Run for a Cause!

Hey y'all!

Guess what?! The Kearney Area Down Syndrome Support Group Step Up for Our All Stars 2017 is just around the corner and is scheduled for April 1, 2017. And it gets better! You don't need to live in Kearney to register and to make a difference by supporting Down syndrome awareness.

Registration starts at $10 and there is an option to just donate, or make an additional donate. Please support Team Tob-Bo-Nator (named to honor my buddy Toby and his amazing younger brother, Boaz) today.

I truly love Toby, Boaz, and their family. Did you know Toby and Boaz both have Down syndrome and their parents lovingly adopted them internationally and in my opinion, saved them from a much unhappier, less enriching life? I have been running for Toby since July 27, 2014 and he has made a remarkable impact on not only my life but my daughter's. We finally got to meet him last summer face-to-face and I miss him immensely...his amazing hugs, his kisses, his performance acts, and his contagious joy and by golly, Boaz was equally delightful (or maybe more so for darling daughter as she isn't often around younger kids).

My eyes are now more open to those with special needs and I am learning how to be a better friend to them. I love reaching out to the gentleman at church and extending peace. I love seeing him go out of his way to extend peace to others. I love the joy he brings into church, to mass, and to our community. And I love that I am learning to speak and communicate with those who may not be able to speak and communicate like I do. And that is okay. We are all created in God's image and have something remarkable to offer to others as long as others (myself included) are willing to open their eyes to see deeper within one another.

Daily Gratitude: I feel blessed to be able to participate in the Kearney Area Down Syndrome Support Group event virtually.

Daily Bible Verse: And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. We must work the works of him who sent me while it is day; night is coming, when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man's eyes with the mud and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing. ~ John 9:2-7


Remembering Dad

Ugh! This time of the year is tough. Not only is it the busiest time at work but today is my Dad's birthday.

Oh how I miss him...immensely miss him....will forever miss him.

I can only pray he is proud of me as he looks down at me and the life I am carving out. I pray he is at peace in Heaven and finds comfort in me praying for him and that his life, and more accurately, his death forever changed my life.

Losing my dad devastated me to the core but it was also the catapult to me coming back into my faith. I remember our last hug and darling daughter loves hearing the Grandpa stories I share...including our last hug.

Darling daughter was so young at two and I wish she had more time to get to know her Grandpa. We were visiting him and hoped to arrive on his birthday but our plans changed when darling daughter came down sick. I didn't want to travel with a sick kiddo and I really feared her bringing germs to my dad who was already fighting leukemia. When we got there we were blessed with him having time at home but he got a fever and had to go back into the hospital. Darling daughter was too young to go up to the floor he was on so he came down to us but got tired...rightfully so...and was going to go back up. I gave him a hug good bye, told him I loved him, and hung on a bit longer. I even remember telling darling daughter to wait as I wanted to hug my Daddy a wee bit longer. That may have been the first time I told her to wait just because I wanted something for me and to this day I remember it. How blessed I was that I did hang on longer, that I told her to wait, and looking back I can only say even then God was working in me and letting me know...hold on, hold on a bit longer. That was my final hug.

As much as I don't regret one thing about that final hug, I want it back. I want darling daughter to hear her Grandpa's voice, his laugh, his teasing and amazing sense of humor. I try to tell her every single story about him that I remember to make him "real" to her..as "real" to her and her Grandma is to her.

And to this day, I try my best to make it to Texas each summer to see my mom, to allow darling daughter to have lots of Grandma time, and I have the best mom ever who helps me achieve this as flights to Texas are expensive.

I yearn to be back on the mainland, to be close to family, and to do my best to ensure my daughter has lasting memories. Memories to hold in her heart forever. As much as I am working to achieve this, there are days I get discouraged and feel I am falling backwards instead of moving forward but I am thinking, this is a place and time for me to focus on what I am telling myself and to work on increasing positive thinking and my faith in God.

I know God knows my desires and I trust in him and his plans for me and my family. God willing, that includes being back on the mainland one day even though the thought of leaving beautiful, easy going, very small roads, Maui behind. Change is scary even when the change is a yearning in your heart.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for family.

Daily Bible Verse: He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. ~ Revelation 21:4


10 Benefits of Gardening

Aloha y'all!

It is a bright and sunny day on Maui and that makes it a beautiful day for gardening. Well, a little cloud coverage will make it a wee bit more pleasant so grab your sunscreen, your hat, and a bottle of water and let's start working.

Gardening is another love of mine and in my house we have two focuses: beautiful flowers and veggies/herbs to make food expenses less. In all reality, a few years ago I put down my foot and said we are only growing what we can eat. That lasted a nanosecond as darling daughter flashed her adorable dimples and asked for a flower garden of her own so now we have....

My Serenity Garden that I can see from my treadmill that has more "native" and "Hawaiian" themed plants. Imagine ginger, ti plants, and hibiscus and you got this covered. You then walk down a row of aloe with a wall of citronella on the opposite side to the beginning of Blooming Blossoms - darling daughter's oasis of love. Enjoy the stroll around the corner and enter Veggie Ville where we have containers and a four-tiered garden of love. Note: mint is highly invasive so be careful when planting. This "wonderful" idea of mine has resulted in regular mint-weeding endeavors where it just keeps coming back. Thank goodness it smells good and the bunnies like it...plus it is good to make minty-water but we really have more than enough to feed a village.

In this area we are focused on growing tomatoes and herbs and recently are trying bok choy, cauliflower, and broccoli. Move on up the stairs and we have more herb containers and carrots by darling daughter's playhouse (in the ground and in a container). Wrap around the fence to Bunny Land and we have citrus plants and more herbs, potatoes, and lettuce. Lots of containers, lots of work, lots of fun, and 10 amazing benefits all rolled up in one.

So what are those 10 benefits of gardening?

I am so glad you asked!
  1. Gardening is great stress relief because digging in the dirt, taking care of precious plants, and getting dirty is just plain fun.
  2. Gardening can help boost your self esteem as you see the rewards of your hard work.
  3. Gardening is a low-moderate intensity activity that is good for your heart health. It beats sitting and doing nothing.
  4. Sunshine is your vitamin D source beyond the little that is found in foods. Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, is vital in cell growth, and reduces inflammation, plus so much more. Gotta love it!
  5. Gardening can make your hands stronger and hey, how often do we think of hand strength but use it every single day? Take care of those hands, okay. 
  6. Gardening can ease the symptoms of depression and this momma needs that. It is hard to be gloomy working in nature especially when you spot a ladybug.
  7. Gardening can improve your limberness or flexibility as you do need to twist and bend.
  8. Gardening can sharpen your mind and decrease dementia chances. I guess all the thinking is good for you!
  9. Gardening can help you sleep better. Hey, it is a workout after all!
  10. Gardening is good for your nutrition when you are growing things to eat. You care for that food from beginning to end and know exactly how it was grown with and hopefully with lots of love.
I am beyond stoked to say, darling daughter and I gardened for 3+ hours yesterday. Two hours at her school in the community garden where we volunteered our time to paint signs, weed like champs, and harvest some green beans. It was a fun and educational time and got us motivated to go home and do some revamping of our own garden where we restarted a bin with fresh lettuce plants, new herbs, and started a pot of carrots from seeds. We were two happy, and tired, gardeners by the end of the day and wrapped up our hard work with a nice soak in the tub with amazing bath salts.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the $5 coupon at the garden store.

Daily Bible Verse: And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. ~ Genesis 2:8


Finding Strength and Happiness in Core de Force

Disclaimer of love and honesty: This post does contain affiliate links associated with my Beachbody Coaching business. If you see something you love, please be kind and use my link to help support my business, my blog, and a mom trying to get out of debt and keep her kiddo in horseback riding lessons.

I recently posted about my struggle with depression and I am so thankful for the outpouring of support I received especially by those who took the time to email. Seriously, thank you. I can't even begin to explain how it feels to know that 1) I am not alone and 2) that by sharing my story I am helping others. #2 matters the most to me.

So I want to share something I have found in the past week that is pretty amazing. I am still struggling with running and thank you God for my running streak as that keeps me doing at least a mile a day. I am also beyond thankful God called me to Beachbody and my goal to try 52 new workouts in 2017 which is amazingly simple with the Beachbody On Demand All Access Pass. (FYI: The All Access Pass is available for purchase until 2/28/17)

About a week ago I was in my I don't wanna mood and tuned into Beachbody to get something done and figured why not try a new workout. Why not try this Core de Force I have been hearing so many rave about. Oh my goodness! Was I slow to get onto this bandwagon or what?!

The first workout I tried was only 27 minutes. I can handle that. 27 minutes is nothing, right? Well, after a 10 minute mile feeling like 20 years I wasn't 100% convinced but gave it a whirl and let me tell you, those 27 minutes FLEW by. So did the 37 minute and 47 minute workouts I did. They were fun. They were challenging - physically and mentally - and as I hooked, jabbed, and kicked I imagined me hooking, jabbing, and kicking that ugly depression in its face and fighting to regain me, my peace, my balance, and my happiness in life.

In my first therapy session I was asked if I do any fighting such as street fighting, etc. Of course the answer was NO! I am a lover not a fighter, or so the saying goes. Now I think I will have to go back and say, hey, I found this amazing new workout that allows me to "fight" safely in my house to work out feelings of anger, depression, frustration, hopelessness, etc. I think this is a safe way to work through those types of emotions as no one, and nothing, is hurt. And I can't help but think back to those years long ago where I pondered taking self defense but never found the time, money, or place. Ladies, if you are looking for self-defense, this program will definitely fit the bill. You are learning offensive and defensive moves in a way to work your body but if you ever really needed to apply them in life to protect yourself, I feel you will have much more confidence after doing this program than before. However, I hope to NEVER be in the situation and pray the same for you.

Since this program seems to be touching a cord in me right now in my life, I am going to jump in and commit to the 30-day program and do it according to plan versus going willy nilly. I have the 30-day calendar printed out ready to mark those happy X's of success as I move through the challenge.

I have taken the before photos as I do like to do this before and after each new official challenge I do to monitor progress beyond the scale. Scales are so deceptive!

And I have darling daughter eager to support me and do the 5-minute before bed moves to help both of our tired muscles and get us both set up for success for the next day. She really is my saving grace and best cheerleader in town.

If you want to try it with me, ask me how as there are so many ways to try out this program at different price points. I am a mom on a budget but also realize being fit matters for so many reasons.

Daily Gratitude: I am thankful for the opportunity to take our guinea pig to darling daughter's school today.

Daily Bible Verse: If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part,  but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.~ 1 Corinthians 13:1-13