In the new year…

Well hey, 2012, welcome!

What is it about a new year that gives us hope, that lifts downward eyes and stirs fresh air into the daily contentment we’ve found in the previous year? New years give us chances to want to be better versions of ourselves, to improve. A new year is a catalyst for change. An opportunity to finally tackle a goal we’ve thought about or strive to achieve something we’ve always wanted. It’s also a time for reflection. A time to look back at our accomplishments and failures of the prior 365 days and acknowledge our actions, whether we would keep them the same or change them if we could.

For me, 2011 was a good year, as good as any at least. Of course I made my mistakes, but I am determined to learn from them. Learning from those mistakes creates growth, turns negative into positive, and makes us better people. We live, we learn. We hear that phrase often, but that’s because it’s true.

2011 brought some great things. It brought a year of experience leading to greater maturity and better handling of responsibility. It brought a great job, the best I’ve had thus far in my life. It brought me love unlike anything I’ve known before now. It brought major lessons learned in an apartment, and a new rental house, emphasis on house with a fenced in backyard for the dogs, where everyone is happier. It brought 3 beautiful puppies into this world, gave one of my best friend’s the love her life, a little furball companion, and gave a nice couple a pair of gorgeous, huge, hunting dogs. And it marked the end of an era- getting Selah spayed and Rameses neutered. It brought another move for my horses, someplace much better and much less expensive all at the same time. It impacted the life of a little girl in Colombia, it began this blog, 3 wonderful visits with my parents, and a trip to Nashville with my best friend. It brought me an unexpected brand new car. It gave my parents a 28th year of marriage, my mom a 60th and dad a 71st year of life, Chance and Bandit 9 yrs of life, Selah and Rameses 3 and 2 respectively, and 25 for myself. 2011 brought joy and happiness, confusion, hurt, lack of understanding and surrendering of things I don’t understand, questions, some answers, peace, contentment, sadness, perspective, love. Most important of all, love. Love from Father in heaven, love from my parents, love from a great man, love from friends, and unconditional love from my animals.

No matter of the above, 2011 brought me another year of being alive, another year as a gift from God. And that cultivates an incredible amount of gratefulness and thankfulness in my heart.

When I say “being alive” I truly mean being alive, as opposed to merely existing. It has now been over 3 years since I walked out of treatment for the last time, 2 and ½ since I last spoke with a therapist, and 2 years of full recovery- of freedom. 2 years of the best of my life. And this year brought me what I call my final test-seeing my weight for the first time in 3 yrs. Leaving the doctor’s office after a routine appointment, in which I stepped on the scale backward as always, something new happened. They gave me a printout with the date and time of my next appointment at the time, but what I didn’t know was that my blood pressure, pulse rate, and weight were all on that printout. It was such a shock to see it that immediately tears ran down my face, but they were short lived. Those tears were truly shock, not self-hate as in the past. And the shock was short-lived.

Within a few minutes I was able to shrug at the number and go on with my day. I’m at the highest weight I’ve ever been at, much higher than is healthy for my height and body type right now, but I already knew that. After I recovered I discovered how much I actually love the taste of food and started eating a lot more, plus it took my body some time to adjust after a decade of starvation. So… cool. So what?  I guess I haven’t looked at my weight these past couple years, even knowing I’m recovered, because somehow I guess I still didn’t fully trust myself. But it’s a number just like anything else. It’s a number, just like my age is the number 25, or the number of the miles on my car, or the numbers of the time I have to be at work that are 3:30. Numbers change. All they are is a measurement at that point in time, but so? My brain registers it, but then…nothing.

It’s hard to explain this, because people who have never suffered from the mental illness of an eating disorder can’t even fathom the incredible authority and power that number holds for people in the clutches of the disease. If I had weighed this much a few years ago I have no doubt I would’ve probably gone and tried to commit suicide. It’s so tragic and awful that it just about brings me to tears just typing this. Because it’s also ridiculous. Ridiculous to me, now that I’m healthy, now that my mind is my own, that my heart is free and my decisions are rational and my own. To those who have never had your own mind turned into a civil war battlefield between your true self and a “demon” who has taken up residence within you, you can’t understand. But if you have, and I’m sorry if you have, you understand why I call this my final test.

And I passed.

Redemption is available. Transformation happens. Love changes people.

I’m not so much into making a list of specific New Year’s resolutions this year, because I’ve realized that most of those resolutions, for myself and many, many others, last 2 weeks then seem to be forgotten. I think for some, picking a word or even a couple words, as a theme to live by over the coming year, can be more successful. So for 2012 my word is health. Health: physically, financially, mentally, and spiritually. The goal is to pursue greater health in my life.

Physically: Getting back to the gym, eating more healthfully and paying more attention to what and how I’m eating, getting back in shape, taking care of my body as the temple of the Holy Spirit that it is, and to take more seriously caring for this one body God has given me and commanded me to care for. I’m sick of my legs being in such pain after each day at work, to the point where I’m near tears or can barely walk, and I’m sick of not having more energy-needing to sleep so much to feel rested.

Financially: Taking steps to greater control and reduce my debt, pay greater attention to the spending of my money and where my money is going, to think of my financial future, bringing about more responsibility within myself and greater maturity, preparing to have great flexibility in my life to have the resources to be able to do things I want to do for myself and for others, to be able to live a little more.

Mentally: Read and research more when it comes to what is going on in the world around me as well as those things I am passionate about such as horses, photography, animal behavior, writing and publishing, mission work, counseling, coaching, and equine assisted therapy. Getting my hands on any info I can, creating a greater span of knowledge and educating myself whenever it is I have the opportunity to learn. Also pursuing greater self-discipline in all areas of my life.

Spiritually: Pursuing a more substantial prayer life. A lot of times I feel like the words don’t come and it’s hard for me to focus to just talk to God, but as I believe prayer is the greatest answer, greatest weapon, and greatest force we have access to in this life, I want to broaden and strengthen my prayer life and talk more in conversation with my Father. This includes continuing my interest in reading more published Christian books and works to increase my knowledge of my faith and God’s word. To better know my facts in matters of faith and to be able to defend and spread God’s word more efficiently.

This year I will keep health in mind.

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