5 Months, 8 Days, 14 Hours……….


since I lit up and smoked my last cigarette, according to my handy-dandy QuitIt app. If you’re a former smoker, you understand what the last few months of my life have been like.

It’s hard to believe as a 12-year-old, I thought smoking was oh-so-cool. Now, as a woman turning 45 this year, I regret lighting up that first cigarette. Let me clarify: I DID NOT smoke from 12 until 44. I didn’t  join in as a ‘real smoker’ until I was around 15 or 16. My friends did it. My parents were chain smokers. It was a part of my world for as long as I can remember.

Another thing I remember is getting car sick on long road trips with my parents as they smoked. Looking back, I don’t know why they didn’t crack or roll down the windows during those endless miles. My complaints weren’t met with the obvious reaction. Instead, we’d pull into the nearest rest area so I could get somewhat of a break, as they continued to smoke.

I also remember learning in school,  cigarettes would kill my parents. I rectified that situation by throwing away newly purchased cartons of cigarettes. Problem solved, right? Uh no! More like I ended up in trouble. I was worried about my parents but it was still a time where the Marlboro man was cool and smoking was just the thing to do. My parents weren’t concerned with the years worth of damage  smoking was doing to their health. In fact, my mom ended up on an oxygen machine during the last few years of her life. Ironically, the first time I went over to see her and the new oxygen machine, she was sitting in bed smoking!

I will admit, I was the adult smoker, puffing away, warning the younger generation of the perils of the nicotine addiction. One of my most ironic and sad memories relating to smoking is: A good friend of mine, who use to babysit my daughter, was outside, you guessed it, smoking, when I arrived. I did what any good smoker does and lit up a cigarette to join her. Tears streamed down her face as she delivered the bad news: her grandmother had been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer. My heart sank and clenched with pain for my friend and her family, even as we both puffed and puffed away. Despite the news, neither one of us thought, it’s time to quit smoking.

Fast forward a few years. My daughter is in elementary school and has asked me to accompany her class on a field trip to one of our state parks. Sure, why not, I think. It’s Spring, the weather is perfect and I’d never been to this particular park. Yeah, lemme tell you. Little did I know her teacher and the teacher she partnered up with were evidently in training for an Olympic type of marathon! Initially, I did give it a good-hearted attempt to keep up with the teachers-determined-to-whip-me-into-shape. I even made sure to keep the stragglers caught up with us. That’s right, I was the BEAST! For the first five minutes.

Then my smoker’s lungs started kicking in. Sweat glands I didn’t know existed made their presence known. Luckily, I’d established with the teachers from hell  I was in charge of the stragglers, so it became easy to slow it on down and walk their pace. No longer was I encouraging them to keep up, I was begging THEM to s-l-o-w down! I can remember at one point where they gave up on me trying to catch up with them. Not only did we finish the walk in 2.5 miliseconds, we also had to wait another 20 something hours for the other classes to arrive at the meeting point. Okay, okay, so I’m exaggerating just a little.

It was at that point I knew I had to quit smoking. There was no reason for me to be in my 30’s and ready to keel over from what should have been an invigorating walk. My mind was made up and I quit. For over 2 years. At least, in the sense that I didn’t buy cigarettes. I didn’t smoke cigarettes. But I never stopped feigning for cigarettes. It was oh-so easy to start back up. I’ll just smoke when: fill-in-the-blank. And then as I became more comfortable with the different allowances to smoke, I was a full-time smoker again.

Now, I am back into the world of not smoking. Again. After another attempt back in August of last year. I went three weeks before I just had to smoke again. I have been wanting to post about  my non-smoking journey that began a few months ago but honestly, I was afraid that I would have given in again. I am trying, no not trying, I am succeeding at being a non-smoker. The first month really didn’t bother me. It’s been the second month going into the third that had me going absolutely bonkers! It was through a newsletter for people who have quit smoking that I read once you get to the third month and haven’t smoked, your chances for remaining a non-smoker increase tremendously. That is what I held onto for dear life as the days from 2 months into 3 months slowed down drastically.

I’m still struggling with the addiction part at times but not so much that I am willing to taint my non-smoking lips and lungs! The app does tell me how much money I’ve saved as well as how my body is healing. Like most smokers who quit,  I have packed on the pounds.  I can’t even say it’s because food tastes so much better. It’s because I want to SMOKE! The next phase of kicking the habit is to turn my eating habits around. I knew I would gain weight and gave myself a time period to substitute one oral fixation for another. Temporarily, that is!  And so the determination continues into another day I can add to my time of kicking the habit. I’m off into the next journey of kicking the jiggly off my belly!

Any addictions you quit? How many times did it take you? What are some words of advice and encouragement you can give the rest of us?


What Are You Waiting For?


Do you remember in one of the ‘Scary Movie’ scenes, Cindy is outside  yelling, “What are you waiting for?” (If not, go watch ALL the Scary Movie’s. Well worth the chuckle or two, or hundreds you’ll get.) And the principal is on top of the building, thinking she’s talking to him. So he jumps. That scene popped into my head as I was on a FREE call for motivational speaker, Les Brown. Actually, Les was traveling so he had a guest speaker, Wade Randolph. Man, was he on FIRE! He must have been if that scene jumped into my mind, eh? Lemme explain, before it sounds too weird.

The basic topic was: Fearful or Fearless! How does that relate to the scene? In the principal’s case, he was fearful for his wrong doing and chose to deal with his situation in a rather grisly manner. Cindy, on the other hand, was tired of being afraid and bravely bellowed out to the unseen killer stalking her and her friends. Fearful and Fearless. I know, I know, an odd way to look at it but hey, there you have it.

Listening to Wade Randolph was a first for me but I’m glad  I had the opportunity to hear his powerful words. One of the things he said, which hit a chord with me, is: ‘You’re never too young to learn. You’re never too old to learn.”

BAM! That’s what I say! I’ve heard, so often, people share their dreams or goals with me and then sadly dismiss the pursuit of their dreams because of age.  I don’t know how many times I’ve said to people, ‘Age ain’t but a number.’ I get there are certain things we can do depending on our ages but let me tell you this, dreams aren’t included in those types of conditions, limitations, laws, or whatever you want to call it.

How many times have you read about a young child who believes strongly in a cause and sets out to prove a point to the world? A point that is not only accomplished but recognized. Or, one of my favorites, when you see a ninety-year old person getting their diploma, whether for high school or college.

What are your dreams? If you had the complete go ahead, everything set in place, what would you be doing? Why aren’t you doing it? What’s really stopping you?

That being said, I wanted to encourage each and every one of you to go for it! 

My 2012 Gonna-Do List

These are some of the things I’m going to do this year. I’ll probably be adding on through out the year. I don’t like the term “Bucket List” since it basically has to do with what you want to achieve before you “kick the bucket.” I prefer to look at it as My Gonna-Do List to enjoy living! What’s on Your Gonna-Do List?
  • See Joyce Meyer
  • Take vitamins daily
  • Bake more
  • Try cooking new recipes
  • Get into shape (already groaning on this one)
  • Listen to motivational and uplifting messages daily
  • Go to an Aaron Beck workshop (LOVE Cognitive Behavior Therapy!!!)
  • Focus on my creative writing
  • Have a slamming Review and Giveaway blog
  • Get into reading again
  • Go fishing this year
  • Go horseback riding with Jeannie 
  • Finish decorating my office, to include my fish tank and plant-quarium!
  • Make my procrastination a PAST behavior!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • Truly appreciate the smaller things in life
  • Revamp my personal blog

On The Count Down

It’s hard to believe we are already heading towards the middle of December. The months January through August go relatively slow for me. I suffer through the cold months and keep pushing towards the warmer weather. Then I suffer even more through the heat waves and I am thankful it’s NOT cold. When September hits, time seems to speed up a little more. October through December become quite the blur for me. I don’t know why the months roll by like that for me but they always have.

The last few weeks I’ve been really thinking about goals for the upcoming year. I have always been of the mindset that I want to do it A-L-L!!!! I suppose I could achieve that goal if I spent about maybe a second on each of the things I want to do but alas, what would be the fun in that?

This year has marked a big change in me regarding my creative writing. If I’d known what road doing the writing prompts would take me on, I’d have quietly said, “Nu-uh. I’m not going to share my writing, let alone put it on the internet for people to see”. Isn’t life grand?? That was one of the twists and turns I didn’t expect which has brought me much joy. I’ve had wonderful support and feedback, as well as amazing encouragement  My writing legs, so to speak, are still pretty new to me but I’m looking forward to seeing where the next year takes me. I’ve had a couple people encourage me to get published but at this point, it’s not what I really want. Who knows though??

I’ve been taking a look at how blogging this year has caught me by surprise and introduced me to a world beyond my imagination. I have met some wonderful people, whether briefly or on a weekly basis in the Blog Frog Communities. I’ve learned about Klout. (I’m still mad mine went down after I worked hard when they revamped their confusing figuring that complicated stuff out. I might quit pouting by 2012. I haven’t decided yet.) I took the leap to start a review and giveaway blog. Yep, it’s not at all what I expected when I started blogging. I’m glad I started.

I’ve thought about my Bucket List for 2012. I’ve been wanting to see Joyce Meyer every September for years. Every September I’ve not went. A few weeks ago I thought to myself, what’s stopping you from going? Nothing but…….Hmmm, there really isn’t anything to stop me from going. I’ve invited one of my good friends to go and it’s going to be my treat!

Of course, I’ve been looking at how to be more effective at work as well. I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by the end of the year number crunching and dealing with the insurance company from Hades but I’m also looking forward to organizing myself to be more effective thanks to the trials and tribulations of this past year.

So, that’s where I’ve been. In my mind, thinking, looking, reflecting, planning, rearranging plans, goal-setting; all those things the end of the year brings about for us.

Have you been planning your goals for 2012? 
Were you happy and satisfied with the goals you accomplished for 2011?

Got Goals?

So, it’s been a minute since I last blogged. I’ve had a lot of different topics running through my head, even started a couple of posts. I think the problem is I have TOO much going on in my mind that I want to work on. Not just blogging but in my career and personal life.

I am the queen of mental list making. I think I must have a brain larger than the average brain. Not because I have extra  intelligence but because I need extra space for all the lists. The problem with being a mental list maker is I spend more time creating and revising my lists than I do implementing what I want to achieve.
So, what’s the cure for the mental list then, you ask.
Glad you asked! (No, I didn’t create another list…….well, okay I did, but this time I wrote it down.)

I realized I need to set my lists into goals. I’ve read tons of articles on setting and achieving goals. I’ve participated in training events geared towards the same thing. I even came up with my own little view on achieving goals.

  • Figure out WHAT you want to accomplish. It’s so easy to be broad and general. Narrow down the specific goal you want to accomplish.
  • What is the time frame you want to accomplish your goal? Keep in mind what your schedule is really like. Will you be able to spend an hour solely focused or is it more realistic that you can spend 15 minutes on the goal. Will it be a daily, weekly, or a few times a week?
  • Visualize completing your goals. Make a vision board. Put post it notes up. Give yourself reminders for the days you can actively work on your goal and the days you can’t.
  • Share your goals with someone. Make yourself accountable to someone. Get a goal partner so you can cheer each other to the finish line.
  • Share accomplishing your goals. You never know who you might inspire when you share your success.
  • Last, but not least in any way, this is the one thing I’ve never seen when I looked into goal setting. For me, it was an a-ha moment. You know what your strengths and challenges are. My challenge is procrastinating. I rule on that planet. This will impede achieving my goals. I need to be aware of this. BUT one of my strengths is this: When I truly set my mind to get something I want, I have never let myself down. I’ve proven I can get past the challenges, the stumbling blocks, and yes, even that nasty little habit of procrastinating. 

                    “Obstacles are those frightful things you see 

when you take your eyes off the goal.” 

How do you accomplish your goals? 

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