Category Archives: goals

From daydreaming to “in progress”

I am in a place of having goals for my health again. It has been a long time. I reflect on some of my writing from 5 or 7 years ago – and sometimes I can hardly recognize that person. Someone so dedicated to workout routines and health goals – and putting those goals first and foremost. I know that girl exists inside me somewhere…but I am hoping we have evolved. Priorities certainly shift as life changes. As I was re-reading a blog from the summer of 2010 – I wrote about how important it was to not skip a workout, because that meant it wasn’t a priority and how you should always make it one. And that makes me chuckle a bit now as a  working mom of two. It has been a long time since I have made myself a priority.

On my 36th birthday this year – I did make a new commitment to myself. I was going to spend some time and money on getting back to a place where I felt good about myself. It has been incredibly challenging to eat super clean – no dairy, no fats, no oils, no grains/wheats. I am on day 34 and I have been really pleased with my results. Yesterday, a friend stopped me in the hall at work to comment on my progress. It is those moments where reality sets in….that I am doing something that is changing me from the inside out.

For the first time in…a REALLY long time, I am feeling more confident in myself. I put on a more fitted outfit this week and didn’t feel disgusted by what I saw in the mirror. I am making progress.

In this world where I know I put everyone else in front of me, especially my kids, I feel empowered by this decision to focus on my health again. I haven’t added back in the daily workouts that I did many years ago. I am honest with myself that I likely don’t have time or energy for that at this point. I am focusing 100% on nutrition and am going to ride this wave until it’s obvious I need to add in the workouts to continue to make progress. That feels efficient and smart to me right now. I know myself and my current state of life (read: 1 year old & 4 year old plus working full time) well enough to not take on more than I can handle. Because I’ll get frustrated and just quit.

I am a little over halfway to my first goal. And everyday – I get more excited about the progress I’m making. Not just on the scale and how my clothes fit…but how much better I am starting to feel about myself. This journey is emotional – it really is about letting go of somethings I’ve held onto for a really long time.

The other day in the car, I was thinking about what was holding my back. What has kept me from really trying to do this for so many years? And out of nowhere, I said out loud, “I need to give myself permission to be beautiful.” And that felt really weird to say. I wanted to take it back because it seemed so….stereotypical? I am not sure what it made me feel. Maybe even embarrassed a little. But as I’ve lived with that thought for a few days, I think my inner voice was onto something. We get in our own way – whether it’s confidence, losing weight, going after a dream job, and we have to give ourselves permission to be successful! That it’s okay to do a good job and enjoy the reward.

I am not where I want to be yet – but it feels really empowering to be IN PROGRESS instead of just daydreaming about doing something different.

I don’t get a chance to write here very often, but since I am on a roll with some #lifechanges, I thought I’d try to document some of this work I’m doing!

Until next time…..

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The Elusive Muse

It’s rare. These pockets of time in between always having something to do and somewhere to be. It is 10 minutes, 20 at the most and i have forgotten how to just….be. To stop looking at my phone for emails that aren’t really to me. To stop flipping through the endless stream on FB, insta, pinterest….

So, in one of those rare moments today, I forced myself to sit, isolated, for those 15 minutes. I listened. I heard water rushing down from a fountain. I heard snippets of people mid conversation as they walked by. A dog barking,  the rumble of engines from a nearby street.

download (1)It is beautiful there in my own silence and I can’t believe I had forgotten this place where i used to visit all the time. Not a physical place….but a place in my mind where I could exist and daydream and let myself write. Those are my best moments as a writer. Not forced, but inspired.

It’s been a long time since I really felt like a writer and I miss it like an old friend who I could share all my deepest, darkest secrets with who drifted away because I just didn’t keep in touch. I own that. It’s like losing your singing voice. A few weeks ago at church, we sang a hymn that I actually knew (which seems to rare as all the songs are different!) and I was feeling extra confident and trying my best to sing. But my range isn’t where it used to be, I’m out of practice. And that’s how it feels with writing, like I’m out of practice.

I know I romanticize my writing experience in college. I was in creative writing courses and I was constantly in writing mode. Those moments of sunshine out in the quad and having my notepad handy to capture any creative thought feels so far away. I often want to dig through all those old boxes of writing and re-read those stories and poems, the creative nonfiction I wrote because I remember it being so good. And yet, I don’t – because I don’t want to read it and realize it was…just okay.

Maybe I need a new muse. Maybe I need to start getting to the point faster. Maybe I just need to write whether it turns out great or not and be okay with that.

be-writingThat’s a start.

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Remembering the “Me” in Mother

I am not sure what the magic number is, but I was just far enough away from vivid memories of a newborn and those daily struggles as a new mother to be open to the possibility of trying for baby #2. I’d see others having babies and it made me miss those tiny fingers and toes. I wanted to smell that new baby smell and relive that bond that only a mom and baby can experience.

We were fortunate to get pregnant again within a reasonable time frame…and here I am, 29 weeks later feeling a bit terrified of this tiny life growing inside me. Don’t get me wrong, I am so excited to meet our baby girl in May. It is what I wanted. But as the final trimester is now in play…things are starting to feel a lot more real. Unlike my first pregnancy where I spent my time imagining what was in store for me – now, I don’t have to imagine. I know. I think that is why I am pretty much terrified of what’s next. I think back to the first few months with Daxton and I remember it was hard. It was beautiful and perfect and the hardest thing I’ve ever done. How in the world will I survive that same experience on top of having a 3 year old?

I have a lot of thoughts swirling around in my head about my ability to be the type of mom I want to be to both my kids. I think about being the type of wife I want to be when I have 2 kids. And I think about the type of daughter, sister, aunt and friend I want to be when my life takes this new twist in just a few months. Man, it feels overwhelming.

Then I reflect for a moment. I take a few deep breaths and I realize I forgot to think about someone pretty important in all this thinking. Me. How will I be good and kind to myself when I have 2 kids? I forgot to ask myself this really important question in the midst of preparing for meeting my first child. And I’ve spent the last 3 years not figuring it out totally, and that makes me sad. It makes my husband sad.

So i’m going to try to be mindful this time. I’m going to be nicer to myself. I’m going to be more willing to ask for help and believe it’s not a sign of weakness on my side. I’m not going to torture myself if breastfeeding doesn’t work out like I want it to. I am going to make time for myself to do things I enjoy and love – like seeing my friends and making plans even if it’s a little inconvenient or hard to get ready for with 2 kids. I’m going to rely on my husband to take care of things when I can’t and trust that someone else can be in charge of washing the bottles correctly or pairing the tiny socks and finding the right drawers to put away the laundry correctly.

3f4ffe4ac23adcc5f25a322df290998dI realize the hardest part of being a mom for me is tangled up in my need to love my family fiercely and my inability to extend that same type of love and compassion to myself. And that makes everything harder. Self created hardship, I know.  So my goal is to keep loving fiercely and add myself to the list of people I want to be thoughtful of during this next season of my life.

Being a mom is about being willing to put someone else before your own needs. I don’t expect anything different this time around, I know my life, my hopes, my dreams will all be wrapped around a tiny little finger.  I know my daughter will be the next love of my life and my heart may burst. But I must make more room, my heart has to grow even bigger this time – because I have to find room for me again despite how hard it will be.

Sometimes we forget that there is a “me” in mother. Maybe it’s just coincidence, but I choose to believe it is because we need that reminder. Because I’m not “the best me” when I’m not extending the same kindess and love to myself that I am offering everyone else. To be a better mother (and all of those other things I want to do be good at), I’m not overlooking me this time.

I have to believe my kids will thank me one day. My kids will always come first, I think that is in the DNA of being a mother…but I have decided I deserve a place on the list, too. This new chapter of my life is going to be really hard. I’m going to be really tired. But it will be full of love, and it’s not just going to be about loving my children but remembering to love me, too.

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Beyond the Thank You

First off, I have to admit that finding time and creative energy to blog weekly has been a challenge for me. I guess that is part of the intention though, to push myself. So here I am…week 3. Thank you to those who have reached out to tell me you are glad I’m blogging again…blogging can sometimes feel like talking to an empty room. So, thank you for making me feel heard. It makes a big difference to me!

Okay, that actually segways into my intended topic nicely today. On with it, as they say…

When is the last time you thanked someone? Not just a quick, “Hey, thanks!” or the generic thank you note we end up writing after we recieve gifts (unless you are the rare amazing gift thank you card writer, I know maybe 1 person in this category!).  I’m talking about a real sincere and specific thank you.

It’s been awhile for me too, so don’t feel bad if this has you thinking and coming up short.

Let me back up for a minute. I had the fun experience this past week to go back in time to my last job and participate as an employer at a student career fair alongside a few of my colleagues. It felt strange to be on the “other side” – but I fell into step with my old colleagues right away, laughing and joking and catching up with things happening. They are family like that – you don’t have to talk everyday to feel connected.

Anyway, after a long day of standing and chatting up students and alumni about my company, I was so ready to sit down (p.s. cute shoes + pregnancy isn’t a match)! As I was finishing up my meal, a young lady with a familiar face tapped me on the shoulder.

“Dre? I’m not sure you’d remember me, but I’m (insert name here) and I was one of your ACAD babies.” (read: she took a freshman 101 course that I taught).

Me: “Oh wow! Your face was familiar but I wasn’t sure since you were here as an employer how I might know you! How are you?”

Her: “I’m great! Actually, that is why I wanted to come and talk to you. I never had a chance to thank you. The whole reason I’m here today recruiting for my company is because of you.”

She went on to tell me that as a result of her being in my freshman 101 course, she came to see me later in her college life to help with a resume. Then I helped her with a resume to get an internship. The internship turned into a full time job where she is happily employed now that she has graduated.

Of course, all of this was so great to hear. There is nothing that makes a career development professional more pleased than to hear  someone is happily pursuing a career they love because you helped in some way. But during her story she said something that really stood out to me:

“I figured that you might not always get to hear the success stories of the people you help, and I’m so appreciative of the time you spent with me. It really helped me get to where I am today. Thank you.”

She’s right. It’s so rare in life to get the end of any story. We play a minor role in a lot of peoples lives, and often we are in a different place by the time the story of that person plays out. We don’t know the impact we have on someone through our actions, our words, our referrals, by just offering a friendly smile on a crap day.

But that’s why it’s so important we take this whole “thank you” thing more seriously. My heart grew about 3 sizes when she shared her success with me. It made me feel so good that I had a positive impact on someones career, even if it was just helping her get on track with a resume and internship.

downloadHow hard would it be for us all to take time to reach out to someone who made a difference in our life? Did you ever tell someone  what they said made a difference? Maybe it wasn’t a life altering thing, but maybe someone’s well timed joke or delivery of baked goods was just what you needed when you felt like giving up.

I am going to take time to be more sincere with my thank you’s. I won’t overlook the power of good manners, but I don’t want to miss the opportunity to sincerely appreciate someone when they have made a difference in my day, and even more so – if they’ve made a difference in my life.

I challenge you to do the same.

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The thing about Trust

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m trying out this whole Presbyterian thing and it’s like a brave new world. Growing up Southern Baptist, I definitely felt like I “got” the church thing and knew what to expect. The church we are going to is definitely different – but in a really refreshing way. I’m taking my time to learn more about how they do things…and why it’s different and taking time to reflect on whether the difference is something that sits well with me or not. So far, so good…even though I’ve explored a lot of questions along the way.

Something new that happened after Christmas was an Epiphany service where we were all given these stars with a word written on them. The idea is these words were to mean something for us in 2016 as we started the new year. I had never heard of this before, but I immediately loved the concept and idea behind it. And I almost laughed out loud when I received my star with a word on it: TRUST.

I knew it was perfect for me and exactly what I needed a reminder of for this year. Our minister suggested we post it somewhere we’d see it often, so I brought it to work with me and posted it in my cube.

Basically the day after I posted it in my cube, I got word at work that my entire team was getting restructured. There was a period of several weeks ahead of me where things would be extremely blurry. I wouldn’t know what to expect in terms of my job, who my manager would be….if felt like the rug was pulled out from under me when I had my eyes closed.

But I opened my eyes and what did I see? That crinkled star pinned to the side of my cube reminding me….TRUST. I took a big breath and decided I would trust the process. Trust God had a plan….and in a more tangible way…that our leadership team had a good plan to get us through this.

images

It’s been about a month and things are starting to take more shape now. Because of that constant reminder to “trust” I have been moved to see the change as a unique opportunity to learn new things and pursue some new avenues in my current role. It’s not often you get a chance to take on totally new projects and learn a slew of new things in your current role. I’m trusting this is what is meant to be for me and my career.

There are about a dozen other examples of times when this word Trust has been a beacon of light for me so far this year…and it’s only Februrary. I am sure I could have gotten any word and found meaning in it – but again, I’m trusting the word was meant for me as a reminder to let go a bit. What’s that saying? Let go, Let God?

I’ve not been great about that as an adult. The never ending pressure to control everything, to avoid the bad stuff, to prevent negative things….it’s hard to let go of that pressure and just trust if I keep making good decisions that things will go as they are meant to be.

So the thing about trust is that trusting doesn’t mean that things will be easy, or that things will turn out okay. I’ve experienced some major let downs in the area of trust before…it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that letting God deal with things doesn’t exempt you from pain, hurt and sadness. And many times, I think people give up for that reason.

So having this word in my cube and in my heart….it’s the reminder I desperately need on a daily basis that there IS a plan. There are bumps on the path to get there and I’m going to fall and get hurt along the way. In the end, it’s not my plan…I’m only a small piece in a much bigger puzzle. I had forgotten about that, and I’ve been steering my life solo for awhile without stopping to ask for much insight from God.

So this year is tough. It’s tough to break these old habits of only trusting myself. As I started my first day of a daily devotion last week, it was like getting a nudge in the side from God. Here’s what it said:

“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” Hebrews 11:1

Faith can be simplified to mean trust. It’s trusting in God even though you can’t see, smell or touch Him. It’s trusting that he loves you and will always have your best interest at heart. Once you believe that he loves you, it becomes easier to place more faith in Him. How are you faithfully trusting in God?

Loud and clear, big guy.  I hear you – loud and clear.

 

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The Give and Take

My last post was almost 2 years ago on this site. I’ve decided to try a “come back” here promising a weekly blog. More on that in a sec…

There is too much that has happened to capture in a catch up blog, so here’s the deal – I’ll fill you in as we go. Here’s what is important for today and this first blog back in the sattle…

Our family at my son's 2nd birthday party!

Our family at my son’s 2nd birthday party!

My family has recently started attending a church. We moved to “the suburbs” last year and with our little guy on the brink of turning 3 and another one on the way, I really wanted to get back into a church community. We really like where we are going now, but haven’t officially joined yet. It’s a Presbyterian Church which is a bit different from my husband’s Catholic school upbringing and my Southern Baptist world. But it’s a place where I can see my family growing as part of the community and that it important. Our minister sends out a weekly email blog of sorts with some food for thought. This past week, she talked about Lent and her ideas about what she was going to do and it got me thinking.

I have often played around with the “Lent” thing…but it was not part of what we did growing up so this is the first year that I’m surrounded by a church community who participates. I’ll be honest that my freshman year of college, I thought the rapture was upon us as everyone around me had this “mark” on their forward and no one else seemed to be noticing but me. After a miniature freak out, my more cultured friends told me it was Ash Wednesday. Whew, what a relief.

Anyway, I’ve been pondering on what I want to do for Lent this year…and something my minister said struck a chord with me. She talked about how Lent doesn’t have to be just giving up something, it could be adding something to your life as well. I’d never considered that as an option….

After about a  week of thinking about it, I’ve come up with my Lent plan and my focus is on what I’m adding, not taking away. I’ve thought about 3 different buckets in my life I’ve been neglecting:  Spirit, Mental, Physical and aligned my Lent commitments under each of them. Often times I’ve only focused on the physical side and while its good….I am hoping to get in on some of that reap what you sow “stuff” 🙂

Spirit: A daily dose of God via an app called Daily Bible Devotion (free)

I don’t know if I’ll love the app, so I give myself permission to change to a different daily devotion if I don’t dig this one. But the bigger purpose is to not limit my interactions with God to just the weekends during church or when its good timing for me. I want to work on keeping Him in my thoughts on the regular and I hope working on this will lead to me feeling more connected to His plan and purpose in my life. So we’ll try it during Lent and see what happens.

1a7991081f279607a3b477f48d26cb0dMental: Challenging myself to write on a weekly basis

So the mental component is….well, you are looking at it. Getting back to blogging is something I have really wanted to do for awhile. I love to write and the sense of community, but often have trouble finding time to make it happen. Commiting to a weekly blog with some food for thoughts (okay, and maybe a picture of food every now and again because who doesn’t love that?) is a great mental challenge that will hopefully reconnect me to some of that “old me” stuff that I really loved (and miss). Let’s be honest, you – dear reader, benefit from the this challenge the most, am I right?!

Physical: Pass the water

So this is the one area where I’m trying to cut out something. Being pregnant and all, I already have to cut out a lot of stuff but I have still been indulging in the occasional soda. I just can’t seem to kick the habit even though I’ve done it before. So now it’s time to pull the plug and focus on more water, tea, limited coffee and of course, milkshakes. 🙂 I do drink a lot of water already, I just get bored really easy…so I need to get over myself and do this already. Lent seems like a good time to make this committment.

So it’s a lot that I’m taking on…but I’m hoping the recommitment to my spirtual life and working on incorporating writing into my life again will be good for me all around. Putting things in writing is a great way to stay committed to your goals – no matter what type of goal you are making.

What goals are you currently working toward or are you giving up or adding something during Lent?

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Turbulence Training

Just because I haven’t been posting as often doesn’t mean that I’m not working toward goals! Today marks the wrap up of week three of a fat loss program I’m doing called Turbulence Training. I wanted to start working out again, but knew I had limited time and honestly – a little bit of a struggle about getting excited about the whole exercise thing as well. It’s way more difficult now to find time to work out and when I do have down time, I usually would rather sleep or catch up on all the stuff that needs to be done at my house!

So – what’s a new mom to do?

I had been searching for a program that wouldn’t take up a lot of my time, but would give me a total body workout. I needed something I could do during my lunch break at work because trying to commit to something in the morning or after work right now just isn’t realistic. I got an email from Dave at PaleoHacks (great email subscription if you are interested in Paleo/Primal stuff!) and he was putting up details about a conversation/interview with Craig Ballantyne, creator of Turbulence Training and the Home Workout Revolution. So anyway, there are 10,000 workouts associated with these two programs and it’s a little overwhelming. But I ended up buying the Turbulence Training stuff to get started. It’s a digital download and pretty inexpensive. $7 gets you all the material for 21 days and if you like it, you’ll be charged another $37. So whatever, that isn’t  bad considering what I’ve paid for other programs in the past. I just need SOMETHING to help get me back on track.

So this program is cool because it has lots of options. I decided to do the 4 week Fat Loss Program for Women. There are many, many other options but the basic format is circuit training utilizing supersets and then an interval cardio at the end. So the whole workout is about 30-45 minutes (depending on how quickly you can get things set up to move through the sets). So that is pretty good! You do 3 supersets and some of them you do up to 3 times. It’s definitely a total body workout and I can tell that I’m stronger in week three for sure! In week one, just after the warm up circuit I was thinking to myself that I couldn’t possibly make it through a workout like that. And now I’m pushing hard during the warm up and getting faster with the transitions. It feels good to be doing something productive again with my workouts.

I haven’t seen much change in my weight, but I have been measuring and I’ve lost in that area – so I take that as a win. This initial “back in the gym” routine was more about just getting into a healthy pattern again of being active and working on my fitness. I will probably take on another 4 (or maybe even 12!!) week program from Turbulence Training since I have all the materials and resources! And I will probably be lining up some other goals for myself that focus more on my eating (and being better when we do eat out…as that seems to be my main issue!).

I’ll keep you posted on my progress – but if you are looking for a shorter workout that fits into a hectic schedule, or you want to do something at home that takes very little equipment – you should check out TT!

 

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