Keeping your Home Gym Clean {and your home smelling fresh}

As my home gym grows and my home workouts get more intense, keeping my gym clean, and the house smelling fresh, is becoming more and more important.

No one wants to walk into a home that smells like a gym and if you don't like walking into a home that looks like a gym, sorry dearie, I have no other choice. Homes are small in Hawai'i so our main living space is my gym, darling daughter's craft area, the TV zone, and to be honest, dinner table/homework table/bible reading zone. Open concept rocks!

But just because my home looks a wee bit chaotic and jam-packed with enriching gear, including a treadmill, dumbbells, a yoga mat, foam roller, medicine ball, running shoes, and more -- this doesn't mean I want my home to smell like a gym and to be totally honest, I can be kinda germaphobic at times.

In a perfect world I would say I wipe down my equipment every day but y'all, that isn't happening but I do engage in a thorough cleaning once or twice a week. I wanted to share my routine with you and welcome any tips you may have.

I wipe down my treadmill and the walls and furniture around it with a disinfectant wipe (not the metal parts on the treadmill though). My home is arranged so plush, soft stuff is not in close proximity to my treadmill. I also wipe down the standing fan in this zone. Metal parts are wiped down with a washcloth but no more added wetness as they are fighting rust issues as it is and there are very few metal zones on my treadmill.

In my cross training zone, there is a faux leather ottoman and lounger than may get splashed with sweat as I kick and punch myself strong. These get wiped down with a disinfectant wipe or a damp towel with a lavender cleaner I love.

Dumbbells can also be wiped down with a damp, soapy cloth or with a disinfectant wipe. Your choice but if yours are foamy in areas, harsher cleaners can break down the foam so mats, etc I go with gentle cleaners like the lavender one I mentioned previously.

My workout area on the floor is carpeted. If I owned this place I would switch to a hard floor for better cleaning options but for now, I give it a good spray with Lysol but not too much as I have a guinea pig and bird nearby and frankly, we don't want them, or the family, inhaling too much fumes. I have an area rug that I roll up for my workouts so after spraying, and after workouts, I keep it rolled up a bit to let things air dry. I also strongly suggest carpet cleaning on a regular basis and more often than you may have done pre-home gym days. Renting the cleaners is amazing and go ahead and do the whole home. :)

For my weighted hand gloves, I give them a spray with Lysol maybe once or twice a month and make sure they are placed so they can air dry and not stacked on top of one another.

Right now, I do not use my resistance bands much but do to what they are made from, those will be cleaned with a cloth and soapy water.

By taking care of your gear not only will your home smell fresher, your gear will last longer and that matters too....don't you think?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my growing home gym and variety of home workouts.

Daily Bible Verse: Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil. ~ Isaiah 1:16


52 New Workouts Check-in

Aloha Y'all!

We are cruising through April at rocket speed and I thought today was a GREAT day to check in on one of my resolutions - to try 52 new workouts in 2017. Do you believe we are 15 weeks into the year? In some ways it feels like more time has passed than that but maybe it is because I have done....wait for it....24 new workouts so far!!!!

To be honest, I was a bit worried I was behind on this goal and am ecstatic that I am ahead of the ball. Thank goodness because I am behind the ball on my virtual run from Lands End to John O'Groats. Yes, I am running virtually from England to Scotland and I love this mission just as much as I love being able to do so many new and challenging workouts.

Y'all, one key to my workout success is that I have hundreds, I mean hundreds!, available at my fingertips for one annual fee that in all reality can be less than a gym memberships when you add in sign up fees, monthly fees, etc. Way back when in the days I signed up for a gym membership my sign up fee was waived (courtesy of where I worked at the time and a great company perk) but I was still paying $30 a month for the gym. This amounts to $360 a year to go to the gym.

For awhile it was worth the investment but then I got a treadmill at home which has paid itself off in terms of gym membership fees saved PLUS when I was at the gym no group classes were offered. They started later in the day when I was working AND on weekends I paid additional fees for childcare but only had an hour to get my workout done due to time restrictions. My annual fee I reported above did not include the $5 childcare fees that were almost weekly but for those financial masters....that is an additional $260 a year so for the sake of argument....let's say I just did that every other week....I was paying $490 a year for the gym. YIKES!!!!

Now imagine paying $99.95 a year for access to hundreds of workout programs that range from beginner to advanced, yoga to cardio to strength, dance and beyond. It is possible! But what's better is that for a limited time you can get this PLUS the shake I love for only $160. And did you know, the vegan shakes now come in vanilla and cafe latte in addition to chocolate and strawberry!

Coming May this pack will return to it's normal price of $199, which is still remarkable when you take into account the gym costs I reported above.

Why am I telling you this? Because it has made a remarkable difference in my life and I find doing new workouts on a regular basis doesn't just keep working out fun and refreshing but it is better for your body as you are not adapting to one workout and plateauing on results. Switching things up is good for your muscles and your brain!

So far the new workouts I have done have been from yoga classes, boot camp training, dance, additional programs to the basic 21 Day Fix program, and Core de Force (my latest love and core blasting fave!). For my new workout tally I am counting new routines NOT new programs.

To get the most of my workouts I have also purchased some additional gear --- weighted gloves for $19.95 and an agility ladder, also $19.95. As you can see, I am still saving lots of money by doing my workouts at home. If you add in the gear I purchased to my $99.95 annual fee, I am paying $139.85 a year, which means I am saving just over $350 a year.

So if you are trying to workout on a budget this may be the perfect fit for you and to be honest, I didn't realize just how much I was saving until I sat down and wrote this post. And to be completely transparent, this post contains affiliate links so I would be honored and blessed if you used them or shared them with someone who would love some of these programs and products. Mahalo for your support. 

Daily Gratitude: I am beyond thankful to have so many amazing and challenging workouts to do at home.

Daily Bible Verse: Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. ~ 1 Corinthians 9:24-27


Busy Mom Marathon Training Program

Hey y'all!

Guess what?! I am in marathon training mode again and I am super excited about the new training plan I have set up for myself. For those who don't know, I am a certified RRCA Running Coach and a Beachbody Coach. With that said, if anything strikes a cord with you in this post, please consider supporting me through following the affiliate links in this post.

No two people are the same in their needs and I hate to tell you, your own needs will change over time so what you did the past may not work as well in the future. You gotta shake it up, baby!

And I am shaking it up crazy style because I have a couple of things front and center in my needs for training right now in my life --- it has to be doable, effective, stress-free, and fun to take root and blossom as I am coming up of a depression funk (thank you God!) related to PTSD. That is another story. The second element, it has to be flexible as my life can change drastically in the blink of an eye when I say "YES" to helping someone or "YES" to an extra ride or activity for darling daughter. My training is important and so is she.

But before I tell you WHAT I am doing, I am going to share with you part of the process. When I develop a plan for myself or someone else, I always love to look at historical data on what has been happening. Here is a look of my running miles over the past year.

I think you can clearly see my drop off in running motivation but also that my March Madness challenge helped me get back into the swing of things (along with other elements). My goal in March was to run 25-30 miles per week and coming from waaaay less than that in February, I did a great job getting to 25.1 miles per week. Now, this is super low in comparison to my past running but right now we need to focus on the now, not the then, and celebrate the now.

What you don't see in this graph is the cross training I do almost daily. I do take down time between programs at times and the programs I do range from 21-30 days....sometimes more. There is a 60-day program I adore! If you want to learn more about those, please email me and we can chat! Or drop me a comment below.

I have also been eating according to plan at least 80% of the time and perhaps closer to 90% and that matters. I am making sure I am getting enough protein and not overdoing the carbs like I am notorious for. Carbs can be good in moderation though and I am not a carb-free gal. In fact, I have noticed on some days if I inadvertently haven't had any at all I can feel it and I do eat some again, according to plan. I love my portion control containers to help me with that!

Now on to the good stuff ---> my training plan!

First, for marathons the long run matters and in the past I have struggled to get these in mainly because of something coming up on the day I was supposed to do it and/or forcing me to try to run them on the treadmill, which is really hard by the way on some days. So for the sake of ensuring I nail those long runs and eliminate run day stress, I have established month goals for my long runs versus scheduling them on x-days. My marathon is in October so I have LOTS of time to get me where I want to be. Since I have that much time, here is my plan:

  • April: 10 miles (I already have two 10+ mile days in!)
  • May: 13 miles
  • June: 16 miles
  • July: 18 miles
  • August: 20 miles
  • September: 20-22 miles
  • October: Race Month with the race on the 15th

On this plan I am playing on my strengths and my tendency to try to get things done earlier rather than later. I knew my goal was to nail a 10 mile run this month and I already have two days in. I know my goal is to nail 13 miles in May, that I would like to do that run earlier rather than later, so I am working on building up to it throughout the rest of the month.

Second, marathon training is more than the long run and other running days matter but again, I am not going super detailed with a day-by-day plan of x-miles. My March Madness worked well for me so I am staying with that strategy. I had an overriding goal and knew if I fell short one week, I would work to bring it back up to my goal. This gives me the flexibility I need right now and prevents me from "getting down" on myself and that is counterproductive to training. Here are my mileage goals:

  • April: 30 miles/week
  • May: 35 miles/week
  • June: 40 miles/week
  • July: 40-45 miles/week
  • August: 40-45 miles/week
  • September: 40-45 miles/week
  • October: Have fun month! No goals beyond run the race!!!

In April and May, I am focused more on building up my base and setting a strong foundation so I am not focused too much on speed, etc. Just running and having fun! In June, I will start incorporating speed work in my running and may add pace goals to my training plan.

Third, cross train. This is where I will take full advantage of having hundreds of programs at my fingertips that I can stream easily at home or on the go (great for summer travels!). And I would be totally awful and an uncool friend if I didn't tell you that for this month, you can get the All Access Pass to these programs AND the shake for only $160 (normal retail for this is $197 and way back when, I paid $140 for ONE program on DVD and my shake...just saying).

The programs I like have daily workouts that last typically 30 minutes but can range from 21 minutes to 47 minutes and some days I do more than one. On days I do three darling daughter shakes her head and tells me I am CRAZY but she also wrote me a beautiful note the other day saying what she loved about me and guess what? Me doing Beachbody was one of them! The others, I buy her food, take her to riding lessons, and craft with her. But I digress....

My cross training is a mix of cardio, strength, agility, and flexibility. By golly! That pretty much covers everything! And I know it will make a HUGE difference because when I was in my running slump, I still cross trained. It was fun. And when I bit the bullet and started increasing my mileage, my body is completely accepting increases that go beyond the suggested.

I am super excited to start this journey and to share it with you and once again, if you want any help, or have any questions, I am here for you and FYI, I offer online coaching for running too!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for getting my running mojo back.

Daily Bible Verse: But the one who endures to the end will be saved. ~ Matthew 24:13


Saint of the Month: Saint Dymphna

I am falling more and more in love with the saints and as darling daughter embarks on her two-year confirmation journey, she has been researching saints to pick her patron saint. With that on my mind I reflected on who my patron saint would be.

Yes, I was confirmed many years ago when I was in high school but I do not remember going on the same journey as my daughter is. She is picking a saint, needs to write a report on why she picked that saint, and needs to write a letter to the pastor of our parish all in preparation. Oh how I wish I did that! I know if we did, I would remember the process as it is extensive and I do remember my high school years. Elementary....not so much. High school...yes!

With my current struggles with depression and PTSD my thoughts went to...is there a saint I can pray to, a saint whose life I can reflect on, a saint to have on my side praying for me and with me to my Lord Jesus Christ?

And guess what? There is!

Saint Dymphna (dimf-na).

Saint Dymphna is also referred to as the "Lily of Eire" due to her spotless virtue and her feast day is May 15. Her attributes are a crown, sword, lily, and lamp and she is the patron saint of those with mental disorders, neurological disorders, runaways, victims of incest, and depression. But who was she?

Saint Dymphna was born in Ireland in the 7th century and was the daughter of a devout Christian mother and a pagan father who also happened to be an Irish King. When her mother died he wanted to remarry but only wanted someone as beautiful as his past wife and his eyes turned to Dymphna. When she heard of his intent she ran away.

She consecrated her life to Christ at the tender age of 14 and in the time she fled from her father, she helped build hospices in Geel for the poor and sick. However, her father did find her and murdered her when she was approximately 15 years old.

Miracles were reported as soon as her tomb was discovered from those with epilepsy and other forms of mental illness who visited her tomb. They were instantly healed!

The U.S. National Shrine of Saint Dymphna is in Massillon, Ohio at St. Mary's Catholic Church.

If you want to pray to Saint Dymphna, which I often do now spontaneously form my heart, you can follow this prayer:

Good Saint Dymphna, great wonder-worker in every affliction of mind and body, I humbly implore your powerful intercession with Jesus through Mary, the Health of the Sick, in my present need. (Mention it.) Saint Dymphna, martyr of purity, patroness of those who suffer with nervous and mental afflictions, beloved child of Jesus and Mary, pray to Them for me and obtain my request.

(Pray one Our Father, one Hail Mary and one Glory Be.)

Saint Dymphna, Virgin and Martyr, pray for us. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the communion of saints.

Daily Bible Verse: And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. ~ Revelation 5:8


Product Review: Stem Box Subscription Box

Disclaimer: I received a box free of charge to review. I did not promise a positive review.


Science. Technology. Engineering. Math.

Now imagine all that educational goodness in a box that makes education exciting and fun. Is it possible?

Believe it or not, yes! And I don't know who was more excited about our trial box from My Stem Box --- darling daughter or myself. The box we got to try was all about bacteria and included six petri dishes (which darling daughter had been asking for), agar powder, tools, a cute pin, and a cute bacteria stuffy plus a marker that darling daughter loved. The one thing that was missing was the small pipette that it said was included but we couldn't find it; however, I cannot say with 100% certainty that the little thing didn't fall out in one of our many pre-looks before we buckled down to do our experiment.

Since making the agar base involved hot water, I helped darling with this as she wasn't sure she wanted to do it alone PLUS the box did recommend having an adult helper. I was concerned our house would not be warm enough for the experiment as it gets chilly at night and we have no central air/heat but our samples grew beautifully! We put them on top of the fridge like they suggested.

We then examined them under our microscope (not included) and darling daughter figured out what bacterial shapes she was seeing. All of this was done with gloves on...that they provided...cute little purple gloves that fit kiddo hands perfectly.

All in all, it was a wonderful, educational time and we have enough agar to do a second experiment. They give you instructions on how to properly clean your petri dishes if you want to do another experiment PLUS what you can use in place of agar if you want to do more and more and more!

The subscription plan is a bit higher up on my budget for such things but for the value of the box, I think the price is understandable. A one month subscription starts at $30 and they have 3-month, 6-month, and 12-month pre-paid plans that give you monthly savings with the pre-paid cost for one year being $300 (the buy 10 get 2 free can be appealing if you are ready to make the commitment).

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to grow bacteria at home and share stories with darling daughter about when I worked in the lab growing bacteria and yeast.

Daily Bible Verse: Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:2


I don't have the time or money for that - part 2

This is part 2 of my two-part series on the things I often hear from friends and clients - "I don't have the time or money for that". You can read about time HERE.

And trust me, I understand where people are coming from when they say that. I have many times thought or said I do not have the time/money for that. And one thing I adamently said nope to was the cost of Shakeology and man, I was wrong. I am so glad that I finally gave it a try and honestly, with how things worked out, I do have the money for it. Part of it is not truly looking into what expenses would go away when I said yes and then not truly understanding the value of it on my life and how I feel.

We always have the time and money for what is important to us, don't we? I know, this does have some limitations but you get what I mean. Your kids want x, y, or z lessons and you find a way to make it happen. Geesh! You may have once been like me and thought that you couldn't even afford a kid and then, you do. Things work out. Adjustments are made. Priorities shift. And ultimately, I feel that brings us more into focus on what is important.

I am big on giving back to the community and society which is why I may give away way too many freebies to people but hey, it is who I am. I love to share but I do still need to take care of myself and my family. And my daily shake and workouts help with that. It is a good investment because I am stronger, healthier, and happier. Yes, happier even though right now I am in the trenches of a deep and dark struggle with depression but ultimately, that is okay.

I am a marathoner and know the struggle can be hard but the reward is great. I will continue on this journey in faith and my trust in God led me to it (even though I felt warned it would be hard) and my therapist was honest about it when asking if I was ready to embark on trauma therapy (warning me it would be hard).

Hard? I got this! I am a marathoner. I know hard. I run every day and am currently on day 1910. I know hard. I am a Beachbody coach and have done tons of programs pushing me to find inner strength. I know hard.

I also know, going through the hard can bring you some place better and I am not about to say no to that. So if investing in x, y, or z will help me on my journey, it is worth it. I am ready to invest in myself and my well-being in order to be a better me. Are you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to have Beachbody in my life. Hear more about that HERE.

Daily Bible Verse: Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. ~ Matthew 6:19-21


I don't have the time or money for that - part 1

There are two things I hear very often from friends, co-workers, and clients. I don't have the time or money for that. The that can vary from person to person depending on their needs, desires, and priorities in life at this particular moment in time. Today I will focus on part 1: Time.


That is what it all boils down to and most of the time, the focus on your priorities is indeed just and right. Most of the time.

Don't take that wrong. Priorities matter. They guide our lives but they can only be true beacons of light if they are good and just priorities and not "priorities of comfort" or, don't take this wrong, just plain weak excuses.

I can't workout because I don't have time for that. I am a mom. I have a full-time job. My kids have after school sports and other events. I have no time.

But I bet you if you honestly look at your schedule, how you are doing things, how you may be wasting time, you will find a lot of time on your hands that can be used in new and different ways.

My first thing won't be to tell you to wake up 30 minutes earlier to get it done. I was told that countless times but when you are already waking up before the cows, your hubby is giving you a hard time for what time you wake up, earlier isn't going to help.

What I will say and ask is this. Are you using your time wisely? Are you wasting precious minutes watching TV longer than you intended, making many shopping trips versus one, not asking or accepting help when you can, scrolling just a wee bit too long on facebook looking at pictures of friends and family and wham-bam-thank-you-mam there went an hour. Facebook is a time sucker. And so are so many other things.

I don't know about you but a trip to town to get things can take 30-60 minutes in drive time alone. Make one trip a week versus three and lookie-there-dearie, you have 60-120 more minutes in your week! You could get some good workouts done in that time. But that time can be applied to more than workouts if you have other things tugging on your heart.

An example from my life. I have added prayer and scripture reading into my morning by doing it while I run but at the start of the year I felt called and determined to strive to read the entire bible in one year. I started a three-year plan last year and flopped halfway through the year. Time got away from me but I was still determined to take on a bigger challenge and believed I could make it work. But how? How could I read more of the bible each day to accomplish a bigger goal when I already flopped with less reading required per day?

I looked at my plan. Last year my reading was scheduled to happen before bed. Some nights I was just too tired. Just being honest here. A late night, evening unexpected events, and momma just wanted to crash. Waiting to the last minute is not good for me and that is why I almost always get my runs in first thing in the morning. That works for me BUT I wasn't about to wake up 30 minutes earlier to run, pray, and read the bible. We already touched on that point.

So how was I going to make this work?

My solution was golden. I carry my bible with me each day to work and to darling daughter's horse lessons. While she tacks up or while I wait for her at school (yes, I arrive early), I get my reading done. Minutes I would have just scrolled through facebook or other social media outlets to pass the time are now devoted to something bigger and better in my life and it works. And I bet if you look at your schedule you will find "waiting times" that can be redefined into your moments of success helping you to achieve all you want to do in that one 24-hour day of craziness we all have to cope with.

I would love to hear what works for you!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I have a computer even though it randomly enlarges and shrinks my font. Any tips you have for me?

Daily Bible Verse: "And lying at his door was a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, who would gladly have eaten his fill of the scraps that fell from the rich man's table." ~ Luke 16:20-21


Saint of the Month: Saint Perpetua and Felicity

Image Source
How exciting it was for me to sit down to do the saint of the month post for me! I looked up feastdays near the first Monday of the month, the day I have slated to talk saints, and discovered March 7, tomorrow!, is the feast day for Saints Perpetua and Felicity.

Darling daughter LOVES their story and has watched it more than once via Torchlighters, which I believe streams on Amazon Prime for free but you can also find it here for your kiddos.

I was not surprised to see that Saints Perpetua and Felicity are the patron saints for mothers and expectant mothers but I was surprised to see they are the patron saints for butchers and ranchers.

Perpetua and Felicity are Christian martyrs from Africa dating back to way, way, back in the early persecution of the church. In 203, young Perpetua accepted Jesus as her savior and her father was not happy about this at all. In fact, he encouraged her to renounce her faith to save her life and to avoid the ongoing persecution headed by Emperor Severus.

Although Perpetua was very young (22) and had a young, nursing baby, she refused to turn her back on God. Felicity, a very pregnant, slave had the same resolve and stood firm in her faith. Perpetua and Felicity were imprisoned with others who refused to announce their faith and even though the prison was crowded, they found comfort in their faith and each other. Perpetua was eventually granted the right to have her baby with her in prison and Felicity gave birth while in prison. I can't even imagine how awful that could be and yet, these women remained strong.

Perpetua and their faith leader, who was also imprisoned, had dreams that kept them feeling secure in their faith and Perpetua wrote a beautiful record of their time.

All of the Christians were martyred. The men were killed by wild animals but the ladies, Perpetua and Felicity, died by the sword while standing side by side.

You can read more on their story HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my freedom to practice my faith and to share it with you.

Daily Bible Verse: If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. ~ 1 Peter 4:14-16


Green Kid Crafts Subscription Box Review

Disclaimer: I received the Green Kid Crafts box free of charge for the purpose of writing this review. I did not promise a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Does your kid love crafting as much as mine?

Do subscription boxes appeal to you as much as they do to me?

Are you looking for something for your darling gem to do while you run and cross train for hours at end?

Okay, you may not be able to answer yes to all of the questions above but I would think at least one fits you. And if you are still reading this post, I bet it is that your kids love crafts. Now imagine crafting fun that is:
  • Good for the environment
  • Educational
  • Easy to get
  • Affordable

And what you have is....Green Kid Crafts! Boxes start at $19.95 a month if you do a monthly subscription but if you commit to more than one month, you save. Commit to a year and the price goes as low as $17.95 a month. PLUS they have the option to add on an educator-approved book each month and/or extra sets for siblings for families with more than one craft loving kiddo.

I know at first you may be thinking, geesh, that is a lot for a craft box. But trust me, as soon as I
opened the box with darling daughter I saw the value. It has everything your kiddo will need to complete the 6 or more educational projects.

Darling daughter is still enjoying her Arctic-focused box and even the Polar Bear mask, which I thought would only take minutes, took much longer than I expected. While doing this, she learned about the Inuits and their culture.

She has made homemade window clings for our windows that are still up and it has been weeks! In this project, she learned about animals that inhabit the Arctic.

Plus, she made a homemade postcard for me to mail to my buddy, Toby. And that reminds me...I gotta mail that! 

She used what I thought were normal crayons for that project and as soon as she started she exclaimed, "Mom! These colors are so much more vibrant than my other crayons!" and she started reading the container and by golly, they are eco-friendly soy-based crayons. How cool is that? I never knew that existed and she was right, the colors are much more vibrant. It is amazing!

I am truly amazed by this box and am seriously considering getting her a subscription but first, she has one more box to check out but that is a post for another day but to be totally honest, it is completely different and this momma may end up getting two boxes!

Daily Gratitude: I am beyond thankful for the opportunity to review this amazing eco-friendly craft box.

Daily Bible Verse: And he has filled him with the Spirit of God, with skill, with intelligence, with knowledge, and with all craftsmanship, to devise artistic designs, to work in gold and silver and bronze. ~ Exodus 35:31-32


Lent - Is giving up something really a sacrifice?

Today is Ash Wednesday and marks the start of the 40 days of Lent leading up to Easter. For those wise mathematicians out there, you may be saying, hey, there are more than 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter and guess what? You are correct. There are but the Sundays during the Lenten season do not count as official days of Lent...if that makes sense to you.

Growing up, Lent always marked a dreary time for me. A time when my parents and religious education teachers told me to give up something I really liked for 40 days. They always suggested candy. How could I live without candy? Fast forward to today, easily. I hardly ever eat candy but to a young child it seemed cruel and wrong. 

I can't say I was instructed poorly but I was missing the point. I was clueless and part of me thinks that was just the child I was then. The child with no cares in the world, no worries, no true understanding of what "the cross" means and what Jesus did for us. I knew the story. He died for our sins and was resurrected from the dead but to the child me, I didn't get it.

Fast forward again with me to today and I can say, I get it. I get it to the point I get chills up and down my spine and want to cry out how sorry I am that I helped nail my Savior to the cross with my sins. And how unworthy I feel of His love, mercy, forgiveness, and blessings every single day of my life....even when I was straying and walking down a terrible path. Jesus loved me. He called me back. He saved me.

So Lent is here again and it has new meaning. Yes, I will give something up but my small "sacrifice" pales in comparison to what Jesus did for me, for you, for all of us. But I also realize, this "sacrifice" will feel harder to darling daughter as we are doing it together. We are giving up TV. Since Sundays are not official days of Lent, she will have TV time then for her educational and fun cartoons, but the other days, nope.

I want the next 40 days to focus on growing us closer to God and each other. I have pre-selected some faith-based DVD's from Netflix that I will allow and since we do the one DVD out at a time plan, this may end up being our Sunday viewing and not much more. The start will be learning about who Abraham is and his story in the bible. The final one will be The Passion of the Cross, an animated version great for kids. And we will continue to listen to our Daily Devotion each night from Adventures in Odyssey and do our bible verse readings and discover new ways to help those in need. 

I look forward to this time to really delve into my faith and am excited to share the season with my nine year old. Maybe, just maybe, she won't stray as far as I did as I am doing one thing I never remembered my parents doing, I am telling her my story of pain and how not following God hurt me in my past and how very sorry I am. And she is seeing me working on getting better, growing deeper in faith, and becoming an active member of our parish community. But ultimately, her future is in God's hands and Jesus, I trust in you.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful that I can share my faith with my daughter and for how receptive she is to it.

Daily Bible Verse: When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? ~ Psalm 56:3-4

P.S. I love seeing how God works in my life and ironically, after writing and scheduling this post last night I found out....Netflix is streaming a new season of The Great British Baking Show. Oh my goodness! I love this show!!!! All of a sudden 40 days without TV has become a wee bit harder for me. Thank you, God, for allowing me to do this for you.


Do you Groupon?

This is a sponsored post. All opinions are mine.

I have heard many people talk about Groupon and the amazing savings they find but in all reality, this momma has been slow to jump onto the bandwagon. But sometimes life sends you gentle pushes, or more extensive jabs, to look into a whole new way of couponing.

I grew up cutting coupons. I look for savings anyway I can. It helps me provide for our small family on our tight budget and still allow for fun indulgences here and there...and horseback riding lessons for darling daughter. And she is growing like a weed and has discovered the wonders of fitness wear. That girl loves a pair of leggings as much as her momma and when we stumble on a sale, we will get some...sometimes.

But I have discovered that I can be more proactive. Before heading out and driving around town, which only takes additional gas (ummm....money when gas is nearly $3/gallon here!) and time (oh so precious time), I can check out the Groupon site and see what may be on sale or has coupons in my neck of the woods. Seriously, you can finetune your search for fitness wear and see what there is. Better yet, finetune your search and see what Nike has on sale....and there are some amazing discounts. I'm talking 20%-50% off on a variety items right now. This really helps when both dear hubby and I run and are costantly replacing running shoes.

If you are like me, sometimes you need reminders to check out things, even when they are good deals. I am happy to tell you that you can follow Groupon on facebook and twitter.

Have you ever used Groupon? Tell us about your experience. Mahalo!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for opportunities to share saving ideas.

Daily Bible Verse: A faithful man will abound with blessings, but whoever hastens to be rich will not go unpunished. ~ Proverbs 28:20


10 Fit Mom Tips

Time flies and I can't believe my little gem is already 9 years old! On the bright side, that has given me 9 years of trial and error in finding a way to stay fit and healthy and still be a present, peaceful, loving mom.

I honestly believe the 10 tips I am about to share are valuable to moms at any stage in motherhood and these tips are being shared in no particular order. :)

  1. Invest in personal development. Set aside 10-15 minutes a day to invest in yourself with the focus of stretching your mind and knowledge. And by personal development I really mean knowledge power - find a book on improving skills in your life, developing a positive mindset, parenting advice, etc. Whatever fits your needs in the moment. Right now I am loving Surviving Depression: A Catholic Approach but I have a couple of other books in queue to be read on different areas of development that matter to me.
  2. Exercise. Aim for 30 minutes a day and if you need to break this up due to a new baby in the house, do it. Just exercise. When my gem was younger, I would run with her in the jogging stroller and I loved it. And to reward her for being good in the stroller, we would go to the park afterward so she could get her exercise in (and this momma got some more!). Now, I tend to workout at home and have been building my home gym, have a treadmill, and stream amazing workouts.
  3. Eat well. It is so tempting and so easy to snack on what the kiddo's have or to skip meals and then grab whatever is easy to get but trust me, good nutrition matters and will help keep you energized throughout the day. My daily shake is just that for me as before I started drinking it, I was hitting the wall every afternoon and wondered how I would  make it to the school to pick up darling daughter without falling asleep at the wheel. Not a good place to be. PLUS make sure you are getting in all the right macro nutrients and if you want, I can help you with an eating plan and love my portion control containers. Email me if you want to learn more.
  4. Make a menu. Planning will not only help you in the day to day life but in shopping and sticking to a budget. Look at what you have and try to make at least a dinner plan for the next week and make a shopping list. Recently I have been planning 3-4 weeks at a time and yes, meals may juggle from day to day as things pop up but I just erase the meals we do and go from there. I love having a dry erase board for this!
  5. Prep those meals/snacks. I love the $4 salad kit at Costco as I can divide it into 6 lunches, 4 for me and 2 for darling daughter, and do so all at once. Then we have lunches we can pull from the fridge for lunch and school. I also prep things ahead as freezer meals and prep veggies/fruit for easy grabbing throughout the week. Think of it this way, one messy few hours is better than a bunch of messy 20 minutes throughout the week. 
  6. Develop a shopping plan. I used to run to the store left and right but with a better meal plan, and trying to schedule life around a busier kid schedule, an adjustment was needed. We now have one weekly shopping day where we get everything we need for the week and I try to do one bigger shopping day that includes Costco once every 2-3 weeks. Not only does this save time, it saves gas, and makes your life a bit more organized.
  7. Let some things go. As a momma who strives for perfection and has a little bit of OCD letting things go is hard but I have learned to lower my standards a wee bit to keep myself and my family happier.
  8. Know when to say no. This goes beyond saying no to your kiddo's when you need to but no to others. Don't take on more than you can chew. It is okay to say no. Do it. And sometimes my no these days is no, no more stuff can come out in the living space until something is cleaned up. It is about balancing my OCD and peace of mind with other people in a loving way. 
  9. Take bubble baths. I would love to say do this once a week but if you can't, try for once a month. Grab your personal development book, some nice music, or candles and just go soak and relax in the tub. Find a way to make it happen and you can find amazing bath time delights to make the time more indulgent without being overly pricey HERE.
  10. Know your why and identify your rock. When things get tough, you will always have this why and rock to fall back on. The why you do what you do. The why you take care of yourself, The why that motivates you and the rock that can lift you up when you are feeling down. My why is my child. I want to be a better mom for her and know I am blessed beyond belief to be her mom. My rock is God. My faith. I have been knocked down in many different ways along my journey as a mom but darling daughter will always brighten my day and my rock, my faith, God, will always be there by my side. 
Bonus Tip: Love Yourself! You are an amazing woman worthy of love and praise.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful to be a mom.

Daily Bible Verse: Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laughs at the time to come. She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: “Many women have done excellently, but you surpass them all. ~ Proverbs 31: 25-30


Run for a Cause!

Hey y'all!

Guess what?! The Kearney Area Down Syndrome Support Group Step Up for Our All Stars 2017 is just around the corner and is scheduled for April 1, 2017. And it gets better! You don't need to live in Kearney to register and to make a difference by supporting Down syndrome awareness.

Registration starts at $10 and there is an option to just donate, or make an additional donate. Please support Team Tob-Bo-Nator (named to honor my buddy Toby and his amazing younger brother, Boaz) today.

I truly love Toby, Boaz, and their family. Did you know Toby and Boaz both have Down syndrome and their parents lovingly adopted them internationally and in my opinion, saved them from a much unhappier, less enriching life? I have been running for Toby since July 27, 2014 and he has made a remarkable impact on not only my life but my daughter's. We finally got to meet him last summer face-to-face and I miss him immensely...his amazing hugs, his kisses, his performance acts, and his contagious joy and by golly, Boaz was equally delightful (or maybe more so for darling daughter as she isn't often around younger kids).

My eyes are now more open to those with special needs and I am learning how to be a better friend to them. I love reaching out to the gentleman at church and extending peace. I love seeing him go out of his way to extend peace to others. I love the joy he brings into church, to mass, and to our community. And I love that I am learning to speak and communicate with those who may not be able to speak and communicate like I do. And that is okay. We are all created in God's image and have something remarkable to offer to others as long as others (myself included) are willing to open their eyes to see deeper within one another.

Daily Gratitude: I feel blessed to be able to participate in the Kearney Area Down Syndrome Support Group event virtually.

Daily Bible Verse: And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. ~ John 9:2-7


Remembering Dad

Ugh! This time of the year is tough. Not only is it the busiest time at work but today is my Dad's birthday.

Oh how I miss him...immensely miss him....will forever miss him.

I can only pray he is proud of me as he looks down at me and the life I am carving out. I pray he is at peace in Heaven and finds comfort in me praying for him and that his life, and more accurately, his death forever changed my life.

Losing my dad devastated me to the core but it was also the catapult to me coming back into my faith. I remember our last hug and darling daughter loves hearing the Grandpa stories I share...including our last hug.

Darling daughter was so young at two and I wish she had more time to get to know her Grandpa. We were visiting him and hoped to arrive on his birthday but our plans changed when darling daughter came down sick. I didn't want to travel with a sick kiddo and I really feared her bringing germs to my dad who was already fighting leukemia. When we got there we were blessed with him having time at home but he got a fever and had to go back into the hospital. Darling daughter was too young to go up to the floor he was on so he came down to us but got tired...rightfully so...and was going to go back up. I gave him a hug good bye, told him I loved him, and hung on a bit longer. I even remember telling darling daughter to wait as I wanted to hug my Daddy a wee bit longer. That may have been the first time I told her to wait just because I wanted something for me and to this day I remember it. How blessed I was that I did hang on longer, that I told her to wait, and looking back I can only say even then God was working in me and letting me know...hold on, hold on a bit longer. That was my final hug.

As much as I don't regret one thing about that final hug, I want it back. I want darling daughter to hear her Grandpa's voice, his laugh, his teasing and amazing sense of humor. I try to tell her every single story about him that I remember to make him "real" to her..as "real" to her and her Grandma is to her.

And to this day, I try my best to make it to Texas each summer to see my mom, to allow darling daughter to have lots of Grandma time, and I have the best mom ever who helps me achieve this as flights to Texas are expensive.

I yearn to be back on the mainland, to be close to family, and to do my best to ensure my daughter has lasting memories. Memories to hold in her heart forever. As much as I am working to achieve this, there are days I get discouraged and feel I am falling backwards instead of moving forward but I am thinking, this is a place and time for me to focus on what I am telling myself and to work on increasing positive thinking and my faith in God.

I know God knows my desires and I trust in him and his plans for me and my family. God willing, that includes being back on the mainland one day even though the thought of leaving beautiful, easy going, very small roads, Maui behind. Change is scary even when the change is a yearning in your heart.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for family.

Daily Bible Verse: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4


10 Benefits of Gardening

Aloha y'all!

It is a bright and sunny day on Maui and that makes it a beautiful day for gardening. Well, a little cloud coverage will make it a wee bit more pleasant so grab your sunscreen, your hat, and a bottle of water and let's start working.

Gardening is another love of mine and in my house we have two focuses: beautiful flowers and veggies/herbs to make food expenses less. In all reality, a few years ago I put down my foot and said we are only growing what we can eat. That lasted a nanosecond as darling daughter flashed her adorable dimples and asked for a flower garden of her own so now we have....

My Serenity Garden that I can see from my treadmill that has more "native" and "Hawaiian" themed plants. Imagine ginger, ti plants, and hibiscus and you got this covered. You then walk down a row of aloe with a wall of citronella on the opposite side to the beginning of Blooming Blossoms - darling daughter's oasis of love. Enjoy the stroll around the corner and enter Veggie Ville where we have containers and a four-tiered garden of love. Note: mint is highly invasive so be careful when planting. This "wonderful" idea of mine has resulted in regular mint-weeding endeavors where it just keeps coming back. Thank goodness it smells good and the bunnies like it...plus it is good to make minty-water but we really have more than enough to feed a village.

In this area we are focused on growing tomatoes and herbs and recently are trying bok choy, cauliflower, and broccoli. Move on up the stairs and we have more herb containers and carrots by darling daughter's playhouse (in the ground and in a container). Wrap around the fence to Bunny Land and we have citrus plants and more herbs, potatoes, and lettuce. Lots of containers, lots of work, lots of fun, and 10 amazing benefits all rolled up in one.

So what are those 10 benefits of gardening?

I am so glad you asked!
  1. Gardening is great stress relief because digging in the dirt, taking care of precious plants, and getting dirty is just plain fun.
  2. Gardening can help boost your self esteem as you see the rewards of your hard work.
  3. Gardening is a low-moderate intensity activity that is good for your heart health. It beats sitting and doing nothing.
  4. Sunshine is your vitamin D source beyond the little that is found in foods. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, is vital in cell growth, and reduces inflammation, plus so much more. Gotta love it!
  5. Gardening can make your hands stronger and hey, how often do we think of hand strength but use it every single day? Take care of those hands, okay. 
  6. Gardening can ease the symptoms of depression and this momma needs that. It is hard to be gloomy working in nature especially when you spot a ladybug.
  7. Gardening can improve your limberness or flexibility as you do need to twist and bend.
  8. Gardening can sharpen your mind and decrease dementia chances. I guess all the thinking is good for you!
  9. Gardening can help you sleep better. Hey, it is a workout after all!
  10. Gardening is good for your nutrition when you are growing things to eat. You care for that food from beginning to end and know exactly how it was grown with and hopefully with lots of love.
I am beyond stoked to say, darling daughter and I gardened for 3+ hours yesterday. Two hours at her school in the community garden where we volunteered our time to paint signs, weed like champs, and harvest some green beans. It was a fun and educational time and got us motivated to go home and do some revamping of our own garden where we restarted a bin with fresh lettuce plants, new herbs, and started a pot of carrots from seeds. We were two happy, and tired, gardeners by the end of the day and wrapped up our hard work with a nice soak in the tub with amazing bath salts.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the $5 coupon at the garden store.

Daily Bible Verse: And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. ~ Genesis 2:8


Finding Strength and Happiness in Core de Force

Disclaimer of love and honesty: This post does contain affiliate links associated with my Beachbody Coaching business. If you see something you love, please be kind and use my link to help support my business, my blog, and a mom trying to get out of debt and keep her kiddo in horseback riding lessons.

I recently posted about my struggle with depression and I am so thankful for the outpouring of support I received especially by those who took the time to email. Seriously, thank you. I can't even begin to explain how it feels to know that 1) I am not alone and 2) that by sharing my story I am helping others. #2 matters the most to me.

So I want to share something I have found in the past week that is pretty amazing. I am still struggling with running and thank you God for my running streak as that keeps me doing at least a mile a day. I am also beyond thankful God called me to Beachbody and my goal to try 52 new workouts in 2017 which is amazingly simple with the Beachbody On Demand All Access Pass. (FYI: The All Access Pass is available for purchase until 2/28/17)

About a week ago I was in my I don't wanna mood and tuned into Beachbody to get something done and figured why not try a new workout. Why not try this Core de Force I have been hearing so many rave about. Oh my goodness! Was I slow to get onto this bandwagon or what?!

The first workout I tried was only 27 minutes. I can handle that. 27 minutes is nothing, right? Well, after a 10 minute mile feeling like 20 years I wasn't 100% convinced but gave it a whirl and let me tell you, those 27 minutes FLEW by. So did the 37 minute and 47 minute workouts I did. They were fun. They were challenging - physically and mentally - and as I hooked, jabbed, and kicked I imagined me hooking, jabbing, and kicking that ugly depression in its face and fighting to regain me, my peace, my balance, and my happiness in life.

In my first therapy session I was asked if I do any fighting such as street fighting, etc. Of course the answer was NO! I am a lover not a fighter, or so the saying goes. Now I think I will have to go back and say, hey, I found this amazing new workout that allows me to "fight" safely in my house to work out feelings of anger, depression, frustration, hopelessness, etc. I think this is a safe way to work through those types of emotions as no one, and nothing, is hurt. And I can't help but think back to those years long ago where I pondered taking self defense but never found the time, money, or place. Ladies, if you are looking for self-defense, this program will definitely fit the bill. You are learning offensive and defensive moves in a way to work your body but if you ever really needed to apply them in life to protect yourself, I feel you will have much more confidence after doing this program than before. However, I hope to NEVER be in the situation and pray the same for you.

Since this program seems to be touching a cord in me right now in my life, I am going to jump in and commit to the 30-day program and do it according to plan versus going willy nilly. I have the 30-day calendar printed out ready to mark those happy X's of success as I move through the challenge.

I have taken the before photos as I do like to do this before and after each new official challenge I do to monitor progress beyond the scale. Scales are so deceptive!

And I have darling daughter eager to support me and do the 5-minute before bed moves to help both of our tired muscles and get us both set up for success for the next day. She really is my saving grace and best cheerleader in town.

If you want to try it with me, ask me how as there are so many ways to try out this program at different price points. I am a mom on a budget but also realize being fit matters for so many reasons.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to take our guinea pig to darling daughter's school today.

Daily Bible Verse: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13


Why I didn't run - Fighting to be well

Today's post is going to be a very raw, hard to write post. But I believe in transparency and have felt called to share my story to help others. Many times I feel we keep quiet and don't mention the things that need to be mentioned the most. We talk fads, greatest looks, good reads, amazing restaurants, and family vacations and reunions but hide the things that can hurt - ourselves and others.


It is real and it is agonizing and unfortunately, it is still greatly misunderstood. It may not have any physical obvious symptoms and the "cheer up" doesn't work. Trust me, it doesn't. If it did I would not be where I am today. Hurting and struggling each day to make it through but I am confident, by God's grace, I will.

I love how life works and can see all the amazing blessings in my life so that in itself shows that depression is not logical. I can feel the joy of all my blessings but my heart can still ache and the hazy grey cloud can still linger and the emptiness can still persist...yes, even when I watch my daughter riding a horse and feel so joyful to have her in my life. Depression is crazy.

My daughter is my gift from God and another gift was me becoming a Beachbody Coach. Through this, I have met amazing people, some coaches, some not, some fighting the same battle I am, and some with the same faith foundation. We are united and that is beyond cool. I even started a training/challenge group with a focus on health and nutrtion to help combat depression, anxiety, and stress. If you want in, email me and I will get you hooked up and yes, it is free.

But back to my story.

I didn't race the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in January and almost didn't race the Maui Marathon in September. I had good reasons for not racing. My planning was off. I was called to do different things. I didn't want to. I loved what I was doing. Racing wasn't my thing right now. I didn't want to race because others thought I should. Blah, blah, blah.

Don't take me bring quiet as me being aloof, uncaring, or anti-social. Sometimes I withdraw inside, honestly, to protect my core, to re-focus my energy, and to find the strength to be who God is calling me to be.
As I type those now I can see them for what they are. All signs of my depression rearing up. All excuses showing the same lack of interest in things you once loved. Yes, I was doing other things trying to cope and to take care of it all by myself but I was struggling.

I felt anxious, lonely, and not 100% but I covered that with my excuses of working 1+ jobs, my full-time job getting more intense, hormones, getting older, life. Again, all excuses that I got so talented at telling myself over the years. I am very good at sugar coating things to myself to try to cope and that brings me to where I am today.

I have also gotten much better at following my calling in life. I spoke at the 40 Days for Life on O'ahu in October and the March for Life just last month on Maui and in hindsight, those events and speeches tore at me and my old wounds in ways I wasn't prepared for. I have been telling myself I am fine and repeating that mantra and avoiding the fact that right now, this momma,  needs help.

And I am getting it.

I am proud of myself for reaching out for help and encourage all others struggling to do the same but I wil be honest. I feel embarassed and weak. I feel like a failure that I am back on anti-depressants after not taking any since 2010 for a few months after my Dad's death. I am mad at myself for getting to this point again and as the tears stream down my face I know it is because I feel like I will be judged and not good enough.

But even in this moment of desparate weakness I feel a inner joy and strength that I have the courage to write this post and tell you, and the whole world, that I am struggling. But I have faith that I can't even begin to explain that through this torturous struggle I will find a glorious and radiant light on the other side.  I have been warned it will get harder before it gets better as my depression is part of post traumatic stress disorder and I need to go back to that original trauma I have been ignoring, hidiing, sugar coating, and face it head on. It won't be going through 17 years of denial, suppressed feelings, self-hate, guilt, and just plain uckiness but I can do this and through it I will find the next step on my mission in life and I am ecstatic about that.

So, I will continue the meds I was strongly suggested to take, and thank you God for a doctor who listened to all my concerns and went super low dose for me, and I will go to therapy, and I will go back to an amazing healing retreat this coming May, and I will share my experience of healing because I know, I am not alone. More than 15 million Americans suffer from depression. That is about 6.7% of the population of those 18 or older. That is a lot. We are not alone and God is by our side to carry us through.

Each day may be a struggle to get out of bed, to get moving, to run, and to workout. I may be annoyed I am only running a mile a day but 7 years ago, I was running nothing. I count that a blessing that at least now my streak has me"motivated" enough to keep it alive as I do not want depression to be the reason my streak ends.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for clear, blue skies.

Daily Bible Verse: I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. ~ John 16:33


Saint of the Month: St. Francis de Sales

Welcome to my first edition of the saint of the month blog posts to be hosted on Erica Gorman Fitness. If you have been following me for awhile, you know there is more to me than running and cross training. I am a mom, wife, and devote Catholic who is very grateful for God's love and mercy in my life. Just look at darling daughter --- she is the best gift ever that God gave me and the beginning of my return to faith and finding a better image of who God wants me to be. Out of gratitude for that, and to truly be who I am, I want to highlight a saint each month.

Honestly, I LOVE the saint stories as so many have struggled through life challenges that can be so similar to our own. They could have started out rough and crazy but ended up being named a saint! How cool is that?! To me it is a reminder that none of us are perfect and that is okay. Our imperfections can lead to amazing greatness.

Picture source
This month, let's highlight St. Francis de Sales.

His feast day is January 24th. St. Francis de Sales was born on August 21, 1587 and died on December 28, 1622. He was beatified by Pope Alexander VII on January 8, 1661, and canonized (also by Pope Alexander VII) on April 19, 1665.

But who was he?

A son of a noble family from Switzerland whose Dad wanted him to pursue a career in law or politics. However, St. Francis de Sales had a different idea. An idea tugged at his heart from a young age that he kept secret from his family. St. Francis de Sales wanted to be a priest.

But St. Francis was a "good son" and attended law school and received his degree in 1580 but y'all, when God has a plan, he can make it happen. After falling from a horse not once, not twice, but three times, and each time his sword leaving a shape of a cross on the ground, St. Francis de Sales followed his dream, and God's calling, to become a priest and was ordained in 1593.

His mission wasn't an easy one as he was trying to spread the love for the Catholic Church in the time of Protestant reformation in an area near Calvinist territory. People wouldn't talk to him so he talked and played with the children and lo and behold, parents starting talking and listening.

St. Francis de Sales provided lots of spiritual direction through letters and it is believed he led 40,000 people to the Catholic Church. Perhaps this is why he is considered the patron saint of Catholic writers, the Catholic press, journalists, those in adult education, and the deaf.

You can learn more about St. Francis de Sales HERE.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the work of many saints before us who have led the way showing us persistence and following your calling pays off.

Saintly Quote: Have patience with all things, But, first of all with yourself. ~ St. Francis de Sales

Daily Bible Verse: Be still before the Lord and wait patiently for him; fret not yourself over the one who prospers in his way, over the man who carries out evil devices! Refrain from anger, and forsake wrath! Fret not yourself; it tends only to evil. For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land. ~ Psalm 37:7-9