Some of my favorite things


It is something I feel is often overlooked and yes, sometimes, even by me. Sometimes life and/or news can become so overwhelming that it is hard to not be sucked into it all. My heart aches for so many things and all I want is peace and happiness but today I want to take a moment to say thank you to you for reading this post, for taking time out of your busy day, and for spending a few moments with me.

I want to thank you in advance for spreading a piece of happiness on to someone else and I will start by sharing some of my favorite things and/or moments from this weekend. Okay, let's be specific and say five things. I am going to find five amazing things from this weekend to share with you.

1. I am already tearing up before I even began to type this but my daughter was installed as an altar server!!! During this process it came to my attention that there are many in our lives that do not know what this means and that's okay. An altar server is a lay person within our Catholic church, usually youth and in my younger days, only boys, but now girls can serve. In a nutshell, they help the priest at the altar's side with carrying the cross, bringing the priest the book, lighting candles, ringing the bells, or anything else they are asked to do. It is beyond exciting for her to be active in ministry service with me. And in case you didn't know, my ministry service is as a lector and commentator.

2. Without me knowing, a sweet lady that I can call a friend at church took pictures for me when I was dressing darling daughter in her vestments and commentating at the end of mass. I can't even begin to express how amazing that made me feel that she thought of me and that I would like to have pictures of those moments. We didn't have any other family with us so it was truly touching and yes, more happy tears are streaming down my face.

3. I am thankful for my new carpet cleaner and moms, if you don't own one and have carpet in your house, get one! Now! Don't delay! I spent 2 hours cleaning the carpets and we don't have much as the bulk of that time was in one room...our main living room. It was disgusting! I am so happy that I can now clean our carpets and home on a more regular basis as I truly believe getting that dirt and yuck out will make us healthier. And to be honest, I think our house gets dirty way fast since we always have the windows open and dirt/dust/etc can blow in. Since we are on Maui this is the norm as we don't have central air and it can get stuffy with all windows closed. Very stuffy.

4. Focus T25 - Yes, I am thankful for this workout and for Beachbody on Demand and the ability to sweat myself happy day in and day out. I am on week 3 of the alpha phase right now and some moves are brutal. The idea of moving to beta phase soon is scary but exciting too. I want to get stronger and fitter. Don't we all?

5. Time at the stables. Darling daughter rides horses and it is her thing and I am so excited that she has found something she loves to stay fit and strong. And it is building her confidence and self esteem and knowledge base like crazy! And it doesn't stop with lessons twice a week. She is also part of the pony club and that means two meetings a month - one for theory and knowledge such as this past week's meeting on how to age horses - and one on the horse and riding. I love that I can be part of all of this kinda like a bug on the wall taking notes, pictures, videos, and learning right along with her. Not only that, I find the stables soothing and the time outside is good for my soul and her trainer is a gem. I love that lady inside and out! She is truly committed to the horses and the kiddo's and I couldn't ask for or dream up anyone better to teach darling about horses unless it was God himself.


Focus T25 - Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and more!

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Are you looking for a workout that will yield results, has no equipment requirements, and will not feel like it is taking forever? I have a suggestion for you and it is the workout program I started on August 7th and am committed to do until the end of the year...well December 8th if I stay on track.

The workout is an oldie but goodie first launched in the summer of 2013 --- Focus T25.

I love that the workouts are just 25 minutes (28 minutes if you count the cool down) as it makes it easy to fit them in daily before work when I am already committed to my daily bible reading AND running at least a mile and y'all, this momma wants more than a mile!

I established a new routine just recently where I am up extra dark and early to do my bible reading with a cup of coffee, run, and then cross train....all before work....on most days. The cross training plan runs Monday through Friday but there is an amazing stretch routine (also 25 minutes) that I strongly suggest you add in on the weekends...at least one day. Your body will thank you.

The best thing is it is easy to do these workouts from home either by buying the Focus T25 DVD's or by joining up for Beachbody on Demand in which you can stream this and more. I strongly suggest the second option and you can try it for free and cancel if you don't like it or even sign up for the streaming programs PLUS Shakeology and get it all!

I don't know if it is because this program is an oldie but goodie or that times changes and things improve but my hardest part of this workout was finding a workout plan to follow. After much searching on many different days I found something I liked but not something of good enough resolution to print and share so....here you go....Focus T25 Alpha, Beta, Gamma, and Gamma Hybrid workout plans all in one easy to print image! Just insert your own dates to keep you on track. You're welcome.

The bold workouts have no real special meaning beyond it being the first time I tackled that workout and I use bold print to highlight them as part of my goal of doing 52 new workouts in 2017 as I printed this for my own use at home.

I am blazing on my 52 new workouts goal and the Beachbody on Demand All Access Pass makes it so easy and affordable -- and that yields amazing fitness results and keeps working out fun and right now, I need that. I have found my cross training is having the greatest positive impact on my recovery from depression/anxiety/PTSD and that, my friends, is worth celebrating. I truly enjoy pushing my limits, trying new things, and when I stream a program I no longer feel like I am working out alone and y'all, some of those trainers are hilarious! And I mean that in a good way because hey, when you are sweating and pushing your limits and feeling like you about about to die, a good laugh makes a HUGE difference.

I also believe streaming my workouts and working out from home is setting a good example for my daughter who tests her own limits on a horse's back. How can she not learn to not give up when she sees her mom not giving up? And how can see not learn that sometimes you will feel like you are dying and can't go one more step but you can when she sees her mom face those fitness challenges?

I believe in honesty and will model that for my daughter. No one is perfect. We never will be. But we each have unique talents and gifts and it is up to us to push ourselves to do the best we can...even when the going gets tough. Give it a try moms and dads because one day your kids may surprise you.

One of my favorite workout moments was when I was pushing myself and said, "I'm dying." in my exhausted voice and in an attempt to get my focus on. Darling daughter was quick to chime in, "Yes, you are mom." Not the response I wanted to hear. Seriously?! I am dying?! What about the motivational "No, you're not." but before I could voice my thoughts on her less than supportive comment she added in, "We are all dying. Every second. But you are not going to die right now."

Oh melt my heart!

Smart and motivational.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunities in life to better myself spiritually, emotionally, and physically.

Daily Bible Verse: Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you. ~ Deuteronomy 31:6


Back to School & New Routines

Goodness gracious me oh my, darling daughter started 4th grade yesterday! How on Earth did that happen? Where is time going? I have heard a zillion times from moms that time flies by when your kiddos are young, but seriously, I feel we are in warp drive here. Beam me up Scotty to younger days!

And with the start of the new school year I always feel I need a readjustment to my daily routine as things go into a new zone during the longer summer vacation with no school and time in Texas and later nights....sometimes....but honestly, I do try to stick to the same sleep schedule and I always flop a wee bit.

For me, work starts at 6:00 am and with school in session, I need to be punctual as I can't work later like I can many days in the summer due to darling being in camp or with dear hubby. That means, if I want to get a good workout in I need to get up dark and early. Very dark and early.

Ironically I just read a passage in the bible that struck a cord with me as I am the crazy one in our house that wakes up dark and early.

She rises while it is yet night
and provides food for her household
and portions for her maidens.
                                                     ~ Proverbs 31:15 ESV

It made me reflect on how I do rise early to take care of myself so I can be a better, more patient mom and wife and so my later hours in the day can be focused more on my family and less on me.

And ironically, I read this verse while up dark and early, sipping my coffee, eating my breakfast sandwich, and savoring my time with God before the household woke up and it got me thinking. This is good. This is really, really good. 

This is something that felt so good and wonderful that I wanted it to continue. Imagine the pleasure of waking up early, starting my day with a delightful cup of coffee and my daily bible reading, then moving forward into my daily run (with more scripture reading), and my daily Beachbody workout....all before I officially start my day whether it is a workday or the weekend. Wouldn't this be wonderful?


And then I realized, ouch! That wake up time would be brutal and something hard to adjust to since right now I need 20-30 minutes to do my daily bible reading so let's just say 30 minutes, 30 minutes for my Beachbody workout with the Focus T25 plan I am on now (more to come on that!), and then run time and frankly, I don't want to have just a mile every single day so 35-40 minutes would be nice. So that is.....1 hour and 40 minutes so let's just say almost 2 hours since I do have to change and make that cup of coffee and feed the pets before the poor guinea pig squeaks his head off so....if I am going to leave the house at 5:30 am to get to work at 6:00 am....eek! I need to by up by 3:30 am!!! And I mean up and out of the bed not up and hitting snooze.

Can I do this?

Anything is possible but I am not going to say it will be easy. It won't. It isn't easy getting up when everyone else is cuddled nicely in the warm beds, snoozing, snoring, breathing so contently.....but there is something wonderful about being up in the quiet house while the family sleeps that comforts me. It is like the calm before the storm of the day and every day has storms, good and bad, that is life. I can't imagine a better way to set myself up for success than God before exercise before work/life. Exercise my soul, my mind, my body each and every day.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the fun Monkey Farts bath bombs that made the bath feel silky smooth, smell wonderful, and had a surprise of floating soap starts to delight myself and darling daughter as she had to indulge too.

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July 2017 Training Report - Who am I?

Today I was asked a question that I am not asked very often.

"What do you really want?"

It seems like such a simple question. Only 5 words and one would think so easy to answer but here I am hours later still scratching my head.

What do I really want?

I could answer that in so many ways quite quickly - people not to suffer, a happy family, a strong marriage, no more cancer, NO MORE CANCER, peace, tranquility, good will to man, and I begin to feel like I am rambling off those generic ideals. No suffering. No hunger. No homeless. Peace. Happiness. Trust. Love.

But what do I really want and how does this tie into my training report you might ask.

It does. It ties in greatly as I ponder what I am doing, what I am training for, why I am training, and what do I really want? What am I being called to do? What am I supposed to be doing? What makes me happy inside and out and at peace with myself? Because it is through that deep inner peace that I know I am on the right path in life.

In July I ran 123 miles. Most of those miles were while I was on vacation where running was more fun even though my pace was still slow. I have been struggling with pace and I am thinking/hoping that it is related to medications my doctor had me on but I am in the process of coming off of. Only time will tell.

The other day I mentioned to darling daughter that I wasn't sure I wanted to run the marathon in October. I keep coming back to this "I don't want to race" and pulled out of a race in January and have no regrets over that choice. I thought I would get my vibe back for October but it isn't. In fact, the closer it comes that more unrest I feel inside.

I know I am fully capable of running the marathon. I am on target with my training even if I am a bit behind the ball. In all honestly, I am in a great place to follow through with the training plan this month and next and race nicely...even if more slowly due to that nagging pace issue. But I don't think I WANT to.

It is hard to think of my wants as it makes me feel selfish and it is something I haven't done for so long. I put others before me so often in life it is hard to think about what I really and truly want. I remember wanting to run my first marathon and that joy and sense of accomplishment in training runs - even if they were hard. By golly, I even felt that joy in training for the Kauai Marathon in 2015 but now....ugh. It seems since that race that was so meaningful to me and matched the awesome-sauce and meaning behind my first marathon that the marathon itself has lost its appeal.

Seriously, running another one won't bring my dad back. It won't make me better, more lovable, and change the way I feel about myself. It won't undo the hurts in my past and make things right as I hope or imagine right could be. It won't heal my broken heart and soothe the scars and dry my tears. It won't make one bit of difference in the whole entire world. It won't.

But I want to make a difference in the whole entire world.

By golly, I want to make a difference in a good way.

That is what I want.

To make a difference. To be good, to bring good, to ease suffering and sorrow, to be filled with peace so I can give peace, to be filled with joy so I can give joy, to be loving and merciful and to fully learn to embrace the gifts in life, God's forgiveness, and love myself.

I want to not hurt.

I want to not hurt.....

And running can no longer be my single go to. Today marks day 2043 of my running streak. The end of July was day 2041 and I had 8510 streak miles. Y'all, that is cool! That means more to me than a marathon because that is 2043 days of me sucking it up and putting one foot in front of the other no matter how discouraged I may have felt that day. 2043 days of saying yes to me and that I deserve at least the time to run a mile, one way or another.

But those miles can't be my only source of happiness or coping mechanism. Beachbody Core de Force brings me so much joy and I LOVE the workouts and feel really, really good afterward. I don't want to give that up. Crafting brings me a sense of accomplishment and sharing that time with my daughter is amazing. I don't want to give that up. I love to garden, read, listen to audiobooks, sing to music, and want to just enjoy life with less strings attached and less MUST DO's and more WANT TO DO's.

I want to want to run a marathon, I do, but right now, I don't want to....if that makes any sense. I love racing and want to want to race again but who knows if I will. I feel lost letting go of pieces of me that may not be who I am right now and wondering what the future holds for me. It is scary and that may be why I was clinging to training, marathons, and racing so much. After 10 marathons it seemed to define me and what I do but now I feel I am in the wrong clothes and feel awkward and out of place trying to fit into a box of bunnies standing out like a giraffe.

On a spiritual side, I feel this could be a really good place to be in. Scared. Uncertain. Lost. Turning away from the path I have grown used to and to the path I feel called to looking up at God and saying, "Jesus, I trust in you."


Saint of the Month: Saint Alphonsus Liguori

This month let's focus on Saint Alphonsus Liguori. I must confess I was drawn to learn more about
this saint due to the similarity of his name to my father's. It seemed like a sign that this was the saint to focus on. Do you ever follow little signs like that when making decisions in life?

The basics:
  • Born: September 27, 1696
  • Died: August 1, 1787
  • Feast Day: August 1
  • Patron Saint of confessors, moral theologians, and the lay apostolate. He is also the patron for those suffering from arthritis, sciatica, and muscular pains.

Now a brief story:
Alphonsus was born into nobility and was a child prodigy who quickly learned and received a law degree when he was only 16 years old. By the age of 21 he was a practicing lawyer but never went to court without attending Mass first.

He loved the arts, especially the opera, but eventually started to like the world less as his calling to religious life increased. He turned down an arranged marriage and studied theology and was ordained a priest when he was 29.

Alphonsus was very clear and direct in his preaching and very gentle in the confessional. He wrote many papers on spirituality and theology, 111 to be exact, and his greatest masterpiece was The Moral Theology written in 1748.

At age 66 he was named bishop and his health began to decline. He had a severe arthritis and sciatic attack accompanied by a high fever and unbearable pain. He is right leg became paralyzed and although he recovered from this intense affliction, he remained in pain. The pain was so severe it prevented him from sleeping but somehow he continued to do his work and was able to walk again with a crutch. This is just one example of the incredible and painful health afflictions Alphonsus endured and interfered with his ability to say mass.

Later in life Alphonsus also struggled with his faith and scruples and would repeatedly ask for his confessor to come adding mental agony to his physical agony.

Alphonsus was beautified in 1816 by Pope Pius VII, declared a Doctor of the Church in 1871 by Pope Pius IX, and canonized in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI.