hoarded food, hid food, ate it in secret and then threw away the evidence.

As a little kid I use to wait for the chance to run to the kitchen and snarf something really quickly. We didn’t often have many sweets in the house that I can remember, so when she would go downstairs to the laundry room I would run to the kitchen and eat spoonfuls of straight sugar. If we did happen to have something I’d unwrap it, eat it, and bury the wrapping in the bottom of the trashcan so nobody would see it, and hope that nobody would remember there were 3 cakes left instead of 2.

At parties and food gatherings it was taking extra pieces and bigger scoops of things and hoping nobody saw. Then hoping nobody noticed I went back for seconds, and thirds, and then snuck one more bread roll (or 2) as I was walking out the door.

Late night eating, and then embarrassment over wanting to eat again so I’d wait for my roommate to go to bed so that I could eat more without anybody seeing how much I was eating. If nobody sees it, it doesn’t count, right?

I would stop at a fast food place or gas station on my way home and eat something bad, and then fix dinner once I was home.

I think about eating a lot. It monopolizes my thoughts on a constant basis. There are times I’m sitting with my boyfriend watching television and he asks me if I heard something, or what I thought about what was just said. And I am too embarrassed to tell him I didn’t hear it because I was thinking about something I wanted to eat.

Tuesday for some strange reason I decided to buy 700 calories worth of coffee on my way home from work. Despite not having caffeine in like 6 weeks I thought it was a good idea to get caffeine. I hurried to finish it before I got off the train, threw the cup away, and was just glad that my boyfriend wouldn’t know I had just done that.

Then I got home and immediately after walking in the door I threw up. Then I had the shakes from the caffeine. Then I had a headache hit me like a ton of bricks. Needless to say, he found out, because I told him. He asked me why I did it.

Good question. That’s when the guilt creeps in and my response simply was “Because I’m stupid”.

It’s easy to beat myself up after a binge or a bad food choice. I’m hopeless, stupid, worthless. Instead of just acknowledging the slip up and moving past it, I decide beating myself up over it is the better choice. How does guilt work for you? Not well for me. Because it causes the problem to magnify itself. Well I’m already screwed, so why not make it TEN TIMES WORSE?!

People will sometimes say that losing weight is just about eating less and moving more. Well, yes that’s true, it mostly is about that. But for some of us, it’s figuring out how to kill an addiction to something that our body still needs. Alcoholics can just avoid alcohol and bars. Drug addicts can avoid the places they buy drugs.

But what of us that have a bad relationship with food and eating? What do we do? We have to buy groceries. We have to walk by and drive by food places everywhere we go. We have to learn to live with the fact that our body needs nourishment and therefore we have to correct our relationship with food.

It’s not easy.

I don’t want a pill or a surgery or any kind of quick fix. That won’t stick. I just need to learn to have an appreciation and respect for food, and moreso an appreciation and respect for my body and what it needs.

It’s a process.

Other people who understand the struggle:

Twelve in Twelve “My Cycle”

Ben Does Life “A Constant Struggle and a Breakthrough”

 

Feed Me I’m Cranky “Rob Kardashian’s Struggle with Binge Eating

 

 

Written by No More Tomorrows

October 13, 2011 at 10:58 am

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Friday Funny

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Because I can sit and laugh at these all day, I’m sharing them with you. Hopefully since it’s FRIDAY you aren’t needing a laugh, but just come back to them on Monday. 🙂

 

 

Everybody have a great weekend. Don’t forget to smile. 🙂

Written by No More Tomorrows

September 23, 2011 at 1:52 pm

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