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KIDS!  Kids made this!  How amazing is that!?
I borrowed this from my friend Kyle at LoveLife, who featured this on his organizations Facebook page earlier today.  Check them out!  Powerful movement!!!  Brilliance should be shared!
Kindly and with SMILES~
Meghan
I have been rummaging for inspiration lately, where ever I can find it.  I listen for it in friends’ voices, I look for it in others’ eyes, I seek it out, I crave it.  It’s not a rarity, but rather just something I cannot get enough of.  It’s the unquenchable thirst for understanding, for stimulation, for insight.  

As part of my quest, I always look for new quotes.  It’s something I have been doing since I was a little girl- finding truth in others’ brilliance.  Extracting epiphanies from ordinary statements.  

These are just some of the quotes I have been stuck on lately, trying hard to grab the words, and run with them.  After all “words are just words unless you live them.”

‘living is a form of not being sure,
not knowing what next or how…
we guess. we may be wrong,
but we take leap after leap in the dark.’
~ agnes de mille~

‘as human beings we all want to be happy and free from misery…
we have learned that the key to happiness is inner peace.
the greatest obstacles to inner peace 
are disturbing emotions such as anger, attachment,
fear and suspicion,
while love and compassion and a sense
of universal responsibility are the sources of peace
and happiness.’
~ the dalai lama~

‘there is no way to peace

peace is the way.’
~ a.j. muste~

‘what we seek we shall find;
what we flee from flees from us.’
~ralph waldo emerson~

‘at times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.’

~albert schweitzer~

‘i will not let anyone walk through my mind with dirty feet.’

~gandhi~
  ‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.’
~1 Corinthians 13~ 
‘don’t forget to love yourself.’ 
~Soren Kierkegaard~

As a follow up, and for those who read through the desperation that made up this post a few weeks back, Bren, Liam and I are happy to announce that we are expecting a baby boy!!! 

This means that EVERYONE who took the survey from said post was dead.wrong. (myself included).  We are shocked and delighted to be welcoming Collin Matthew in mid-October.

Further pregnancy banter to follow… for sure.

Stay tuned  ;)

This is where you can go to find a list of organizations who are accepting donations and charity for relief efforts in Japan.  I originally came across this website via this fabulous blog.

My thoughts, love and sympathy are with all those who are faced with the devastation of the recent natural disasters.
Gird your hearts with silent fortitude, suffering yet hoping all things.”

Around this time of year… every.year, people start making their highly anticipated New Year Resolutions.  And whilst I hear all of these magnificent objectives being averred with full intent, I also hear the same people simultaneously declare their eventual failure to see any of their resolutions into full fruition. 

“My resolution is to exercise more… but I know in two months, my running shoes will be covered in dust, hiding in the back of my closet.”  
“I am going to make an effort to volunteer more… but we’ll see how busy I am at work.”  
Lighting a cigarette: “I’m going to quit smoking.”
Don’t Limit Yourself

These are all wonderful goals!  They are all things, that if acted upon, would contribute to a balanced lifestyle.  In fact, I have similar goals.  So yay!  Yay for conjuring up a few ambitions!

But BOOOO!  Boo for setting ourselves up for failure, year after year after year.

Rather than resolving to modify my lifestyle on an annual basis and watching change fly away, I have decided to look at resolution as an attitude as opposed to a goal.

And my attitude of resolution goes a little something like this:

To be better and better and better, to keep looking ahead, to strive to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.  To embrace variance.  To love and be loved.

Endless Possibilities

I, for one, believe that once I stop setting myself up for failure, and once I make a promise to myself that life is not about yearly delusions, but rather a shift in overall attitude, that I will accomplish all that I need and want to… whenever I am supposed to.  Maybe not in 2011, or in 2019.

2042, perhaps?

But one way or another, I’ll get there.  Because I know that I’m not done.  I never will be.

Keep Moving!

My Bubba-

I find myself thinking back to where I was before you were born: 200+ pounds, swollen face, hands and legs, sore all over. I was so anxious to meet the person who took home inside my womb. I was so nervous: What if I don’t know what to do once you’re born? I was growing impatient with everyday that passed, as there was nothing on my mind except for meeting, you, my son, for the first time.

I remember the day we found out that you were a boy. I remember Daddy; the tears in his eyes, the smile on his face, the bliss in his voice. On the ride home, we couldn’t stop smiling if we tried. Dad called Grandma and Grandpa, I called Gammy and Pop-Pop, to tell them that they were going to have a grandson named Liam Michael. It goes without saying, they were overjoyed.

I remember that I stared at your ultrasound pictures for DAYS, stopping only to blink or shed a tear. I carried them around with me, so I could look you whenever I wanted.

I remember the exact spot that I felt your first kick, directly beneath my left ribcage. What a thrill it was that very first time in particular, to have you physically communicate your own existence!!!

I remember looking at my belly on a daily basis, rubbing your feet through my flesh, singing to you through my navel, whispering to you how wonderful I knew you were going to be. I was right.

I remember laughing when you would move; it tickled me inside out- both physically and emotionally.

I remember taking baths and watching you swirl around, especially when I would splash my belly with water- you must have been doing back flips.

I remember the day Daddy and I got married- you were with us. I can barely think about that day without crying, as it was so special to have you with us on such an important day. You and I looked beautiful that day, together.

I remember going for my monthly, and eventually weekly checkups, and how excited I would be: Maybe I would get to see you on the monitor!! And at the very least, I knew I’d hear your heartbeat, which was music to my ears, (and still is).

Each day, I remember recognizing that you were always with me, and that everything I did was for you. It became my “auto-pilot,” it became my way of living, and it became my future.

I remember dreaming of you; what you would look like, how your hand would fit into mine, how your laugh would sound.

I remember taking pictures every week to document our physical growth. What I could not document was the evolution of our bond and of our love for one another. That was a sacred spot for both of us, and was for our ears only.

I remember when Riley began to sleep in your room before you were even born. She knew I was pregnant. She was expecting you.

I remember how great of a support Daddy was for me, and consequently, for you. He was constantly reminding me that he was proud of me, and that he loved me. He fed us ice cream every night Liam!!

I remember your due date coming and going with you still in my belly. This was hard to swallow. I just wanted to be able to kiss you and lay my cheek to yours.

I remember calling Daddy and telling him “We’re having a baby tomorrow.” “GULP!!” he said. That night, we tucked ourselves in bed with tears in our eyes, for we knew the next day, we would meet the love of our lives- you.

I remember how sad I was to have my pregnancy come to an end because I felt so close with you, so connected. We were two people living in the same body. I knew the very core of you, and you of me.

I remember the ride to the hospital, holding Dad’s hand, calling Gammy and Grandma, smiling from ear to ear. We stopped at Starbucks before our 6:00am check-in at Fairfax Hospital. It was my last savory treat until the next day.

I remember labor being all the more intense because, darn it, I just wanted you in MY arms!! I had a c-section after 12 hours of labor. I remember feeling the doctors wiggle you out of my tummy and hold you up. I remember how fast the tears came, and how little I could do to keep myself from crying. You were crying, not surprisingly. But it was one of the most beautiful cries I have ever heard.

I remember having to say goodbye to you and Dad for 30 minutes while they cleaned me up. I woke up in a recovery area where, as soon as I opened my eyes, I saw you and Daddy staring at each other silently. I am thankful for that memory, and always will be.

I remember the next 3 days in the hospital were hard on all three of us, but at the same time, they were our first 3 days as a family, as a unit, as a whole- and we made it through together. Just as we have this past year! And what a WONDERFUL year it has been.

Our dearest Liam-

Today, you are 1 year old. Dad and I cannot put into words how much we love you- it is simply impossible. However, I can tell you that this past year has been the most profound year of our lives- watching you grow, witnessing your discoveries, encouraging your desires, and providing for your needs. While we both knew how special you would be, I don’t think either one of us could have imagined you to be as incredible as you truly are. You have helped us learn so much, as our teamwork as a couple, our abilities as parents, and our patience as humans has far surpassed what we thought ourselves capable. Thank you for your precious presence in our lives.

You, in one word, are magic, my love.
All our love, forever and ever-

Mommy and Daddy.

Today, I have had almost nothing on my mind. At least nothing that has any pull over my general mood. I’ve felt unusually blank, dull. This would bother me more had today not been particularly delightful: I smiled, genuinely, at everyone I passed, as I glided through the hallways of my office, humming Penny Lane aloud. And my smiles, every single one of them, were reciprocated.

At one point, I stepped outside- abandoning my workload for a short breather. There were two young Asian women outside where I sought solace. They were taking turn snapping photos of each other on the bench outside of my office. They appeared to be new students, and were definitely excited about being on campus! This, to me, was adorable. Though I was already in a smiley mood, this nudged it along. I obviously interrupted their photo shoot… but was oblivious to it at the time. I just smiled and hummed. After they got the shots they wanted, and were satisfied with the digital images that would later become their next Facebook profile pictures, they made it a point to look at me, smile back, and say cheerfully, “See you,” in perfect unison. This left me feeling so noticed.

So for the rest of the day, I went about, smiling and humming. The song didn’t change- Penny Lane flowed through my mind and into my vocal chords like a deliciously functioning fondue fountain onto a succulent strawberry, begging to be eaten. My hums, as drone as they may or may not be, were begging to be heard today. So I let them flow, I let them go.

I didn’t fret today. I didn’t worry about you. I didn’t mull over us. Today was what it was, and I am thankful for that. It makes me smile.

I actually feel like a little piece of me is missing since I stopped blogging after Season 8’s finale.

That’s why *I think* I am going to pick it back up again. I know, I know. Season 9 is nearly half way through. But I do not care about that. This is when things get juicy anyway!

Keep your eyes peeled for me!

As a Biggest Loser finale always is, last night’s season-ending show was an edge-of-your-seat experience. 
Without further ado (because I realize where the importance of this post lies)…

The Winner (aka- The Biggest Loser):

Danny Cahill

Dude… he transformed into a member of the lolli-pop guild!!! 

    

The 39-year-old from Broken Arrow, Oklahoma lost an astonishing 239 pounds to beat out the other 15 contestants who started Season 8- Second Chances with him.  Cahill is a self-proclaimed former stud/rock-star who now works as a land-surveyor.  He said before the final (live) weigh-in that he “feels like a million bucks.”  And now… the man sits $250,000 richer, has added years to his life, and has been dubbed THE Biggest Loser of Season 8.  Bravo!    

Now for the juicy stuff…

 

Close your eyes and think of the most yummy juice you can imagine.  For me, it’s gotta be Sunny D.  This seasons transformations blew.my.socks.off.  If you didn’t watch, be prepared to say “Wow” and “Oh my gosh” about 127 times in the next 5-6 minutes.  These pictures are going to floor you!  (All photos © NBC.  Source.)     

Abby Rike: lost 100 pounds exactly (started at 247, ended at 147)

Abby Rike, 35, went from depressed and overweight to alive and smokin' within a 13 week time frame

Alexandra White: lost 91 pounds (started at 309, ended at 218)

Alexandra White, 20, not only found herself through her weight loss journey, but found a love in one of the other contestants, Antoine Dove.

Allen Smith: lost 116 pounds (started at 325, ended at 209)

Allen Smith, 44, says that for him, the show was about saving his own life.

Amanda Arlauskas: (finalist) lost 87 pounds (started at 250, ended at 163)

Amanda Arlauskas, 19, made her dreams come true by following through with her goals after leaving the Biggest Loser campus

Antoine Dove: lost 152 pounds (started at 367, ended at 215)

Antoine Dove, 23, slimmed down on his own after being eliminated early on in the season

Daniel Wright: lost 111 pounds (started at 312, ended at 201) this season.  Last season he started at 454 pounds. 

Daniel Wright, 20, has lost a TOTAL of 253 pounds- the most ever by a Biggest Loser contestant

Danny Cahill: (finalist- Winner) lost 239 pounds (started at 430, ended at 191)

Danny Cahill, 39, was named the Biggest Loser of season 8, with an amazing 239 pound weight loss. He says that people literally do not know who he is when they see him.

Dina Mercado: lost 79 pounds (started at 253, ended at 174)

Dina Mercado, 28, kept her end of the bargain when she left the ranch in the middle of the season, and lost 44 pounds at home.

Julio Gomez: lost 180 (started at 407, ended at 227)

Julio Gomez, 40, vowed to himself and his family that he would be "fit by 40" and kept his promise! His biggest joy is that he can now play with his kids.

Liz Young: (final four- voted off by viewers) lost 91 pounds (started at 267, ended at 176)

Liz Young, 49, a grandmother of 9, says she has never been happier. "I got my life back. That, to me, is priceless."

Mozziz DeWalt: (Coach Mo) lost 92 pounds (started at 355, ended at 263)

Coach Mo DeWalt, 56, continues to inspire and mentor children, especially since his success on The Biggest Loser

Rebecca Meyer: (AT-HOME WINNER) lost 139 pounds (started at 279, ended at 140)

Yes, this is the same person. Rebecca Meyer, 25, (who I will now refer to as Tinkerbell), won $100,000 for losing the most weight post elimination.

Rudy Pauls: (finalist, runner up) lost 234 pounds (started at 442, ended at 208)

"Big Rudy" Rudy Pauls, 31, says that he gets mad at himself on days when he cannot run 8 miles. He also says he continues to work 70 hours a week and be a great father and husband. Nick name change: Super Rudy

 Sean Algaier: lost 155 pounds (started at 444, ended at 289)

Sean Algaier, 29, and his wife just welcomed a daughter who they named "Jillian"

 

Shay Sorrells: lost 172 pounds (started at 476- the biggest contestant ever- ended at 304)

Shay Sorrells, 29 was invited back to next season finale, where Subway has pledged to pay her $1000 for every pound she loses.

Tracey Yukich: lost 118 pounds (started at 250, ended at 132)

Tracey Yukich, 37, nearly won the $100,000 at-home prize, until Rebecca took her out of the running.

 

  

 

   

Episode 12:

 

This was kind of a heavy week.  Not only were we exposed to the 4 remaining contestants going home, we were also made privy to some of their ‘at home’ issues that enabled their obesity in the first place:

Just a quick rundown

Rudy suffers from a feeling of being alone, of being responsible for everything.  This, as he acknowledged, was triggered by the death of his older sister when he was 12 (she was 14).  After being diagnosed with leukemia, she was sick for a year before the disease took her life.  A part of Rudy went with her, and as he says, he has never been the same:  “Everything changed for me… [this] started my battle with weight,” he admitted, saying this is when he began to rely heavily on food as a source of security and companionship.  During this episode, they show a really sweet moment between Big Rudy and his wife.  As they sat by their backyard pool, she asked him, “What did you need back then?  A hug?”  “Maybe,” he said.  He knows he still has a long way to go.  I think that’s beautiful.

Liz is in a marriage that is at a crossroads.  She came home from the ranch to an ordinary scenario; one that fostered her unhealthy life style for years and years.  Liz is a smart woman, who knows herself very well.  But as she points out, it isn’t enough to simply know yourself.  Knowing yourself isn’t worth as much if you don’t honor yourself.  Another sweet moment captured on camera this week: Liz and her husband took a walk on their [gorgeous] property.  The sun was shining, the weather was free and clear.  And so was Liz: “Things are going to be different,” she told her husband.  She told him she wanted fun and adventure back in their marriage.  He concurred.  Again, beautiful. 

Amanda is one determined woman!  She has been overweight, and ashamed of it, all of her life.  She has never known what it felt like to be skinny.  Well girl… how does it feel?!  Rock on, sister!

Danny is shown taking a drive, which he says “helps him focus.”  He said that he has been back and forth with his weight all of his life: Overweight as a youngster, thin as a young adult, obese as an adult, and now back to being thin again.  He is terrified that he’ll go back to being fat again, falling in line with his life’s “pattern.”  He is still in search of where his emotional attachment to food comes from.  On another note, Jillian came to visit Danny, and found out that there was a new problem that had developed since he had been home: His wife is feeling left out/left behind while Danny is in pursuit of his physical and emotional well-being.  Jillian told her it was time for a change.  “Look within yourself.  Your own emotions are a compass for you.”  I LOVE that!

Let’s get this show on the road

In true Biggest Loser form, each contestant received a package containing a DVD for their viewing pleasure.  It was a trip down a painful memory lane for all four of them, as they were given the opportunity to see their entrance interviews that were taped during the first week of the show.  Immediately following, each player received a phone call from either Bob or Jillian, both of whom were calling to tell their pupils that they would be running a full marathon (a total of 26.2 miles) in a few days.  And, last but not least, immediately following the not-so-impromptu phone calls, Bob and Jillian paid an unexpected visit to each contestant:  Bob visited Amanda and Rudy, and Jillian visited Danny and Liz.

The Marathon was hard to watch.  Especially with Danny and Amanda, who both expressed being in severe amounts of pain at certain points during their run.   At one point, Danny was in so much pain, he thought he was going to give up.  But with the encouragement of his wife, and the support from his teammate, Liz, Danny decided to push past his discomfort and finish strong.  All four contestants did just that!  Big Rudy was the only one to run the entire marathon, and he crossed the finish line first.  Amanda was next, who finished with Tara (Season 7) and her best friend by her side.  An hour later, Danny and Liz were accompanied by Bob across the finish line.  And a very familiar finish line it was: The last mile of the marathon was the first mile that the contestants ran on the season’s premiere.  What a way to wrap it up and remind each of them just how far they have come in 12 weeks time.

Ali, Tara, Liz, Amanda, Danny, Rudy, Dina, Mike, Helen are forever connected after both finishing and helping to finish the Biggest Loser Season 8 Marathon

Get on that scale

It was now time to weigh the contestants in one last time before the finale.  As always, there was a yellow line under which no one wanted to fall.  The yellow line, throughout the season and especially now, symbolized safety.  The two people above- safe.  The two below- not safe.

Liz started the ceremony.  She ended up losing a total of 16 pounds in 60 days at home- a great number, she acknowledged, though she was hoping for more. 

Amanda, like Liz, also lost 16 pounds.  A terrific achievement by any standard. 

Danny was next on the scale.  He lost a jaw-dropping 59 pounds in 60 days at home.  A hair away from a pound per day.  As he exclaimed, he “KILLED IT!”  This was enough to secure him a spot in the final 3, and a real shot at $250,000.  His weight-loss however, pushed Liz below the yellow line.

Finally, it was Big Rudy’s turn to weigh in.  He lost an amazing 43 pounds!!  “I worked for every one of them, but I still have a lot of work to do before the finale,” he said, as he stepped off of them podium.  His shedding of poundage was enough to secure his spot along side Danny in the live finale, next week.  Ladies and gentlemen- Let’s get ready to rrrruuuuummmmbbbblllleeee!!! (said in my most authorizative of voices).

So here’s the deal:  Amanda and Liz are in the bottom two.  Each of them still has the opportunity to be in the final three.  But their fate is in the hands of The Biggest Loser viewers.  Who should it be?  Amanda, a young woman who has so much to experience and do and learn?  Or Liz, a woman who hopes to gain back the person she used to be?  Either way, I have faith that each will achieve their goals- both physically and emotionally.  Either way, they have each, as Liz said “gotten [their lives] back.  And that is pricelss.”

Vote here for either Amanda or Liz!

Penmenship Participants (aka- Me)

I’m not a birdie, but I tweet here and there. Mostly there.

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From my head matter to yours

I have ambitions to live out my passions; I'm just not totally sure what they are yet. For those of you that have harnessed your own passions, I'm both jealous of you, and happy for you. I feel that I have so much to say and at times, too many ideas running through my head; currently, my wires are temporarily crossed until I acquire the capabilities to untangle them. Until then, I am putting my best (big) foot forward (size 10), I am writing as much as my busy life allows me to (I have a 18 month old boy at home), and I am trying to smile through it all.

On a completely different note, I like alliteration.

Old News can be Good News

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