The Beach House

November 21, 2012 in Uncategorized

My brother called me with an invitation

To stay for a week at this beach house

A generous invitation

But one I would have had to decline a year ago


People think a week at the beach is relaxing

A week at a beach house is a vacation

And it is

Unless you are 5’2″ and over 400 pounds

And then it becomes

NOT a vacation

But a situation

A situation you have to manage

A dilemma

A problem to solve

An ordeal to handle


But this time

It wasn’t a situation

It wasn’t a problem to solve

It was just what it was meant to be

A wonderful trip to see my brother

To be at his wedding

To enjoy a beach house

And be on vacation

And the fact

That it could be just that

Is a miracle


Because everything about this trip

Is made up of a million little things

I could not do one year ago

Things I could not do for many years

A million little things

That locked me out of my own life


What an absolutely unbelievable thing it is

To be able to say


When offered such an invitation


To your life

Instead of making up excuses why you can’t go

Trying to invent some reason that sounds valid

For why you have to turn them down

Because the truth is

Your weight is excluding you

From your life


Let’s start with the beginning

Flying there

The first time I tried flying was a few months ago

The first time I’d been on a plane in well over a decade

And my brother bought me a first class ticket

For the extra space

But this time I rolled the dice

I flew coach

A regular seat

And I fit

Not only did I fit but I had a little bit of room in the seatbelt

How is that for miraculous?!!


When you fly in to visit someone

You end up as a passenger in their car

That’s easy, right?

Except it’s not!!

Because Lee drives a Volkswagon

And Beth drives a Honda Fit

I would not have been able to fit in either of these cars

Because in small to  average size cars

I could not get the door shut

So right off the bat

That would have been a problem

But not this time!!!

I fit with no problems!


When we arrived at the beach house

I was greeted with Mt. Everest

Or at least that is what I would have seen

14 months ago

I would have looked at these and thought




Even if I could have made it up Mt. Everest

I was met immediately

With an absolute nightmare

Because I saw this once I got in the door


Yes, that’s right!

Stairs you have to climb to get to the main level of the house

So every single time you leave and come back

You must tackle this giant flight of stairs

And facing these stairs

Would have been nothing more

Than absolute crushing despair


The area of the house

That had the amount of room required

For me and 4 children

Was one more level up

So when I made it up that flight of stairs I was met with this


More stairs

And it really didn’t matter

How many stairs were involved

Because whether it was 1 stair

Or 100

It was all the same

One giant train wreck


After this round of stairs

I was met with another


It seems as if the stairs would never end

In the past this would have been

Totally impossible to climb

But this time

I felt like yelling at the top of my lungs

Bring it on, stairs! Keep ’em coming!”

You won’t win THIS time!!!


And the stairs

Not ones to be defeated easily

Would say

“Oh yeah??  You want us to bring it?? Here we go!!”



Because in order to get to the beach

I had to climb these stairs


And then these

Plus the long walk to the beach


I can’t even begin to tell you

How this would have filled my heart with sadness

Because I would see the ocean

See the beach

But the stairs

The long walk

Would have seperated me from it

Because they might just be stairs to some

But they were my Goliath

Larger than life


We had to walk up and down those stairs

Down that long pier

To get to my brother’s beach wedding

We had to walk it every single day after that

To take the kids to the beach

And what would I have done?

Unable to barely walk

To barely lift my feet off the ground

Would I just stand at the window?

Able to view it all

Pretending as if I didn’t care

When inside

My heart was breaking


But this time I could do it

And I could do it every single day

Carrying chairs

Carrying sandpails

And I said to the stairs

Is that all you got??”

“Because I’m stronger now!!”

I conquered your friends in the house

And now I’ve conquered you as well




And the stairs FINALLY defeated

Would call on their friends

To put me in my place


Because at the end of that pier

I was met

With the slight hill that you have to walk down

To get to the beach

And even when you get there

You need the coordination and balance it takes

To walk on the sand

To walk at all

To stand

Because you can’t sit down

Because there are no beach chairs that you can fit in

And even if you can manage to find a beach chair to fit in

It will sink straight into the sand from your weight

The legs of the chair being buried into the sand

As you try not to fall

As you try to laugh it off

As if it’s funny

As if there could ever be anything funny

About your weight ruining every single solitary aspect of your life

Even the simple act of just sitting down


Walking on the beach?

Not a chance

Playing  in the water with the kids?


Because I had no strength

I had no stamina

I could barely walk

And I could never fit

Every single aspect of this situation

Would have been one nightmare after another


But not this time

The incline down to the beach

The beach chair

All of it


Chairs and stairs

You no longer defeat me!!!


But wait…



You might walk into this amazing bathroom

And see a beautiful big spa tub

All I would have seen

Was something OTHER people

Might get to enjoy

But not me of course

Never me


There would have been no way I could have climbed up that step and into that tub

And even if I had gotten into it

I would never have been able to get out

You all remember ‘Stuck in the Tub“, right?



So I would have moved to the other bathroom

To see if that shower was one I could use

And this is what I would have found

The height of the side of this tub

Was much higher than usual

I had to lift my knee

All the way up to my belly button

To get it over the side

And into the shower


14 months ago

I couldn’t lift my leg

More than 1/2 an inch off the ground

In fact when I walked

You would hear me dragging my feet like Frankenstein


Having been defeated by both tubs

I would have gone to option 3

A shower that miraculously

Had a seat!


Because there was no way I would have had the physical strength

To make it through an entire shower

Without sitting down to rest

So now I would have been ecstatic

Because finally I found something I could use

The only problem would be

That the seat in the shower

Wasn’t large enough for me to fit on

Foiled again!!

And so it goes…


But round three goes to me

Because I didn’t need to sit on that seat in the shower

I have the strength now to stand

And I enjoyed that big spa tub

And I could lift my leg over the side of the other tub

I used every one of them over the course of the week

Just because I can!!!


Chairs with arms

You can never fit

Chairs with wheels

You don’t have the balance

Stools that are high

I could never get up there

The house was full of them

And I conquered every one!!




I conquered the house

I conquered the stairs

And soon I would conquer a castle!!


But make no mistake

Digging the moat for a sandcastle

Scooping the sand

That takes physical strength

Squats and lunges and arm work

Got me there


Because life takes strength

Strength to build sand castles with your son

Strength to bend down and collect sea shells

Strength to walk the beach with your 16 year old daughter

Strength to make it down the endless set of stairs

The endless walkway

Through the sand

And into the water

Joining the others

Joining the world

No longer a spectator

As life passes you by








When you’re laying in the bed and you don’t want to get up

When you’re walking outside and you’d rather be on the couch

When you’re in the car and you want to go to IHOP instead of the gym

Those are the moments when none of it seems to make sense

When you wonder why you do the things you do

Because in THAT moment

What you think you want

What you think you need

Is pancakes

Not Protein shakes

What you crave

Is more sleep

Not exercise


But it is all leading you to these moments

These days where you suddenly find yourself

Fitting on the plane

Walking down the stairs

Having the strength

To stand at your brother’s wedding

Build sandcastles with your son

Bend down to collect sea shells

Or simply walk on the beach

And enjoy it

Instead of wince in pain at every single step

The simple joy

Of walking out onto the deck

To enjoy your morning coffee

To write your blog friends

From a chair you can now fit in

Even crossing your legs if you choose!!!


14 months ago

I would have been in the recliner

Looking at the pictures Lee sent to me of the wedding

Because it was physically impossible

For me to navigate the one million and one impossible tasks

Required to make the trip


And I’m reminded of Lazarus

Who you may recall

Was dead   (John 11:1-44)

I’d say that’s about as hopeless as it could get

And when Jesus returned

Everyone thought

He was too late

“It’s over”, they said

“He’s already dead”


But Jesus called for Lazarus

To come out

To come out of that tomb where he was laid

Because he was dead

And then he wasn’t

Just like that

He walked out

No longer dead




And this is my life


Because it was too late

The damage is done

A doctor told me

You’ve been obese too long

I’m sure your knees are shot

Soon you’ll be in a wheelchair

On medication for the rest of your life

Maybe even homebound

And it was just too late


But there’s a surprise twist

Like a movie where you think you know the ending

Then it changes

Suddenly the ending is completely different

From what you ever expected

Suddenly everything you thought you knew

Is turned upside down


Because you were already written off in the script

Your demise was already in the works

Only now you’re not

Because someone flipped the script

And now you’re alive

Walking straight out of the tomb

Like some crazy twist out of a movie

And isn’t that the twist we’ve all been waiting for?


Because today I can walk up stairs

I can fit in chairs

I can play with my kids on the beach

Life is no longer a spectator sport for me

And now when I’m invited somewhere

I don’t have to pretend I have other plans

I don’t have to say I’m sick

Or any number of excuses I’d use


I went to my brother’s wedding

I spent a week at a beach house with my children

And that is a miracle

It was the vacation that almost never was

To the wedding that almost never was


It seems to me

That life can change if you’re willing to take that first step

If you’re willing to start small

And just keep going

If you have faith

If you believe

That you can be as far gone as I was

And then come alive

Brought back from the foot of the grave

By the Master’s Hand


You never know where you might end up


Just maybe

It will take you to the sweet sound of your children’s laughter

As you splash through the waves together

To the warm sand

And the bright morning sun

Of a new day

Where hope breaks through

Not just for me

But for you





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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

Lady Amanda November 21, 2012 at 1:58 pm

I was practically crying my way through this blog. I am sooo happy for you. This is soo wonderful. I have enjoyed each and every one of the pictures. Happy Memories being made with each and every new day. Love it!


Jack Sh*t November 21, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Dammit! You know I like leaving wise-ass and/or snarky comments and it simply doesn’t work if you’re going to continue to write beautiful and uplifting posts like this one! IT SIMPLY DOESN’T WORK!

In the future, please don’t be quite this inspiring. Oh, you can be somewhat inspiring. Let’s say no more than 65% inspiring, but after that… well… it’s just too much. There’s nothing for me to work with.

Anyway, here’s to the ginormous steps you’ve taken this year, over obstacles and up stairs, from rock-bottom to rarefied air. It’s a pleasure to be a part of your journey.
Jack Sh*t recently posted..With Friends Like These…My Profile


jennxaz November 21, 2012 at 3:55 pm

OH, that was beautiful and I am so happy and jealous..that place looks fabulous! I am impressed by you and your brother. Hope you have a fabulous Thanksgiving–I know I have a lot to be thankful for this year, so much more than last year and I am trying hard to not forget where I have come from!


Fee November 21, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Congrats on winning your life back! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!


Karen November 21, 2012 at 5:05 pm

You say you had no strength, but you had the strength to carry 400 lbs, every day, every hour and every minute. You have always been strong. You have always had the strength. Now you are being able to use your strength to do things you want to do and not just stay alive. Strength in your body and strength in your mind…You have both and always have.


Daphne @ Daphne Alive November 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm

Thank you for the post, you look wonderful 🙂
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Jane T. November 21, 2012 at 6:48 pm

So beautiful..tears in my eyes!


Deb November 22, 2012 at 7:27 am

I am so happy for you to have regained the ability to do these things that once you couldn’t even imagine doing. That has to feel absolutely amazing! 🙂
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Denise November 22, 2012 at 5:57 pm

I need to say thank you once again, cause whenever I am feeling defeated I just need to read one of your posts and remember why we need to keep the battle going. It’s all those little things that we forget about that make life so rewarding. You are an inspiration to me and I’m sure many more. Keep up all the great success!!


Christine November 22, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I’m in awe just reading about how you have regained your life and in a way, your family. Looks like a great family vacation!
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Amanda November 23, 2012 at 2:21 pm

What an amazing outlook on the whole experience! One that most would take for granted. I’m loving this! Loving looking at you living your life! 🙂
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Cindy November 24, 2012 at 4:52 am

I love reading about how you’ve enabled yourself to “rejoin the world.” You have SO much to be thankful for! And *I’m* thankful for you. Thank you for sharing your journey with us! I love the pic of you and the kids in the surf. It’s perfect. Keep up the good work. <3
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Sara Thornton November 25, 2012 at 5:13 am

As always, I really love this post. Not that I love that you had to go through the bad things, but even bad experiences make us the amazing people we are today. If we didn’t have the same issue in our lives of being severely over weight, we would not have had the surgery and then we would not have ever crossed paths. Maybe it is an unfortunate way to meet, but it’s nice that it did. 🙂 You really are a sweetheart!


Kayna Arrascaeta November 28, 2012 at 11:32 am

I am so happy for you, reading this brought tears of joy for you, and made me look at my own life that has just passed me by. I have been much the same way as you, and you couldn’t be more right about the excuses, the problems of a “situation” that is just everyday life. I have just started my journey, and down 30lbs now. 30lbs and what a difference that has made. I can walk a mile, when Iwould get winded climbing up my apt stairs from my car. You are such an inspiration and make me realize how all of this is worth it.. for us.. for our families.. for the beauty of truly living! Thank for you your story 🙂


Holly from 300 Pounds Down November 28, 2012 at 12:20 pm

Thank you Kanya! I am so happy for you losing 30 pounds. I know exactly what you mean about feeling the difference. It is really just amazing how with every 10-15 pounds you can feel so different! Your knees, joints, etc will start to feel so much better. I am so happy for you!


Sheila November 28, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Absolutely LOVE this post! I’m soooo happy for you. Your song reminds me of one that is a favorite at my church on Sunday. Seems appropriate for your journey as well.
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Pam November 29, 2012 at 2:29 pm

Lovely post as usual Holly. I thought of you yesterday as I was just walking down the hall at work. It felt so good to be able to walk so easily, not plodding along as I used to, but with an actual “spring in my step.” I don’t ever want to take these things I have regained in my life for granted.

The day we flew to NYC (it was my first time to fly since hitting goal–no seat belt extender and I could pull the tray down and there was actually room between the bottom of the tray and my lap!) for my Today Show appearance, a local reporter had written a really nice article about me for the newspaper. She pretty much quoted everything I had said in the interview, so it was a good, accurate article. But in there I talk about how I don’t ever want to lose this sense of awe and wonderment at the life I’ve gotten back. About how much I enjoy just being normal! Here’s a link to the newspaper article in case you are interested.

The whole trip to NYC was a celebration of being normal. In NYC, there’s never much space on the ground so everybody builds up. I climbed so many stairs, even in restaurants! We walked all over the city. I do have arthritis in my knees from all the years of morbid obesity (it’s bone on bone arthritis the doctor told me, and I will eventually need a total knee replacement on BOTH knees–but that can wait for now since there’s less weight on them–they’re not so bad anymore), but walking is easy for me now. I can go a very long ways before the knees start complaining. And even then I can keep going. And like you, if I feel like it, I can cross my legs!

To be able to once again partake in all the joys that normal people take for granted is so special. I never want it all to quit being special, for then I will become complacent and I know I need to be ever-vigilant. Nineteen months at goal weight…..and counting!
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Holly from 300 Pounds Down December 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm

How amazing! NYC must have been so fun and to be able to do all the things you couldn’t do before. You looked so beautiful on the show. I love that you climbed stairs and could walk all over the city. It’s like we are rising again!!!


Cat March 23, 2013 at 3:49 pm

Congrats to Lee and Beth! May their lives continue to be one that is happy, healthy and prosperous!
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