Friday, December 29, 2017

Fourth Anniversary

And so began my new journey back in 2013. And it continues today. Some might think the hard part is over since I took off 100 pounds and am now at a healthy weight, but every day is a chance to choose: do I continue on this new path, new way of living, or do I revert to old habits, long ingrained in me?
Maybe when this new me has been around as long as, or longer than, the old me the wiring will be more permanent and it will be easier.
For today, there are still struggles. I still struggle with not overeating when there are sweets around, especially at family gatherings. I forget that sugar is my Kryptonite. I can't stop at just one. I keep going until I feel awful.
I still struggle with the old mindset that I have to enjoy "it" now because "it" might not be here later (someone else will eat the last ___ that I want/is my piece).
I struggle with putting my yoga or weight lifting time as a priority in my day (taking care of me time). I know I'll feel better when I do.
I still struggle to love my body completely, imperfections and all. I've worked hard to become not just leaner, but stronger; however, there are still jiggly bits. While I may have to accept that these are repercussions of having been (almost morbidly) obese for so long that my skin over stretched and I've lost the skin elasticity of a younger person, I'm not going to stop trying to become the best version of myself that I can.
It's not just a New Year's resolution, but an every day resolution: love myself just as I am. And, do the best that I can to care for me, making myself a priority in my life.

Saturday, October 7, 2017


I'm tired. I could use a bit more sleep. But I want to go do things, fun things.

I'm hungry and should have some breakfast. But I don't want to eat.

Yoga felt so good this morning. But I'm so tight and inflexible.

I'm a mess. I'm amazing.

I know what I need. I don't know what I need.

The scale says I'm up 5 pounds more than I want. My pants (actual fitted pants, not leggings or stretchy pants) are tighter in the waist than I'd like. I don't like the way my belly look. I love my shape when I'm in my workout wear.

I just need to get thoughts out and maybe I'll figure out what's at the heart of things. 

My friend died yesterday. I was teary off and on at work yesterday. So glad I work in a Christian school where I can openly talk with my students and coworkers about the hope of the resurrection and my gratitude that my friend is with Jesus and no longer in pain.

I got teary again during yoga just now. But I think it was tears of tiredness. I'm worn out, mentally. My sweet little 10 are exhausting. My friend died. I'm working so much. I'm trying to eat healthy, homemade meals. I'm trying to get enough sleep. I'm trying to move enough. I'm trying to do yoga for better flexibility. I'm trying, I'm trying, I'm trying.... I'm exhausted.

I'm exhausted and just going through the motions sometimes. I know I'm not alone. I just talked with a friend last night who is also exhausted from everything. Sometimes I feel afraid that I've lost sight of what I love and I'm just trying to survive. I don't want to live like that. I don't want another year like that. I don't want another month like that. I don't want another day like that or even another hour. I want more.

(Cue Little Mermaid.... I want mooooore!)

I need to eat and I need a little morning nap.
Oh, and I need to make a grocery list and put in a load of towels to wash. ....ugh. I know I'll survive. I'll find the juicy life again. I'll see the light in the darkness. I'll see hope. I'll feel joy. I'm going to start with breakfast and a nap while towels are in the wash. I got this. God's got me. Lets go do this!

Monday, September 11, 2017


A few weeks ago I was getting ready to read my evening devotion at bed time to wind down my day. Sometimes it feels like just going through the motions, which feels like living the same day over and over again. Monotonous.

And the devotion spoke to just that feeling. As you may recall from other blog posts, I am reading the "Jesus Calling" devotional by Sarah Young right now. When I really focus on the words and do more than just go through the motions of "reading my devotion for the day", the words always speak to me. While I was just going through the motions at the start, the power of The Word came through and really connected my brain and my heart.

Just like the devotion said, "this monotony can dull your thinking until your mind slips into neutral." (I was so there!) But then it also went on to say "the best remedy is to refocus your mind and heart on Me, your constant Companion."

For those who don't know me in real life, let me tell you - I LOVE MUSIC! I love singing. I love playing my guitar. I love listening to the radio. I love going to Christian concerts. Music is the language of my heart. (Attn: perspective suitors, if you can sing you'll have an edge of "the other guys". Make it Christian songs, you'll be top dog!)

I digress.... Anyways, music is the language of my heart. And when I read those last two words "constant Companion" it immediately put in my mind (ear worm!) a song my Francesca Battistelli called "Constant".

I so needed those words to remind me that God is my constant Companion, always by my side, even when I feel like He's far away. He's not. He didn't go anywhere, I just stopped being focused on Him and I need to redirect my gaze.

That seems to keep happening to me a lot lately. I've been far from God; He hasn't been far from me. My devotional and prayer life has been just going through the motions. My church attendance has been... well... absent for months. I don't want to just go through the motions anymore. I want to reconnect to this vital relationship.

I have started putting boundaries around my devotional and worship time to protect it for the sacred thing that it is. At 9 pm, Sunday through Thursday I start getting ready for bed and spend time reading my devotion and praying (on Friday and Saturday I still do my devotion, but it might be a little later). At 6 am, Monday through Friday, I get up and read my morning email devotion and follow it with yoga. I'm setting aside time to be intentional about my health. And to be totally honest, some days it's really hard. Last week there were a few mornings where 30 minutes extra in bed sounded really, really good, but I've made a commitment to myself and I didn't want to let myself down. I'm working on establishing a new habit and I don't want to make excuses. I'm worth it.

He's worth it, too. He's my constant Companion.

Francesca Battistelli - Listen To "Constant" here

Friday, August 25, 2017

When Is Enough?

I decided to turn my love of Young Living essential oils into a business. When I did, I knew I needed to learn about how to start a small business. I love what the oils are doing to support my pursuit of a healthy lifestyle and I want to share that with others.

My friend who got me started in oils gave me a book for my birthday to help me get started business building. And I devoured it! And then I came across another book with business building tips specifically directed at building an online small home business. Both books have said that if you want to get your business going well and fast, you have to invest a lot of time and make sacrifices. I'm willing to sacrifice some time each night and on the weekends to pour into my company.

...But I started back to school three weeks ago. And this was the first week of school. It's Friday, and I'm exhausted. EXHAUSTED! I left my desk a mess this afternoon, and I'm feeling stressed and anxious about that. I'm not 100% ready for work next week, but after 10 hour days almost every day this past week, and the fact that I instigated drinks after work with all the other teachers, I had to leave at 4 pm. And the fact that I'm running out of steam. I left for drinks and it was lovely to hang out with the girls from work (our lone male was unable to join us and he was missed)!

Oh, but I'm still tired. So tired. Can't decide if I'm coming or going. Can't decide if I want to stay in and go to bed early, or if I want to go dancing for a bit to relieve some stress.

I'm taking two weekends off. I just can't keep going. I spent 12 days in a row at school, after a busy summer of working lots of odd hours, including weekends. I've hardly had any time to mentally escape, let alone physically escape, so this weekend I'm taking time off from work both at school work and my business. And next weekend I'm getting out of town and taking some much needed time with family, and again escaping from school and business work again.

I have goals and drive to reach my goals. But I'm out of steam and need to recharge. I want to chase my dreams and use my small business to help me get there. But I also know the value of listening to my body. I can't keep going or things won't get done well. My body says rest, so it's time to rest. I love you. I love my oils.

Time for a little Stress Away, Peace & Calming, and Release to work their "magic" on me. And then I'll come back ready to tackle it again!

...but for now, REST!

Thursday, August 17, 2017


Well, so I think I'm doing the 30 Days of Yoga.

My regular faves haven't appealed to me the last two days, so yesterday I did day one of the challenge because it's a nice gentle practice and easy to follow. Today, I got up and got on my yoga clothes, opened up my computer to YouTube, and.... nothing.

No inspiration on which favorite video to do.

I texted my trainer.

He said, "Do the 30 day challenge."

I thought about it a second and said to myself, "why not, I did day one yesterday, so YouTube is prompting me to go to the next video anyway."

So, I hopped onto the mat and began. And you guys, it felt so good! So I want to invite you to join me on this 30 day journey. Just start day one now and notice each day how you feel before and after yoga. Approach it with the intention of doing this for your body, for your health, and to see how you change. Approach it with curiosity, without judgment. With compassion for your body as you begin this new thing that may be challenging and frustrating at times. It's all ok. Just begin.

Join me! And start here by watching this 5 minute video from Adriene.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

How's Your Health?

The IRS, I bet some of you shuddered just by reading that word. Some of you loathe giving your money to the government, money that you worked so hard to earn. Some of you do it knowing that it must be done, it's just a part of life (death and taxes, right?). And some of you may even do it gladly because you know it pays for government programs that you support. (And for those of you who don't pay taxes....)

When I started working on my taxes this past spring, I found out that I owed about $3000 to the IRS, which is about a month's salary for me. (Long story short, I had received some incorrect advice on my with holdings, and not being a tax professional, I didn't know any better.) I went to a tax professional to see if this was really the case, and sadly it was. He helped me find some deductions to knock it down a bit, and then he advised me to start a small business because it would give me more tax deductions. 

I thought about possible small businesses I could have; I do pet-sitting/house-sitting, I tried being a personal chef for a friend, I thought about teaching knitting. Those all were great ideas, but pet-sitting isn't a regular gig, only when needed. The chef thing didn't work out because my friend had medication issues which affected what they could eat. And the knitting classes didn't pan out due to time constraints. So I ended up applying for and getting a job in retail this summer. With that income I've knocked out my debt to the IRS. 

Which got me thinking.... I still have a lot of other debt. I'm working on paying off my credit cards (which I haven't used for a year and a half and I've gotten one of two paid off), a car loan (making great progress!), and a student loan (they are the devil - avoid getting a student loan at all costs!). And after taking Financial Peace University, I'd really like to get all that debt eliminated, increase my savings, and start funding my retirement account (because I basically have nothing right now).  I wanted to boost my income, but not spend my all my waking hours working. I needed something. 

A business opportunity with Young Living kind of fell into my lap. God brought it around at just the right time. I shared some oils with my grandma, they helped her, and then she bought some. My best friend wanted to try it out, so she bought a kit the night I held my first class teaching on essential oils. My principal's husband happened by during the class. We put some oils on him, he fell in love, and his wife bought a kit. 
BAM! I had the beginning of my team and my first commission check. My business is growing. But I needed to learn more. I went to the oil convention, I bought some books on building my business. I started praying about my business. (More debt!)

And then BAM, another thing hit me! It's that this isn't (just) a business. It's about relationships. I have relationships with the people who are on my team. They saw what oils have done for me and experienced it for themselves, so they wanted it, too. And yes, the financial part was the start, and is an important part of it, but most important are the people. 

The oils have blessed me in so many ways. As a teacher, I need to support my immune system so that I can be at work to bless my little students. Oils do that for me! As an emotional, feel-y person, I use oils to support me as I process and work though situations.
  • I drink Ningxia Red which contains wolfberries, a powerful antioxidant. I apply Thieves to my feet and diffuse in the air; I don't quite understand all the science (yet, but I'm learning), but it supports my immune system, too. 
  • When I'm feeling stressed by a crazy parent (or coworker, or friend, or -fill in the blank for yourself-) I apply Stress Away or Peace & Calming as well as diffuse it. It helps me find mental clarity.
  • When I'm doing yoga I diffuse Frankincense to help me stay grounded and focused on my yoga practice. (Also good to diffuse during prayer times!)
  • When I'm getting ready to teach an Essential Oils class and feeling nervous or anxious, I apply Valor and Clarity.
  • If someone has wronged me and I need to let go of the hurt, I apply Release and Forgiveness, especially when praying about it, as well as diffuse while I sleep so that bad feelings don't disrupt my sleep. 
  • I take oil-infused capsules to support my physical health, like Agilease for joint health support, Immupro to support my immune system, and Allerzyme to support my digestive health. 
There's so many wonderful things that the oils have done to help improve my health. I am so in love with these products and they way they support my healthy lifestyle. I want everyone to know how oils can help them support a healthy lifestyle, too. 

I'm using the oils to support my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual health. And my oil business is supporting my financial health. And I want these things for you, too, my friends. Let me show you how easy (and inexpensive) it is to get started with an oily lifestyle. To start using the oils you just need a starter kit. To build a business, you need your kit and a script (which I can help you write). I'm telling you this, because I care about you, my friends, and I want you to have a healthy life, too!

P.S. Oh! And I've even been using my essential oils with the stray cat my roommate adopted. He was stressed when he first arrived, so I diffused and applied on the back of his neck Stress Away and Peace & Calming. He's a happy cat now! Snuggling up to me instead of hiding in the cupboard under the bathroom sink on top of my clean towels!

P.P.S. My IRS debt is paid and now I'm working on improving my financial health in other areas. If you want to improve your financial health, too, let me show you how a Young Living business can help. It's easy to get started; unlike other at home businesses, you don't have to carry inventory, so your only startup cost is the purchase of your kit!

Thursday, August 3, 2017


Early in my journey I lived for a sweaty, hardworking workout. If I didn't end my workout exhausted then I didn't think it was a good (enough) workout. And I had to workout at least five days a week or I didn't think I'd done enough during the week. Even when starting with my trainer in December 2015, I was working out almost every day; running or elliptical for at least 30 minutes plus weights every other day. And maybe one day of yoga each week.

Earlier this year I shifted from living in the gym five days a week to doing weights twice a week, HIIT on the elliptical a couple times a week, and yoga once a week with more regularity. And then somewhere in the last few months it's changed again. Dance has become my cardio and I don't push myself to the limits on the elliptical. I still do weights twice a week with my trainer, and yoga happens about 3-4 (or more) times each week.

And I've been telling a lot of people lately about the yoga that I'm doing and people keep asking me to share links with them, so I'm gonna share them with y'all so everybody can enjoy!

I stumbled across "Yoga with Adriene" a year and a half ago as "exercise" I could do on vacation in Denver when I wouldn't have access to the gym and it would be too cold to run outside. At first I tried a different video each day from her "30 Days of Yoga" series. I found it a little too challenging for me because I had lost a lot of flexibility, on top of my knee issues due to the osteoarthritis (I can't do lunge poses and a few others).

But I didn't give up! I kept searching until I found a video I liked and could do. At the start of this year I came across the "Foundations and Flexibility" video. Forty minutes seemed like a doable length and the poses were just challenging enough but didn't bother my knees.

I did that video for several months before I started to get bored and wanting to expand my repertoire. It was also around that time that I realized how much my flexibility improved. I also realized that I needed something extra to really work on flexibility in my hips and back because I was still tight there. (It felt very evident to me when dancing.) I found this 30 minute video targeted for back pain. I like it's slower pace, especially when my back is feeling tight and sore after a long day on my feet or a strenuous activity that has tired out my back.

 After a little over a month of doing both those videos on rotation, I decided to go back and try the "30 Days of Yoga" series. I stopped after day four because I loved that video so much. It's another good one for the back, but not as long as the previous one PLUS it has some good core work with the plank variations. A good core is key to back health.

I hope you enjoy these videos and take some time to explore others in Adriene's series. I am in the best shape of my life, yet I don't live in the gym. Stronger and healthier than I was before and getting better every day.