Too late for a #throwback?
I was 26 and probably about 15 pounds lighter in the picture on the left.
I was also exhausted from being a mom of two young kids and felt drained all the time.
I was trying so hard to be the perfect mom and wife and was honestly miserable in so many ways.
I was putting everyone first and chasing the wrong things.
I would make the excuse that I didn’t have time to take care of what mattered, because I had let busy take over, and tried to keep up certain appearances.
This is the side of motherhood that is rarely, if ever talked about because motherhood is supposed to be one of the best times of our lives as women.. my heart is racing even as I type my feelings so openly. There were days I thought about running away and leaving them all behind.
Looking back, maybe I was suffering from a little #postpartumdepression, bit more than that I think I was suffering from putting so much pressure on doing it ‘right’.
Fast forward 7 years.
I see life and vibrancy and passion in her eyes.
I see a woman who has completely embraced motherhood in all of its messiness and a wife that has endured a great deal of heartache over the last 11 years. But she is filled with joy. She is content. And she is confidently laughing at whatever the future may hold.
If you’re still reading this, I hope you know you’re not alone. Motherhood is messy. Being a wife takes a lot of work and a lot of sacrifice.
I’ve heard you can’t have it all…I’m starting to think that’s a lie. If you ever feel alone, know that you are not. My inbox is always open
Gratitude changes everything…
Have you noticed that the practice of giving thanks is every where right now? And for good reason. Taking inventory of what is good in our lives can give us hope and can encourage us to carry on even when we are weary and feel like we are stuck in a hopeless situation.
The Bible talks so much about giving thanks and counting your blessings. There is a reason for that. It points out that even in the most desperate situations there are specks of hope, light, and good. And that God, in His faithfulness will work all things for the good of those that love him and are called according to his purpose -Romans 8:28
That means that even when you can’t see how He is working, you can trust that He still is. And giving thanks is one way to keep your mind steadfast and free from the distraction of what may not be working so well in the moment.
How can you cultivate an attitude of gratitude or a state of being grateful regardless of your circumstances?
Start a gratitude journal. Head to Target or TJ Maxx or any other cute shop that sells journals and pick one that elicits a feeling of gratitude. Then start by journaling at least 3 things you are thankful for each and every day. It could be something simple like having a hot cup of coffee by yourself in the morning, or perhaps something bigger has happened that is worth noting. By journaling, you will be able to look back and see how God has always provided, and you can use it in times of trial to spur you on in your race.
…be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged..
The other day I woke up, clicked my Bible app open and this was the verse that was there waiting for me. It was just what I needed that day as I was battling some pretty toxic anxiety and fear that has in the past kept me from taking action.
It is crazy to me how each and every day, there is always just what my heart needs waiting for me in my bible.
“Remember that I have commanded you to be determined and confident! Do not be afraid or discouraged, for I, the LORD your God, am with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 GNT
No matter what you face today, remember you have been commanded to be determined and confident. You are never alone, and everything you need to face the day is ready and waiting for you.
I hope this encouraged your and strengthened your heart today, my friend…
Raise your hand if you’ve ever said yes to something and almost immediately regretted it..yep, me too. I am not exactly sure why it is that we do that to ourselves, but it was one of my intentions coming into 2018 to save my yeses for only the best things to come my way. That may sound incredibly selfish, and believe me it wasn’t an easy decision to make, but I knew it is what I needed. I found myself saying yes to so many amazing opportunities out of guilt or obligation.
I’ve done some soul searching and a whole lot of reflection over the past year and I realized that I was simply trying to be too much to too many people. Handing out my yeses to anyone that asked was really depriving the people and the callings in my life that really need me…including myself. In the past I’ve casually given my yeses away because I felt guilty or because there seemed to be a genuine need. And by no means am I suggesting that we only ever do the things we want, but I am suggesting that we need to be more thoughtful and intentional with our yeses.
If you find yourself constantly on the run, burned out, and exhausted from honoring everyone else’s agenda then read on..
So how do we get off the hamster wheel?
One of the first things I did was identify my core values. Who were the people I was committed to showing up for? What causes and organizations do I feel led to serve? What were my existing obligations? What am I about?
Your best yeses or your sacred yeses will align with your values and ultimately what is most important to you not just what is important to the world around you. Sometimes the two will line up and sometimes they won’t. It is ultimately up to you to discern for yourself what that is. By having your values clearly outlined you will be able to decide what you really should be spending your time on and what you can pass on.
I know how hard it is to say no, especially when the cause or the need seems relevant, real, and is good. But if we crowd our schedules according to everyone else’s agenda, we don’t leave any time or space for Jesus to show up with his agenda for us. That is often what has led me to feeling overwhelmed and exhausted.
Once you get some clarity on your core values you will know when you should step up and when you should step aside and let someone else take it on. Asking questions always seems to reveal what is really going on in your heart.
Not sure if it is your best yes?
Here are some gut checks:
Does it align with yourvalues?
Does this align with your vision?
Do you have the time?
What will you have to say no to in order to make this a reality? **This one is especially a good question to ask yourself..because you can’t say yes to something without saying no to something else at the same time.
By creating the space and giving myself the permission to say no–even to ‘good’ things I am able to give more and to give better to the things that matter most and it frees me up to say yes to the things I was really called to do. I am able to show up in a bigger way and serve with more joy in my heart. We were created with certain gifts, dreams, and visions. And in order to step into those fully we will have to learn to turn down the things that tempt us or distract us from staying the course.
One day about a year ago I was combing through some of my old journals and started just randomly flipping through the pages reading some of the entries from as far back as several years. My eyes began to slowly fill with tears and a subtle sadness came over me..
I began to realize that while I thought I had been making so many huge strides in my life both personally and professionally, I became acutely aware of how much I actually had not changed. Sure, I had overcome some pretty big obstacles like unfaithfulness in my marriage (we were both guilty in case you are wondering), got my college degree with 2 kids under the age of 8, and endured a year long deployment. There were also many smaller challenges and obstacles that were documented on those pages. The thing that really got to me the most was reading my responses to the various trials that life had thrown my way.
While I did make it out on the other side in one piece, I found that I handled each with similar tactics. I held onto anger and bitterness. I placed the blame on everyone else or my circumstances. Essentially I saw myself as a victim and I saw that life was just happening to me.
This literally tied my stomach in knots. It was in this moment of raw truth and clarity that I realized I had been living all these years as a slave. I was still chasing other things and other people to give me my identity, to fulfill me, to give me worth. As a Christian woman I should have known better. I should have known that from the day I professed Jesus as my Savior, I was free. None of the past mattered anymore and nothing the future could throw my way could derail me from my new life…that is if (and a big if) I chose to be free, chose to live free.
I suppose in a perfect world that might have been how my story would have unfolded, but as I have learned in the last year you can proclaim one thing with your mouth and have your heart still shouting another thing. This was revealed to me in those pages that day and was clear by my actions, my insecurities, my ever present fear and anxiety when things didn’t go quite as I had planned.
I don’t know exactly the day or the formula that things began to change. I am not sure that there is a specific formula for a thing like this anyway. What I do know is that the last year has been an amazingly painful, humbling, and most of all life giving year. I shared earlier in a live video that I am a perfectionist (recovering anyway), I am a first born, and I like control. I truly believe it was in part those tendencies that drove me to try to save myself time and time again in each of those obstacles. I would try through my works. I would try through my grades. I would try through my physical appearance.
Each and every time I came up short.
That is no coincidence, and it really isn’t even indicative of my ability or my skills. It points simply to the fact that no matter what I cannot save myself. I am sure this will be practice for me for the rest of my life. I can also assure you that the amount of peace and freedom that have come from realizing that I am not capable of saving myself is unlike anything I’ve ever experienced. I still mess up plenty, but I know now and truly believe it does not define me.
What does define me?
I am covered in grace.
I am a child of God.
I am free to be me, no matter what anyone else might think, say, or do.
Even when I fail, I will still be ok. I will still be enough. I will still be worthy.
Regardless of the number on the scale, in the bank, the likes/comments/follows I am still valuable beyond my wildest dreams.
Friend, sister, it is my desperate hope and prayer for your life that you would find this freedom too. If you aren’t even sure how to go about that, it is ok! It starts with your heart and your desire, your true desire to change. The rest is up to Jesus. And I know from personal experience he won’t disappoint. When you really show up in that vulnerable, “Lord, change me” way…he will! It may seem like it takes forever, and it may be in the blink of an eye.
You have to trust, know, and believe he wants you to change more than you do. Don’t mistake that for you not being good enough as is. If you are a mom you might understand this analogy: you could never love your kids more than you do right now, but that doesn’t mean you want them to stay the same. You want them to grow. Our Father is the same (arguably better than we ever could be).
If you need a friend through this process, I am here for you! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Whether you are brand new to the healthy lifestyle or consider yourself a seasoned vet, it can be challenging to stay the course when you are completely confused or bored with your options. I found when it was just me, things were pretty simple. I could just eat the same thing day in and day out, make whatever I wanted, and no one really complained.
However, throw in a husband, a couple of kids, and a business.. the game changes quite a bit. One of the things I think we have done a pretty good job with is exposing our kids to a variety of flavors early on, and we always have the “try it one more time” rule…yes, even I abide by that rule (which sometimes comes back to bite me) Still to this day (almost 33 years of trying) I can tell you I do not like olives. My kids like being able to pull the card on me when there are olives around. Paybacks.
I remember when I first started my health and fitness journey it took me a while to find a groove with my weekly menu planning and grocery shopping, and it was easy to fall off track if I got lazy or life got buys. One thing I noticed was that not planning when life was busy, just made things feel that much busier and worse.
However, over the years I’ve been tweaking and refining my system, and I feel like I have created a pretty simple system that I am able to use every single week to nail my meal plan all while keeping it healthy and on track with my weight loss/fat loss goals or any other fitness goal I might be pursuing at the moment.
One of the biggest pieces of advice I can give to you is to keep it simple. If you don’t have a lot of time during the week because your weeknights are busy, then opt for crockpot or instant pot meals, and experiment on the weekends with new recipes to throw in the mix. If you have picky eaters in your family then find some staple recipes that allow you to hide a ton of vegetables in it without being detected (I shared more about picky eaters here).
Over the last six months as my fitness and coaching business have begun to take off I have had to streamline our family’s system even more. We’ve switched over to online grocery shopping almost 100% exclusively–this helps us save money and stick to our budget because we aren’t randomly tossing items into the cart, and it also helps me stick to my meal plan and my portions. If it isn’t in the house, I won’t eat it.
My current nutrition plan still follows the clean eating principles, but has also introduced timed nutrition (eating certain macro nutrients at certain times, it is a technique that is often used with athletes and/ or body builders/ fitness models.) This has required more focus on my end. Which if you have learned anything about me, you know I am always up for a good challenge! So, what are my biggest life hacks when it comes to meal planning on a budget? Let’s get into it..
- Pick one day to do all of your shopping for the week (I order and pick up my groceries on Saturday). Schedule this on your calendar. If you are serious about creating a healthy lifestyle, you’ve got to treat it like it matters to you.
- Meal plan. Again, I sit down Saturday morning with a cup of coffee and plan 6 dinners. I think about breakfasts, lunches, and make sure I have healthy snacks on hand (Shakeology is one of our daily staples) for the whole family. My go to places for healthy recipes are Pinterest of course, or I use the Beachbody blog (beachbodyondemand.com)
- Set aside some time to do a little prep when you get home from the store. I typically will hard boil eggs, make egg cups, and pull out any protein that needs to thaw for dinners that week. If you are super short on time throughout the week, I would suggest making up a big salad and portion it out or at the very least cut up some veggies for quick and healthy snacks. You can also cook up some chicken breast on the grill or in the broiler. If you only season with salt and pepper you can use it in a number of recipes. You can also cook up some rice, quinoa, or sweet potato for some easy to grab carbs. *Whether you are on a low carb diet or not, having these slower digesting carbs will help regulate your blood sugar throughout the day.
- Keep it fresh by incorporating new recipes throughout the week/month. I usually eat the same thing throughout the week, but try to add variety throughout my days. For example, I don’t eat the same vegetable or fruit all day, but may have the same vegetable over a few days that week.
There are tons of apps available now to help you get organized with your grocery shopping. A lot of them will even keep your previous lists which can be helpful and make grocery shopping even more simple. I know how overwhelming it can be to make changes. I’ve been there! Believe me though, it is absolutely worth it to create these good habits. If you are new to clean eating or even just want to refresh your skills, I’ve created a FREE 5 day challenge. I’d love to see you there! Each day you will get some of my tips sent right to your inbox and you will be able to hang out with me and many other ladies just like you in our Facebook group.
Creating changes can be hard, but not impossible! Especially if you do it with your tribe..For more details on the 5 day challenge or on working with me fill out the contact info and just indicate how I can best serve you!