Friday, February 25, 2011

Important reminders for Me

If you want to be happy -- choose to be.

If you dwell on negativity your life is going to be just that.

If you smile on the world, it WILL smile back.

Enjoy the little things, they may be gone someday (People included).

Do the things that you want to do, because you are in charge of your own life, and if you let other people determine your decisions you may live in regret someday.

Spend time with the people who lift you up, bring laughter to your lips, and who you cannot live without.

Don't over-complicate things. Things are already as complicated as they need to be.

When things get overwhelming and you feel like life is falling apart, remember your blessings - don't focus on the curses.

Remember no one has control over your life but YOU. Make the best of it.

Be content but always strive for more.

Don't be complacent or think you know it all, you always have something to learn.

When you are upset by someone - put yourself in their shoes, try to see their perspective - This will give you the much needed outside view.

Don't wish away any moment, you will never get it back.

Keep it simple, and always remember "Life will go on" regardless of the circumstance.

SMILE no matter what, it makes a difference.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Keep it simple

I struggle here because life is simply just not that simple. Complication, conflict, disappointment, change... these are just a few things that we all encounter on a regular basis. My personality haults with an upheaval of stress and anxiety naturally. Small things would used to catapult me into a cycle of self destruction and depression. After becoming a Mom two and a half years ago, I began learning the truth and reality of the term "Keep it simple." I always knew the phrase -- but didn't actually know it. It is more complex than I actaully knew...

Expectations are the biggest of things to let us down, so why don't we just let them go? No expectations = no disappointment. Makes sense right? seriously speaking though, it is guaranteed that if we have expectations we will eventually be let down, or even build resentment for some expectation that was not fulfilled. Same concept as getting your hopes up. How would you feel if someone placed expectations on you? It doesn't feel good... don't do it to others! (Ha, this one is easier said than done for me, and requires constant reflection)

Let go of the things that are out of your control. Why stress over or try to change something that you can't do anything about? This just complicates life even more! I need to often remind myself that I can't change someones: opinion, attitude, behavior, choice, or action(s). I can only control myself, and if I am trying to control someone else it usually falls into some sort of manipulation or abuse. Take responsibility only for yourself and no one else.

Let it go. Let go of your anger, resentment and hatred. It does us no good. Forgiveness gives us freedom to move forward. AND if need be address an issue instead of dwelling on it.

Don't sweat the small stuff. So what if Madi accidentally spilled her milk - it is almost inevitable and I know it, yet I sometimes choose to get upset about little things like this at times. Really, it isn't worth it. When I have negative feelings I often find myself trying to find a reason for why... more often than not it is over something so minuscule so I have to consciously choose to let it go.

These are all reminders for myself. I get so worked up, stressed out, and anxious all because I am keeping it complicated! Being aware of these things really help my stress level, and keep peace in my life. I just wanted to share, because I know at times will all suffer from the complications of life.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Silence is NOT the answer

I have been painfully silent over last year... it is a new year though, and I am taking on the whole "new begginings"

I have been waiting for an amazingly epic moment to occur for reason to return to writing. Well, I can't tell you that anything epic has happened, but what I can do is start simple. Sometimes simplicity is the best way to go, we do as a matter of fact have to begin a race with just one step.

Here is my step. And hopefully the momentum will build now and I will be back to writing every once in a while.

To start I will just put a few random things out there about where I am as of late...

-I am job hunting, and learning so much in the process. I have the best resume I have had in my life to date, I think I have got the whole process of hunting, and applying down... next comes the perfection of the interview - one down, who knows how many more to go.

-AND just to pretend as most of you do not know (which probably isn't the case because I am a loud mouth and make myself heard) I am a baccalaureate - yes, that means I FINALLY have a Bachelor's degree, in Social Science, to be precise. I graduated in Dec of 2010. I am proud of myself.

-Speaking of school--I must add to this blog--I was extremely challenged last year. This is one of the largest reasons as to my break from blogging. My mind could not handle much more than life was spewing my way as a Mom, student, and girlfriend who has lots of friends and family in my life!! Yeah, it was craziness...

-And just to put the cherry on top of the School sundae (so to speak), school pushed and challenged my mind in ways I never knew were possible - my beliefs, morals, standards all took a bit of a shift. I was pressed hard, my mind was challenged and at times I felt defeated, even hopeless.

-When fall introduced itself last year I was relieved to put the "tough" school behind me - I had written a 20 page dissertation on Global Poverty, in addition to another 56 pages on other intense "analytical" papers. And I began my Guitar class. It was amazing and priceless...

-I know how to read and play the three basic octaves of A-G and read rythmic patterns. in addition to so much more. Fall semester offered me a great change of pace. To be able to learn music while sitting and reflecting on all of the belief shifts and such that school had introduced. I am feeling better and more at ease with this all now, I know that discovering who I am, and what I am are all a process... the process of life!

-So here I am, Happy and content. I have an amazingly kind, supportive, loving, giving boyfriend who lifts me up everyday. I for the first time in a relationship feel at ease to be me, and feel significant as a person regardless of my flaws. I am a lucky girl!

-AND the best thing in life, the thing that has brought me the most joy, most growth, and the most smiles on my face - is Madilynn. She is a hoot! It has been a challenging year as a mother as well - but a great one at that! Madi went from babyhood to childhood last year: giving up the Pacifier, going from a crib to a toddler-bed, potty training, talking, counting, danacing, hobbying, you name it... she is a little person now, and I love it. We once in a while deal with the power-struggle, but we are both learning and everyday it seems like things are getting better - atleast she doesn't have daily timeout visits anymore! I love her, she is growing into a beautiful girl with personality!

-If I could change one thing about last year it would be the fact that I didn't freely write or journal. I love keeping my thoughts tangible by writing them to reflect at later times... maybe this year will be the year to start recording my thoughts, we'll see.

So, that is where I am at. I'll leave it at that. Taking one moment at a time I am moving forward in this ever increasingly fast paced life - hopefully not in silence.

Friday, May 28, 2010


The act of putting pen to paper encourages pause for thought, this in turn makes us think more deeply about life, which helps us regain our equilibrium. ~Norbet Platt

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Seven Habits of Highly Effective People

1) taking personal responsibility and initiative,
2) getting clear about what's important to you and setting goals,
3) putting those priorities first and being disciplined,
4) seeking mutual benefit in all interactions with others -- the golden rule,
5) seeking to understand others from their perspective first before making your point,
6) valuing differences and creating third-alternative solutions to problems that are better than "my way" or "your way," and
7) taking care of and renewing yourself in all four areas of life -- body, mind, heart and spirit.
-- Stephen R. Covey

Maybe if we all tried a little harder, life would be a little easier for all of us.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Short of Perfect

I still find each day too short for all the thoughts I want to think, all the walks I want to take, all the books I want to read, and all the friends I want to see.
John Burroughs

...all the quality time I want to spend with Madi, all the spaces in my home that need to be cleaned, all the reading and studying I need to get done for school, and all the little constant issues and things that need to be addressed. I feel overwhelmed.

Okay, Okay... I will admit, I am guilty! I am busy and I still find it hard to prioritize, organize, and figure out how to live life functionally. I struggle with perfection, and there is no doubt about it that, sometimes I am just too hard on myself. Sometimes I feel as though I am being pushed to the limit. I am overwhelmed, and there is just a sense of discontentment in my heart.

'Am I a good Mom? Am I spending my time productively? Am I making good decisions for Mine and Madi's life?'
There always seems to be a constant, nagging, lingering question -of this type- that lurks in the back of my mind. I am always looking over my own shoulder to see if I am doing it right. I think that like anyone else, I too struggle with the reality that I am not perfect and I make mistakes, but so do we all. My Mom helped open my eyes to a little piece of necessary reality the other day, while we were spending some much needed time together.

Through tears she stated, "You're the perfect Mom! You have it all together. Your life is structured and organized." Then she proceeded to talk about how out of control her life is, and how overwhelmed she feels to face all of the things that life throws her way. She expressed how inadequate she felt, and more than anything the underlying message of everything was that she felt as though she was failing at life.

At that moment I had an extreme sense of humility wash over me, realizing that I too have those same negative feelings about my own life, as she does hers. My Mom gave me insight into the reality of what day-to-day life entails. Life is overwhelming, it is hard, and we all fall short of perfect. Regardless of who we are, or what we do, we all make mistakes. What I am learning in life at the moment is that we are all individuals and we have our strengths and along with it, we have weaknesses as well.

My weaknesses have become my enemy, and they often become the focus of my life. Often I overlook my strengths. I tend to dwell on my failures and disregard my accomplishments. I am constantly beating myself up for the wrong choices I make, and for the negative patterns of behavior that I continually fall into. I place many unattainable pressures on myself, and feel a sense of disappointment when I fail at attaining them.

Sometimes I wonder if it is a female thing. Often as women we are constantly trying to be better... look better, do better, act better. There is even a cultural strain on us, from media and society telling us that we need to fit a certain standard. This standard, as it is presented by the media, is near perfection. I am pretty sure that no one fits that media standard!! Yet, I notice and see, in my life and many others as well, that we are constantly putting pressure on ourselves to meet this ideological standard of life.

So, the answer that I gave my Mom, after I gave her a good chuckle, was this "Mom, I am far from perfect! I fail everyday. I make bad decisions, and I am in constant awareness of how imperfect I am!" She isn't alone in her feelings of shame and failure, many people -even the ones who appear perfect- have the same feelings.

The cliche statement is true, 'The grass is greener on the other side.' So, just remember when you see the woman that looks like she has everything put together, chances are she doesn't. I am learning to be kinder to myself. I am trying harder to give myself the much needed break that I deserve. I am starting to remind myself that I have accomplished so much in both the small day-to-day things, and the things that affect my life as a whole. We can all use a little more encouragement, especially from ourselves, because often we are the hardest on ourselves. Dwelling on the negative is counterproductive - and actually a time waster in my mind. Naturally when we think positively things tend to work out better. Why waste time thinking negatively and dwelling on the bad, it is a waste of time. Spending your time focusing on negative thought interferes with your ability to be productive, and is wasteful, instead that energy can be used elsewhere.

Alyshia, a girlfriend of mine, pointed out to me how much I insult, and complain about myself - mostly in the physical sense. She was right, and I was feeling the effects of it emotionally. So I decided to strive to stop being so negative and to start telling myself and others how great I really am. I am of seeing and believing the reality of all of the positive aspects of who I am. The great thing is is that I am happier. I am more comfortable in my own skin, and more content with myself, even if I make a mistake. Confidence exudes inner beauty. This is the type of beauty that I want to characterize. I need to be confident for myself, and for Madi.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Some Pieces are Secret

is that bad, that some of me is not shown?

I am not revealing my whole...

Sometimes I feel pulled down by the weight of it's hold.

On occasion my life feels like it is not my own.

I walk on, with that "Rebecca smile" on my face,

part of me is ashamed, and part of me is at peace.

I can finally see some of my inner beauty, it is amazing.

Am I just striving for perfection?

Because It brings me exhilaration, joy, happiness and warmth.

I feel closer to God, deep inside my soul.

Yet I feel a part of my soul, anxious and concerned.

Or is it this female side, that is taking control.

Emotions consume me, they eat me whole.

I need to escape the pressures, from myself, and from this God wretched word.

I am going to step aside,

stop looking for the answers elsewhere.

I am going to pray, draw near,

and see where I am guided.

Monday, February 15, 2010


In my weakness, I look for your Strength.

It is you who brings me peace.

I am tired and I cannot do this without you.

Time has consumed me.

Eaten me from the inside out.

I am sorry again. I am lost. I need you.

Help me find my way again.

You bring me energy.

Sometimes I forget to turn to you.

And when I remember, I am again humbled

when I embrace your amazing Grace.

Your Love. Your astonishing acceptance.

Oneness with myself. Oneness with You, God.

As I draw near I can feel you. Your love consumes me.

It feels replenishing. I feel refreshed again.

As my tears fall, I am reminded.

How I have missed my creator.

As I draw near again. My Heart rejoices.

I feel rejuvenated and refreshed. So Alive.

My soul dances, and my arms reach to feel your presence.

As I worship, I can feel you deep inside my soul.

I am consumed.

I feel so near, to my origin.

Your presence is ecstasy, words bring it no justice.

I know it is You God, You are the ONE.

The only ONE that I need. You satisfy My every want, my every need.

Again I find myself crying out.

'Here I am, Here is my life. I am Yours'

In my weakness, I draw near To You.

You bring me Peace. I am again so thankful.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Little Surprises everywhere...

‘Time changes everything except something within us which is always surprised by change.’ Thomas Hardy

Woah! So as some of you know and some of you don't life has thrown me a little curve ball. Some change has come my way, some would say it is bad change... But who knows, a door has closed and I have been led to a new door... so I am on my way to a new adventure. I am excited to see what life has for me. So no, I wouldn't say that for me this is a bad change, it has been bittersweet, but not necessarily bad.

The company that has employed me for the past two and a half years now ceases to exist. They are going out of business (if they haven't already gone under that is) and I am sure that many people will be affected by the ripple effect from the fall of the company. My heart is sad for all of those who have encountered a loss due to Groom closing their doors. My heart goes out to my Boss Jim Blackwood and his wife Stacey, who were part owners of the company. They were nothing less than kind and compassionate to me during my employment with them. They stood by me through many hardships and triumphs in my own personal life. I will never forget them, and their graciousness.

So I am unemployed, for the first time in what seems like forever...
I applied for unemployment (I have yet to receive any compensation thus far) and am hopeful that it will suffice for now. I decided that the wise thing would be to put my job searching on halt and return to school for the semester and finish my degree. I am now on track to be graduating with my BA in Social Science following the summer semester. I am thrilled, nervous, and anxious...This is all going to be a huge change of lifestyle and of time and pace. All change is hard because we humans like predictability and routine, but it will be good and it will challenge me again, and I look forward to it, it will feel good to get things done.

So life will go on, and I am happy to say that I am in a good place. Watching Madi grow is amazing, and having the relationships that I do with the family and friends in my life, it just amazes me beyond measure. I cannot say that I am not blessed, because I am, I am more blessed than what many will experience in a lifetime.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Life is full of Surprises

Living in the moment means
letting go of the past and not waiting for the future.
It means living your life consciously,
aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.

- Oprah Winfrey

Sometimes my mind is blown by the complexity of life... the things we take for granted... and the spontaneity of situations and outcomes... Lately my heart has been touched by so many stories, and my eyes have been opened by my own circumstances. It is so awesome growing older and having new epiphanies and realizations - growing wisdom.

I happened to come across a Caring bridge site written by the parents of Kaitlyn Johanson. At 16 years of age, in August of 2007, she was in a severe car accident in Rochester MN. She was rushed to Mayo clinic. She sustained numerous injuries, the biggest triumph they have had to face was the traumatic brain injuries that were incurred. Kasey and Brian, Kaitlyn's parents, lives were shaken and drastically changed by this tragedy, as was Kaitlyn's. There lives have been forever changed. As a parent I can only imagine all that they have been through... Their courage and strength throughout it all have amazed and shocked me! I am such an empathetic person so when I come across stories such as these it is like it becomes my own story - I become affected by it, and something changes inside of me. It has been weighing on my heart and I have been praying for them. Sometimes I wonder if God brings these stories into my life to teach me a lesson. I take so many things for granted... The ability to walk, to talk, communicate in a socially acceptable fashion, the fact the my brain and my mind function at a normal rate, my eyesight, my ability to live life easily without having to worry about my disabilities hindering my way of life. Poor Kaitlyn had to start all over, she had to relearn how to walk, talk, eat... Two years later she is still in the process of recovery and has to face simple issues day in and day out. Her recovery process will be in effect for years to come, and she will probably never be the person that she was prior to her accident.

Nothing is ever predictable! Sometimes I am fearful of what the future holds, but then I realize that it is out of my hands and I shouldn't worry! No matter what things will always work out in the end, it is sort of a motto that I have created for the hard times that I have faced over the years, and will continue to face down the road. We need to live for today, we never know what tomorrow will bring. We need to appreciate every moment, and not let the small things steal our joy and happiness. Life is so short to be angry all the time, or to hold a grudge.

To end on a lighter note, I love the quote from Kung Fu Panda (I know this is not where it originated, but every time I hear it I think of Master Oogway, and he makes me smile :)

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery.
But today is a gift. That’s why we call it the present

~Master Oogway

Monday, December 14, 2009

Merry Christmas

I am not sure why but as every year passes I seem to love Christmas so much more. Maybe it is because as I get older I appreciate things more, or maybe it is because I am a Mom now...

It is such a great time of year where I can feel the love all around me, and I cannot get enough of it. The month of December has already flown by and I have yet to send out my Christmas cards (hopefully it will be done in the early part of this week).

I just want to wish everyone a beautiful and Merry Christmas. If this is a hard time of year for you I am sorry, but just remember you are not alone, This is in fact the celebration of Christ's birthday - he came to be with us!!

Have fun eating cookies, decorating your tree, spending quality time with your family and friends, sipping hot cocoa, singing carols, and giving thanks to God - there is no better time than now.

If I didn't send you a card and you would like one just send your address my way.

Love you all!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Trust in God

'Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me. ' John 14:1

What do we do and where do we turn when it seems like everything is falling apart? When we lose our jobs, or our children are heading down the wrong path, when someone dies, or we are facing devastating consequences for the bad choices that we have made; who do we turn to?

'Dear brothers and sisters,when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.'
James 1:2-4

All too often I turn to worry, guilt, shame... But I need to remember that my life is not in my control. I am called to give it up, I am called to surrender, to a God who is far greater than my mind can imagine.

'Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.' Matt 16:24-25

God wants us to give up ALL control and put it into his hands!! Those tough seasons in your life could be a time where he is preparing you to rely more on him and give up control of your own life or the life of a spouse or child. Truly, all of our lives are out of our control, it is only God that knows what is ahead and in store for us.

We need to be reassured that God has great plans, and without these hard times all of this, Gods plans may not happen. I cannot help but think and know that God is in everything somehow, even though it may not seem like it at the moment... When we are facing those challenging times that life throws our way, God could be in the middle of it all preparing us for something great, for something that can turn your world upside down.

When we are going through those rough times we need to remember to turn to him, he is right by our side!

Last night I was spending time with Shirley (it is her birthday today!) we were talking about how Madi is influenced by both Dan and I. I expressed my concern for Madi's life, I don't want her to make the same bad choices that I have made in my life. As a Mom I want her to make the best decisions and be the best that she can be throughout her whole life... Shirley reminded me and assured me that Madi is Gods, and she is in his hands - and when I went up in front of the church to dedicate her that is exactly what I was doing, I was giving her to God! Madi's life is in Gods hands now, I am just a Shepard guiding her along the path of life, helping to teach her and guide her!

I think that we often forget sometimes that when we become Christ filled and we give our lives to God, our lives are no longer ours to hold on to, and try to control... we need to give UP and give it to God. I know that it is easier said than done, but God wants us to lay down our lives and give it all to him, he knows the plans he has for our lives. We shouldn't worry, he has it all figured out.

'For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.' Jeremiah 29:11

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


1 Thessalonians 5:18
No matter what happens, always be thankful, for this is God's will for you.

During a time of year where we reflect on the things that we are thankful for, I have been reminded that there is so much to give thanks for.

So here is a list some things that I am truly and utterly thankful for.

*Jesus and his sacrifice for my life

*Madilynn Paige - the one who makes life brighter and worth living

*Being Cancer free!

*Christmas, it brings out the beauty in people and reminds me of what life is all about

*Music, all kinds of music

*Freedom, it is something that I often take for granted

*Witnessing Talent

*Chili, it is so yummy, especially on a chilly day!

*Loving Family

*Facebook, I love being connected and being social

*Sleep, I am grateful for the hours that I get

*A place to call home

*Friends who care

*Nature, we are surrounded by a beautiful creation

*Adam, he brings smiles to my face every day

*The smell of rain in the air, it is refreshing

*the Love of Dan and Shirley


*The unconditional love that I receive from a very forgiving God

*Pink finger nail polish, even on a bad day it makes me feel pretty

*Community, I am so blessed! Naomi, Amanda, April, Tamrah, Emarie, Loni, Missy, Anna, Meredith, Faith, Monique, Ashley, and Jessica you girls have been so supportive over the last year, I am so thankful for you all!

*The ability to run, even if I don't do it everyday, I know that I still can!

*A good Career, I have been so blessed with a steady, good job

*My education

*Looking forward to a future that is in Gods hands, I know that he has amazing plans for my life, it is beautiful watching it unfold

Friday, November 20, 2009

When You Are Near

Words cannot express how much I love this song!

When You Are Near
Jeremy Camp

There’s no need to say a thing when I’m before you.
In this silence I feel refreshed with peace.
Break this noise that binds the voice that tries to speak.
Open my eyes to see Your gracious, sovereign reach.

It’s hard to talk when I feel that You are near,
When all is quiet it’s the beauty that I hear.
This hidden place where I know that You've calmed my fears.
I know that You’ve washed my tears.

The seasons of change I’ve faced have never left me wounded.
Only scars of hurt, but never deeply rooted.
This healing I have felt, no burden can replace.
Redemptive hope has been the story of my pain.

It’s hard to talk when I feel that You are near,
When all is quiet it’s the beauty that I hear.
This hidden place where I know that You've calmed my fears.
I know that You’ve washed my tears.

All is lost without the breath of life You give, and You give so much.
I want nothing more than You, so here’s my heart

It’s hard to talk when I feel that You are near,
When all is quiet it’s the beauty that I hear.
This hidden place where I know that You've calmed my fears.
I know that You’ve washed my tears.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Delicious Dessert

Here is a delicious recipe from one of my girlfriends, Tamrah, she is a Mom to two buys and one on the way... She sure does know how to make some awesome and yet simple dessert!

Quick and Easy Southern Banana Pudding:

1 package (3.5 oz) vanilla flavor instant pudding and pie filling...

1 1/2 cups milk

1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups whipped topping (cool whip), divided

40 vanilla wafers, divided

2 bananas, sliced, divided

2 tablespoons chocolate topping (chocolate syrup)

In a medium bowl combine pudding mix, milk and vanilla. With electric mixer, beat 1 to 2 minutes or until thickened. Add 1 cup whipped topping. In 1 1/2 quart round dish layer half of wafers, bananas and pudding. Drizzle with chocolate. Repeat layers ending with pudding. Top with remaining 1/2 cup of whipped topping Top with 3 crushed cookies if desired. (we also drizzle a little chocolate syrup on top).

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pump that Body!

Whew - I am sore - BUT I feel grrreat! I started working out again. Last night Jenny and I (she is THE official Gym partner!) went to the YMCA in West Saint Paul. It was great, I didn't do too well but I am now addicted. I have decided that I am going to join and now have an actual gym membership again! It has been about a year since I have had a membership, and it is time to join again.

Bodypump was the class that we took last night. Mixing anaerobic and aerobic activity into one, weights and aerobics together - it was challenging and great! It wore me out, but today I have this amazing high from working out last night. I feel so giddy, like a little girl again.

I am excited because unlike anytime, there is a daycare - so I have no excuse not to go now...
Yayy I cannot wait to take another class!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Think Positively

“How you think about a problem is more important than the problem itself. So always think positively.” ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Wednesday, October 28, 2009


I felt inspired by the Ex Hot Girl to put it all out there... and I think that it just might be liberating. Holding in these feelings doesn't really do the body good, and I have noticed that what I tend to do is just complain a lot about things when and if I don't process them. So this will be my attempt at processing all of the emotions that I have been having with my image, body and weight.

I have always been someone who has defined myself by my appearance, which is no bueno, I know! And for a while it really worked in my favor... I didn't really know it, but I was pretty Hot (as Jenn, the Ex Hot Girl, would say). I had some minor issues with my appearance, as we all do. I have always wanted to lose a few pounds, but overall I was very content, confident, and comfortable in my own skin (pre-baby of course). Now... well lets just say I am a little more than not content with my body. I just plain feel FAT, unattractive, and uncomfortable in just about everything that I wear - I am definitely not comfortable in my own skin, and of course the stretch marks don't help. You can tell by looking at my Now and Then photos that I am not comfortable, and I often struggle with what to wear to hide my extra pounds - it doesn't work, I know, I have tried :) I am constantly at a struggle with more than just my appearance, I am a perfectionist in everything that I do. It is more than just wanting to be beautiful, I also want to be physically fit so that I can be healthy, run without struggling, and other things of that matter. Really though, I just want to be physically fit so that I can be comfortable in my own skin again. I am constantly aware of my overweight, unfit body and it wears on me.

I have started running. I will be running a 5K on December 5th. It will be interesting to see how I do. Some of my long term goals: Chicago half marathon next September, and eventually a full marathon. I am trying to be more conscious about what I put in my mouth. I love snacks, and since I have had Madi I have this undeniable urge to eat sweets all day - which has not been nice to me, to say the least! I have been skipping the bowl of ice cream before bed at night, and I have been eating less, and am attempting to be aware of my diet. I figure that calorie counting, or being aware of the amount that I consume will be the first step - considering I have been overeating. I notice that I tend to eat when I am experiencing anything emotional whether it is good or bad. I eat to self medicate and I eat to celebrate, but the most important thing that I need to be aware of is that I eat to please my taste buds. What I want and need to start doing is eating nutritious foods, and I need to stop eating for pleasure and for the fulfillment that I get emotionally.

Ultimately my ideal goal would be 125 pounds give or take 5 pounds (preferably the latter ;). This is going to be REALLY hard for me, but I want to write down how much I weight for a couple reasons #1 because I feel like being honest will be very freeing and #2 because I feel like it will motivate me to start dropping the pounds... I weigh 155 pounds now. When I get on the scale I am shocked every time, so I try not to stand on the thing very often, it always gets me down! The most I have EVER weighed was at the end of my pregnancy with Madi, I was a whopping 197!! And it was Very very hard for me to accept and take in, I think that was the epitome of me feeling hideous! Then I lost 67 pounds in 10 weeks, I weighed 130 and felt great! So, I know that I can do it again...

So here is to the start of my journey to becoming healthier, thinner, and hopefully more comfortable in my own skin again ;)

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Expectations Exceeded!

Adam and I decided that for his annual vacation we wanted to take a trip to the Black Hills. I was thinking that it would be nice to get away, and of course I wanted to see Mount Rushmore because it is one of America's trademark monuments...

Little did I know that I would be blown away at the Beauty and extravagance of beautiful South Dakota. I was in awe and admiration the whole time soaking in the elegance of true nature!

As we arrived late on Thursday night we went and viewed Rushmore, it was awesome with the lights shining upward at the monument... But when we woke up the next morning we really saw the beauty of all that surrounded us. We spent the next two full days taking it all in and appreciating ever second of it. All the while taking 300+ pictures! I know, I know, a little much BUT I couldn't help it. It was all so amazing. I had to capture the moments. After all, memories last a lifetime! Photos are tangible memories, and they are what I live for!

We stayed at Super 8 in Keystone, SD - the closest that we could get to Rushmore. It was a cute place with very friendly staff. We did so many fabulous things... We started out Friday Morning and toured Mount Rushmore state park, and viewed the monument, it was spectacular to say the least. Later on in the day we went to Bear Country and got to see all of the amazing wildlife, including Bears (yep two feet away from my car - it was crazy), buffalo, elk, and so much more. That night we strolled through Rapid City, Sturgis, Deadwood and back to Rapid city - driving through the canyons, it was amazing! It really gave us a feel for how truly small we are in comparison to Gods wonders. The next day we started out by touring the Rushmore Caves, it is amazing what nature can create. We then headed through some beautiful back roads, canyons and mountains to Hill City. Then we continued on our way through, passing by Crazy Horse Memorial, which was another awesome view. Then we drove through Custer and took a scenic highway that led us to Highway 16. We saw so much wildlife on the way: multiple deer, turkeys, rams, and more! We took the most amazing route ever on 16A back to Keystone. It was Iron Mountain Road. Toward the end of the route we hit the very tip top of the mountain and climbed up the rocks. The views were phenomenal - it was my favorite part of the trip! The mountain overlooked the Black Hillsand gave us an amazing far view of Mount Rushmore, it was breathtaking!! God is so awesome, he created a beautiful place for us, my mind was blown!! We then went into Rapid City for the night, Had a fabulous dinner in downtown. We walked through Art Alley, it was pretty cool to see all of the walls painted and graffitied.
The next day we headed home on the ten hour drive, it was a good time.

I will go back - Keystone was a cute quaint town. I would love to experience it all in the summer when we can do all of the summer festivities like gold panning, taking the train tour, and doing all of the fun outdoor things.

I look forward to heading back again someday... And I look forward to future trips to come!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Another {Awesome} Recipe

Perfect Pumpkin Bread
15 Ounce can of Pumpkin Puree
4 eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
2/3 cup of water
3 cups of sugar (can be substituted for splenda)
3 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
2 teaspoons of baking soda
2 teaspoons of salt
2 1/2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie spice
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 2 loaf pans.
In a large bowl combine Pumpkin Puree, eggs, oil, water and sugar until it is well blended.
In a separate bowl combine flour, salt, baking soda, seasoning.
Make a hole in the center of the flour mix and slowly mix in the Pumpkin mixture. Combine well.
Pour the mixture into the two loaf pans.
Bake for approximately 50 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
'Tis the season for some yummy comfort food.
I was attempting to make the perfect Pumpkin bread, because Adams Mom, who is out of town, always makes it this time of year. I looked around in search of the perfect recipe. I found a few that looked good. And combined some of the different ideas. I baked two loaves and it was all eaten in a couple of days. Everyone loved it, all of my co-workers included :)