Posts tagged family

Toxic Family: Are You Obligated To Help?


I’ve been dealing with some heavy shit the past few weeks and it’s been hard.

I have an older family member who has been asking/expecting financial help to live because for years, he and his wife did nothing to prepare for their retirement and lived at a level that was well above their income. Not to mention, they were less than stellar family members and did little to help others voluntarily throughout the years.

Should you help everyone in your family just because they are family?

I keep hearing because they are my family as the reason why I should ‘do the right thing’ and pitch in but thinking about that brings up more questions for me…

  • Where is this rule written?
  • Why did they not have to follow it when others needed help?
  • Am I a bad person if I choose to not help?
  • Do I have to help because others in my family will be burdened and I should share the burden?

What I think bothers me more as my family starts to figure out how to offer help together is the lack of any sort of real understanding or care about the impact their ask has. It affects our ability to pay down our own debts, save for our children’s college and put away for when our retirement comes.  All things they never did as they lived a high stylin’ life.  When you don’t have any extra money, you have to change your standard of living – you can’t shop at high end stores or get fancy cars with a high monthly payments.  It’s been their problem all along –they don’t grasp the concept of having to lower their standard of living.

You are not required to set yourself on fire to keep other people warm.

The worst part of having to figure out how to help them is the bubbling up of old buried family issues. Maybe we need to celebrate Festivus – and air our grievances! Things that you thought were way behind you come to the surface with each back and forth.  Their apparent lack of understanding or taking responsibility for their situation and their combative responses to any sort of inquiry into what’s really going on with them financially and physically literally brings me back to my teens and early 20’s when I was dealing with them more regularly. It’s a huge reason why I keep them at a far distance from my every day life – they are not healthy people.

Is there a way I can help, whereas it does not play into their unhealthy lifestyle but also does not cause me to revisit old family crap? That’s the question really – I try to focus on being kind to everyone but I am not willing to do it to the point where it burns me. No way…

Every family has stuff to deal with — good and bad. I am certainly not the first person out there who has had to deal with mooching family members. It’s causing me to turn in emotionally and I am finding it hard to be inspired and motivated to share like I used to. It’s a very sad situation and while I certainly want to help if I can – I’m not sure I can without causing myself inner turmoil.

When Parents Are Too Toxic to Tolerate

Toxic parents. How to know when it’s time to let go.

Rest in Peace Aunt Barbara


Aunt BarbaraMy aunt died yesterday. She was my Dad’s only sister and only sibling. I had only met her a handful of times at most in my life. Our family has a history of estrangement and other odd family relationships. My Dad and her didn’t speak for many, many years and making the effort to be in each other’s lives wasn’t a learned behavior.

What a shame it was that I didn’t grow up with a lot of family around. My mom is estranged from her one sister to this day –and none of the cousins from my dad or mom’s side of the family are close. It is something I am trying to change with my generation…  I talk to my brothers and sisters all the time. If I haven’t mentioned it before – I have 2 brothers and 2 sisters. We are all different, yet all the same and we love each other. When you are raised to all be chiefs, it’s hard to be an Indian when you get together – so there are conflicts and arguments-like any family. I love them with all my heart and constantly wish I lived closer.

And now that I am an Aunt, I am determined to be in my nieces’ lives and have my kids know their cousins. It’s too important not too…

Rest in Peace Aunt Barbara

Barbara Gettinger Stewart passed away today, March 6, 2014, in her home in Oxnard due to an ongoing illness. She grew up in South Texas but always considered the Pacific Northwest home. She was kind, intelligent, opinionated and outspoken. She was passionate and stubborn when it came to politics, and spent many dinnertime conversations with the family expounding on foreign policy or The Economy. Her taste for the finer things swelled her closet with clothes from Nordstrom’s and her drawers overflowed with mail-order beads. Occasionally, a Robert Redford brand piece of furniture would arrive to her doorstep, often to the surprise of her loving husband, Haven. Barbara had many different careers, including teaching and jewelry making, but found the most fulfillment in being a wife and mother. She is survived her husband Haven, her two children Fletcher Stewart and Alexis Stewart Allen, three grandchildren, and her brother Jerry Gettinger.

A Product Of Your Parents


dadHappy Birthday Dad

Today is my Dad’s birthday. I really feel blessed that both my parents are still around and in my life. So many of my friends — as we enter into middle age have or are starting to lose their parents and the fact that both of my ‘rents are still here and fairly healthy is a blessing that is not unappreciated by me.

I am not super close to my dad – but he’s in my life. We certainly had many issues that caused strife as I grew up –many of them will never get resolved but at the end of the day — who cares.  Does it matter now? The answer is no –and who was right or wrong doesn’t matter in the wacky game of life.  At the end of the day, what matters is are you happy where you are today. I can’t change the past but I can change the way I view the past and see it for what it was and where it led me. And where I am today is in a pretty great spot overall.

I have an amazing family — a husband who loves me and makes me feel special and two amazing kiddos – who give me a chance to be a better parent each and every day. My parents were great teachers, whether that means they led me to experience the right and wrong of parenting and taking it all and applying it to being better with my own kiddos.

We are all a product of our parents and the era they grew up in –it’s something to consider about your own parents and the wins and mistakes they made helping you grow up.  Finding out more about the environment that both my parents had to grow up in helped me understand a lot of how they live and react. It helped give me some perspective on some of the relationship issues I have with my parents and how it shaped some of the issues that creep up with my siblings.

But in the end — I am so fortunate to have four brothers and sisters that I speak to often, and parents and step-parents and together we have each other’s backs and are helping to forge relationships with one another as healthy adults and helping foster in the next generation of family.

400m run

Ring Dips


  • Power Cleans (2)
  • Squat Cleans (1)

85 & 95#

  • Tabata Situps

Total 109

Caution: Internal Construction


The Dance of Relationships

I have been undergoing some self prescribed internal construction lately. I am looking into new strategies and ways to react to certain situations and people to help me improve some aspects of my personality and the way I behave when faced with them that seem to get me into some pickles from time to time.

I talk a lot about intentions – the why underneath the actions.  And when people do what they do, are they acting with good intentions. For most of us, we don’t start off our days figuring out how we can hurt people when we do what we do or say what we say.  If we do end up hurting someone or lashing out –it’s usually just a mask, covering up something deeper inside.

But have you ever considered that we need to stop and look at how we respond to whatever triggers those feelings in us that causes us to respond the way we do? What would happen if you don’t lash out and you stop and think about the other’s intentions or let them win this time instead of always trying to be right.  Whatever it is –what would happen if you just respond differently than you ever have?

My brother and I were talking this week about relationships between people. Many long standing bonds carry baggage.  One person does what they always do, and the other responds the way they always do. My brother calls it “the dance”.  It’s second nature and you just fall right into it when you are around that person or even job.

We all can relate to this one: The Family dance — think about holiday get-togethers. For so many, it’s a time of frustration and stress. It’s because of the dance you all do. You all fall into your family roles, and revert back to the time you all were under one roof.  Does any of this sound familiar?

Well, what if you were tired of dancing that same routine? You want to create a relationship and ‘dance’ that is rooted in where and who you are today?  It’s not that difficult in theory.

  • Decide that you will start to be conscious of how you respond in any of your trigger situations. You have ultimate control of how it plays out on your part.
  • Think about what your ideal response or outcome looks like. What does your dance look like?
  • Ask for advice. When you know better, you do better – so ask people you admire how they would handle the situation.
  • Give up the notion of being right. Does it matter who is right or wrong? Is anyone keeping score?  Will keeping score hold you back from your ideal outcome?
  • Decide on a course of action before hand if possible. If you know you are going to be put into a trigger situation, create an action plan.

It takes preparation and practice – after all it took a long time to develop that one of a kind dance you have been doing.   Also, don’t underestimate the other dance partner’s response. They may not be ready to change like you are so they will do what they always do and step on your toes. So you have to be strong, determined and focused to change the patterns and stick to your plan. How you react will determine the outcome.

After a few times of responding differently to the stimulus, the improved and/or different dance will develop and your partner will be almost forced to respond differently but in a way that’s best for them.

It’s all a part of growing, improving and becoming healthier. Having closer, more truthful, joyful relationships is a very important component of a healthy life, so it’s well worth the effort.

Today’s workout was about strength!

jump rope (100 singles)

double unders


Back Squat PR today of 185#

A Moment in Time


Sunday is Krav Maga Day

Busy day. Took the family to the Maryland Renaissance Fair — the place was super crowded but we made the best of it. Got to spend some fun quality time together and then got home in time for my Krav Maga class. For the next two weeks it will be in the evening on Sundays so nothing like being flexible. I can tell I am getting better on my moves which is super satisfying! Whoo hoo!

I snapped this pic of Hannah Bea today on our way back from the Fair. I am her Mom I know –but I just think she is breathtaking and just so enjoyable to be around. The other night, we were sitting together in my bed watching The Voice and she and I were bantering back and forth. I stopped for a moment to notice that she was sounding just like me — it made me smile.  She’s growing up so fast and I am sure that the teen years won’t be the easiest, but man, I love that girl.

Appreciate and Power Clean



Show Appreciation for All You Have

Stress really does make you unwell. Starting yesterday, I have had a dull but painful headache, have had chills off and on and generally just don’t feel so hot.  Do I stop and rest? Sometimes but not this week. It’s a busy week for me that started with a ball of stress but now is just busy.

I was driving home this AM from the gym (yes, even though I was not 100%) and thinking about my life and my kiddos. I have it good. I love those kids and all their craziness. I love my Silver Fox and all his wackiness and maintenance. I love what I do for a living –Social Media Marketing– it’s tailor made for me, i love my gym and the people I get to be around, I love that I am learning new things all the time and I love that my family is safe and sound.  If you peel away all other layers of life –what more can a person ask for?  When I got home – i gave each of my kiddos & the fox a big kiss, told them I loved them and went on with my morning. Sometimes, you just have to do stop and appreciate all you have.

For some inspiration read this post by Matt Foreman at Catalyst Athletics about Being able to show appreciation and gratitude to good people in my life. –  A Letter To Catalyst Athletics (and Everybody Else). It’s a very insightful message and struck a nerve.


600m jog

Power Clean
Ring Dips


  1. power cleans
  2. ring dips

75# 8:08

Unplug and Reconnect with ‘Real Life’


It’s important to take time to remember the things in life that make it special. That sometimes means leaving all the digital stuff and being present in the moments you have with your family. Our roadtrip to Monticello, Williamsburg and Busch Gardens was so fun. We had a lot of laughs, got to know our kids better, wore each other out, got on each others nerves, had ice cream every day — The things you should do on a vacation.

As much as I love doing my blog, it’s important to not have it take over your entire life and get in the way of spending real valuable time with those you love. You never get this time back, so don’t get too wrapped up in what’s online. Learn to unplug and reconnect with ‘real life’.

Restaurants helping combat obesity, or are they?


Restaurants to offer more-healthful fare for kids

It’s something but is it really enough?

Nineteen chains — including Burger King, Denny’s, IHOP, Chili’s, Friendly’s, Chevy’s and El Pollo Loco — have agreed to participate in the Kids Live Well initiative as worries increase about the role of fast food in childhood obesity.

French fries, slathered with ketchup and washed down with a pint of soda, are a favorite part of fast-food lunches and dinners for millions of American youngsters.

But taking a cue from nutritionists, a group of 19 restaurant companies are pledging to offer more-healthful menu options for children at a time when concern is growing over the role of fast food in childhood obesity.

Burger King, the second-largest burger chain, for instance, will stop automatically including French fries and soda in its kids’ meals starting this month, although the items will still be available.

Instead, the company said Tuesday, its employees will ask parents whether they prefer such options as milk or sliced apples before assembling the meals.

“We’re asking the customers to specify what they want,” said Craig Prusher, the chain’s vice president of government relations. Fries and soft drinks are “no longer a default decision,” he added.

Marriage helps Colon Cancer Survival Rate


Marriage Improves Odds of Surviving Colon Cancer

ScienceDaily (June 21, 2011) — A new study shows that being married boosts survival odds for both men and women with colon cancer at every stage of the disease. Married patients had a 14 percent lower risk of death according to researchers at Penn State’s College of Medicine and Brigham Young University. That estimate is based on analysis of 127,753 patient records.

Similar to studies of other types of cancers, the researchers did find that married people were diagnosed at earlier stages of colon cancer and sought more aggressive treatment. The researchers took those and other factors into account before calculating the benefit of marriage on survival odds.

“Controlling for the stage that the cancer was detected is key,” said Sven Wilson, a study coauthor and professor at Brigham Young University. “Without that, it’s hard to know whether the analysis is just picking up a diagnosis effect.”

Colon cancer is the fourth most common type of cancer in the United States for both men and women. Curiously, the marriage benefit seen in the new study was nearly identical for both men and women.


Squat Cleans


Since we had family in town this weekend, we officially moved Father’s Day to next Sunday in our house.  Sometimes you have to do what you have to do — It was so fun to have my big brother here for the weekend. I love seeing my kids around their family since we don’t live near any — it’s really important that my kids get to establish relationships with them whenever they can. With 5 brothers and sisters, there are certainly a lot of relationships to work on.  And my Mom came as well and helped watch the kids while we went to the Cure By Design event in DC.

Cure By Design was so fun. It was the first year of this event here in DC, so not a huge crowd but a super nice group of people all coming together for a really great cause. So many stories — and seeing Scotty up there brought back a lot of memories of our treatment. People asked me how did we find out — when did it begin.  I don’t really talk about that stuff anymore — being 3 years out of it, so talking about was hard.  It definitely is fun to get all dressed up, gussied up and go to a fancy event in the Big City! Open bar, lots of hor d’ourves –and hanging out with Scott and my brother. Really fun event.

I’m still a bit worn out from last week’s brutal workouts. I definitely took yesterday off and because it was a celebration weekend of sorts, I did not eat all that well starting Friday evening through yesterday. I am going to once again re-focus because it may be in my head but I can feel the extra crap food on me. I don’t like that feeling…

20 Double Unders
10 Pass thrus
10 Ring Rows
10 Med Ball Cleans

False grip on rings

7 power squat cleans (80% bodyweight) 65#
7 Chest to bar pull ups (I did no band pull ups, working on my kip)
total: 5+ 7 squat cleans/5 pull ups

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