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goals for twenty eleven

6 Jan

So, I’m finally ready to talk goals, friends.

I realize that I’m coming in a little late on the 2011 goals discussion.  But I like to think of it as fashionably late.

It’s no fluke that I’ve waited until a week into the first month of the year for this.  The end of December is just so busy that I didn’t even start contemplating goals until the 1st.  And then I needed some time to really think about what kind of goals I want to make this year.

You see there are many strategies out there when it comes to goal setting.  Some people take the route of picking the same number of goals as the current year.  For instance, this year they would choose 11 goals to focus on throughout 2011.  Other people decided on a magic number, say…..3 for instance.  Lucky number 3.  And then I’ve heard of others who decided to fore-go goals altogether and choose a single word to represent their ambitions for the new year.

My goals sort of encompass multiple strategies.

I’m a simple girl, but when it comes to goals I get a little crazy.

For those of you who have been reading CSM for awhile, you may remember last August when I decided on 27 things that I wanted to accomplish in my 27th year of life.  Some of these things I’ve already accomplished – get certified to teach yoga, learn how to make great tofu, drink more fresh juice – and some of them I’m still working on – run another marathon, open up a CSM t-shirt shop.  Considering I am still working on at least half of this list, I decided that I probably have enough definitive goals in the works right now.  Oh sure, along the way I’m certain to set new goals, but as far as a specific goal list, I don’t think I can handle many more!

Even though I’m sticking to my existing list of goals for the most part, I really love the idea of choosing a word for the year.  It’s a great idea because this word can encompass every goal I have as well as every goal I might make as the year goes on.  It’s sort of like a mantra…an idea I can come back to day after day that will inspire and encourage me to grow in an area of character.  And isn’t that where it all starts?

So, I’ve been thinking through this for the past week, and honestly I’ve been pretty stumped. I’ve come up with several words that would be okay, but none that just seemed to fit.  Until yesterday.

I was standing in the bathroom blow drying my hair.  And as usual when I’m blow drying my hair I was thinking through a lot of things going on right now.  Things that Satan is trying to use to drag me down and cause me anxiety.  Things I’ve been dealing with for weeks/months now.  Things that make it hard to stay positive each day.  You get the idea.

And suddenly it all just seemed like too much.  I couldn’t keep it in for another moment.  I clicked off the dryer, placing it on the bathroom counter.  And I headed for the spot I always head to when I’m feeling like the world has just become too tough.  Laying down on our bed, I pulled Olive’s furry little body up next to me, and I began to pray. And with the first words that came out of my mouth I instantly knew what my word would be:

“Father, I’m really struggling with all of these issues going on right now…please just give me peace in my heart and let it spread throughout my whole body, from my fingertips all the way to my toes.  The peace that only comes from You.”


No matter who we are, where we live, how much money we have, whether we’re married or single, have children or don’t have children…there will be trials in our life.  It’s a non-negotiable.  So the questions is not  “will I  I face challenges, sadness or conflict this year?”  The question is “how will I react when I face these things?”  Will I shut off?  Will I yell and scream and place blame on myself or others?

Or will I turn to the Lord, who is the only one who can and will provide peace in my life?  Will I remain calm in my heart and continue to press on in my daily life?

I want to grow to become a woman who finds peace in all situations, be it the last 2 excruciating miles of a marathon, fear of life circumstances beyond my control or frustration over falling to the mat after just 1/2 of a tricep push-up.

So these are my goals for 2011.  I believe my life will be just as or more full than it was during 2010.  And my biggest hope and prayer is that I become a better person.  A better wife, friend, daughter, sister, granddaughter and child of God. And that I learn to be more thankful for the life that He has given me as I accomplish each and every goal.

Also, as a way to help enforce my word of the year, I’ll be posting a quote of some sort or scripture each day for the next month (today through February 6th) that relates to peace.  My goal is to memorize as many of them as I can (hopefully every one) so when I need a little inspiration or reminder I’ll have something to focus on.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.

– John 14:27

On a lighter note – one other goal I’ve decided on recently (possibly during that same hair drying escapade:) is that I think I’m going to grow out my hair!  What do you guys think?  You probably don’t know that I cut my hair to this length only a year and a half ago.  Before then I was always changing it – the color, the cut, the style – I was a hair chameleon.  But when you really take the plunge and go this short, there really isn’t anything else you can do until you take on the challenge of growing it out.  I still like my short hair, but I’m just ready for a change.

Here are some past pictures to give you a frame of reference – they’re kind of random.

I also wear it pulled back like this a lot when it’s long

and some short pics


So I need your opinions – stay short or grow it out? You won’t hurt my feelings either way…promise.

I’d also love to hear one goal that you have for the new year.  I know you may be sick of talking about goals by now, but I’m just getting started…so humor me:)

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bringing in a little warmth

5 Jan

If you all are anything like me, you may have felt a little sadness in letting go of the Christmas season.

It inevitably happens every January.  The tree is taken down, candy canes are placed on the clearance rack, the lights are stashed in the closet for another year and the Christmas music is turned off.  The season of festivities is over and it’s back to the daily grind for another year.

I always get into sort of a rut, feeling more than ever the dreariness of the cold, leafless streets.  I’m past the initial excitement of a new year of possibilities and am in need of change, refreshment and a little bit of inspiration.

So this year I decided to get a one up on the January blues. Starting in my favorite place.

The kitchen.  Getting rid of the clutter, consolidating the 4 canisters of cinnamon that have taken up residence in my cabinet over the past 6 months, and vacuuming out the trail of flour weaving its way around my baking shelf.

it must get worse before it gets…

better

The husband and I spent hours over the weekend, cleaning out every last cabinet, shelf and drawer in the kitchen, getting rid of anything we haven’t used in the past year and re-organizing everything in the most efficient fashion possible.   It’s funny how clearing out the clutter from the house seems to simultaneously de-clutter my head as well.  With every pot that was placed in a new, clean, accessible spot, my thoughts became a little more clear and my motivation gained a little bit of momentum.

After the kitchen, we moved on to the rest of the house.  There hasn’t been time to re-organize every closet and drawer quite yet, but there is a plan for it.  And just scrubbing everything down and sweeping up all the dust and pieces of ribbon leftover from wrapping gifts was so energizing.

Once the cleaning was all done, it was time to bring some life back to the house!

Plants have a way of breathing freshness into a space that feels a bit lifeless.

I gathered up every vase in the house

I also potted some new plants for our office.  I never imagined that the process of potting them would be as helpful as getting to admire them as we work late into the night. Squishing the soil between my fingers pressing it firmly down around the roots almost made me feel like spring had made an early appearance.

Have you started to feel the post-Christmas wintertime blues?  Or are you still riding on the wave of the new year?

What are you doing to bring in a little warmth?

getting back on track

1 Dec

Amidst the busyness of the last few days, there have been some really sweet highlights.

Yesterday I received a mysterious box in the mail.  I always get so excited when an unexpected package comes, but usually I open it to find junk mail of some sort.  But not this time.  I opened the box, peered inside and saw this:

and this

My mom, step-dad and sister bought me this cute little scarf and mailed it to me as a surprise.  How sweet is that?  It totally brightened my entire day and made me feel so loved and happy. I have the best family:)

Another highlight came today when I finished a project that I’ve been working on.  My friend, JJ, facebooked me about a week ago and asked me if I could make a couple of tag blankets for some friends of hers who are having a baby shower this week.  I made a tag blanket for JJ’s baby right before he was born, and she says he takes it everywhere with him, so she thought it would be a great gift for her friends!

I of course happily obliged, but unfortunately my sewing machine was not quite as willing.  Yesterday took all the patience I could muster as my machine jammed over and over and over.  Finally, after about 4 hours of working, I finished them up!

tag blanket numero one

and numero two

If you’re wondering what a tag blanket is, allow me to explain.  It’s a small, soft blanket for babies that has loops of ribbon coming off of it – it’s great for cuddling, pulling, chewing and just all around good fun:)

Anyway, regardless of my frustration with the sewing machine, you really can’t beat an afternoon of sewing while jamming out to Christmas music and sipping a hot latte on a frigid winter day.  Can I get an amen?

Another thing you can’t beat?

baked apples with cinnamon and a splash of agave

and spinach lavash wraps with hummus, chia seeds and veggies.  with a side of ceramic birds:)

So, I mentioned yesterday that I would be back to talk about getting back in a healthy groove after veering from it for awhile.  The last couple of weeks or so I have just gotten a little lazy with eating clean.  Between the stresses and busyness of the everyday and the extra craziness of the holidays, I’ve been eating a few too many chips and cookies, and not nearly enough veggies.

I definitely have my ups and downs when it comes to living healthy.  I go through phases where it seems I just get on a roll of eating too much junk and not making it to the gym.  And once I start slacking, it can be sooo hard to get back on track.

But no one can be perfect all the time, and the important thing for me is to focus on the fact that I do always get back on track. Instead of beating myself up and regretting what I’ve done, I am so much more successful overall when I just dust off my behind and jump right back in the game.  Dwelling on what I’ve done in the past only serves to drag me farther down, killing any remnants of mojo I have left and leaving me feeling discouraged and sad.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve really stepped it up and gotten back on track with food and exercise.  Tonight I was thinking through a few things I’ve done to help, so I thought I’d share them with you!

  • I re-read a book that has been motivating to me in the past.  This renews my energy and refreshes my perspective of why it’s important to me to make healthy choices.  This time around it was Tosca Reno’s Eat Clean book.  Absolutely love this book – if you haven’t read it, put it on your Christmas list stat!
  • I took a few minutes to write out some goals/reasons why I want to do what it takes to feel great and be healthy. These change from time to time, so it’s really important to me to keep them fresh and current in my mind.
  • I got a partner! Turns out I’m not the only who has been slacking since the holidays started.  Talking to someone else and sharing ideas, struggles and goals together really pumps me up to make some changes.  Plus, I get instant accountability for my choices!
  • I wrote down a mantra and memorized it! Every time I start to fall back into bad habits, whether by skipping the gym multiple days in a row or by eating another handful of chips rather than some raw vegetables, I immediately repeat my mantra in my head.  It focuses me instantly!
  • I perused blogs and jotted down some new fun meal ideas that I can get excited about! Sometimes I just get in a rut and become tired of the same foods I always eat.  There’s no better place than blogs to get new inspiration for workouts and meals.
  • I pretended I felt better even before I did.  Sometimes it really does work to “fake it till you make it.”  Even though I felt sluggish and kind of weighed down, I began to act and think like I felt healthy and alive.  This got me through for a couple of days until I really did start to feel better!

These are just a few of the things I did – nothing groundbreaking, but yet these never fail to help me get back on course when I seem to have strayed far away.

I’d love to hear any ideas you have for getting back on track after being in a rut.  What do you do when this happens to you?!

Hope you’ve all had a great Wednesday!  Onward!

a four letter word i love

6 Oct

i have an obsession.

it makes me squeal at the most unexpected of moments.

it’s one four-letter word that doesn’t make me cringe.

my face finds its glow.

and my world goes ’round.

savory and sweet, though it doesn’t hold a candle to the husband

and i dream of bottling it up to free at my every whim

oh fall, how i love you.

to crunch through your messy leaves and stand still in your cool breeze is one of the sweetest parts of life.

what are you loving most about this lovely season?

silence is golden

26 Aug

Good morning!

As soon as our alarms started buzzing this morning, Jon and I headed out for an early morning 3 mile run.  It was a beautiful morning, and I was kicking myself for not having my camera.  Please let me know if you’ve mastered the art of carrying your DSLR while running ’cause it seems the best moments happen while out on the road:)

It was the perfect time of morning as the sunlight was just barely peeking up over the horizon and glinting off the tops of the fields.  Has anybody ever told you that Oklahoma has the prettiest sunrises and sunsets?  Well, we do.

Second only to this maybe.

Sunset during our time in Halong Bay, Vietnam

This morning was just one of those moments when I could hardly believe the beauty.  The perfect way to start the day.

There was a biting chill in the air this morning as well, and despite my hands going numb it felt quite refreshing.  Three cheers for fall!  Have I mentioned that it’s my favorite season?

After I got back and showered, I blended up a green smoothie.  Anytime I go more than a couple of days without one, I start to have withdrawals 🙂

2 handfuls of spinach, 1/2 banana, 1.25 cups almond milk, 1 tbsp chia seeds, 2 heaping tbsp Vega powder

I changed it up a bit this morning by swapping chocolate Vega powder in for Amazing Grass.  I was a little nervous adding 2 heaping tablespoons of powder because I have yet to use a protein powder that didn’t make my smoothie chalky tasting.  I can honestly say that this one did not!  It added 12 grams of protein, 2 servings of veggies (like it needed more veggies:), 2500 mg of omega 3, 6, 9, 1 billion probiotic cultures, only 100 calories, and a hint of chocolaty goodness! And by the way, Vega did not ask me to review their product; I’m raving out of pure love of the product:)

Technically, this powder is supposed to be added with just water for a quick and healthy shake on the go – I’ve been a little hesitant to try it, but I think I just might have to now!

On a different note, now that I’m working from home, I’m finding out some things about myself that I didn’t know before.

  • I really do like working at my desk better than on the couch
  • I have a lot more discipline than I ever realized
  • a good cup of iced coffee goes a long way with my mood and productivity
  • I really can control the urge to snack even though I’m 4 seconds away from chips and salsa at any point during the day
  • If/when I begin to feel lonely or isolated, I must book it to the coffee shop asap to avoid the downward spiral
  • I don’t feel lonely or isolated most of the time
  • I like to work in silence

I often feel the need to have music on in the house – especially when I’m there alone.  It really does motivate me, and it’s nice to have some noise going on because unfortunately Olive doesn’t provide much good conversation.

At least she’s cute.

But I’m realizing more and more how nice it is to just work in silence.  With the windows open and the sun shining in, it’s rather inspiring to just have quiet all around.  I think it also helps me to focus better, and my thoughts have the freedom to take me wherever they want:)  You should try it!  You just might be surprised how nice it is to just be quiet.

Do you find that you work better with music or in silence?  What about working out?  That’s a whole different topic, but do you prefer to workout with music or enjoy the silence?

hls – the fun continues

17 Aug

Did you miss recap 1 or recap 2?

Picking up where I left off earlier this morning…

After a fantastic HLS lunch, I made my way to the Time Management session.   As soon as I saw this topic would be discussed, I knew I had to go.

Believe it or not, since I left my teaching job I have had a harder time than ever with time management.  Yes, I’ve had more time since I’m not working outside the home everyday, but I’ve taken on so many new projects.  I’ve upped my time spent on CSM considerably, started teaching (and planning for) PiYo classes, taken on responsibilities with Outbox, started a photography class, taken on students for tutoring, started freelance editing and much more!  I have to say, I love wearing so many hats!  They are all very cute, stylish hats that make me feel good, but it’s been a challenge to manage my time and stay on top of everything.

Needless to say, I hung on every word of this seminar.  The first activity we did was to list out our priorities in order of importance. Here are mine:

1.  Quiet time/Bible study
2.  Spending time with Jon
3.  Sleep
4.  Exercise
5.  Work (including all the projects listed above)
6.  grocery shopping/ preparing meals
7.  time with friends and family
8.  Leisure time/ relaxing (reading, going for walks etc)
9.  Housework (it is now clear why you can’t see the floor under our bed due to all the dust bunnies)

BTW – loving on Olive happens simultaneously with numbers 2, 5, 7, 8 and 9.  Just so you don’t think I’m neglecting her on my priority list;)

Once your priorities are listed out, it’s a lot easier to plan your day around them.  Because of my perfectionist tendencies, I tend to get frustrated when I don’t get to the housework or time with friends/family every day…or even every week.  So I appreciated the following tips that were given:

1. Think outside the box. For example, if I’m running low on time, and I realize I’m not going to have time for everything, try and combine two things, such as exercise and time with Jon by going on a power walk or run together.
2.  Look for conflicts
.  Recognize that there are conflicts.  I probably will not be able to get to everything, every day.  I know…it makes me cringe too, but I need to recognize that fact and accept it.
3.  Compromise.
Be proud of the things you are achieving.  When I don’t have time for everything, compromise by saying “Well, I didn’t get to the housework today, but I’m really glad I got that run in.”  I tend to only focus on the things I didn’t do, and I’m going to make a concerted effort to start focusing on the things I did accomplish.
4.  Plan ahead.  For example, plan in the morning what you want to fix for dinner.  That way if you need something from the store, for instance, you can get it while you’re out during the day, rather than wasting another 20 minutes later on.
5.  Underschedule yourself. Ooooohh.  I am the world’s worst about this.  I think I am often in denial about how long something will take, and I way overschedule myself.  Then I feel frustrated when I don’t get to everything.  Tasks always take longer than you think they will, so plan an extra 10 minutes or so for each task on your list.
6.  Think about your choices.  What is valuable for you?  Make sure you are prioritizing the things that are most important to you.  Then you won’t feel as regretful about the things you didn’t get to.

I really enjoyed this session!

After my time management problems were all solved 🙂 I headed to the next seminar: The Five W’s of Strength Training.  Unfortunately, my laptop was dying at this point, so I didn’t get very good notes.  But I did get inspired to start making more time at the gym for strength training, and I learned the difference between super sets, circuits and split sets (Heather, correct me if I’m wrong on this!:)

Super sets: 2-3 exercises, back-to-back.  Then repeat.  Then break.
Circuit: 8-10 exercises back-to-back.  Break.  Then repeat.
Splits:  different muscle groups on different days.

I think I may have to listen to this session on audio again once it’s posted!

Our last official HLS snack break of the day was sponsored by Athenos.  Hellooo hummus!

watermelon, feta and basil skewers

blue corn chips with a hummus/feta dip (definitely going to have to get this recipe).  These were out of this world delicious.

cucumbers filled with hummus and topped with raisins and almonds

all together now – with the addition of whole wheat pita chips, broccoli, carrots and more hummus

Jennifer came over and asked if I wanted to run over to the Athenos booth and get our picture made.  Did I ever?!?!  I look a tad bit awkward because I was trying to balance that olive on my head – you wouldn’t believe how heavy it was!

I also got a chance to hang out with these beautiful bloggers during the break – JT, Me, Dorry, Freya and Jessie.  These girls were  seriously so cool and so fun!

And the last session, The Ups and Downs of Blogging, was led by Caitlin and Gena.  This session was focused on something that I think most bloggers and readers deal with at least on some level.  There was a lot going on in this session, so I’m just going to give the highlights.  Here are some tips to consider in regard to reading healthy living blogs:

Different doesn’t equal bad. For example, if you can’t run or don’t enjoy running, then blaze your own trail by focusing on your own unique type of workout.  Don’t like the gym?  Be a unique voice for outdoor workouts.  Essentially, be yourself.  Gain inspiration from blogs, but don’t let them make you feel bad for your own unique preferences and talents in fitness and in eating.

Fight superwoman syndrome.  Don’t feel like you have to do everything perfect all the time.  Keep in mind that all of us have weaknesses, bad days, even bad weeks.  On some blogs, the blogger only shows the things that he/she does well and is proud of.  That doesn’t mean that they don’t mess up, it just might be that you don’t see it.

Look internally not externally when setting goals. Don’t base your own goals and aspirations solely on what other bloggers are doing.  Think about who you are and what you love and want to do.  Just because one blogger is participating in a triathlon, doesn’t mean you should too.  It also doesn’t make your 5k any less amazing!

Only read blogs that inspire you, not the ones that make you feel bad. If a blog makes feel negative about yourself in any way, don’t read it!  If a blog doesn’t lift you up and make you feel more motivated and inspired, then it’s not worth your time to read it.

After the last session of the day, it was time to rest up for yoga and dinner!  But first, I had to get a good pic with the best roommates at HLS – Amy and Paige.  They put up with my antics of staying out late and getting up before the sun.  Thanks for being so sweet you two:)  I am so happy to have gotten to spend time with these girls.

Okay, looks like there will be one more final recap going up tomorrow!  I’ll see ya then! G’night.

keepin' it real-what does "healthy" mean?

12 Aug

So there has been something on my heart lately that I have been wanting to share with you all, and I think today is the day!

I get a lot of questions about my lifestyle, and the most common are usually something along the lines of “how do you eat so healthy,” “isn’t it hard to be vegetarian,” or the statement “I could never be vegetarian/as healthy as you are, I just can’t give up X.”

Let me begin by saying that I started this blog for a number of reasons.

1.   I love to write
2.  I love food and healthy living
3.  I love to write about food and healthy living:)
4.  I dream of helping people to realize their potential for health and happiness

Now, the trick is to define what “health and happiness” means.

Guess what?  It’s different for every single person!

I think the key to finding what health and happiness means to you is finding a balance.

For me, being vegetarianism is my way of making a difference for myself, animals and the environment.

  • By switching to a vegetarian diet, you can save more than 100 animals a year from the miseries of factory farms
  • Research has shown that vegetarians are 50 percent less likely to develop heart disease, and they have 40 percent of the cancer rate of meat-eaters.
  • The meat industry is one of the top two or three most significant contributors to the most serious environmental problems, such as land degradation, climate change and air pollution, water shortage and water pollution

[source]

Veganism is a way to amplify that by cutting even more animal products out of my diet.  I try to eat vegan about 60-70% of the time.

However, this post is NOT about getting you to become vegan vegetarian.  You DO NOT have to become a vegan or a vegetarian to be healthy.  You also don’t have to eat healthy all the time to be healthy.  Healthy is all about balance.

I eat healthy foods the majority of the time…but I also eat fried mushrooms, pizza and ice cream occasionally.  And I try not to get bent out of shape when I do indulge in these foods.

Think of it like this: every single thing you do, even down to the tiniest choice you make, makes a difference!  Isn’t that exciting?

There is no distinct line distinguishing how much really makes a difference.  We are human and therefore we are not perfect.  We weren’t even created to be perfect.  We each have to find what works for us.  What can you do, personally, to be healthy and happy?

Being vegetarian makes me happy.  But it doesn’t make me healthy.  Eating real food most of the time is what makes me healthy. Keeping chemicals and diet food out of my body most of the time makes me healthy.

It is not a black and white, all or nothing issue.  It is a be proud of every choice you make that contributes to your health and the health of the environment and let the rest go issue.

Food was made to be enjoyed, not to feel guilty or stressed over.  Each of us has our own theory of how we can enjoy food while still being kind to our bodies and our earth.  Remember, it is these differences that make us unique and exciting.

One thing that makes me happy is to eat all different kinds of foods.  I love to try new health foods, such as Amazing Grass, tempeh, chia seeds etc.  But you don’t have to eat those things to be healthy.  I don’t ever want to give off that impression on this blog.  I eat these foods because it’s fun to be to mix it up and try new things.  But, you may find me eating chia seeds one minute and a peanut butter sandwich the next. And someday in the future, I may have a much harder time having the time or money to indulge in these kinds of foods, but I’ll never stop focusing on filling my body with foods that are grown from the earth, such as fresh fruits and veggies!

The overall point is that there is absolutely no way any one of us is going to make the best decision all of the time.  If you do, please tell me your secret!

Let’s just work on making the best decision sometimes, the better decision most of the time, and not stress about the rest!

Are ya with me??