Well…Here I Grow Again!

Wait! What just happened?!? An entire season has come and gone without nary a blog post. Apparently my life has been put on an even faster forward…do you relate? I can’t fathom where summer has gone, so it’s time I share with you a peek at what I’ve been up to since my last entry back in (gosh, oops…) May! If you’ve been following me on Facebook, you already know haha!

I welcomed the warmer weather by tilling and planting my garden because I love the gifts the growing season provides. I knew homegrown veggies would add a fresh flavor to all my favorites.

I got a few early season 5Ks in, but my jerk knee’s knee jerk reaction was not pleasant, so that was that.

My husband joined my beloved athletic club and I gained a brand new source of live-in gym accountability! This pic was from the morning of our 25th Wedding Anniversary…got the workout in before we celebrated!

We observed our anniversary by continuing Eric’s Hop Passport Brewery Tour…we knocked out a few of the 68 breweries in his passort while playing in Minneapolis/St. Paul. That passport has challenged me to work off all the empty calories I’ve been consuming with each tour, a battle I sense I was losing.

Next came our annual family vacation up north; though relaxing, I did all I could to keep it an active one…

Loved the time it allowed me to spend with our oldest and his wife…feels like there’s never enough time, so this week was a great chance to put everyday life on hold and just play!

Ahhh, but that fresh air and lake vibes!

And the sunrises!!! What a beautiful place to catch our breath as summer began to take flight.

I got a quick room overhaul accomplished, turning our oldest son’s room into a place of mindful rejuvenation. I don’t mind telling you, I worked through some emotions as I painted over a little boy’s youth.

It seems to have helped me work through the feels I needed to release. I managed to get the room pretty close to finished just in time for a houseguest.

My soul sister flew in from Portland with that giant bag…part of an epic plan! What a treat to have this Lady with us for an entire month. Pinch me!

Eric and I had been training for RAGBRAI, a weeklong bike ride across Iowa, and Nadia decided pretty last minute to join in…YAY! I rode RAGBRAI back in 2016 by myself, so I was pretty excited with the prospect of having some really fun company this time!

We got some great training rides in with part of our fantastic team…such important preparation for success.

Even on days we didn’t feel like it, we still figured out how to keep moving forward…air conditioning helped haha!

A few short weeks later found us in Council Bluffs, IA at the RAGBRAI expo, ready to set this adventure in motion. Remember, I’d done this before and once was actually enough for me, until this 50-year-old decided it was time for him to do it too. Now how could I say no when he asked me to join him?

And just like that, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa happened…427ish miles of it!

Was pretty much an exhausting, seven day party as we ate our way across the entire state of Iowa…fuel, you know?!? Uff-da!

Felt good to see completion of another training schedule and event. Goals can get a person pretty far!

My job continued allowing me to share the great outdoors and fitness with the mentors and mentees I work with. I’m grateful to say I love the work I am doing…seems more like play if you ask me…WIN!!!

I spent a portion of the summer partnering with the Rochester Police Department encouraging the youth in our mentoring program to accomplish some of their 10 mile bike rides. How amazing it would be if one of them goes on to ride RAGBRAI in the future…how cool would that be?

My flexible part-time work schedule has afforded me some important time for much needed self care. I’ve taken many opportunities to work on me this summer. Sure, I spent a ton of time being active, but I also took time delving into some healing modalities that I’ve been meaning to explore. I’ve been holding on to some baggage it was time to unpack and release.

In the process, I’ve enjoyed profound relief from things I’ve felt were holding me back from being my best. It was challenging but necessary work to move forward.

Time and again, I put myself in the way of beauty and let nature facilitate the healing.

I’ve made my emotional and spiritual health big priorities this summer, and the shift I’m experiencing is a divine gift. One that is right on time, because life is constantly changing and I want to be ready for what’s coming next…case in point…

See, this is something else we accomplished this summer…senior pictures. How is our youngest already here? As I know all too well, this will be the fastest school year yet. This young man has been busy with incredible academic government and musical composition programs this summer, as well as traveling abroad. I feel like we barely saw him. And my heart knows what little time we have left before the nest is empty.

I know how important these fleeting moments are, so I’m tucking the memories away one by one, as long as I can.

So I look back at this summer with such joy as this guy and I evolve into a deeper relationship. The one where we begin to remember who we are without our kids, and what that looks like going forward. I think about how quickly 25 years really go and what I want for myself and for us.

And this right here is it. I want to go forth with love and longevity the best way I know how. That means it’s time for me to take way better care of myself, to get honest on a very vulnerable level. I know I’ve been neglecting myself when it comes to mindful eating and that mofo scale has been shouting obsceneties at me. Or maybe it’s the other way around lol! So it’s time to show the damn thing what I’m made of. Again.

So, well…here I grow again. I already know I can.

I’m embarking on a new leg of this transformational journey I’ve been on these past 8 years that will ensure I go into our next 25 years with my very Best Foot Forward.

52 Fridays…Because You’re Worth It!

Yay for us, Friends, we made it to another 52 Fridays! Forget about what craziness might be going on around you. Take a moment to stop thinking about your to-do list…you deserve a little me time! So grab that beverage, journal, pen, cozy into that chair and let’s just breathe!

If you’ve been around here long, you know how I feel about the myriad of things that are vying for our time and attention. I’ve learned that I don’t need to say yes to every volunteer opportunity, I can let events and happeneings pass me by. Really, it’s okay! Because in doing so, I have more time to come back to me, to regain focus, clarity, balance.

Take some time to pinpoint and record the things you prioritize on a daily/weekly/monthly basis…are YOU included in that mix? If yes, good for you…keep it up! If not, what things on that list can you let go? What would you do for yourself if you had a bit more time to focus on you?

Friends, I PROMISE it’s not selfish to love and care for yourself, to prioritize your happiness…it’s a basic need! Once you accept that, look out…your life is about to change in ways that will astound you. Why? Because you are worthy!

52 Fridays…Exist or Live?

It’s already here again, Friends; Happy Friday! Reserve a few quiet moments for yourself, grab that journal, get cozy and let’s reflect on 52 Fridays-Week 5!

Lately, when I observe myself doing something, I measure it against our quote for this week. In doing so, I know if that action/behavior serves me or not.

Take some time to really look at your current life. If you find yourself merely existing, is that all you hope for? What would it take for you to live? I mean wholeheartedly, deliberately living on and with purpose?

Or maybe you are already living but still desire more?

Let the thoughts and ideas come and simply allow them to pour across your page. You might be surprised by what emerges. Study it. Try it on for size. How does it feel? Is it what you want?

Friends, it all boils down to this…do we want to take life as it comes or go forth with intention?

Stronger Than Ever!

Friends, I began my day the same way I always do. I reached for my very broken-in copy of Jesus Calling by Sarah Young. I’ve read this daily bit of encouragement for many years now. It’s uncanny just how closely each excerpt resembles what I encounter throughout any given day…the perfect dosage of exactly what I need! Some days are downright intense with resonance and realization. Today’s entry was an extreme example; one I was not expecting! It was Jesus telling me he is my strength and my shield, not to wonder what is on the road ahead, or waste energy worrying…when I’m afraid, I should remember he is my shield. And the big kicker…”My Presence watches over you continually, protecting you from both known and unknown dangers.”

The strong reverberation echoed clear to my soul; I remembered why this passage struck me so. Today is an odd anniversary for me. Four years ago tonight, that protection was perfectly demonstrated…

Those of you who’ve been with me for a while recall how Eric and I got up close and personal with a pickup truck, and you might remember the evidence of some heavenly protection buffering the impact…

If you missed this part of my journey, you can catch up with a post from 2016 and 2017 that demonstrate how my healing has ventured far beyond the physical!

I’ve made some great progress in how I remember January 31, 2014. I know I must have read the same Jesus Calling passage that morning, I just never expected to be on the receiving end of such immense protection that evening. As I read it again this morning, I understand more and more what that night was all about. My perspective has continued to shift from the challenges and struggles that night imparted toward what profound gifts were bestowed…blessings of survival, gratitude, a fresh new journey toward more strength than I ever thought I could embody, a deep appreciation for a good samaritan and rockstar paramedics (my son will officially be one in May). Yeah, thinking about it now hits me straight in the feels all over again!

Another gift I’ve been granted from that evening is the return visit of chronic pain each time the clouds bring forth a new storm. I can seriously forecast the weather with it! I no longer associate this pain with self-pity; my fresher perspective reminds me that pain is proof that I’m still here and I have important work to do!

Friends, if you are struggling with something tough right now, I’m really sorry! But I encourage you to look at what the bigger picture is telling you. Can you adopt a wider, more positive perspective on what is actually going on?

I keep coming back to this quote I swiped off Facebook. I was not ready to understand its truth the first weeks, months, years following that night of trauma, but it makes perfect sense to me now.

Thanks for having our backs and helping me be prove this true, JC!

 

10 Ways to Win Your Week

Friends, I spent some time looking at the week before me…it’s a busy one. But I’m looking ahead for very good reason; I’m setting an intention, right now (as always), to be mindful of my time in order to win my week. Because when I do, I feel like this…

See, if I don’t gaze forward in awareness of upcoming events and possible triggers, the week will likely have its way with me, leaving unwanted consequences in its trail. By taking a peek at my upcoming week and making a plan of attack, I’ve already decided to win my week. Here are 10 ways I plan to do just that…

1. Set yourself up for success in the kitchen. If that means running to the store today, do it! Ensure that you have plentiful healthy food options that are ready for those on-the-go times throughout the week when you’d ordinarily make less than stellar choices. Keep some snacks handy throughout your day so you don’t even have to think…just refuel. If you want to take it a step further, purge all the junk that’s lurking in your cupboards!

2. Schedule your workouts. Look at your planner and place your workouts within. You will be far more likely to follow through if you’ve already made a plan of action. I promise!

3.  Invite company to the fun. If you’ve decided to try a new class, take a break or lunchtime walk, attempt a new hike or adventure, or are just doing the same-old same-old take a friend along. It will feel less like a chore and more like a party with a family member, co-worker or bestie. Better yet, this person may turn out to be the best darn accountability buddy you’ve ever had.

4. Hydrate! Even though it’s winter and you may feel like you need it less…drink that water! Shoot for the recommended 64 ounces per day.

5. Make sleep a priority. Sometimes we have to get protective of our time to accomplish this, but you are worth it! Sleep goes way beyond just feeling rested…there are all kinds of important benefits/restoration a good night’s sleep provides your body. And did you know, the National Sleep Foundation recommends adults between 18-64 years of age get 7-9 hours of sleep per night? Work on it!

6. Do what you love! Carve out a bit of time each day doing something you love. Whether that’s reading, crafting, gardening, playing a game, catching the latest episode of your inspiring podcast or simply meditating…do it!

7. Plan something to look forward to. Whether it’s setting a goal, registering for an event or planning a datenight, getaway or trip, put something on the calendar and make it happen. Without something to work toward, train for or eagerly await, we can feel stuck simply going through life’s daily motions.

8. Defend your time. Are you one of those people that says yes to all those extra commitments, only to find yourself feeling bogged down, trapped and overwhelmed? The magic word here is NO! Use it, mean it and don’t forget saying no to other people means saying yes to your wellbeing.

9. Don’t forget self care! This is also known as me-time. It is not selfish to do something kind for yourself, it’s necessary. Take time for a calming massage, soothing bath, facial, pedicure or nap. Take care of you! I challenge you to take it a step further and put ME-DAY on your calendar for an entire day each month and treat yo self. You will be amazed at how this enhances the rest of your month!

10. Look at the bright side. It’s there, within every situation, so look for and find the bright side in everything rather than dwelling on the negative. It might be tough at first, but you will find that silver lining if you take the opportunity to look. This is a most meaningful step toward a lifetime rich in gratitude.

This may seem like a lot to juggle, but the good news is it’s not rocket science. Start small in embracing these 10 practices; soon they will become second nature. Friends, have a great week and reach for the WIN!

New Month, New Goal

I know I’m a day late, but this just illustrates how quickly summer is slipping through our fingers! How did it get to be August already?

At the beginning of each month, I set new goals; some are stricter than others, but all aim toward a healthier, happier me! Yesterday I really looked inward. What improvements did I hope to accomplish? Did I want measurable results? How could I make the most of my time? What outcomes would increase my health while feeding my heart and soul? These thoughts circled my mind as I pedaled to the gym.

I continued to consider what I hoped to achieve this month during my workout. As I biked nearly halfway back home, clarity…

I can’t possibly slow summer down, but I can spend more time enjoying it while it’s here. Why not take my workouts outdoors to soak in that sun, breathe deep the fresh air and embrace all that’s left of this season?

Folks, it couldn’t have been any clearer than the crystal blue water before me. I’ve decided to turn my focus from diligent calorie counting and the vigorous routines that have become habit for me at the gym toward embracing the outdoors in my pursuit of fitness. This doesn’t mean I won’t continue to watch what I eat and get my workouts in, it simply means mindfully spending more of my energy in an environment I can’t seem to ever get enough of.

I’ve already made some exciting plans to get myself outside more. Instead of mourning summer’s end with regret, I plan to look back with fond memories of epic adventure and wellbeing. While my results may not necessarily be measurable, I intend for them to be unforgettable!

Friends, you’ve got an entire month left of summer, how will you plan to make the most of it?

Finding My Joy

Friends, those of you who’ve met me more recently would be surprised to know, it wasn’t long ago I was in a rather dark place. I was overweight, overscheduled, overwhelmed. I fell for the perfectionist trap in so many aspects of my life. When I often fell short, I dug myself deeper into a sense of failure. Despair.

I made it my mission to be in control of situations in an attempt to make everyone else happy. It was an exhausting existence. One which consumed me with worry…suffocating every chance for personal fulfillment. See, in living in this manner, I unknowingly left myself out of the equation time and again. If you had asked me what my hopes and dreams were, I couldn’t give you an answer because I was running the program, going through motions that never made sense but seemed expected. It was just what the women in my family had done for generations. In trying to measure up to certain standards, I found myself constantly falling short.

How did I get to this place? I had the love of family and friends…the support was always right there for the asking. But I was missing the integral puzzle piece to my wholeness…ME.

I’d become so caught up in the frantic pace of pleasing others, attempting to meet everyone else’s needs, I forgot myself. Ignored me. It has taken me 4 1/2 years to shift my focus from looking away to looking within. At first it felt terribly self-centered, but wasn’t that the point? Don’t we all need to meet our own needs first in order to be of any help to others? YES!

I admit, this was a terrifying concept at first, because putting myself at the top of my list of priorities negated everything I thought I knew. Yup, this was a scary place. But, little by little, I’ve chipped away at the senseless expectations in my head, jumped clear from my comfort zone, again and again, to create a profound sculpture of a healthier, happier me.

I’m no longer smothered by worry or expectation. I’m trying new things almost daily to point me toward my life purpose. I’m not only able to dream again, I’m living those dreams! And the result? Contentment. Exhilaration. Pure JOY! These are great feelings to take into the new year.

Friends, set aside some quiet time this week to focus on YOU…one more way to put your Best Foot Forward