52 Fridays…What Floats Your Boat?

Yup, it’s that time again already! Grab that journal, favorite pen, soothing beverage and settle in for a few moments devoted solely to YOU!

When my kids were young, I spent WAY too much time in stores. I busied myself looking for the latest and greatest. Shopping was a filler back then…it filled my time, the result filled my home, yet it never quite filled the void. Funny, when I think about it now, I was looking for something that couldn’t be found in any store. Can you relate?

These days, the last thing I want is things. I’ve made this mindful shift…

How does this idea hit you? Try it on for size. Would you rather collect things or memories and experiences. Why? No answer is wrong here! But look deeper within the why and you’ll get closer to comprehending what makes you tick, what truly feeds you. Take some time to reach further into this idea, Friends. Taking time to understand self is an amazing way to put our Best Foot Forward!

 

 

I’m Springing Into Motion!

Friends, I’m outside, smiling for a reason today! I’ve been back to my regular fitness/nutrition regimen for a solid week and I’m feeling pretty good about that! If you’ve been following me a while, you know I’m pretty notorious for hitting a wall (or being hit by one), so to speak, picking myself up, checking to be sure everything is in working order, then aiming myself toward forward progress. I refuse to quit on ME!

My nature has become quite like that Japanese Proverb, “Fall seven times, get up eight.” I’ve probably blogged at least seven of those “falls”…death of a loved one, trauma injuries sustained in an auto accident, multiple failed mammograms, biopsy, surgery, hospitalized family members, sports injuries, chronic pain…I could go on, you get the idea.

Lots of people have asked how I continue to push forward despite each fall or wall. What motivates me? All kinds of things, but I keep coming back to working through simple, short-term challenges. One I find on the internet, something a friend mentions, or one offered by my husband’s employee wellness program…anything that sparks my interest is worth a shot!

So I’m back on point with my fitness and nutrition for a week, and I’m determined to keep going, I’ve kept my eyes and ears open for that next little spark. As luck would have it, I’m beginning one today. It’s an extremely simple idea encouraged at Eric’s work called Spring Into Motion.

So between today and June 10th, I’ll be walking every day with an aim of 10,000 or more daily steps. Simple. Doable. Employees who participate and complete an evaluation at the end receive $25. I, as a spouse, earn nothing…unless you look further. Not only will I receive the health benefits, this is something that will get my husband moving too, something we can enjoy together. I’ll enlist the help of friends to keep me company too and will reward myself at the conclusion with some much-needed new shoes because there will be nothing left to these when I am done!

So I’m almost to my 10,000 steps already today. I made some time for a couple laps around one of my favorite trails and enjoyed the balmy fresh air and new life associated with spring…

Kind of symbolic…it’s a new beginning for me too!

Friends, think about what things drive you, motivate you to push forward, then implement a new one or more to get moving. Let’s ALL Spring into Motion!!!

 

52 Fridays…Taking Care of Me

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! I don’t know about you, but for me, these weeks seem to be flying at warp speed. I lost control of my schedule for a bit and had to dial it back. In doing so it brought me straight to this week’s journal prompt!

I’ve got today off, totally and completely off. No work, no kiddo responsibilities…the day is mine. I spent some extra time doing things that ground and center me earlier this morning. I got to the gym for a mighty workout, then treated myself to a redbox rental of MY choosing) for later. I’ve got my coffee and am settled in to really digest today’s thought…

In doing what I’ve done this morning, I’ve got a great start on taking care of myself today. I’ve cozied into my chair and my journal is all set for some exploration. How about you?

Friends, do you ever consciously make time to care for yourself in ways that recharge your body, mind and soul? If so, good for you…it truly is GOOD FOR YOU! Keep it up!

Many of us are so consumed in caring for everyone else that we loose sight of our own needs. By the time we shows signs of overwhelmedness, we are well, well past due for any and all self care.

So whether you are at the mastery level or the me? I’m supposed to take care of me??? level, think about what it means to you, this notion of caring for yourself. What things do or can you do for you that encourage renewal, peace and calm. How often do you actually do these things? If you had the time, if your only goal for a day was to care for yourself, how would that look?

If you find you are too busy to fit you in your schedule, how can you shift things around to make you a priority.

Well, that’s a whole lot to think about. I’m off to prepare one of my favorite healthy lunches before I enjoy some creative artsy-fartsy fun I don’t prioritize nearly as often as I should…but maybe that’s about to change.

I Choose FIGHT!

For those of you new to my story, I’ll bring you up to speed. In 2012 I began a journey that saw me through a significant weight loss, and more exciting, a tremendous life transformation.

I’ve been on this wild ride for almost six years and I’ve experienced a multitude of highs and lows. Keep in mind, I’d previously gained and lost weight throughout my adult life…more like a roller coaster than the yoyo thing, really.

So my history was to lose the weight and then, for whatever circumstances, gain it back, plus more. It was a cycle that left me more ashamed and further defeated each time. Until 2012!

This time was different…SO different! I didn’t just focus on the food this time, so not only did I have the support of a dietitian, but I regularly met with a trainer and a health coach. Work in these areas were key to my lasting success…know how I know? Though I’ve gained back some of that weight over a longer period of time, I’m continually turning toward the issues instead of away from them. Here’s what I mean…

I’ve been taught to mindfully pick apart my behaviors, to pinpoint what needs to be fine-tuned. So lately I’ve noticed that creep on the scale, trending in the wrong direction. I’ve found myself feeling uncomfortable in my own skin again. In the past, I would consider these failure, I’d further busy myself with distraction, give up on me, and proceed to emotionally eat myself back to where I started and beyond.

One of my key, lifelong struggles has been to try to do it all. I know that when my calendar is relatively clear, I’m more in tune with myself. But as soon as I take on too much, spread myself too thin, that whole busyness thing…well, my progress collapses.

Now that I’ve been equipped to pull back and observe self, I’ve noticed some areas I need to revisit to hone a more positive outcome. Number one, I looked at my recent schedule to find there has been a ton of travel combined with a new job and countless epic things going on with my kids…none of it bad, but I have to retool to find myself in all of it, to regain the balance I know is just right there!

Number two, my diet has been off the rails. Am I seriously still dealing with this struggle?!? I could list the reasons, but they would quickly appear a simple laundry list of excuses. It is what it is. I’m on day three of journaling my food and although I hate it more than almost anything, this has to be another big priority for the time being. No excuses!

And number three, though I’m good about staying active, it’s time to refocus those efforts. Again, lots of reasons…frequent injury/arthritis associated pain, the onset of menopause kicking my ass, the reality that I’m older than I was when I started this journey…again, these could be looked at merely as excuses. I’m not going to give up because in doing so, it will all get worse! I’ve been fruitlessly arguing with myself over this part for too long…what a waste of time and energy!

I’ve considered returning to work with a trainer for a while. My strength training has become less and less and I realize it is KEY if I want to turn everything around. I stopped meeting with Kasi about 18 months ago to finally aim for autonomy; when it became clear the ship was sinking on my own, there was only one thing to do. I’ve committed to meeting with her once a month to buoy me back up to a place I can confidently breathe. If I employ that higher level of watching the watcher, I see that this is not failure, this is survival at its best!

Yesterday was our first session back together. My previous apprehension about it is gone. I know I made the right choice. Friends, we can either wallow in the poor me, I can’t do this hard thing alone flight response, or bite the bullet, ask for help, grab someone’s hand and courageously choose to fight together.

Though it can be so, so tough…I’m renewing my vow to choose FIGHT from here on out. Forward really is the only option, an important way for me to put my Best Foot Forward.

52 Fridays…3 For 1

Happy, Happy Friday, Friends! I’ve been so busy diving into my new job, attempting to keep up with my teenage son’s jam-packed activity calendar and embracing the last few snowfalls to the fullest. Well, something had to give, and I’m sorry to say I’m pretty behind on 52 Fridays posts. So today, to bring us current, I’m offering a 3 for 1!

For those of you participating, grab a favorite beverage, settle into that favorite chair, dust off that journal and let’s get back to that journaling adventure of you! I’ll post three quotes this week; work with them however you like, whether that means examining all three in one sitting or chunking it up into three separate sit-downs…it’s totally up to you. Also, I’m going to make this week’s journaling exercise a freestyle…minimal commentary, just the quotes to spark your thinking and exploration. Without further ado…

I couldn’t help chosing that one in light of my new job and recent travels. I picked this next one in observance of Tax Day…

And finally, because nature is constantly beckoning, not just on Earth Day…

There you go, Friends, a 52 Fridays 3 for 1! Try these thoughts on for size and let your pen reveal what comes up for you.

Review: Latest Bedding’s Black Bear Lodge Quilt Set

Hey Friends, I’d love to share a fun little story with you! I should start by telling you how much I LOVE my bed. You know that feeling when you travel, how you long to be back in the comfort of your own bed? Well that’s exactly my point…my bed is my sanctuary.

Several weeks back while making my bed, I thought how frumpy my bedding looked…that since we’d had it nearly as long as our oldest son (the almost 21 year-old), because it was beginning to show its age, I should think about updating. And because of how the universe works for me lately, just a few days later I was asked to review one of Latest Bedding’s quilt sets. I was just heading out for another of my adventures when it shipped, so it arrived while I was exploring Arizona. You know, I love the outdoors, right? There was this great mountain in downtown Tempe that beckoned, so of course I had to check it out!

It was a whirlwind couple of weeks. I kept thinking, as great as it all was, I couldn’t wait to get back home to my own bed! Better yet, I knew there was a certain package that required my immediate attention. I couldn’t wait to see the Black Bear Lodge Quilt Set and Black Bear Lodge Pillow Pair Latest Bedding generously provided for my review. I should mention, they pre-selected this quilt set for me, but after exploring their site, I have to admit, it’s the very one I would have chosen for myself…I mean there goes the universe again right?!?

I admit, I was hesitant in ordering the full/queen size quilt, as I feared it wouldn’t be wide enough to adequately cover my queen mattress, but it was the perfect size! I also noticed the use of the word quilt in this case refers more to the fact that the fabric has lots of embellished stitching, but is not the thick, warm weight I was expecting. But as it turns out, that is a very good thing because I was sad to think I’d be replacing my favorite down comforter…I get to use both…win/win!

The pillow shams are a great weight for decor, the pillow pair is the perfect accent, and together, this well constructed set makes my room pop!

The minute I finished assembling the new ensemble, I stepped back knowing this bed set was so ME!!! Know how I knew? Because this weekend I was back out there again, embracing Mother Nature’s glory…

A quick trip to the beautiful woods of northern Minnesota had me breathing deep, receiving all those amazingly good vibes! Yeah, of course I hugged a tree or two haha!

As spectacular as it all was, I was right back to that familiar yearning…to get back home to the comfort of my favorite retreat. But this time, upon returning home, I couldn’t help smiling when I realized I have my favorite parts of nature’s beauty all right there…the wildlife, mountains, trees and those good vibes all right here…ahhhhh.

This set couldn’t have been more perfect than if I had picked it myself. But I know the Black Bear Lodge set isn’t for everyone. That’s why you should stop on over to the Latest Bedding’s website to look for yourself…there’s something there for everyone to create a comfortable refuge that is just so THEM!

 

 

 

52 Fridays…Breathe

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! Have you been experiencing times lately where you are so stressed, when you stop to think, you aren’t even breathing? Well then, grab that journal and breathe! Take a few moments to relax, breathe deeply!

Consider those times you may find yourself holding back your breath in anxiety, frustration, disappointment, struggle. What would happen if, when you find yourself in those moments, you take a step back and breathe?

Is there a time or place you associate with peace? When I’m in one of the moments mentioned above, if I’m able to recognize it, I not only breathe, I try taking myself to one of those places. Here’s an image I go to regularly…

Jot some thoughts down in your journal regarding those moments you realize you’re holding your breath. When you find yourself there, take that breath. Where can you journey to in your heart, mind and soul? If you have a few places in mind, at the ready, you can escape nearly any situation, any time, Friends…give it a try! It really can be this simple to put your Best Foot Forward!

52 Fridays…What are You Afraid Of?

Another wonderful Friday has rolled around and it’s time to talk 52 Fridays again. So when you’ve found a few moments, treat yourself to a refreshing beverage, grab that journal and cozy in!

Are you fearful? If so, what is it that you fear? Do you feal like it’s logical? Rational? Can you pinpoint when this fear began? Or do you feel like it’s been with you forever? When do you notice it most profoundly? Does this fear even make sense to you?

As you may have noticed, I’ve been doing my darnedest to kick fear’s butt. But just yesterday I had an insightful reiki session that brought up past fear that is still holding me back. I’ve done a TON of crazy, thrill-seeker stuff in the past several years, so it’s not that kind of fear.

I will need to dive deeper, sit with it a while to determine what I’m still holding back…what’s holding me back. And when I’ve allowed those feels to pour out, I will step forth in faith with the other piece that spoke loudly in yesterday’s session and forgive myself.

Faith is an extraordianry tool I’m continuously working on implementing every which way in my life. So here’s the idea to consider on this 52 Fridays journaling journey of you…

Do you feel ready to break that fear into smaller pieces, to slowly move toward letting faith work away at them? It can be a scary process, I know! But in facing that fear, you will be amazed at what you find on the other side of it. One more way to put our Best Foot Forward.

Of Closure and Gratitude

It’s been well over a month since I traveled to Jacksonville to participate in the Donna Marathon Weekend’s half marathon. I’ve meant to blog about it for weeks, but I think it has taken me until now to understand its significance.

If you read this post a while back, you know this event has become far more important to me this year than when I participated in 2016. Though I walked it back then too, I was in the thick of my marathon and half marathon addiciton…I was seriously running out of control! The proof is in the bling I earned throughout that year…

Oh how I loved my running, it was an obsession that seemed to come out of nowhere…it was a total escape from life’s crazy, and the endorphins were a reward second to none. So much so, that when I found I needed that lumpectomy, I calmly rescheduled it so I could run a half marathon in California. And when I finally faced the music to have the lump removed, I was running another half only days post-op.

Yeah, that was a tough run for me. When I look back at this pic, I’m right back in that moment with the weight of all the feels. I know now, it was the running that kept my mind north of the worry and fear.

But, it’s also clear to me now, I was’t exactly running toward anything…I was running away from things. That girl had a LOT going on.

The running continued nearly every day until later that year when this dumb thing happened…

I awoke the meniscal beast, and though I eeked out another marathon and one more half that year, that was the end of that. Though the meniscus has quieted down, runner’s knee, osteoarthritis and my sports med doc have made it quite clear. I’m finished.

So there I was in Jacksonville, wondering what in the world I was doing. I picked up my race packet and enjoyed the expo with my friend Julie, because I kind of knew it might be my last.

Although we had walked plenty of training miles and planned to walk every last step of those 13.1 miles, I secretly feared my body wouldn’t be able to cut it.

So I gave my regards to Jeff Galloway one more time, just in case!

Before I left for Jacksonville, I checked in with my friends at OOFOS (my beloved recovery footwear company). Mind you, their footwear has supported my body throughout my injury and eased a TON of my pain since. It just so happens they have a Project Pink line…the same amazing comfort, but as part of their charitable giving effort, $10 from every Project Pink Collection shoe purchased goes to breast cancer research! Check out OOFOS’ fantastic Project Pink line here.

Well they generously sent me a pair for the occasion, so what else would I have worn to the pink carpet Expo?

Same amazing comfort/support, extraordinary cause near and dear to my heart! And I’ll just tell you right now, I couldn’t have recovered from this half later without them!

I was really rusty at setting out my flat Carla the night before. I barely remembered how and hoped I hadn’t forgotten anything important.

It had been well over a year since my last event, Friends. Past disappointment, the threat of pain…it was a crazy-loud loop running through my head I could not silence. Where did that even come from? I thought I was over all that. But there it was, and I barely slept that night.

I tried to reason with myself…I was only walking; but I was walking 13.1 miles on a bum knee. Ugh. Well, there was only one thing to do, so I put my best foot forward…just ask Elvis!

And the moment we crossed the start line, I remembered what I love about Donna’s event.

It’s not about the race or my pace. It’s about something so much bigger, and Julie and I were reminded of that with every neighborhood corner we turned…

Those homeowners embrace this race for the important cause it is. And to keep it light…

Though I felt I might lose my emotions multiple times along in gratitude for my own breast surgury scare results, these people kept reminding me to laugh and enjoy the journey.

 

My knee was getting angrier and angrier, and I hate to tell you how many times I thought about quitting. The emotion was raw as it became clearer and clearer with every mile, the race days I loved were drawing to a close. What if all the running was just a temporary vehicle to ease me through a tough time?

A deep, comforting feeling washed over me like the waves of Jax Beach…a gentle yet unmistakable clarity. What a gift to be there, to be able to take that winter walk with a great friend on a beautiful, sunny day in Florida. A day that’s not promised to any of us. A day I was grateful to be alive.

That medal is a symbol of closure I will treasure forever.

 

 

 

52 Fridays…Do You Have Plans?

I don’t know how, but it’s that time again, Friends. So welcome to the weekend! When you find a quiet moment for yourself, gather up that journal, pen and mug, then cozy into your thoughtful spot. Take a few deep breaths and let them go. You’ve made it through another week! Here are some thoughts to consider on this 52 Fridays…

Have all of your weeks begun to look the same? Do you find yourself going through the motions?When is the last time you took a break from your routine? Do you have any travel plans on the horizon…something to look forward to?

I just returned from some time off, a getaway with my husband. In fact, in the past couple years, I have found myself traveling somewhere new nearly every month. I crave new places, new experiences and adventures. Travel has become my passion, maybe even my addiction.

I’ve been bitten by the travel bug. HARD!

There was a time in my life when I never went anywhere. And although I love where I live and who I live with, I was missing something tremendous. I felt it ever so deeply, I just didn’t know at the time what it was.

Since becoming a frequent flyer, I’ve been bathed in that secret tonic. The creativity it provides is so incredibly refreshing!

Oops, I didn’t mean for this to become my journaling entry! I’ll stop now, but I hope this gets you thinking about what travel might do for you. If you’ve been experiencing a lull of enthusiasm, maybe it’s time you give yourself something to look forward to. Take some time to think about what that might look like for you and capture these thoughts in your journal!

#makeplans #goplaces