I promised to post here more frequently, and I dropped the ball. And you know what? That’s okay. Here’s why. I had a few goals set for the past few months. One was to get my blog REALLY up and running, regular posts and all that. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and I’ve gotten back to writing again. And, really, there are only so many weeks I can go without writing something. That said, the blog will be seeing more life. I will start writing at least two to three times a week. I’m working on sort of a schedule right now, since I think that will help me direct my efforts instead of being able to write about everything and anything, which is overwhelming and frequently a source of paralysis when it comes to actually composing and posting a blog entry.

One of the other goals that I had was to get my own web site. Not this reallylongname.wordpress site, but a real URL that is easy to remember. I wanted, but it’s taken. Blah. I’ll be unveiling something else, something that I think is very salient to my journey as a woman, a mother, a wife, and a writer. Stay tuned!

I had another goal of finishing three chapters of my memoir by the time the documentary that we are a part of, Transforming Loss, premiered. I missed that one, too. But I am taking a memoir class and managed to write about 1400 words for my first assignment. And it felt good. No, better than good. It felt cathartic, and wasn’t as scary as I thought. I have some work to do to delve deeper into the emotion, which is one of the scariest parts for me, but I feel like I’m making some progress on that front. When I read the 600 words I wrote a few months ago, they read like a news report compared to what I wrote last week. I got some very useful feedback, and as a plus (or minus, depending on my given mood!) I will have accountability to other writers and my teacher (whose classes you can find at Andilit).

In addition to the forward progress on my memoir, I have also been collecting breadcrumbs (have to give Debra Smouse credit for that suggestion). Breadcrumbs? Fact is, I keep having these flashes back to our time with Colin. When they started happening, I felt as though they were signals from my mind that I was ready to tackle our story in earnest. Then the memoir came along and it was becoming clear. Anyway, the breadcrumbs are me recording these flashes or impressions and collecting them to put the story together. I had started at the beginning, assuming it was the very best place to start, but that ain’t necessarily so. I am elated to say that I’ve truly started writing my book. I am hoping this is fertile ground for future blog posts.

The last goal that I made was to lose 20 lbs in 3 months. Before I got pregnant with Colin, I had actually lost all of the pregnancy weight from Austin plus an additional 8 lbs. I weighed what I did when we got married. That weight, admittedly, was well above my goal weight, but was still only 10 lbs shy of losing the baby weight from both Ethan and Austin’s pregnancies. I was so close!

I didn’t gain nearly as much with Colin. I attribute that to the stress of coping with his CHD diagnosis and impending surgery so soon after birth. I didn’t lose a lot of weight after he was born because I was pumping, not nursing, and spent the bulk of my time sitting on a stool in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) after his surgery, followed by evenings of sitting on my butt at home. After he died, I had some health struggles and I ended up staying rather sedentary. For 3 years.

Enter my friend Dorothy. She has a house full of boys, too and blogs over at Life With Boys. She tells me she’s going to try a women’s fitness boot camp. At 5:45 AM. In the morning. Before the sunrise. For reals. I think she’s nuts, but after hearing her about her experience (no berating, no intimidation or embarrassment a la Jillian Michaels, just lots of encouragement). I decide, what the hell? I hate mornings, so I’ll go work out everyday–EVERYDAY–at 5:45 AM.

Best thing I’ve ever done for myself. For serious. I have not been blogging or focused on my writing because my body finally said, “Hey, what about me? Give your poor cerebral cortex a rest and focus on me for a while!”

I finally listened. I am eating so much cleaner (next to no processed food or refined sugar) and I feel stronger. I have gone up in weight on some exercises more than once, and I can do a couple of push-ups ON MY TOES. Yep. Rilly. Dorothy did 10 in a row today while I was home with this silly cold, so tomorrow–it’s on.

I’ve learned a lesson with this experience. A lesson directly related to a topic that I write about for Still Standing: Self-Care. It’s a passion of mine, largely because I was such a dismal failure at it with regard to our time with and without Colin. I’ve learned a lot about how to do it and do it right, and I want to share it through a larger, less grief-focused lens here on my blog.

I learned that the only person I have to listen to when it comes to taking care of myself is me.

Not the naysayers who say:

“You can’t just become a morning person” WRONG

“When will you have time for that?” AT 5:45 AM.


I’ve also started running. But that’s another story.

So, I’m taking care of me. You take care of you, okay?

Oh, and I’ve lost 8 of those 20 lbs.

I would love to hear some changes that you’ve been going through and would happily answer any questions about the transformations I’m undergoing. 2013 is going to be an exciting year!



  1. Melissa

    Amazing Rachel!! Beautifully written. You are doing such a great job in the mornings 🙂 i look forward to seeing you tomorrow!!

    • Thanks so much, Melissa! With the support of all the ladies and the encouragement and challenges from you, Sandy, and Brenda, I’ve really found something I love that works for me. See you tomorrow!

  2. Awesome insight 🙂 I remember daily a friend’s response when someone complimented her on her marriage and some fabulous changes she’s made in her life (including losing 120 lbs). She said, ” When I started making myself a priority, everything else fell into place.”

    • That is a terrific way to sum it up. I knew how important taking care of myself was for me. I didn’t know how important it was for everything else in my life. Turns out, pretty important!

  3. Brava!!!! I, too, have been a bit absent from my blog and instead, focusing on little ol’ me. It’s been great getting up & seeing you at Boot Camp every day. We do these workouts for ourselves and the bonus is that everyone in our households benefits. Wonderfully written, as always.

    • Thank you, ma’am. I’m so glad you convinced me to jump out of my comfort zone. It’s paid off.

  4. If you want to build traffic to your blog, you need to post regularly, and I think that means daily. On the other hand, if you have nothing to say, posting chaff isn’t doing yourself any favors, When I developed a habit of asking myself, about four times a day, if there was anything I needed to blog about, I started posting more frequently, but I found it still wasn’t daily.

    Of course, if I tear out my entrails, and leave them on the blog for the dogs and the lions to discover, it takes a while to rebuild my writing muscles for the next post. And while the exercise strengthened my writing stamina, there would always be something that would interfere, throwing me off my routine, and it’d be days or weeks until I got back in the groove.

    I’m having a hard time lately, because I want to say “you” and what I really mean is “for me, I’ve found that.” The second may be a lie; we all deceive ourselves, but the first is most assuredly a lie, for I don’t know anyone as well as I know myself.

    Hang in there. For me, I’ve found that others come and others go, but I seem to be always with me. Part of self-care is knowing where the line is between oneself and others. You recognize that when it comes to being a morning person; do you recognize that when it comes to your weight? That is, are you losing weight because you feel better at the lower weight, or because you want to look more slender for others? I’ve been working on my boundaries for decades, and still discover myself dancing to the tunes of others.

    Writing is dangerous. As Sergeant Phil Esterhaus used to say on “Hill Street Blues” every week, “Hey, let’s be careful out there.”.

  5. Rachel, you started off saying that you promised to post more regularly, and you dropped the ball. I didn’t order you to post more often (although I enjoy your posts) but pointed out the benefits – and the drawbacks – of more frequent postings, related to my own experience.
    And I pointed out my problem with “you” I’ll write “to make an omelet, you have to break some eggs”, and it’s not a personal you, but a generalized you. Saying “to make an omelet, one has to break some eggs” is the meaning, but it’s awfully formal, wouldn’t one think?

    I apologize for what you think was a rude response to your blog. I wasn’t trying to insult you in any way. Rather, I was trying to engage in a discussion. I wasn’t accusing you of anything when I asked if you knew why you were losing weight. Back in the 1970s or 1980s, there was a retailer who produced an obese Barbie doll they called Ruby, posed it on a chaise, and added the legend that there are X million women in the world and 6 supermodels. Their point was that advertisers pull our strings all the time, and we jump to those strings. It’s not just you individually, not just women, but men as well, especially including me.
    If I post a comment, it’s because I have a different point of view than that posted. Close one eye, then quickly open it and close the other eye, and one finds that even the same person has more than one point of view. And by commenting, I am asserting that your individual point of view has significant merit, as there is no point in trying to discuss a matter of interest with someone who is beyond hope.
    But if you intend comments to be blind adulation rather than discussion, then it is rude of me to be posting to your blog, and I shall refrain from doing so in the future. I’m sorry you felt insulted.

    • Shannon


      I don’t know what Rachel said to you (I don’t see anything here), but I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I don’t think she’s looking for blind adulation or has a problem with opposing viewpoints. Rather, I think you were a bit unnecessarily strong in the way you put your thoughts.

      For example, you wrote:
      If you want to build traffic to your blog, you need to post regularly, and I think that means daily. On the other hand, if you have nothing to say, posting chaff isn’t doing yourself any favors,

      The first sentence is fine, although I know plenty of successful blogs that aren’t daily, you do state that “you think” it means daily. Then we get to the second sentence. When I read that one, it hints that you think she IS posting chaff. Well, if you believe so, fine, but then just say it, politely.

      Then you mentioned entrails. Unless you are writing about something like witchcraft and reading entrails, the word “entrails” is, in and of itself, rather strong. What you wrote suggests that she has put herself out there to be mauled and deserves whatever she gets.

      If you didn’t mean that, well, you didn’t quite say it, but you alluded to it far enough.

      I don’t know either of you, but what you wrote came across to me as combative and a bit petulant. While you certainly don’t need to agree, you can engage in both agreement AND disagreement. Also, you can disagree without being brash or snarky.

      My two cents.

    • I can’t really say much more than Shannon did. Much of what she said describes very well my issues with your comments. My issues primarily revolve around your tone and diction. The content really didn’t upset me because, to each his own, as you rightly pointed out. And since I have a distinctly-drawn line between myself and others and well-defined boundaries in my relationships, not typically concerning myself with what others think about what I do or why I do it, I won’t address any of your points directly. There are reasons for the choices I have made, and I definitely owe no one an explanation. Had you been collegial and inquisitive, I might have chosen to engage in a discussion. But you were brusque and presumptuous, so I won’t. My advice to you, and I fully expect you will do with it whatever you please, is to reconsider how you phrase what it is you have to say. Since I can’t “hear” you say it, and I don’t know you from Adam, all I have are your words, flat on a page.


  1. Mom Does Something For Herself! - LifewithBoys

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