They say there is no better time than the present. Usually, I am the one who thinks "well, but I could take a nap and do it later"... But I've decided that it's too long overdue to start embracing that sentiment. Today starts the first day of a new Mandy. I know I've said this countless times before. And sometimes I am new for awhile before I morph back into the same old, same old. But things have to change. And I have to be the one to change them, and I have to change them for myself most of all.

I have been chubby/fat/overweight/obese/chunky/husky/fluffy (take your pick!) my entire life. Well, I think there were a few years in the beginning where I kept myself on track... But still - for as long as I can remember, that has been an adjective that I could confidently apply to myself. I shopped in women's sizes in late elementary on, was constantly afraid of fitting into things and places, and carried around a layer of physical and emotional padding everywhere I went. I've managed to hold my head up high most of the time, and keep a smile on my face and a laugh in my voice because, for the most part, that was exactly how I felt. I have learned through the years that even though I'm carrying this weight around, and this is who I am on the outside, it's really easy to just shut it out most of the time. I'm surrounded by so many people who are a new layer of padding, who keep me safe, and support me no matter what, and for that I am so grateful. I have never lacked support in my life, no matter what stage I was at, and for that I am the most spoiled person in the world. :) But still, there are lots of times that get me down, and there is no way to not confront the painfully obvious: I am incredibly overweight, and something needs to be done about that. 

But today marks Day 1 of becoming a new me. Today I start Weight Watchers again, a program that I was very successful on before. And today I commit to the fact that I'm going to be a new me. My reality is changing day in and day out, and will continue to improve with the effort and care I put into it. I guess you can say I'm putting on my plus-sized big girl pants, and really buckling down. Something feels different this time around, and I'm choosing to embrace that and harnessing it for good. Because there are so many things that I want in my life right now... I wanted things before, but not badly enough to really stick with it. And the things that I want are so much bigger than they were before. They are things that will impact my life for the rest of the time that I am given here on earth (and stretching that time out is on the list!). And bettering myself physically is going to open up a whole new world for me, and will allow me to accomplish these things, however small or big they are. Things like being able to have children safely, to be able to move and interact with them more freely, to be able to fly comfortably or fit into a theater seat better, to lessen the amount of medication that I take, to being able to buy cheaper clothing because it's sold in regular stores... Some of my reasons are petty (liking myself in a photo), and some are huge (wanting to be a mom sooooo badly but knowing the risks that I bring to the table the way that I am right now). But all of them are mine. They are personal, and real, and valid. And today is the day that I kickstart myself, and start running - with these, and all of my family and friends and supporters, cheering me on. Reminding me not only that I can do it, but that I need to do it, want to do it, and will do it. 

So wish me luck, my friends, and feel free to follow my journey and keep me accountable. Because I know that I'm going to need it every step of the way! 


This was premeditated.

Willful, premeditated, purposed. Three fabulous words, all with one meaning: intentional.

This word has come up a lot lately, and at first I was chalking it up to random happenstance -- but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I'm hearing it so often because it's what I need to work harder to be. Intentional.

The irony is that even typing that word forces me to watch what I'm doing -- to watch my finger placement, to type deliberately, and not just let my brain trick my fingers into writing "international", which they just did so freely. I find it amusing that the word itself causes me to be so.

Being intentional is something that we take for granted. In a world full of flashy electronics, busy schedules, and go-go-go, we so often just find ourselves going with the flow of the current, confident that it will have us pass by the things that we need to see and do. And, because it's a powerful force, it does. We follow the flow, bobbing here and there as required, and then continue to float about on our merry ways.

But soon we find, as I am right now, that we are missing things. We are not giving the care to the people or things in our lives that they rightly deserve, and they are becoming more of a "have to", rather than a "get to". I am so unbelievably guilty of this. I sit in the living room of my house, happy to be spending time with my husband, but realize that isn't really what I'm doing. I'm spending time with my phone, or my iPad, while my husband does the same thing in the same room. That's not spending time with each other -- that's spending each other. Using our time together up on nothing important and nothing that matters. That's not to say that we can't enjoy people's company and not have to say anything -- that is completely legitimate. That is comfort, true comfort, when you are able to do that and not want to fill up the empty spaces with meaningless thoughts and words.

But if I am gifted an evening with my love, it would behoove me to put down the phone, the iPad, the book... and spend some intentional time with him. Start an intentional conversation on the goals that we may have personally and jointly. Focus some time specifically for him, and on interacting with him. Give him a real conversation and a real slice of my time, because he deserves that. Our marriage deserves that.

This idea bleeds into my whole life. I am so blessed to have a job that I adore, and to have coworkers that I adore as well. I get to interact with 200 little people every day - I hear their jokes, give them band aids, and giggle to myself when they say "Ms. Harter - I mean, Mrs. Marcellis!!!!!"... But there are days when I feel like I'm on auto pilot, and my intenationality (is that a word? It is now.) slips out the window, or doesn't even make it into the building with me. It can be hard to be intentional I've noticed in the last few days, and believe me, it's going to be an uphill climb to devote myself more to this. It's the look in a person or child's eyes when they are talking to me, giving them my full attention. It's putting down the pen or stepping away from the computer when someone comes to talk to me, or calls me.

Think about this: If every person that you met treated you like you were the only person in the world, wouldn't you start to feel great about your role on this planet? So why not help make that a feeling that someone in your life experiences.

Being intentional. It's such a simple idea, yet world-changing. And although it's difficult to direct yourself to being more intentional with the people and world around you, it just makes so much sense. Why shouldn't we all be doing it? It's going to take a lot of diligence. We will literally have to be intentional, about being intentional. What a sneaky little word that is.

I challenge you, as I challenge myself, to be intentional with one area in your life this week - to get the ball rolling. Whether that's carving out time for a friend you have been wanting to visit, or making a long phone call, or just being an aware driver who isn't distracted by the radio or other things... Just try it, and let me know how it goes. Because I can tell you this -- I'm going to need all of the help that I can get with this challenge.

Intentional. Need more ways to say it?

Mandylightfully yours. :)