A Letter to My Senior

This was not my idea.

High school Senior Parent Letter Assignment

Dear Bear,

You are such a beautiful soul that I am always cautious when I impart advice to you. But, I am your Giver of Life. As such, I invoke the right that all Givers of Life have to dispense advice whether needed or not, requested or not, right or not, wanted or not. (In this particular instance, I also note that YOU required it of me at the bequest of your teacher; this is not to be used against me in any later therapy that you may or may not need.)

Trust yourself. You are wondrously made. If all people had the heart you possess, the world would be a better place. There will be many times you feel unsure, doubtful, fearful. That’s okay. We all feel that way. Know that you are more right than you are wrong most of time. Yes, this is true regardless of what other people may want you to believe.

Consume at least 64 ounces of water a day. (Water in your Starbucks lattes only count on Sunday.)

You will get it wrong. We all do. When it happens – and trust me sweet girl, it will happen – own it, fix what you can, leave what you can’t, and suck every piece of education you can from it. Failure is not something you are, it is something you do. It does not define you. It does not define them. Grace is a gift I hope you freely give to yourself and others. This is not a trait of the lax or the pushover. It takes strength and courage. Do not believe those that tell you otherwise.

Banana splits are occasionally acceptable for dinner.

Sometimes you just have to say “F(edited out of courtesy to your English teacher)k it” and move forward. Not all choices feel good and safe. Not all choices are fun and desirable. Some things just have to get done, left behind, cleaned up, walked over, turned out, wrapped up, thrown away. This is where life just is what it is. These things, being left to their own devices, only get worse. I promise you, what smells bad today only reeks worse tomorrow. Just bulldog it and move on.

Drink with people who love you. Be the designated driver for those who don’t.

Be real careful what “they” you listen to. There is a whole world filled with the ominous “they.” We aren’t really sure who they are, what type of training they have, what their agenda is, but we are pretty sure they live in their parents’ basement nomming on cheesy poofs playing Dungeon and Dragons. “They” have big mouths and are currently trying to figure out how to make a living trolling the internet. They do not have girlfriends. Easy filter – if “they” insists that everything sucks and nothing you do is right and the entire existence of the world is a big conspiracy meant to create entire subcultures of GMO tolerant, gluten adverse, non vaccinated, obese fast food consumers, breastfed gym rats that poo granola Oreos, you are probably dealing with a “they.” Abraham Lincoln said it best – “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.”

Semicolons are sexy. Learn how to use them.

There are assholes everywhere; that doesn’t define the “everywhere.” (Sorry, the edit just didn’t do the thought justice. Besides, you’re a senior, you can handle it.) Every sect of society – professions, neighborhoods, races, religions, clubs, cults, PTOs, opinion groups – are just a microcosm of society. A bad cop, teacher, solider, sailor, politician, mommy, doctor, teenager, old person does not provide reason to assume that all folks in that particular demographic are idiots. Quite frankly, it doesn’t necessarily mean the offender is an idiot. We all have bad days. And we all have folks in our groups that we would rather we didn’t. Boxes are for shoes, not people. Everyone is created as an individual and deserves the consideration of an individual. Of course, if they prove themselves individually to be the designated asshole, take them at their word that’s who they are and move on.

Don’t be afraid of profanity. It is not a sign of weak vocabulary any more than a love of chocolate is a sign of a weak diet. Sometimes, they both just taste good.

Different is not wrong – it’s just different. Your daddy likes to cut up his steak as he eats it. I like to cut up mine all at one time. You like to have your daddy cut up yours. None of those things are wrong – they are just different. Be wary of people who try to make “different” = “wrong” as they are usually covering up for some feeling of personal inadequacies that I can bet money you don’t want any part of.

Be a rebel. End sentences with prepositions. Unless you are speaking Latin. Or honoring Yoda.

If you realize one day that all your friends are alike, get new friends. I’m not saying cut the old ones loose. I’m just saying you need to grow your circle. There is no better way to become an asshole than to surround yourself with people who always think like you, agree with you, and are a whole lot like you. Nature shows us this. If we plant the same crop over and over in the same field, eventually the ground dries up and produces trash. Diversity in relationship is the single best thing you can do to ensure you do not become stale as a person. It also makes coffee shop conversation much more interesting.

Disregard that thing I said about profanity around your great grandmother. Thanks.

Don’t ever make one decision out of fear. It is my belief that there are only two true emotions in life – love and fear. I don’t have to tell you that one is exponentially more productive than the other. There are times you will find yourself afraid or feeling one of its offspring emotions – hate, anger, depression, spite, resentment. Don’t beat yourself up about that as it is natural and human. It is in those human places that we are able to work through and find those ways to be more human. That is where we find grace, compassion, courage. Make decisions in that space. It is worth the work.

Do not make a habit of eating food that comes out of a window.

Make the commitment to love forever. There are so many obstacles and story spinners out there trying to convince you that love is not the answer. They need your love most of all. Love animals, love people, love babies, love criminals, love saints, love the broken, love the healed, love yourself…always love yourself. This is not always easy and sometimes it can only be done in a detached, acknowledged only in a broad sense type of way. There are atrocities in this world that will bend your heart to the point you think it will break. People will be careless with your emotions and you will hurt. You will look at yourself in the mirror and find an imaginary million and one ways in which you don’t measure up. Don’t be surprised when it happens and don’t let it define who you are. Your heart is the most beautiful thing ever created. Share it, be prepared to nurse it, do not hold fear in it.

My baby girl, there are so many more things I want to tell you…

  • Never go on a second date with someone who is mean to the wait staff
  • Live your passion
  • Never leave home without your sketchbook
  • Sometimes going to the store in pajama pants is necessary
  • Exercise
  • Volunteer
  • Always have a book to read
  • Compliment others
  • You can always come home
  • I am never further than a phone call
  • Diet soda is for crazy people – just drink the regular stuff

But most of all I want you to know that when you feel like it doesn’t matter, you don’t make a difference, you aren’t capable of being in this adult world – you are wrong. You have been changing lives since the day you were born. Who I am now is so much because of you. It scares me to think who I would have become without you. Thank you for growing up with me. I am so glad you are my kid.




2012 Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

So I took the plunge and registered. (FYI Registration goes up after the 28th)

As you may know, I fractured my heel Labor Day weekend. For those of you who aren’t runners, that kind of thing wrecks a training schedule – especially when the event you are training for is only nine weeks out. The silver lining – I hadn’t paid for it yet. The elephant in the room – that was the perfect excuse not to try.

I have spent the last 6 1/2 weeks hemming and hawing about whether or not I was going to register for this race. Why? Because I was coming off of an injury?

No. The truth is I hadn’t committed because the dumb bitch in my brain still has some sway when she whispers “you can’t do it.”

Screw her.

One of the best things about running longish distances is the time you get to spend alone with yourself. It seriously clears out the cobwebs. It is for sure cheaper than therapy. Today, I decided it was time to work through why I wouldn’t sign up for the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

1. I couldn’t finish due to my jacked up training schedule. Truth – I could walk the damn thing and still finish under the 7 hour course time limit. That is a 16 minute/mile pace. I currently average about 9. I can finish.

2. Well, I CAN finish, but my time would be embarrassing. Truth – ego is a dream killer. Embarrassing? To who? People who will ridicule me for not finishing 26.2 miles(!) in a time they deem appropriate? Why on earth would I even care about those people? Nope, I mean embarrassing to me. And that my friends, is just stupid.

3. I will seriously re-injure myself and I won’t be able to run in Savannah’s first Ultra Marathon, the Rails to Trails 50k. The truth is, I could do that anyway. My last injury happened on a training run. I have a sweet friend who is recovering from an injury that happened via car wreck caused by a texting driver. Anything can happen. People have been telling me for 14 months that I am on the verge of killing my knees, hips, back, ankles, feet, baby unicorn – whatever. And the truth is my body will not be able to do these things forever. But it can do them now. It can do it on November 3rd.

So, I ran up the drive, fired up the computer, and I registered. For 2 seconds I considered the half (which, by the way, is an amazing respectable feat for all those brave enough to try it).

Then I remembered that I wrote this. And I sure as hell don’t want to write it again…


The Perfect-ish Day

If you have not read this, (I will tell you…but we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks :)

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

This is a loaded question…but I love Nicole and I will see what I can do with it.

My perfect day consists of Krispy Donuts (the cream filled kind) with coffee. A fried twinkie snack from Mr. Keller’s Flea Market. Lunch would be a sauce drenched pasta with wonders from the sea, french fries, and funnel cake. Mid day, a Jalapeno Cheetos snack bag. Dinner is a huge, fatty, rare steak with loaded baked potato, cheesy casserole, and pie. Oh, and the exercise…lifting the fork to my face and grabbing a cold one outta the cooler while I lay on the beach.

Unfortunately, like the perfect fraternity house kegger, the next day sucks. Which, by default, makes it not so perfect.

I make jokes to illustrate the biggest challenge of finding “the perfect day.” I had to tweak my idea of perfect. In May 2011, this was my perfect day. A year later, the echos of its wonderfulness still linger. I am still tweaking. This does not happen overnight. I mean, I guess it can. But for me, eating the elephant one bite at a time has allowed for a more sustainable change than choking myself.

In August, my perfect day was to succeed in leashing the dog and getting out of the door. My schedule was my biggest challenge. I knew I had to do it first. If I couldn’t make time, nothing else would matter. If I could do that one thing, it was a perfect day.

In September, I realized my legs and lungs were getting stronger. My pace was picking up. I was dangerously close to becoming a runner. Time carving had become priority and habit. Getting out the door was no longer perfect – it was typical. But, if I was going to maximize my time, I had to either eat better or quit smoking. I chose the easier of the two for me. Now, the perfect day was getting out the door and leaving the smokes behind.

In January, I was a non smoking runner. I felt better…but not great. The time had come. I had to face down food. I did a hard reset with The Daniel Fast. For me, breaking my addiction to food was no less like any other addiction. I had to rehab. I had to detox. January 1st – 21st, my perfect day was not to kill anyone. I ate nothing with or from a face. No artificial, no preservatives, no sweeteners. Nothing but water to drink – no coffee, no tea, no booze – for 21 days. Everybody made it out alive – except the 20 pounds I dropped. Yeah, 20 pounds. In fact, even with the running, this was the first real shape change I experienced.

In February, I felt on top of the world. I needed to start adding some variety to my running. I kicked up the gym work. I also needed to add some variety to my diet. Still heavily plant-based, I added in some seafood occasionally. The perfect day consisted of resisting the urge to “reward” myself with crap food and lacing up my shoes for a run or some gym time.

Now, my perfect day still looks a lot like that. I have established some fairly easy to follow guidelines for myself.

  • The gym is on my calendar as an appointment. Whether I run or actually go to the YMCA, it is on there and the reason to skip it has got to be either family, business, or civic seriousness. I try to schedule it first thing so it is less likely to get bumped. Or, I tell my kids we are all going. They love the YMCA and will not let me flake out.
  • I run. A lot. It is my favorite thing to do. I lift weights – heavy enough to where 3 sets of 10-12 reps is hard. It is my second favorite thing to do. I do interval cardio classes like Zumba Toning and Fitness Drills because they are excellent, the people are fabulous, it adds variety and accountability, and the people are fabulous (yeah, I know I said that twice).
  • No fast food. Period. If it comes out of a window, it is probably not supposed to go in my mouth.
  • Eat. I nearly always have food in the car. A box of  Lärabars are there in case of extreme emergency. I usually have a cooler with juice from my juicer, hummus and pita, apples, oranges, grapes, steel-cut oats, beans, bananas – you get the picture. This habit has kept me convenience store/fast food free since December 2011.
  • Eat. My body needs food. I do not starve it. The hard reset was good because it gave me the opportunity to gauge what foods were fuel and which were hindrances. I am now largely plant-based with seafood, limited fowl, limited dairy, no red meat.
  • Drink water. I don’t count ounces, I count bathroom visits. I should be in there a pretty good bit.
  • Guilt. I don’t do it. If I slip, it happens. This is life. If I choose to set aside my guidelines for a special occasion, then I do. The trick is to make conscious choices. If it feels guilty, I have made the wrong choice. I am grateful for the hard reset because now, if I grant myself too much leeway, I feel like trash. If I skip too many workouts, my mood suffers. It is just becoming self policing.

My perfect day boils down to being able to answer one basic question ~

Did I make fully conscious choices to treat this life God gave me in a way that makes this day purposeful?

Yes – awesome! No – that’s okay. I learn, I grow, I tweak, eating the elephant, one non-artificial bite at a time :)


Little Bit of Accountability and Hopefully Some Fitness Fun

I love new stuff…and the 1st of the month is like getting new stuff. Kinda gives you some mental permission for a mulligan. At the very least, I can feel justified taking a deep breath, pulling in all the new and breathing out all the past (with a little does of kiss my ass for good measure).

March was BANANAS! April was a bit wild. May will probably be the same. But today, she isn’t. She is a calm and good girl with tons of potential and so I will treat her that way. My calendar is up to date, my to do list is sparkling clean, my goals are set.

While all of this is good, i am going to shock some you (ok, none of you) when I reiterate that I am, in fact, a pretty social creature. While it is true that, as I get older, I find more value in my time alone, I am still, by my hard wiring, and extrovert. I like to do stuff with people. These kinds of things are no different.

I started running walking in August. It was good. It became great when I picked up the pace and met folks like Marc, Dan, and Victoria and discovered the #runsav hashtag on twitter (which is a bit dead right now until RnR training kicks in). It was fun and social (and it made my butt look fantastic!) I have run a half marathon since and have plans for a full in November.

I started eating better. Motivating messages and tips came from folks I know on facebook and twitter. It was easier to do when you knew there were other folks out there doing it to.

I got a workout buddy…life changed. (that’s her at the beginning :))

Now it is May…and what is more fun than winning? I don’t know (there goes my Type A). So we are going to try to put my competitive, love to win, ain’t gonna punk out in front of you, not afraid to die on a treadmill tendencies to good use.

It is May 1st. The brand new start of a Health Month. And I joined a team (courtesy of the wonderful Lyman Reed) of Fitocracy users. So now there are 2 point keeping systems tracking my progress and showing me that progress in light of other people while promoting an amazing atmosphere or grace and support.

Oh yeah, this is Momma’s game :)

So, I have seven rules for May

  1. Exercise for at least 60 minutes at least 5 times a week
  2. List things that I am grateful for at least 2 times a week
  3. Drink at least 42 glasses of water a week
  4. No fried foods
  5. No red meat or pork
  6. No soda or energy drinks
  7. Limit dairy to 2 times a week

There are a whole bunch of other rules you can adjust for your own situation. And you only have to have 3 to play.

So this could be fun. I am looking forward to it. I invite you to join me. Text me if you feel like it. If you are a group kinda person, we could all use a little more support :)


It all Started with a Trip to the Chinese Buffett

On this beautiful Monday morning, I am confident the weather will be glorious and I can smell the coffee percolating in the kitchen. I am reflecting on a wonderful weekend full of rest, relaxation, productivity, family time, and a long run that truly enjoyed. The house is relatively clean and the laundry is not exploding into the hallway. Life is a beautiful thing.


On this Monday morning from hell, I roll out of bed and realize I am already 30 minutes behind schedule (probably because I set unrealistic goals to begin with). I forgot to put the coffee on last night and now have to wait until it brews. There are dishes in the sink and dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. And I have gained 7 pounds over the weekend! This is just like a Monday and I should just go back to bed.

Woo hoo y’all! Look at me! My Sybil is showing! I am, in fact, currently experiencing both mornings at the same time. Perception is a doll baby, ain’t she?

In all honesty, I believe most of us have these types of moments far more often than we think. Unfortunately, I often think that it is some weird psycho-warped chick thing and just ignore it. At it’s worse, in order to ignore it, I take the path of least resistance (yep, that’s the second one). The problem with that action is this – while it is way easier and takes far less energy to get pissed off and depressed, it consumes far more energy over time than maintaining a positive perceptive. In other words, you may jump off the line quicker, but you likely won’t finish well.

You have probably noticed that none of this has anything to do with a Chinese buffet. Well…that’s because it doesn’t. I usually write real-time and have no idea where I am going until I get there and…this is quickly becoming yet another post, so I will get back to the Chinese buffet and hopeful remember to come back and elaborate on this other topic later – or not, pretty sure the world won’t end either way…well, not because of that.

As many of you know, I have recently began to look at my health in a new and proactive way. I took up running and I got fit. I went back to the weights and I got strong. I changed the way I ate and I got slim. I went to the Chinese buffet on Friday and I felt guilty.

Yep, guilty. I almost never eat red meat, pork, or fowl. I am whole foods mostly (while not necessarily raw). I juice. I hydrate. I seriously limit processed foods and carbonated beverages. I exercise maybe 4 or 5 times a week – and I am talking ugly faced, sweat making, not going to be cute running into the grocery store afterwards exercise.

Then the husband took me to lunch, on a weekday, with no children…I love those. And I enjoyed it and the Chinese buffet. Then I spent all day Saturday with the three youngest children. We did yoga in the park. Morgan “dreams of Waffle House.” The others would be good and keep their rooms clean forever if I would just get them fro-yo. We did both. My mother invited us for dinner. And it was wonderful (and I am not just talking about the food). Sunday was gorgeous and Mark was dying to grill. We had chicken and fresh corn on the cob. I said I almost never eat chicken. And who grills without a beer?

What part of that doesn’t sound wonderful? The 7 pounds part. And if I am honest with myself, the average weight fluctuates a pretty good bit depending on water retention, time of the day, etc. And if I am really honest with myself, I pay too much attention to that damn scale anyway!

The moral of story is ~

Yes, I cannot eat 25 pounds of food at a Chinese buffet everyday. I cannot have both Lovin’ Spoons and 32 Degrees in the same weekend, every weekend and call it a “consumer comparison.” Waffle House is a treat, not a staple.

No, there is nothing to feel guilty about. Being hard on ourselves for things that are relatively insignificant is worse for our health that the actual thing. Being good to our bodies includes the occasional indulgence. But the whole purpose of an indulgence is to enjoy it! A jacked up perception sabotages that. And I am not interested in self sabotage.

It is a glorious Monday :)

Vitamins & Minerals to Live by Guide to Your Health

Joint Support – CHONDROITIN SULFATE – Joint and Connective Tissue Nutrition

Structural Support for Cartilage and Joints

Due to the nutritional support Chondroitin provides for joints and connective tissue, it is one of the top three ingredients found in many joint support products. Chondroitin acts as a lubricating factor and plays a role in the complex connective tissue matrix that is responsible for cushioning joints and bones. By doing so, Chondroitin supports mobility, flexibility, and comfortable movement.

A placebo-controlled study that evaluated the effects of 800 mg Chondroitin Sulfate on knee joint health, found a statistically significant difference favoring Chondroitin Sulfate in all parameters measured, including joint comfort and walking time.

Another placebo-controlled study showed that subjects consuming 1 g/day Chondroitin Sulfate had significantly improved joint comfort and overall joint health when compared to placebo.

  •  Provides structural support for cartilage and joints
  • Lubricates and cushions joints
  • Supports mobility, flexibility, and comfortable joint movement
  • Helps renew and revitalize cartilage
Yours in Health,
Nikki Palmer

Vitamins & Minerals to Live by Guide to Your Health

Joint Support – GLUCOSAMINE SULFATE – Supplement Your Joint Strength

A Key to Healthy Joints

 You may think that creaking, crunching, grinding joints is just a normal part of aging. Did you know that supplementing with Glucosamine Sulfate could help you renew your cartilage and lubricate your joints? If you want to support your joint health, supplementing with Glucosamine Sulfate could be the right move.

Studies have shown that Glucosamine Sulfate effectively supports overall joint health and promotes comfort.

Glucosamine Sulfate significantly maintained cartilage health as measured in the knee.

  •  A key to structural component in cartilage
  • Nourishes and revitalizes the cellular components within joints
  • Is one of the top three structural components found in popular joint support products
  • Acts as a lubricant in order to nutritionally support healthy joints for comfortable movement
Yours in Health,
Nikki Palmer

Vitamins & Supplements to Live by Guide to Your Health

Joint Support – HYALURONIC ACID – Nature’s “Shock Absorber” for Your Joints

The Fluid Between the Spaces

Don’t let the word “acid” in the name fool you – Hyaluronic Acid doesn’t break the body down, it builds it up! Hyaluronic Acid naturally resides in your body’s connective tissue, a key part of your joint structure. Without healthy joints, your body’s movements may become restricted or even painful – mobility may be decreased which could curtail normal activity. Hyaluronic Acid is part of your body’s “shock absorber” system and is critical to the way your bones, muscles and cartilage work together. Healthy skin and eyes also contain Hyaluronic Acid.

Per a recognized biochemistry text, Hyaluronic Acid is a vital component of connective tissue. Connective tissue exists in various forms, including cartilage, tendons, intervertebral discs and synovial (joint) fluid. Hyaluronic Acid is most abundant in joint fluid, where it acts as a lubricant.

  •  A natural component of the body’s connective tissue, including the skin
  • Joint fluid (synovial fluid) contains Hyaluronic Acid molecules
  • The skin content of Hyaluronic Acid decreases as we age
  • Naturally found between the lens and the retina of the eyes
Yours in Health,
Nikki Palmer

Vitamins & Supplements to Live by Guide to Your Health

Immune Health – ZINC – Body of Work

The Trace Mineral with a Major Role

Zinc is a trace mineral that plays a role in over 300 enzymes in the body. DNA synthesis, RNA transcription, cell division and growth, testosterone synthesis, and protein formation and turnover are all dependent on the presence of Zinc. Zinc also supports energy metabolism, the immune system, memory and skin health.

A study found that Zinc supplements positively supported immune response, by helping stimulate levels of lymphocytes and T-cells.

Another clinical study found that a low intake of Zinc negatively affected both testosterone levels and normal semen production, while a higher intake of Zinc positively supported both testosterone and semen in men.

  •  Is important for immune function and brain health
  • Contributes to skin health
  • Important for testosterone synthesis
  • Assists in the formation of DNA
  • Plays a vital role in RNA transcription, cell division and growth, and protein formation
Yours in Health,
Nikki Palmer


Vitamins & Supplements to Live by Guide to Your Health

Immune Health – ESTER-C – The Better Vitamin C

The Immune Supporting, Stomach-Friendly Vitamin C

 Ester-C is made using a unique, water-based process that combines vitamin C with calcium. As a non-acidic form of vitamin C, Ester-C is readily absorbed by the body and gently on the stomach. It functions as a powerful antioxidant and contributes to immune, heart and joint health.

In a 60-day study of 168 healthy participants, subjects receiving Ester-C had significantly fewer reports of decreased well-being and immune system health compared to a placebo group.

In a clinical trial, Ester-C was found to be well tolerated and gently on the stomach in participants sensitive to acidic foods.

  •  Helps support immune system health, good vision, cardiovascular health, and healthy joints
  • Functions as an antioxidant that fights cell-damaging free radicals in the body
  • Promotes enhanced absorption and delayed excretion of vitamin C
Yours in Health,
Nikki Palmer