Health and Wellness · Musings · Relationships · Weight Loss · Writing · WritingPosts2016

It’s Not All About Fat

I trusted doctors for years until after post-partum depression several years ago. Now I wonder which health professionals are committed to wellness and which ones are out to make money.

I’m only one person. Who am I to judge the experts who have invested their money, time, and energy to commit to serving others’ health needs?

I run into the issue of sincerity every. Single. Time. Most careers have people who care about the patients/customers they help. But also, there is no lack of greed, where a re-coupe on investment is someone’s priority. I wasn’t- (and still am not sure) what category the doctor who consulted me to seek a weight-loss solution center-falls into. People are multi-faceted, and it goes beyond how a person outwardly acts or speaks to others, regardless of profession.

There is no doubt; I wasn’t happy in the delivery of this news from the doc that I needed to face my fears about weight-loss. About a week into sadness, anger, denial, and depression over the long road I faced, I began to accept it’s not all about fat.

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Mr.Incredible and I pose for dear daughter to photograph us in (2015) 

I can’t control others’ motives for their interpersonal skills (like the good ole doc’s polar delivery that I was beyond repair aside from surgery or diet pills)-but I can control how much I let an individual’s actions and words affect me.

It’s not “me vs.them.” It’s me and why it’s so hard to let go of this fat that is slowly killing me. I wonder what I’m trying to smother out or at times if the binge-eating is a self-punishment (beyond coping with anxiety.) I have self-harmed by removing tiny imperfections from my skin (only I see them as flaws) as I discuss in a piece I’ve written on Kyrian Lyndon’s blog. Another thing to consider is, am I possibly trying to take up more space physically with my body to make up for feeling unheard or inadequate in some aspect?

I explore the possibilities and solutions on a regular basis in my quiet time.

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Me after long day of work (November 2015)

(BTW, self-harm isn’t exclusive to teens. If you need resources to help cope with self-harm, take a look at videos from Trauma Recovery University. Helpful stuff, there.)

Continuing with the doctor’s visit: There is something else here, beyond the fat. Just like the doc who had reasons I couldn’t see for a tough bedside manner-my self-talk had been so bitter and unforgiving that I’d given in to the hoplessness. I’d essentially quit on myself.

Maybe that is why I allowed myself to cry that evening after seeing the doc. My sweet husband said the most beautiful reassurances to me and continues to support my pro-activity to live healthy in a larger body. After talking with my husband, I felt better, but I knew I was in the weight-loss marathon for the long haul. I’d progressed to the point to where I knew I am WORTH the change: Something I’ve heard over and over, but until a person CONVINCES themselves, it falls on deaf ears.

(Tiny disclaimer: the remainder of this post features faith and mentions religion and how it has affected me. If you are triggered by this in some way, please do not scroll down and know I completely understand! My blog isn’t religious, but faith has been a prominent part of my life and recovery.)

My body today is not my destiny. My body is not my present or past. My body isn’t for anyone’s acceptance-my own or others. But my body is capable of progress. It is lovely and covered up most of the time because I hold it respectfully in a world where media longs to compare one body to another. I’ve learned my clothing, style, or image is for naught. Faith in my creator has taught me these truths in the way only seeking God daily can do.

A great deal of abuse I’d survived was in the care of organized religion from a young age. Some may see it as foolish to seek faith as a refuge after enduring such fear and pain. This post may seem extremely shallow to you. I’ve been on both sides. The shallow end of religion and then the side where I know God’s endless love. Because of this, there is a very clear and distinct difference in religion and God’s actual love and care for me as his child.

Only a day ago I listened to a song that touched my heart in a special way. It is Good, Good, Father by Chris Tomlin. My father and I have met after 20 years of estrangement, but nothing could have made up for his absence. The song Good, Good Father refers to God as my father. I couldn’t stop the hot tears from streaming down my face in that precious moment at 3am when I knew I was hearing “I Love You” being whispered from God straight into my heart on Valentines Day. Those words were never uttered by my earthly father, who spent his last years before retirement inside of pulpit. Those words have been muttered from me and others who I thought I’d loved and who I thought loved me. Those words finally began to sink in as I held my newborn daughter seven years ago and my marriage survives and flourishes during emotional darkness.

If a person is survived by love, what else is there? It certainly goes beyond the anger, sadness, blame, pain, and how a body looks.

May you know love each day of your life. I’m not done with the subject of love and acceptance. I understand for many of you this is quite a surprise because I’m a private person with my faith.

Back to our regularly scheduled blogs.

Have a great week.

~Laurie

Musings · Thanksgiving

Contentment In Trouble and Fond Memories #Thankful

Happiness is …

If you have trouble continuing this statement, have no fear: you’re in control.

Okay. I’ll admit. There are certain aspects beyond control. But I’m not here to tell anyone their tragedy or what they are going through matters less than my mere musing on happiness.
No.
The ramblings in my head have more to do with overall contentment in any circumstance. Seems like a wild idea, huh?
It is.
We reflect to the world what we believe and it boomarangs back to us in spades.
A lady greets me one morning in passing. We both continue on our way doing what we need to do, but
we circle back around to one another again. “How are you?” I ask as I continue my task.
She frowns and rests a hand on her hip. “Are you one of those people who has a short-term memory? ‘Cause I said hello to you back there earlier.”
A couple of thoughts crossed my mind as she asked this question. I thought “she thinks I’m senile! How hilarious is that!” then the next thought was “why would someone be offended to be asked how they are?”
Then I noticed her cell phone.
I grin. “No. I know you did. I’m asking how you are doing today.”
“Oh, okay. I thought you didn’t remember.”
I try not to chuckle, but I know when to back off. I continue on my way, knowing she didn’t care to answer my simple question at all.
Or maybe it wasn’t such a simple question for her to answer.
I recognized a worried expression on her face as she stepped outside to answer a phone call.
I have a strange habit that seems to be rather quirky and to some people….plain out crazy. But it works. It really does.
As the worried lady and I parted ways, I silently thought blessings for her and her stress and her life.
Her stress? Yeah. Stress.
Because it takes one to know one. We all have our breaking points. Our bodies need rest. Our minds need peace. Our hearts need love. Our spirits need lifting. Our lives need joy and understanding.
Happiness is in thankfulness and it grows stronger each time we pass it on to others in love.

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I truly am grateful I have a healthy memory. My grandmother’s birthday would have been on Veteran’s day. She had Alzheimer’s toward the end of her life, but got up every morning like clockwork at seven a.m. She’d comb her hair and she’d dress for the day. Sometimes she’d stay in her housecoat, a soft zip-up robe, and she made sure it was always clean. I swear the woman looked like queen in her red auto-lift recliner and dainty housecoats. Makes me smile every time I think of it…

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When she wore her red scarf and hat, white-silver hair glistened against the garments. The powerful color, known in corporate America to signify boldness and strength was not lost on my Grandmother’s humble yet dignified presence in her last days.
She reminded me of a regal cardinal, perching on a branch. Its wise eyes honed in on surroundings and its joyous song projected only when there is something important to say. Each time I see a cardinal I like to think she’s come to visit me.
I’m thankful for memories past, present, and future.

What are you thankful for today?

Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Media and Appearances · Relationships · Things That Matter · Weight Loss · Writing · Writing Life · Writing Tips

Deep Gratitude Hits Home – My First Booksigning Event

 

This year has been a roller coaster. Not just for me–for many of my friends and family, for just about everyone I know. Then there is the gratitude that comes with knowing we are all not alone. We can laugh together. We can still hug our loved ones through the doubts. And those who have lost loved ones understand another’s loss–they send encouraging thoughts, offer their help, and when there are no words…simply pray healing for that person’s heart. This type of community derives from a sense of caring, compassion and being motivated to help one another knowing we are all, in some way, broken, but not defeated.

The morning after my first book signing, I awoke at 2 am to journal. Journalism is nothing new. The insomnia has to be fed in positive and constructive ways, and sitting down with pen and paper to write down things running through my head is a natural occurrence.

What was different that morning, however, was waking up in the middle of the night feeling an overwhelming sense of gratefulness.

I curled up in my robe with tea and wrote in my journal, teary-eyed and smiling. I knew this type of ‘knowing everything is going to be okay’ was beyond anything I could describe here on the blog. My heart beat with meaning, with a satisfying love, and with contentment… is how to describe it.

An author from whom I had bought several of her books had endured the death of her husband only the night before my book signing. I didn’t want to type my condolences in some thread on Facebook (though I am grateful for those who did), but I wanted to hug her.

I wrote about my first book signing, too, and what a wonderful experience it was. Not bragging, but seeing those in the community come out to buy my book. To talk with me about my book and to see, in action, what beautiful people surround me on this journey. I was overwhelmed with love and happiness at what I thought would be a room of empty chairs.

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~ Morning of book signing photo, as I wrote out an outline on flashcards for the event. ~

My sister helped to take a few pictures of friends, family, and new acquaintances approached the signing table. I had a great time speaking with individuals one-on-one. I’m not one for sitting around when socializing, especially as the guest-of-honor at an event.

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Look! No sweater to cover up those arms! Insecurities, be damned.

People showed up. More people than I ever thought possible. It wasn’t the mosh pit of a concert (thank goodness), but it was a gathering of smiling faces, a pleasant reunion with some I haven’t seen in quite a while. Even the local Italian bakery my family and I frequent made a delicious cake for the event as soon as they found out about it. My husband and daughter had surprised me with the cake only moments before I spoke to the small crowd.

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“CONGRATULATIONS!”

I hugged my husband and daughter when I saw the gift they had bought for me, and later laughed when my husband told me the pastry chef and bakery owner asked him what message to put on the cake…this was his reply: “You’re asking the wrong person. My wife is the writer and would know what words to put on there.”

As you can see, the message is simple, but still, looking at it now, it makes me smile.

The stack of books of my new novel, Serendipity Summer, soon dwindled down to small stack as people offered warm smiles, questions, book chat, and I got to catch up with a couple of good friends. My family gave hugs and congratulations as their kids were hanging out with my young daughter in the childrens part of the library. Though not everyone was blood related, I felt at home as I handed each person who showed their support by buying my book a copy of Serendipity Summer with a bookmark and the pen I signed it with. The potpourri mason jars, once filled with pens, emptied by the end of the event.

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The front book on top of the table, beside the business cards, is my original proof copy. I read the excerpt from it, and the big jar in the back, was for the giveaway of the self-spa gift set raffle.

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It was a wonderful time of celebration and beautiful memories. The morning after the event my husband asked when I had woken up. He always seems to know when something is off or if I’m going through an emotional time.

My daughter was shuffling around in her pj’s, petting the dog and yawning while my husband was turning omelets on the stove, with a spatula, for breakfast. I had a cup of coffee this time and looked at him with watery eyes as I wrapped my hands around the warm cup.

“What’s wrong?” He asked.

He stood holding the spatula, eyebrows crinkled, while my daughter and dog began to fill my lap, offering kidlet hugs and puppy kisses.

I chocked up but finally got out what I wanted to say.

“Nothing. Absolutely nothing.”

He turned the heat down on the stove eye and started towards us.

“Happy tears?”

I nodded as he embraced all of us in a big hug.

Contemporary Romance · Fiction · Giveaways · Laurie's Works Of Fiction · Writing · Writing Life

Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski *Cover Reveal* #Amwriting #Romance

In case you missed it on Facebook (I hop back and forth these days), I’m excited to share the cover of my debut contemporary romance novella, Serendipity Summer!

Serendipity Summer is the first book, of four, in the Riverbend Way series, set in the rustic and charming mountain town of  Riverbend Way, Tennessee. I’ve enjoyed developing the main characters and the side characters–including a couple of memorable animals that will make a regular appearance, throughout the series. I have wanted to hold on to the story for a while, now–but as everything has been coming together nicely, and just for the sake of making sure everything is just how I want it, the release date has been adjusted to the last week of October.

I am still learning the publishing ropes, so if anything changes, I will be sure to post the changes, and keep you updated. All should go well, though, because I’ve published, once before. I’m looking forward to having a release day celebration with giveaways and prizes! This is an exciting time! I have had the honor of being invited to be featured at a book signing event and have begun to order swag and promo items in preparation for my first release! (more details to come.)

Without readers, we authors wouldn’t be able to do what we do–so, thank you!

I am still tweaking the blurb, but I’d like to share the first teaser–and the second teaser (not yet posted to Facebook), of Serendipity Summer. But first, take a look at this beauty of a cover The Killion Group designed for me with images from Hot Damn Designs!

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 ****Teaser #1****

Her gaze traveled back up to his gorgeous eyes.

Eyes looking upon her with a familiar heat she’d seen only once before.

She struggled not to choke on the water as it dawned on her who was standing before her. A man who had made it into many of her dreams, but never, permanently into her life.

 

****Teaser #2****

The sound was far off in the distance, but Jake gradually became aware he was the person being observed as an older and feminine voice chimed in.


“No, Kady-bug. Not your Uncle Trevor. Just a friend of Mommy’s. We were having a sleepover.”


Jake resisted the urge to chuckle and kept his eyes closed to listen in.


“Why is he on the couch, in a suit, and not in jammies?” the young girl asked.


“Sometimes at sleepovers, not everyone wears jammies. They can sleep where ever they want to.”


Anna indulged the girl.


Now trying to swallow down a full-fledged belly laugh, Jake hid the grin on his face, knowing Anna would be angry as hell if he continued to pretend to sleep while the kid put her through the great inquisition.


Finally letting a deep chuckle go, he opened heavy eyes.

~ Serendipity Summer by Laurie Kozlowski ~ Copyright, 2014.