No Alcohol December

It is no secret that I have suffered from insomnia my entire life. As a child I spent many nights tossing and turning trying desperately to just go to sleep. I can equate most of those nights to my active mind either being excited or worried about the day to come. 

Fortunately, since I started drinking my daily shake I am sleeping much better but I still have some of those nights tossed in and then it dawned on me. Those nights now often happen after I have had some alcohol the evening before. I do not drink much. A glass of wine here and there because hey, it is good for you, but is it?

I am not here to knock alcohol but I got to say, I am beginning to see it in a darker light. I see the negative influence it can have when a family member is inclined to drink just a wee bit too much just a wee bit too often. I can feel the heartache of the family who sees a loved one trying to find peace and happiness in a bottle while potentially putting the family under financial strain. But this post isn't about that.

It is about how that casual drink here and there can be negatively impacting me in ways that I do not like. Years ago I drank more often and to be honest, I was acting out on frustrations in life. Unhappiness in life. Since then I am careful to drink because I want to enjoy the drink not to find happiness. And that is what I have been doing.

But also over the years I have become more in tune with my body and I am beginning to feel that this just isn't right for me. I want to sleep peacefully like a baby {go ahead, finish that line for me if you remember the commercial from ages ago -- it is in my mind right now and you just need 4 words to get it right - if you do, I just may send you a shake on me! Maybe....}

All kidding aside, alcohol does impair sleep quality. Yes, you may fall asleep quicker but it impairs your ability to get into that really deep nice sleep and stay asleep.

Alcohol also impairs your fitness gains by acting as a diuretic leading to dehydration and messing with how you make and use energy since the breakdown of alcohol by your liver changes your normal glucose levels.

And finally, alcohol can sabotage any weight loss plans you may have due to its high caloric impact and it really is a lot of carbs.

I am not working out to lose weight or training for the Olympics so I have fallen into the trap of that glass here and there won't hurt. And perhaps it won't. But with another restless night under my belt and really just wanting a good night's sleep so I can get up and perform at the level I love to perform at, I am embarking on a no alcohol December challenge -- which shall be fun and challenging with holiday parties, peer pressure, etc. But this means something to me.

I work my butt off in my daily workouts. I push myself to be the best I can be, to eat clean, and to set a good example. I want to be an energized, positive, fun-loving mother and wife and if I have the dark cloud of restless nights and a tummy that isn't 100% due to that glass here and there....I am ditching the glass.

I am a bit excited to see how I will feel at the end of the month after going through this challenge. I am a bit nervous how I will do when my Scottish hubby loves his drinks and wants me to join in. I don't want it to become a source of strife in the house but it means a lot to me to be the best me I can be. I pray he understands. I pray I have the strength to say no when he is drinking or pours me a drink. Please pray for me too.

I will be sharing this journey with you and if you would love to join along, shoot me an email and let me know, or comment below. I would love to create a support group for those on the same page in saying no to alcohol and hello to unforeseen health benefits. 

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the strength to try something potentially challenging.

Daily Bible Verse: Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes? Those who tarry long over wine; those who go to try mixed wine. Do not look at wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup and goes down smoothly. In the end it bites like a serpent and stings like an adder. Your eyes will see strange things, and your heart utter perverse things. ~ Proverbs 23:29-35


Eating on a Budget - The no shopping challenge

Aloha friend!

I hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving with family and friends. I also hope you had plenty of leftovers to keep your tummies full and happy and that you found time to stick to your fitness goals. But hey, if you fell off the wagon I am here for you and can help get you back on track to your goals. Email me to learn more but that isn't what this post is about. This post is about finances.

This time of the year money ALWAYS seems to get tight and this year I am saying enough is enough and am taking charge. I am on a mission to stop the snowball of debt and to get in charge of our finances and own them versus them owning me and my family. Perhaps you understand.

As part of that challenge, I stated to my fam that I will be taking the next couple of weeks and tightening down the hatches on food expenses. I knew we were pretty well stocked and blessed with leftovers so this was the perfect time to activate my plan of no spending.

Was my family receptive? Yes and no. The idea may make sense but hey, we can all fall into the habit of eating the same foods and if that food is missing, we tend to run to replace it with it versus something else. Poor hubby got an earful when he bought not one but two bags of bagels in my no spending on day 3 when there were two beautiful loaves of french bread in the freezer...plus, he bought said bagels at the expensive price. In his defense, I do the grocery shopping and know the best prices for everything on island and unfortunately, they are not all at the same place. And the poor guy didn't know about the yummy bread in the freezer. Communication is key!

But I get it. I miss my go to's too and today had to scratch my head a minute to figure out what to whip up for lunch when my traditional lunch items are not here right now. But I am discovering this challenge is a blessing in disguise because lunch today...oh my goodness! I want more of that!!! New meal is in the books for this momma but I will be sourcing a better protein as the Lil' Smokies are only bought to go into the holiday stuffing and I took advantage of the few leftovers.

So since I love you, here are some of the meals I have been putting together this week that fit my eating plan in macros and are using what is in the house. I will share again next week and I know next week will be a greater challenge as my go to's are vanishing more and more each day.
A nice crispy salad. Mix all with the mustard and top with pumpkin seeds.

So good it could be a dessert! I used homemade Cran-Apple Sauce and homemade nut butter.

Seems simple enough but this momma usually foregoes carrots but has found, large carrots are yummier than baby carrots.

A nice twist to make leftover turkey taste completely different! My hubby didn't even realize he was eating leftovers.

My new hot salad love. Oh my goodness! This was so delicious and I am still craving more!

I hope some of this recipe ideas has stirred up creativity in your own mind. I am not presenting anything mind-blowing but really am trying to spark your desire to be creative in the kitchen and save a few dollars while doing so. I pray you find a new recipe that your family loves and cut back grocery expenses doing so. Good luck!

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the challenges in life. 

Daily Bible Verse: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, Lord, make me dwell in safety. ~ Psalm 4:8


Bubble Wrap your Kids

As moms, it can be hard to watch your kids push their limits at times especially when you know some of those limits can come at a cost to their personal safety. Okay, this isn't a mom-only thing. Dads are the same and in fact inside I laugh at how protective dear hubby is over darling daughter. I thought I was the over-protective one! But if it wasn't for me being determined to raise a strong and confident young lady, and my faith in God PLUS amazing prayer circles, I seriously just may have darling daughter wrapped up in bubble wrap. Just kidding, y'all! Although, knowing darling daughter she would LOVE rolling around in it making it pop.

But it isn't easy letting go of the reins especially when you see the fear in your child's eyes.

But fear shouldn't stop us every single time it creeps up. Yes, it has a time and a place but often our minds use fears to hold us back and that, my friends, is not a good thing.

But here is a good thing -- a mom that pushes her limits. A mom that overcomes fears and challenges herself. Moms, your kiddo's see you and are watching you. The good and the bad. They will model you.

Are you living a life that you would be proud they followed?

I wish I didn't vent as much as I do and that is something darling daughter has picked up. I am working on that and we will work on that together.

However, it isn't all doom and gloom.

She sees me working myself and hears me say "I can't do this!" and I continue to push play and do the impossible. Then she gets to tell me, "I knew you could." when I exclaim "I did it!". When you are doing Insanity those "Are you kidding me?!" and "No way can I do this!" come out at times but then with work and persistence, the impossible becomes possible because y'all, "Impossible" is "I'm possible" when you really think about it.

And your kids are watching.

The other day darling daughter eagerly walked into horse and her extreme excitement turned to fear when she saw who she was riding. She came to me, tears in her eyes, and said she wanted to leave RIGHT NOW because she was riding Kai. The 10,000' high horse!

I immediately tried to reassure her and reminded her she has been on Kai before and that her instructor would NEVER put her on a horse she didn't believe she was fully capable of riding and that I had faith in her and that all would be fine. There was no convincing her because a fearful mind has a really hard time hearing. I had to be the tough mommy and use my "don't mess with me, listen to me" voice and told her to get ready to ride. It took a few repeats but eventually she got into action...but was not a happy camper.

What does a mom do when she sees this unfolding? Texts the instructor NOT to get a horse change but to let her know the state of mind of my kiddo and reinforce I believe she will have an AMAZING lesson but to be ready for a resistant mind. Then I reached out to social media and some close friends to get a prayer circle as I offered up my own prayer, Please God, keep her safe and let this end well. Give her strength and courage.

One of the older riders gave darling daughter a pep talk too and reminded her we don't always get to ride who we want but each horse offers us a lesson. Focus on what we can learn. Darling daughter listened but was still....well....grumpy from fear.

She broke down into tears as she put the bridle on and it was so hard to watch her go off but she did and that my friends, takes courage. But her courage didn't stop there. I knew there was still going to be a battle in the arena. She is in the trot, canter, jump class. Her last time cantering on this horse is what had her scared to the core. Nothing bad happened. The horse got fast, she got scared, but she didn't fall. But she has. Many times. Most times from a pony and a couple of times from a horse --- a smaller horse.

It is so hard to watch you child go out with such a large animal knowing that she is scared and knowing she needs to keep her head on straight for her own safety. There are dangers associated with equestrian activities. I had to sign the waiver. There are constant reminders this is a risky sport and that is my precious baby!!!!

But I have faith in her. I trust her instructor. I LOVE her instructor. I have confidence and believe riding is what God is calling darling daughter to do. I KNEW this the first time I saw her on a pony and that has a story behind it but let's save that for another day.

So...she got on the horse and did the warm up walk, starting to trot when asked (although very slowly), and then the words came that I feared. "Pick up canter."

Will she do it?

Will she say she doesn't want to?

I watched along with another child's father and our eyes were focused on her and guess what? She picked up canter!!!!!

I was so proud of her and honestly started crying my eyes out as I grinned from ear to ear with my hands clasped in joy. She was doing it! My brave angel was doing it!!!!!

But I knew it wasn't over. There was still more lessoning to do and I wondered what would happen at the jumping time.

And it came. When asked who would go first all the kids sat with their arms down (there were 4 in the lesson that day). Darling daughter usually, okay, almost always, raises her arm to say me! She LOVES to go first. But she sat there and looked so small in the saddle and then it came, the instructor picked her to go first.

Oh nelly....will she go? Logically, I was glad she was chosen to go first so she could get it done so fear didn't mount too much but will she resist?

She went, she jumped, and she stayed on!

When she was asked to go again, she jumped and she stayed on.

She was proving to herself she could do it. One jump at a trot. Canter away. Success (kinda sorta as she wants to improve form).

Then it was the same jump plus a jump line. I got distracted and caught the end of this and she did it but got spooked on the line. Her instructor told her to do it again. She didn't want to and said as much. Her instructor insisted and told her to go. She started off and then starting sobbing on her way to the first jump. Her instructor told her to stop crying and focus. She did! She immediately pulled herself together (praise God!) and did the jump and jump line and finished with a HUGE smile.

The perfect ending to a lesson. But wait, there was more. Her instructor had her do the single jump just one more time...just because. She did and she was beaming with joy. She even asked to do the line one more time. Her instructor said, "Not today." and I am glad. Let's finish on a happy note. She is tired and the last time she asked to do something one more time the form slipped.

My gem is strong and courageous and inspires me to push myself. I love our mutual inspiration and what made me cry later was when we did thankful turkeys on what we are thankful about each other the first thing she wrote was,...

I am thankful for you, Mom, because you inspire me to keep going.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful her lesson ended well.

Daily Bible Verse: No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:13


Halfway through Insanity

Hey y'all!

I gotta confess. I am sitting here with a small glass of white wine with frozen blueberries joyfully bobbing around while I stalk the election results as they come in.

I would be lying if I didn't say I have been STRESSED! My kryptonite of stress, anxiety, and depression has been rearing its ugly head but enough ia enough. I need to take a stand and fight for what is right. My health.

For the past 5 weeks I have been focused on Insanity MAX30 (yes, it has taken me 5 weeks to do the first 4 weeks) and I am loving the results I am seeing.

First, why 5 weeks?

The week of October 24th my family take a detour from our regularly scheduled life to visit O'ahu for two days while I spoke at a rally and shared my testimony on life issues. It was an amazing time but an emotional time. I took the week off of Insanity and focused on running and self-love and self-care in other ways of life. I have no regrets.

I have been busting out my daily workouts in addition to my running goals and I beyond proud of the results. My weight is being maintained and since I am not looking to lose weight, but to gain strength and endurance, I am very, very happy.

Plus, I must confess, my eating wasn't 100% on target while we were on O'ahu and I may have had a few vegan Halloween treats (hey, it only comes once a year!) PLUS I have succumbed to some emotional eating with habanero black bean chips so staying at the same weight is a HUGE win.

Why am I telling you this?

Because I believe in honesty and seriously, if anyone is telling you they nail every single workout and always eat perfect I kinda want to scream and say, "Yeah, right!". We are all human and have the right to indulge. I am seriously teaching my daughter that too. Want a piece of candy? Okay. But in moderation and watch what you are doing. Balance that treat with plenty of amazing food choices and an active life style. No regrets. Life is too short to feel stressed over what we eat.

But back to Insanity. It really is insane! The workouts are intense but for everything there is a modifier. You want to push yourself but not kill yourself. Max out but not die...if that makes sense. Over the four weeks I saw a progression with me being able to go longer without maxing out and I managed to pull off a handful of workouts without maxing out at all. I also noticed I got better at the exercises in terms of form and speed and that is really cool. I did modify some and some I was able to move out of the modifier stage. Some, not so much. I would rather modify and go less intense to really nail the form and I discovered my hip flexors and hammies are weaknesses I need to continue to work out.

And I am stronger. Those 4 weeks have generated strength in me I never knew existed. I was always the 'knees on the ground push up type of gal' but now I can do them in amazing military form and can lift a leg. cross a leg, raise a leg, etc while pulling off push up's. I may not be going at the speed of lightening but I am going and ladies and gentlemen, that is success!

Y'all, this isn't just about a great body but finding strength in me that I never really believed existed and that strength is manifesting itself in so many more ways in life that make a bigger difference. That strength is helping me find my voice and more importantly, USE it. Y'all, that is PRICELESS to me. And being able to set this shining example for darling daughter, for her to see a mom that may want to break down and cry but finds the strength to keep pushing AND achieving great goals...that matters.

Are you ready to fight to the max?

I am! I have four more weeks of this program. Oh my! Where will that take me?

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for home workouts and amazing programs, and people, that make a difference.

Daily Bible Verse:  “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life“And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. ~ Matthew 6:25-34