I Still Do!

Today marks 24 years I’ve been married to my BFF! I can’t imagine where in the world I would be without Eric by my side. He’s supported me through every last challenge and struggle I’ve encountered…loved me though them all. He encouraged me every single step throughout my tumultuous road to a healthier, happier me. Truth is, he has loved me unconditionally, whether at my largest or smallest. My size never mattered to him, only my happiness.

As I searched for a quote that sized up this relationship, many resonated, but one stood out today…

“Every love story is beautiful, but ours is my favorite.”

Friends, I’ve recently been reminded again and again of a story I shared over a year ago.

Funny how a symbol of love can mean so many different things throughout a relationship. At this moment back in February 2017 is was far more than a token of our love…it was also a great metaphor for the repaired, resized, restored new me (and we).

If you missed it, check out my greatest NSV-non scale victory of my transformation journey…that gift is still very much giving here.

Happy Anniversary, Babe!

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!

Keto Adventure Kickoff

Friends, I have been considering changing up my eating for quite some time. I’ve been really curious about the keto or ketogenic diet and have felt like my body has been wanting me to give it a whirl. I didn’t understand quite how I was going to lose weight by eating lots of fat, some protein and very little carbs, so I did several weeks worth of research. I joined some Facebook groups too. But what really gave me that final nudge was “The Magic Pill” –a Netflix documentary that follows several people through the beginning stages of their keto journey. I found their results profound!

What is the keto diet? Simply stated, it is a low-carb, high-fat way of eating. People following this diet burn through their small portion of carbs quickly, so their body then switches to fat for energy. And when this occurs, it’s said the body goes into a state of ketosis. Many people who follow a keto diet have weight loss success and a host of other benefits. Not everything works for everyone, but I hope my body is one of those that finds success. I’ve finally come to the point where I just have to try!

I spent the past week reading everything I could on the subject while eating up the foods in my cupboard that are not good ingredients for keto. By the end of the week, our cupboards looked like that of Old Mother Hubbard! Our poor teenage son began to get concerned.

Although he will continue to eat his way, I’m excited my husband is joining me on this adventure! Eric and I took a trip to Aldi yesterday to see what we could find for our first week of keto. We read lots of labels. LOTS! And we may not have made expert choices, but we managed to leave the store with a selection of items that, teamed with what we already had on hand, will provide us a good variety to keep us from getting bored the first week.

Armed with an array of choices, we kicked off our adventure this morning. Ordinarily, when I begin a new eating plan, I’m nervous. But, Friends, I am intrigued! I’m about to eat so many foods I previously thought detrimental to my health…seems to go against nearly everything I knew about healthy eating. We shall see!

I documented yesterday’s grocery haul and today’s breakfast/lunch on the Facebook page and was surprised by the response. I had friends and followers reach out, my inbox was inundated with a flood of folks offering support, encouragement, advice and even multiple cookbooks coming my way! They really made my day!

I used the My Fitness Pal app on my phone to track my eating because I’m accustomed to it and I love how it easily breaks down the macros for me. Here’s a peek at my day…

Breakfast was a flavor filled mushroom and cheese omelette with bacon and coffee…yum!

Lunch was an experiment using a sliced Mexi Cali chicken patty on a bed of spinach and arugula with avocado, blueberries and ranch. It was so amazing, I plan to make it for dinner tomorrow night so Eric can experience it too!

I didn’t photograph the walnuts and almonds I had for a snack, or the many ounces of water I sipped, but I rounded out my day with a sirloin steak, avocado, broccoli and strawberries. And I am FULL. I’ve actually felt full all day. And on 1580 calories, I’ve never really been able to say that before!

Here’s a look at how the day measured up. Not bad for my first attempt. True confession…I took today off from work, so I’m not sure how tomorrow will go when I don’t have an abundance of time to prepare meals. But I’m not too concerned. I actually welcome the challenge and look forward to feeling how my body performs tomorrow when I put it through a tough workout fueled by fat! I’m already thinking very good thoughts!

Have you gone keto? If so, feel free to leave a comment below. I’d love to hear how it went or is going for you!

52 Fridays…Expect the Wonderful

Are you like me? Did your week go by so fast you feel like your head is spinning? I can’t, for the life of me, figure out where it went! This is a crazy-busy, insanely-paced time of year for me, but I know it’s only for another week until school is done. I’m only thinking good thoughts as I attempt to keep up!

And that thought brings me to today’s episode of 52 Fridays! I’ve got my beverage, journal and pen readied, I’m cozied into my chair and ready to explore this week’s idea. Come along!

It fits right into this time of year for many. Back when I was living a much unhealthier lifestyle, weeks like these would tear me apart. Why? It was all in my way of thinking. I was always on guard…just waiting for and expecting the next bad thing to happen. And do you know what? That’s exactly what happened because that was what I had my brain trained to look for. How depressing is that?!?

Let’s examine your way of thinking. Do you worry? Are you just waiting for the next thing to break or to derail your day or life? If so, how does that feel? For me it was downright exhausting, until I made a mindful change. It took me some time to shift my thinking, but once I did, I was able to recognize that feeling, adjust my thoughts and let the negative go. I can tell you it has made a world of difference in my life. And I’m sure my drop to a normal blood pressure has much to do with this more positive way of thinking.

If you don’t already, could you shift your thinking to expecting the positive instead? What does that look like for you? Take a few moments to try it on for size, then notice how you feel? Jot down those thoughts and feelings. Want to make an even bigger impact? It will take some effort, but put it do daily practice! You will be surprised at what happens…I promise!

If you only expect the wonderful, look out…here it comes!

52 Fridays…Dream BIG!

Yup, it’s that time again…happy 52 Fridays, Friends! Now that we are headed into summer, you may choose to switch out that warm soothing beverage for something cooler…water, iced tea, wine cooler…hey, I won’t judge (but I do recommend something hydrating)! Grab that journal and pen, cozy in and let’s make some plans!

Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer! If we don’t take time to think about what we hope to get out of this special time of year, it can easily pass us by! I LOVE summer because the weather is conducive to so many activities that feed me on a soul level. What will you do this summer?

I want to challenge you to dream. If you could do something, anything, outside your comfort zone, what would it be? Is there something a bit crazy and intimidating you’ve been wanting to do for a long time, but you are holding back? I have a whole list, but this is more about you! What are you waiting for? It’s not a secret that none of us are getting any younger. It’s time to put pen to paper…what are those bucket list items you’ve been dreaming of doing that maybe give you a funny, tingly feeling of fear behind your ribs/lungs (that’s where I sense it, anyway)?

I mean, don’t go too crazy…I feel led to remind you of my disclosure, although I am encouraging you to step outside your comfort zone…consult with your physician before doing anything completely insane because I can’t be held responsible haha!

I have found the things that I dreamt of doing, the big ones that scared me the most…running my first 5k, my first 10k, my first half and first full marathon, my first backpacking trek, riding RAGBRAI, completing the black course at Flagstaff Extreme, climbing to the Hidden Peak summit for an aerial tram ride down Snowbird, a canoeing journey through the Boundary Waters. I could totally go on. My point is, without any of these adrenaline rushes, my life would feel pretty mundane, I’d always feel like a great big part of who I am is missing.

I’ve been imangining some pretty exciting (adrenaline-explosive) dreams for the next few years, but without making plans, setting goals…well, they just won’t happen.

So the opportunity is NOW, Friends, take some quiet time to determine just what you dream of doing if you had the determination, the courage, the fearlessness to do it. Dream BIG, Friends. And my Memorial Day triple dog dare…set a date to just DO IT!!!

Write it on the calendar, start preparing, put your Best Foot Forward and enjoy the full length of summer. I would LOVE to know what you dream up…please leave a comment below with what you plan to go out there and do!!!

Have a wonderful weekend!

Growing Around the Grief

Growing up, my parents taught me a LOT about gardening. They grew an impressive vegetable garden each year and included me in every aspect of its growth. I’m grateful to have learned the process. So much so, that I’ve carried the practice into my adult life. I’d like to say I’m half the gardener they were, but maybe someday I’ll get there.

Our family’s time-honored tradition of planting occured every year between May 14th-21st for reasons I’ll get to in a minute. I wanted to follow this rule, but was incredibly busy all week in preparation of some pretty important events.

Our family is growing. Hitting me square in the feels, our oldest son Logan arrived smack-dab into adulthood Friday night, graduating from the Mayo Clinic’s Paramedic Medicine Program. That sweet little heart of a boy has grown so much and is ready to save the world one person at a time!

And the family is growing in other directions too…Saturday afternoon, my amazing mother-in-law did an exquisite job of helping me shower Logan’s fiance in a lovely manner. We will soon be adding this beautiful young woman, Anna, into our tribe. Again with the feels, Friends!

So yesterday I needed to decompress, to let it all sink in how quickly this precious life goes by. I found myself out in that garden…boy did that thing need attention to get it planted by my deadline.

See, we used the May 14th-21st span because the frost is generally done by then, an easy rule of thumb for us to remember because those dates are my brother and dad’s birthdays. My dad’s birthday was rolling around again, this the 7th year we’d celebrate without him. These special days so hard to get through, yet I’ve grown, Friends, and I had a plan to observe this year a bit differently.

I’m stronger these days, more grateful for EVERYTHING! I couldn’t help focusing on that gratitude yesterday as I rototilled with the tiller my dad gave me when he stopped gardening. Couldn’t help feeling him holding on because the thing is a BEAST! I planted all my seed vegetables yesterday but saved the seedlings for today.

I purchased my plants just as it began to rain. Drat! But do you know what? I was so determined to finish planting by the 21st that I did it in the rain. He’s probably the one up there who made it rain anyway…he was quite the jokester and why would now be any different. Instead of feeling the familiar heaviness in my heart, I smiled.

I wore one of his favorite shirt jackets, played a playlist of all the songs just like he used to play on the organ, and I got it done. On time! The birds we both love were out there singing too…it was as if he was right there with me, and we had a ball. I can’t wait to watch this garden grow and think he had something to do with it. This felt like the perfect way to spend his day.

Birthdays have always been very special in our family. I look back to one of the last we celebrated with him, and gratitude hits me square in the heart again…

I came upon a video on Facebook the other day that best illustrates how we grieve; it made HUGE sense to me. Check it out here.

I wanted to share it with any of you missing a loved one so much it hurts. As I think back to the pain of missing this guy these past seven birthdays, yet moving forward with an abundant, happy life, it makes perfect sense. I’m growing around the grief.

Happy 82nd Lotus Conrad, thanks for being there today!

 

 

52 Fridays…Self Talk

Yup, Friday again, Friends and time for 52 Fridays! Grab that journal, pen, soothing beverage and cozy into your favorite space to relax.

I’d like to start a conversation about the way we talk to ourselves. Last summer I spent some time in the wild with a dear friend that picked up on something I didn’t even realize I was doing. Not only was I speaking negatively about myself, I was doing it aloud.

I’m so glad she was kind enough to tell me I’m too hard on myself…I never noticed! But I sure pay attention to it now!

Friends, here’s your 52 Fridays topic…

Are you unkind to you? Do you speak negatively to yourself? Are you tougher on yourself than on anyone else? You may want to take a few moments to simply breathe and be, then begin to listen to what that little voice inside is saying. Is it kind? Jot it down if you feel so inclined. Start paying closer attention. Think about if you’d tell your friends the same things, because…”If you wouldn’t say it to a friend, don’t say it to yourself.” -Jane Travis.

Friends, this continues to be something I know I need to work on. I’m grateful this lady noticed I was not being a friend to myself. We know how important kindness is, so let’s choose to begin with ourselves…one more way to put our Best Foot Forward!

Have a beautiful weekend!

 

52 Fridays…Saying Yes to You!

Happy 52 Fridays, Friends! I’m cozied in with my coffee, journal, my sentimental Paper Mate pen, wrapped in a fuzzy blankie and ready to dive into this week’s thought…come along and join me!

This is a crazy-paced time of year for me; do you feel that way too? My planner is bulging with engagements and events…more so than ever before, there is simply a lot going on in my life right now.

I’ve learned long ago to analyze every activity of its relevance, to determine if it serves or sinks me. But in looking at my current schedule, there is nothing I’m willing to let go…all of it IMPORTANT! There’s Moms’ Night Out (I NEED/WANT this), Mother’s Day (I have THREE moms to honor), two bridal showers for my soon-to-be daughter-in-law, my older son’s college graduation, my brother’s birthday, my younger son’s last band concert of the school year, and then there is work…none of it I’d want to give up because I LOVE my job…all of this within the next 10 days! Oh, and I can’t forget workouts…those are non-negotiable!

Seriously, this is my schedule pared down, but I know things will calm down soon; many of these are major life happenings that don’t occur often. My calendar used to be insanely packed full of other stuff…of school, church and community volunteer commitments and distractions, plenty of extra days and nights each week of work responsibilities in a job that sucked the life out of me, mindless shopping trips to pacify my stressed spirit…it was beyond exhausting that kept me literally running from one thing to the next. Do you find yourself in a similar pattern?

I’ve learned a little word that has made all the difference; do you know that word of which I speak? I used to worry about what other people would think if I said it, wondered if they saw me as insolent, disconnected, uncaring. Do you know what? That simple word that SAVED me…

Are you drowning in a schedule that doesn’t serve you? Can you look through your upcoming calendar and find things that have little or nothing to do with you that are there because you said yes to other people…in effect, saying no to YOU? I challenge you to dig deep on this installment of 52 Fridays, to find and sound your voice with one word that will give YOU a break…

It’s time to say NO! Which is saying YES to YOU!

Take some time to sit with your journal, consider what commitments, responsibilities, engagements and events you can release to bring yourself closer to you.

Win-It Wednesday OOFOS Black Glitter Winner

Happy Win-It Wednesday, Friends! I want to take this opportunity to thank the generous folks at OOFOS for their unwavering support in my endeavors and providing today’s amazing giveaway prize…thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!

I’m excited to announce the lucky winner of the Black Glitter OOlala Luxe Sandals is…

Congratulations to Patty!

I will email you for shipping details, Patty.

Thank you to all who entered. If you did not win but are looking for the ultimate in support and sport recovery relief, you can treat your feet…pop on over to OOFOS website right away so you can feel the OO too!

This FIT BFF is here to tell you, OOFOS is one of the best ways I know to put our Best Foot Forward!

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!