Friday, January 30, 2009

Attitude is Everything

I was in the message board at Team Beachbody and one of my friends had offered a big hug, and had commented on attitude.

Thanks KS (name removed initials instead) The big hug is very welcome. I agree with you, attitude is everything. Be great to have someone to work this through with. (this being the weight loss and lifestyle changes) That is actually a positive rather than the sly darts in the negative. Mostly the sly darts are because they aren't taking care of business themselves, so it makes them uncomfortable when someone else is. Still get's old though. No it’s not anyone at Team Beachbody. Local nonsense, mostly old “friends” and “family”.

They are just more comfortable with me being fat and ill, than losing weight and becoming healthier. No I am not making excuses for them; it’s just reality. Their choices are their choices, and mine are mine. It used to make me crazy, literally. Or rather I used to allow it to make me crazy. Sometimes it’s a bit like walking through a liquid gooey toxic waste dump, in a bikini. You’re completely covered in toxins, think you have them showered off but they’ve soaked in through your skin. No thank you, these days my attitude is doubling as a hazmat suit. Lol.

I've been reading Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life by Byron Katie. There is a phrase in the very front that sums it up. “Suppose you could find a simple way to embrace your life with joy, stop arguing with reality, and achieve serenity in the midst of chaos. That is what Loving What Is offers.” Erica Jong, author of Fear of Flying wrote that in the intro. Loving What Is.

What can I say it came together with my new years resolution. Actually it’s more of a Life Resolution that happened to come about this new year. Live Life Now, Appreciate each moment as it happens. Live in peace within myself.

Yesterday I went out to take care of the animals and bonked hard. Trudging through snowdrifts, lifting buckets of ice and dumping them, (around 40 buckets) digging the whelping house door out from behind a 4 foot snow drift. (Which I will more than likely have to do again today.) Me thinks I had a pretty good weight and cardio workout by the end of it, unfortunately I did not get t o hip hop abs. Simply wasn’t possible, I was running into the fences and walls by the time I got back into the house.

I nuked some supper in the microwave and crashed. I tried to sort some email and write a bit but kept hitting the wrong keys. When I bonk out I really bonk out.

Truthfully I am still exhausted today. Although I don’t think it has anything to do with bonking yesterday. I could be wrong about that though. I woke up around 3:30 this morning with a gastric attack. Frankly I could have done without that. Blown up like a blimp, running to the bathroom over and over. Those attacks always leave me exhausted and not wanting to move.

I know I’ll feel better once I’m moving and getting things done though; both mentally and physically. Just seems to work that way.

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, the temp on my computer is 39 degrees. That means it’s around 49 degrees in this hollow, so that snow is melting. Get up and Move!

Ugh, I feel like sludge. Oooooo the temp just went up another degree! Yay! Mind you it was 20 below zero here a few nights ago, so I’m pretty excited about showing 40 degrees. I have spring fever sooooooo bad.

I hope the 2 apple trees I put out last year bloom this year.

Life is a journey, enjoy the trip.
Live Life Now, appreciate each moment as it happens.

Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream With Our Pomeranians
Team Beachbody Coach
Turn Weight Loss into Profit: Learn How to Become a Beachbody Coach

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

15 Ways to Stop Obsessing

This caught my Eye as I was digging my way through my email. Especially after the way I obsessed over the cold weather that has come through for the past few days. Happily, today it was melting a bit. It is 22 degrees outside now, but that is 40 degrees warmer than it was the other night.

Weight loss and fitness, basically improving my health overall is a topic that is on the forefront of my mind these days. When I look back over the years, obsessing over this and that is a big part of what led to the weight gain in the first place.

OK back on topic, I hope this blesses you as it has me.

Tips for how to reel in your ruminations and keep your peace in the present moment.

By Therese J. Borchard

Therese writes the Beyond Blue Blog on Beliefnet.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve struggled with obsessive thoughts, with severe ruminations that can interfere with daily life. My thoughts get stuck on something and, like a broken record, repeat a certain fear over and over and over again until I scream out loud, “STOP IT!” The French call Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) “folie de doute,” or “the doubting disease.” And that’s what obsessions are—a single doubt caught in an endless loop of thoughts.

But even those not diagnosed with OCD can struggle with obsessions. In fact, I have yet to meet a depressive who doesn’t ruminate, especially in our age of anxiety. Every day gives sensitive types like myself plenty of material to obsess about. So I’m constantly pulling out the tools that I’ve acquired over time to win against my thoughts, to develop confidence--the antidote for doubt--to take charge of my brain, and to STOP OBSESSING. I hope they work for you too.

15 Ways to stop obsessing.

1. Name the Beast
My first step in tackling any obsession: Identify the thought. What is my fear? What is my doubt? I make myself describe it in one sentence, or, if I can, in a few words. For example, when I was released from the hospital’s psych ward the first time, I was paranoid that my co-workers would find out that I’d been there. I obsessed about it and obsessed about it and obsessed some more. Finally, I named the fear: I am afraid that if my co-workers find out that I was hospitalized with severe depression that they won’t respect me anymore, and they won’t assign me any projects. There it is. There’s the beast. Phew. I named it, and by doing so, I can rob it of some of its power over me.

2. Find the Distortion
Once I have named the fear or doubt, I try to see if I can file it under any of the forms of distorted thinking that Dr. David Burns describes in his bestseller The Feeling Good Handbook
like all-or-nothing thinking, jumping to conclusions, magnification (exaggeration), or discounting the positive (ie “None of my accomplishments count”). My obsession almost always involves at least three forms of distorted thoughts. So I then consider Burns’ ten ways of untwisting distorted thinking to help me to undermine my obsession.

For example, using his “cost-benefit analysis” method, I examine how my fear of my co-workers finding out about my depression is benefiting me and what it is costing me. In the end, I decided to tell my colleagues the information because I realized that I wanted to write about my experience (benefit), and that was worth the risk (cost) of having them reject me based on my diagnosis of bipolar disorder.

3. Pencil it In
A while back, when I was especially tormented by some obsessions, my therapist told me to schedule a time of day where I was free to ruminate. That way, she said, when you get an obsession, you can simply tell yourself, “Sorry, it’s not time for that. You’ll have to wait until 8 in the evening, when I give you, My Head, 15 minutes to obsess your heart out.” I remember recording in my journal everything I was dwelling on for 20 minutes every night: that I was a horrible mom, an inadequate writer, that no one liked me, and so on. Eric was reading a book next to me and asked me what I was writing. I handed over my journal and he shrieked, “Yikes and I was just thinking about what to have for breakfast tomorrow!”

4. Laugh at It
Alas, that obsession-journal story brings me to another tool: humor. As I wrote in 9 Ways Humor Heals laughter can make almost any situation tolerable. And you have to admit, there is something a little funny about a broken record in your brain. If I couldn’t laugh at my depression and anxiety and severe ruminations, I would truly go insane. I mean, even more insane than I already am. And that’s pretty darn insane. I have a few people in my life who struggle with obsessions in the same way I do. Whenever it gets so noisy in my brain that I can’t stand it, I call up one of them and say, “They’re baaaaaack…….” And we laugh.

5. Snap Out of it.
I mean, literally snap out of it. That’s what I did for a few months when I couldn’t take the obsessions. I’d wear a rubber band around my wrist, and every time my thoughts would turn to an obsession, I’d snap the band as a reminder. (Fair warning: by bedtime, my wrists were a tad red. Another behavioral technique you could try is to write out the obsession on a piece of paper. Then crinkle it up and throw it away. That way you have literally thrown out your obsession. Or you could try visualizing a stop sign. When your thoughts go there, remember to stop! Look at the sign!
6. Pull Over
One of the most helpful visualizations for me has been to imagine that I am driving a car. Every time my thoughts revert back to an obsession, I have to pull over on the shoulder, because my car is misaligned. It’s dragging right. Once I’ve stopped, I ask myself: Do I need to change anything? Can I change anything? Can I amend this situation somehow? Do I have anything I need to do to find peace? I spend a minute asking myself the questions. Then, if I don’t have anything to fix, it’s time for me to get my car back on the road again. This is basically a visualization of the Serenity Prayer. I am trying to decipher between what I can’t change and what I can. Once I have made the distinction, it’s time to start driving again.

7. Learn the Lesson
I often obsess about my mistakes. I know I messed up, and I’m beating myself over and over again for not doing it right the first time, especially when I have involved other people and hurt them unintentionally. If that’s the case, I will ask myself: What is the lesson here? What have I learned? Just like the first step--naming the obsession--I will describe the lesson that I have absorbed in one sentence or less.

For example, I recently reprimanded my son David for something that, it turns out, he didn’t do. I automatically believed a fellow mom’s appraisal of the situation. I didn’t think to ask David first. When I realized that David didn’t do anything wrong, I felt horrible. Here I jumped to conclusions and didn’t believe the best about my son. So here’s the lesson: I won’t jump so fast the next time someone accuses my son of something; I’ll get the facts first.

8. Forgive Me
After you take away the lesson, you have to forgive yourself. This is a hard one. Especially for perfectionists. And guess what? Perfectionists are natural ruminators. Julia Cameron writes about this in The Complete Artist's Way: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice

“Perfectionism is a refusal to let yourself move ahead. It is a loop--an obsessive, debilitating closed system that causes you to get stuck in the details of what you are writing or painting or making and to lose sight of the whole. Instead of creating freely and allowing errors to reveal themselves later as insights, we often get mired in getting the details right. We correct our originality into a uniformity that lacks passion and spontaneity.”

Forgiving yourself means concentrating on the insights gained from mistakes, and to let go of the rest. Um. Good luck with that.

9. Imagine the Worst
I know this seems wrong--like it would produce even more anxiety. But imagining the worst can actually relieve the fear that’s triggering an obsession. For example, when I was hospitalized the second time for severe depression, I was petrified that I would never be able to work again, to write again, to contribute anything to society. Done. Let me get into my nightgown and bury myself somewhere. I was literally shaking with anxiety I was so scared of what my illness could do to me. I called my friend Mike and rattled off to him all my fears.

“Uh huh,” he said. “So what?”

“What do you mean, ‘So what’? My life as I know it might be over,” I explained.

“Yeah, and so what?” he said. “You can’t write. No biggie. You can’t work. No biggie. You have your family who loves you and accepts you. You have Vickie and I who love you and accept you. Stay home and watch ‘Oprah’ all day. I don’t care. You’d still have people in your life who love you.”

You know what? He was right. I went there in my mind: to the worst case on disability, hospitalized a few times a year, unable to do so much of what I did before. And there I was. Still standing. With a full life. A different life, yes, but a life. And I was okay. Really okay. I felt such freedom in that moment.

10. Put It On Hold
Sometimes I start to obsess about a situation for which I don’t have enough information. Example: Awhile back I was worried about a family member in a dangerous situation. I dwelled and dwelled on it, and didn’t know what to do. Then Eric said, “We don’t have all the information yet that we need to make a decision or pursue a plan. So it’s useless to worry.” Therefore I put my obsession “on hold,” like it was a pretty lavender dress at a boutique that I saw and wanted but didn’t have enough money to buy. So it’s there, waiting for me, when I get enough dough—or, in the case of my family member, enough data.

11. Dig for the Cause
So often the object of the obsession isn’t the real issue. That object or person or situation is masking the deeper issue we’re too afraid to face. A friend of mine obsessed and obsessed about the placement of his fence in his backyard because--unlike his wife’s illness, a problem over which he has no control--he could manage the fence. So he went out with his measuring stick day in and day out until he could finally surrender to his situation. A woman I used to work with fantasized about a colleague whom she was attracted to. It was an especially stressful time for her—she was caring for four young kids plus her mother—and daydreaming about running away with her co-worker gave her the escape she needed. Her obsessions weren’t about her co-worker, however, as much as they were about her need for some fun and relief in her life.

12. Reel it In
We all know how fast obsessions can take on a life of their own. A slight hitch in a project becomes a massive hurdle, a friendly gesture by a friend turns ugly and threatening, and a minor criticism from a colleague turns into a 150-page dissertation about your flaws and inadequacies--you know, everything that’s bad about you and why you shouldn’t get out of bed in the morning. Granted, buried within any obsession are usually pieces of truth. But other parts are way off in fantasyland—with about as much accuracy as there is in a juicy celebrity tabloid story: “Celine Dion meets ET for drinks.” That’s why you need some good friends that will help you separate fact from fiction. When I call up my friend Mike and tell him my latest obsession, he usually says something like this: “Wow. Reel it in, Therese. Reel it in…You are way out this time.” And then we laugh at how far out I got.

13. Interrupt the Conversation
Here’s where a bad habit can come in handy. Are you always interrupting people? Can’t help it? You get curious about a detail in someone’s story, and you want to hear more about that, not the end of the story? That’s how an obsession works in your brain—like a conversation over coffee: “This is why he hates me, and this, too, is why he hates me, and did I mention why he hates me? I’m sure he hates me.” Practice some of your rude manners and interrupt. You don’t even have to say, “Excuse me.” Ask yourself a question or throw out another topic. By doing so, you catch the snowball as it’s accumulating matter, and you throw it back with momentum because, as most of us learned in physics, a body in motion stays in motion. Now your internal conversation goes something like: “These are the reasons he should like me, and this, too, is why he should like me, and did I mention that he probably likes me? I’m sure he likes me.”

14. Stay in the Present
I grit my teeth when people tell me this. Because I’m a ruminator and we ruminators operate in past and future. We don’t think NOW. But, this advice is so true. When you are grounded in the moment, you’re not thinking of what bad things can happen to you in the future, or dwelling on the mistakes of your past. To get myself into the present, I start with my senses. I try to hear only the noises that surround me—cars, birds, dogs barking, church bells—because if I give myself the assignment of listening to the actual sounds around me, I can’t obsess on a fear. Likewise, I concentrate on seeing what’s in front of me. At the very moment. Not in the year 2034. If I’m supposed to be playing baseball with David but my mind is on work, I try to bring it back to the baseball game, where it should be.

15. Give it Back to God
The last step is surrender, as usual. “Okay, God, I give up! Take the bloody obsession from me!” That’s how I usually phrase it. It’s acknowledging that the last 14 steps haven’t gotten me where I need to be, and so I don’t know what else to do but give my ruminating mind to God and let him deal with it. Obsessions are almost always rooted in our attachments. So if we can think of them as borrowed from God—that God alone is the owner of this thing about which we are obsessing--we tend to become less greedy and possessive with our gifts, material and otherwise. In this way, we are mere stewards of whatever God has graciously given us.


It never ceases to amaze me how things come together. So much of the above article is actually about living in the present. My New Years resolution is right along those lines.

The Greatest Year of My life.
Live life now, appreciate each moment as it happens!
Live in Peace Within Myself.

For me so much of Living in peace within myself is in accepting what actually is. Accepting myself now. Accepting other people as they are. Accepting situations for what they actually are. Living in reality, rather than shoulda coulda woulda, over and over again.

I'll give you a for instance. My mother is in a power wheel chair, she lives by herself in a situation that I believe is less than optimal. However she is in sound mind and her life, her living conditions are her choice. For years and years I've felt guilty because I could not make her situation better. Simply because she would not allow it. I couldn't understand why she didn't want to live with us, and nearly drove myself to distraction worrying about her. What if this happens, what if that happens, what if she falls? Bottom line is, her life is her choice. If the worst happens then, it happens. There is nothing I can do about it. Her life her choice.

My life my choice. I choose to live now. I choose to live in peace within myself.

Life is a journey, may you travel in peace.
Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream With Our Pomeranians
Team Beachbody Coach
Turn Weight Loss into Profit: Learn How to Become a Beachbody Coach

Ten Pounds Down, 140 To Go

WOWY exercise log: late night jan 27th, 2009. stomach was pretty icky so i went with the elliptical, just in case I had to run for the bathroom again. 8.4 kms managed to get up over 50 rpm but couldn't keep it there yet.

Diet Log: toasted bagel (140 cal) with 2 tsp cream cheese and coffee with tsp creamer (10 cal) for breakfast
lunch was ham and split pea soup- progresso from the can, around 6 saltine crackers give or take

dinner was spagetti w/ home made sauce.. later snack spagetti with home made sauce and a glass of 2% milk

unfortunately my stomach blew up ... ugh

General: Truthfully I’ve had a bit of a crappy attitude ever since the weather shifted into full blown cold winter. It was 10 below zero on my window thermometer between 5 and 6 this morning. Ugh. Frankly that is too bloody cold. We have around a foot of snow on the ground. I fed the dogs a hot food today. Everyone seems to be doing ok. Bloody braker tripped to the whelping house. The hairballs in there aren't used to the cold like the others are. Fortunately it didn't trip last night; it had to be sometime this afternoon. I know this because their water wasn't frozen solid. It did get down to freezing before I caught it. Its back on now, I am going to check it again before I go to bed, and when I get up in the night to stoke the wood stove.

Frankly I'm glad I don't have any puppies in there. Some seniors, and some young dogs and one teenager, so to speak. He is such a trip. They are all pissed because I won't let them out in the play yards to play. Since they aren't acclimated it is too cold.

The big dogs that are outside are doing fine; they really like that hot food. I need to tweak my recipe a bit but it is doing the trick now. I've been taking my recipe and mixing it in with dry dog food and pouring very hot water over it. Makes hot rich gravy. Don't want to use too much of the recipe, it would be too rich. Seems to be working pretty well with the dry food as a base though. I'll really have to watch it if I continue it over the summer. Serve just enough so they will clean it up quickly. Don't want spoilage.

I am going to be so glad when we get our house built, and I can convert this one completely into the kennel office and kennels. That will be so nice.

I’m getting pretty excited about Team Beachbody. As far as getting in shape, I couldn’t ask for more. Excellent workouts, fitness tips, diet information, nutrition products, message board support, excellent across the board. They even have a program that deals with type II diabetes. No I am not diabetic, but someone I love very much is. On the business side, wow!

Excellent product line, excellent product support, top notch business support, excellent pay plan. Hit’s the high points on everything I was looking for. Lord knows I’ve been looking and looking. Frankly I was seriously surprised to find this opportunity.

I kind of stumbled across it when I was looking for somewhere for fitness and weight loss support. I looked at weight watchers, I looked at Ivillage, I looked at ediets, I looked at T.O.P.S., I looked at overeaters anonymous, and I considered bariatric surgery. There’s a few fitness centers/gym’s within a 50 mile radius of where I live. But frankly its nuts to try to get there in the winter when the storms roll in. Between working on line and working with my kennels taking out hours to go to a gym just isn’t happening. I live to far out for it to be practical time wise, not to mention the fuel usage.

So I started looking for workout DVDs. Team Beachbody has some primo workouts. Effective and fun. As in not boring. Hip Hop Abs, P90 X, Slim in 6, Turbo Jam just to name a few. Wow and how.

I found what I was looking for. 10 pounds down so far. 140 to go.

I was worried about having flab hanging as I lost weight. I don’t think I am going to have much of a problem with that with the workouts. It is going to be such a relief to only be carrying the weight of one person around, instead of 2. I can already feel the difference in my abs and the muscles up my back. Frankly it’s great to be rebuilding my strength too.

Gotta get some zzzzs

Life is a journey, enjoy the trip.
Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream With Our Pomeranians
Team Beachbody
Turn Weight loss into Profit: Learn How to Become a Beachbody Coach
307.788.0202 call me, I’ll be happy to answer any questions you may have.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Death: What a Wonderful Way to Explain It!

A sick man turned to his doctor as he was preparing to

Leave the examination room and said,

'Doctor, I am afraid to die.

Tell me what lies on the other side.'

Very quietly, the doctor said, 'I don't know.'

'You don't know? You're, a Christian man,

and don't know what's on the other side?'

The doctor was holding the handle of the door;

On the other side came a sound of scratching and whining,

And as he opened the door, a dog sprang into the room

And leaped on him with an eager show of gladness.

Turning to the patient, the doctor said,

'Did you notice my dog?

He's never been in this room before.

He didn't know what was inside.

He knew nothing except that his master was here,

And when the door opened, he sprang in without fear.

I know little of what is on the other side of death,

But I do know one thing...

I know my Master is there and that is enough.'

author: unknown

May today there be peace within you.

May you trust God that you are exactly

Where you are meant to be.

I believe that friends are quiet angels

Who lift us to our feet when our wings

Have trouble remembering how to fly.

In Memory Of:

So many Friends and family
have gone on before...

Etta May Owen
Beloved Grandmother homemade
sourcream sugar cookies and

Eugene Owen
Uncle: known as UNK rode
behind him on his motorcycle
before I could reach the foot rests

Dale Owen

Elnore Owen

Delbert Owen

My Unborn Children
miscarried but not forgotten

Jim Lewis
friend from eternity through

Nancy Swanson
girlfriend now and forever

Jeff Painter
bright light in a sea of darkness

Stephen Kerr
kind soul

Van Henderson
friend in life lover of dance

Viona Zieghagen
kind soul with a kind word for all

Sadie Goodwill
Grandmother: she had a robot
with blinking eyes

Rich Robbins
My Husband's Father

Jim Owen
Uncle: Small Plane Pilot: stories of
him made me believe I could...

Helen Livingstone

Tiny Roberts
Great Aunt: wonderful coffee

Bill Russell
Engineer and Friend

Life is a Journey, lives touched each step along the way.
Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs

Thursday, January 08, 2009

The Greatest Year of my Life!

I’ve done it! I’ve come up with my new year’s resolutions! Or rather my new year’s resolution. I’ve put a bit of thought into it this year. Usually it’s the long list of things to accomplish, prioritized and all. But you know, those are actually goals, not resolutions.

I thought about this past year; in all it’s graphic detail. Then I thought back to spring of 2003 when we first learned of this ranch and bought it. All the dreams and aspirations that went into this move, and the ensuing illnesses, and surgery, and seemingly unending recovery that waylaid so many plans.

I thought about the friends and family that are no longer with us; passed on to the other side. Then a late night predator called and attacked me on the phone. I reacted in self defense against his pointless attack and traced him down to the police both here and in his hometown. I thought about how senseless his attack on me was. Then I thought about all the senseless wars, be they small, as in between 2 people, family members, countries, religious factions, races, and so on. So much potential lost in senseless carnage.

Then I thought about the fuel prices how they rose to astronomical heights, and all the propaganda that was swirling about to explain away the financial strain those prices were putting on all but a very few. Then I watched as the fuel prices fell and fell, exposing the propaganda as a sewer full of stinking lies.

Then I thought about the mortgage crises, how the “financial institutions” involved were screaming bail out bail out, as they doubled and tripled mortgage payments making them impossible to pay resulting in foreclosure after foreclosure on homes that were over-financed in the first place.

Then I thought about the mess with the car mfg. screaming bail out bail out.

I wonder how much of the “bail out” $$$ is going into golden parachutes, in one way or another.

Then I thought about the unabated greed that has driven the world economy in to instability. I thought about the few that have engorged themselves at the expense of all others; and I grew angry.

I’ve spent a good bit of this past year angry, frustrated, neck deep in a small private war. Caught up in swirling turmoil. Living in rage is just not worth it.

I looked back over my life, such that it is. It seems, now that I really look at it, that I’ve spent a good bit of my life, waiting to do something in the future, or beating myself up over something I did or didn’t do in the past. If I had of, or I should have, or I could have, or I will when this that or the other thing comes to pass in Never-Never land. Usually all in a haze of self-made, frustration pain and anger, missing the beauty and wonder life has had to offer all along. Well, enough of this balderdash!

Here is my New Year’s Resolution!
To: Live the Greatest Year of My life!

How am I going to do that? Here is how in two parts:
1. Live life now, Appreciate each moment as it happens!
2. Live in peace within myself.

Yes of course I have some goals and plans for this year, rather exciting actually. But that is for another day.

Life is a journey, enjoy the trip.
Mary E. Robbins & the Hairballs
Robbins Run Ranch: Living the Dream With our Pomeranians

'Daily Affirmation' Video