I’m back!!!!

Hello there!!

My gosh this has been a long time coming! My wheels are feeling a little rusty, but I’m excited to be back and have so much to share.

So much has happened in these last few years! It’s so hard to believe that it’s even been that long since last I wrote. Wow! Let’s see; I’ve acquired several more children, accomplished some major accomplishments in my sport, made some tremendous life and personal changes, been through some arduous struggles, and along the way I’ve found some amazing friends.

After all of that, here I am! I’d like to say a whole new me, but actually it’s just me. The real me. Simply me, if you will. You see, what I’ve discovered or more rediscovered is the me stripped down, layers removed, titles and labels and all the garbled up clutter gone. I can’t tell you how freeing it is!

When I first created this blog, three years ago, it was my intention to share advice and tips about uncomplicated healthy living.  I wanted to help people learn to live a healthier lifestyle with simple, easy to do tips. If you read through a few of my old posts, you’ll see I veered away from that a little. So it may seem.

You see without realizing it at the time, I was already on to what it really takes to be successful in making healthy choices daily, in being successful PERIOD really. I spoke about love and gratitude, aaaaaaand birthday parties. lol

Then I went dark. Things in my life started getting complicated. We had taken in a new foster child, that turned into a few more, that turned into adoptions, that turned me into a mother of six! A mother of six that is always on the move, running kids back and forth to school, sports, appointments, etc, etc, etc. Oh my gosh! and laundry and dishes and cooking and laundry and more laundry!! All while I’m training and competing in Obstacle Course Races, and taking online courses, and trying to keep and clean home, and trying to be a good wife, and trying to be a good mom………..and on and on and on UNTIL….

Until it started to all fall apart and unravel. I didn’t feel healthy anymore, I didn’t feel happy anymore, my house wasn’t getting clean, my children were getting loved on, my husband wasn’t getting loved on, my training wasn’t as intense, my cooking wasn’t what it once was. I was feeling more and more drained and more and more empty. I was losing sight of my passions, my goals, my desires, of me.

You see, I had buried myself with the burden of so many labels. Smothered myself with too many “hats”. I feel that women tend to do this often. Men too to a point, but I believe it’s more predominant among women.  I had gotten so focused on being a good mom, a good wife, a good student, a good friend, a good daughter, a good sister, a good athlete, a good christian that I had completely forgotten how to be a good me.

An epiphany came to me while out hiking just the other day. I was truly on to something when I first created and titled this blog, Simply Kristine. This is what it’s all about. The simplicity of just being you.

As any help book will tell you; you can’t do anything really well when you are trying to do too many things at the same time. Lord, I’ve found that to be so true! With all the jobs, and titles, and labels, and duties that I had assigned myself came different identities I thought were necessary for that particular role. When you’ve stacked up all those different identities and personalities and roles, how can you possibly know which one is the real you? I didn’t anymore.

If you don’t know who you really are, how can you expect your spouse, friends, family or anybody else to know either? If you don’t know who you really are, how can you truly love yourself? How can you truly feel gratitude? How can you truly know happiness?

You see, I’ve found that in my years of personal training and more recently health coaching; I’ve discovered that the number one reason so many fail with diets and exercise programs is that they don’t value or love themselves enough to truly commit, to put forth the effort. It’s really kind of a crazy cycle. We tell ourselves that we’d be happier with ourselves if only we were a little thinner, a little healthier, a little wealthier, etc. etc. etc. But we fall flat because we don’t love ourselves enough to work harder, to move out of our comfort zones, to stay on track, to follow through.

So, I propose this!! Hang with me awhile while I continue on my own personal journey to peel back the layers and rediscover who I am. Simply. Me. It’s my hope that through my own personal discovery I may help you with yours. In the end, when we find out who we are may we fall in love. In that love may we find the courage, strength, tenacity to achieve our dreams and goals.

Oh!! and yes, I plan on continuing to offer some health tips along the way 😉

 

 

Give Thanks!

Hey there!!! How the heck are you?

 

If you’ve been following, I’m in a series now about positive thinking, self love, etc. One of the biggest reasons for this discussion is because the leading cause of weight loss and diet fails is that the deep seeded issues that cause us to over eat or give up on making ANY positive changes in our lives is either lack of confidence or just lack of self love. We all tend to fall into the false imprisonment that thinking “once I’m skinny, I’ll feel so much better about myself” or “once I reach my goals, then I’ll be more confident”.  We imprison ourselves in the boundaries that this thought process puts up around us. So, I’d like to help us break down these walls. Break out of the prisons we’ve locked our potential up in.

 

So far I’ve talked about loving your self, as well as the people around you. (I’ve made it to my ankles by the way. Kinda stuck there because they are pretty knobby. LOL) I hope that you’re working on it too. Baby steps, remember. One trait, one characteristic, one silly body part at a time if you must. You’ll get there! WE will get there.

 

I’ve also discussed ways to start building confidence and trust in yourself and your abilities, with goal setting. Small goals. I hope that you’re trying it out. I believe in you! I believe that you will meet every goal you set, if you at first start small. Remember, don’t set yourself up for disappointment. It’s wonderful to have huge goals and enormous dreams. I sure do! But let’s work on ourselves first. Every great tower first started with a strong and solid base and infrastructure.

 

Yesterday, or this morning whenever it was that it finally posted LOL; the topic was about dealing with the negativity in our lives. I offered some suggestions to help build an ark of positive attitude to float/rise above the murky waters of negativity that seem to be flooding our world.

 

Today, I think it important to talk about gratitude. I know! I know! It’s not Thanksgiving yet. 😉 I hear so often, and see how much of it is lacking. Especially in the younger generations. We all seem to have this huge sense of entitlement. We tend to forget to appreciate the things we have. We over look the many blessings in our lives, because we just assume it’s all stuff we are just supposed to have. I think maybe we force ourselves and our children to grow up too fast. We’ve all seemed to have lost the innocent wonder and excitement and appreciation for life and all things shiny. LOL

This is what gratitude is! The boy in the video was grateful that he received a gift, even though it was just a plain wooden cutting board. His reaction when he got his REAL present, the tablet, was melt-your-heart, sweet and touching!  When was the last time that you expressed thanks and gratitude with that much sincerity and emotion?

Taking an account for all that you have and developing a true, sincere appreciation for it is also be a lesson in humility. People that really and truly have nearly nothing tend to be the happiest and most grateful people on earth. Another fantastic example would be the Maori tribes in New Zealand. They are some of the poorest people in the world. For what a family in the US might find in the seat cushions of their sofa, they can live off for days. Yet, they are also the happiest people. They have an excitement and enthusiasm and sincerity about life that you would see and hear from a child on Christmas morning. Something as simple as a loaf of bread would easily bring about the same reaction as that of the boy in the video.

The lesson is not about how can we provide them with more, but how we can become more like them. Wouldn’t it be awesome if every morning you awoke with such excitement and vigor. That you were excited and grateful to have been blessed by another day? Or to hear your children choked up and so very thankful for the meal that you prepared for them, despite the fact it contained broccoli?

Can you imagine how much more enjoyable life would be, if we all stopped worrying about tomorrow and stressing over that which we have no control of and truly and sincerely learned to appreciate the gifts we have TODAY? Think about it. Imagine that tomorrow you woke up to a storm, typhoon or hurricane that completely wiped away all that you had and all that you know. You had nothing. How grateful would you feel as you started to put your life back together. If you went days without food, how AMAZING would that first morsel be? Even if it was just a brussel sprout?

Try it out. Live as if. Live as if at any time, any moment you could lose it all. Try to take inventory of what you have and what truly matters. Stop telling your children to be quiet in their moments of excitement, joy and graciousness. Enjoy the squeals and laughter. Be a part of it. Listen and learn how to. Encourage them to find joy and gratitude in every single blessing. Maybe instead of showering them with gifts, get them one really special one. That’s the one that they’ll really remember anyhow. (This is something I need to work on, I know!!!)

Don’t hold back next time you get, or do something that you are really grateful for. Or just next time somebody does something for you or says something nice. Do back flips, cry, show your child-like enthusiasm. Thank everybody for everything as often as you can. I’m sure you know how good it makes you feel when somebody thanks you for something that you’ve done. Return that favor. You’ll soon realize that it feel really good just to do it. You start to feel more grateful. You start to recognize all the wonderful around you.

 

I’m signing out for now. Check back later, I’ll add my recipe of the day and work out of the day in the morning. My little one is trying to close my laptop. Must be time to cuddle…. LOL

and HEY!!!!! Thank you!! From the bottom of my heart, with every ounce of my being I thank you for taking the time, taking the interest to read this. Love to you all!!!!

Build your Ark

Good morning!!
I hope you had a fantastic weekend!!!
Mine, mine was crazy. To be honest, don’t think I’d have it any other way! LOL We took in another foster child Thursday night. After a sleepless night with trying to get her settled in and taking precautions against any unwelcome visitors she may have brought, my Friday was spent running to and from doctors appointments, and trying to entertain a large number of children.
My only disappointment is that I was on a role with my posts. I had a great one planned for Friday. Would have been a great one to carry into the weekend. As it turns out, I think it might be an even more suitable topic for coping with Monday moodiness. 🙂
I had seen an overwhelming number of posts, heard various comments from friends, and overheard conversations in regards to negativity and negative people. Apparently, most people are effected and sometimes annoyed by habitually negative people. At least they were Friday. LOL
It really is so true, though. They can really get to you. Get under your skin. Infect you like a virus. We all have one or a dozen of those people in our lives (even more if you’re from New Jersey, LOL). You know the ones that walk around with a dark cloud hanging over their head. The kind of people that if they were handed 100 gold coins, they could tarnish it with their complaints and whining and it would wind up seeming as worthless as a pile of rusty nails. OK, again with the overly dramatic, sorry!! But you get what I’m saying.
Let’s be honest, we can all have those days. Sometimes longer.
How do you battle it? If you watch the news, listen to the radio, read the paper, you just can’t avoid the negativity, the despair, the doom, the gloom. It’s almost unavoidable. Our world seems to be drowning in it. What do we do? Build an ark? Hmmmmm. Maybe.
You have to build something to keep you afloat. An ark actually works example of exactly what you need to do. Ready for this?
 smiley ark
In order to rise above the negativity that surrounds us, you must bale out as much of it that you are carrying as possible. Like water in a boat. If you’re already carrying on water, any extra will sink your boat. You’ve got to bail that garbage out!! If you look back to my posts from last week, there are some examples of where to start. If you don’t think highly of yourself, than you probably also harbor quite a bit of negativity. If you don’t force yourself to find love in those around you, it’s too easy to get caught up in what’s wrong/negative about them.
While you are working on baling out the waters of negativity within yourself, you need to start finding a support of people that are examples of the positive and uplifting person you want to be as well as people that are also working in the same direction. Fill your ark with people that will help you float.
It’s important to recognize that no matter where you are, there will always be negative people. There will always people that walk around in never ending despair and hopelessness. You can’t avoid it. As you begin to rise above it, it’s important to build in some coping mechanisms to help you avoid taking on water again.
One of my favorite coping mechanisms is to see those people and their comments as a challenge. (I love challenges, LOL) It’s almost a game. Rather than buy into what they are saying and how they are feeling, I try to turn them around. I try to use humor or Love and Logic to get them to look at how they’re feeling from another perspective. I’ll try to get them to look at solutions for their worries/problems. If none of that works, I’ll simply keep my mouth shut, smile and nod, and try mentally to focus on either what I can learn from their situation or what I can laugh about. 🙂
I also refuse to watch the news on TV. News shows are just that. They are looking for popularity and ratings, so of course they are going to present things with as much drama as possible. They are only going to present what is going to cause the biggest stir. I know that it’s important to stay current with local, state and world events. I’ll peruse the headlines on several internet sights and only click on stories of interest. Then I just skim for educational purposes. I’m not easily swayed by political propaganda or journalists opinions. I also try not to get up in gory details.
As a foster parent, I’m already exposed to the cruelties and inhumanities and evils of the world. I’m exposed to quite a bit of negativity. I can say though that I’ve built my ark and it’s pretty strong. I see the smiles of my children and hear their laughter and it keeps me afloat. My faith in God helps me to rise above the murky waters of all the despair, hopelessness and YES even the whining! The love that I carry in my heart for all those around me, that takes up so much room there just isn’t enough for the negative.
Oh, I’m not saying that I don’t have bad days. I’m not saying that sometimes some of the negative people and their comments and complaining doesn’t sometimes get to me. What I’m saying is that I don’t let them weigh me down. If it happens, it’s for a fleeting moment.
If you’ve started journaling, as I suggested last week, on days that you are feeling negative write about it. It doesn’t have to be lengthy. If you’re anything like me, once the kids are in bed I don’t have much energy to write 5 pages of journal entries. My brain is usually pretty fried, my body’s worn out, and I’m ready to pass out. LOL (My days run in maximum overdrive – especially during the week. – not complaining, just explaining- I love it!) Sorry, I digress. Just jot down an abbreviated version of what happened/how you are feeling, then look for the humor or lesson in it. Jot that down. If it was just something that you saw or something somebody else complained about, do the same. Look for the humor, or say a prayer for them even!
Recipe of the day:
With football upon us, who doesn’t crave buffalo chicken wings? Kinda goes, doesn’t it? You’ve got to try these!!! They are just awesome!!! I use the seasoning for chicken thighs and drums too. I’d rub it on the whole darn chicken, if it weren’t for the fact it’s not the kids’ favorite. LOL!!
Snagged this from Holisticsquid.com
Wings:
  • 2 1/2 lbs. chicken wings
  • 2 Tbsp butter or coconut oil
  • 1/2 Tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
Sauce:
  • 4 Tbsp butter or coconut oil, melted
  • 6 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp sweet paprika
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (I had not known that this existed, it really does make a difference in the recipe. It’s an awesome spice that I use often, now)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • Cayenne pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Set a wire rack inside a large rimmed baking sheet. Toss  to coat wings in melted butter/coconut oil with salt and pepper in large bowl. Bake until cooked through and skin is crispy, 45-50 minutes. Whisk sauce ingredients in large bowl, toss the wings in sauce and serve. (I actually prefer to cook for 5-10 minutes longer with sauce on.)
Serve with carrots and celery.
WOD:
Perform each exercise for 30 seconds with 10 seconds rest between exercises. If you’re up for a greater challenge repeat for 2-3 rounds.
  • Squat with shoulder press
  • Side plank with knee tuck (bring your upper knee into your belly, then extend) Left side
  • Squat jumps
  • Lunge with weight overhead alternate legs
  •  Side plank with knee tuck Right side
  • Step ups
  • Skaters (side lunge swing leg behind you like a speed skater)
  • Crab abs (Belly up on hands and feet, bridge. Raise right leg and reach to touch with left hand, alternate. Keep butt up off the ground)
  • Side step jumps or up and overs (if you have a step box or stable bench side step up and over to the opposite side. If not, step out to your side then jump. Alternate sides)
  • Straight abs (lay flat on the floor with hands over head (add weight if possible) reach hands up toward the ceiling while sitting up. Control as you lower back down.
Yes, I do realize that it is no longer Monday morning!!! Was having technical issues that hopefully have been resolved. Hope you still find this useful.

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by stevedocwra on

I love you AND your big toe!!!

If you missed yesterday’s post, I’m working on writing something more deep and meaningful than a healthy meal idea and home cleaning product recipe…Not that they aren’t wonderful things to know and blog about! LOL   I’ve decided to spend a few days or week, or whatever to discuss happiness, love, self-esteem, and goals. Or something along those lines. Just going to write and see where it takes me. 🙂

There really is a method to my madness. So bare with me. I’ve read a great deal of self help books, attended seminars, etc. what I’ve learned is that it’s very hard to achieve success without some level of confidence. Thing is, how do you achieve confidence? Let’s be honest, if you’re even reading this there is a great probability that you are lacking perhaps even a little bit in this area. Success, confidence, happiness, positive thinking, love – they are all not only related, but are relative to each other. You get me? It’s a kinetic chain of sorts. One effects the other, effects the other and so forth and so on.

I touched on trying to build confidence yesterday with goal getting and silencing the “CANNOT’s”. Today, let’s address love.

Yes, love.

This is a big one for me. I have a really hard time saying that I love myself. I have learned, however to really, truly love all of you. I can say with all sincerity from the very depths of my heart that I have love for EVERYBODY. It’s taken a lot of work to get here. Won’t lie, there are days that I love some people quite a bit less than others and may need to remind myself that regardless of that person’s short coming or great stupidity (ahem) I do have love even for them. :-0  This love stems from my Christian beliefs. It was so commanded that we love our neighbor as much as we love our God. If you knew any of my neighbors at all you would fully understand what a challenge this was for me at first. 😉 Even if you aren’t Christian, it’s an important component to living a happier life. Another one of my all time favorite people, Bob Marley, also suggested we love each other.

Let me tell you, there’s such freedom and enormous satisfaction in looking at a stranger and thinking, “I love you!”. When you learn to love without boundaries, regardless of stature, color, race, religion, or intelligence (this one I struggle with at times, LOL) you really feel just GOOOOOD! When I’m feeling down, or agitated, or stressed and I force myself to acknowledge my love for the strangers that pass by, my day just changes. I feel lighter. I feel happier.

When people cut me off while I’m driving, I (most of the time) refrain from using my middle finger, instead I interject a feeling or thought of love and gratitude. I thank them for keeping me on my toes and thereby making me a better driver. I thank them for making my otherwise boring drive a little more interesting. I pray for them. I pray that they make it to their destination safely, happily, and without injuring anybody. 🙂

As far as loving myself, that’s another thing all together. Crazy, huh? Most of us are like that. Can you seriously look at yourself and say “I love you” and mean it? From the depth of your soul, really, really mean it? I can’t. I’m a work in progress. So, let’s do this together!

As with my goal setting suggestions from yesterday, I suggest we start out small. How about our toes? Don’t know about you, but I have really ugly feet. LOL! Wish I was kidding. So, my toe. Hmmmm. You know, I can learn to love my big toe. Let’s start there!!! My toe, it’s big and crooked BUT it looks just like my Dad’s. I have his feet. When I look at my big toe, it makes me think of my Dad. I love my Dad. So, that’s a great thing, right? OK!! You, know what? I LUUUUUUUUV my big toe!!!

Baby steps on our way to self confidence. We stop hearing that yucky “can’t” word and start loving ourselves, can you imagine what might become of us?!!!!!

I wouldn’t be serving anybody if I didn’t bring up the downside. Here goes: YES, there will be/are bad days. Days when you just don’t feel good about yourself, you don’t like anybody else, you feel defeated, you feel weak, you feel like a failure, yep they will always be. What do you do? You face those B@#%es and tell them where to go!!  lol  Actually, that’s where your journal comes in handy.

On those days when you look in the mirror and even that toe that you love with all you heart just can’t bring you up, you turn back the pages in your journal and read about your accomplishments. You read about what you thought was wonderful last Wednesday. You see that you put another 23 cents towards your family trip to Europe. 23 cents!!!! That’s leaps and bounds closer than what you were a week ago!!! It’s not that it’s only 23 pennies, but that it’s 23 pennies with REAL INTENTION. You accomplished something BIG! HUGE!!!! You realized a dream, a goal and you made a move in that direction. That’s worth a pat on the back, right? That’s something to feel good about.

So yes, Christ commanded that we love one another. Once you practice it and realize it’s rewards, it’s kinda like you commanding your children that they have to eat chocolate ice cream. Not a hard thing to do, because it makes you feel really REALLY good. Loving your neighbors gets easier, as does loving yourself. Baby steps.

Go. Write in your journal. Write about how much you love your toe, or any other part of you, 3 parts of you in fact. Write 3 things that were great about your day. Write 3 things that you accomplished today. Think of three people that you find challenging, forgive their short comings and try to find love for them.

One thing that can always make me feel good about myself, even if it’s just for a little while, is exercise. I feel the strongest, most beautiful, the most confident about myself when I’m dripping in sweat and crawling on my knees from exhaustion. It’s the one time during the day that I really don’t care what anybody else thinks, I have no self doubts, no questioning, no hate, I just do. I work out. I go. It makes me feel so good. If I write down my workout beforehand and then finish everything that I had written, I feel so empowered, so accomplished, so happy!!!!

I suggest to you, GO! DO! Find something that challenges you. Work hard. Beat the heck out of it!!! Then carry your head in confidence back to the mirror and find something bigger than your big toe to love.

WOD:

Go for a run/jog. Interval. Run for 1 minute or 30 seconds full out, walk until you catch your breath, repeat for 2-3 cycles. Then drop and do 20 push-ups or 15 burpees, then carry on and repeat for 20-60 minutes depending on your personal goals/fitness level.

Recipe of the day:

Bamboo steamed fish and vegetables:

I just recently broke out my bamboo steamer from the deep dark depths of my cabinets. I had forgotten how much I really loved it! I used to use it all the time. Especially back in my, “I’m terrified of encountering any fat in my diet” phase. lol

Bamboo steamer baskets really add a flavor and aroma to your food. Aside from the benefits of cooking without oils and fats. They really do enhance the flavors of your foods.

4-6 ounce serving of chicken, flounder, or cod per person

Toss in seasoning of your choice, I like garlic, parsley and lemon juice or gluten-free, sugar free Cajun or blackening seasoning.

Add in all of your favorite vegetables: broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, kale, boc choy, zucchini, etc. whatever!! Go crazy!

Serve with jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, or zucchini noodles = Awesomeness!!!! You leave the dinner table feeling full and really REALLY satisfied. You just feel clean. Try it, you’ll know what I mean.

You may also feel like you’ve just eaten too clean and may be craving something sweet. For this I suggest my absolute favorite banana bread/muffin recipe EVER!! No grain, no sugar, just really really good. To give it an added naughty feeling, you could add maple syrup (REAL!!!), extra banana chunks and double the cinnamon. That will give it a Banana’s Foster touch! Decadent, and a little naughty. 🙂

Best Banana Bread/Muffins Ever:

  • 4 bananas (+ 1, if you’re going to go for the Banana’s Foster)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 cup almond butter (I’ve used cashew butter and sunflower seed butter with the same delicious results)
  • 4 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 C combination of cashew and almond flour/meal + 1Tbsp of Coconut flour or 1/4 C coconut flour
  • 1 Tbsp cinnamon (play with this to your taste, 1 was just not enough for me)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 pinch celtic sea salt
  • optional 1/4-1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • optional 1-2 Tbsp of pure maple syrup
  • Mix wet ingredients in medium bowl. Combine dry ingredients in separate bowl. Stir to combine. Then mix on high speed for 2 minutes.
  • Grease 9×5 bread pan, bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes, or line muffin tins bake for 30-35 minutes.
  • Enjoy!!!

Drowning in the “CANNOT” (revised)

Hello!! Happy Tuesday! 

So sorry that I’ve been quiet as of late! I’ve been doing some research and some soul searching. Trying to find deeper and more meaningful and useful topics of discussion. Not saying that talking about how wonderful my kids are isn’t meaningful. LOL But I have a deep desire to help others, you, and want to discuss topics that will have greater impact on you, your life, and your health.

After a great deal of thought, prayer, and meditation I’ve decided on spending some time discussing stress, happiness, confidence, positive attitude, and love. After all love is what makes the world go round. lol! Had to throw in a silly cliche. (It’s that kind of morning 🙂  )

Not sure if it’s a midlife crisis, or just the whole “turning 40” deal that has brought about such deep contemplation. I have taken a lot of looks at my life, looking at my successes and failures, my short comings and strides, and my dreams. I came to the realization that all of my short comings, my failures, lost dreams, unattempted goals all can be traced to one root cause; lack of confidence. I don’t think it’s as much fear of failure, but the belief in “CANNOT”. 

You see, when you place limitations on yourself you are essentially weighing yourself down with an anchor. A big heavy anchor. A big heavy anchor that can one day drown you, if you don’t learn to cut it loose. (Sorry, that may have been a little too dramatic.) 

I saw a Facebook post yesterday that spoke moons about what someone living without limitations can achieve. The story was about a woman that was born without legs. Because of their inability to cope with her disability, they left her at the hospital for adoption. That baby was blessed enough to be adopted by a family that did not believe in the “CANNOT”. She was raised believing that there was no such thing as limitation. Without legs, that little girl played basketball, baseball, and eventually became a very accomplished gymnast. I highly recommend taking three minutes of your day to watch the video. It’s truly inspiring!

Many of us are introduced to “can’t” and the existence of “CANNOT” at childhood. As a parent, it’s something that I believe we do unintentionally. We want to protect and keep our kids safe, so we might tell them that they can’t climb the walls/bookcases. We tell them that they can’t jump off a bridge, or run out in the street, etc. You see we use the word “can’t” and we start building that belief that it’s a real thing. We start building those walls, dams, and limitations. Of course it’s not OK for our kiddos to run out into the street! But if we change the verbiage to something along the lines of “I love you and want you to be safe, so let’s run in the park or on the sidewalk instead.”, we eliminate “can’t” from their vocabulary. 

It’s near impossible to “un-believe” something. So as adults many of our attempts to make changes wind up failing, because we still believe in the “CANNOT”. That still exists. As much as we may want to change, as much as we desire to live healthier, or to work towards our goals and dreams that “CANNOT”  weighs us down and holds us back.

I believe it is possible to overcome the “CANNOT”! I do! I know it’s not an easy or quick fix, however. It takes persistence. It’s something that you have to work on and toward everyday. You have to develop a bigger, MUCH BIGGER belief in the “I CAN” than the “cannot” in order to cut that anchor loose.

Start slowly. Make small goals for yourself everyday, just one. When you reach that goal, write it down. Journal it. In your journal, at the end of everyday write 3 things that you’ve accomplished, 3 things that you like about yourself, and 3 of your best assets. Do this everyday. Everyday try to find different answers to these questions. If you can’t at first, that’s OK. For some of us it can be difficult just to find 3 things that we like about our self. Eventually it does get easier. Eventually you will notice other things. Your eyes will open, the walls will start to lower. 

As you start to notice your ability to reach your goals (no matter how small they are), it gets easier to make more. It gets easier to believe that you can accomplish more. The “CANNOT becomes smaller and smaller. The “I CAN” starts to grow and grow. If you persist, stay consistent, eventually your “I CAN” will be so big that there will no longer be room for the “cannot”. 

Here’s the deal though. If you aren’t reaching the goals you start out with, you need to start smaller. If losing weight is one of your goals, start out not having chocolate for breakfast. That’s easy enough. Didn’t say you couldn’t have a candy bar at lunch or as a snack. But if you can make it until after breakfast, you’ve reached your goal, right?!! If your goal is to pay off debt or increase savings, or save for a dream vacation; start off with putting a penny or a few in a jar. Anybody can find a penny! Goal accomplished!! 🙂

You see, it doesn’t matter how small the goal. It’s the feeling you get when you reach/accomplish it. That feeling grows as will your goals. 

I had posted a video of myself on Facebook, trying to start a new challenge. I must first explain that  I’m deathly afraid of public speaking and have an enormous distaste (closer to hate, really) for being on camera! It was a big step for me, just to take the video. I’m not going to lie, I was shaking and nervous and nearly in tears. This is a copy of my video re-post on Sunday:

 I’m not going to post my work out of the day. Simply because I don’t want to kill anybody! LOL I’ve been training hard to recover my strength and endurance. A busy summer with kids and travel and then a broken toe have had it’s toll on my Spartan training. Still hoping to be Spartan ready by my birthday. I did find this gem while looking for ideas: check it out! (the rest of the website has some great workouts and nutrition advice as well)

http://www.dailyhiit.com/hiit-blog/hiit-community/5-day-challenge-improve-self-esteem/

 Recipe of the day:

Go Green!!

Make a green salad. Load up on lots of colorful veggies. If you like a little sweet, I like to toss in some chopped apples or berries. Get creative. Don’t bury your masterpiece in sugar laden, chemical additives and unhealthy transfats!! Olive oil, avocado, or grapeseed oils with splashes of lemon juice or vinegar works fantastic at enhancing the natural flavors in your vegetables. You can even substitute salsa! 

Another day, another party!

Happy Wednesday!! Anybody else feel a little strange that although the week is half way over, it seems to have just barely started? 

As the song goes, “whoop, I did it again…” 😉 another birthday party (and a half)! My son turned 3 today! We celebrated last night at an arcade/fair type place that the kids absolutely loved. I loved it because I did not have to cook or clean. This evening we had a small cake and ice cream thing. I made cupcakes and a nice dinner, drew Spider-Man and his friends on our windows, and blew up more balloons. My house looks like marvel comics explosion! LOL! Quite the change over from the princesses and winter wonderland it was just a week ago.  < Continue reading “Another day, another party!”

Happy Labor Day!

I just love holidays!! Any reason to eat yummy food, enjoy spending time with friends and family, and not have to run kids to and from school I’m very happy to celebrate! Although you’d think being sandwiched in between the kids’ birthdays, that I’d be partied out. LOL  Not me!! 

I’ll admit, I still have a few snowballs and princess balloons hanging up around the house from my daughter’s party last week. I’ve got Spider-Man decorations on deck for tomorrow’s birthday for my son. So, we celebrated Labor Day at a hotel where there was no decorating, no cooking and no cleaning required. 🙂 Oh yes, I’m a happy girl!

I’ll have to admit I couldn’t remember how Labor Day started or what the history was behind it. Thank goodness for Wikipedia! In case there is anybody else that thought it was just about celebrating the end of summer, it’s not, It really is or was in celebration of all the people that work hard everyday. It was started by a machinist in a union, with the intent of increasing gratitude and awareness of all the blue collar workers that keep our country running. Most definitely, people worth recognition and celebration!!

The sad part is that it wasn’t signed as a National holiday until parts of our government participated in the manslaughter of union workers that were on strike. It was used, as it would seem, as an apology and also intended to boost moral in the union workers. It worked! 

There’s a lot to be said about the powers of positive reinforcement and special recognition. Who doesn’t like to hear that they are special, right? Who doesn’t appreciate a pat on the back or compliment? Words as simple as, “thank you”, “great job”, “that was wonderful”, or “your are amazing” can truly move mountains! 

I just recently viewed a video clip that was posted on Facebook. It was a clip of a teacher speaking at a conference for teachers. It was quite possibly the most refreshing and encouraging view on teaching that I’ve seen. She spoke of her use of positive encouragement and the effect it had on her students. Check it out :http://www.upworthy.com/a-teacher-gave-a-student-an-f-and-a-smiley-face-but-she-wasnt-making-fun-of-him?c=ufb1 If you think about it, the greatest success stories you’ve ever heard were seeded by a positive influence. A comment, a compliment, some encouragement….

How great and rewarding would it feel to know that you were the one that planted that seed?! Can you just imagine hearing a statement years from now from richest woman in the world, or a future president explaining to the world that what ignited their success was the kindness and a few encouraging words from you? Ok, even if it wasn’t someone as successful as the richest person in the world, wouldn’t it still be pretty cool to know that you made a difference in somebody’s life. That somebody succeeded because of a little positive encouragement….

How awesome would it be if we all worked to build others up? Rather than criticize, critique, put-down, or slam people; if we all planted seeds of encouragement? Could we start a movement? Could we move mountains? Hmmmmmmmm? What would it hurt to try? Wouldn’t cost anything. Wouldn’t hurt anybody. Wouldn’t take much work. What if you started with yourself?

What if you started using your inner voice to say encouraging words? What if instead of criticizing yourself or putting yourself down, you praised yourself, or used mantras of encouraging words? What kind of mountains could you move? What sorts of successes would you have? We are our biggest critics and the creators of our own limitations.

Stop the negative language! Toward yourself and others.

 

WOD: I played in the pool with the kids all day. Go out and play. There is reward beyond the calorie burning!

Recipe of the day:

Lime Marinaded Chicken

  • Juice of 4 limes 
  • 2 Tbsp of Avocado oil, coconut oil or olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp of chili powder
  • 1 tsp of garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground pepper
  • optional dash or cayenne pepper

Place chicken in shallow dish and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for 2+ hours. Grill chicken, basting with the marinade for best results. I served with mango slices, veggie sticks and fresh made guacamole. It was awesome!!!

Sleep and Sanity

After nearly two and a half weeks with very little sleep, at long last……..it has happened!!!

sleeping guy

Please forgive my ramblings from last evening! It has been difficult to put thoughts into words, and onto a page with such little sleep and fragmented thinking. After re-reading my post this morning, I’m quite embarrassed about the direction it took. Although I do believe it very important to teach our younger generations the importance of environmental awareness. I am passionate about placing less power in the greedy hands of people/companies such as Monsanto. I believe whole-heatedly the necessity of banning GMOs and regulating the hormones, antibiotics and pesticides used in/on our food sources. And yes, I believe that there are a LOT of negative side effects caused by the use and consumption of genetically altered food and animals. No, although I may have sounded like it yesterday, I am not a raving lunatic! LOL

Back to more grounded conversation…. 🙂 

Insomnia is something that I’ve contended with off and on throughout most of my adult life. It’s frustrating! There’s nothing like being wide awake and not being able to do anything about it. Just wait. (Especially while you’re listening to your spouse snore away, with a care….) It hasn’t been until recently that I’ve learned the plausible causes/triggers of this annoying condition. Hormones! 

I used to think thyroid malfunction and hormone imbalances were nonsense. Just excuses used by over weight middle-aged women to be over weight and grumpy. It was actually a laughable joke to fellow personal trainers and me. “Oh, let me guess, your thyroid caused you to eat that pint of ice cream last night. Hahahaaha.”

Karma,  she’s for real and she doesn’t play nice!! And guess what, thyroid and hormone problems are no joke! It’s been an on going battle with me since my second pregnancy. It’s been eye-opening and educational, not to mention just plain miserable! I totally get the grumpy, whiny, frumpy middle-aged women that I used to train. There are days when I feel so defeated that I can totally understand the desire to give up and eat a pint of ice cream or bag of chocolate. I get it!! I won’t. I’m too competitive for that, I guess. But, I get it!!!! I just simply refuse to be defeated by such things!

When I was first diagnosed with my sluggish thyroid and completely out-of-whack hormones, I was struggling to make it through the day. There didn’t seem to be anything I could do to “wake up”. No amount of coffee, no supplements, no energy drinks that could perk me up for more than a minute or two. I exercised like a fiend for at least two hours every day and was gaining weight like crazy. My libido was absolutely non existent (poor hubby!). Understandably, I was also experiencing levels of depression that I had never known before.

Desperation finally drove me to seek help. (I’m not a fan of trusting in doctors.) Luckily, I found a naturpathic doctor that was wonderful! She ran some tests and ordered tons of blood work. When it all came back, it was clear as a bell what was causing my misery. My hormone function was nearly non existent. Almost zero. What was wonderful about this great doc was that she didn’t just prescribe medicine to fix my symptoms, but she educated me on what the probable causes of my condition were. We worked together to try to minimize my symptoms and discomfort, while I worked very hard on trying to educate myself further on what drove my body to this point.

The more obvious cause of hormone imbalance, was my previous pregnancy. It was a miscarriage. My body had not gone through the normal process of highs and lows and system resets that a full term pregnancy does. One could also argue the chicken and the egg theory. It is entirely possible that my hormones were off prior to the pregnancy, thereby resulting in the spontaneous termination. There’s only One who knows that answer with certainty. Moving on…

Another one of the largest contributing factors to hormone imbalances and thyroid conditions are toxins. We are exposed to so many harmful toxins on a daily basis! Our bodies are working in over-drive constantly trying to bring balance and excrete not just the toxins that we breathe, ingest and wear; but the toxic by-products of the over-processed, chemically enhanced, garbage that we consume.

So, one may ask, what is there to do? 🙂

There are detox programs that line the shelves of every vitamin shop and health food store. Detoxifying your body and helping to cleanse your liver and kidneys is a big start. I’ve tried numerous detoxes everything from “the lemon-aid diet” to juice cleanses. To be honest, I’m not sure one was any better than another.  Every body is different and everybody has different needs. Take the time to read, do the research before you commit to any long term detoxes/cleanses. 

Detoxify and cleanse your home. Rid your cleaning buckets of harmful and toxic cleaning products, such as chlorine bleach and ammonia. Get rid of products that contain synthetic fragrances and perfumes. Stop using lotions, soaps and cosmetics that contain toxic chemicals/preservatives, synthetic perfumes, and dyes.

Yes, it is less convenient to purchase natural non-toxic home, health and beauty products. It takes reading labels and doing a little research. Some items can be quite a bit more pricey. Others not at all. As cliche as it sounds, the more you spend on consuming organic and healthy foods, and replacing toxic products in your home; the less you’ll spend on medical bills. True story!!

A few of the cosmetic brands that I’ve found to have less toxins are 100% Pure, Josie Maran, and Tarte. My favorite household cleaners I make. I’ve posted the all-purpose household cleaner that I use on a couple previous blogs. For laundry detergent, I usually fall back to Seventh Generation. I just don’t have the patience to make my own, although I’ve seen some fairly easy looking recipes. I make my own skin moisturizers and body scrubs. I’ve posted recipes in previous blogs. 

All of this has helped me tremendously! There are still a great deal of toxins that I’m exposed to on a daily basis, though. Sadly, living in one of the most polluted cities on the US makes it hard to be toxin free. I’ll just control what I can and detox when my systems show signs of stress. As for my insomnia, this time, I’m certain is coming from my thyroid medicine. The good news in this, is that my thyroid is working as it should and apparently doesn’t need to extra kick from the medicine. So, I’ll cut back. Detox. Take some melatonin and sip a glass of wine… Sleep well!!!

Back from Birthday Party Mania

Hello, all!! Back and nearly recovered from my daughter’s birthday party! It was a tremendous amount of work, but sooooo much fun! Party theme was Frozen. Of course my daughter wanted me to turn our home into an ice palace. Of course, we had to have an Olaf pinata. Of course, I had to carry it one step further and want snow. It’s 100+ degrees here in the desert, summer time so finding all things ice and snow is a piece of cake, right?!! (sarcasm) There’s only one store in all of Phoenix that has Christmas items out now and they definitely aren’t on sale! There is no such thing as an Olaf pinata, apparently. So, I had to dig deep into my childhood girl scout memories and rediscover my pinata making skills. (Was actually kind of fun!!) I assigned my husband the task of tracking down a snow cone maker that would work well enough to make snow for a snowball fight. (He did good!) A week full of hard work paid off and we entertained 13 littles and several adults. Games, food, bounce house, snowball fights, prizes and the coolest pinata ever!! 🙂 And then……..the clean up! Which is why, I’m just now getting back to my blog. photoFrozen Partyphoto (2) One of the biggest successes of the party, requiring a big hardy pat on the back, was that the pinata didn’t have a single piece of candy. Before the bashing of Olaf, the kids were all excited and chattering about all the candy they were going to get. Bwaahahahaaa! Instead they were showered with really cool little toys, crafts, fun mustaches, rings, cute hair accessories, and snack packs of organic sugar free fruit snacks. 🙂 Didn’t hear one single word about there not being any candy! When reflecting on this, I came to the realization that creating and establishing healthy eating/lifestyle for children really isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be. Really, I’ve noticed that kids ask for unhealthy food because it’s what their friends eat or it has fun shapes or colors (or lots and lots of sugar :-/) The really cool thing is that they can be so easily redirected. My children and the neighbor kids that come over, enjoy and have a greater interest in healthy food when I include them or even just let them prepare it. My daughters love salad, especially when they get to help cut the veggies for it. Even more so, if I just put them in charge and allow them to create. Same with smoothies, they’ll drink a smoothie with spinach and broccoli in it ONLY if it’s one that they’ve made. Shoot, I’ll take that!! Kids are also sponges. They absorb so much from you. From watching how you eat. From listening to what you teach. Often times you think what you are saying goes in one ear and out the other, but it’s not! I’ll often get the eye roll from the girls when I’m discussing why eating brussel sprouts and asparagus are far better food choices than french fries. Then I’ll over hear a conversation that they’re having with a friend or another adult about why that person should choose green veggies over the fries that they’ve just ordered. LOL!! A word of caution, they will also not hesitate to bring it to your (and everyone in ear shot) attention when you make an unhealthy food choice. Here are some examples of the healthier version party food that I served at my daughter’s party. They were all huge hits by the way! Olaf noses: Homemade ranch dressing:

  • Organic plain greek yogurt
  • 1 Tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp dried dill
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp celtic sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Place a tablespoon or two of the ranch in the bottom of a clear plastic shot glass and then stick in a few organic baby carrots. Melted Olafs

  • Organic vanilla yogurt
  • Mandarin Orange pieces – for nose
  • Candy eyes (Or chocolate chips or raisins)
  • Chocolate chips or raisins for buttons
  • I used pretzel sticks for arms

This was a party favorite!! Another favorite was fresh strawberries served with homemade whipped cream Whipped Cream

  • Organic heavy whipping cream (small carton)
  • 2 Tbsp organic raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • Beat the whipping cream on high until peaks form and starts to get firm, then blend in remaining ingredients

Work out of the Day: Bear crawl – forward and back 25′ each direction 3 times

  • This essentially crawling except you do not put your knees down. It’s a great exercise for building upper back, shoulder and arm strength and abdominal and low back strength as well.

Squat jumps for 30 seconds Planked spiderman

  • In a plank position, alternate bringing your knees up to touch your elbow. This is awesome core work, you’ll feel in your obliques (sides) and shoulders as well
  • 20 times, each side

High knees for 30 seconds

  • I’ll sometimes use a chair or step and tap my toe on it. Helps to have a focal point, making sure to get knees up high enough. This is cardio and great core work.

Repeat previous exercises for 15 minutes with just 10 seconds rest between sets.

The Beast behind every Challenge

Happy Monday! 

It was for me! I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see a Monday EVER!! Needless to say, my weekend was busy and pretty challenging!

Anybody that knows me would understand. I tend to keep my self busy. A little too busy sometimes, perhaps. I have a “thing” about leaving openings in my daily/weekly schedules. If I’m not running from one event to another, panicked and flooring it; then my day has been pretty quiet. LOL This past weekend was no different.

I agreed to help a woman that I’ve never met, by providing respite (babysit) care for one of her foster children of whom I have also never met. 0-o What could possibly go wrong?!!! OH!! And then there was a couple people that I had invited over for dinner on Friday night, CPS case worker visit, picking up the girl’s from school, picking up child I’ve never met before from daycare, our neighbor’s birthday party Saturday, kids’ sleepovers, making an Olaf pinata for my daughter’s birthday, retrieving Christmas decorations out of the garage to “Freeze” our home for said daughter’s upcoming Frozen themed birthday bash…..and the usual weekend chores.

Nothing in the above list is really outside of what a normal day might look like for me, but when you add in a six year-old kid that’s understandably nervous, ADHD, extremely bossy, doesn’t share well, doesn’t get along with other kids well, does not use the toilet (at all!!), and throws tantrums at bedtime worse than my two-year old; it was a bit much!!

By Sunday morning I was watching the clock like an obsessed lunatic and praying for 1:00 to come. My one really big reprieve was attending church. He did very well in the children’s Sunday class. I did very well listening to God’s word and enjoying 90 minutes of no whining, tattling or screaming. 😉 What was even better, by the time I got home it was 1:00!!!!!

I felt a tinge of guilt and slight pull at the heart strings when he left. Not going to lie, I did a happy dance! Then went right into picking up my trashed house and disinfecting the peed and pooped on bathroom floors. :-/  So hard to believe one little child could make such a huge mess! I’ve seen my kids make some pretty big messes, but it’s usually a group effort. Busy little guy. ****deep sigh***

As I was cleaning, completely exhausted, feeling somewhat relieved, the guilt hit me again. The girls and I were discussing our little visitor. Well….more complaining about him, really. I noticed that throughout our conversation I kept referring to him as a challenge. That realization triggered off something that had hit me during the sermon at church that morning. He was talking about challenges and goal setting. Challenging yourself to be more, to not die with untapped potential specifically. That ignited another thought. The challenges that I’ve posted, the challenges that I’ve proposed, the challenges that we not only place on ourselves, but challenges that we face in our lives, and what they all have in common. Many of us see challenges and are fearful, what we see it as may be scary, it may be ugly, it might be overwhelming. The biggest, ugliest, scariest part of challenge most often isn’t the challenge itself, but the fear of failure. Fear of failure is the big ugly Beast we see, sometimes it might be fear of change that makes up the beast.

ugly beast

The difference between life’s challenges and the challenges that we elect to place on ourselves, is that the challenges that we elect are usually one’s that we choose with hopes of improving ourselves or some aspect of our life; life’s challenges are the one’s that God has chosen, with the same hopes.

If you really think about it. I mean REALLY go back and dissect the events before and after all of your biggest of life’s challenges, did you not always come out with some improvement. Even as bad as it was, whatever it was, however hard it was or still may be, if you really REALLY look at it I’ll be you’ll see that it was not all for not. There was some good that came of it. Sometimes that may be hard to recognize. It may take a while to recognize it, but it’s there.

The same with challenges that we choose. Even if we fall flat on our face, there was good in having faced or attempted a challenge. The mere act of trying. Let me rephrase that. TRYING is not a mere act, not by any means what-so-ever is it just mere. The single GREATEST thing you can do is to try! It takes great courage to take that first step. It takes dedication and determination to take the next step, and then the next. Whatever your challenge is, whatever your intended outcome is; what you also gain is strength in character. When you can set forth on trying something new, and finish it regardless of whether or not you were successful in your intent; it was a success. The single WORST thing you can do is give up or not try again.

As I look back over my weekend and the little “beast” that challenged me, I realize that there was in fact good that came of it. I learned how to stretch my patience, love and compassion beyond limits that I thought were imaginable, I learned a deeper appreciation for the children that are in my home regularly, and I learned new tantrum management tactics. 🙂 In my life I have learned to embrace challenges, I look at them in a much different way than I did a few years ago. I know that my life’s challenges will indeed make me a better person and help me to release (or realize) a little more of my potential. My personal challenges, well. Pshaw!! The Spartan Beast obstacle race is a jaunt through the park compared to my weekend. LOL As far as how I now envision challenge, this is what I see….

kind beauty beast

So, hey!!!! I challenge you to change your vision too. Look at your hardships, or rotten kids (JUST KIDDING), in a different light. Take it in stride, just keep going, there really is a beauty on the other side!

My personal challenges right now are keeping up with my week daily commitment to writing this blog, a 30 day lunge challenge that I found on line, keeping up with my Spartan WODs, and turning my desert home into a winter wonderland in 106 degree heat for my daughter’s birthday party. 

What are you doing to challenge yourself this week?