Gratitude for Change

cats

Having gratitude for change can often be tough. Life is full of changes all the time, some we are ready for and some we just aren’t. But gratitude often comes from the change at some point. Hell, it may be ten years down the road and not right away at times, while other times the gratitude comes right away.

I want to tell a little story about my gratitude for change in one area of my life…. MY LOVE FOR CATS.

Would you believe it if I told you I went through a period of neutrality towards cats? My current self is shaking its head hell no. I love cats. I take pictures of my cats all the times and probably post way too many pictures on Instagram of them. But, I really did. I went through a period where I didn’t want to be a cat person.

It has its deep roots so hear me out.

When I was a young girl, I loved cats. I started collecting cat statues whenever my Uncle Jim would buy them for me at random places. I had quite the collection and a cat statue was always on my Christmas list. I am sure that made my parents happy since they really aren’t that expensive! I could have had the next biggest toy on my list, but no I wanted a new cat statue. I even got a real cat for Christmas one year and I named her Crystal. She loved me and hated my brothers so we were quite the pair.

My Uncle Jim passed away in 1995. My family was devastated. It was a major life adjustment. Death is a hard thing to overcome and I am not fully convinced we ever overcome death. I think we just decide to focus more on memories and the love we had for the one who passed.

But I was young when he passed. I was 11. One way I grieved was to forget about my love for cats. I got rid of my cat collection.

The interesting thing is that I didn’t realize it at the time why I got rid of my cat collection. Only now do I realize that the cat collection was something beautiful between my uncle and me and that getting rid of it was my subconscious protecting my sweet, little heart.

We got a dog later in 1995 and named her Daisee May. She was a blessing to our family after such a hard tragedy. I’ve always loved dogs too (I think of myself as an animal person in general.. love them all!), but I focused more on dogs after we got Daisee.

In 2008 I met a man who has an intense and admirable love for cats. He is not ashamed to admit it! Society makes it seem like guys are typically dog people, but I find it so sexy when a man can admit he likes other animals too. And perhaps that is why God gave me this man.

Anyway, my renewed interest for cats started to grow as our relationship grew. In February 2009, this man’s parents had a cat that started coming around their house. It had kittens, but was a young one herself. She couldn’t produce enough milk for the kittens so a local vet out of Terrell bottle fed the kittens. There were 4. And they were so adorable!

When they were old enough to eat cat food, we would go visit the kittens and one day, I took one home. It has changed my life for the better in so many ways!

I don’t have gratitude for death per se. I still wish I had my Uncle here on Earth as selfish as that may be, but I can find gratitude in the way that cats remind me of him at times. I find gratitude in the connection we had when I was a kid and one of those ways being with the cat statues. I also have an intense gratitude for the change in my love for cats. This change has opened my heart in more ways than I ever thought possible. I consider my pets family and the love I have for these four-legged creatures has shown me that I will also have love for a two-legged lil’ squirt someday and be a damn good mom.

I am linking up for The Fit Dish with Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch. This week is all about gratitude!

Six:02 6K in November!

I am not running these days. At all. I have no interest, especially in this Texas heat. But, I do always look forward to a 6K in Dallas in November because it is the most amazing fun run I have ever participated in. Yes, I am talking about the Six:02 It’s Your Time 6K run.

I plan to do it again this year and hopefully bring some work buddies with me. Two of my co-workers joined last year, as well as my husband. It’s definitely more of a female run so I think my hubby will stay home this year. The finish line gift was a necklace and the race shirt was a hot pink tight-fitted girl shirt. Hah! I laughed when he got his package and felt like, “Oops, sorry I signed you up for this babe. But, thank you for doing it with me anyway!” He was a good sport FOR SURE!

So this year’s race is on November 14th and if you live in or around Dallas I highly recommend it. No, I am not paid to say that. I just like this one SO MUCH because it is extremely female friendly, not uber competitive, and Six:02 spoils us after the race. Seriously I think we got a free massage or pedicure last year. And hot chocolate. It was a bit cold that day! And, as if it could get any better… the Charity partner for the race is The Family Place. Love supporting a good cause!

If you don’t currently run like me, don’t fret. We can be walking buddies or “walk-ish” buddies like me and my co-worker call ourselves. Walk-ish is when you jog part of it and walk part of it.

I am so excited!!!! Not only for this race, but also for the cooler weather. YES, PLEASE!

What are you looking forward to this fall?

Refreshing Pineapple Smoothie

pineapplesmoothie

One day this week I was hungry ALL DAY LONG. I was actually getting sick of eating so I told my husband that I wish I could just drink food. I was literally sick of finding snacks to consume and just wanted a magic pill to fill me up.

Well, I didn’t drink my food that day. I ate regular meals and snacks, even if sick of them. And I think I was still hungry when I went to bed that night, but had given up so fell asleep to tummy growls.

What was the deal? Well, I have a current condition that I am not ready to share on the blog yet that keeps me hungry A LOT. So, it is time to mix things up and find fill-me-up drinks too.

Heyyyyyy smoothie! You’re looking pretty fine right now.

Yes, bring on the smoothie recipes. I have been going Pinterest crazy a bit lately to find some good ones. In fact, I think I shared a few faves on a guest post for Nature’s Bakery that should be up on their site soon. I haven’t tried them all, but it is my goal to!

Today I experimented with a refreshing pineapple smoothie! I rarely measure things, but here is what I grabbed out of the pantry and fridge:

  • Frozen pineapple
  • Frozen spinach
  • Milk
  • pHenOH 7.4
  • Chia Seeds
  • Shredded Coconut
  • Pineapple Juice
  • Mint Leaves
  • Sprinkle of Ginger, Cinnamon, & Cardamom

It is SOOOOOOOO GOOD! Definitely up my alley, but I am in love with mint and it definitely has a hint of it. If you are up for a similar smoothie, keep in mind you can take some of the ingredients off and it’d still taste the same I bet (like the pHenOH 7.4 since I doubt many peeps have this just laying around). Also, I start with just a little of the liquids and add more in if it is needed after I blend. I also use just a tad of spinach, because I am not into the very green-tasting smoothies.

I am joining in with the Fit Dish link up today with The Fit Switch and Jill Conyers. Do you like smoothies? If so, what is your favorite ingredient to add into smoothies?

smoothie-recipes-1024x512

 

My Current Fitness Faves

Back to fit dish Tuesday today. Thank you to Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch for hosting. Today’s topic is full of fun, fitness fashion pictures from the #fitfam. Before we get to my three though, please note I don’t consider myself very fashionable. In fact, I used to ask my mother for advice in high school (she was a textiles and clothing major and I did not inherit her fashion smarts). Second, I am not a photographer. I consider myself a picture taker in training, always trying to learn new things by experimenting.

So take that into consideration as I share with you my current fitness faves…

outfit 1

This first picture includes my new workout program I am trying out this month, Cize. I love Shaun T and I love to dance so figured why the heck not. And to keep my feet moving, I just got these socks and shoes from Six:02. I love that place because they have such a variety of brands that I love. These shoes are killer! I am so in love with them. It’s hot here in Texas so I like to go bright like the sun. This neon yellow tank pairs well with my new Nike capri’s. I will spotlight the capri’s in the next picture.

outfit 2

I don’t currently run, but I do live FEARLESS. Heck yeah! I love it when workout wear has a fun or motivating message included somewhere. A great reminder to kick butt during your workout! So even though I don’t run, I love to wear these doing yoga. Meet my black yoga mat with grey and cream flowers. I got it at Target. Thank you Gaiam. They have cute options!

outfit 3

I am sure many of you heard the news back in May about Texas’ flooding. We had some heartbreak in Wimberley so I found this shirt being sold to help with relief there. I love it! It is my current fave tank for working out or general wear. And it reminds me to stay strong during tough times! If you have ever worked out with me, you also know I LOVE Emi Jays or similar hair bands. I love this purple one.

What is one of your current fitness faves? Happy Tuesday!

Trying to Find Reason

Depression

Has something terrifying ever happened to you and you try to find reason for it? Only, you can’t. Some of the roads we walk on get bumpy. Some of them have obstacles that are so freakin’ hard to overcome. Some we want reason for, but will we ever have reason?

I don’t like to get overly personal on this blog. It’s a wellness blog, after all. But, mental health is just as part of wellness as anything else. I am trying to find reason for why depression hits. At least one of my special loves has been struggling and it has been exceptionally difficult the past few months. A downward spiral.

Being an outsider looking into the darkened hole that depression has on someone is very scary. And oh so real. Depression can make someone feel like they are not worthy of your love. That hurts. When you love someone so much you just want them to feel it too. You want them to never worry that your love is fleeting. It’s unconditonal. The darkened hole doesn’t let that person see that.

I hate the darkened hole. I want to punch it. I want to blow it out like a candle. I want to replace it with love, hope, faith, and everything positive.

But an outsider can’t do that.

It isn’t my place to control the demons that live inside someone else’s mind, but damn do I want to. I mean, I have my own, let’s be real. We all do. But I am strong right now to fight mine off. Someone I love so dearly isn’t.

The darkened hole takes away strength.

Fuck the darkened hole. Why does it bring so much pain and sadness? The darkened hole doesn’t just affect the individual it resides in. It affects everyone that loves the individual. And yet we can’t fight that darkened hole. We can’t be the bodyguard our loved one deserves. We just have to wait. Wait until our loved individual gets the help that he or she needs and develops the strength to win the battle.

All I can do is have hope. All I can do is pray.

I am not that patient so hoping and praying only is a little tough for me . I am going to do it though. And I am going to learn to be patient. It takes a season to melt away ice from Winter so I know it will take just as much, if not more, for my loved one to overcome this. I will be there to support and love. I just hope that support and love is for the taking and isn’t disregarded because the darkened hole replaces it with unworthiness and feelings of just needing to end it.

Back to positive. I won’t focus on that. I will just keep my love and support readily available. We have a treatment plan and professionals are in this field for a reason. There are many people that overcome depression and lead happy, healthy lives. I want that so badly for this person. I want the smile back.

I find music to be therapeutic during tough times. I have always loved the song, “Family” by Matt Wertz.Today, the words mean so much more. If you have someone you care about going through a tough time, perhaps you may find the words to be therapeutic too.

I’ll begin
I know you’re scared
No one told you then “Be this”
Feeling frail
With so much to bare
I know it’s not fair
But what is

When push starts shoving
You’re left with nothing
Just know we’ll always be family

Don’t give up
When the road gets rough
Cause we’re flesh and blood
I’m here for you
In sinking sand
Just grab my hand
And with all I have
I’ll hold on

Oh, when push starts shoving
You’re left with nothing
Just know we’ll always be family

After all that we’ve been through
I will walk with you

Oh when starts shoving
You’re left with nothing
Just know we’ll always be
Oh when starts shoving
You’re left with nothing
Just know we’ll always be…family

Thank you friends for reading my thoughts today. I am not giving up. Love has to conquer all!!!!!!!

Feeling Inspired

feeling inspired

I have been seeing all sorts of posts and pictures of Lorna Jane’s new book, Inspired.  As a way to promote her outlook and new book, there are plenty of instagram prompts to follow this week (instachallenge?). I love her outlook on things so am telling myself.. what the heck?! Let’s join in!

To start, I am using a blog prompt from #sweatpink. It’s a little mad-lib so I have bolded the words I inserted:

I believe that the key to a happy life is LOVE. LOVE inspires me to be the OPTIMISTIC person that I am today. I am lucky to have MY HUSBAND and MY PARENTS in my life because they inspire me to live life to my fullest and to chase my dreams.

My dream is to one day BECOME A YOGA CERTIFIED TEACHER and even if it takes TIME & ENERGY, I know I’ll get there because I’m not afraid to dream big!

While I dream big, I hope to inspire others by LIVING A HEALTHY, HAPPY LIFE & SENDING LOVE & POSITIVE ENERGY TO OTHERS.

Prompts for this week on Instagram:

Day 1 (Monday, July 13th): How do you dream big? #sweatpink #LJInspired @FitApproach @lornajaneactive

Day 2 (Tuesday, July 14th): What’s your fave healthy swap? #LJInspired #SweatPink @FitApproach @LornaJaneActive

Day 3 (Wednesday, July 15th): Who inspires you? [Tag 2-3 friends!!] #LJInspired #SweatPink @lornajaneactive @fitapproach

Day 4 (Thursday, July 16th): What does happiness mean to you? #LJInspired #sweatpink @fitapproach @lornajaneactive

Day 5 (Friday, July 17th): What makes you an #LJInspired girl? #sweatpink @LornaJaneActive @FitApproach

Will you join in?! And if I am not following you yet, please leave your Instagram name in the comments. I love to follow new, AWESOME peeps!! 🙂

Let’s talk summer habits

Summer Habit

What habits are you currently working on? I think it is fun to change habits every now and then. I am a HUGE believer in baby steps and celebrating improvements, no matter how big or small. So it is time to think about summer habits.

The fit dish link up topic for today is, “What’s one habit you want to create for summer?” Shoutout to the hosts, Jessica and Jill!

The summer habit I want to create is VERY simple. I have been in a bit of a workout funk lately and have not done ANY weight training in months. Months?!? Yep, you got it. This workout lover has been slacking in that department.

I blame it on my Fitbit. Don’t get me wrong, I love this device, but it makes me cardio crazy. I have to try and figure out how to get 10,000 steps per day for my charity team at work so that takes the cake over other workouts lately. However, I think strength training and flexibility training are important too.

So, my summer habit that I am creating is to do weights 3 times per week at home. I particularly like to use my 8 lb dumbells, 5 lb dumbells, and 18 lb kettlebell. Since my habit consists of 3 days per week, each of these will be full body workouts. I found this great workout in Women’s Health magazine so will start with that and then change it up in a couple weeks.

Have I mentioned Habitbull yet? It is an app that helps you develop habits. I have been using it the past month and find it pretty helpful! Check it out if it interests you. I don’t get paid to say that.. just like the product. I read about it in a magazine while I was on vacation.

What is your habit for the summer? Much love to ya, friend!

 

Simple Ways to Healthify your Vacation!

5 Healthy Travel Tips!

Who is going on a summer vacation? Or who has already been on one? Whether you are going somewhere this summer or not, you are bound to go on a trip at some point. And today’s Fit Dish link up is all about healthifying your vacation. Thanks to Jill and Jessica for hosting!

Now, let me be honest here…. I am not a strict exerciser on vacation. Why? Well, because 1) exercise is NOT what my vacations are about and 2) I would rather be taking in the sights and sounds around me with the people I love. Not everyone I love and travel with exercise. Ya know?

But, I do have some simple ways to stay relatively active and not overly indulge. That is more important to me than working out in the hotel gym or sticking with salads during my whole trip. Bah hum-bug!

So what are these two simple tips you speak of, Bri? Glad you asked dear friend.

  1. I get at least 10,000 steps and don’t sweat the rest. One of my favorite things to do in a new city or town is walk around. Walking is staying active and you can be amazed at how many steps you’ll get staying curious, exploring the beautiful place you are in. Actually, I think the most steps I have gotten in a day was when my husband and I went to Nashville, Tennessee. We walked around the downtown area for quite some time so even if he didn’t realize how active he was being, he got over 20,000 steps. Haha.. how is that for being active AND hanging out with ones you love AND seeing the sights? Just call me the step wizard!
  2. I try foods that really look delicious and don’t sweat the rest. On vacations, food is a secondary focus and not really a primary. Well, I guess it can be reversed for some (like chefs and foodies), but I 100% love seeing new places over focusing on food. And this helps to healthify a trip a bit. When you don’t focus too much on food, you eat 2 or 3 meals a day and only snack when hunger strikes. You still taste delicious food, but you aren’t participating in a gluttonous affair. Eat what you really want. Drink what you really want. And when your done, be done. No need to clean your plate unless you really are that hungry.

Did you pick up on the fact that I used “don’t sweat the rest” twice up there? Yeah, that’s because a vacation is supposed to be stress-relieving! If anything you are doing is adding stress, stay away. And that includes trying to be a stickler with your marathon training plan or 6 week cleanse while on vacation. No sir. Stress keeps that waistline thick too, ya know.

So what would be your top tip to healthify a vacation if even just a little bit?

I actually wrote a blog post for Nature’s Bakery not too long ago about vacations and ways to stay healthy. You can read that here if it interests you. It’s geared towards keeping you from getting sick on your trip so you have more time to smile and frolick to and fro!

Happy Tuesday, friends!

Is Email Stress a Real Thing?

Do YOU have a Screen Addiction-

I read this article the other day called, “Sleep Wellness, Digital Detox and Mindfulness.” It was from WELCOA, a trusted wellness resource in the corporate wellness industry. I learned quite a bit from it so thought I would share a few of the important pieces from it.

Here ye’! Here ye’! (Not really sure why, but felt the urge to say that.)

Lack of quality sleep is a HUGE problem in America and the newest factor to play into this poor quality is America’s collective infatuation (nice way of saying “addiction”) with smart digital wireless devices. And get this, the worst part is the hyper vigilance of social networking, video gaming and non-stop tweets or texts. It is rewiring our brain for stress right before bed when our brain really just wants to relax!

I am sure most of you know, but sleep disorders are often associated with obesity, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and several other chronic diseases. I hear from people all the time trying to lose weight saying they do everything right with physical activity and nutrition. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY MORE factors than those two when it comes to your health. And sleep is one of those factors!

Stress too.

This article mentioned that on average people check emails up to 37 times per HOUR. Yikes! And this doesn’t include text messages. We are over stimulated, my friends! Some people feel the urge to respond immediately to emails, even feeling guilty if they don’t. The terms “techno-stress”, “email stress”, and “screen addiction” were thrown around a little. And after reading these stats, I agree. In general, we have a screen addiction problem in America!

We can blame the brain for this one. 😉 The receipt of emails and tweets is accompanied by the release of Dopamine, the feel good neurotransmitter. This is the same neurotransmitter associated with chemical addictions, or any addiction for that matter.

Keeping the stats going, fewer than half of employees nationwide leave their desk or workstation during their lunch hour. These peeps probably think they are being more productive, but this is really leading to higher stress and fatigue.

The article ended with a blurb about meditation and how it is the VERY thing that we all need to do on a regular basis to counteract these negative effects. Meditation (and it comes in many forms) improves sleep quality, decreases Cortisol levels, decreases chronic pain, increases immune function, decreases blood pressure, increases mental acuity, and improves overall mental well-being.

Damn Sam! You know if that were a pill EVERY SINGLE person would be taking it.

I thought this was a really great statement so am copying it word for word. “Remember, it is the ego that trips the fight or flight response. Mindfulness helps deactivate this switch to non-threatening times.”

I wish corporate wellness programs offered more training and instruction on meditation and mindfulness in the workplace, but we aren’t quite there yet. We still focus a little too much on nutrition and exercise. Everyone gets that eating an apple is better than apple pie and taking a walk is better than sitting on the couch. Hopefully soon we will all move to the more complex. Like meditation and improving sleep!

If you have never considered meditation, I highly encourage you to look into it just a tad. Even deep breathing for 5 minutes in the morning while laying in your bed is better than nothing! You will train that sweet, beautiful brain of yours to stay calm in times of stress. I like to switch things up whether it is a moving meditation (walking outdoors on a lunch break or a little morning yoga), guided meditation on CD, or simply deep breathing followed by a little journaling.

The cool thing about meditation is there is no right or wrong way to do it. And starting is the hardest part! Try it without judgment and see where your mindfulness journey takes you. It just might be magical!

The Fit Dish Interview

Fit Dish Interview

Were you one of those peeps growing up that LOVED playing mash or answering questions about yourself for school projects? I did. I loved thinking about the past and the future. It has always been fun, although only now do I realize how important the present is too.

For this week’s Fit Dish link up with Jill Conyers and The Fit Switch, I am to answer some questions. Taking me back… and I love it.

So, here we go…

  1. What is your proudest achievement to date? Marrying the love of my life three days after the worst day of my life. It wasn’t easy AT ALL, but I learned that with him I can get through just about anything.  And I also realized just how big my support system really is. It was amazing to feel all the love at my wedding. It still gets me teary eyed to be honest. Love is what life is about.
  2. What keeps you passionate? Curiosity. Passion comes in different areas for me, for sure, but in terms of my career staying curious is what keeps the spark alive. I love learning new things, having open discussions with others, meeting new health professionals, trying out new workouts, taste testing, reading health-related books, keeping up with the trends, etc. A curious mind is a growing mind.
  3. What makes you the most proud to be a woman? Honestly, I would have to say the ability to empathize or relate to others. I don’t know that I would say men can’t do the same, but it comes natural for a lot of women. Call it the maternal instict. I am also proud that women come in all different shapes and sizes and we are ALL beautiful in our own unique way. Hot diggity damn!
  4. Why do you think it’s so important for woman to unite as a sisterhood and empower each other? We all go through different experiences (highs and lows) at different points in our lives. We will be depressed about something at some point and we will be thrilled about something at another point. I can guarantee that when we are depressed we are the hardest on ourselves. No one else needs to beat us down. Instead, we need to get each other out of the funk when we are in it. Get us back to that kick-butt self that we really are! Unite and kick butt together. How about that?! Plus, I think we all bring positives to the table. We all have unique talents and gifts. Let’s embrace them. Together we are more powerful!
  5. What are some examples of small ways we can empower the women around us in our day to day life? 1) Smile to another woman daily. Even something as simple as a smile can change a person’s day. 2) Let a friend know how kick ass she is. No, you don’t have to be mush-face (unless you want to), but saying a positive at some point everytime you see your friend can be inspiring. For example, are y’all meeting for a run? Tell her how good she did afterward and give her a high five. Or is that a new dress she got and looks great in? Tell her how beautiful she looks. And lastly, 3.) Share your story. Share with others when given the chance. I think shame is a big problem (that is finally being talked about- thanks Brene Brown!), but talking more can get rid of shame for a lot of peeps. Most of us think we are alone in our problems. Newsflash! We aren’t. Someone else also has crippling fears of speaking in public or has to take off days from working out because the couch and McDonald’s sound more appealing. You are NOT the only one! No problem is worth guilt and shame.
  6. What is one piece of advice you would like to share with the #FitFam? Health is so worth the life-changing habits unless the life-changing habits start to rule you. Not to get all serious on ya now, but it’s the very reason I believe in intuitive eating over any diet. I felt ruled by diets in the past and it was a worse road to walk down than the time I was a child regularly eating instant mashed potatoes, a roll, and Little Debbie with a Cherry Coke for lunch. If health takes away your happy, you are no longer healthy! Be true to you, my friend.

These interview questions are inspired by the Lorna Jane #IAMWOMAN campaign. Love it, love it, love it!