Friday, September 21, 2018

Setting Up For Homeschool Year

If you have been reading my blog for awhile now, you know that we are going to home school for our kids' education.

I know, some of you may think I am crazy for going this route, but we took a lot of time and thought about the direction we wanted to head for education, where education in our society is headed, our options around us, and what would truly be the best fit for our kids.

My oldest, Kindergarten age, is curious, creative, loves the outdoors.  He asks about a million questions a day and loves art.  Anytime he can spend outside is even better.  Those things aren't available in schools, and the curiosity, creativity, and questions would get squashed out of him like a bug on a windshield the first week of school.  We want him to flourish.  We want him to learn where ever he is.  We want him to develop a life long love for learning, while keeping the bits of personality that make him him.  Homeschooling, or as I like to call it sometimes road schooling, allows us to do this.

We may not have to officially report to the district until the school year he is 7, which will be in two years, yet we are still setting up the foundations and basics to grow his learning.

We are gearing up for the school year, though the reality of it is that we school all year long.  Because we take it where we go, it is always a part of our day.

Here is what our year looks like:

I will wrap assessments this week to see where we need to focus our efforts on the most while building off of the stuff he already understands.  I have done a lot of research and have found that he has a pretty good handle on most of the Kindergarten things.  So the stuff he knows, we will move forward on to the next level and see where it leads.  This will lead a majority of learning time.

I am going to add in calendar and weather time each day, as well as some character development stuff.

We will be continuing to build connections, explore, learn, grow.

Our schedule is almost set up, stay tuned and look back to see what our plan looks like even more detailed.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Welcome Fall ~ Change is in the Air

Happy Fall Y'all!

As I sit here and dwell on this change of season, I am sipping on some pumpkin spice coffee, letting it warm me and listening to my heart. 

It has been raining all week, big storms here and there, and cooler weather is beginning to settle in.  The weekend was hot, humid, and definitely a last hurrah for Summer.  Today, the first day of Fall, it is raining and storming, but it definitely is looking and feeling more like Fall.

It is a time of transition and time of change.  It's also a time of preparing, a time of gathering in the abundance, a time of letting go.

It surely has been a transition week, not just the weather, but I can feel it in me and the happenings around me.  I have taken some time this week to do some digging in and setting my focus for the season.  Opening up, doing some simple clarity card work, and seeing where this season will lead.

I have been one to take dragonflies, butterflies and the like as symbols, a deeper connection.  Dragonflies are my baby girl dropping in to say hi, or it's okay, or it's going to be alright, or you got this.  Seeing them makes me pause, even if just to linger for a few seconds more.  Butterflies, since about a year ago, have become another big one for me.  They represent change for me.  Whether it is a change I know about it or not, they are a heads up that either I need to change something or to be ready for a change.

Let me share two dragonfly stories with you that happened recently, one has a butterfly in it as well.

Back in the end of August I cracked a tooth.  My first thought was, I am only 36 and I cracked a tooth.  But then I thought on it, I was the one who tried to eat the cookie filled with m&ms and chocolate chips too soon after I took it out of the fridge.  Oops...I still need to work on patience sometimes, or waiting until truly the kids won't know.  Either way, I was left with a cracked tooth.  From the time I got the temporary until I got the permanent, it was on my mind that what if this wasn't going to be enough of a fix.  The day I went to get the permanent, I was sitting in the chair waiting and looking out the window.  For a brief moment I watched a dragonfly hover nearby before it took off on the wind.  I knew then, that things would be okay.  And yes, I do pray, and yes I added this all to prayers as well.

Now, just at the beginning of this week I came to a stop light.  While I waited I watch a dragonfly pass by the front of my car.  As I watched it fly by, a butterfly flew near it in the other direction.  Okay, I thought...Change is in the air, but it is going to alright.  At that point I didn't have any clue as to what that change could be. 

But looking back now, here is what I came up with.  A reminder that life is precious, to slow down, to breathe, to take care of our bodies, to take care of our relationships, to be open, to trust, to let go.

On the way home after that experience, I was driving and without warning a car from three lanes over came shifting lanes towards me quickly.  I had really nowhere to go, couldn't speed up, couldn't slow down. After the driver realized what was going on (mind you I have a mini van, this was a car can't be missed), quickly moved over to their own lane and exited the direction the freeway took.  As for me, I had begun to slow and pull off onto what little shoulder there was.  I paused for a moment, looked around, and drove the rest of the way home (luckily I wasn't far), probably holding my breath and tense the whole time.  I got home, paused, but just couldn't shake the feeling I had.  I had groceries to unload, and had to help get the kids ready for nap.  Hubby came out and took one look at me and asked what happened.  We took a moment to just settle me and then glanced at the car, noticing just how close that car had come.  I am missing some paint and there are scratches.  Yup, that was close, too close.  But I can look back on it with a different perspective.  It's going to be alright.

I have had two unexpected doctor appointments this week.  One with my doctor, and one for a mammogram/ultrasound.  I couldn't quite shake that something wasn't quite right in a certain spot.  The doctor agreed, something off, but what.  My mammogram and ultrasound both came back normal.  So what next?  I have this tubular spot that doesn't feel right, but also hurts sometimes.  I am waiting to hear back from the doctor which way to head.  Lots of praying, lots of patience, and still some waiting.  But at least for now, I can rest on the it isn't anything abnormal and all looks good.

Like I said, life is about change and transition.  That is where we are at, where I am at.  There is always some amount of uncertainty.  But there is also something to just being open to the change. 

Sometimes, it is an easy, happy time.  Sometimes it is hard, brings sadness or grief.  Either way, it can be scary.

My hubby started a business and it is to a point where big decisions need to be made on it.  But it involves change, uncertainty, and a whole lot of trust and letting go.  Does this scare us?  Most definitely.  Have we answered all the decisions?  Not yet, but we are working through them.

We have our home school plan and schedule set up.  It's still new to us, but it is exciting.  Giving us some new adventures to try out, but also take our learning on the go.

Fall is my favorite time of year.  It is about change, letting go, starting to prepare.  It's about learning and growing.  It's about reflecting and digging in deep.  It's about trusting and yet still dreaming.

What changes are you facing right now?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

A Loving Kindess Message ~ On Emerging

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May you allow yourself to take up space, to be seen, to be heard~
~May you have strong roots that ground you~
~May you let yourself plant your feet firmly, grow, & emerge from within~
~May you let yourself - inside and out- radiate~
~May you let your blossom emerge as you emerge, filling the space around you~

Saturday, September 15, 2018

No Make Up Challenge ~ What Came of it?

Beside the fact that I am terrible at taking selfie pictures, for which I am sorry, I wanted to share my thoughts and experience on going without makeup. 

So almost 2 months ago I gave myself the challenge to go with no make up.  I started July 19.

On that day I woke up, put my make up away in our linen closet and closed the door.  I will admit, I did use an under eye dark circle roller thing for a few days after, but then decided to be done with that as well.

The hardest part of it all was giving up the under eye roller.  I had been using different eye creams and the roller to help but nothing ever seemed to be an effective, long term solution.

Before giving up makeup, I felt I needed it, all the time, everywhere I went.  I would start with day eye cream, primer, then do the under eye roller, bb cream foundation or just full coverage foundation depending on the time of year, and then powder.  At one point I was using the green face stick to cover up red spots on my face.  On special occasions add in eye liner, eye shadow, lip liner, lipstick, mascara, occasionally blush, and occasionally lip gloss.

I know, it sounds like a lot for some and not enough for others.  I wanted to simplify my routine for both the morning and bedtime.

I have even given up the two different eye creams that I was using depending on time of day and the apple cider vinegar toner I made.

So, if you add in the washing of my face, the toner, eye cream, and then make up it was a lot going on my face to start the day.  Then I had to clean it off at the end of the day.  So wash, toner, and eye cream again.

Lots of steps, lots of time, and for what?  Did I really needed the make up?  Thinking on it, no I didn't really.  For me it was a layer I could put on.  That layer represented different things at different times.  But once I grew my confidence and decided to challenge myself to go without did I finally, truly see the beauty that I had actually hidden underneath.

I found an amazing face product that helped me to switch out almost of all of my morning and bedtime routine.  It is called Joyome.  It is two different all natural serums, one for day and one for night.  I have been using one pump of each, every day, and have seen positive changes in my facial complexion, scar reduction, lines disappearing, softer texture, and my favorite no more dark circles under my eyes.  I have even gotten a little red from the sun a couple of times because I was out too long without my hat or sunscreen on and it has helped to get rid of that quickly.  The changes may be slow, but they are happening and they will only improve with use and time.

By adding this in, it gave me more confidence to be brave and go without makeup because it got rid of my dark circles within just a couple of days.  No amount of anything I had used before worked.   I now just wash my face with water in the morning and put the day serum on.  Then at night I wash my face with a homemade, all natural, clay based bar and then put on the night serum.
By giving up my daily make up routine, I have simplified my routines, begun to save money, and actually have better looking skin now then I did before.  Even better, it gave me the boost in confidence I needed to see that I don't need that extra layer on and don't need to hide behind it.  It is almost as if a load has been lifted allowing me to be more vibrant and truer to myself.

Sometimes it is the smallest step, the smallest thing that sets up as a catalyst and brings perspective changes, a shift in grounding, and growth.

This all started one day when I looked in the mirror, like really looked, and noticed that make up or not, I look no different.  I made the comment to my hubby that maybe I don't really need to wear makeup.  He never commented when I did, never commented when I didn't.  To him, it was all the same look.  And in reality, he preferred the look without, the natural look.

So between my observations, his honest comment, I decided to let go of the layers I added on.  Lay them down, let myself shine anyways.

What layer or even layers do you need to shed?

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Fall, Back to School, & Setting Up Our School

Fall is around the corner, school has started, and we are gearing up to set up our home school year.

I am finishing up assessments this week and will be building our home school lesson plan shortly.  I am excited to tell you more about our plan once it is completely set up.

But for now, we are going to focus on building on the skills that the kids already have, moving forward where we can, focusing on the spots that need a little more work and time, adding in more focused character development, building connections and making friends, utilizing the abundant resources we have nearby to grow our learning and adventures, adding in more creative time, adding in more outside time, and fostering a lifelong love for learning.

One of the resources that I have found very helpful in planning is the book called "Homeschooling Through the Years".  It gives a great break down of the basic skills and information that a child typically learns each year of school.  This book is helping me assess where we are at and where we need to focus, but also giving me ideas of which direction to head in for the skills already mastered. 

You may be wondering why we didn't start after the Labor Day Holiday like most other kids.  Partially because we do our learning all year long, we don't have a specific "first day" like most.  Also, because we don't have to officially report and test until the school year our kids turn 7, we have some time.  But we did set September 5 as our "first day" of school.

This week we are figuring out a new rhythm and routine as new activities have begun because of the start of the school year.  So we are mixing these activities in with our focused learning times, as well as just learning on the go where ever we are.

In the coming weeks I will post more about our plan, how things are going, the resources we use, the activities that we love, and more.

Welcome Fall and welcome back to school!

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Finding Calm

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May calm wash over you even in the midst of chaos~
~May you find calm inside and out~
~May you be filled with calm mentally, psychically, emotionally, spiritually~
~May calm be your grounding to carry you through~

Friday, September 7, 2018

Health, Diet, & Fitness ~ Results & Successes, More Than the Number on the Scale

Did you know, fat and muscle weigh the same?  One pound of fat or a pound of muscle, either way it is a pound.  However, they don't look the same in your body.

So you may loose weight for awhile, but hit a plateau.  During that time, you may begin toning up in areas.  So, while you may not be loosing pounds, but you are loosing inches.  Sometimes they happen at the same time, loosing pounds and loosing inches.  But sometimes, it is only one of them.

Some of it depends on what your workout routine is.  Is it just cardio or HIIT?  Is there only toning?  Do you mix both?

Do you remember to warm up and to stretch?  Include a variety in your week?

It also changes based on how, when, what you eat and drink.

When you are making changes in your health and diet, you have to remember this...successes are not all scale victories.  Successes go beyond the number on the scale.

While sure, it is nice to see that number go down.  It can be equally as frustrating, stressful if that number doesn't go down or even goes up.  Our bodies fluctuate so much from day that just based off what we eat and drink.

The results you are seeking may not occur overnight.  They may take time, longer than you may hope for.  But staying persistent, changing things up when needed.  Are there going to be things that trip you up along the way?  Most definitely.  If change was easy, we wouldn't dig our heels in so much.

When you start this journey I encourage you to find a way to keep track, like written track of your results. 

When I started this journey I got a simple spiral notebook.  I would record my results daily at first, then weekly, then before and after a certain round of workout challenge, now it is not very often.  I would make sure to record my results at the same time during.

So here is what I would record:
  • Date
  • Weight
  • Measurements
    • Chest
    • Upper belly (just above the belly button)
    • Middle belly (at the belly button)
    • Under belly, but not hips (I had a saggy belly so I would measure under there)
    • Hips
    • Legs: Left and Right: Upper Thigh, Middle Thigh, Just above the knee, calf
    • Arms: Left and Right: Upper (almost near pit), Middle of Upper Arm, Just above elbow, and wrist (yes, you can loose inches in your wrists. I didn't know it until it happened to me)
  • Pictures
    • I did lots of different views, both with arms up and at my sides
      • Face the camera, Left Side, Right Side, and Back
I will admit, I hated taking pictures.  Still kind of do.  But when I didn't see scale differences, I saw differences in pictures.

The thing I found was that the more areas I documented on, the more I could see differences, even if only very small.

Now, at this point, I haven't recorded much lately or done pictures.  I have come to a point where I am okay with where I am at and know where I want to head.  So every now and then I take a look at measurements and take pictures. 

However, I have been stepping on the scale daily for about 2 months.  I go in spurts where I use it daily and then I put it away in the closet for awhile. I have mixed feelings about the scale and whether or not to step on it daily.  I have heard it keeps you more accountable if you step on it at the same time daily.  But for me, I, in the past, would get a little obsessive over the number shown.  I hate to admit that, but it is true.  I would get too focused on it and then when changes wouldn't happen it affected me negatively, thus adding in more stress.

The only reason I have been using it again lately is because I am seeing where things are leading now that I am off birth control.  I have been watching more closely to see if not only my weight would begin to go down again, but also make sure my blood pressure returned to my normal.  Because all is well in both areas, I am going to go back to using it less.  Just for check ins as I get close to my mini goals to see where I am at.

Before we get in too much farther and talk about results and successes, take a moment to set some goals.  I know, you may not be a goal oriented person.  But setting a few overall goals will help guide you and keep you going.  Then, take each goal you write and break it down in to a mini goal or several mini goals depending on how far out your end goal is.  Be realistic and set intentions.  This will help guide you as you move forward, but also get you over those hard spots or plateaus.  Use the mini goals as check in points along your journey.  Also, be okay with adjust them as you go along.

Now, for the results, the successes.  There will hopefully be many along this journey.  And remember, they are not all just about the number on the scale. I will share where I have seen results and successes.

For me I have seen results in:
  • inches lost and weight loss
  • improved gut health and regularity
  • clothing size changes ~ be careful with this though. I am not sure if it is the same for men's clothing as it is women's. but I have found much discrepancy over time in sizing.  One store I may be one size, but a whole different one in another store.  Or even within the same store and same article of clothing. And it depends on the piece of clothing.  I have stuff that is XS, but still big on me, but other stuff is a size medium.  Shirts too, mostly medium, but some small or large.  Tank tops are so varying as well.  Add in skirts or dresses.  I can confidently say I am down in sizes for clothing.  But I can't give an accurate size number.
  • the look and feel of my skin
  • focus ability and energy
  • sleep length and quality
  • strength and flexibility, as well as posture
I am sure I have missed some others that you may have seen in yourself.  Share your results and areas of successes below. 

When you reach a goal, even if it takes longer than anticipated, treat yourself to a reward if you want to.  You can set up reward ideas for each goal if you choose.  It gives you motivation to keep you going.

I hope you take the time to look beyond the number on the scale.  There are, more often than not, other good results to be seen on this journey.  Sometimes you just have to look for them or be open to them.

*Photo credit: found on google search from LiveHealthy Blog

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Doors, Windows, Books ~ Change is Hard

Closed doors, blocked paths.

We all face them.  At one point or another, we find them in our way.  It could be permanently or could just be a season.  Sometimes we are facing them every day.  Sometimes we go stretches where they become a distant memory.

Sometimes we problem solve our way through and think nothing of it.

But what if the door is closed and locked? What is the reason?  Maybe there is a reason for this blocked path, but we need to give it time to show or maybe we were never meant to know.

Have you, in you life, ever found your path blocked, a door suddenly closed, or even closed and locked?

You have heard the quote I am guessing, "when one door closes another opens" or "sometimes its a window" or "your life is like an empty book, page by page it gets filled, your life book gets written"

Well, what happens when you get to the end of chapter?  Or when that door you so wanted to open, hasn't opened yet?

Not a literal door, but when was the last time a door was closed for you?  You faced a transition, even if you didn't feel ready for it.

Life is about change, transitions.  These things cause us to grow.  Sometimes there is pain in this growth, sometimes not.  But there is always something to take away from it.  Even something good.

Though you may not see it right away, it will show up... if you let it.

We don't always know where this path is headed and no, we can't always control it.  But we can still hope, we can still dream, we can trust.

The start of a new year is always a transition time.  But so is the transition from August to September.

The season is beginning to change, as we slowly shift from Summer to Fall.  The weather is cooling down, the leaves are getting ready shine in a different way.  I love Spring and Fall for this reason, because leaves shine differently in Spring as we get further out of Winter and then again in Fall as they change colors and slowly twirl to the ground.

Kids are heading off to school.  Schedules are changing and filling up with different activities, sports, and so on.

The daylight is getting shorter as the sun rises later and sets sooner.

Our internal side begins to feel this shift as well.

In a way, this is a door closing.  But these doors are usually more easily navigable.  They are a known part of life.  But they do cause us to slow down and change pace.  Which is a good thing every now and then.

But even bigger doors can slow us too, if not flat out stop us.  Those bigger life changes, those losses, the unexpected change.

And what if that so called next door doesn't open soon?  Or ever?

Often, when the change happens we are left with two options.  To grow with it, through it.  Or to dig our heels in and not move.

Which do you choose?

Whichever quote you go with, whichever way you look at, change is hard.  It is even harder when it comes out of nowhere. 

I will admit, I am not always graceful while navigating these sometimes.  I feel lost, sometimes ask a thousand questions, dig my heels in, try to linger a tad longer, go over the top trying to create a permanent memory. 

I wish I handled it better.  But I am learning to face, to push, to keep dreaming.

To let go, to trust.

With time, I warm up to the change.  Sometimes quicker, other times I still feel I need more time (but I don't always have it).

Whatever life decides to throw your way, you have what it takes to face it.  And when you feel you don't, you will always have that one person that can help you navigate until you find your footing again.

So while there may be door closed right now, you can still dream, you can still hope, you can still trust.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Knowledge & Trust

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You have the knowledge & 
wisdom to take the necessary steps forward~ 
~You can trust this~

Friday, August 31, 2018

Health, Diet, & Fitness ~ Watching What & How You Eat ~ Gut Health

You knew it was coming.  At some point on this journey I would talk about diet.  Last week I talked about the importance of exercising.  Getting a good variety in and finding what works for you.  Most importantly, get up and move, everyday.

When I mention the word diet, I can see many who might cringe at the word.  Diet doesn't have to mean following the latest diet trend or plan like weight watchers, keto, etc.  Not that there isn't anything wrong with following one of those plans, it is just not the focus of this post.

This is about the food we eat and the stuff we drink.  All day, every day, and going forward.  So much of our success in this health journey starts with the food we eat.  We can workout every day, but if we don't watch what we eat and drink, choosing carefully then all the working out in the world won't make much of a difference.  It goes the other way too.  You can eat right and not workout, but still not find much difference being made.  We need both.  But we need to fill our bodies, fuel them the right way to face the day.

So much of our body health, inside and out, are determined by our gut health.  Check it out...

It is no wonder why we are off balance sometimes because of how we eat and what we drink.  Not to say indulging in a sweet treat or certain drinks is all bad, every now and then.  But to have it every day or even in excess usually has negative end results.

That is why I gave myself the no pop and frappe challenge.  The amount of sugar in those are crazy high.  And daily for weeks was not helping me in anyway.

We need to eat, but we also need to watch what foods we are eating, how much and how often.  We can change our gut health just by what we eat.

I am guessing you have heard it too, our bodies are made up of about 70% water.  We need water to survive, to stay hydrated, to function.  We can go days without food, but not without water.  So much of your body can change by just drinking enough water, every day.

What we eat and what we drink does have a profound impact on our lives.  But I also know that many other parts of life factor into what we do.

I encourage you to take a look at how you are eating and what you are drinking.  Like really look at it.  Check out the ingridients.  Find out how they affect your body.  Make some changes where needed.

Sometimes those changes are made slowly over time and one at a time.  Sometimes you just need to make them at that moment and stick with them. 

You may or may not see changes right away.  But with persistence and time, changes will begin to occur.  It is not always a quick fix.  Our bodies need time to readjust too. There will be moments where you backslide (I have), but you stop, reset, and start where you are.

Changing habits are hard.  But changing bad ones for good in the long run will help you out.  Your diet needs to be something that you can maintain and keep with. 

Remember if you put good into your body, you will get good out.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Open Your Clamshell ~ Let Yourself Emerge

I want you to take a moment and picture a clam.  What color is your shell?  Are you hiding a pearl inside?  Are you a small clam?  Or big?  Or somewhere in between?

Our lives are a lot like a clam shell.  Daily life, the ups and downs, cause us to begin to put on armor.  This armor helps us feel ready for battle.  Gives us a place to hide away, to blend in.

Do you put on armor?  What does your armor look like?  Sometimes, we use the armor to shrink away, take up less space; causing us to loose ourselves, a sense of who we are, where we are headed.  We become a clam shell that is closed so tightly, protecting what is inside.

What if we let go a little?  Loosened our armor, took up more space?  What if we let ourselves truly radiate and emerge?

Have you ever tried to open a clam shell?  Or watched someone do it?

I have not personally attempted cracking into a clam shell, but I have watched it attempted many times.  Even the most acclaimed chefs and clam harvesters have a hard time sometimes.

It takes a special tool, muscle, lining things up right, and a whole lot of persistence, but also caution - need to watch your fingers and don't want to ruin the delicious edible part.

Once finally cracked open with success, we find, sometimes, the beauty of what a speck of dirt can turn into - a pearl - or at the very least a delicious meal.

You, you are that pearl.  Hidden away sometimes, surrounded by armor.

You have to open up, lay it out, let it go.  Is it easy to do?  Not always, but the end result is something magical really.

Why?  Because as you take down that armor piece by piece you being to emerge.  You begin to take up space, grow confident in being heard, being seen.  And that is okay.

It is hard and sometimes we need to dig down deep.  But as you dig, you plant your roots.  Those roots will get stronger and then provide a sense of grounding.  This spot, this space, remember it.  Because when things get tough again, you can always come back to this space, this grounding and start again.

Are you going to grow and have success?  You bet.  Are you going to fall, fail, make mistakes?  Most definitely.  Offer yourself extra grace during this.  And then try again.

With time, intention, mistakes, growth, and change your armor will get totally laid down.  You will be able to totally open up.  Totally emerge. Totally radiate.

Recently I was given the idea to create an Emerging Manifesto.  A simple form, but can go as deep as you want.  And can also relate to any theme you put it to.  Start with an I am statement, then I will, I vow, I invite, and end with another I am statement (same as you started or a different one).  Instead of looking at where you are now with it, like a closed clam shell, open your shell.  Let yourself write on where you are going to be when you emerge.

I will share mine below.  But first, I want you to remember something.  It is okay to take up space, to emerge, to be you.  You know that phrase, "Bloom where you are planted"?  It is kind of cliche in some ways, but it is true, especially in the sense of emerging.  Watch a high speed video of a flower growing and then blooming.  It is truly an amazing thing.

Opening up, laying down that armor, you begin to emerge in every sense.  Let yourself free.

My Emerging Manifest
I am Confident in who I am, where I am going, and I am enough
I will Let my true self ~ Inside & Out ~ Radiate
I vow To Stand Strong, knowing that in order to take up space I will be seen, I will be heard, I will Bloom
I invite Patience to guide me, grow my calm, space for grace, and solid grounding to return to when I am off balance
I am Vibrant, full of life, full of energy, and handcrafted

*Clam shell photo was found on google search from Wikipedia*

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Beauty

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are beautiful~
~Truly beautiful, inside & out~

Friday, August 24, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ Working Out

Have you heard the saying about health that "What you eat makes up 80% of you and your results, 20% is working out"?

Both make a big different in your health.  Both make a big difference in reaching your goals and maintaining your results. 

One thing is for sure, you can't only rely on one.  You need to be intentional about both.  In a later post I will talk more about diet, and by diet I mean the food you eat, not going on a diet or which diet plan is better.

For now, it is about working out.  Get up and move.  Set a schedule, make it routine, let become a habit.

Working out can be anything from walking, to yoga, to HIIT to running.  Low impact, high impact.  Body weight only or weights, even if they are in the form of filled bottles of water or cans.  At home, or outside or in a gym or even while traveling.  Free or have a cost.

Whatever you decided to do, do what makes you smile, feel better, challenge you, something that you can keep going.  Keep on moving.

Start it simple, start walking.  Each day, go for a walk.  Increase the distance you go and increase the minutes. 

Just start.  Even if it is only 5 minutes at first and you work your way longer.  Just take that step.

Find the workout style that works for you, where you are at, where you want to head, and works for your body.

If you haven't worked out much, starting with HIIT or running 5 miles may not be the best route to go.  Think of the tortoise and the hare.  Do what you can do that will keep you going, not burn you out right away.  Even the littlest changes will begin to add up.  Just be patient with it.

And you know what?  It's okay to take breaks.  In the middle of a workout.  Or from working out altogether.  Make sure to come back to what you were doing or change it up of it needed.  But just come back to it.  As always, check in with your doctor as well to see if things are good to go.

There are so many different types of workouts out there.  Sometimes you just need to try a few to see what fits your style.  You also need to find when the best time to get it in works for you best.  Some people find it best to workout in the morning first thing, but then there is midday, evening, or really anywhere in between.

And remember, you can make anything into a workout.  Have to do some cleaning?  Crank up the tunes, move and groove while you clean.  Mowing the lawn, gardening, chasing the kids in the front yard.  Pretending you are a crane lifting and moving your kiddos.  Workouts come in all shapes and sizes.  It can be 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, or a 30 minute solid all at once, or anywhere in between.

True, you can workout for hours at t time, but you don't have to in order to see results.  Even 15 minutes a day can make changes in the long term.

Here is what I learned from adding in workouts.  I need to change it up every so often.  I don't do well first thing in the morning working out.  I can put more my all into a good solid workout if I wait until later morning or early afternoon.  I use things like playing with the kids, walks, adventures out and about as add ons to workout schedule now.  I do better if I have it scheduled.  I have done enough different style of workouts that I can combine moves into a workout on my own without needing to follow a video, but I still do enjoy a good workout video.  I can do HIIT, but I don't like it.  You need a cardio bases activity at least 3 times a week: I schedule three days of cardio, but find I end up with five days most weeks.  I like to have focus areas each day of the three scheduled cardio days, ie: arms, legs, core, the areas I want to tone.

I didn't learn any of that until I worked my way through.  I started focusing on exercise after I was cleared from the doctor after my youngest was born.  I eased into.  Now, I workout in a different way.  I have found what I like and what works for me. 

Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are my for sure workout days.  I do at least 10 minutes of cardio by dancing to my favorite music.  But, I usually end up going for about 15 because I find I enjoy it.  Then, on Mondays I do some leg exercises, Wednesdays is core and back, Fridays are arms.  I do a compilation of exercise moves I have learned that helps focus on those areas to strengthen and tone. 

Though it is not set in stone, I do sometimes end up moving one of the focus areas to a different day depending on how things are going.  I try to use Tuesday as yoga days and Thursdays as extra long stretch day.  Weekends I take off.  If I am on vacations I don't always workout.  I try to keep things with my own natural flow and rhythm.

There are a few go to workout videos I use.  I started with Fitness Blender.  Love their stuff!  There are so many options.  You can use their free workouts, or buy programs.  They have everything from warm ups to cool downs, low impact to high, 5 minutes to 60 minutes, strength and toning, cardio and HIIT, Pilate's and yoga, stretching, no equipment to various equipment pieces, and so much more.  You can pick the length of time, the focus area, what equipment you want to use and more to get you moving. 

Betty Rocker free 30 day program is another great one.  She sends your email with the workout for the day the morning of.  She has a variety of styles used, focus areas, and rest days included. 

My last favorite is Fit Mama Program by Melinda Pedersen.  They are 12 minute long videos.  She sets it up as 2 different plans to follow for three weeks.  You just click on the day you are on and it takes you to a YouTube video. She covers all focus areas and abilities too.

I have done all of these at different times over the past almost 3 years.  I have repeated them and I have also used pieces from all to plan out my own schedule. 

Of course, there were some stretches in there where I took time months off.  But I always got back to it.  When you keep at it, it becomes a part of your routine and you will find the time to fit it in.  But I also know that when you take time off, it does become easy to, overtime, keep pushing it off and finding excuses.

You just need to decide where your priorities are.  If you want getting exercise in to be a priority, you will find the time to get something done.  Also, set some realistic goals to help guide you through.  They help challenge you and help you keep motivated.  But they also give you something to go back to if you need to reset.  It does help to have someone who can help keep you accountable.  They can give you encouragement, inspiration, and check in with you to keep you moving.

No matter which way you decide to workout, find an exercise you enjoy.  Just keep moving.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Saying Goodbye is Hard ~ Loosing a Pet

About a week ago we found ourselves faced with saying goodbye to one of our beloved kitties.  Izzers had been a part of our family for 12 years.  She passed away, in the middle of the night, unexpectedly.

She had no issues that were known.  But we believe that being a fourteen year old cat, it was old age and a sudden heart attack.

It doesn't matter if it is a person or a pet we are saying goodbye to, saying goodbye is a hard thing to do.  Add in having to explain it all to the kids what had happened, where she was going to go, and about a thousand other questions.

I, though having grown up with pets, have not had to say goodbye to a pet or been faced with being the one there when they died.  All of our pets faced old age and at the end euthanizing was decided upon.  However, I was not at home for most them being away at college or out on my own.  My mom and dad walked this path and then told us about it.

And yes, the first person I called was mom when we found Izzers.  I had know idea what to do, but also new my oldest would be awake in a half hour.  We were not expecting any of this.

Leaving us to wonder why.  Why now.

In some ways, we were able to help relate it to the passing of my hubby's grandma, the kids' great grandma.  However, we were all able to say goodbye and knew it was only a matter of time.  She had chosen to be cremated.  We went to her funeral to finish saying goodbye.  All during this time our oldest was asking questions, but yet had an ability to really understand, even for only being almost 5.

We talked about heaven before and so we talked about how she was up in heaven now.  Still got a handful of questions over time, but they slowly stopped.  More recently, we found out that my parents' cat had died.  So when we told the kids (because they like to see him when visit or when we chat on skype) that Corky had died, he was in heaven.

So when Izzers died, we could relate some of the things back to path we had walked.  My hubby and I had loaded up Izzers into her carrier before the kids got up.  So when my oldest came down, he asked why the carrier.  We explained we were taking Izzers to the vet because she had died.  He made the choice to have her ashes returned to us.  At this point we haven't gotten them back yet and don't know where they will go once we do.  But it was something he had asked for.  We said Corky and Izzers were together, and maybe even Great Grandma was holding them both.

We also used the book, which we have read many times, "Chester Raccoon: An Acorn Full of Memories" to help guide us in a direction.  In the book, Chester looses his friend Skiddle Squirrel because he was in an accident.  Chester's Mom showed him and the other forest friends how to make a memory of Skiddle.  So, I made the suggest to my oldest that we make a memory.  His choice was a stuff animal cat that he felt reminds him of Izzers. 

It has only been a week, but the "I miss Izzers Mom" has faded away.  I think it will take me a bit longer to adjust because of how long she had been with us and the routines that we had set up that are now changed.

I know, I have two kids.  My youngest hasn't been mentioned much in this post.  That is because, being 2 1/2, as of now, he doesn't seemed concerned by any of it.  He has asked a few questions or has said, when Izzers comes home. But for the most part he has just kept right on going as if nothing had changed.

That being said, when the day comes that we loose our other cat, we will be faced with a different reaction I am guessing.  You see, Izzers was our kitty who would generally hide away when the kids were up.  She would be on a different floor from them.  They rarely got to pet her, maybe once or twice total.  Cole on the other hand, he is our more social, pet me, snuggle me, I want to hang out with you type of cat.  So, while we do things similar, there may need to be a few tweaks made and even a longer process time.

Saying goodbye is hard.  Dealing with grief is tough.  How do you help your kids work through their grief?  How do you face having to say goodbye for the last time?

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Enoughness

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are enough~
~You have enough~
~You do enough~

Friday, August 17, 2018

Health, Fitness & Diet ~ Being an Emotional Eater

I have always been one to be a bit of an emotional eater.  Usually it comes and goes throughout the years, but I can usually curb it and reset.

About 8 years ago though, that is when it would come in to play more often and stick around longer and longer, and was getting harder to curb it.  Then, about 3 years ago, it came and didn't go away and I added in excessive spending. 

8 years ago, specialty coffees were what I was drawn to.  After the loss of our daughter at 17 weeks, miscarriage, I was still a classroom teacher.  I would find myself by nap time running out the door as fast as I could.  I would head to a Dunn Brothers nearby, get a coffee and sit there.  Needing to convince myself to go back and finish the work day.  It was my way of dealing with the grief I was facing.  With time, things began to balance out again and I spent less time running away and dealing with emotions, as wells as spending less time getting coffee.

3 years ago, I was adjusting to a big change...well, several.  We moved, we were getting ready for my youngest son's arrival, then there was the transition time with a newborn and 2 1/2 year old, then learning new rhythms and routines as they change so quickly as the kids grow.  I didn't handle it well, not in the very least (at least from my perspective).  I was dealing with post partum depression and anxiety, never feeling quite like I was enough, making too many mistakes, and an inner negative voice, as well as lack of sleep that goes with having kids.

I would find any excuse to swing through the drive thru and get a frappe just to get out of the house.  Then, one little issue of something not going right I would find a way to make a stop while we were out.  As time went by, it became more frequent, to the point where it was just habit.  Then, just in this year, it amped up to a frappe or diet coke in the morning, then one in the afternoon.

I tried on and off to stop, flat out or use only for special occasions.  But just like that container of fresh baked cookies on the counter, it made me want both more.  Add in cookies galore, or mm or any other sweet treat by the handful as a quick fix instead dealing any emotional issue at hand, mine or the kids or behavior issues

So much so, it became a crutch.  One I knew was and would always be there, could rely on to help me get through until the next downtime or quiet time. 

It reminds me of my oldest in swim lessons needing to complete one more skill on his own to be able to move up, but he wouldn't go for it.  Why?  Because he had become so comfortable with his teacher and no matter how much encouragement she gave him to go for it, he knew that she would always be there and he didn't have to put in as much effort to attempt the skill.  So, as a little extra push, they suggested we move him up to the next level anyways, to change up teachers to one he has swam with on occasion throughout the last year but not been his consistent teacher.

Sometimes we need something, big or little, to push us to our potential, to push us past our fear, to make us face what is truly in front of us.

When it comes down to it.  I didn't want to deal my own emotions or had forgotten how.  And I was way to connected to my kids' emotions on top of it all.  Add in the fact that I, for whatever reason, would carry the emotions of those around me, well, I was a bit of a mess. 

So I turned to food.  Instead of dealing with the emotion, the behavior at hand, I just pushed down in and ate something or spent money.

Not the best way to move through the day, but at the time, it work or at least seemed to.

Move forward until early this year and I began to finally accept that some things needed to change, and that change, it had to be with me.  I found my way, through finding me, and learning tools to face the emotions.

I am still a work in progress and still make mistakes, but I am getting further along in not falling into the emotional cycle of using food as a fix.  If you have read my prior posts, you know that back in June I got a kick in the pants I needed to push me out of my comfort zone and break my habit of diet coke and frappes every day.  I had gained a bunch of weight and my blood pressure was raised.  It was enough to challenge myself to stop frappes and diet coke that day.

That wake up call was a catalyst that I needed to move forward, to learn to actually learn to deal with my emotions in a health way, to disconnect the emotions of those around me from me (because you know what? You are not their emotions).  Why?  Because on the day of my doctor appointment that I found out the health data, I gave up pop and frappes.  I challenged myself to go until I had my recheck appointment 3 weeks later.  When I found out things had gone back to normal and my weight was going down (keep in mind a bigger reason for that happening was because I went off birth control), and I saw how close I was to being 30 days without either, I knew I could make that push for the last week.

Now here I was, a few days into it, still thinking that I could do this, easily.  While the first week was relatively easy, the next week wasn't.  I still needed to face my own emotions.  As I began to face mine, I began to be able to disconnect from other's emotions.  I was able to find a grounding that I could come back to.  I kept it simple.  I focused my breathing in those tough moments.  Then as I let myself feel the emotion, I began to wonder why I thought I needed that frappe or diet coke.  If I was at home, I would write it out and let it go.  If we were out and about, I had a necklace that has a special meaning that I would hold in my hand or rub my fingers on to help release the emotion.

As each week passed by, I found myself less and less interested in those sugary things and didn't need them as a crutch anymore.  I find myself indulging less or going over the top in excess less.  Sure, I have a sweet treat every now and then, but not as a fix for my emotions.  For that, I still continue to breathe through it, feel it, let it go.  If it lingers I take a moment to go back and think on it to see why it's still there.  Not sure if it's related or not, but I don't find myself having those emotional swings as often and they don't seem as bad, but I do know they don't last as long.

I have begun to learn how to face my emotions, to deal with them in healthy ways.  Is it always easy?  No.  Do I misstep?  You bet.  But I am starting where I am, stepping forward, and figuring it out.  As I figure out how to better deal with my own emotions, I can help my kiddos face theirs and help them work through them better. 

How about you, do you have a crutch you use to deal with emotions?  Have you learned how to face them and deal with them in a healthy way? 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Find Your Groove

 Sometimes you just gotta find your groove.

That picture on the top of the post, that is me, mid workout, getting my groove on dancing to get some good cardio in for the day.

When you dance, you find your groove, your rhythm.  But that groove, that rhytum is something that you can take throughout your day, throughout all seasons of life, throughout all your roles and tasks.

It isn't always easy to find your own groove, to make the change, to step out.  Sometimes we are given opporutnities that we set aside because it doesn't seem like now is the right time, or it would be ideal in another year from now, or we just don't feel ready.

But what if we step, even if we aren't ready?  What if we follow our own rhythm?  Our own groove?

Maybe that job offer that is a good opportunity is the right choice right now, despite being sooner than you thought.  Maybe dancing is the best cardio workout for you because it releases stress and makes you feel good.  Maybe that home business you started, is ready for you to step fully into it as your full time job.  Maybe you fall flat on your face trying, but you still get up.  Maybe what you are doing is different, not normal, but you know what, that is okay.

You are finding your groove.

What is your groove?  Where do you need to find your groove?

Take that step.  Say yes.  Give it your best.  Step out of your comfort zone. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Finding Ease

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are strong~
~You are courageous~
~You are compassionate~
~You are creative~

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Space ~ Taking the Space You Need, Emerging, & Being You

~This post was inspired by the recent work and theme that August is bringing in the Peace Circle group that I am in: Yes to Emerging, combined with a recent conversation I had with a good friend about finding your space, your grounding in this current season of life. ~

Space ~ giving space, asking for space, taking up space, personal space, outer space

Such a small word can have such a profound impact.

We teach our kids about personal space and the boundaries that go with that, making sure they ask to give a hug or fives, etc.  I used to use a hula hoop in my classroom to teach kids about the idea of personal space.  We learn to recognize space for what it is and what we need.

However as time goes by and we get older, sometimes we begin to forget about ourselves in relation to the space we need and loose sight of ourselves as who we are.  Not who we were, but who we are.  Right now, right here, in this moment, who we truly are.

We all take up space.  That amount of space varies upon where we are in our lives, what need and want, what our heart is telling us, what our emotions are saying, what our inner voice is saying.

Do we try to lay down, open up, and let go of the control to let in the space we need?  Nope, not always.  Sometimes we still try to do it all without laying any thing down, or asking for help, or by letting all the "shoulds" (even they ones we know don't fit anymore) dictate, or over complicating things instead of just simplifying, or letting our own fear or anxiety interfere.  

I have been there.  Feeling lost as I added in new roles and not sure about, well about much of anything.  Letting fear, anxiety, guilt, worry all wash over me, letting the negative inner self talk cycle take over.  I have rarely felt I had a good understanding of who I was just as Liz.  So adding in new roles like wife, mom of an angel baby, mom of one kid, mom of two kids  all while still trying to figure out me, what I wanted to do, what I enjoyed.

I am just beginning to let myself take up the space I need, or deserve.  Letting go of as many of the "shoulds" as I can that just don't fit with me, where I am at at this moment, where I want to head, that don't fit with my family.  Lightening the load, so I can, well so I can lighten up.  Simplify where I can, set up schedules that fit with our flow, and just let me be me.  Adding in the things that make me feel grounded, that help me thrive so that I can offer the same for those around me.  Facing the truths, adjusting perspectives, changing habits to find a better balance.

Where in your life do you need space?  Think on all levels: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.  Mind, body, spirit.  Where do you need space?  What does that space need to look like?  Feel like?  What do you need to do, want to do to fill that space?

Let your you, you true you emerge.  Let yourself find the grounding through the roots you create, feel the strength of your stem structure, and blossom.

You can blossom where ever you are in your life, just like this flower in the crack along the gutter in the street.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ No Pop and Frappe Challenge

On June 28, 2018 I decided after my yearly doctor appointment to challenge myself to not drink pop, not drink frappes.  To limit sugary drinks, using things like shakes and specialty coffees as special treats every now and then,  To focus on drinking more water all days of the week and basic coffee with some honey and milk or tea every now and then throughout the week.  I have found that sitting on my porch in morning, on weekends, having a cup of coffee has been a great way to start the day.

For some, this challenge doesn't seem like a big deal and should be easy.  In the past, I would have a pop every now and then, frappe too.  But it got to a point where I was having at least one pop, if not two a day and some days it was a pop and a frappe.

I was using it and spending the money as my emotional crutch to deal with my own emotions, the strong emotions that come off the kids sometimes, and dealing with some of the negative behavior choices the kids were  tossing me every day as an excuse to stop and get a pop or a frappe.  Come lunch, ordering take out for delivery became an all too often habit because then I could have lunch at nap time and get a pop as well.

I have given it up here and there, but only for a couple of weeks.  Then something I would face brought me to cave.

But it had gotten out of control.  It wasn't until my doctor appointment that I decided to challenge myself.  With an overall goal of 30 days and finding little rewards for each week complete and something a little bigger for reaching the 30 days, I started with day one on June 28.  I knew I could find the willpower and strength to make it to 3 weeks, when my recheck was.  I wasn't sure where things would go after that point.

To be honest, the first week was hard.  Because not only was I having to not turn to grabbing a pop or frappe, it was causing me to actually deal with the emotions I was facing in the moment.  I learned how to face them, found a healthier balance, and began to be able to resist the temptation (even when we went out to eat).

Each day, each week got a little easier.  When I got to my recheck date I knew I was loosing weight, but also found that my blood pressure returned to normal, I knew I could make it easily to the 30 days.

Well, July 27 was day 30.  I made it and I can tell you how proud I am.  I feel less desire for sugary drinks, sugary desserts, I am not even drawn to having a pop or frappe.  I actually like a basic coffee, though I do put a little honey and a little whole milk in it.  But I don't have a coffee every day, just usually on the weekends.  I save the specialty coffees and shakes for special treats every now and then.

It is hard to give up something, but in the end there are sometimes so many more benefits to it than we realize.  It is even harder when we are trying to break a habit.  It takes a while to create a habit, so it takes a while to change it, but you have first be willing to make the change.

Oh, I almost forgot.  I used a little check off sheet to keep track.  I found it to help me and decorated a little here and there.  But something kind of funny happened. I didn't give myself any rewards at the end of each week or as an overall reward.  Why?  Because I couldn't come up with non food ideas.  Instead of figuring out some ideas, I kind of just forgot about it and then decided to give myself another challenge to try out...a no make up challenge.  How that goes I will let you know in another post.  But I began that one on July 19.

Have you given up pop or sugary drinks?  Some other type of eating?  What habit have you changed recently?

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Professionalizing Motherhood

Yup, why not?  Why can't being a mom be your, our, my profession?

I recently finished a great book by Jill Savage "Professionalizing Motherhood".  She is an author of several great books filled with inspiration, wisdom, perspective changes, and really gets you thinking.  She is an author, a speaker, and a blogger.  I have read most of her books she has out and the ones I haven't read are on my list of to read.

Through the book we learn that we just feel inadequacies as a mom, as a parent, and just on the journey of motherhood in all stages sometimes.  It is one of those things where try as we may, wish as we might, there really is no manually that comes with being a parent. 

We make mistakes, we have many fails, we ask for forgiveness.  We yell, we laugh, we cry, we just plain shake our heads.  We want to make our house a home, not loose sight of ourselves, and want to be sure to be enough.

When you look at all other areas of jobs, there is a training period.  As a parent, you are just kind of tossed in the role.  You move up and get promoted when kids change age and change seasons.  But it truly is a job that you never have enough training for, is ever changing, and is always there.

At some point, it feels, like society began to look down on woman who decided to stay home.  But staying home is an important job in our society in raising our kids. 

Staying home and raising kids is not an easy job and it is by no means taking the easy route.  You are on call 24/7 365 days a year, for at least 18 years.  Then your role changes as your kiddos begin to go off and create lives on their own.

Why not consider motherhood a profession?  If you think about it, if you look at certain tasks at hand as being a part of the job, they begin to take the monotony out it.  I know, doing laundry is boring and so is dishes, dealing with the same behavior that irritates you day in and day out takes its toll. 

But hear me out.  If you weave those tasks into daily living, along with teaching and guiding kiddos, and managing bits of self care things begin to change perspective a little.

I know, it doesn't pay in money.  Sometimes the rewards of the seeds sown don't show until weeks, months, even years down the road and we can't always see past the end of this rough patch of behavior, we can still consider it a job.  You are not just a mom. 

Take a look at the book.  It is an easy read, a quick read, with a lot of great insight and personal stories.  It does weave god and faith in to parts of here and there, but even if that is not something you follow, you can still get some great insight from the book.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Finding Ease

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~You are worthy~
~You are filled with value~

Friday, August 3, 2018

Health, Fitenss, Diet ~ Where to Begin, Where to Head

We all have a journey when it comes to this topic.  We all have a story to share.  I will be honest, when I first decided to write on this topic, I dug my heals in.  I wasn't ready to write on it.

For many reasons and an excuse here or there, I didn't think at first I had anything to offer up by sharing my story, my journey.  But then I was reminded that by sharing my story, my journey, someone else out there might be able to relate.  They might be able to find their footing again and might give them the courage or inspiration or motivation to start their journey too.  Where ever it may lead, even if different from mine.

Like I said, we all have a journey.  We may cross paths with others on a similar one through out it, but we all have differences too.  Where I start might be different than you.  How you track your progress might be different.  Your goals might be different than mine.  We might be starting at different levels, different lifestyles, different body shapes.  How I gain and loose weight may not be the same as you.

But through it all, there are some things that are the same.  Through this journey I will share those things I learned about health, fitness, and diet that affect us all and I will also share from my journey what I have faced, done, where I have succeeded and failed.

The important thing in this all is to start where you are.  Your end goal look and feel can be a part of your driving force and can be what fits with you, your habits, and your body.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

In the Calm, In the Quiet

I sit in the calm and quiet.

No, it's not nap time this time or the kids aren't in bed for the night.  Hubby took the kids on a little adventure, just the three of them. 

Oddly, what initially started out was my oldest and him going led to all three.  When it came time, my oldest said no he didn't want to go, but my youngest asked if he could.  Which, in itself, was a feat because lately it was mama only and he usually just wanted to stay home (and still go on adventures, but complain about wanting the other option).  Once my oldest heard that his brother wanted to go, suddenly he was interested in going again :)  Wonder why?

But nonetheless, all three went.  It was just me.  Well, me and two cats who were napping somewhere in the house as cats do during the day.

So many options at my fingertips of what I could do.  Aside from use the other car, as hubby had the key with him.  I had many choices.  Of course, there was the to do list, the chores, the laundry, dinner prep, reading, writing, and so on.  Hobbies and maintenance pretty much.

I needed to start a load of laundry, because, well lets face it, it is Summer and it needs to be done weekly in our house.  At first, beyond laundry, my mind was running a mile a minute with "what can I get done with the kids gone for a couple of hours?"

The list just piled up, but then I realize, I have time set aside during the week weekly to accomplish certain tasks.  But then my mind went to, well, we have two trips coming up we need to get ready for, have the house ready for, and so on.

But then I reminded myself, chores can usually wait.  In fact, a lot can wait or get moved around because we some things often enough that it won't affect anything in the grand scheme of it all anyways.

So what did I do?  I took some time to myself.  I did the things I wanted to do.  I chose to write, to be creative, to do me-be me.  I filled up on my energy boosters and then I could fill up those around me as needed.  It was relaxing, it was calm, it was quiet.  Just what I needed.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Evening Bliss

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself... 

~May I be filled with patience~
~May I have kind eyes~

~May I show others me~
May I be strong~
~May I be filled with faith~
~May I be consistent~
~May I be filled with calm~
~May I be peaceful and at ease~

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Health, Fitness, & Diet ~ That Kick in the Pants

So my last post about this topic I mentioned a kick in the butt.  You see, I have been working out, trying to eat overall better, and trying to get things in other areas a bit more grounded and flow better.  I started working out and putting more focus on diet just after A was born.
I was setting goals, reaching them and at the end of June 2017 I was only 7 pounds away from my biggest goal set.  To be 155 by the time A turned 2.  I set that goal when I looked at pictures after his first birthday and baptism.  I knew I could get there.

As things go, I stopped using the scale to measure and focused on other areas to show progress.  I stepped on the scale over the Winter and was blown away by the number and how far from my goal I was.  It had gone up, way up.

I knew I hadn't worked out as consistently with it being Winter and was less active overall.  I knew food changed because in Winter, in Minnesota, comfort food is so nice on the cold long days.  So I expected it to be higher, but not as high as it was.

Then in April while at the dentist my blood pressure read higher than my usual normal.  I chalked that up to having just had a coffee shortly before going and the extra caffeine added to my system.

Fast forward to June 2018.  Back at my usual yearly doctor appointment, I stepped on the scale.  I felt defeated.  I was nearly 20 pounds heavier than the year before.  All that work I had done leading up to 2017 since my youngest was born and here I was back at 6 weeks post birth weight.

I was frustrated leading up because no matter what I ate, no matter what activity I did, I couldn't change the scale number and the number on the tape measure.  Pictures showed no changes either.  I could no longer go off clothing sizes as my indicator of success because I had pants as small as XS up to size 10 depending on the type of pants, length, cut, etc.  Shirts weren't any better, small up to large depending on the shirt.

When the nurse told my blood pressure and I noticed that it was still high, that is when I got the courage to say something to my doctor.  We talked over  what had been going on and any changes.  The only change I made in the year was by going on a birth control pill.

The thought never occurred to me that my weight would go up, let along by that much.  Or it would affect my bp because it had never affected it negatively before.  But as pregnancy and having kids does, it changes your body in a lot of ways.  You may not know the change until you go back to doing something the way you used to.

So, we began with the obvious and easiest thing to try.  Stop taking birth control because that was the only big change I had made and do a recheck in 3 weeks. 

I stopped taking it, did my usual working out, trying to eat better and waited for three weeks to go by.  The only other big change I did after my appointment was I stopped drinking pop and frappes daily, which I had been trying to do for a long time.  This doctor appointment helped give me the much needed push to find the willpower to resist them.  A much needed change on many levels (I will go more into this on another post).

Three weeks later I faced my recheck, with kids in tow.  If I could get my bp to go down and have kids in tow when they were doing the recheck, while answering a thousand questions coming from both kids at once, then I would win this.

My bp was back to my usual normal and my weight was down by 4 pounds.  4 pounds may not seem like a lot, but for the fact I couldn't loose anything no matter what I tried and it had only been three weeks, I was happy.

It is hard to make changes sometimes, even when they are needed.  Sometimes we just need that little extra wake up call, that little extra push, that kick in the pants.

This one made me make some much needed changes.  This one gave me the courage to speak up about my health with my doctor and the frustrations I was feeling.  This one gave me the willpower needed to make some better daily habits happen.  This one gave me the creativity to find a workout combo I really do enjoy and can do easily anywhere.  This one was the catalyst for other changes that I am working on too. 

I encourage you to find your kick in the pants that you need to make the changes needed, to move forward.  I also encourage you to talk to your doctor with your frustrations and health concerns you have.

Share you story.  What was the catalyst for the much change you needed face?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

A Loving Kindness Meditation ~ On Saying Yes to You

Take a moment. Close your eyes.  Breathe deeply.  Let it out.  Tell yourself...

~ You are worthy and allowed to take time for yourself~
~To fill your tank~
~Letting go of the guilt, and truly immersing yourself in the moment~

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Let's Talk Goals

We are half way through 2018.  Midway through is a good time to take a look any goals that you set at the start of the year.

How do you set your goals?  Track them?  How often do they get forgotten about? 

I will admit, I set goals.  It is what I do.  I like to see my progress and like to check things off lists sometimes.  But I also have to admit, as the days go by, some of the goals get set aside.  Why?  Because sometimes circumstances change and the goal just doesn't fit, sometimes I forget about it, and sometimes I find that it just doesn't fit as I am going along.

The bigger goals I break out a little into mini goals to help keep moving forward.  Sometimes I set rewards to keep motivated and sometimes I just let reaching the goal be the reward.  It all depends on how long it will take to reach the goal.

This year I decided to try and set some goals in most areas of my life.  Physical health goals, emotional, spiritual, mental, dreams, business, writing, reading, lifestyle.  I also added some much need to-do list projects to my goal list in hopes that they would get done.

When I set them at the beginning of the year I also set the intent to re-evaluate in March.  Well, March came and went, now it is July and I decided to look at what I wrote.

I realized I failed.  I didn't re-evaluate.  I didn't meet a bunch of them because, well, because I forgot about a lot of them or was actually further behind than forward on some.  Had I checked in in March would I have been further along on them?  Maybe, maybe not.

There are some that I have been working on, sometimes battling, for a while now.  But it wasn't until recently that stuff aligned to give me that swift kick in the butt I needed. 

About a week I ago, I pulled the papers out where I wrote them.  A little uncertain because I knew things weren't quite where I had hoped for back when I had written them.

As it turned out, there were quite a few I could actually check off because they were done and I didn't realize it.  Some I could just cross off entirely because it wasn't a part of my journey any more.  Some I started out strong on and then when I wasn't seeing results I let them go.   And some didn't fully begin to even start working until I got the swift kick in the butt (so to speak).

Chances are, had I re-evaluated in March, some of them may have been crossed off too soon because I wasn't seeing the results .  So there is some good in waiting, but also to keep putting certain goals back in because down the road may be better timing.

I believe that I am in a much better spot, inside and out, today than I was when I first made the goals to re-evaluate than I was in March.

I feel I can tackle these with more focus and more intensity where I need to.

So, have you checked in with your goals recently? 

One of the things I took away from me from a workshop I went to four years ago was the idea of an end goal.  What do I want it to look like at the end of a certain goal.  Then I can set the pieces in motion or break them out as needed to be able to work towards them.

Time to look at mine and do some re-evaluating, resetting, and putting the pieces into motion that are needed.