30 Days of Thanks: Days 1 to 3

I wanted to jump on board with this writing project I saw start up on Facebook called, “30 Days of Thanks.” I’d love for you to join me. Even if you don’t have a blog, I encourage you to write these down in your own personal journal. Even better, call the person you are thankful for and let them know why you feel that way. Because I missed the first 2 days, I am going to combine 3 days into one post.

November 1

My sister found out a few weeks ago that her skin cancer biopsy came back abnormal. For a week straight, I tried to remain calm. I tried to remind her not to worry until she could visit the doctor for an explanation. And I prayed every single day.

We found out last week that she needs to surgery done to remove more of the abnormal cells. November 18th. That’s when she will have surgery. Please continue to pray until we can officially rule out cancer.

On that note, I’m thankful for everyone has prayed for my sister’s health. I truly do not know what I would do with my sister. We are completely opposite people. She is shy. I am loud. She is short. I am tall. She likes chicken strips. I like cheeseburgers. She hates seafood. I would eat sushi every single day of my life. But I believe our differences make us a perfect match. Her birthday is this Saturday, November 5- the same day I run my third half marathon within 13 months. The cool thing? On Saturday, we will both be 24 years old until I turn 25 just six days later on Nov. 11. We used to fight about having to celebrate our birthdays on the same day, but now – I am looking forward to it more than anything.

My sister and I eat dinner at Grandma’s house.
She is using her hand as an appetizer and I have the most beautiful mullet in the world.

November 2

It was more than a year ago. I’m thinking September of 2010. I was at the doctor’s office. I stepped on the scale and I weighed 236 lbs. I wanted to make her weigh me again. Was that a joke? I hadn’t weighed myself in a long time, but I didn’t realize I had gained that much weight. It was a scary moment. A biggest loser moment …but at the start of the season when everyone cries and gets emotional and reflects on how they came to be that overweight.

How did I let myself go? What happened to the girl who worked out an hour a day no matter what? Where did the girl go who used to eat salads like they were going out of style and swore off sweets and fried foods?

She was gone.

That healthy girl was long gone.

The doctor told me that day I needed to lose weight. With diabetes and heart disease in my family, I absolutely needed to lose weight. I was on the fast track to heart failure and diabetes and if I didn’t change my eating habits and start working out immediately. Not Monday. Not tomorrow. Now. I needed to make changes now. At first I was in denial, but by the new year I was ready to make big changes.

2011 was an amazing year for me in terms of my health. It was NOT easy.

I did struggle.

I did want to give up at times.

I did get injured.

I did gain watch my weight change like the ocean tides. Big loss one day. Little loss the next day or even weeks.

BUT,

I am stronger.

I am faster.

I am more confident.

I am making healthier decisions about food and drinks on a daily basis.

I am growing up and picking a morning run over a night of partying.

For the year, I am about 20 lbs down. I would LOVE to lose 10 more lbs this year. But I made a decision from the beginning not to let a number determine my happiness and dictate all of my goals. In fact, I focused on making huge fitness goals, ate more grilled chicken & veggies than you could ever imagine and reduced the amount of cheese that I consumed. The last one was the hardest because cheese has its own food group in my eyes. And soy cheese / rice cheese / veggie cheese just doesn’t compare. You can read about my cheese fights here. http://ashleysieb.blogspot.com/2011/03/image-issues-cheese-fights-and-bride.html

I have a long ways to go, but I thankful for my doctor telling me that it was time to stop saying tomorrow and start making changes today. She wasn’t harsh or in my face about it, but she was very honest and open about the realities of my health.

I will look like this again, soon. I was 195 lbs here! Only 27 more lbs to go!

November 3

Me, Sarah Frey (then Sarah Sampson) and Toni Suarez – freshman year of college.
Lifelong friends, without a doubt.

I was half-awake when I let Bandit out this morning at 6:45 a.m. That’s when I noticed a handwritten envelope on the table. I came home late last night so I didn’t have chance to look through the mail. I looked at the return address on the card and it said, “The Frey’s.” I smiled.

Inside the card, which she sent for no reason at all, she wrote a beautiful message and included a recipe for something pumpkin (I was too tired to read the recipe card, but all I needed to know was PUMPKIN and I was sold!!). It was the sweetest random act of kindness and it meant so much to me, especially because just days before I wrote a post about the importance of letting family and friends know how much you care about them… http://ashleysieb.blogspot.com/2011/10/lesson-in-friendship.html

I’m thankful for my friend Sarah, who took the time out of her day and few cents out of her pocket, to mail me the most thoughtful card for absolutely no reason at all. I’m so honored to be your friend. You are doing amazing things in your life right now and this world is truly a better place because you are here. Never change.

Until tomorrow….

Much love,

Ashley

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