Thursday, September 27, 2012

Seasons Change as do People ....

Over the last few weeks I've been doing a lot of reading; reading inspirational posts, self-help articles, old journals, and my bible.  In doing so I've felt conviction in my heart, to be better and do better in my life. Not only for myself, but for those who are a part of my life. My growth in life continues. Just as seasons change each year, so do I. 

I will face many challenges through this growth, but in the end, I know it will be worth it.  I look forward to what life has in store for me.  I accept the good with the bad.  I accept the struggles with the victories.  I accept all. And through my faith I will be healed, continue to grow and become healthier in all I do. I believe I will. 

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's "Paparoni" to me ♥

The years have passed but you have not been forgotten you Paparoni. Just as I see my mamasita in me, when I look in the mirror the reflection I see is you too.

I was 14 years old when you left us.

Growing up without a father isn't easy.  For many daughters, their dad is their "Hero" and “First Love.”   They are the protectors; the man they look up to. They are the ones that they can run to for safety and always find comfort knowing that daddy will be there to take care of them no matter how hard life gets.

Growing up without him left many scars but I know that it also helped mold me into be the parent and woman I am today.

Over the years I've learned several unpleasant things about him and this shattered the image of perfection I had placed upon him. It took me a long time to accept that my Paparoni wasn't perfect but even longer to forgive the source that shared his flaws with me. And although at that time I was devastated to learn of such things, it also allowed me to be realistic ~ we are not perfect. Eventually, I came to accept that he wasn't perfect. But he was perfectly made to be my Paparoni.

God doesn't make mistakes.  Everything I know, have learned and become today is because I've been created to Gods plan.  Today I've accepted the good and bad of my Paparoni and only hope to become all the great qualities he was and learn from the poor choices he made during his life.

God already has our lives mapped out. Even through my Paparoni’s death God blessed me with another father. He may not be my biological father but he has been a great source of guidance and wisdom for more than 20 years of my life. He has stood by and supported me during my high and low points in life and has accepted me unconditionally. God doesn’t make mistakes.

I miss my Paparoni every day of my life, but I know that he served his purpose here. He was in my life the exact amount of time as he needed to be, to impact the parts of me that needed to touch.

Even in his death he provides me strength, courage, will, drive, faith, discipline, determination, consistency, passion, follow through, honesty, patience and love; several characteristics he possessed and some of my own that were developed through this experience.

So, if you see tears in my eyes when I think of him, they may be filled with sadness, because it’s natural to miss him, but also they will be filled with joy for I am grateful for all that has transpired in my life; the good and the bad.  Even through the death of my Paparoni he helped me evolve into the person you see today.

Thank you.  You will always be Paparoni to me and I will forever be your TyzaRoni ♥

“I am responsible. Although I may not be able to prevent the worst from happening, I am responsible for my attitude toward the inevitable misfortunes that darken life. Bad things do happen; how I respond to them defines my character and the quality of my life. I can choose to sit in perpetual sadness, immobilized by the gravity of my loss, or I can choose to rise from the pain and treasure the most precious gift I have – Life itself” ~ Walter Anderson

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You are Beautiful ♥

Growing up I found myself comparing my physical beauty to everyone around me.  From the first memories I had in Kindergarten all the way to a few years ago I struggled with maintaining a healthy weight.  I was always the "chubby" kid and the one the boys considered, "one of the guys."

It wasn't until the 7th grade that I lost weight. Over the 6th-7th grade summer I lost 15 pounds but I still found myself heavier than all my friends.  As I entered Jr. High boys began to show interest in me.  Reflecting back I believe by this time, the damage to my self-image was already done. I found it difficult to accept that anyone thought I was beautiful.  I can only attribute it to the years of thinking I was fat, ugly and the countless times of being rejected from the crushes I had as a young girl.

The reflection in the mirror remained the same, no matter what I looked like.  I often find this true, even today.  As an adult, I am better with what my reflection looks like because I've accepted that no matter how I look on the outside what people will attract to in the long run, is what I possess in the inside. Those are the people I want to be a part of my life. 

The focus on outward beauty was never publicized in the light as it is today.  So even though I thought I had it tough, generations of today are faced with a bigger struggle to like what they see in the mirror. They are told what society views as beautiful.  Everyday it's in our faces. It's displayed in the media, magazine ads, highway billboards, but even more so on television shows.  They tell you what you should look like, what you should wear, how to be beautiful and what is beautiful.  What I find is sad, is that the majority of the advertisements publicize superficial beauty. People can no longer grow old gracefully and naturally because society has convinced us that beauty is youthfulness, larger boobs, tighter butts, snip here and cut there, poke her and inject there. Have we really gotten to the point where we dismiss inner beauty? 

I understand that changing our physical appearance is a choice.  I don't look down on people's choices to do what they need to feel beautiful; we all have our own little quirks.  But my belief to have it glamorized to the point where it impacts or sets a foundation of what is acceptable to society is wrong. We live in a society of more, more, more. The problem with the more concepts is that it begins to manifest into dissatisfaction. It turns into the "once you fix one part of yourself, you will always find another part you are unhappy with" syndrome.  We rarely become satisfied with who we are but if you practice loving yourself for what God has blessed you with, you will see that "You are Beautiful."

When I have what I call, "An Ugly Day," I look in the mirror, remind myself it isn't the outside that makes me beautiful it's what I'm made up in the inside  - My values, beliefs, personality traits, how I treat others, and what I GIVE to society. I take a deep breath, close my eyes, and look at my reflection and say, "You are Beautiful." 

As a parent of three children, pregnancy put a big stress on my body.  For those ladies who have had the opportunity to experience pregnancy you know that your stomach is stretched beyond your comprehension and if you chose to nurse your baby, you most likely have lost that 18 year old physique you once had. This was the case for me. I have stretch marks all over my belly and saggy boobs from nursing all three kids. Yes, I said it!

We are our own worst critic. It's terrible to be witness to young girls (not to say boys don't suffer the same struggles) resort to diet pills, harmful eating habits and psychological issues to be the thin/beautiful person society has programmed us to believe is acceptable. 

I have a teenage daughter.  And as a parent who struggled with weight and self-image/esteem issues throughout my life, I must now be a core example in helping my daughter develop a strong self-image and help her build her self-esteem. One day I realized that my own complaining aloud about how fat and ugly I thought I was and the dissatisfaction of my physical appearance in front of her could have been effecting her development.  I was feeding into what society was telling us is acceptable.  I was demeaning myself in front of her, a person she looked to for guidance and strength. I was doing this without even realizing the impact it could have on her in the long run. I found myself doing this even when I was getting toward a healthy weight.

And to my dismay, my daughter took the same path as I did as a small child.  She was overweight and indulged in food.  I believe she was an "emotional" eater.  She had low self-esteem and a poor self-image for several of her elementary school aged years.  This poor view of herself continued into the early teenage years which resulted in her getting involved in activities that were self-destructive.  Her behavior didn't only affect her well being, but it also jeopardized the relationship with her brother's and me.

I noticed that the healthier I became, the more she rebelled. As I began giving up all the unhealthy lifestyle patterns, she seemed to get more and more in trouble.  The once beautiful daughter I saw was turning into a figure that was no longer recognizable.  At that point I could only think that what I saw in her was what she must have seen me for so many years. The inner beauty of her was no longer present. Over time with counseling and the continuing healthy changes in our household we've been able to move forward.  We don't live in the past, but we can look back, talk about and reflect on it.  I am so proud of her and her strength to overcome some of the issues she was faced with. She has turned into a healthy (physically and mentally) teenager.  On her own with a few tips from me, has changed her diet to healthy food choices removing certain sugary foods and foods she knows are unhealthy for her (she is pretty good about reading labels.)  She is involved in team sports, has aspirations of attending a four year university and understands the consequences of her poor choices. My relationship with her has evolved into one that has an open line of communication with the main basis being honesty, trust and respect. With that said, I asked her permission if it was okay for me to involve her in this blog.  She agreed and also asked me to post a before and after shot of her from 2008 to 2012. She has worked on her inside beauty which directly resulted in her outside beauty transformation.                                                                                                                                                                 

Summer 2008

 Strength - Willpower - Determination - Self Love - High Self Esteem - Positive Self Image - Belief in one's self - Healthy Choices - Desire for Happiness - Self Confidence - Communication - Awareness - Acceptance - Change - Do!

Summer 2012

My daughter is living proof that CHOICES are powerful and can determine what direction you move towards. The choice to change is a powerful gift.  The gift to choose can make you the most beautiful person on the inside, where it really counts.  Choose wisely and show the world that deep down, "You Are Beautiful" ♥  
Before ending I would like to share a quick story. It's how the inner beauty of a person shined through to give my daughter a little self-confidence boost:

Earlier this year we attended a birthday party.  All the girl cousins were going to go swimming.  My daughter was reluctant to go into the water in her two piece swimsuit because she felt self-conscience of her body.  After seeing the confidence of one of the other cousins whose physical appearance isn't what society would say is acceptable, my daughter's decision to go in changed and she took the plunge, literally.  Later she shared the story with me and said, "When I saw how confident she was about herself, I thought that was so cool and admired her for it. It made me feel confident too."  That inner confidence in her cousin was more powerful than any outward beauty could ever be. I wish more young people had that confidence and courage. Thank you for being beautiful and showing your beauty through your inner strength ♥
~ Lift others up with positiveness.  Love them because of who they are inside, now what they have on the outside. Over time the outside wears out and grows old, it's inevitable. Place your time and effort on preserving the inner you.  That is what you have the power to keep beautiful. ~ Trg

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

I won't settle for LESS anymore ♥

Forgive yourself. You are human and we all make mistakes ~
Forgiving yourself allows healing.  Accept you are not perfect and know you will fail and make poor choices.  Don't let your failures and poor choices define who you are, but allow you to grow and become a stronger individual.  You made that choice at that moment for a reason and with purpose.  When you can forgive yourself you will find peace.  Make your amends to those you've hurt, and let it go.  You can only say "I'm sorry" for so long.  Don't let guilt or any other crutch eat away at you.  Forgive yourself and free yourself.

Stand up for yourself and stop giving too much of your life to others ~
There is a difference in helping others and allowing yourself to do too much.  Learn to recognize it.
Remember that the word "NO" is not a bad word.  Sometimes we are uncomfortable saying it because we may want to please the other person, but in end if you continue to compromise yourself for others the only one suffering is you.  It takes practice just like everything else in life. Set boundaries and don't deter from them. You are worth it just as much as the next person.

Remember life is one big chalk board, learn the lesson written on it, learn from any mistakes, erase it, and try again ~
Allow yourself to make mistakes, several times.  Learn from them and don't beat yourself up for your errors. Sometimes we make the same exact mistake over and over before we can learn from them but eventually you will get it.  Ask family, friends, a counselor or support group for help.  Healthy viewpoints from the outside world sometimes can be extremely helpful.  Reading an article, listening to a conversation or even just talking it out sometimes will make you realize what needs to change.  Review your chalkboard daily, learn from the mistakes, erase them and give the answer another shot.  How we understand what is written on our own personal chalkboard is unique to each one of us.  Do what works for you.

You cannot force change upon anyone, so stop trying ~
One of my favorites quotes is, "Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."  Begin there; with YOU.  Acceptance of who people are is the key.  If you don't like what they stand for, how they speak to others, the life they lead; you have the power to walk away and separate yourself from that person.  You can't force someone love you, to stop drinking or using drugs, stop lying or cheating, or having personality traits that irritate you.  The first thing you must accept is that they can't change for you.  They must do it for themselves. Stop frustrating and exhausting yourself in trying, instead Focus on You. 

Don't settle for less than you deserve ~
One of the most valuable gifts in life is time.  Do yourself a favor and don't settle for less than you deserve in life.  Take time to enjoy every minute of every day. You are worth all the happiness you can get from this world.  Live life to the fullest and be an example to others because you never know who is watching.  You may help someone realize they shouldn't settle for less than they deserve. Time is precious, so why settle?  

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sometimes all we need is to BELIEVE ~

From the moment we enter the world, the thinking and learning process begins. We are forced to breath which uses our brain the minute we enter the world.  We gasp for air and life begins.  Life can feel like that a lot of the time.  How difficult or easy it is to take that gasp of air in life is all about how difficult we choose to make it.

For some of us, we get stuck in a rut and it becomes so challenging that we create a level of anxiety that even effects us physically. We become ill, gain or lose weight, our hair may fall out, we may break out in rashes; the list can go on. So what causes one person to get to that point and another person to have the ability to overcome difficulties in life?  I believe it's how we choose to "think" about each particular event that transpires in our life.  How we choose to think of the situation we are faced with, good or bad, determines our ability to cope with it. In addition, I firmly believe;


The ability to look at the positive and negatives of any situation is how we choose to perceive it.  In the cases of something bad, you can view it as a lesson learned. Be open to the idea that the situation may not always reveal it's lesson immediately, so be patient and wait for it.  When something great happens, be thankful, humble and learn from what was gifted to you.  Neither one of these come easy; it requires practice, patience, an open-mind and acceptance.

I wish that the blogs I post here about who IronTy is, the journey of my life, people who have touched and inspired me, my favorite quotes/images, the health and fitness changes/challenges I've faced and whatever else I find inspirational and/or beneficial to those embarking on their own personal journey will give the encouragement and hope they need to take a step forward in life. My desire is that these blogs will inspire you to be a better you, give people the courage to remove negativity from their lives and choose a life that is filled with happiness, healthy choices, positiveness and to do it all with a smile.

Below will mark my first blog entry.  A note I wrote a year ago that gives others hope that life can change for the better.  Mine has blossomed in the last two years.  It has been filled with obstacles but the choice to overcome them have gotten me to where I am today. I believe I deserve my happiness and I choose that over anything else.

Happy Anniversary - To Me! April 25, 2011
 A year ago today, I returned home from a weekend in Vegas for soccer tournament.  As I entered my dark, empty house, out came a sigh, a sigh of relief and I smiled.  This was the beginning of “MY NEW LIFE.”

It took me 10 years to stop making excuses for why I allowed myself to stay in a situation that did nothing but support an unhealthy lifestyle. With the help and support of counseling, writing in my journal, family, friends and most importantly, GOD, I finally found inner strength to believe I was worth more than what I had been enduring for the last decade.

Since that day, I’ve found the will, desire and hope to become a better person. I’ve re-established a more communicative and loving relationship with my children, I’ve given GOD control of my life, and re-gained my own self-worth.

I learned to release the guilt and power of manipulation that others had over me which had chained me to such a destructive life. The guilt consumed so much of me, that it to flowed into my personal relationship, relationships with my children, friends, family and even my desire to rekindle my relationship with God. The manipulation that I had allowed others to use against me, to keep control of my life, was finally was broken and when I conquered that, I re-gained my personal power back. What an amazing feeling.

During my journey, I had amazing support from my two best friends ~ Les and Teen. I can never express how thankful I am to them.  Their unconditional support, love and toughness in my endeavor to remove myself from this situation was endless. They are amazing women and I am blessed and forever grateful for their love. :*-)
And although the last year has had several bumps along the way, I’ve been able to keep a healthy focus on all that is important and continue to stand strong in my beliefs. I’ve learned that the word “NO” isn’t necessarily a bad thing and setting boundaries helps keep my life in perspective, balanced and has created structure not only for myself but also for my children. These boundaries may not always be easy to maintain and often I need to remind myself that they “healthy boundaries” and perfectly alright to live by. I see that I’m moving forward in a positive direction.

- Most importantly, I’ve become “PRESENT” to those I love.

Today, when I reflect on who I am, I see is a “HEALTHIER” and “HAPPIER” me.

I am healthier and happier – physically, mentally and spiritually. I am a healthier parent and that has become a priority to me. I’m taking action in helping my children develop a positive self-image, self-worth and teaching them how to deal with life’s obstacles. It's a learning and growing experience for each one of us.  Almost each day we are faced with growing pains, but when we feel the pain, we know its working.

Today, I’m 24lbs lighter than I was a year ago, have not had a sip of alcohol since July 25, 2010 (which my children are pleased about), have participated in three Half Marathons, one 10k and one Dualthlon. I plan to participate in my 1st Half Ironman in less than a month and continue to live this active lifestyle.

I’ve been blessed to have met a partner whom I share a genuine “love” for and with healthy characteristics. We’ve been blessed to be in each others lives during difficult times, and I know in my heart this is not coincidental, but planned according to God.
My relationship with my mother has blossomed into something beautiful. For many years as an adult, I had felt I failed her expectations of what a daughter should be. It wasn’t that I failed her expectations, it was that I failed what I thought she had expected of me. Those were things that I projected upon myself, not her. I’m confident that the woman I’ve become is all she ever wanted for me. I know with complete confidence, that the changes I’ve made in my recent life, which show my true character, is what she is most proud of most. I hear it in her voice each time I speak to her.
BUT - The most noticeable change in our household is not a change you can see with your eyes but one that you can FEEL in your HEART .... I “HEAR” the laughter and “SEE” the smiles. I FEEL the happiness in my children and that brings  joy to me.

My life is far from perfect, and each day I’m faced with struggles, but today when “I get a feeling of hopelessness”, I reflect on the past year and remind myself that I’m a living example of how POSITIVE change can affect your life, but you have to CHOOSE to change. Like anything in life, you have to put fear and comfort aside, love yourself enough, and take action in your life.

I stopped talking and complaining about how miserable my life was and did something about it.

I chose to take action.  If you don't you could be missing out on a whole world of happiness, and ten years was long enough for me.