celebrating what is coming

The past is important in telling our stories, to understand where we’re at and why we’re there.

But tonight, I am not celebrating what’s ending . . . i am celebrating what is coming.  I don’t “do” new year’s resolutions, because a resolution is simply a goal–and goals need to be set and re-set frequently to make progress.

Today I closed off 2011 with my friend and former coworker, Sara, just one of many amazing people I experienced the joy of meeting in 2011.  We ate too many crepes and had an amazing time, and were ironically wearing the same Hollister hoodie in different colours, pink t-shirts underneath and brown jackets!  [I took mine off for the picture].

sara and i!

After making a final pharmacy trip for the year (gotta love breathing, yeah?), I came home to do a final workout to hit 800 kilometers for 2011.  To give some perspective on how much I’ve grown in regard to exercise and fitness in 2011, my total on December 31st, 2010 was a tiny 100 kilometers [which was upped to a legitimate 106 as I found later on that I had forgotten to count an April race in there].

That. Is. Huge.  The big change in 2011 came in September through the amazingness that was Physical Activity: Promotion and Adherence, definitely my favourite university class thus far, and really gaining the understanding that the SMALL things make a BIG difference!  Though an unintentional success attributed to making small changes and regulating physical activity, since mid-September [at my highest ever weight which may have been some sort of weird fluke] I have lost a total of 17 pounds.  I can’t say I felt “bad” before or anything, but comparatively, I feel totally awesome both physically and emotionally with the GOOD changes that have happened!

I’ve walked 213 km, stationary biked 143, and racked up hundreds of kilometers in commutes. I walked one race, went on a few short hikes, went on an adventure rock climbing this past week.  I played hockey both in my skates and in my Sauconies and skated down rivers.  I’ve played in concrete jungles and playgrounds.  This has been the most active year of my life, and I plan to strip that title away from 2011 and give it to 2012.

This year, I have reached farther than I thought I could, pushed my lungs and my body in bigger ways.  I started thinking about things differently, relationships changed and growing happened.  I did things I couldn’t believe I would or could succeed at.  
I got a new job at an amazing daycare.  I worked one-on-one at camp for a week, which was one of the biggest challenges and biggest joys simultaneously.  I have met so many amazing people in “real life” and online.  One of my best guy friends for a time became my first boyfriend and even though it mutually didn’t work out, it definitely did not damage our friendship, which was the most important thing to us.  I returned to Chicago.  I watched one of the girls I do inclusion with grow so much in where she’s at, while simultaneously realizing the growth in myself through her.  I have fallen more and more in love with the subject that is applied health.  I have changed my perspectives on health advocacy, become more involved, and continued to learn how to OWN my asthma and encourage others to do the same.  I have learned to better live with what I’ve been handed.  I have learned more deeply that health and wellness is a choice.  I have learned to see things differently, engage differently, and not just make goals, but meet goals and ENGAGE in these goals to use them as learning experiences.

I want to continue that next year.  Continue moving forward, continue proving myself wrong, continuing to grow and learn and thrive, not simply survive.

There is more goodness coming.  There is a year of hope, joy, change, growth, learning, and love ahead.

Bring it on 2012. GOOD THINGS!

unspeakable joy

Happy birthday, Lord Jesus.  Today, I celebrate the birth of my King and my Saviour, I celebrate His continued life and healing.  I celebrate HOPE in a broken world, and I celebrate LOVE.

And no matter what your faith is, and no matter whether you celebrate Christmas or not, I hope you join in celebrating hope and love, and that celebration is refreshed–today and every day.

There is JOY in the air.

 

going and growing.

I have about a million and one thoughts flowing around in my brain, so bear with me!

What I lack in size, I hope I make up for in passion.

Maybe that kid was right–maybe I’m “too tiny to be twenty”. Sometimes I don’t feel twenty–I convince the kids of it daily, but sometimes I have a hard time convincing myself that I could possibly have a quarter of my life behind me already. Sometimes I think I should have more figured out. And sometimes I just feel small, whether that’s in a good way or a not so good way.

I just hope that I’m already making an impact for somebody out there that helps them grow.

I taught a grade eleven biology class about asthma today. It went well, but as always I forgot to say a few things I intended to. I’ve done this presentation several times and I tend to change it up at least a little every time based on what I’m feeling in regard to asthma and life. Today, to increase tangibility for NON-asthmatics I had a good section on exercise management beyond asthma and exercise. However, sometimes high schoolers are like talking to brick walls–I don’t blame em, I was (and am) totally not a speaking in class person. Overall, I hope the three students with asthma are maybe thinking a little differently about health management and asthma, and the 25 others are a little more aware of what people with asthma deal with. That said, it was their last day of classes before winter break, so some sluggishness was expected! As always, I’m hoping to keep improving this lecture and my OWN knowledge of asthma, physical activity and how it affects the adolescents I’m speaking to.

Speaking of holidays . . . Whoa, nutrition out the window. I have not been doing great in that regard since exams started up, but I have totally fallen off the track! Because at first it becomes “I’ll get back on track after exams” and turns to “Well, its the holidays! I can get back on after!”

Wrong mindset, brain. I had declared on Sunday after not only McDonalds but also Pancake House that I would reclaim some ground on nutrition over the week. That turned into pizza yesterday with Evan while Christmas shopping and pizza today with Dean; tacked on to all the chocolatey goodness that has been served up at work by my coworkers and our families AND the lovely chocolate “hedgehogs” that I received as a gift after teaching grade eleven biology this morning AND the bits of lovely deliciousness my mom keeps baking.
It also morphed into basically no exercise since Sunday. Granted, Sunday included both hockey AND the gym, freaking fabulous; and I suppose that hitting up three malls yesterday in five hours may count for a little . . . but I don’t think so!

To once again quote Jay in his seemingly infinite and entertaining wisdom, “Why are the holidays any different? Because the table’s longer and there are more people at it?”. Yeah, true story.

Not to mention that this has been going on since Sunday. And you know when “the holidays” start? Saturday. At the earliest. That is a week of pre-holiday slackery. Even if the holidays should be no different, which I fully agree with, starting the nutritional/fitness downslide when I was working at getting back on track is no bueno.

Tomorrow: I own you for fueling better. That is my choice, regardless of what deliciousness people give me.
Saturday, I own you for a pre-Christmas dinner workout.
Sunday is fair game for whatever happens and not to think too hard about it.
Monday, boxing day shopping is a sporting event; resume regular programming, and rock this.

I got this.

Returning to old schools makes me very aware of the impending future. Today, I headed over to my old high school after work (right next door), an hour before I needed to be there to speak. I dropped my stuff off in the very dark room and made my way through the halls looking for familiar faces and to repeatedly answer the same questions for teachers, people who have played huge roles in helping me to learn and grow into who I am . . . “What are you doing now?” and “What are you planning to do?”

Two and a half years ago I was sitting in those desks. University seemed so far off, the career part of the future even farther. Two and a half years ago I thought I knew who I was; in reality I was as confused as ever. Two and a half years ago I was one of those students contemplating the big world outside those walls.

It makes me see what I’ve gained. But it also makes me wonder what I will have gained in two and a half years from now. I left high school and thought I had a plan. Then my plan changed. My plan still changes minute to minute; other than “probably still in school” I have no idea where I’ll be in two and a half years from now . . . Less idea than I thought I had two and a half years ago.

That scariness is part of the journey. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t thrive on it; I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t scary. But every single day I get closer to that answer. Every single day I know more. Every single day, things happen in a way that affect how I see the world and how I make choices. Every single day, I change as the world changes.

Every single day brings me closer to that answer.

And I wouldn’t trade this crazy journey for anything.

There are even more GOOD THINGS to come.

mission: acsm, asthma and action!

My friend Dia (yes, Dia who sent me chocolate with pop rocks in it!) and I have epic Skype sessions a few evenings a month.  We are in reality supposed to be working on a project when we have them, except often very little work gets done and lots of ridiculousness occurs.  Usually the ridiculousness involves kinesiology-related things and nerdiness and it is fabulous regardless of the lack of work we accomplish. (Related: Dia is awesome, and we are on a mission to volunteer at Camp Asthmatopia in the summer. For real. Possibly].

Last night, we were discussing prepping for my pulmonology appointment today and how I intended to be a pain in the butt questioning about exercise prescription again [except it definitely didn’t happen because I didn’t include it on my list of things to address when I was talking with the clinical nurse, so basically nothing new happened], and how I was going to go in with the ACSM Exercise Management for Persons with Chronic Diseases and Disabilities textbook that I am reading just for fun in the waiting room [I also had a research article on teen asthma education, because I am teaching teens about asthma on Thursday!].

So Dia initiated a challenge in which she would donate $10 to the charity of my choice if I took a picture of the book in the waiting room by the reception desk, and a bonus if I got a picture of it with the old-school spirometer, so I could prove it to her.  [By the way, I freaking owned that spirometer today.]

Here is the bonus:

IMG_1056.JPG

Soon enough after getting the pictures to Dia, an e-mail popped into my inbox.

A donation has been made to the ASTHMA SOCIETY OF CANADA (at CanadaHelps.org) in your honour.

Kerri, You rocked the ACSM mission. Here is hoping, that we can inspire EVERYONE […] to Get Up, Get Active and Get Involved.

Then I thought . . . why not take this one step further?

If you feel moved, I would love to have you join me on this journey. The Asthma Society of Canada is a non-profit organization striving to improve the lives of people living with asthma through education and empowerment, and encouragement of living active lives with asthma. The TeamAsthma program was launched in 2010 to provide a forum for encouragement of activity as well as advocacy for people with asthma and increase awareness of the Asthma Society to the general public at activity-promoting events through providing athletes with t-shirts to wear at races or other events.

I have created a CanadaHelps page in support of the Asthma Society of Canada with a request for donations to be put towards the Team Asthma.ca program, empowering people with asthma to get active to OWN their asthma!  (I hope to become more deeply involved in this program in the future, so stay tuned.)

Every bit helps, so THANK YOU for taking the time to read this and even consider donating now or in the future, or for sharing the page or this post!

i hate christmas music

It’s the time of year that Christmas music is running rampant and driving me crazy, and sometimes I feel like the only person on the planet who is driven this crazy by Christmas music that I constantly have earphones in and keep Matthew Good’s Underdogs or the Foo Fighter’s Greatest Hits album loaded in my mom’s car CD player.

I love Jesus’s birthday and everything, but really, Christmas has become so much beyond Jesus’s birthday, and it’s not all bad, but some of the traditions and traditional songs . . . are just weird. And the rest that aren’t weird are played with unnecessary frequency in the weeks leading up to Christmas (or, in the case of the country station my mom listens to, I think they start about November 1st).

Fortunately, while catching up on blogs in the post-exam-induced feeling of nothing to do, Chad makes me feel less alone in my hatred for stupid Christmas songs involving grinches and any sort of Santa-related weirdness [for instance, “Santa Baby” just creeps me out].

If you feel the same about christmas music . . . then enjoy!