Redefining success

So…I’ve struggled with writing this blog for months. MONTHS! And I think I’ve got a good idea why. Success is something I don’t feel qualified to talk about. And I’ll tell you why in just a second, but first I just have to say it’s because if those very things I just might be perfectly qualified to write this blog. Here’s the thing. I fail. A lot. 

I fail at maintaining a positive attitude (choosing joy if you will). 

I fail at being the kind of friend/ daughter/ sister/ auntie/ cousin/ coworker/ employee  (You get the idea) that I would like to be. 

I fail at being a good girlfriend (I take out a lot of my attitude and issues on my wonderful, loving, and very understanding boyfriend). 

I fail at returning phone calls (sorry grandma!) 

I fail at doing stuff. I have a lot of great ideas and fail at following through. 

I fail at making good choices… I try… But that dang sweet tooth!!! And that emotion eating thing. And onion rings. 

I fail at my job… More than I would care to admit. 

I fail at keeping track of my checkbook (thank God for my mother) 

I fail at reading my Bible regularly. 

I fail at being in the moment sometimes. 

I can’t even manage to take a ONE a day vitamin for crying out loud. 

When I was growing up I always figured that by 35 I would be married. Have a houseful (more like 2 kids) a house and a dog. I would be working as a kindergarten teacher and loving life. Well… Life had other plans. There is NO freaking way that 17 years as a bill collector (well… Some of those were customer service years) was something I thought of. Ever! But does that mean I’m not successful? I don’t hit my “goal” at work every month. But does that make me a failure? Am I trying new things? Am I going outside my comfort zone?  Am I changing lives? How’s my attitude? I think these are the things that should be defining my work succes. It’s hard…..VERY hard to see that in the moment, but sometimes I need to step back and realize it. 

What I realized when thinking about this whole thing is that sometimes your definition changes over time. When I started my weight loss journey I viewed success as me fitting in a size 10 jeans. No lie. However…. Today if I had to buy a size 10 I would be disappointed in myself. Not because there is ANYTHING wrong with being a size 10, but because I am currently like a size 3-4. And me going back to a 10 at this point would really show I had given Up.   This isn’t about pants size… It’s about how perspective changes as time passes and goals are hit or things change.  On a related topic when I started thinking about wanting to run, I wanted to 30 seconds, yes SECONDS!  Without feeling like I was going to die. Now, I run 5 miles for fun. Things change, the definition has to change at some point.  

I guess I say all this to pose a question. What does success look like to you? How do you define success? I asked this question on my Facebook and had several conversations with people about it. I got lot of interesting answers. Some very specific summed up as results define success. A lot of people said they define success by how happy they are. Some people responded that it’s the seeds you plant and the legacy that you leave behind that really defines success. 

I guess what I’m learning is that it’s the daily things that add up to success. I’m still trying to figure this all out. I’m not perfect. And you know what?!?! . I’m going to keep failing. Maybe success is not letting that failure define me. Maybe it’s not letting failure keep me from keeping on trying. Maybe it’s getting back up once I’ve been knocked down. Idiot really know the answer…. 

What are your thoughts? 

#11forJacob 

I thought about going so many directions with this blog. On one hand I am at a loss for words. And on another hand I have so much to say. 

This is a story that…. As a kid growing up in central Minnesota in the 80’s…drastically rocked our world and changed our childhood. It’s a story about a young, outgoing, friendly 11 year old kid…. Whose smile apparently lit up a room. This is a story about a horrific tragedy of him being taken. Kidnapped. One night in October almost 27 years ago. In a little bitty town in central Minnesota (far to close to home). This is the story about a legacy and a mothers love. And actually it’s not just a story.  

You see this happened. Jacob Wetterling (who I never knew) was kidnapped. For 27 years it was a mystery what happened to Jacob. 27 years we looked for answers. 27 years we searched and searched. We finally have answers. And however horrific those answers are… They are answers. But I don’t want to talk about that. 

This past Saturday I was supposed to run a 10k. I decided instead to run an 11k and dedicate it to Jacob. (11 was his favorite number).  

 To be honest this run sucked. And when I got to thinking about it. I think it sucked for a reason. You see… When Jacob disappeared a lot of things changed. One of those things was the life of his mother. And every time I wanted to quit on Saturday my thoughts went to Patty Wetterling. His mom. Having an abducted son was something I think she never dreamed would happen. Who would?!? Here is what I find so freaking amazing. She has taken what could have been the demise of her, what she could have easily gotten angry at the world for and turned it into good. Within months of the abductionshe created a foundation for missing and exploited children. Has even beenan advocate for sexual abuse. And continued to look for her son. I read somewhere that there was over 50,000 tips coming in on his whereabouts and turning up nothing!! 

It made me stop and think. What would have I done? How long would have I searched? Where does that strength come from?

On this run, I wanted to stop. A.Lot! More than usual. Every time I wanted  I thought “Patty Wetterling never quit, I can’t either.” That’s true in running and in life. Sometimes it sucks. Sometimes it is freaking hard. But we don’t quit. We don’t stop. We can’t. What happens if we stop? We’re do we go? What gets accomplished? 

These are some of the things I’ve learned by watching Patty’s life the last almost 27  years:

HOPE. From the beginning it was always all about keeping Jacobs Hope alive. Jacob would have graduated from the high school I attended, the year I was a freshman.   

 

This was in the page where his senior picture should have been. HOPE. We had all signed a giant poster that hung in the high school that said Jacobs Hope. You have to have HOPE. 

Faith. She believed that Jacob was alive. She was living as if Jacob was out there somewhere just waiting to be found. And lived life as he was. Continung to remember each birthday. FAITH.

Preserverence. Her continued fight. Even she the path was long and dark and lonely….she persevered. She didn’t quit. PERSERVERANCE. 

Commitment. Her endless commitment to not only Jacob, but protecting children and raising awareness. Her commitment to the community and her family. COMMITMENT.

Strength. All along she has been a source of strength. Most surprising is the way she handled the news of “that night” after nearly 27 years of searching for answers. This was her statement to the news media following the court appearance:  

 All I have to say is wow. This women wow’s me. And that’s a list I can get behind. Eat ice cream, giggle, pray, create joy… I’m in!  STRENGTH.

Love. I am not a mother. I have experienced a mothers love, cuz my mom is pretty freakin awesome… But wow. The love. Not only for her child, but other children. It’s inspiring. That’s all I have to say. LOVE.

And as far as Jacob goes. I can imagine how proud he would be of his mother. And he, himself left quite a legacy. Made quite an impact! This one is for them: 

  
One more way they choose to do good in the face of pain and tragedy is a list of 11 things we should do. Let’s make the world a better place.  I mean, how much better would this world be if we did these simple things?!? 

 
I have never met Patty and I really don’t know how someone you have never met can touch you so deeply…but Patty Wetterling has really inspired me. 

I did what?!?! 

So… I have been meaning to write this little blog for a few months now. However.. A few things have stood in my way. Mostly myself. I wanted to take a moment to brag on myself a little.. But haven’t been feeling worthy of the bragging. However… Just recently I have been told that I am too hard on myself… So I’m taking a moment to reflect.. And yes maybe brag a little. Just know what your getting into. But first I’ll start with the reason I haven’t been feeling worthy. I have been feeling really squishy (like a busted can of biscuits maybe) since the holidays. I blame cupcakes, my onion ring addiction and well.. All around not good choices sometimes. I feel like I preach “make good choices” and while I really do pretty well overall… I could be doing better. But you know what… I am a human. Not perfect. At all…and guess what. That’s okay. (That part was for me… And I’m going to type it again cuz I don’t believe it sometimes) IT IS OKAY TO NOT BE PERFECT. it’s okay to have some frosting… And maybe a little bit more… Sometimes. It’s okay to skip a workout or two. Your body, soul, spirit needs a break. Rest is okay. Rest…. Something I honestly need to work on. I have a hard time sitting still sometimes. It’s true. But I can’t be so hard on myself. My pants still fit and I’m happy= I win!! 

So…. Here is where I brag a little. Last year I set out to run 672 miles. Yes, the girl who refused to run the mile in high school…. Set out to run 672 miles in 2015. Just in case you are wondering that was about 56 miles per month. I am not going to lie… I was nervous that I bit of more than I could chew. I started off strong in January (I ran 100 miles in that month alone)… Truth be told i think I broke myself that month. And then I had to step it up… Was quite a roller coaster of a year. I can’t lie. Not all of the runs were enjoyable. Sometimes I ran because I “had to get my miles in” here is how my year looked she. It came to miles: 

  Now.. I bet your saying to yourself. Umm. Tonya, that’s more than 672 miles. Yup! I pushed it a little. 681 made more sense because 81 is kind of my number. 81 is my “ultimate weight lose goal” and.. Well I was born in 1981. So.. I pushed a little harder and made it happen. Therefore, I have to be proud of me. I made a goal and I crushed it!! I ran further than I’d ever ran before… I ran faster than I had ever done before. I pushed myself further than I thought possible. So.. Bottom line. I’m freaking pumped that I actually did it. 

Okay… Moving on. Here is why I continue this healthy living journey. It’s because of random messages I occasionally get like this: (I hope she doesn’t mind… I tried to take out any personally identifying info) but I’m really proud of her and it inspires me to continue doing what I do. Here’s the message:  
      

The word pregnant is missing. I can’t tell you how much this means to me. This is from someone that I admire dearly. And I can’t explain how proud I am of her courage and strength!  Bottom line… I have to keep on keeping on! And when I beat myself up.. That’s not helpful to me or people who are looking to me to be an example. It’s really not helpful. So.. Instead.. Let’s celebrate our successes. Live a little and be kind. Be kind … Even to ourselves. K?!?! 
  

Blessed to be a blessing

12-6-2015

So. Here’s the deal. I was having some trouble getting into the holiday spirit. And I think I know why. First off it’s becoming way more commercialize than I care for. I think we are way far from the meaning of the whole season. And I think the other part about it is the stigma and the rules and pressure about gift giving. It’s stressful. I gave up getting gifts for people years ago…. But I really love being generous. This creates a struggle. I like giving without expectation of getting something in return. So when God laid this idea in my heart I was excited. A recent sermon at church sparked this idea as well. We have been talking about how blessed we are and not only that it our blessings in life usually come through other people. Bottom line is I am blessed to be a blessing. So. God laid a plan on my heart. Send a handwritten card and a small gift card to 25 people. One person everyday from December 1st to Christmas. He is coming up with who shall be the recipient of this blessing. I am just being the vessel. I did freak out a little at one point because I didn’t know how I was going to afford it. Even a small gift card for each adds up. God heard my concern and said “don’t worry child, I got this.” So… I have embarked on this journey. No turning back. Trusting God. Being a light. Spreading joy. 

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So… I did it! Well… God did. I just obeyed. Truth is… I felt more fulfillment at the end of this holiday season than I ever had. First off all I have to say when God says “I’ve got this”… Trust him. I ended up getting the money to cover this and then some. (Won an award). And it turns out I heard story after story of how my “blessing” came at just the right time and touched the recipient. The note encouraged and made people smile. I send a couple of gift cards to be passed on to someone else. I sent one to a lady I barely knows but she inspires my mom. I ended up seeing her at a store and she said it meant a lot to her.

 I took three of my nephews (the twins are 6 and the little one is 4) out to buy toys for tots so they could get in on being a blessing too. They loved it. We talked about how spoiled.. I mean blessed…. They are and how not all kids are that lucky. They were excited to be a blessing.  
 They did it with an attitude of expecting nothing in return. It was a blessing to me too see! I honestly wanted to just keep blessing people. 

One of the coolest parts of this whole thing was how it inspired the boyfriend. I had told him I didn’t want a Christmas gift (being 100% serious… I am not one of “those girls” who just says they don’t want anything and then gets mad about not getting something). So what he did instead was give me a very sweet card with a check to be donated to the charity of my choice. Once again allowing me to be a blessing. Blessed to be a blessing… Not only at Christmas… But all the year through. 

Published 2-14-16 

Because I was having WordPress issues 😦 better late than never right?!? 

Old Glory 

So many thoughts to share I just don’t know where to start. I think I will start with a story. Saturday May 16 was the Old Glory run in cold spring. another 5k!!!! Was I nervous for a full 24 hours before the run. Seems silly right?!?! I get knots in my stomach and everything. So I decided to call Friday a rest day. Apparent rest day in TonyaLand = a beautiful 5 mile walk with the boyfriend.  

 Fitbit said I had 21,680 steps total on Friday. So much for a rest day. The morning of the run I was even more nervous. Oh, I should mention I was dealing with some pain in my inner thigh area…. I think most of all was the pressure I was putting on myself to do well. Apparently I’m a tidge competitive. I wanted to beat my PR. Then the pressure got to be too much and decided to take the “just have fun” advice of the boyfriend. When the run started something came over me and I just ran my little heart out. I got to about one mile and was making a good time so I decided to keep pushing. Thought I was going to die right around mile 2… But I just kept going. As I rounded the last corner I said “not me strength but yours God, I can not finish this on my own” and just kept going. As I approached the finish line there was this little 9 year old girl was right in front of me and everyone was cheering for her. I used that energy to push me across the finish line. I used to run out of steam right at the finishe line… I don’t so much do that anymore. In case you are wonder she beat me by 2 seconds!  I was (well I still kind of am) in disbelief of my time. I figured I would finish in about 25 minutes. My official time…. 23:36. Yep… Not a typo! Nailed it!! In a rare 5k moment I didn’t take a selfie… But I did make this to commemorate my achievement: 

  Here is a little perspective for you… In junior and senior high school we had to finish the mile in like 14 minutes and that was a struggle!!! No lie! That one whole minute faster than the iRock run that was just 2 weeks earlier! 
Here is my historical old glory times:  

 I’d say I have come a long ways. Not gonna lie. I can’t help but be proud of that! 
Wanna know what else is awesome?!?! My friend Celeste CRUSHED her best time too! Her husband and I were thinking she would come in right around the 30 minute mark and we’re super impressed when we saw her flying towards the finish line and crossing it at 27:43!!! Al rocked it as he always does! They both inspire me more than they will ever know! Here is a super cool photo of us:  
  Here are the lessons I learned: do not under estimate yourself. You are stronger than you think you are. And push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You are capable of more than you think you are. And you never know who you are helping/ inspiring. Don’t try and be someone else…  But be the best you that you can be! Life begins outside of your comfort zone. And there is the whole progress not perfection thing too. I’m still not where I wanna be but I’m definitely not where I once was.  I never thought I would be this crazy obsessed runner girl I have kinda become but I am kinda liking her 😉 until next time… Make good choices and make yourself proud. 

Quitting really isn’t an option….

Todays blog brought to you in part by my revelations from this mornings run:

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Warning I’m slightly caffeinated and this might be all over and a tidge rambly.. Oh wait all my blogs kinda are. So. Never mind.

So.. I continue to struggle recently with the whole choosing joy thing. I try. I really do… But some days I just don’t have it in me. I have been in a funk recently… And I’m gonna be honest.. I don’t like it. I prefer happy Tonya. Life is way more fun when I’m happy. And people around me tend to appreciate it too. Either they appreciate it or they are annoyed with me… But either way I’m happier when I’m happier. Hehe. Anyways. This whole life throwing me a curve ball thing is still affecting me mentally. I know it shouldn’t. But I really really want to succeed… Like really! So what happens when This girl is struggling mentally!?! I eat. I stop caring what I put in my body. Luckily I have not stopped working out because it make me feel way better than ice cream… And it allows me to sorta be off my eating game a little. However the scale might be noticing my deviation more than I would like it too. Anyways the point here is I did not choose my circumstances but it is 100% up to me to make it happen. It’s nobody else’s responsibility and above all I get to choose my attitude. Truth be told, today was better than most days recently and the only reason was the way I viewed the day. Brain felt more clear and I just… Well…. Chose joy. Made a huge difference. And I made better food choices and I think that makes me feel better too. Bottom line is that I refuse to quit. I will not give up on me. And I recommend you doing the same. I have a list of reasons why quitting working on me in not an option. I probably should look at it more often. As I’ve said in another blog about me not wanting to look myself in the face and say that I blew a huge opportunity to succeed…well.. I most defiantly do NOT want to look myself in the face and have it be a less healthy and happy version of me. That’s not acceptable and not an option.

Another reason to write this particular message is due to the fact that some dear friends of mine are going through an unexpected life event that could cause them to stray off a journey. In all honesty we are more like family. These are my weight watchers members. Even after I had to leave they are and will always be my people. The meeting that we had grown to love had to close… But I am I am telling you now…That quitting isn’t an option. It’s a lifestyle and you owe it to you to finish what you started. I have faith in you. You are worth it. DO NOT QUIT! As you might have guessed all those things were written as a reminder to me as well. We are all on this journey of life (and weight loss) together and I hope you never forget that I’ve got your back.
Found this just today as I was scrolling t through FB. Seemed fitting for me today… In this time:

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Truth be told not having to be held accountable to my weight watchers people on a weekly basis has not help me keep my head on the game. I don’t have to stand up in front of a group of people on a weekly basis and try and motivate and be an example of weight watchers makes me a little more relaxed. And the truth is that’s a little scary. The last time I lost this kind if accountablity I gained like 20 pounds. No exaggeration. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again…. Butterflies can NOT go back to being caterpillars. Time to get my head in the game… Break out of this funk… Get my big girl panties on and keep on spreading my wings and FLYING. The sky is the limit… I totally got this and guess what?!?! So do you! I’ll leave you with one more Pintrest find that I found rather fitting.

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Make good choices!

Let’s talk about success

Talk about a roller coaster ride of a week. I have been challenged in more ways than once. I have been pushed outside of my comfort zone and scrutinized by myself and others. I have pushed myself to the limit. And let me tell you something… it hasn’t been easy. And like I have said before I like easy. However, this week I have even given a glimpse of what is possible if I continue to allow myself to be pushed outside of my comfort zone and try new things. I have seen what can happen if I don’t settle for just doing an okay job. What my future looks like if I embrace changing the way I do things and let go of what I have always known. I have had a light bulb moment if you will. I am beginning to realize that I am worth investing in.

One day I was running on the treadmill at the hotel and was face to face with myself and I decided I do NOT want to have to look Myself in the face and say “you had an amazing opportunity and you wasted it.”

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I know it’s not a great photo…. But you get the idea.

I want to succeed. And I know it sounds silly but I’ve never really had a goal of succeeding. I just kinda do my thing. And live my happy little life. I want to build a future that I am proud of. I want to say I earned it and it was my skill and ability that got me there. I want to own my success in life. I want to apply myself and see what happens. I want to be as proud of my career as I am of my weight loss. I want my eyes to light up when people as how my job is going. I met people this week that transformed their lives working at the company I’m working for. They are happy to go to work. They struggle with taking time off because they want to be at work. They want to be successful and they are!! Big time! This week I stopped and asked myself if I am just working for a paycheck or am I working for my future. The answer is I am building a future. Let’s be realistic… It’s not gonna come without some challenges, some stress… Some tears, a lot of freaking hard work… I’m going to have to continue to strive to be better… Continue to push myself and continue to grow and learn and try new things. But I am starting to realize its gonna be worth it. I promise. I don’t know what challenges you are facing right now…. But don’t quit. Don’t give up. You are worth investing in and you are worth success. The sky is the limit….

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What does success look like to you?!? And what are you doing to make it happen? You got this!!!