Sunday, July 7, 2013

What feels right.

When I woke up this morning, I did what I always do. I beelined straight for my coffee maker and started my coffee brewing. Then I went into the sunroom to relax on the couch in anticipation of that coffee aroma that wafts over from the kitchen every single time. 

The sun was already up but the sky was the same eerie shade of grey that it had been the day before. Which made sense because, just like yesterday, it was raining. Still raining. And you know? This rain we've been getting has been weird. It's like it has this funky on-off switch that alternates between sheets of torrential downpours and nothing at all. So, yeah. That's pretty much what was still going on when I woke up this morning.

After having my coffee, I curled up on the couch with a book for a few moments. Then I remembered that I needed to eat something to nourish my body and to keep my metabolism going. I thought about Team S.J.G.R. and how little decisions like not eating add up to big mistakes later. And so I ate.

Harry woke up and I fed him, too. And yes, I feed my husband. Which I should take a moment to digress upon.

I never, ever nagged Deanna about food or much of anything health related. I mean, we'd have conversations about these things but they were always initiated by her. I never wanted her to feel bad or uncomfortable in my presence. But Harry? Now that's a totally different story.

Ask the BHE about my approach to food and his health and he would describe it in three words: IN. HIS. FACE. (Or rather, ON. HIS. NERVES.) Yeah. So all of the non-nagging that I didn't do in one instance was saved up for poor Harry. And you know what? Nagging people isn't really so effective.

It's not.

So you know what? One day the BHE and I had a heart-to-heart about all of this. About his love of food and my love of nagging. About exercise and family history and missing Deanna and missing his daddy and loving our kids. And we explored what we could do for each other to help and what we could not do, too. And that conversation was good. It really was.

We agreed that we needed to acknowledge the fact that S.J.G.R. That not only did my father have a heart attack in his mid-fifties but so did his father. Which means we both have a family history. We discussed how much we both miss Deanna and how we need to do our best to protect our hearts.

"But like constantly sweating me and making me feel bad isn't good for me," he said.

"I feel scared sometimes. I love you too much to just sit there sometimes. Like I need to say something -- like it's my responsibility."

"I mean, Babe, nobody handles me better than you. You know that isn't the way to get me to do anything. You know that."

And, sure, there was more to that conversation but that part is the part I pondered the most. So you know what? I thought about his words and about my husband and how I manage certain things when it comes to him. That often involves planning. Planning is always good when it comes to my husband and kids. Whenever I do, they go with my flow.

Sure do.

So I started doing just that. Planning and executing. Not his life but a lot of little things. Because very rarely will he derail such things. And I know that about him but had somehow let myself forget when it came to food and wellness and had instead replaced it with nagging.

What's this mean? Well. I pack his lunch with healthy foods and snacks. I fill up a water bottle. Every day. I make him breakfast and simply say, "Your breakfast is in there." And sometimes it's something hot but a lot of times it's just some cereal. I am cooking dinner more. And when I don't, I still plan what we'll eat even if I'm buying it. And some days, he is out and about and does what he wants. But most days he pretty much goes with what's easiest (which is what's already been planned) without much fuss. So I plan more these days. And when I do that he eats it. Instead of a bunch of crap.


See, my husband is an on-the-go and stress-fueled eater. Planning is the panacea. And subtlety works best for him in all things. Not in-yo-face nagging.

Oh yeah. I also got him a FLEX fitband (by Fitbit) to track his activity, sleep, and exercise. I have the Fitbit (which I'm obsessed with) and this has motivated us both. Which is really, really great. I make doctor's appointments, too. Sure do. And that's what works for us.

So yeah, that's that part.

So after breakfast and our daily Harry & Kimberly bonding chit-chat time, I read some and even dozed off for a bit. Then my eyes opened up and I realized that I'd been on the couch for nearly three hours. I sat up and declared in my head that I would do some exercise for my heart. Since lately that means running, I stared out the window to see where the rainy light switch was.


Then came the excuses.

It's raining. I got my hair done yesterday. I did GOOD on Thursday, remember? I ran my first 10K, remember? My weight is at a good place! I made good food choices this week! I deserve to reward myself with some luscious rainy day couch time!

And so on and so forth. Then I remembered that S.J.G.R. and that none of those things were reasonable explanations for not giving my heart at least thirty minutes of moderate activity. So I threw on my sneakers, grabbed my keys, and headed out to the YMCA to run on the treadmill and mess around with a few free weights.

So I got there and started running. And you know? I told myself to think about my heart and what I was doing. And at first that made me very, very happy. It did. And I thought about the fact that I was running faster than usual but that I felt good which meant my cardiovascular fitness had improved since I first started. That made me happy, too.

But then I started thinking about all of you and my sissy. I felt this complex mixture of extreme happiness and sorrow. Which either way you slice it made me want to cry.


See, I struggle sometimes with wishing I'd done more to try to encourage Deanna. Then I start feeling bad and feeling like I failed her. But when that happens I quiet my mind and let myself hear her voice. And today, more than ever, I did. I did. I silenced my iPod and listened for her. And heard her speaking to me straight from my heart where a part of her now lives.

"This was how it had to be, Kimberly. And you of all people know that nothing good comes from guilt and worry so don't do that. This is amazing what's happening. People are going to be less afraid. And I love knowing that we are all a part of that. Together--me, you, and JoLai. Okay, Pookie?"

So I heard her and felt better. But then my mind went crazy wondering how to make this all translate into something real. Not just a feel good read that gets handed around but a real, true paradigm shift that turns the world on its axis. That makes families and couples and individuals think through ways to do better that work for them without guilt or nagging or any of those things that don't work.

So yeah. I'm still pondering that. I think I'm going to make a vision board for Team S.J.G.R. I want to dream big and try to blow my own mind. Ha ha ha. . . yeah. Blow my own mind, man.

And look, don't worry or anything. I'm learning that this is all just a part of my walk and talking about it all and thinking about it here mostly makes me feel peaceful and better than anything else. And charged up, too. To do the things I'm supposed to be doing.

I'm rambling, I know. And listen, to those who read my blog but feel uncomfortable with all of this S.J.G.R. talk, know that I still need this space for writing and sharing stories. For putting my ridiculous top tens out there and recording life with Team Manning, my small groups and the Grady elders. You will still find them here. You will.

But this part? And all of this?  I have to do this, too. I must. So know that I won't be offended if you aren't ready for this or simply aren't feeling it or just damn, not wanting to hear all this reality over and over again and if feeling that way leads you to skip them altogether.

That's cool. It is. In fact, it's more than cool because Harry was right when he said that feeling nagged doesn't work. So if you feel nagged, come back to these posts when you're in a place where you won't. Or whatever feels best and most right to you.

This is what feels right to me.

on the sunroom couch with my sissy's blanket

Yeah. So all of this journey is a work in progress. A piece of me understanding yet another part of the big picture. And especially not being afraid to use the gifts that Deanna always encouraged me and everyone around her to never, ever squander. Ever. Even if it sometimes means crying while running on a treadmill.


Happy Late Saturday-Early Sunday.

Now playing on my mental iPod. . . Anthony Hamilton singing "Since I seen't you." Deanna loved his voice. I loved her.


  1. From the deck of the Poop,

    Good Morning Dr. KD,

    Another great piece...You put things in perspective and let us know that every piece you write may not be for each of us but there are some things that you need to say at certain times and you will say them during those times. Good for you... We will understand or we won't but you must still say the things that you need to say.
    Regarding my "Big Girl" or Plinko as I loveingly called her; no one agonizes over the feeling of not figuring out how to motivate her to manage her health better. I tried many many things but obviously none of them worked. And you know the old PoopDeck; he has always prided himself in being able to fix anything, especially when it came to his family. I don't blame myself but I still wonder why I couldn't figure out what to do or say to have her do things differently as it related to her health. Maybe there is nothing that I could have done but I still wonder what I missed. I miss her so much.

    Keep on writing Dr. KD.


    1. Good morning, Poopdeck. . .

      I'm pretty sure you meant to say no one agonizes. . . more than (you). And since I know that's what you meant, I'd say you're mostly right. Hearing Deanna's voice has helped me to not slip to far in that feeling. And since you're our dad, the parental need to protect and fix will always trump the sibling version.

      I think she'd be telling us, "Okay, Pookie, but now what are you going to do?" And that makes me smile and try and wonder the answer to that. For now, it's trying to think about ways I can help myself and others in a way that doesn't feel alienating. And to unlock what really could get someone jump started once and for all. Maybe this had to happen for me to think this way. Or even write this way.

      Before I would have second guessed all of this. Not any more.

      I miss her, too, Dad. Every day.

      xo, Dr. KD

  2. you keep writing and we will keep reading and thinking! I do at least one thing each day for the good of SJGR team and it makes me happy!

  3. Great post and I had to comment (first-timer) though I've been reading your posts for a while now.
    What rang true for me is you questioning yourself if you could have done more to encourage. I always get those feelings, and I always follow my uncle's advice:
    'You can only do the best you can and no more'

    I'm signing up for Team SJGR and I'm also in love with my Fitbit One, though my step count is down as I'm recovering from a torn plantar fascia. Boot comes off this week though!

    Whenever I feel discouraged, I remember a Haitian proverb: 'Beyond Mountains, there are Mountains' which if taken literally IS quite discouraging, but I flip it and say: "Have to keep climbing"

    1. Yes! I never heard that proverb and love it, I do. I sounded like a reminder to keep on going.

      Thank you for being here and for your first timer comment!

      xo, KM

  4. This was a tough one for me... but I had to comment & tell you to keep writing. I NEED IT.

    Now, I'm going to wipe my tears, get out of bed, put on my sneakers, and watch this tennis match from the treadmill instead of my cozy bed.


  5. My attempts to comment here are cursed. Third time's a charm, I hope.

    Thank you for being the voice in my head this weekend on the road, helping me make some better choices about eating and drinking. Thank you for starting Team SJGR, I'm still with you.

    I'm sorry you have guilt messing around with your grief, and glad Deanna's voice is leading you out of it. When I'm struggling with missing my Dad, I hear him say snap out of it! Life's too short and amazing to waste time being sad or guilty - get out there and smell the flowers! He'd hate to know I was still missing him so much, because he was Mr. Bright Side of Life and he made the best of any situation his whole life. That helps me so much.

    Those fit bands - just saw my first one this week, one of the volleyball dads showed us his and said it changed his life. Another dad pulled his usb linking pedometer out of his pocket and said the same thing. I'm shopping for fit bands today. So, thank you, really and truly and always.


    1. Third time is the charm indeed. So glad you kept trying. We all know how funny blogger can be. :)

      I think I'm going to get the Aria scale, too. It links up with the Fitbit and the Flex Fitband and tracks weight. I'm just cheap. Hee hee. But I'm especially obsessed with the sleep tracking. I realized how horrible I am with going to bed but also saw that once I'm out, I'm OUT. (Meaning I have good sleep QUALITY.) Now to work on the quantity.

      Let me know how your tracker search goes. JoLai, Poopdeck and Will have the Nike Fuel band and are huge fans. I like the Fitbit because it can be clipped to your bra and doesn't have to be worn on your wrist all the time. Not a fan of the wrist gear aesthetically.

      I'll ask JoLai and others to discuss this on the FB page.

  6. Dr. Manning,
    So many of us need your writing!
    Thank you for all your words, thoughts, and reflections!


  7. Dr. Manning there is only One who determines the length of our days. Your sister lived well and was loved well. You did your part. Take care of your temple, but take care of your spirit too.

  8. *tears*

    Another awesome blog of encouragement!!

    I can't wait to hug your neck in DC!!

    Angela Fairwell

    1. I can't wait to hug your neck either!

      I am really looking forward to being in the midst of all my celebrating sorors. Look out Washington D.C. here we come.

      Five big ones,


  9. I find these posts helpful in keeping me focused. I have family I don't know how to inspire and it does get me down. Don't know what's to do if they are grown, living outside your house aside from set a good example.

    and this weather is weird. There was a bit of watery sunshine for three seconds but now it's back to the just grey but not dark and about to pour phase.

    1. Thanks, Kristin. You're always so wise. That's what I always think when you comment and also when I read your blog, just so you know. :)

      And yes, this weather is very, very weird. I'm over it.

  10. I, too, wonder at times what more could I have done. She never appeared to be in distress, but I know that she struggled with her weight. Fortunately, she never let that stop her from living life to the fullest. My comfort comes in knowing that she felt safe and comfortable in the presence of her family and friends and knew every day that she was loved. She still is. I miss her, too.

    1. Tounces, you are so right. I am so happy knowing that she was a happy person. I think she really was happy and knew she was cherished by us. There is still stuff we can do. Now I know that. I think she'd be proud.

      I love you, Mommy!

  11. Hey I didn't come here TO THINK! Or ummm okay maybe I did. You are causing a ripple in my life from way over there by the way. I think you are extraordinary. Also I cleared out my cupboards this morning threw away entire brand new bags of white flour white rice confectioners sugar and...THAT'S RIGHT...two gigantic beautiful russet potatoes.

    And I loved it.


    1. You rock, Ms. Rebecca Radish. I love the idea of a ripple. I do. We all need our waters troubled sometimes. I like the idea of it being in the form of a ripple and not a disruptive wave.

      Potatoes. Yummy, yet. . . the devil. Le sigh.

  12. Dear Dr. Kim and family,

    I can feel how much you love and miss Deanna. If it is any comfort to you, please let me tell you that as a large woman, I know my weight is unhealthy. This is an issue that is very personal, and I usually don't welcome advice. It has taken me a long time to be ready for change. Please don't feel guilty that you couldn't do more to help her.

    I am so thankful for what you're doing with SJGR, and I know that many lives will be wonderfully impacted.

    Sending y'all hugs. :)

    1. You have no idea how much good these words have done my heart today. Thank you.

  13. An untimely death rarely makes sense and we question, "Why?" Rarely do we get a straight forward answer from our Higher Power. I have a feeling that Deanna is going to be more powerful from her place as an angel than she ever was here on this Earth and that is saying a lot because from what I have read, she was a mountain mover in her earthly existence.

  14. I'm here right with you Kim-even in NJ. I totally get it , girl.

    Maria, fellow Meharrian

    1. I'm so happy that you do, my sister. I appreciate you.

  15. This was brutiful, as Glennon Melton says, which simply means beautiful and brutal all at the same time...just like life. Also, where did the nickname Poopdeck come from? Did I miss the explanation? Last question, is your fit bit a heart rate monitor?

    1. Hey Christie,

      No, the fitbit isn't a heart monitor. It tracks steps, stairs climbed and sleep.

      Poopdeck is a nickname I gave my dad that comes from Popeye's father "Pappy Poopdeck." I used to call him the whole thing but then started just calling him Poopdeck.

  16. I'll tell you this. I have to lose a bit more than 100lbs and I hate hate hate talking about weight/food/ all of it because I'm ashamed of how big I am. I want to be healthy, but then I don't know how to cook, etc.. and I give up and figure it doesn't matter, I will die fat. I hate looking in the mirror. I hate trying to find clothes to wear that don't look slobby. (Which btw, not sure where Deanna shopped, but she always looks so beautiful and classy and put together in pictures and I look so the opposite of that). Anyway, while I wish someone would work out with me or figure out the food thing so I don't have to freak out and quit, I think I would be sketchy with people, even people I love, calling me out on it. It's weird. My husband is built nicely and is hot. Seriously, I have several friends that swoon when he's around, and then there's me. I have horrid social anxiety and part of it is my weight, especially when we are together in public. He is an enabler. I get so frustrated with him for that, but if he nagged, I'd be just as frustrated.

    I guess I rambled on to say this, you do exactly what you're doing by proactively helping Harry and that's awesome!! I am certain Deanna knew more than anything that you loved her and would have done your best to help her if she decided it was time.

    1. Julie,

      Wow. This is so, so brave and honest. Can I just say this? I have not seen you but I am certain that I would find you more beautiful than what you describe. I know this. I just want us all to all rage against the machine when it comes to heart disease. No judging. Just loving.

      I'm holding your hand. I am.

  17. Being a friend of Deanna's I had some of the same thoughts. Another Soror and I had shared some of the same concerns after chapter meeting. But, we never said anything.

    I remember one meeting awhile back when you were given a drum major award from the Deb committee, and they unveiled that painting The Drum Major. When you looked at Deanna and thanked her for pretty much being the wind beneath your Delta wings, we were back there just boo hooing in our section. Just the Spirit between you two was awesome!! And it was awesome to see. And it is still there.

    I wanted to nominate her for the 2013 Spirit award but was too afraid that it might have upset some. I miss my friend.


    ps. Keep writing, please.


"Tell me something good. . . tell me that you like it, yeah." ~ Chaka Khan

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