Overcoming Obstacles

I don’t generally #MedalMonday.. sometimes I forget.. and other times, I just don’t- no particular reason.. I don’t share many photos this season because I always look crazy (yes, crazier than usual, hahah) but yesterday made 3 years that I quit smoking. 3 Years that I gave myself the gift of a better life.. So (traditionally), I do something special for myself to celebrate and yesterday.. I celebrated by actually organizing my medals and keepsakes from my races..

I can remember back to when I registered for my first OCR. I did it on a whim.. looking for adventure.. and as I excitedly shared with friends and family about my training and upcoming race- I can remember when someone told me

“are you sure you can do that? a barbed wire crawl? you’ll never fit under that, you’re too big!”

— needless to say, that sucked. It cut like a knife.

I spent many nights laying awake thinking what had I done to myself.. why did I even think i was good enough to run these races? For a while, I was even angry.. I figured I’d signed myself up to look like a fool and my friends and family just willingly let me sacrificed myself as some joke.

The morning of my first race, I took supplements and vitamins and all that jazz. I was scared and excited out of my wits.. and all I wanted to do was just not die.. and I didn’t… I didn’t conquer every obstacle.. and some obstacles straight up conquered me.. but I didn’t quit. I spent a lot of time in thought wondering why I was doing this to myself.. What was I trying to prove? And to who? Eventually, I crossed the finish line.. the next few days were miserable.. I felt terrible (I think I caught a virus but I’m still not sure so I don’t know if I sucked.. or my immune system sucked.) But something kept pulling me back.. Was it redemption? Maybe. The thrill? Possibly.. but I kept signing up.. and I kept trying. Greater distances, more obstacles.. different terrain.. I still haven’t fully gotten redemption on all of the obstacles that conquered me… I sometimes bypass an obstacle that I’m unsure of and need to train harder on.. but since that day..

I have lost weight. I have gained muscle. I have seen heartache.. and I have seen pure happiness. I have fallen a few more times.. and I have stood back up a few times more.. I have smashed goals.. and I have failed gloriously. There have been times that I felt on top of the world.. and there are others that I feel absolutely lower than dirt.. I feel tired less, I can push harder and I endure more. It’s a roller coaster.. every day with its unique obstacles and each race with its own set of hurdles.. sometimes, I crawl under them.. sometimes over.. and there are times I accept that more progress is needed and just go around them.. but there is one thing that remains.. There is a hunger burning deep inside of me to continue to do better.. to continue to improve.

Aside from hanging out with my little family, some of the best memories I have from my adult years are spent on the course.. in the moment that I wanted to sit on the grass, cry my heart out and quit.. to climbing over that slide I thought I’d never see the top of. Each of these obstacles has broken me down.. and built me back up into a stronger version of what I once was. I have given blood, sweat, tears and dreams each time I have laced up my shoes.. I have met some of the most amazing people.. and cross paths with truly inspirational souls.. and my only wish for myself is that I continue to lace up each and every time this adventure presents itself and the hunger burning inside to improve never goes away.

I have answered some of the questions that once plagued me. I know now that I do this for myself. I know that I can fit under the barbed wire. I can push harder than I ever thought I could.

There are many medal racks just like this.. some with many, many, many more hanging.. and others with less.. but this one? This one is mine. It’s a reminder that I just have to keep moving forward, no matter who or what stands in my way. It is a permanent visual of pushing forward.. even when I struggled to believe in myself. Someone will always have something to say.. but at the end of the day, I know my heart and I know that if I push hard with every fiber in my being, I will eventually tackle each and every goal I set.

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Continue to Pray..

[I wrote this on Sunday, May 6. I’m late posting because I was torn on if I should or not..]

I knew today would be difficult. I get it. Even I often have to take a step away, take a deep breath and catch my head. In fact, I WOKE UP EARLY today just to have 5 minutes of peace.. and you know what happened? One of the boys felt me leave the room and woke up.. totally backfiring my plan to have a moment of peace.. I knew today would be long.. and hard. But I wasn’t going to miss mass just because things were proving to be difficult. I struggled through every obstacle I faced this morning.

I’ve honestly left the mass before in situations like this.. but I won’t keep allowing people to get in between my relationship with God.. But I did see you.. I did hear you.. and I’d be lying if I said it didn’t make my skin crawl and shatter my heart.

I saw when you rolled your eyes and it took several deep breaths to hold back tears. I heard your comments, too.. I could see as you praised the baby that was still just a few pews ahead of us.. Without a doubt in my mind, that baby was behaving beautifully.. but you didn’t need to compare them. He wasn’t being bad. Sure, he was whiny and cried some but he wasn’t swinging from the choir loft or doing anything outside of normal childlike behavior.

Today, I saw and felt every moment of you rolling your eyes and belittling my son. As much as it hurt, I brushed it off. Maybe you’re having a bad day, too.. and if you are, I’m sorry.. and if you’re not – I do hope you find peace But while I saw (and heard you)… what you didn’t see is just all he’ been through in the last few weeks that caused his whining.. I know, I know- it sounds like just an excuse to justify my child being rowdy, but I can promise you – it’s not.

That kid that was a little cranky and loud is miserable in his own skin right now. He’s only 2 and confused.. and unlike an adult, he cannot process that pain and discomfort in a mature way… That “bad little boy” is covered in blisters and hives from his head to his toe.. and we still aren’t sure why. We are working with a doctor for answers but for now? We still don’t have them so we make the best of life that we can for him despite what confusion and pain he feels.. That little boy has slept *maybe* 15 hours COMBINED in 5 days because he’s in so much pain.. yet, he still smiled at you when we first sat and you snarled his way.. He’s too innocent to see that you weren’t being sincere.. but I saw it. I wanted so badly to pick up my bag, grab both of my boys and just walk out.. but we weren’t there for you.. We go to mass because of our faith in God. And.. Trust me. There are so many days that I *wish* we had a cry room .. but we don’t.. So we make do the best we can and try our best to keep them calm every Sunday..

It took a lot of prayers for peace.. but we stayed.. but you didn’t stop. The looks didn’t stop… but I ignored them. I’m not really sure what’s going on in your life.. and it’s really not my business. But I do truly hope that you someday find peace with it. I also hope you know (or maybe come to realize) that we don’t go to mass to ruin your day.. or moment. We go to mass because I hope to train up two God fearing lads that can someday lead the youth of our church.

If this finds its way to you, I do pray for you. I do pray for whatever you’re facing.. or holding onto. If you need a hug, I’d be more than happy to offer one.. If you want to pray, we can do that, too. But please.. consider what someone is going through before being so quick to judge them. As your sister in Christ, I can only believe that you truly wish to see our church flourish with youth that will love Jesus as much as we all do.. but for that to happen, we must also welcome them all with loving arms.. loud or quiet, calm or wild.. Children come in all personalities and are dealing with so many situations we cannot even begin to fathom in just a glance..

For any mother reading this who’s nodding her head because she can relate.. I know it hurts. The pain stings and you feel defeated.. but continue to train up a child in your faith. It is never between anyone but you and God anyway ❤ ❤ Continue to go to your mass. Continue to work with your children to love and serve the Lord.. and when your heart feels heavy because you feel defeated in mass, CONTINUE TO PRAY..

Battling Decay.. 

It’s been a while guys but honestly, I didn’t really have anything exciting or revolutionary to share.. but this- you’re going to want to see.. and maybe someone reading this is desperate for hope and healing like I was.


Disclosure
: This blog is of my own personal experience and opinion. This opinion is not forced by a company nor is it made in exchange for any form of compensation. I have written this of my own thoughts in hope of helping someone ❤

Oral Healthcare has always been important to me.. but it seemed that no matter how much I brushed, flossed, etc- it was never enough. I’ve been told my Grandma had dentures at a very early age.. and as much as I love her, I didn’t want to follow her steps this time. I can remember getting 4 cavities filled at the age of 4 and always being told I wasn’t brushing enough or my gums needed more attention,  etc.  I’ve had my teeth sealed, braces and extensive dental care to prevent an early oral healthe declined.. So… I tried every latest “great toothpaste”.. I tried every new device meant to offer the closest and best smile, ever. I tried natural remedies and OTC miracle drugs.. and guess what? NONE WORKED.

When my oldest had to have oral surgery at the age of 4, I realize that my bad oral luck had passed on to at least one of my kids. We brush his teeth, religiously. We had kids floss and mouthwash.. but it still wasn’t enough for him. I knew we had to figure something out or find something.  But what? I felt like I’d exhausted every avenue in this department and I was just revisiting old streets. I felt absolutely helpless. I didn’t want to curse my sons with this nightmare and was determined to find a solution to give them a better life.
So fast forward a little over a year from his surgery, add in hundreds of soft drinks,  many nights of stress and sugary treats and *it happened*. It happened so gradually that I honestly didn’t realize it was happening until it was nearly too late. My gums receded so much you could literally see the bottom of my teeth. The decay was real. My gums were disappearing,  the teeth were turning black and dying. I was so mortified. (Side note: I’m a pretty positive Patty. I’m always smiling and always looking for the good in things. I am overly optimistic.. so my smile being black was so hard for me. I was too insecure to smile at others and it just took a huge emotional toll.) I kept my struggle to myself for the most part, only Shawn knew how bad things were and it was obvious it was because he was home every night and could see me obsessing in my mouth and my declining attitude.

So I started looking more into things I can try, and I’m not sure why it took so long to figure out, but I’m glad it finally clicked! My oils! Let’s be honest, I know so many of you are still skeptical- and I get that- at one time, I was, too! But here me out, oils saved my mouth.

I called the dentist accepted on my network and they told me I could be seen in April AT THE EARLIEST! My oils were my Hail Mary, literally.
I started researching what I had at home and immediately started trying different things. I finally found some good ones that seemed to be helping: Thieves, Rosemary, Eucalyptus Globulus & Frankincense.

  • Thieves: helps with tooth pain, gum infection, anti-septic.
  • Rosemary: anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-septic, improved blood flow, boost immune system, natural mouthwash
  • Eucalyptus Globulus: boosts immune system, improves/stimulates blood circulation
  • Frankincense: fights oral infection, anti-inflammatory,  disinfecting pain reliever,  stimulates immune system to heal

After about a week, my gums went from black to pink and the bleeding seemed less frequent. I was impressed to say the least.

Since my oils seemed to be coming in clutch, I decided to take the next step and commit to their toothpaste: Thieves Aromabright Toothpaste. I was feeling rather impatient so I put a calling out in my Oils group https://www.facebook.com/faithandfrankwellness/  and it was answered by a dear friend, Erica.

I started the Aromabright and after a few days,  I could feel my gums healing. How can you feel healing?  My mouth felt so much better. Gum irritation decreased, the pinkness in my gums flourished and I could feel growth in my gums.

Now, I have two regrets on this journey.

  1.  I regret not finding it sooner.
  2. I reget not taking “before” pictures sooner. I was so blinded by embarrassment that I didn’t even consider that I’d look back and want to see how far I progressed.

I never actually planned to share this story but I stumbled across a post that ended up turning into a discussion with friends who were actually struggling with similar problems. It was there that I realized I could actually help someone battling a problem that had caused me so much heartache. My teeth are far from perfect and nowhere near close to being “fixed”- but I know I’m on the right path and giving myself the best oral care possible until I can see my dentist.
Below is a photo taken just 3 days apart. The proof is in the pictures. I can blabber all day but you cannot deny what you see with your own eyes.

Please feel free to reach out to me if I can be of any assistance to you. ❤

Before & After Battle..

Sorry for the delay and the broken promises.  I guess I needed a longer break than I originally thought. It was time well spent. I’ve spent the last month or so training hard and focusing on bettering myself and my family. 
In that time, I was preparing to run the Battle 6:11 Battle of Baton Rouge State Championships. It had been since March since I’d taken on an OCR (obstacle course race) but I knew I’d stepped up my training and I guess I just needed to prove something to myself. 
When I finally realized that PCOS Awareness Month AND Battle Race were September, I knew I wanted to use this as an opportunity to create awareness for this illness that plagues me daily yet is still so taboo. So I did. I posted about statistics.  I shared facts. I even had my dear husband make me a new shirt as part of my race gear! Shout out to Shawn with Lipari Specialties for my sweet new shirt

As the days counted down, the fatigue and self doubt began to set in. Why do I do this? Who do I think I am!? I’m just an average Mom of 2 cute kids who tries her best to keep her life together and has chronic illness. There’s plenty of “me” out in the world.. so what makes me think that I’m anything special to run these courses? 

I have really bad anxiety and I tend to be super tough on myself so I’ve learned to push through that train of thought and commit regardless of anxious thoughts.. 

And before I knew it, race day was here… 

At the beginning of the race, I was still in my head and graciously received help on getting in the chute and a few of the earlier obstacles I should have been able to do solo.. but the mental block was dragging me down. But I slowly found a groove and started hopping straight into obstacles without hesitation. 

I wish I could tell you some courageous story of great speed and heroic leaps and bounds.. but the truth is, I am just a Mom with chronic illness who gets on that course to better herself and to make her kids proud. I went out, ran.. well walked/jogged some terrain and tackled some obstacles.  Some obstacles, I needed help and others I tackled solo and shocked myself. 

BUT WHAT THIS RACE SHOWED ME is that I am brave.  I am out in the world creating a platform for women with PCOS to break stigmas and create awareness.  I am slowly (but surely) changing myself and creating a healthier future. 

There are 2 main responses I get when I mention “I run races”.. The first one is that awkward sideways head tilt glance.. I know, it’s hard to believe someone with a larger body build and frame does these things.  Well, it’s hard to believe if you aren’t in that world. More often that not, you will find people of all body ranges at an OCR. Why? Because they don’t require you to be a machine or goddess. These races take HEART. They take effort and determination.  They take comradarie.  *NEVER* let someone tell you that you cannot do something outside of the norm.  Do what makes you happy. Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets you soul on fire. 

The second response is usually “well, do you winm” or “could you even win?” Honestly, probably not. I’m a mediocre runner, and that’s being generous. But not every race has to be about what place you are. Would placing podium be amazing? ABSOLUTELY!  Does it mean I shouldn’t run because I won’t podium? Absolutely not! If you want to run, RUN YOUR RACE. Run your own race. Do not define your ability just by podiums.  Work on self improvement and victory is still yours. 

Learning to Let Go

T’was the night before Kindergarten & all through the home. 

Everything was laid out, from his uniforms to comb. 

A few squirts of Prim Monster Spray in the closet and bed..

So no bad dreams would fill his tiny head.

As we tucked him into bed and kissed him goodnight.. 

We knew in our hearts this new journey would be alright ❤ 

So sweet and innocent in his bed he curled.. 

But when he wakes up, it’s time to change the world ❤ #firstdayofschool

An Ode to My Husband

Shawn, there truly are no words to thank you for how much you do for me in this life. After working a full time job and 2 games, you came home to a broken wife with a crappy attitude. My emotions a mess and crying,  hours long… and without missing a beat- you walked in, hugged me so tight that it “put me back together” and assured me everything would be okay with a gentle kiss on the forehead.  Thank you. Thank you for resetting me when I felt broken. Thank you for loving me on the good days,  but loving me harder on the bad days. Thank you for taking the time to listen and showing that you care. There are times that I have no words, but you sit and listen anyways. I could never truly express just how much those moments mean to me. In a world that often feels so cold and alone, I know there is solace when I am with you.

Yall, I have so many posts I want to share but my depression has been a bit overwhelming. I promise to try and be back soon. Thanks for hanging around. 

Find Yourself in the Mud

My oldest son has asked to run an obstacle course ever since falling in love with American Ninja Warrior.. when I ran Tough Mudder in March, he was disappointed he was too young.. BUT not all hope was lost. 

In Louisiana,  we have Battle Races created by Battle 6:11. 

http://www.battle611.com

They have weekly training, races, rucks, etc. If you’re in the area and looking for a local OCR circuit, this is it. 

So when a date and location popped up that was pretty convenient,  we decided to register him. Elated was an understatement. When he found out he’d get to run, he was so overcome with emotions that he cried. Truly touching as a parent to see that much emotion and happiness come out of such a tiny body. Even more emotional when it’s over something you love, too. 

Race day came and that same level of excitement was still there. As his heat approached, I pointed out the parks alligator in the pond,  I told him a few obstacles I’d seen at my earlier arrival and told him some cool stuff the state park had for after the race.. and then.. 

It was time! 

The start bell sounded and WE WERE OFF! Due to his age, he needed an adult and it just made sense that I would go with him since Shawn isn’t into the entire OCR scene.  He flew over the first obstacles like they were nothing. A little hesitation at trying new things but over the moon with every step at everything he was achieving. 

Leaps and bounds came and went and he breezed through obstacles I had previously assumed he’d struggle with. 

 And then.  It happened. The log carry..

I totally assumed he’d breeze through this. Not because its easy but because we do play outside. And, well, he’s said he wanted to do Tough Mudder, everything.  
Had you told me just milliseconds after I’d taken the photo above that he was about to have a huge mental breakdown,  I would have laughed at you.  He had just scaled 4 foot walls with ease and flew off of them like Superman.. but we hit the mud and it happened. I have lovingly referred to this moment as #MuddyMeltdownApocalypse. 
As he took little steps holding his log, his feet sunk into the clay-like mud. And each step was a little heavier and a little deeper. He chunked the log and exclaimed it was too heavy as he looked at me with defeat. Fine, I’ll carry it- no big deal, right? I grab the log and we go just inched forward. Next step, his shoe is totally submerged in the mud and when he pulls his leg up *POP*.. his foot comes out and the shoe stays hidden. At this point, he LOSES his mind. Tears, screams, wails, groans. Total mental breakdown. I’m doing my best to calm him but it’s just getting worse and nothing I say gives any sense of hope whatsoever. With his next step, his other shoe comes off. Then it’s socks to the mud and he is just a mess of emotions at this point and not happy ones.

I’m doing my best to hold it together but the mud is gross, I’m sinking myself and his screams are making is pretty impossible to make rational thoughts.  So I finally catch my head, hoist him to my back, the log in my arms and every slipped off shoe; his, mine and strays tossed onto my fingers and turn back around. When we finally get out of the mud, he’s screaming that he just needs to rinse off. He’s done and ready to go home. Tosses himself straight to the ground in a fit of refusing to put back on his shoes.

The “Mom” in me fussed with him a bit that he needed to go on. Not for the medal.. but because I knew he would look back on that moment with regret if he didn’t and I didn’t want that for him. I’ve been there before and the regret haunts me. It took some convincing but he finally gave in and agreed to go a little further and “feel things out”.

The brisk run after the mud was rough. He just kept fussing, grumbling and giving me a death stare. I picked up the pace a little so that he’d give chase and be distracted until the next obstacle.  It worked. 

When he finally completely the course, he had been stuck, shed tears, fallen off of an obstacle, overcome obstacles he never thought possible and achieved something he always said he wanted to do. The raw emotion at the finish line was overwhelming,  even staff teared up at his reaction. He was immediately brought to tears in amazement of all he’d done in such a short time.

Check out his live finish by clicking on the link below: 
Greyson’s Battle Finish

Ironically, I check my email and his “word of the month” at MMA is resilience. Their definition is “when life pushes me down, I bounce back up.” There is literally no better way to explain what had just happened to him than this. Somethint had just *clicked* inside of him with this word. He realized that by getting back up and moving on, he was able to overcome an obstacle AND achieve a dream..

Some people wait a lifetime to meet a superhero.. I am blessed enough that I am raising two tiny heroes.  In this moment, I was elated at how mature of a realization this was for such a tiny soul. I spend every second of my life trying to help them through life.. and every second right back, they are showing me just what life is about..

If you find yourself knocked down or just stuck… do not succumb to the mud pit.. dig yourself out and bounce back up. 

Battle 6:11 always encourages participants to discover what’s their battle cry?

On this day, we learned that Greyson’s battle cry is #Resilience.