A Celebration 20 Years In The Making

I was talking with a co-worker today and I shared that today marked the 20th year since I quit smoking.  She asked me to send her a few thoughts on how I did it because she knew someone who was struggling with the same thing, so here is my first real post.

I hope this helps someone.

First of all, nobody is going to quit smoking unless they want to.  Pressuring a loved one usually results in them digging in their heels and refusing to change.  This is because society views smoking as a habit and it is so much more, for me it was a question of control.  I wanted to be in control and it didn’t matter who was telling me to quit.  To the non-smoker, it is hard to view cigarettes as a consoler and comforter,  but when I smoked and I got bad news, I reached for a cigarette.  When I  got good news, I celebrated … with a cigarette.  I could control my reactions by reaching for a cigarette.

Secondly, it is the smoker’s decision to smoke.  As hard as it is, non-smokers have a choice too; do we want to spend our time with them in constant strife or do we try to live in peace.  The decision to smoke, has nothing to with the other people.  That’s why my dad says ‘I never quit smoking, I just haven’t had one in years.’

Finally, the only thing that family can do is pray … everyday … and plan on praying for a very long time … knowing the answer may never be yes.

However, once someone decides to quit here are a few techniques that can derail the urges, and I had the most success when I developed my own strategy.  Again, it’s back to the control question.


The smoker needs to come up with a plan and several contingency plans.  The fact that it was my plan was more important to me than the quality of the actual plan.  Again, it’s back to it being my decision and in my control.


Smoking creates ceremonies.  A ceremony I enacted to help deal with good news and bad news.  And when I lit up with no stress or when celebrating, I was remembering the consolation it gave me.   I still miss going through the motions of lighting a cigarette … 20 years later, to the day.  When someone decides to quit, they need to have a physical routine to replace the missing ceremony.  I  really liked the cinnamon sticks.  They resembled a cigarette and they tasted good.  I’ll still suck on one from time to time.


Quitting changes your body chemistry in a very drastic manner.  Be prepared for weight gain, moodiness, body aches and general feelings of ‘not-quite-right’  Light exercise helps, but you can’t always go for a walk or do yoga or lift weights.  Deep breathing techniques and lots of water are very helpful.  Sugary drinks can be the difference between making it through the day without a cigarette and lighting up, but I would make that a last resort after carbonated water mixed with fruit juice, a cup of tea, cold coffee and then going for the Dr. Pepper.  Chocolate pie was amazing when nothing else worked.


As with any drug, there is a sub-culture of smokers.  People of any status  were equal, when they needed a cigarette or a light.  Whatever strategy is used, needs to include a social aspect and needs to be away from other smokers.  Even being around smokers who smell like tobacco, when they weren’t even smoking, was too much for of a temptation for me.   An exercise club or a walking group could help.  I didn’t tell the smokers that I was quitting, because even though they said supportive things, I knew they didn’t want me to succeed … because I didn’t want them to be stronger than me when they said they were quitting.  However, I did tell my true friends who did not smoke.  I felt like I could aspire to be like them.


The thing that helped me the most was I used the urge to smoke as a reminder to praise God through hymns.  I was very surprised at how quickly the urge to smoke went away when I praised the Creator.  Most of the time, I couldn’t get through a few bars before the urge left.  It kind of became a game, how much of the song could I get through before the urge left.  I remember being disappointed that I couldn’t sing more of the song.  Eventually, I decided to finish the song anyway.  That was when the urges became less frequent and less intense.


imageDear Kim,

Thanks for letting me continue with this site, I’ll try to it justice.




This has been my on-line home since April 2007.  Many things have changed in the past 7 3/4 years.  It used to be that people stopped and chatted a bit.  It used to be that the most important things in my life were the homestead and becoming a more ecologically sound family.  My kids were younger.  Truthfully, I’ve aged more than they have. The number of years is not a good indicator of growth.

Speaking of . . . growth, flux, change. It has all been happening.

Unfortunately, I feel limited by this blog. It carries too much history. It is weighted down with past thoughts and decisions.

So I’ve been living with the idea of starting a new blog. I’ve been living with the name for more than a week now. I even put up my first post.

The focus will be different. It won’t be what most people want to read. I’m fine with that.

To be true to myself, I need the space to “vocalize” all this mid-life introspection.

I’ll still randomly post farm/garden type stuff here in the season. It will be a great garden journal.

So if you want to visit my new home, come see me at


clean sweep – wrap up

October was a very successful month in my book.  I accomplished everything that I placed a priority on.  Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately) I was so busy being and doing that I forgot to blog!

I ended up losing 2 pounds and 4 inches.  My blood sugar numbers are looking better all the time.  I’ve figured out that dairy is a trigger again.  Sometimes it bothers me, and sometimes I can eat it.  I need to be mindful and see if I can figure out when or what changes and causes me to be more sensitive to it.

In October I ate 2 Hershey Almond bars!  This is a major breakthrough for me.  I do love my Hershey Almond bars.  Michael loves to bring me one when he goes to the store without me.  It took a month to teach us both that it isn’t what is best for me.

November is now upon us.  November is such a month of change.  The leaves, the focus of the family, the cleaning rituals, the clothing . . .. everything seems to be in a state of flux.

I feel that flux in my soul this year.   There have been so many things going on that I haven’t shared with my extended family or the world.  It doesn’t feel quite right to share yet.  But there is change brewing and bubbling and begging to be let out.

I’m not sure what it all means yet.  But once again, my blog is my space.  The place I hash it all out and learn to let it go or live with it.

Hope you all are having a wonderful autumn.


clean sweep, recap of week 2

I really feel like I’m making progress around here.

I lost 1 pound and 2 inches in week 2. I continue to have to think about portions (arrgghh!), but choosing clean food is back to a habit. I made a few odd choices this past week, but they weren’t impulsive choices. Exercise continues to go well. Each day I walk 3 miles plus do a video. Sunday is yoga, Monday is cardio, Tuesday and Wednesdays are strength training, Thursday is Pilates, Friday is cardio, and Saturday wraps up the week with an intense strength training.

The house has been thoroughly cleaned and decluttered. Daily tidy ups include the whole house and each room has an assigned total clean day. We put a bench by the front door to remind us to remove/put on shoes there. My plan is to buy us all some sort of “house only” shoe. Winter is hard on our floors. We bring in wood for the stove, we bring in snow, ice, etc. I also need to get a big indoor/outdoor rug for the area right inside the door all the way to bench.

I now have a dedicated work space. I am able to do some of my work from home and it is much easier having a place to do that instead of trying to balance it all on my lap. That also frees up the eating table and my “blogging” space. Incidentally, I found I can’t blog at my “work” desk. I have no idea why since I work on a laptop and blog on my iPad. Oh well, just one of those weird quirks, I guess.

Speaking of blogging, I’ve come up with a list of topics I’d like to write about. I’ve felt all bottled up lately and it will be good for me to open up. Again.

clean sweep, 5-6

Sunday — Day 5:  I woke up very late, because my sinuses were dripping all night.  I kept Kelly and I both from sleeping well.  I fully intended to get up and go to church.  But 20 minutes to get ready, when you already feel yucky — um, no.  They’ve been harvesting the fields around us.  That puts tons of dust and mold into the air.  So, i drip!

I did walk 30 minutes and do yoga.  Otherwise Sunday is my rest day!

Monday — Day 6 Back on the Wagon

*Before work: 1.5 miles on the treadmill
*After work: 30 minutes of gut busting cardio
*Meal 1: oatmeal with butter and maple syrup, turkey bacon, apple
*Meal 2: cottage cheese and blueberries
*Meal 3: Kind Bar
*Meal 4: celery and nut butter
*Meal 5: greens, carrot, olives, leftover steak with coconut oil (*the plan, just need to follow through)
*took my multivitamin and medications
*2 quarts of water with lemon and lime added

Day 4–Back to being Me

*Morning Devotions, Catechism Questions, and will do Evening Devotions.
*Thoroughly cleaned the laundry room and hallway
*Reading: A People Called Episcopalians
*Reading National Geographic October Issue

clean sweep, day 4

Day 4: I woke up reaching for my wool blanket sometime during the night. The temperature dropped dramatically and I was not prepared.

Day 4–Back on the Wagon

*Before taking Michael: 1.5 miles on the treadmill
*Later in the morning: 30 minutes of strength training
*Meal 1: oatmeal with butter and maple syrup, turkey bacon, apple
*Meal 2: Kind bar
*Meal 3: potato with sour cream, carrot
*Meal 4: cottage cheese and blueberries
*Meal 5: Not sure just yet
*took my multivitamin and medications
*2 quarts of water with lemon and lime added

Day 4–Back to being Me

*Morning Devotions, Catechism Questions, and will do Evening Devotions.
*Thoroughly cleaned “that room” and the eating area without music this morning.
*Reading: A People Called Episcopalians
*Blogging early since all 4 of us are going to be home in just a few minutes.


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