Weight Lost, Hope Gained…by Emily

Sharing the Hope found after WLS!

I need a Rubber Ball, please? March 7, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration,My Story....ever changing! — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 10:51 AM

Recently I sat through another enlightening therapy session with Valette. One that hurt, was pretty disappointing, BUT put a name with all that I have struggled with for a long time. It was validating to finally have the AH-HAH! moment and I am ready to move forward and share that with you all! I have found out through this process that I am hugely egotistical with little to no self-esteem since losing my surgery and living in the maintenance phase now. Absurd you say?!?! Well so did I until it was explained to me and it makes total sense and is SO true. Let me explain.

I live in a glass (egotistical) ball. The bottom is hollow and wide open. I constantly need praise and affirmation for doing the right thing to keep it filled up, when it gets low—-I self medicate by what I have done best my whole life….EAT. I don’t take criticism well and when I get it my little ball crushes around me and so I self medicate again. I received all the praise and affirmations ten fold during my weight loss journey, I was on a mission as the pounds were flying off of me. I was a poster child for my WLS center with my face plastered on Billboards, commercials, and brochures. I am a patient advisor and speak monthly at the hospital with my surgeon. The scale gave me daily affirmation in continuously going down, down, down. My friends and family were constantly telling me how good I was doing. I was feeling great! Well, guess what? I’m done losing weight and I have maintained my loss. I feel great and I had my surgery to get my health back which I have now more than ever, BUT I also had my surgery to start living. Well you ARE living Emily you say!?!?!Yes and no. Yes, I run and play with my kids and have amazing chemistry with my husband since I feel better about myself but looking back over my life, my WLS is REALLY the only thing I have done and been successful at that really sets me apart and now that the weight loss part is over, I need to stop living through my WLS and move on to things in life that will help me to find my place in this world. If I don’t then it is a recipe for disaster.

You see, I have struggled lately with grazing even if it be on the “good stuff”, I am eating way too much of it, BUT only at certain times of the month. I do really good at the end of each month and the beginning of the next month. Why? You ask? Because I have my Bariatric Care Counsel meeting on the last Wednesday of each month, I speak with my surgeon the first Wednesday of each month, and have Support Group the second Tuesday of each month. With that schedule, it keeps me in the loop and my little glass (hollowed out at the bottom) egotistical ball is full and happy. But what about the rest of the time that I am not being stimulated? I graze. Yes, I have a great support group here online that I am so thankful for. But I can’t spend as much time on here as I would like with a young family at home. So without constant interaction and accountability, I stumble and that is NOT ok! We must fix that ASAP! Thank goodness for therapy!

Here is my eye-opening conversation with my therapist….

“What makes you unique?” I said, “Well, I am a mother, friend, wife and daughter.” She stopped in middle sentence and said “That is great but those are roles, WHAT makes you unique?” I said, “I am outgoing, honest, caring, funny (I like to think), compassionate, etc.” She stopped me again and said, “That’s great but those are attributes, WHAT makes YOU unique?” I quickly responded with “I guess I am not sure what you are asking me?” She says, “Do you speak a foreign language, do you paint, have you traveled the world? What makes you unique?”As I sat there and pondered the question at hand, I realized that I really couldn’t answer her question, there really isn’t anything that makes me truly unique other than one thing…..my WLS surgery. I am not discrediting my surgery by any means, I don’t want this post to sound like that in any way shape form or fashion because I wouldn’t be finding my true WHOLE self if is wasn’t for my tool. I will be forever grateful for it.

I am on a mission to find my rubber (self-esteem) ball. People that live in a rubber ball know who they are, they stand for what they believe in (those that know me know that I have a hard time believing in myself and my story), they will defend it to its death. They are the people who when talking to them, you ask them how they are doing and they will say, “I am fine, let’s talk about you!”, I have to say that this is probably the only self-esteem trait I have. I really and truly find pleasure in hearing about other people instead of talking about myself. That is probably in part due to the fact that all I have to talk about is my WLS! Rubber Ball people also take criticism well, when they are faced with it, it bounces off (NOT crush) their little ball and has not effect on them because they know who they are and what they believe in. They know what defines them and makes them unique. They know what truly makes them happy. I always thought that if I believed in myself, it was boasting and THAT was egotistical when in fact I have it all wrong…IT’S CALLED SELF ESTEEM! So I am on a mission with a “Bucket List” being made of things that I want to do, I am scared to do but need too as part of learning who I am and who I want to be, and finding my inner self and connecting once and for all! I want to find my uniqueness!!

Bucket List coming in another post….stay tuned.

Finish Well,

Emily

 

Struggling to find your voice? February 13, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 2:06 PM

I got this in my mailbox from Spark People and wanted to share it. We as WLS peeps can chew on this VERY useful tidbit of information as we are faced with these struggles daily. This really jogged my brain and I hope it does yours too! Once again….we have a choice about how we cope….
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Struggling to find your voice

In the face of conflict we might be tempted to just go with the flow and not make waves. The path of least resistance is saying “yes” when you want to say “no” and that road is always paved with regrets and mistakes. While compromise is good and a necessary part of healthy relationships, no one should have to fully deny their feelings and remain voiceless while others dominate a situation. It might feel easier to nod your head and passively agree, but in the long run you are being cheated. While there might be a whole list of justifications and excuses for stepping off the path of your principles, staying true to yourself reaps countless more rewards than selling out to appease someone else. Reconcile today the negative passivity you have displayed in the past.

“It is the path of least resistance that makes rivers and men crooked.” ~ B.J. Palmer, father of chiropractic

Finish Well,

Emi

 

Common Denominator for Success…

Filed under: Inspiration — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 1:57 PM

Everything we do in life is full of learning experiences, I get so excited when I wake up just wondering what I am going to learn today. Will it be a new word, a new concept, meet a new person, learn more positive tools for my tool belt (you can never have enough of those ya know ;-)), new ways I can help someone in need, this list could go on and on. Most importantly, I learn new things about myself and who I am everyday! I am learning to use what is already around me, what I already have, to really focus on what’s already there and has been there all along. A healthy me, a nurturing me, a loving me, a compassionate me, a free-spirited me. All of these are and will be always a work in progress but none the less evolving in me.

One step leads to the next and we can draw on the past and walk confidently through trials as our wisdom grows and as I am finding out, when I choose the effect my trials have had on me and choose to be positive then the trials seem to be easier to get through. When I choose to work through my emotions instead of eat through my emotions during trials I find that I am much more liberated and feel a sense of accomplishment for the way I handled what life throws at me. Our thoughts and actions eventually turn into our habits, which decide where we go in life, it is up to us. Put your dreams in capable hands–your own. Don’t let the “wisdom of the world” become the internal voice that guides you, it is your story and no one elses, you are the only author of your book.

So today I am thinking about what it takes to overcome the trials in my life, I have some pretty powerful tools to help me succeed at staying the positive course, I just have to use them.

“The common denominator for all successful people is having the right tools to realize their goals.” ~ From Spark People.com

XOXO,

Emi

 

ASS-U-ME TO ACCEPT February 1, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 1:01 PM

So yesterday I went and discussed “life” with Valette (my therapist) just as I do every Monday. She brings so much light to situations in my life and thank goodness because things just pass me by sometimes and I just assume that I have to accept things, people, situations, and decisions that are made by me and others. I am finding I have been so “external” with somethings in my life, meaning just staying on the outside of my life and not opening that door and walking on in and sitting down with myself and try to make sense of things, being internal, (just as I do with Valette every Monday). I swear I have ADHD in all areas of my life. It is so easy for me to be focused on a task at hand and the littlest thing will get my attention and off I go wandering around in LaLa Land and before I know it, I have so many things going on that I can’t possibly focus and DO. THE. RIGHT. THING for myself and the situation. I really think this is where all the “assumptions” in my life have come from. I just assume that I was overweight because I gained 70 pounds with my first pregnancy. I just assume my husband knows I love him..why? because I tell him, I don’t have to show him all the time. I just assume that if someone makes a snide comment to me or about me that, that is just the way it is, I can’t control their actions or speech (which is true BUT). I just assume that I can eat around my tool some days and that I will pick back up tomorrow, and tomorrow sometimes doesn’t come. I just assume that I am the only one with these issues and that saying anything about them is “my business” and shouldn’t be shared because nobody cares and let’s face it I am NOT here to Debbie Downer, that is not what my journey is about so…..

We all know the saying “You know what ASSUME spells right?” Makes an ASS out of U and ME I can no longer ASSUME my life away. I have got to slow down, take a deep breath, think about things, and take it all in.

I will no longer assume that my weight was just from the 70 pounds gained during pregnancy and accept the fact that I am a food addict, that I have been through some tough stuff in my past, and that it was not always about me lacking “willpower”.

I will no longer assume that my husband knows I love him because I tell him, I will accept that I need to show him in actions that he is my life and that I so appreciate him everyday and all he does for me and the family. I will accept that he has loved me with everything in him, even when I didn’t love me at all and that he deserves that same love and affection from me that he so generously gave and gave and still gives and gives.

I will no longer assume that people actions and words towards me are “just the way it is” I will accept that I have the power to let it affect me negatively or positively and most importantly the fact that people (family or not) have to earn a spot in my life, they don’t just have a right to be there. If they are affecting me in a negative way, they must go, I must separate myself from them and situations. This is one of the hardest things I will have to do but I know it is crucial to my well being and if you have heard me say it once, you have heard it a million times……I AM WORTH IT!! This can also go for my food addiction, it will always “be around” but it will not overtake me, my success, my thoughts, my actions, and my feelings of myself. It will always be a part of me just like old relationships but it will not consume me. It is negative in the way it makes me think and feel therefore I must separate myself from it and situations that could let it try and rear it’s ugly head again.

I will no longer assume that I can eat around my tool until “tomorrow”. I will accept that my actions will determine how well my tool works and how well I work with my tool. I will accept that in order to continue to reap the wonderful benefits of this life I have been given after surgery, it is going to take work on my part. Other people and my tool can’t do it all for me, they help, but ultimately it is up to ME to get the job done at the end of the day.

I will no longer assume that I am Debbie Downer and the only one with these problems. I will accept that I am surrounded by food addicts just like myself that need to hear what I have to say and vice versa. Without it We/I will not succeed. I will accept that they appreciate me, for me, as I do them. We are all in this together and as long as I scream out loud (in my head) no one can hear me. But when I choose to scream out loud (on here, therapy, Facebook, Support Group, etc.) then and only then will I move closer to where I want to be and I know that I will be doing this life with the best friends that are stained and flawed just like me. And that to me is BEAUTIFUL!!!

So I am writing this for some accountability to myself and others. I can’t work on it if I don’t verablize it, so here it is! I will work on slowing down, showing affection where affection is due, accepting that I cannot change the world, and keep that addiction locked up in the cage, right where it needs to stay.

Finish Well,

Emi

 

Learning to Fly January 30, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 8:18 PM

I am reading a very thought provoking book that has been suggested to me by my Therapist. It is chalked full of things I need to hear, don’t want to hear, need to face, don’t want to face, and brings up some core issues. Core issues that I never thought about before….until now. Here me out in this blog post. It is real….me. It is flawed. It is stained. It is tattered. It is beautiful. It is revealing. It is healing. It is working. It is hurting. It is helping. But most importantly….It is REVALATION to the very being of my obesity, how I got there, and the work it will take to be healthy as a WHOLE me.

The book is written by Geneen Roth and is titled “Women, Food, and God”. Although this book is amazing and I wish I could quote the whole thing here, I can’t so I will leave just a little bit of it’s wisdom here.

You are not a mistake. You are not a problem to be solved. But you won’t discover this until you are willing to stop banging your head against the wall of shaming and caging and fearing yourself. The Sufi poet Rumi, writing about birds learning to fly, wrote: “How do they learn it? They fall, and falling, they’re given wings.”

If you wait to respect yourself until you are at the weight you imagine you need to be to respect yourself, you will never respect yourself, because the message you will be giving yourself as you reach your goal is that you are damaged and cannot trust your impulses, your longings, your dreams, your essence, at any weight.
Either you are willing to believe in kindness or you aren’t. Either you are willing to believe in the basic sanity of your being or you aren’t. To be given wings, you’ve got to be willing to believe that you were put on this earth for more than your endless attempts to lose the same thirty pounds three hundred times for eighty years. And that goodness and loveliness are possible, even in something as mundane as what you put in your mouth for breakfast. Beginning now. Once you take the first few steps, once you begin treating yourself with the kindness that you believe only thin or perfect people deserve, you can’t help but discover that love didn’t abandon you after all.

Wow…..that spoke to me BIG time! I am at my goal weight and maintain well HOWEVER I fear regain everyday. Do I always do the right thing and think the right way that is needed on my part to keep it at bay? No. Do I engage in self-sabatoging actions that could very well make regain a reality? Yes. I think “Well, I’ve blown it before, I know I will again, it’s just a matter of time.” I think this fear is due to all the failure that has been in my life from failing diets, failing relationships, failing friendships, and a failed union between my parents. I am learning and finding that my past is what is fueling these thoughts and feelings. My therapist and I are starting to work on family origin stuff and getting down to what is at the root of my Obesity and boy is it messy. It is a mess I am willing to wade through and fight through because I am worth it. I verbalized somethings that I haven’t been able to….ever, and I am so glad that I did because although it brings back alot of guilt, shame, embarrassment, and hurt, I understand that, in life, you have to clear the brush to be able to see the beautiful landscape. So, let the weed whacking begin! I must understand that I am NOT nor will I ever be a failure, even if things, people, and situations have failed me in the past that does not define who I am today. I will not fail my family, I will not fail my husband, I will not fail my union, I will not fail my children, I will not fail my friendships, I will not fail my parents, I will not fail my tool, I will not fail at my tasks, I will not fail at my growth, I will not fail when saying no to the Doughnut in the cabinet that stares at me every morning in the coffee shop, I will not fail at having an Oreo ban in my house.

Each day is so richly filled with new beginnings and new opportunities. The only thing I am failing to do is give into failure itself. It is so rewarding to me when I swing on a tire swing with my daughter while my husband pushes us around and around so fast we can’t stop laughing and are so dizzy we fall when getting off. Or when my husband comes to me and is so real and open and raw with me on some issues and it finally “makes sense” and gives us a grounds to work and make it better. Or when my friends call me and share so many struggles and victories in their life and I am able to offer them encouragement. Or the fact that I cheer my mom and her weight-loss on…I’m her #1 cheerleader! 😉 Or the fact that I try to make sure that everything that touches my lips is pouchworthy and since doing that for the most part got a great report at my 2 yr. post op appointment, some vitamins and minerals were HIGH meaning I am absorbing all of my supplements (that I am anal about taking on.the.clock) and that my choices in food and excercise are wise. Or the fact that I have been asked to be the Patient Advisor for the my WLS Center and have done some marketing for them that landed me some pretty cool billboards, brochures for the center and posters for educational purposes. Or the fact that I verbally OUTLOUD talk to the Doughnuts and Oreos and let them know that they make me feel awful inside and out, the high I get from them is sucky and that I cannot have them in my life, they are toxic to me and my health. I have control over the way I deal with every outcome in my life. I can choose to be toxic (which I have in the past) or I can choose to be wise and approach myself with kindness, love, and tenderness. I am focusing from here on out to chose the latter of the two, THAT is what is going to bring me the optimal results I so want in life.

Finish Well,

Emily

 

Life is a Chemical Peel. January 1, 2011

Filed under: Inspiration — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 10:41 PM

Ok, so I have a dear friend that is getting ready for her big day. She is tying the knot! So in preparation for her big day the girl has priorities and first and foremost is to look her very best for her man, family, and friends. This involves so many things from getting the hair done, nails done, tanning, working out, and….a chemical peel on her face and neck. If you have never seen someone who has had this done or have had it done yourself it is not flattering, very painful, and embarrassing; I mean it is basically rubbing acid on your face and in 2-3 days after that the top layer (or two, or three) sluffs off your face. Until that happens you truly look like a burn victim with blisters on your face and it is anything but flattering. My friend knows that in due time she will get the result she wants but for the time being it is painful, ugly, and embarrassing to her. I think of this chemical peel and I think of how it can relate to life in so many ways.

I think of the way people look at her and define her by what they see when she walks down the street. I think of the fact that she feels embarrassed as people look at her like she is a monster. I think of things people have said to her about it and not all has been good. I think of how she feels about all of this knowing that she did it for such a happy moment in her life yet it is being defined as something so horrible and ugly.

I think of this Chemical Peel as Life, yes Life. Life brings us beautiful things, people, events, and moments that DO define us and what we want to be. Life is beautiful and so many of our friends, family, and opportunities make it a beautiful place to be. I know for me so many of Life’s moments have made me wish that time would stand still so I could stay in the moment forever. I know so many of Life’s moments have humbled me, shaped me, and made me just WHO I am today. So many of Life’s moments make me stronger, make me yurn for more of me “finding my way”, and becoming better at acceptance of things that I have a hard time believing I deserve. Life’s moments have taught and are still teaching me that in hard times, it IS still beautiful. The “Junk” of life can be beautiful, if you accessorize it properly! 😉

Life also brings with it a lot of pain, negativity, judgement, sabotage, and feelings of uselessness. Life has brought me so much of this things. People, things, and circumstances have brought a lot of pain and suffering to me and at times I was wondering if there was ever a way out or if I was just to suck it up and accept the fact that it was there to define who I was. A lot of these things, thoughts, and feelings were brought on by my weight of course because we all know that, that is how the world defines us. They see us and automatically threat us like we are monsters and not worthy to even share space with them in the same room. I’m not saying that since surgery I have been “cured” of all of this because I haven’t and won’t ever be this side of Heaven. Some of it is still there, I have negative thoughts about regain and have to really focus on not letting my brain run a-muck with thoughts of “Yep, that’s gonna be you, the honeymoon is over Darling!”. I also struggle with believing my story. I struggle with believing I can inspire and encourage somebody. These are things I have to work through and I am determined to NOT let them define me and who I am!

So the Chemical Peel of Life as I see it is like this.

The layer that is most outside layer (first) may “define” me in some people’s eyes but I know in my heart that is doesn’t always (unless you are one of my really good friends and knows me well; y’all know who you are! 😉 ). I know the outer most layer is not always pretty, happy, and/or appealing to others but to me it is all of these things. The outer layer may be misconstrued as that I have it *all* together when really, I’m just a big ‘ol mess too. Always a work in progress, but a work that I will labor hard for and fight for till the end because I am worth it!

The “second” layer”, I would define as my thoughts and feelings. These are personal and sometimes private. You can’t see them or know about them if I don’t share. These can be positive and I try my darndest to make sure they are but that’s not always the case because I am real. Real Human. When the negative thoughts try to invade my space is when I really press into my support system and this blog. Remember….our outlook, thoughts, and feelings WILL define us and how we cope with relationships, people, and circumstances. It’s ok to have thoughts of sadness, anger, and self-doubt but it is how we cope with those feelings that will see us through. I was watching some You Tube videos’ the other day on Positive Psychology and it was stated that when we enter into ANYTHING in life wether it be work, situations, relationships, etc. with happy thoughts we are 70% more likely to succeed at our tasks at hand! I am really meditating on this one because I get the fact that, sometimes it is hard and easier said than done BUT it can be done because I CHOOSE how things affect me. I choose how to handle the thoughts when they arise with encouragement, support, and inspiration from so many of you all!

The “third” layer, I would have to say are my actions. I am choosing to make my actions count, not just in my life but in the lives of others. I want my actions to never be in vain and useless. My actions will only count and be worthy of existing when I approach them with a happy thoughts and feelings towards myself, others, and situations I am involved in. Once again…..W-O-R-K I-N P-R-O-G-R-E-S-S!!

So, for what it’s worth that is how I look at my life and what I want to be, need to be, and need to learn from. Life is beautiful but will still have challenges, but with it’s layers and how I approach them, I will soar with the eagles. No matter how I am viewed by some, I know I am beautiful inside and out. My thoughts and feelings will try and be positive so that my actions are credible and helpful for myself and others. Stay Positive My Friends! 😉

Happy New Year to all of you!!

Finish Well,

Em

 

Have you had a good day lately??? December 15, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — Weight Lost Hope Gained @ 10:48 PM

Well today has been one of those days. I know when you hear people say that it is usually not meant in a good way BUT with this site intended for nothing but good what do you think is going to come next? Yep, you guessed it, it was a GOOD day today!

Let me back up to last night. Although I missed my second family…that is my WLS support group, sanity, encouragement, HEALTHY, ever shrinking, near-and-dear-to-my-heart friends, I was were I needed to be last night. I was with my family that has been with me at my worst and at my best they have loved me most through it all. I was at my daughter Mekayla’s FIRST band performance playing the saxophone. Can you say EMOTIONAL BASKET CASE?!?! Yep, those 3 words described me last night. She got dressed and looked so grown up….I cried. She got up on the stage, started playing, and sounded so good that….I cried. When they were done playing they sat together while other bands played so I ran over to be the “Mamarazzi” that I am and let me tell you that was “So not cool Mom.”so…..I cried. I get in the car to come home, check Facebook to see where my sweet friend Rhonda posted a picture of all my pretty women at group with the title “We miss you.” so…you guessed it…Yep, I CRIED!!!

I am so proud of my BABY girl—you could say I am in denial as this child is 12 yrs. old—she is such a good kid and so talented. She teaches me so much daily about myself and life. So with my puffy eyes and emotionally spent self I retreated to bed without uploading all the pictures from the evening as I was really an EMOTIONAL BASKET CASE!

I woke up this morning to my GOOD DAY preceding the good day before ;-). Slept well, got up ready to face the day, I did not say that it came easily but I gave in, turned on “auto pilot”, and got ready for work. Got the kids off to school and then it was MY turn for my morning ritual that involves the stuff they *say* gives you hair on your chest…yep, the stuff that my patients and co-workers are so happy to know I take the time to stop and get so I can function properly throughout the day. THE stuff called COFFEE, glorious COFFEE, it makes my heart so happy! There is usually a long line and that is my time to sit and read email, facebook, and texts. It truly is “MY TIME” even if it is only for 20 minutes I treasure it daily.

So I am sitting having “MY TIME” and as usual get up to the screen to order and they already know it is me by blurting out “Venti Pikes Place with Soy and 4 Splendas?” Yep, that’s me! So I proceed forward waiting my turn to pay *very* patiently. I get to the window and the woman says, “Sweetheart, that nice lady in the car in front of you paid for your coffee, you don’t owe me anything. She pays for the person behind her every morning, that is how she starts her day.” Are you serious?!?! I mean I have just told you how much coffee makes my heart sing and this complete stranger pays for it?!?! I took my coffee and said “Thanks see ya tomorrow!” With THE biggest smile on my face. I pulled away from the window and then it hit me.

There is so much that could be learned from this person. I went to work and could hardly wait to tell them about this generous person and what a blessing they were to me and how humbled I was. It is not about making sure I get behind this lady again in the drive thru, it is not about the car she drives (yes, it was a nice one), it’s not about her being known or taking credit for what she has done, it wasn’t about how big or small my order was because quite frankly she was going to pay for it no matter what. It was her heart. It was her “paying it forward”. It was her not needing to know someone to do something nice. It was not about giving to receive. It was the most selfless thing she could do for someone, she does it DAILY, and she did it for me.

This TRULY made my day, it may sound silly to say that it was THE best cup of coffee I have had in a while because it was one given to me from the heart. I almost didn’t want to throw the cup away and maybe I shouldn’t have, now I’m kicking myself for not even so much as taking a picture of the darn thing….grrrr. What I learned from this lady is that the very 2 things I take for granted everyday…coffee and my red holiday cup…is what makes her day. She gives from her heart daily without judgement and bias of others. I know I will never look at coffee the same in the mornings and hope to live out the lesson’s I have learned from this lady.

So I want to leave a few thoughts here. I try and “pay it forward” every time I write a post, I know that people I don’t know will read this and I hope it touches their heart because it came from mine. I try and see the good in myself and everyone. I try not to take my tool, friendships, and inspiration for granted…they are so special to me and I am better person because of them. I can’t change the ways of the world but I can make sure that the direct and INdirect contact I make with people comes from the heart and is real. After all look at the word indirect…means not having direct contact right? Well, this lady this morning had INdirect contact with me yet she left a DIRECT stamp IN my heart by her gesture today. I can only learn from that and strive to be that everyday. My hope for us all is that we will see the good in ourselves and others, don’t seek out the negative, it has not made you the person you are. Seek out the good and beauty for it is what gives you life and keeps you going.

Finish Well,

Emily