Categories
Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care Stress Relief

Forced Stop

Sometimes I find ways to slow things down, other times God has to force me to stop.

Last year, when the pandemic started and our world stopped, it forced us all to take a break and re-evaluate. I realized two things: 1. my current job caused me to miss time with my children and 2. our schedules were filled with too many things.

Last summer, God provided me with a new job that allows me to work at my kids’ school and no longer miss their activities and afterschool conversations. My husband and I have also been more intentional about what we sign our kids up for — we want our kids to be active, but to also enjoy just being kids.

Well, it’s a year later and, once again, God has forced me to stop.

A couple of months ago I joined an incredible Women’s Entrepreneurs group that values support, encouragement, and authentic relationships. In my typical fashion, I made the most of things and dove right in, filling my calendar with lunch meetings, Zoom meetings, and networking. A couple of weeks ago, I felt it starting to catch up with me…that I had let my excitement cause my calendar to be filled with back-to-back activities. Every space that wasn’t put aside for my kids and teaching was filled with lunches and meetings. I was afraid I was going to burn out…and that’s when God stepped in.

I’m now on day 8 out of 10 in isolation after testing positive for COVID. I’ve been fortunate to have few symptoms and have felt fine most of the time, but my body is getting much needed rest — mentally and physically. I’m able to use this time to work on my own business without running myself ragged. And I’m going to be more diligent going forward with spreading things out in my calendar so I don’t risk burn out again. (And since my daughter tested positive the same day as me — I’ve gotten some sweet time with her in isolation.)

Thank you, Lord, for knowing me and forcing me to slow down when I struggled to do it for myself. Thank you for this time to refresh, relax, and restore my soul.

Categories
Family Goals Health and Wellness

How to Vacation Well

Last week, my family and I escaped the artic chill and snow and headed to Florida! It was sunny with temperatures in the 80s all week — a huge difference from the weather back at home. We spent our time as Universal Studios Orlando (both parks) for five days and loved every moment of it. (As I sit here at home writing this blog post, it is 2 degrees outside and I can feel the winter blues descending…)

After a crazy (and oftentimes, disappointing) pandemic year, it was great to finally be able to vacation and spend time as a family. Yes, we had to wear masks the entire time (which is annoying when you are outside in warm weather), but because of the limited capacity, it wasn’t as crowded and the wait times were so much shorter! Woohoo!

For some people, when they go on vacation, they also see it as a vacation from living a healthy lifestyle. Here’s the thing, you can enjoy all the good things AND be healthy while vacationing…it just takes some planning and discipline.

Here are some tips for staying healthy while on vacation:
1. Focus on moving your body, not getting your best workout ever. 😉 For our trip, I got over 20,000 steps each day walking around the parks, so missing workouts wasn’t a big deal to me. 80% is nutrition and only 20% is exercise — so if I do well with my nutrition, than I’m fine. If you are planning a beach vacation, break up your day with some longer walks to keep your body moving.

2. Pack your supplements! The easiest way to keep your energy up and not get sick while on vacation is to TAKE YOUR SUPPLEMENTS! Vacation is not the time to leave them at home. 😉 I figure out what I need for the time I’m away and then put them all in a ziplock bag so I’m not bringing a bunch of bottles with me (you can also create a MyHealthPak which are pillow packs of vitamins — SUPER easy for travel). 

3. Plan out your dining options. I knew that our dinner would be our nice meal each day and when I would be eating good food, so I made a plan for during the day as we walked the park. I packed healthy low-glycemic snack bars and looked for healthy options at the park. Instead of getting a meal with fries, I would get a snack of hummus, carrots, celery, and pita bread (it was really filling and cost half as much as the meal!). I also made sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day. When it came time for dinner, I was able to enjoy some amazing food guilt-free. 

4. Take time to breathe, pray, read, etc. I made sure that I was up first each day so that I could have time to breathe and pray before heading out for the day. Some days were better than others, but it’s important to still care for yourself and your mental health.

I hope that this year will give you the opportunity to take a break and get a vacation or two. 🙂 And, hopefully, this tips will help you keep to your health and wellness goals when you go.

But most importantly…

Enjoy the trip and don’t beat yourself up if you eat a lot of junk! Just jump back on that wellness train when the vacation is over. (I’ll be here to help you!)

Categories
Faith Family Health and Wellness Self-care

Honestly…

I’ve been thinking a lot about honesty lately, specifically in relationships. For the most part, I consider myself an honest person. When I worked in retail, my customers appreciated that I would give them honest feedback and let them know if something worked for them, instead of just trying to make a sale. I joke around that if you give me a just a little alcohol, you will be sure to know my opinions about any and everything. 😉 However, when it comes to people who are close to me, I have a harder time being honest.

I can be honest when it doesn’t matter — even when it is with people I consider my friends. I think because there isn’t as much at stake — if they judge me, get mad, or walk away, it doesn’t really matter. I know that I was honest and I can move on in my life. 

However, with those closest to me, I’m careful to keep things close to me and compartmentalize instead to sharing how I honestly feel. There’s way more at stake. Yes, I know that the people closest to me should be and are the ones who won’t walk away or leave me, but I clearly struggle with trust.

One of the things that I am working on this year is being more honest with people — those closest to me included — and sharing when I am disappointed or hurt, etc. See, I’m also a people pleaser and want everyone to be happy (that’s a whole other post about how I need to let people feel…), so even when I feel rejected or hurt, I tell people that it’s okay and move on. But by doing so and not being honest, people don’t see how I value them and our time spent together. Clearly, if they mattered, it would bother me.

So, if you have known me for years, be aware that I’m going to be more honest with you. Yes, life happens, so if you cancel a lunch date, I’ll understand, but I’m also going to let you know that I was looking forward to hanging with you and adjusted my schedule so we could spend time together — not to make you feel bad, but to let you know that you are valued…and maybe I won’t be the person that you know you can always cancel on. 😉

My quest to be more honest has already lead to some tough conversations with people closest to me. You know what? They still love me. They didn’t walk away. 

How about you? Are you good at being honest with people when it really counts? Who do you need to be more honest with today?

Categories
Family Goals Health and Wellness Marriage Parenting

What’s Your Word of the Year?

Since the beginning of 2021, I’ve been hearing a lot about having a “Word of the Year.” People have been choosing a “Word of the Year” prior to now, but I wonder if I’m seeing it more this year because people are afraid to have goals and dreams in 2021 after the letdown of 2020. 

It’s crazy to think that there is one word in all of language that will envelope my hopes for 2021 (check out this funny video from The Holderness Family: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uNZeZK7-4uU), but I think I came up with one. I still created my list of dreams for 2021, but tried to funnel it all into one word.

My word of the year is CARE. 

I picked this word because of the different ways it can be used.

“Take care…”

“Handle with care…”

“I care about you…”

I want to be more empathetic and show people that I care about their hurts/struggles. 

I want to make sure those closest to me know that I love them and make it a priority to tell them every single day that I care about them and that they matter. 

I want to grow how I take care of my aging parents and my family. I want to heal relationships by caring enough to listen and learn. 

At my job, I want my students to always know that they are valued and loved

In my business, I want my clients to know that I genuinely want to see them grow and succeed — that I care about their health and success. 

When the world gets crazy and out of control, I want to care about it more and not just compartmentalize. 

I want to care enough to be honest with people when I’ve been hurt instead of walking away.

As with any goals and dreams, I’m not going to beat myself up when I fail. My hope is that this word will resonate through my mind as I look at my daily to-do list, waver on returning a text, or find myself holding onto my hurt and anger…and that I will make a decision to show that I care.

How about you? Do you have a word that resonates with you and your dreams?

Categories
Family Health and Wellness Uncategorized

Better Because of 2020

2020 is officially gone and 2021 is here! I know most people joke about the dumpster fire that 2020 was and how thankful they are to see the year be over, however, when I look back at the year I see how God used the hard to create better. Without the crazy year of 2020, my life would be on the same crazy train it was at the beginning of the year and I wouldn’t see the growth in my marriage, my family, my job, etc.

At the beginning of 2020, our lives had become busy without even realizing it. We would find a way to add one more activity to our week and adjust, never seeing just how crazy life was becoming. Then everything shut down in March and we were forced to stop and be still. My husband and I both saw that we needed to take a step back and have made intentional choices to not let our lives get as hectic again.

When everything closed, including my job, I realized that the job I had was pulling me away from the time I desired with my family and that I was missing my kids growing up. God provided another job for me in 2020 that allows me to put my family first, be the mom that I want to be, and never miss a moment with my kids.

With more time at home to cook and share, my husband and I discovered the teamwork that we had both been longing for in our marriage. I learned how better to love him and our marriage has grown deeper and stronger during this time.

Those are just the tip of the iceberg of the positive ways God has worked in my life this past year.

I’m thankful for where my life is now as we enter 2021. I don’t look back and hate 2020. Were there some really hard things this past year? YES! But the growth and change and blessings that resulted have made it worth it. And I wouldn’t change a thing.

Let’s carry on the lessons of 2020 and look forward to God’s blessings in 2021!

Categories
Faith Family Health and Wellness

Pandemic Celebrations: Different, but Good

This past Sunday was my 42nd birthday. Normally, my husband and I go to downtown Chicago for an overnight and enjoy the city and great restaurants, but this year…COVID. I missed that time with him, but my birthday was still great. If anything, having a birthday close to Christmas makes you pretty flexible about celebrations.


My family loves to celebrate birthdays and my parents always did a great job of making me feel special and that my birthday was separate from Christmas. But, as I grew up and became an adult, I knew that finding time to celebrate my birthday among the Christmas rush was difficult and the chance of celebrating on the actual day was rare. 

Enter COVID. For one of the first times in a long time, my birthday was free and there were no parties to rush off to or events to crowd our days! The pandemic meant no getaway to the city, BUT I celebrated my birthday with my parents on Saturday, relaxed and had dinner out with my husband on Sunday (my actual birthday), treats and greetings from staff and students at work on Monday, and then a birthday lunch with a dear friend on Tuesday! At what is typically the busiest time of the year for everyone has become a weeklong birthday celebration for me. 🙂


2020 has been a rough year that has had a lot of disappointments. But just like the fact that my birthday didn’t get overshadowed by Christmas parties this year, there are plenty of positives to find in this pandemic season. Perhaps this year, with the extra time around the holidays, you can find more time to rest, enjoy your family, and remember the true reason for the season.