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Cancer sucks.

I am sure you have read those words more than once and perhaps you might agree. If you have lost a loved one to cancer I am sure you agree.

Cancer sucks.

My dad lost his life to leukemia and that devastated me and has impacted my life and continues to impact my life in a multitude of ways. But what is really, really hard to watch beyond your father fighting cancer, even when watching from a distance, is children fighting cancer.

Right now I know two. Two young precious souls fighting for their lives and enduring tests, symptoms, and procedures that could even test the limits of an adult. It is heart breaking to watch and they are in my daily prayers. One of these kiddos has been in my prayers for over a year and the other just entered my prayers. Hearing that that boy, who is just a few months older than my daughter, crushed me to the core. I cried my heart out for him and his mom who is the sweetest, more lovable woman in the world. It is gut wrenching.

What is more gut wrenching is watching a community rally and mourn the loss of a precious child, not even 5 years old, who died of cancer. I didn't know this child or his family but the community sadness and support was evident.

I often ask, what can I do to make a difference? I pray, I try to send notes and other actions of support and encouragement but it never seems to be enough as my empathetic heart takes over and hurts for the child fighting cancer and the parents, family, and friends standing by.

Cancer sucks but childhood cancer sucks to the max.

I am certain we can find a cure and end to this and I am proud of my friend riding to make a difference, doing his part to take a stand against cancer, and taking action to do something versus just grumble about it and I respectfully ask you to donate to support his actions and to support finding the means to end the devastation of childhood cancer.

Will you help? You can donate and learn more HERE and be part of the Great Cycle Challenge USA and my friend's goal of raising $500 for childhood cancer research. You don't need to donate a lot as every penny counts but I do believe we all need to do something beyond saying, "Cancer Sucks". I am donating, are you?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for those who donate to say, childhood cancer sucks, it makes me mad, and I am willing to invest in finding a cure, to saving lives, and to happy families who don't need to worry over and watch their kids suffer from a dreadful disease and its treatments that can be torturous.

Daily Bible Verse: What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good is that? So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works.” Show me your faith apart from your works, and I will show you my faith by my works. ~ James 2:14-26


May 2017 Training Report

Ugh! May is finally over and behind me and I am thankful for being able to move onto a new month tomorrow and to get back to focused and positive vibes. May is not what I had hoped for or planned for according to my Busy Mom Marathon Training Plan but in hindsight it may be what I set up for myself mentally.

What I had hoped for was a 13-mile run and 35 miles per week but what I got was no double digit run and averaged 21.9 miles per week. There was a time this would leave me down and blue but not now. I am stronger inside and out and can logically see what came into play: I was fighting bronchitis the first third of the month, I attended an emotionally and physically exhausting weekend retreat, and I set myself up on less stable ground by going into May thinking it was going to be a rough month.

So I will set myself up for success in June by saying, yes, I will be traveling but I can still accomplish my goals to run a 16-mile day (I did 13 miles at the end of April) and I will run 40 miles per week. I can do it. The bronchitis is much, much better and I am ready to flood my mind with positive thoughts and positive actions.

I honestly believe by thinking May was going to be hard, I set myself up for failure to meet my goals. It is okay to think things may be hard but if that causing you to doubt or hold back or expect not reaching your goals, the mental game is winning.

In June, I do not want the mental game to win and I know it won't just by saying to myself and the world, I can do the hard and reach my goals....one way or another.

I ended May on a rest day and that is okay. I ran my mile for running streak day 1980 and how cool is that? I am beyond blessed and know that not every day, every week, or every month will rock and that is okay. You can't run every day 5+ years and expect amazing runs every day. Accept the hurdles and let them make you stronger.  

But....here's to an AMAZING June!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for my positive attitude and learning to love and accept myself....hiccups and all.

Daily Bible Verse: And the Lord answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it. For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. ~ Habakkuk 2:2-3


The WEIGHT of it all

Let's take a moment today and talk about weight.

I realize this is a touchy subject but it is one forefront and center on the minds of many women. I stumble across so many blog posts and ads promoting weight loss and as a fitness coach you may think I am all for this but in all reality, I am not.

Yes, some people are on a weight loss mission and I encourage and support them but I also see many aiming to lose weight to hit a number on a scale when I look at them and see a perfectly fit and healthy woman or man.

So let's begin with.....

What is a healthy weight?

Unfortunately there is not an easy answer to this as there a many variables so if you are questioning whether or not you are at a healthy weight, schedule a physical with your doctor and ask them directly about your weight. Most likely they will look at your BMI or body mass index which takes into account your age, weight, and height to calculate a number. Normal can range from 18.5 to 25 and yes, whether you are male or female factors in. Generally, women have a higher BMI than men. You can calculate your own BMI to get an idea of where you stand and I do feel this is helpful...to a degree. As a scientist, I realize there is some variation that can be misleading because you can be a fit and strong 120 lb woman or a 120 lb woman with less muscle mass and come up with the same BMI according to this calculator. Just saying....

Another way to measure the "idealness" of your weight is through the Ideal Weight Calculator that takes into account your sex, age, and height to give you a weight range. For a woman my age and height that range is 107.8 lb to 145.6 lb. Wow! That is a huge range but again, it can bring you into the ballpark to determine how you are doing weight-wise and if it should be an area of concern for you or not.

How often should you weigh yourself?

Less is best.

Yes, you heard that right. I do not believe that checking in more frequently will necessarily keep you focused on your weight loss journey as body weight fluctuates daily and throughout the day. And ladies, our weight will fluctuate monthly due to hormones. Too much weighing can leave you feeling discouraged and questioning if your fitness and nutrition plan is working and may result in you giving up or restricting your calories too much and sabotaging your goals. If you do opt to weigh in, develop a plan and stick to it and I suggest no more frequently than once a week but maybe you could try for every other week or once a month. Just pick a day, time of day, what you will be wearing, and stick to it. And don't get discouraged. You will still see fluctuations but look at the overall trend.

What I like?

I like the fit test. I have been moving away from the scale more and more especially since I realized it was having a negative hold on me as it related to self esteem and some of the other core issues I have been working through.

The fit test is how my clothes feel and I do have a pair of jeans that are my go to. I love these jeans and wear them on a regular basis and each time I put them on, they give me a clue on how my weight is. And yes, I still feel some fluctuations but we already discussed those fluctuations will happen.

I may also go back to weighing myself before and after fitness challenges I take on. The shortest challenge I do is 21 days and many are 30 days so this will be a good time frame for weight check-in's.

Like I said, I haven't been weighing myself as much as I focused on regaining self love but I may, or may not, be ready to try again and focus on healthy mentality, healthy body, healthy weight.

Why does the number matter?

Whatever you decide, I strongly suggest you ask yourself why the number on the scale matters. For those who truly are losing weight for health reasons you got your answer and I support it 100%. Losing weight to be healthier such as lowering cholesterol, improving heart functioning, increasing the quality of your life, etc. are 100% valid reasons in my book. But if this is not your why, what is your why and ask if it really matters.

Over the years the size of my clothes has ranged from 2 to almost a 14 so obviously, my weight changed a lot over those years. There was a time I was barely 110 lbs and to be brutally honest with you, I was not healthy and was a bit too close to anorexic tendencies. I was on O'ahu, my hubby to be in Spain, and I was unhappy trying to cope and control only what I could --- what I ate and how much I worked out. It was not a good place for me to be. And that almost size 14 was not a good place for me to be.

Today I hover around 118 lbs. Yes, I still have that inner desire/tendency to see a number around 114 on the scale because.....I have no good reason except that I felt 118 was not good enough, was not fit enough, and if I weighed less I could be a better (aka faster) runner and would be "more lovable" and in all reality, this does not matter. I am not going to be competing in the Olympics so any slight edge I might gain by weighing a few pounds less does not really matter. Just being able to admit this to you today is a sign that I am healing, growing in self esteem and healthy self love, and focusing on what really matters and realizing that I am not loved more or less by how much I weigh.

If losing weight will make you healthier, go for it! But if it is just to reach a number to make you "feel" better about yourself, ask yourself, does it really matter?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful I am beginning to love the body I have been given.

Daily Bible Verse: For you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. ~ 1 Corinthians 6:20


DNF & Starting Over

On April 3rd I started a 30-day challenge - Core de Force Deluxe (affiliate link and I would be honored to be your coach) - and all was going splendidly well until April 28th when a cold took root and turned into bronchitis and needless to say, my training went to just a mile a day to keep the streak alive.

My goal was to wrap up this challenge after getting back to healthy and to get another challenge in before summer vacation - and yes, I will still be running and cross training on vacay but this was a goal I set for myself.

To achieve this I had to start my new program yesterday in order for the next challenge to be a 30-day challenge. Yes, that was my goal too.

But this bronchitis and the retreat I went to wore me out and things did not progress back up to par as planned and I opted to rip that calendar off the fridge, crumple it up, and accept a DNF with darling daughter by my side witnessing me throwing in one towel only to move on to the next challenge. Those 5 missed workouts will no longer bring me down as it was time to build back up.

And on my tight schedule, that building up with a new challenge had to start yesterday but....I was feeling beat up and worn down and opted to spring clean the house. Yes, that made perfect sense to me and you know what, it was invigorating and refreshing in a different sort of way and just what the doctor ordered. Things are bright and shiny and smelling so fresh and new and that is the perfect way to start a new challenge, right?! Of course right!

But today I was a day behind my plan so what does this crazy running momma do? Do two days of workouts in one day! I knew I could because of the length and intensity of day 1 but by golly, that day 2 had an impact and represents new workout 25 for this year. YAY!!!

So what am I doing? Here is a preview....

I am doing Core de Force - Hybrid which is a mix of the amazing Core de Force programs PLUS other great workouts that you can easily stream through Beachbody on Demand. Seriously y'all, this is way cool and I would love to tell you  more if you are interested. You can leave a comment or email me anytime.

This hybrid program combines a lot of different workouts and the All Access Pass makes it all affordable for me and that means a lot. Plus I love the diversity of the workouts for two main reasons. First, it keeps working out fun and fresh. Second, changing things up yields better results and helps you out as your body hits plateaus.

And as much as I would love to earn a little sharing my fitness story to help pay for darling daughter's horse lessons, I also love to share and want you to achieve your goals. So, because I love you, here is the 30-day challenge calendar I am following with my workouts. I am doing this in addition to my daily running where I am still striving to build up mileage in my marathon training.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for new fitness programs and challenges.

Daily Bible Verse: Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. ~ Timothy 4:15


Letting Go

It has been way too long since I have posted but I have been unbelievably busy between getting over a cold that turned into bronchitis, attending an amazing retreat, resting, resting, resting, and trying to get back to me.

The illness knocked me off my training routine and I am struggling to get back into it but part of the struggle may be the weight of this post that has been on my mind and in my heart to write for so long.

There is something about this song that touches me. The walls, the shame, the secrets, the burden can be unbelievably heavy.

Did you listen to it? Go ahead. I'll still be here waiting for you to come back after you really absorb the words.

I have listened to this song many times over the past couple of years (if I am remembering right from when I first received the CD set as a gift from my buddy's mom) but recently it has been pulling and tugging at me.

I have been sharing my story of depression, anxiety, and PTSD but I have been very small in my circle of sharing the core of the issues mainly because I fear judgment and man, have I been hard on myself!

I would love to say Mother's Day was a blast but there was a sadness in me that is still so raw even though I am finally able to say, "I love myself. I forgive myself." How can I not after feeling the warmth of God's love rush through me and being able to yell, "I am mad at you, God, but I still love you immensely!!!" and feel Him wrap His arms around me and say, "I understand and that is okay. You won't always be mad." And I'm not.

But I am hurting and I am mourning. If you have been following my story any extent of time you know how much I love and adore my daughter, how she is my gift from God, and my life. My why. My reason for living and my motivation to be the best me I can be. I am head over heels in love with that girl and she knows it!

But I also have two precious angels in Heaven that tug at my heart strings - one lost due to miscarriage, one due to abortion. I thought I would never be able to forgive myself for being so stupidly blind and believing all the lies and falling under the pressure of coercion but after more than 17 years I can finally say, "I made a very bad choice but that does not make me bad." and just typing those words has opened a flood of tears that need to be released. I have so many and it will take many good cries to let them all out but that is okay. I will be okay.

I am letting "my secret" out because I am just tired of carrying it alone in shame and I am tired of not being able to say, I miss my children in Heaven. I do. I love them immensely. I am not a mother of one child. I am a mother of three PLUS two step sons. That is five kids that I love with all of my heart and soul even though the boys "came to me" when they were older and may not consider me a "mom" but that is okay. I am okay.

And I am strong. My scars are here for all to see but that is okay. It is what I am being called to do. To be the voice of those still too hurt to speak. To be the voice for those who can't speak. To be the voice of pain, sadness, regret, healing, joy, and rediscovery through the grace of God. And I am beyond honored to work for God!

He took one messed up and broken lady and dusted me off. He blessed me with my husband and darling daughter. He got me back into the church moving up from the very back pew where I hid in shame to the front where I could fully hear and embrace mass. He got me to get my marriage validated and to right all the craziness I did out of shame. He gave me the courage to be a lector and to read His word in front of all the congregation without falling down!!! That is big.

But what is bigger is He guided me to Silent No More where I am the Hawaii Regional Coordinator and I will tell my story publicly so others may find healing from their inner turmoil. And if you judge me, that's fine, but I am forgiven and finally have forgiven myself through the grace of God and that is an amazing hug to myself that is all powerful and will lift me up when I feel down.

I am letting go of the guilt, the shame, the pain, the hiding and moving forward in strength and confidence and by golly, it feels good! And to think, Beachbody (affiliate link to my coach page) helped me get this inner strength too! I love that God can use my fitness routines to get me back on track emotionally....and that he can use my blogging and letting go to get back on track physically.

I am letting go of the weight of my secret and will forge ahead in strength!!!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for forgiveness.

Daily Bible Verse: Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. ~ Ephesians 4:31-32


April 2017 Training Report

Aloha y'all!

How is it going training-wise? Are you nailing your goals? Are on on target or barely slipping by?

One way to keep on track is to take the time to step back and reflect on your workout progress. I like to do this deeply once a month and yes, I flop at times but I am committed to staying focused as I move through my Busy Mom Marathon Training Program.

My April goals were to get a 10 mile run in and to run 30 miles/week (on average). So, how did I do?

In April my double digit days were:

  • 10.1 miles on 4/8
  • 11.14 miles on 4/10
  • 10 miles on 4/15
  • 13.29 miles on 4/21
  • 10.3 miles on 4/22
  • 14.05 miles on 4/24 with 10.5 continuous miles on the road

The 10.5 mile run on the road is important to me as mileage on all days includes run time and run intervals in cross training. For my mileage targets in long run distance, I want that to be at least one continuous run but having multiple days hitting that target distance rocks. I also like that I am ahead of the ball for May in having a 14.05 mile day already under my belt. So goal A is a success.

In April I ran 159 miles so I have an average of 5.3 miles a day or 37.1 miles a week so goal B is a success. YAY!

I cross trained on 27 of the 30 days in April. On April 28th sickness kicked in and I started running just a mile a day and not cross training. I thought I caught darling daughter's cold and was hoping the standard rest and hydrate would bring me back up to speed in no time; however, I was wrong.

Due to the gentle nudging dear hubby gave me, I went to the doctor today and this cold isn't a cold but a good case of bronchitis. I guess I should have figured that one out after resting from Thursday afternoon non-stop and not bouncing back when I often bounce back from a cold in a day, maybe two. I am so slow to remember and admit that when a cough takes hold of me, it takes over. Even darling daughter told me, "Mom, coughs are your nemesis". She is right.

So hopefully, with the antibiotics and inhaler I will be good in no time as I want to get back to training but also have a very important retreat this coming weekend and I need to be 100%. Please pray for me if you are the praying type. I will pray for you and truly appreciate all the healing prayers and vibes I can get in more ways than one.

Now to focus on May training.

My May goals are to nail a 13 mile run and run 35 miles per week. Based on April, this should be completely doable BUT I have downtime with being sick and the upcoming retreat plus some standard long run days have family commitments built into them so let's see what I can do. Most importantly, I want to get back to cross training by the 8th to complete my 30 day cross training program I am doing and I would love to squeeze just one more in before my summer vacation.

Wish me luck!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful dear hubby gave me a kick in the butt and made me go to the doctor...so to speak.

Daily Bible Verse: One does not live on bread along but on every word that comes forth from the mouth of God. ~ Matthew 4:4


Saint of the Month: Saint Mother Teresa of Culcutta

Have you heard of Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu? Probably not but you probably know who she is. She was born in 1910 in Skopje, Macedonia and her father was a well-respected businessman who provided well for the family. However, he died when Agnes was only 8 leaving Agnes' mother to provide for the family and the financial security they once had wasn't there anymore.

Agnes' mother was deeply devoted and religious and provided for the family through an embroidery and cloth business and obviously left an impact on little Agnes. By the time Agnes was 12 she knew she wanted to devote her life to God. She left home at the age of 18 to go to Ireland to join the Sisters of Loreto and in 1931 she took her vows as a nun. Agnes chose her name in honor of Terese of Lisieux and Teresa of Avila…yes, Agnes was Saint Mother Teresa.
She holds a special place in my heart and darling daughter and I attended a special mass to honor her canonization on September 5, 2016. And Saint Mother Teresa has touched darling daughter's heart too as she has selected her to be her patron saint as she goes through the Confirmation process. I couldn't imagine a better woman to guide my child's faith!

Saint Mother Teresa was devoted to the poor…the poorest of the poor…and stuck to her guns while following God's lead even when the going got tough. And it did. It did get tough.

During Lent, darling daughter and I watched the movie The Letters, which went into Saint Mother Teresa's life and I never knew that she carried an emptiness in her heart as she followed God. Personally, this too touched me especially since during this Lenten season I was deeper in my struggle to overcome/fight depression related to PTSD and was turning to God for guidance and help. There was a sort of comfort to be found that someone, like Saint Mother Teresa, could leave such a profound impact on society while following God even when she may have felt alone and lost.
And to wrap up this post, I wanted to share perhaps some less known facts about Saint Mother Teresa, who I would imagine wouldn't like to be focused on today so please, in respect to her, acknowledge the light of God working through her to help us grow in faith and to see the needs of others.
  • Saint Mother had to petition to leave the convent to go out and serve the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. She forego wearing the traditional nun's habit and opted to wear a sari so she would "fit in" better when she worked in the slums.
  • Saint Mother Teresa refused to accept the traditional Nobel honor banquet and asked that it's budget, $192,000, be given to the poor in India.
  • Saint Mother Teresa taught daughters of the wealthy history and geography at St. Mary's for 15 years but later her teaching moved to teaching the poor to read and write using sticks she found on the ground.
  • Saint Mother Teresa lived to be 87 but last saw her family when she was 18 years old and left to go to Ireland to follow God's calling.

Quote from Saint Mother Teresa: "Be faithful in small things because it is in them that your strength lies."


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