Permission granted.

kayla

Sometimes we just need permission to be right where we are.Sometimes we just need to cry. Sometimes it doesn't need fixing, because nothing is broken.

You feel me, right?

Last November I was in Boston balling my eyes out. I'd been to to doctor for a check up on my trachea and didn't like what he had to say. I was sitting there talking to my sister on the phone with stories running rampant in my head- with my heart broken- sobbing--- all the while listing off all the reasons why it was a perfectly great day and I was ever so thankful to be here and to be able to get it looked at and blah blah blah more positive shit that didn't matter in that moment. Kayla took a breath and lovingly said... "Lace, positive is good but honest is better. It's ok to just feel rotten. You don't have to make it better." And so I sat. And cried. And let my Boston tribe surround me. And let it feel rotten.

The next day I went back into the operating room for them to get a closer look. This time I wasn't afraid because I'd allowed myself to really feel the pain and confusion and uncertainty of the days before and the events leading to all the surgeries years ago. I felt it, released it and have been getting better ever since.

So if you're needing permission to just be honest, permission granted! From two sisters who have struggled well and seem to find the words that the other needs in the exact right moment.

With love, Lacy

I know the secret to happiness

gold star

and it isn't a diet or a workout regime. Am I the only one out there who goes into a bit of a slump and finds themselves watching infomercials with laser focus?  I mean by the end of it aren't you convinced that DVD set with free blow up ball and poster for your wall is going to change your life! This time, this one is going to change everything! Just look at that hot model who used to be 400 pounds, if she can do it, so can I! And then I'll be happy. I'll be skinny and glowy and happy.

I know my little sister and her ab-flex complete with burnt out belt (from diligent use) will stand in solidarity with me. We have about a half a dozen (or more) sets of "before" photos between us. You know the ones--- put on your smallest swim suit and stand there in all your insecurity for photo documentation only to hope that looking at that photo provides the necessary motivation to begin and then keep going, keep pushing to earn those gold stars and a flat stomach. We'd rush the film straight to the drug store to have them printed (back in the day--- pre-digital) and then come home, open the envelope and cry. Sobs and sobs on the bottom of the closet floor, swim suits strewn everywhere feeling the lowest of low. And then I'd scrape myself up and go self-soothe with a pint of Blue Bell ice cream. Just this one last pint and I'll start tomorrow. I'm a fat ass already with the pictures to prove it- what's one more pint going to hurt?

I should note we have at least 2 "after" sets each that are pretty damn impressive. Just sayin' ;)

It was years of  trying to find the answer through an 800 number and 3 easy installments. Years of equating clothing size, weight and muscle tone to happiness. I owned not one but two of those fat pincher things. There was Tae Bo which my girlfriend claimed helped her loose 50 lbs. Later she said it was actually cocaine but she had the videos too in case that method didn't work out. I had the ab ball and that rolling wheel with handles on each side for doing push ups. Kayla practically wore out the Denise Austin workout tape. I can still hear her narrating the video along with Denise, "And left, left, left, squeeeeeze...do it with Denise! Woooooooo!" Then there was Tony Little and his anthem "You can Doooooo It!" Turbo Jam. The boots you clip on and hang from the door jam for doing mid-air sit ups. And oh how I wanted a Total Gym! I skipped P90X but my sis and her husband had a pretty bitchin' garage gym there for a hot minute.

I was taught no pain, no gain. That if you want results you have to suffer to get them. I then added more stories that getting there meant success, happiness & arriving. It took most of my 20's full of suffering to clue me in that there might be a better way. Exercise was punishment, food was reward, life was a roller coaster too much of the time. Yoga was my gateway exercise to peaceful movement with results. And the results where not what I'd intended, they were better! You can breathe, meditate and flow yourself to healthy. You can gently and lovingly lose weight and stay in shape. But we're not really talking about staying in shape at all, we're talking about happiness.

After all those Body for Life contests and endless workout videos I finally, finally realized that being a size perfect wasn't going to make me truly, deeply happy. After many rounds of reaching the goal and not feeling better I got it. The number on the scale is not the sole factor in my happiness level.  Once I was able to be ok with me- at any size, in any moment I was happy. Once I accepted myself fully and completely exactly as I was, I was at peace. Once I put on a swim suit and looked in the mirror and my first reflex was to say "lookin good" I knew I was a-ok, better even.

So today I walk, practice yoga, meditate, swim, do 5 random push ups at some point during the day because that feels good to me. Today I'm happy not because the weight on the scale tells me I'm worthy because I tell me I'm worthy. I'm worthy because I was born. I am worthy because I'm still on this planet so there's still living yet to be done.

I am worthy.

I am loved.

I am love.

That's it. Just plain I am love. There's no end to that sentence that says I am love if I am size whatever. I am love just the way I am because I am.

And you are too.

With love,

Lacy

p.s. I'm not gonna lie, those Tracy Anderson Method DVD's look pretty tempting! They always get me with the line "in the convenience of your own home." I think YEAH- I love convenience, I love my own home! Sa-weet! Only now I know better. I move my body to take good care of it because I love it and you know what--- it just keeps loving me back. We make an awesome team.

Stand with me in love, join Campaign for Confidence or join my community here.

Status Update

kayla and chloe

My sister has just had a baby. Her first. A girl. Chloe Emma Mae. And she's perfect. So much so that holding her just brings me to tears. Sheesh typing this now brings me to tears. It's an exciting and confusing time. I've held so many babies but this one is different. This one lived in and came out of my sister. My sister who has taken to motherhood with such grace, patience and calm. And Brian, her husband - oh my gosh this man. His face when Kayla talks about the labor experience (a completely natural birth). He was with her every step. He was in it. He was her rock. And she was amazing. They are amazing.

Putting the layers on our new home is making me deeply happy. Though at times I have to remind myself that it's not a race, there is no deadline and to enjoy the process. I still practice mindfulness around patience which translates to sometimes I am SO IMPATIENT and I want it all done yesterday. We're down to the tedious parts and I see a huge garage sale in our future!

Our garden is done. The first plants are in! We check on them several times a day. It feels like a new puppy. Yeah, it's that exciting.

The galley kitchen is actually working out. We've come up with some great space saving solutions, a pot rack hung upside down to fit the space, hanging the cutting boards, taking the upper cabinet doors off. It's my favorite room in the house so far mostly b/c we use everything in there. It's efficient. It's the nourishment center. There's a lot of love in that little room. And it's been a total team effort. Mom and Mema laying shelf paper. Mom taking off cabinet doors, Cliff hanging the pot rack and me deciding what goes where.

It's regularly 100 degrees or higher and it feels like your face is melting off. Still not used to that one. I am not sure if one ever gets used to it. And the bugs. Lord the bugs.

And that's my world.

All is well.

Life is in progress.

Cliff loves his job. I love my job (sometimes to the point of the ridiculous).

And little Chloe has my heart.

To Juice or Not to Juice

IMG_1207

Hands down I say, JUICE! I count juicing as the #1 thing I've done to increase my health! #1!  That's one big compliment to juice! I've lead hundreds of people through successful juice cleanses and seen the results duplicated over and over again. At this point almost every one of my family members has purchased a juicer and have green juice on the menu daily or weekly.

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Everyday Health's Guide to Common Cleanse suggests using:

'Juicing as a Meal Replacement

For a less-extreme cleanse, consider occasionally replacing a meal with fresh vegetable or fruit juice. “In moderation, or as an alternative to eating fruits and veggies, this can be a great way to supplement your meals and snacks,” Jantz says. “Juicing is a great way to concentrate the phytochemicals and nutrients found in veggies and fruits.” When you do it on your own at home, it’s also a lot less expensive than a prebottled system.'

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I totally agree!  Juicing as meal replacement is how I maintain my green juice love affair.  I have a green juice for breakfast (almost) everyday. Invest in a juicer and then juice at home. That way you control what goes into your juice, the quality of the ingredients and when you consume it.  Always go organic when you can and the sooner you drink the juice the better.

My little sister has a lot to say about juicing too:

Hi, my name is Kayla and I’m a juicing addict! Seriously though, the love affair with me and juice has been fast and furious. Even though my big sister is the health coach and all-out juice nut, it was actually my little sister that coaxed me into that first sip of liquefied greens.

It was November of this past year, and I was in the first trimester of my pregnancy, miserably sick, and seriously lacking in nutrition because of the nausea and food aversions. My little sis had been living with friends who were also into juicing, and she brought over a nutrient-packed green juice to help put a little pep back in my step.  Unbeknownst to me, I was about to find a new, easy, delicious way to eat my veggies, and unbeknownst to her, I wasn’t just sick...she was about to discover that she’d soon be an Aunt!

I didn’t get my first juicer until that Christmas, but serendipitously a new juicing bar called The Juice Spot had just opened near my husband’s work. Squeamish about anything green his whole life, he reluctantly gave green juice a try at my urging but with a few extra pears to start. Before you knew it, we were both hooked and loving the natural “high” we felt after drinking our juice.

It’s only been 6 months of juicing, and we’ve already upgraded from our original Juiceman Junior to a Jack LaLanne Power Juicer. We’re still die hard green juice fans, but we’ve been experimenting with adding new ingredients like jalapenos, carrots and ginger.

Our daughter can’t get enough of our healthy habit as well. Even though she’s still en utero (I’m now 7 months pregnant), I can already tell how much she loves her greens by her frenetic happy kicks after I gulp down a glass. She’s never more active than she is right after we enjoy our juice!

I have to say that the joy has been about more than the nutrition as well. My husband and I tend to juice together on the weekend and really enjoy doing it together. We also recently joined a CSA so we’d always have the local, organic, fresh veggies that we need on hand. It’s something that I crave now, and that makes me feel really great for my own health and for my baby.

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Here's to finding the juice combo that is right for your body!

To your whole health + happiness! Lacy

p.s. there's still time to enroll for Group Health Coaching: Foundations of Food starting two weeks from today on the 29th of May!

Life in Hawaii_3rd installment.

Week 3 and I've lightened.  I've found my groove of a daily routine with balancing work and this island life.  
I love the light here.  I love the tropical fruits literally falling off the trees and the mango growing right outside our window.  I love the view from my air mattress (did you just giggle a little? me too) and the way I can hear the crashing waves when I go to sleep at night.  I love the ocean, the beach... I love the beach SO much.  I go there every day and drink it in.  It's my lunch break.  It's where I read.  It's where I walk.  As Cliff would say "it's the warehouse" where peace is stored.  
I've been doing yoga to The Cinematic Orchestra.  This one is my favorite.  It's kind of a sad song-- I guess-- but I don't feel sad when I listen to it.  I just feel in touch with how I'm feeling.  It's just so soulful and at the moment since I don't have a literal home of my own I'm very aware of how I've come to find home within myself and finally... finally I don't feel alone.  I actually look forward to spending time with myself.  

Three weeks into the journey I'm finding more and more things to be grateful for.  I wake up each morning and list them all off in my mind, sometimes I sing it like a 3 year old saying her prayers.  Some mornings it's pickles, sunshine, and my effortlessly wild curly hair and others it's my husband, my Rachel, my Ned, my family.  A lot lately it's my sister and the connection we have despite the distance.  There's this magic in her as she's growing a little life inside of her with the authenticity and humor that can only be translated through her words. 
I'm writing lots.  I'm reading lots more.  I'm watching documentaries that are stirring ideas and growing inspirations.  I'm walking next to, sitting by and spending time with the sea.  Generally all that translates to spending massive amounts of time with myself... And it's all moving right along.  And I'm finding that in the silence when all is stripped away and I face myself-- I love this girl staring back at me very much.  I love her passion and desires.  I hear her little whispers and I believe in her dreams.  And for the first time the bright future is not so much the focus but just this one little present moment.  Just this one right now.  And now this one.  And it's all perfect.  
Love from Hawaii!
Thanks for following along with me on the journey and for sending your love. 
I've felt it and I'm grateful for it. 
Lacy

Email Diary

I write notes to myself in my email.
Do you?

I write letters that I will never send.
Do you?

I send journal entries to my sister or dear friends when there's something that begs to be shared.
Do you?

Today my sister sent me one of her journal entries. There are times that the distance between us feels massive. This is one of those times.

Together we find clarity in what we know to be true. Her words came right out of my heart today and I thought I'd share them with you.

"So there’s something to work towards.

Grace. Love. Compassion. Tenderness. Resilience. Hope. Pride. Beautiful, beautiful authenticity. Just being where I’m at."

Wherever this finds you on your journey take heart in knowing somewhere out there someone else is going through some version of your story. They've felt what you're feeling and I promise- It will always be ok.  Better even.

With "Grace. Love. Compassion. Tenderness. Resilience. Hope. Pride. Beautiful, beautiful authenticity."

Lacy (and Kayla)

Three Oh!

June 6, 1981 My baby sister, Kayla was born.  
I claimed her as "my baby" immediately. 
 
My first time to hold Kayla. 
Mema, Kayla, Me doing a marvelous job feeding Kayla & Mom
Kayla Marie, 1981 ready for the world! 
 Kayla's first Christmas!  Christmas in our family was a huge deal growing up.  Each year we all went to pick our tree thoughtfully deciding if it should be flocked or unflocked. We played Christmas music as we unpacked all the ornaments and ooohed and awwed over each one as we decorated together.  
I believe I am singing to Alvin & The Chipmunks Christmas album while Kayla being as helpful and adorable as ever. ;)
Kayla and Dad. 
It's an understatement to say that Kayla adored her daddy.  
Great Grandma Armstrong (Mema's mom), Mema, Kayla and Me

Hello cutie!
Step ball change!  

 I do believe Kayla was the hoola hooping champion over & over again. Dad made everything into a competition so I'm certain we were hooping it out to see who could outlast the other.  I can't remember if she was the hooping champion or the roll the hoop and run through it champion.  ; p

 And yes, she wanted to hit me most of time (and did a fair amount) but one thing has always remained the same, we've never been alone, we've always had each other and always will. 
Sweet sister!  Happy happy 30th birthday, welcome to your third decade of life!  Mom and Dad must be freaking out... they have children in their 30's!  It's crazy!  
I am me because there was a you and I am forever grateful to have YOU as my sister.  I celebrate every one of your 30 years today and I am missing you like crazy. 
Happiest of happy days!  I am so glad that you were born!
With love,
Lacy    

Happiness coming towards her.

Ok I am headed to bed but I was just listening to this again and clapping to my hearts content as Cliff brushes his teeth and it has me thinking...

I learned to clap REALLY loudly when I was in France in college watching Flamenco dancers at a little dark perfectly French cafe on a steamy summer night...

which has me thinking of my little sis who is in the heart of Flamenco country right now--- living happily, sipping coffee at all hours and living her best life.  I'd say happiness has definitely hit her and for that I am super grateful.  Mema has always said if we have nothing else we have each other and I feel her happiness... late at night as I clap while Cliff brushes his teeth and we head to bed.

The dog days are OVER.

Ni nite.