Momlife and my story

Do I look stressed in this picture?  We were about to embark on a 4 hour drive over the mountains and my 16 year old was driving, I should have been stressed!  But I was fine.  She wasn’t very experienced yet, and I was able to be relatively calm through the drive and teach her about mountain driving.  We laughed and had a fun drive.  She traded out with me about half way there, but she did great.  We were on a little mini family trip.  I took the 3 kids by myself on a camping trip to visit a dear friend.  I would have loved for my husband to have come along, but the job situation didn’t work out.

Now let me tell you about what my life looked like 4 years ago.  Let’s just say me and 3 kids driving 4 hours to camp would not have happened.  My husband worked in the oil and gas industry, before it mostly collapsed.  He was gone a lot.  I was left to take care of all the household duties, kid duties, yard duties, fixit duties, you name it.  Don’t get me wrong, I am pretty handy.  I can fix my sprinklers, trouble shoot most household issues, I am quite well versed in programming the heater/air conditioner, turning on the fireplace, unclogging drains, you name it.  I am and always have been a fiercely independent woman and I thrive under pressure.  However, at the same time, when all is done, and the pressure is past, I would crumble.  The nights were lonely and quiet without my husband around to talk to.  I would get all the kids off to bed, much later than I wanted to, then I would crawl into bed myself, useless to do anything productive, hoping to be able to fall asleep but too tired to sleep well.  Often the dishes would start to pile up, as would laundry.  I was short with the kids and didn’t have much grace when they would get on my nerves.  And honestly I spent a lot of time hiding in my room.  Having my husband home when his job in the oilfield ended helped, but it brought different stresses.  I had to learn to share responsibility, to ask for help, to share parenting duties.  (Fiercely independent – remember) So this brought a whole new level of stress into my life.  I was a hot mess.  We were eating pretty unhealthy foods, and exercise wasn’t a word in my home.

One day my story started to change.  I started to feel like I could tackle some of those tasks that had fallen behind.  I hid from the kids less, and started making an effort to spend time with them.  I was sleeping better and able to wake up without snoozing my alarm.  I remember laying in bed thinking how strange it was that I was awake and even though it was my habit to stay in bed, I didn’t feel the need to.  Every day life became more bearable, not so stifling.  One night I found myself up cleaning out the refrigerator at midnight.  It was long overdue, and I just dove in without thinking of the former dread.  I had started taking things to help me sleep and give me more energy during the day.  And it was really helping!

I very likely was (am?) suffering from depression.  I don’t use the term lightly, and I do know it is a real thing.  I say very likely because I don’t like to go to doctors.  It is undiagnosed.  10 years ago, I walked away from an abusive marriage.  I was lost, I had forgotten who I was, and how to be happy.  And I had two children from that marriage.  The time they were not with me was almost as stressful as the time they were.  I didn’t know how to stand up for myself, and I let people walk all over me, including my children.

Now I won’t say that I am cured, or that I never have those days where I just want to curl up in bed and sleep the day away.  But I have them less often.  My stress levels have gone down dramatically.  I am doing better.  I am functioning better, getting things done, and diving into life with purpose.  And I am not on medication to do it.  Recently I have been on a path of seeking health.  I have some trust issues with doctors and pharmaceutical companies (no disrespect meant to my friends in those industries).  I am trying to overhaul the way we eat in our home.  I am not perfect, and I struggle with a sugar addiction, but for the most part, if it isn’t natural, I am not putting it in my body.  It started with a line of supplements that encouraged my new lifestyle choices and I believe this was the first step in healing for me.  I have never felt better.  Soon I wanted to eat better and I wanted to exercise.  My depression still peaks out sometimes, but I have an amazing spouse who is really good at helping me through (when I let him!)  I believe firmly that changing your lifestyle and what you put into your body can change your health.  I’m not talking about dieting, or crazy fads, I am talking about real, wholesome foods, all natural supplements derived from fruits and vegetables, and good old fashioned exercise.  Together these changes have changed my world.  If you want to hear more about the changes I have made or the supplements that started it all, send me a message on Facebook and I will be happy to reach out.

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The stages of healthy living

I wanted to share a little truth about me.  I am living a health-ier life.  Not a healthy life.  I created this blog, and my business page to showcase my journey to healthy.  I post a lot of things that are healthy, and I do those things.  But I haven’t always.  I grew up in a home where my mother cooked things from scratch and we didn’t have junk food, or artificial anything in the home.  My brother was hyperactive and my parents researched to discover artificial things can trigger increased hyperactivity.  So we ate healthy-ish. My point is even though we were eating home cooked and not out of a box or fast food, we didn’t necessarily eat the best we could.  My dad always had a vegetable garden, and in the summer we did great.  But in the winter, often our meals consisted of a meat and a starch.  And usually that meat was cow.

Fast forward a few years, and when I got out on my own, let me tell you I indulged in the junk I was not allowed at home.  I didn’t put on the freshman 15 in college, mine was 25.  That was ok, I was underweight in high school, so I found a healthy weight in an unhealthy way.  But it was the start of more issues.  Fast forward again to the birth of my first child.  I had a host of issues, and ended up on bed rest for 5 weeks.  I gained a lot of weight!  The complications continued and it took me 6 weeks to heal enough to begin moving without pain.  At this point I had a good 30 pounds of extra weight hanging around.  And I was still eating junk.  I started walking with my cousin but eating better didn’t really happen.  I dropped maybe 10 of those pounds, and then baby #2 was on the way.  This time, I started to eat better, I did yoga daily during the pregnancy.  Aside from a bout of high blood pressure, this pregnancy went better.  I had a c-section but the recovery was only 2 weeks, and the pregnancy weight came off pretty easy this time, but I still had the extra weight from the first baby.  My husband at the time was also packing some extra pounds and I started doing research on ways to get us healthy.  Enter the first stage of healthy, less junk.  I started planning meals and exercising some but this pretty much just got me back to what I grew up with.  Mostly meats and starches with some fruits thrown in and summer vegetables only.  It wasn’t until my son was in preschool that I started to revamp our diet.  Artificial things were the first to go, because guess what, he was hyperactive too.

Fast forward again to diet by divorce.  I finally lost the extra weight I had been carrying.  My marriage was falling apart and suddenly food didn’t seem appealing at all to me.  So still less junk, but not a healthy way to lose weight.  And no surprise, when the depression of losing my marriage subsided, and food came back in, so did those pounds I didn’t want.  Eventually I ended up being tired of feeling like garbage and decided a gym membership was the answer shortly after getting married again.  Unfortunately my timing was not epic.  Baby number 3 was on the way, unbeknownst to me when I began my gym journey.  The gym definitely helped me stay healthy, but age was not in my favor and dropping weight after a baby at 37 is not easy.

Fast forward to my husband having a heart attack.  Enter stage 2, health-ier.  We switched the bulk of our red meat consumption for healthier meats, added salads, and more vegetables, reduced sugar and fat intake and really made an effort to do better.  It worked for a while.  But old habits and busy lifestyles creep back in, as do unhealthy food choices.  We still kept vegetables as a regular part of our diet, and if you compared what we had in our home to the average US household we were still winning in the healthy race.  But realistically, that isn’t enough.  We still snuck in the junk, we still had dessert more than we should, we still ate too many grains and not enough vegetables.  And the number one killer of the healthy lifestyle, we still hit those fast food restaurants 2-3 times a week.

That brings me up to today.  I am on a journey to overhaul my pantry for good.  I don’t just want to be healthier, I want to be healthy.  What does this look like? Well, that’s why I have this page. I want to share this with you, because I know a lot of people don’t really understand what keeps them from being healthy.  And it is so much deeper than just your food.  But food is a good place to start.  So keep buying those vegetables, hit up the farmer’s market or even buy more from the produce department at your grocery store.  Plan your meals, look for recipes that are loaded with vegetables, go for more walks, or bicycle rides, swims, whatever suits your fancy.  But my advice to you is this, don’t try to go all the way from junk to extreme health.  Take steps, get used to stages of healthier, and then move up.  You are more likely to stay there when you get there if you don’t feel like you gave up things to get there.  Believe me, I am just now getting to the stage where I am ready for healthy and I have been on this journey for over 15 years.  I am not saying it will take you that long, but don’t rush it.  We have been taking those steps consistently though, so we can achieve that goal for life.  Join me in making healthy choices to change your life too.  Thanks for reading and I always love to hear success stories too.  Feel free to share yours with me!

On being an entrepreneur

This weekend as I drove my children to numerous birthday parties and grad parties, I noticed many lemonade stands along the roads.  I always smile as I pass them, and often stop to buy.  These kids have taken the initiative to go out, fill a need on a hot day, and earn some money doing it.  That right there is the heart of entrepreneurship.  I think of my own youth and ventures in sales.  We had flowering bushes called a 4-o’clocks growing in our yard.  They would bloom early in the morning, and when the blooms were done, there would be a black seed inside.  My brother and I used to collect the seeds, put them into baggies, and go door to door with our wagon trying to sell them to the neighbors for a quarter.  We sold them.  Who doesn’t have a quarter for a couple of cute kids selling flower seeds after all?  But that is really where it all began.  I’m not saying I had a great desire to grow up and be in sales.  What I had, was a great desire to grow up and make my own way.  It makes sense really, whether you look at life from a nurture, or nature viewpoint, it was around me.  My grandmother owned a paint store, my grandfather owned a lumber yard, my father ran a photography studio for a time, that my mother helped with, and ultimately my longest job was working for my father installing vacuum coating machines in his company.  Is it genetic?  Is it environment?  Does it matter?  I was surrounded by it, and I have deep family roots in it.  I was destined to become an entrepreneur.  What it took though, was the right opportunity to present itself.  And now, I love what I do, I am passionate about bringing health to friends, family, and anyone who wants change.  I love my team, and being able to help them to see how rewarding it can be.  In a few days, I leave to go on a leadership conference to Cancun with a handful of other people in the company.  You had to earn your way there to go.  It is a great honor to me to be among the other leaders, but at the same time, I know this is where I am supposed to be.  This is my calling.  And I am excited about what training and knowledge I will be able to bring home to the team.

I want to encourage all of you to stop and buy a lemonade, or a cookie, or whatever it is those kids on the street are selling.  Because these are budding entrepreneurs and I feel we should encourage them to keep it up!  Tell them good job, tell them your story, and maybe even leave them a tip.  You might just be talking to a future inventor, a designer, a coach, or someone who will leave a mark on the world with their great leadership and entrepreneurial spark.

Adulting isn’t always easy!

I have 3 kids still at home, and this week has been a challenge for sure.  My 16 year old is experiencing some “woman” issues that require medical intervention and my 5 year old has been fighting a fever and cough all week.  Thank goodness the 13 year old is healthy right now!  Do you ever find yourself in those moments where you feel completely overwhelmed, maybe even drowning from the chaos and busyness of life?  That has been my week: filled with doctor visits, a trip to the ER, helping with homework, watching school concerts, filling out paperwork for next school year, oh yeah, and running a business too!  How do I make it all work? Well, a big part is the love and support of my family, but it takes dedication, planning, faith, and perseverance to pull it all off!

One of the things we learn about ourselves when we undertake such a journey, is what we are really made of.  This crazy busy life can feel like it’s too much at times, but when I step back and look at where I am and how far I have come, I know I am on the right path!  I have gained an incredible amount of confidence and a belief that if I do what it takes to succeed, then I will succeed.  I don’t let the world tell me who to be or how to live my life.  Every morning I spend a few moments in prayer, because God is amazing, and I want to be sure to praise Him for all the good he does in my life.  Also sometimes I need things, and he will guide my day and steer me in the right direction.  My faith is a core part of who I am.  And I can tell you, the more time I spend in the Word, and in prayer, the better my day goes.  Journaling is another important step to my day.  It helps me to stay positive, and it gives me direction for what I want to accomplish and how I am at staying on task for my goals.  Recently, I took steps to make sure I dedicated time specifically for my business.  This was HUGE for me.  I cannot stress enough how important this is.  As a business owner, it is too easy to allow work to spill into all areas of our lives.  My kids were suffering from my lack of schedule which pulled me into work activities during time I could have been with them.  Now if I put the hours in, doing money making activities during my scheduled hours, my children can have my full attention in the off hours.  This gives me the chance to get my bum kicked in chess by my 13 year old chess wiz.  I hate chess by the way, but I play with him because it is his favorite thing, and I am getting better.  Who knows, maybe it will grow on me when I don’t stink at it so much any more!!!  I get to sit and snuggle with the 5 year old, and color pictures, or read stories together.  I get to take the 16 year old shopping, or sit and listen to her talk about her day, and about the boy and all the fun crazy dramatic things that happen in teen world.

So in moments like this, where the littles are all off at school, for another week anyway, I can focus on things work related, and leave time for them too.  I love my crazy busy life, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything, but taking charge of the day and not getting swept up by chaos makes it so much easier to handle!  Being intentional with your time can help you when those hard adulting moments sneak up and throw you off your game.  And remember, when it gets really tough, you must be getting close to success, so keep driving through because you are going to love it on the other side!

Inspiration from the soccer field!

I am a soccer mom, and for the most part, I try not to get too invested in the outcome of games.  I mean obviously we all want our kids on the winning team, but in reality, that just doesn’t always happen.  My 15 year old goes to a small school, and this is the first year they had their own soccer program in the high school.  She started playing 3 years ago, so you would think she has a lot to learn, and she does, but she also has a knack for the game.  At any rate, her team had a stellar season.  They ended up ranked second out of the 4 teams they played against, and even won one of the non league games they played.  But even a team on a winning streak goes through difficulties.  Last night they played the number 3 team to see who got to go to the championship game this weekend.  And they straight up stunk.  The girls were flat, they weren’t going to the ball.  It was hard to watch because they wanted to play in the championship game, but they just weren’t up to the task.  Or were they?  Something happened mid-game.  It was like a switch flipped and they were back just like that.  The other team thought the game was in the bag.  They had a 3 goal lead with just 20 minutes left in the game.  But from somewhere deep within the girls rallied to not only come back and tie the game, but then to go on and win in overtime!  You can guess there was a lot of celebration and excitement on that field!!

However, that isn’t the point of my story.  Of course I was thrilled, because it’s fun to see your children succeed, but how did they do it? The odds were definitely not in their favor.  The team is brand new, there are no girls older than 10th grade, and they had no substitutes.  The other team had just defeated the previously undefeated number 1 team and came in on fire.  They had motivation, they had excitement, and they were playing beautifully.  They had extra girls on the side waiting to give the players a rest.  It wasn’t about skill or odds.  It was about mindset.  Something changed when our team scored to drop the lead to 2.  You could see it in the eyes of both teams.  One said “we aren’t done yet”, the other said “wait, what is happening?”.  And while I know those girls who lost went home broken hearted, it was still amazing to watch my daughter and her team scratch their way back from what seemed certain defeat.  They changed their mindset from negative to positive.  They knew they had the skills to do it, and they started to believe they could.

What are you struggling with in your life that you can’t seem to overcome? Are the odds stacked against you, with seemingly no way to make things work? Maybe it’s time to start thinking that you can, push out the thoughts holding you back. Because I bet, if you put your mind to it, you can go beat those odds, and surprise everyone around with your success!

Why am I here?

This is a new experience for me.  But I felt led to start this blog as a way to share some of my passions, and experiences in my life.  I have always felt like I was a good storyteller, so why not share some of that with the world.  I also love photography and thought this would be a place I could share and flourish.  I have 4 kids, 3 at home and one is out on his own learning to make a way for himself.

I am active in my church and feel I have a gift for serving others. My nature is a nurturer and I truly want to see everyone around me healthy and happy.  In my journey to find my own health and happiness, I will be sharing stories of ways that I find to help me.  One of my huge successes was to read the Bible last year.  My church started a read through the Bible program about 4 years ago, and I started it then, but didn’t finish. Same story the next year, then I didn’t try for a bit. Last year in 2016, we had an accountability group that met a few times a month to talk about what we read, and all of us in that group made it through! It was such an accomplishment for me!

Another thing that happened last summer, was that my husband got me to fall in love with cycling.  I am far from experienced, or in shape, and I don’t ride through the cold months, but it is something I absolutely love. We started going on family rides, with the 5 year old being towed behind my husband.  I am learning to tow her as well, and oh my goodness that is so much harder than it sounds!!

And lastly, I have a passion for food. But not just any food, food that tastes good, without being bad for you. I will share some of my finds here, because there really are some great recipes, and some people who have nailed the healthy alternative thing. For example, I found a recipe for a bar, that tastes almost exactly like a girl scout samoa cookie, but it has no sugar, no gluten, and is actually pretty healthy. And no lie, my kids devour these things!

So thanks for reading, feel free to share stories, recipes, and whatnot. I hope you enjoy the ride.