Thursday, November 29, 2012

All I Want for Christmas....

I know I'm not getting any presents for Christmas this year.  My hubby and I agreed not to exchange.  My parents have told me I'm not getting anything from them.  My extended family has decided not to exchange names this year.  So I'm at the mercy of Dear Santa for this one. 

The only thing on my wish list this year is a Blendtec.

Isn't it lovely?  Making green smoothies would be so much easier in this powerful machine than in my little Magic Bullet.  Unfortunately, since my hubby has created a plan to get us out of debt in four years and a high-end blender wasn't considered a necessity, I can't purchase one for myself.  So I'm really hoping to hear the lovely sound of jingle bells on my roof on Christmas Eve!

Our Wellness Journey

As I mentioned previously, my BFF Steph and I are embarking on a wellness journey that will begin on December 1st. Yes, both of us are starting out needing to lose some weight, and while weight loss is an end result we both hope to achieve, this journey embraces so much more. Ultimately, we want to be healthy – in body, mind and spirit.

We have decided to walk this path of wellness together because we know there is strength in numbers. We will be here to encourage and support each other. We will share our resources. We will hold each other accountable. And in the end, we hope to make a lasting change.

Of course, we are both of the same mind that there is not a one-size-fits-all solution. If there was, we would have already implemented it! Instead, while some elements may look the same (we will check in with each other at least once a week, we will make changes to our diets, etc.), each of the paths we walk will be slightly different.

The details of my plan may change along the way, but here are my current intentions:

~ I will partake of a 10-day juice feast.
~ I will cut out most sugar and caffeine from my diet.
~ I will eat a majority of whole foods.
~ I will keep a food journal.
~ I will gain more energy to exercise on a regular basis.
~ I will blog or journal regularly to keep my mind clear and focused.
~ I will to meditate on God’s Word daily.
~ I will take better care of my skin.
~ I will floss my teeth daily.
~ I will serve my husband and my children better.
~ I will leave work on time.
~ I will sing more.
~ I will find ways to get closer to my ideal career and lifestyle.

My goals are:

~ Fit back into my pre-pregnancy pants. (Yes, it’s been three months since I gave birth, and I am still wearing maternity pants!)
~ Lose at least 40 pounds.
~ Be able to run a 5K.
~ Be a better wife and mother.
~ Be able to think more clearly and strategically.
~ Radiate light from the inside out.
~ Be at peace no matter my circumstances.

I couldn’t be more excited about this journey. I’m ready to embrace a holistically healthy life once and for all so that I can eventually start helping others to do the same.

My Blog

I am grateful that Chelle recently challenged her readers to take part in 21 days of gratitude. Not only did it lift my spirits and serve as a reminder to praise and thank God for the many blessings in my life, but the exercise also encouraged me to visit my blog on a daily basis – which is something I haven’t done in a long time.

I have alluded to it in a couple of previous posts, but earlier this year, I really felt like God was prompting me take a break from my blog for a while. I didn’t contemplate the reason too much, but I know it was a heart issue. What was the purpose of my blog? What was it becoming? Who was it really bringing glory to? Ultimately, I want my whole life to be used to bring people closer to God. I want people to get to know and love Jesus simply by knowing me. But I don’t think that was happening. I was gaining a sense of arrogance and pride. I was only glorifying myself. I didn’t want to write anything unless I thought the post might be profound. I was afraid of being judged. I was writing for all the wrong reasons.

Stephanie and I will be embarking on our wellness journey in a few days. I want to use this blog as part of that. I want it to be a catalyst for getting healthy - which is one of the main reasons I started it to begin with. I want to write and reflect as I muddle my way through life. I want to record my successes and struggles. I want to clear out the junk that has a tendency to gather in my head. I don’t want to worry about how many followers I have. I don’t want to worry about whether or not my content will please them. I don’t want to worry about portraying a perfect image of a person. Because in the end she doesn’t exist. And frankly, this is my blog and my life. Writing or living the way I think someone else wants me to really isn’t serving anyone well. And ultimately, trying to be a people pleaser is how I ended up in my current circumstances in the first place.

With that off my chest, I am looking forward to becoming an active member of the blogosphere again. When all is said and done, I really do love to write. And I’ve missed it. (And yes, fellow editors, I do know that I shouldn’t begin my sentences with conjunctions. But this is my blog, and that’s my prerogative!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Day 21 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful I have the authority to close our office early today.

2. I am grateful for the homeless man who helped to get my morning off to a great start.

3. I am grateful for the housekeeping staff at work.  They are just so considerate and wonderful to be around.  I wish more people would take the time to chat with them every day.

And Bonus - I am grateful for my mom and my sister who host a wonderful Thanksgiving feast every year!  I cannot wait to partake of the deliciousness!!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Day 20 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I finally finished one of the annual reports I was working on.

2. I am grateful for LeSchell, who is always here to offer support, guidance and friendship when I need it.

3. I am grateful for the wonderful ladies I have met through MOPS, especially my small group - Amy, Jeannie, Jen and Melanie.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Day 19 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for a shortened work week!

2. I am grateful for my new planner that is on its way to me.  (I thrive off of my to-do lists and calendars, so I can't wait for it to get here!)

3. I am grateful for my dreams that only get stronger as time goes by.  (That means they will come true one day!)

Weekend Gratitude

1. I am grateful that Harry let me have a cuddle day with the girls while he took care of cleaning.
2. I am grateful that Bianca decided she didn't want to dance anymore before I ordered her costumes.
3. I am grateful for finally letting go of something I had been holding onto for way too many years.

1. I am grateful that I was able to see the Bent Family while they are in town.
2. I am grateful for the tiny fingers that grip mine and the big smiles that melt my heart.
3. I am grateful that Bianca was able to have so much fun this weekend.  (I'm also thankful that she slept great last night because of it!!)

Friday, November 16, 2012

Day 16 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I had a sister to go through life with and who is now one of my closest friends.

2. I am grateful that Bianca and Alex have each other.

3.  I am grateful that I am starting to better understand my body and its needs.  Today, I need to drink extra water and stretch.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Day 15 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that Melissa and Ryan will be with their son soon.

2. I am grateful for the beautiful example of the Proverbs 31 Woman.

3. I am grateful that with Angi's help, I may be able to fit into my pants again soon!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Day 14 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for getting to spend time with Susan last night.

2. I am grateful that Bianca packed my lunch this morning.  Peanut butter, goldfish, and fruit snacks - her favorites!

3. I am grateful for Tera Warner and Body Enlightenment.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Day 13 of Gratitude

1. On this cold, rainy morning I am grateful for my umbrella and coffee.

2.  I am grateful for Kim, who helps me on so many levels.  She is not only my cousin, but my mentor and friend.  She was my original American Idol!

3. I am grateful that if I decide to pursue a doctorate degree, I can do it for free.  The best perk of working at UM!


Monday, November 12, 2012

Day 12 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that I was able to see Damian score a goal during his last soccer game of the season.

2. I am grateful that because of today's gorgeous weather Bianca gets one more day to play at the park.

3.  I am grateful for Erin who literally slapped me in the face on the one day I truly needed it.  I've never acknowledged it before, but she saved my life.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Day 11 of Gratitude

1.  I am grateful that amidst the sadness of death, there is a gentle reminder to fully enjoy life and the ones we love while we still can.

2.  I am grateful that a soul's passing can cause relationships to be rekindled and restored.

3.  I am grateful for our Veterans and activity-duty military who have fought for the freedom and protection of our country.  

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Day 10 Gratitiude

1.  I am grateful that Harry made it home safely from NYC this morning.

2. I am grateful that I don't seem to be affected by PPD this time.

3. I am grateful for my educational experience, from preschool to grad school.  All along the way, I learned way more than what was being taught in the classroom.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Day 9 of Gratitude

1.  I am grateful that Alex slept through the night last night!!

2.  I am grateful to be living in a safe neighborhood surrounded by pretty awesome neighbors.

3. I am grateful for Amanda who is always checking on me to make sure I'm doing well.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Day 8 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful that my high school best friend received the diagnosis of no cancer.

2.  I am grateful that God gave me the ability to complete assignments quickly and correctly.

3.  I am grateful that I have such a close extended family.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Day 7 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for the police officers who patrol our campus and make walking downtown in the dark a little safer.

2. I am grateful for my car that not only provides me with transportation, but also with heat, music, directions, and comfort.

3. I am grateful for my arms that allow me to throw Bianca up in the air as she squeals with delight, cradle Alex as she drifts peacefully to sleep, wrap Harry in love and affection, and fully embrace my wonderful family and friends.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Day 6 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for the fact that I live in America and have the right to vote.

2. I am grateful for the heat, coat, gloves and hat that kept me warm this morning and will continue to do so all winter long.

3. I am grateful for 95.1 Shine FM.  I love having a Christian radio station in Baltimore that helps me have church in my car every day.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Days 4 & 5 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for my BFF Stephanie, who is a wonderful source of support in my life.  She is one of my soulmates and one of the few people I know I could call at 3 AM.
2. I am grateful that my mom is able to watch my girls while I'm at work.  It gives me a sense of peace I might not have otherwise.
3. I am grateful for second, third, fourth, etc.... chances.  It's never too late to pick yourself up and start over again.

1. I am grateful for my boss, who makes coming to work a little easier.
2. I am grateful for my staff, who work hard and feel comfortable enough to share their personal stories with me.
3. I am grateful for purple office supplies, which just make me happy.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Day 3 of Gratitude

1. I am grateful for our home that is filled with love, laughter, and mess from a happy toddler.  It provides us with comfort, warmth, security and keeps us safe from the storms outside.

2. I am grateful for my church whose mission is to help people find their way back to God in a loving, hospitable, approchable way. 

3. I am grateful for the wonderful children's ministry at CCC that follows the Orange cirriculum and helps me better minister to my girls.  Hopefully they will come to know Jesus and have a fulfilling walk with Him because of this strong foundation.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Day 2 of Gratitude

1. As I sit at work with a grumbling tummy, I am grateful for the fact that I don't know what true hunger feels like.

2. I am so grateful that Father God hears me and allows me to have a relationship with Him even though I don't deserve it.  I am grateful for my Savior Jesus who makes that relationship possible.  I am grateful for the Holy Spirit who continues to live in and among us.

3. I am grateful for the Word.  With it, I will never be lost.  I will always have hope.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

With a Grateful Heart

In this post, my friend Chelle challenged her readers to join her in 21 Days of Gratitude.  Taking the idea from Chance Scoggins, she will be following three simple rules:

1) For 21 straight days, name three things you're grateful for.
2) You can't repeat yourself in that time.
3) You must be specific. (Rather than saying, "I'm thankful for my health," say something like, "I'm thankful I was able to run around with my kids today.")

I love this idea, so I will be joining her in giving thanks over the next 21 days.

Today, I am grateful for:

~ The fact that our state escaped fairly unscathed from Hurricane Sandy.
~ My beautiful daughters who add more joy to my life than they'll ever realize.
~ My loving husband who is a great father and the rock of our family.

What are you thankful for today?

Starting Over Again

My status on Facebook today reads, "It's a new month.  Perfect time for a fresh start!"

I can't give proper credit for this image because I found it on several websites.  Apologies to the artist!!

I feel like I am heading into a new season in my life.  First, I am now a mother of two.  I am still figuring out what the perfect dynamic should be - how to split my attention and affection in a way that meets both of my girls' needs, as well as those of my husband.  It will be even more challenging now that I am back to work.

I am finally vested in my church's MOPS group.  I have been a member since 2010, but up until now I haven't been fully committed.  After evaluating all the activities and friendships in my life and pruning as a result, I realized that the relationships with these amazing Godly women I am surrounded by need to be nurtured and made more of a priority.

I am also finally committed to my church.  I loved it the moment I first visited two years ago, but I was emotionally torn by some conflicting guilt I had regarding my religious upbringing.  Earlier this year I felt compelled to go back to the church of my youth, mainly to explore the feelings I was struggling with.  After a few months, I realized my decision to move on from there was the right one for both me and my family.  Without a doubt, CCC is my church home now, and I look forward to growing in Christ there.

I will be discovering what work feels like for me now.  When I earned my promotion, I was already 6 months pregnant.  I admittedly wasn't truly focused and didn't give 100% to my new position.  Now that my leave is over, I need to concentrate on being a great manager and reassure my boss that she didn't make a mistake by hiring me.  But I need to do this with care and balance, knowing that I have workaholic tendancies.   

My BFF Steph and I will be venturing out on a new wellness journey next month.  We are working out the details now, but I am very excited about it.  I saw a quote on a friend's Facebook page that said, "There are 9 months until summer.  A new person is born in 9 months."  What a great sentiment!!  I can't wait to celebrate the birth of the new me.  (Of course, fitting back into my pre-pregnancy pants is my first goal!)

After a brief bumpy period with my hubby, I feel us coming back together again - our relationship stronger than ever.  He is truly a wonderful man, and I am so grateful that he puts up with me!  I am falling in love with him all over again and am committed to taking better care of our marriage.

I also hope to be better about writing.  I've neglected this blog and my journals for far too long.  (I know, I know - I always say that and never follow through!)  But it really does help to keep me balanced.  As my friend Chelle puts it, writing is free therapy!

So here's to a new season and a fresh start.  Isn't it wonderful to know that it is never too late to start over again?